Saying Grace

I offered to be ‘water boy’ or ‘go-fer’ in his plan
I am not skilled at carpentry – the keener that I am.
I’m out of shape and scared of heights and creak at every joint
When I heard what this couple did, all that’s beside the point.

It seems one day a few years back he and his wife got word
That orphans out in Kenya were in numbers quite absurd.
An orphans’-village fellow spoke at church about their plight
So he and wife went over there to help them in their fight.

He could not do the Bible stuff with missionary zeal
But as a tradesman he could build a house where they could heal.
When they got there and saw the need and looked at skills they had
They came back home and set aside the life they both had had.

They sold their home to raise some funds to build another home
Then sold that home and took those funds to build an orphan’s home.
With cash in hand to Kenya went she with the orphans toiled
He built the house then came back here with missions now embroiled.

Once more he built a high-end house for people in our town
Then back to Kenya with the funds and did another round.
Two orphans’ homes which stand out there pull children from the brink
Of life to grow as fine young folk who otherwise would sink.

“We do not win them all,” he said, “lost two, two days one week;
It’s hard, but skin and bones they were, though plucky was one’s cheek.
We do the best we can with what we’ve got and what we raise
The need’s enormous, but our bit is how we our God praise.

“There’s thousands of these orphaned kids a few short miles from us
All doubled up with friends and kin in desperation’s fuss.
This is the third home now we've built here in our family’s town
So when we go back to their place we’ll put the money down.”

Third house for orphans there will be, once he goes there once more
To help some kids rise up from in conditions we deplore.
Lots think good thoughts, and talk good talk, but walk not out their faith
When I heard tell of what they’d done I wanted to partake.

I cannot go to Africa – not now at least it seems
And skilled I’m not, but I can clean debris from building scenes.
And clip some wires for stucco, push some insulating in,
And laugh and joke as I fill up one huge debris-filled bin.

Twelve hours of that reminded me how soft a life we’ve got
Here in this ‘great society’, pandemic not our lot.
Aids over here has drugs and condoms holding back the pain
Of leaving kids to fend for selves while other disease reigns.

These tykes who struggle to have life and bit of future make,
Malaria, pneumonia, their little bodies rake.
I can’t compute such need except to look at where I’ve been
And multiply that in my head, and view this couple keen.

It must be vast, why else would they forsake our pleasant life
And sell their home and give their lives, this carpenter and wife?
Not once or twice, but three times now they’ve chased this round the block
As they gave loaves and fishes so these kids could their lives walk.

I ache today, so tired I am, the pain is quite intense;
But when I look at what goes on just over yonder fence,
Both pain of kids and fam’lies there and struggle of these two –
It’s nothing really, just some creaky joints from helping you.`