I read a blog post recently which reminded me: In the story of the world, of the great battle between the kingdoms of Light and Darkness, the hero has already been introduced. Indeed, the hero has already won, and it is in the wake of his victory that we labor.
The question is not, “What am I doing to change the world?” but “What is God doing, and how can I join in?” Our labor is participatory: neither you nor I are the hero of this story, but we are called to get in on what the hero is doing. (https://velvetashes.com/not-changing-the-world/).
I would like to introduce you to one of our staff who chose, many years ago, to get in on what the hero is doing.
My name is Victoria Kitiabi.
I first learned about Living Room before it was Living Room. In 2008, Juli asked me to help care for two malnourished children from the community, Flovia and Felix. It was life changing.
I knew Juli and Allison when they came to our church with Tumaini na Afya outreach program to create awareness about HIV/AIDS and offer free HIV counseling and testing after the church service. At that time, I had completed a short course in Bio-Intensive Agriculture; but after their visit, everything changed. Through Tumaini na Afya, I attended a short course on Home Based Care and was trained as a VCT counselor for HIV testing.
When Living Room officially began in 2011, I was among the first staff to be considered; and I began working as a caregiver. I felt a deep burden to help people. I became so connected to the kids who came to Kimbilio Hospice. It became my passion to serve them. I felt a sense of accomplishment. Children would come when they were so malnourished and they would leave Kimbilio when they were healthy and happy, united again with their family.
As I continued serving as a caregiver, I started to develop a passion for counseling; and in 2015, I joined a college to study counseling and psychology and that is what I’m doing now. I am a counselor and also in charge of hospitality. In the counseling department, I talk to patients who are our guests at Kimbilio Hospice as well as family members. I also offer counseling services to staff, children in our OVC program, and sometimes I get people from the community who have issues and come to seek counseling from Kimbilio.
As the hospitality coordinator, it has been a pleasure hosting visitors from abroad – making them feel at home, introducing them to the ministry, teaching them about our food and also one or two words in Swahili. It makes me happy and it has been a pleasure serving in that department.
Serving with Living Room has influenced me personally. I’ve had a sense of knowing Christ more through seeing people who suffer and they really need someone just to give them hope. Living Room has made me realize how to extend the love that I have been reading about in the Bible. Through sharing with these guests who visit us, I have known what the intense love of Christ really means to me as an individual.
If you have not yet experienced the ministry firsthand, I would like you to understand that at Living Room we give hope to people who have lost hope in life. We restore dignity to people who have been despised in their communities and in their homes. We help the family members to understand that even though a person is in bed and ailing, they still need their family to be there for them, to support them, to love them, and to show them a sense of care. To our partners in this ministry, I would like to say thank you. I still hear stories of how Flovia is growing and thriving in life and I feel great joy in my heart. When I watch The Space Between, I remember how she first arrived in my hands. I shed tears of joy for how far God has brought Flovia; and I am grateful.