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Saint Martin Day - 2010

Every year St. Martin CSA celebrates St. Martin day when the community of Saint Martin including the staff, management committee members, management board, their spouses, friends and colleagues to come together and celebrate the gift of life. Every year a theme is chosen to guide the organization and community in the following year and the same theme guides us in our annual sharing with the community volunteers during the volunteers' days' celebrations. This year the theme is: Is a bridge enough?

Saint Martin Day

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The Gospel of James: Love gives Life

8 year old James watched over television someone who shared with him his uniqueness. Like Simona Atzori, James was born without his fore limbs and during the evening bulletin in one of the local TV stations, James heard that there is a lady who is visiting Kenya like him, she was without her fore limbs. James was filled with admiration for this lady and he asked whether he could meet her. Her parents informed the boy that they too knew nothing of the lady apart from the little information that they got on TV. They were apologetic that it was not possible to meet with Simona. Little James persisted in his request and cried all day all night and vowed to be at peace only after meeting Simona. The parents tried all they could and they luckily managed to get the contacts of Saint Martin CSA which was hosting Simona. They were invited for Saint Martin day celebrations and Simona agreed to meet little James. It was during this celebration that James and his parents were given a chance to share their gospel. Though James is too young to say much apart from greetings and saying his name, his presence made a very big impact for the entire congregation. James was smiling throughout and not at any moment did he show any signs of frustration. His jovial mood and smile only expressed what was deep within him; a very happy child. A child who is full of life. We all wondered what gives James such happiness, what makes him so full of life and our curiosity was answered when James' parents got an opportunity to speak.

Saint Martin Day

"When James was born, I was totally devastated. I couldn't understand why God decided to give us a child without arms. Little by little I came to accept James the way he is and today I can publicly confess that I love him very much. If I were to be given a chance to ask for a gift from God then I wouldn't hesitate to ask Him to give me James. He is wonderful, he is a very special gift in our family."

These were the words of James' father his mother too shared how much she loves James and how he has brought many blessings in the family. She said that James has helped bring unity in the family and made them realize the power of love. From the sharing of this family it was clear that James is so alive because he has been loved. Love has transformed him into a full human being. He is so complete and his happiness is not determined by his not having arms. Love is so powerful that it makes us appreciate and accept others just the way they are. In a country where issues of disability are still viewed as a curse and a punishment from God, such a message carries a lot of weight. In all the audiences Simona interacted with, she was sure to be asked one common question, "How did your parents react when you were born without arms?" Beneath the concern to know the reaction of the parents, was the unpronounced fear that should God give me child without arms, I would not take it kindly. Simona always said that she has managed to become who she is today because she was loved. Her parents loved her and this love gave her life. Its amazing how this gospel was shared in similar words by people from two different races, nationalities, economic class, age, and religion. Love is a universal language. It does not know of any barriers. Love fills all the chasms that hatred, human greed and division create. This is the beauty of love.

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The Gospel of Martin: “The Stranger Jesus”

Martin was born dumb and therefore could not share his beautiful gospel but his father did it for him. One day I went to visit a friend of mine who was hosting some visitors in his place and on arriving I found out that the visitors were from L'Arche Kenya and lived in a community of people with and without mental disabilities sharing life together in a community of love, friendship and trust. I was very touched by how these people were able to celebrate life and had no worries. My perception of disabilities was completely changed and was eager to share life with them in a deeper way. A few months later a member of Saint Martin community came to our church and shared about a boy who was found in the streets of Nyahururu town and rescued by a street youth. This youth took the young boy for rescue in Saint Martin offices where he was given temporary accommodation in one of the centers. The social worker narrated the predicament facing this boy and asked for anyone who felt called to share life with Martin. I felt a great urge to foster Martin but didn't express my intention then before sharing with the rest of my family. Upon consulting my wife and children, they gladly accepted that Martin could come and join our family and immediately I consulted the Saint Martin to forge a way forward. After the normal procedure for fostering, Martin was finally welcomed in our family. Martin brought a lot of life to our family. From the very beginning, we considered him as a gift from God. Martin has been a great source of blessings not only in the family but in the entire neighborhood. The Christian community accepted him as one of them and they help in making sure that he has what he needs. Martin has been a source of happiness though he cannot verbalize his words, he has been speaking to us and when we are emotionally down in the family, he helps to animate us and cheer our hearts up. Honestly Martin is Jesus and when we welcomed him in our family, we didn't know it. We didn't know that Jesus came to visit us in the person of Martin. For sure the words of Zechariah have been our own. "He has visited his people and redeemed them" Luke 1. 68

Saint Martin Day

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The Gospel of You and Me

In Saint Martin we are convinced that there are as many "gospels" as there are people. Each one of us goes through meaningful experiences which can be shared for the benefit of the other. It is this belief that leads the organizers of this day to invite various beneficiaries that we serve so that they share the gospel of their life with us.

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