This isn’t my first visit to Tumaini. It’s my third. But no matter how many times I come I am still amazed by just how many people make up this community. I would take a guess that there are probably around 1,000 people linked with Tumaini in one way or another. That’s a lot of people! And that’s a lot of smiling faces that I get the joy of seeing every day.
And that’s what makes me so amazed! Tumaini is a place of such joy and hope!
I like to talk to people. (That is a bit of an understatement as anyone who knows me will tell you!) And so I often get the privilege of hearing people’s stories. Behind every one of the smiling faces I see there is a story. Every one of these eyes has seen a lot. And yet God has given every one of them a reason to smile. The smile isn’t simply covering up the pain; it is a true expression of what God has done in their lives.
Google defines the word ‘Community’ as ‘a group of people living together in one place’. Tumaini is so much more than just a community. Tumaini is an embodiment of God’s heartbeat.
Wherever you go in Tumaini you can see God’s heartbeat. Even now as I’m writing this I can hear children playing and laughing. They feel safe, they are happy and they are loved. I know that makes God smile.
Yesterday I went to Mama Sema. Every Thursday a group of women meet to praise God together, encourage each other in the word of God and spend time together. There’s something wonderful about that. There’s something of the very heartbeat of God running through their meetings. We were discussing love and how to love one another. And, although I knew what I was saying was an encouragement to them, I knew that in many ways I didn’t need to say it. Even as we were walking to the place we meet these amazing ladies were spreading God’s love with everyone they met, the school children they saw, the people they passed in the street, the lady that lives in her make shift hut… They were spreading God’s love and embodying his heartbeat.
The children’s home is another example. Off the top of my head I could name you 36 children that I know that either live there now or used to live there (There are probably more that I’ve either forgotten or have never met!) That’s a lot of children! And yet they are all so close and Mary and Charles (the parents) have so much love for every child they have. I can’t wait to go and share a meal with them later this evening because there is something there that is just so wonderful! The love in that household is actually indescribable and the hope that these children have been given is amazing! These children now have a future.
Now, don’t think I’m naïve. I know that Tumaini isn’t perfect. It can’t be. It is a community of nearly 1,000 very imperfect people. Not everyone smiles all the time; I’d be a bit freaked out if they did! But it is very evident just from being here that these imperfect people are making up something that God delights in.
Written by Helen Sherrington – The Hub Central, Rotherham