Philosopher King in a mud hut.

Sept 15 2004

I found the Philosopher King in a mud hut.

At the end of his or her service, most volunteers have a wish for their departure. That is, that , although, he leaves the village, his legacy and good efforts will stay. I trusted John; he had that kind of determination to turn a mud house into a marble palace. The DDC. the African Inland church, the people in Ikutha, and even those in Ikutha were unsure of his capabilities.
‘He is a young man,” they thought. As if all wisdom and ability must fall to the elders. I turned a head or two in those DCC meetings when I declared :
“Never underestimate the youth: in their ambition and uncorrupted optimism all is possible.” The handshakes weren’t as firm after I tried to rearrange an ancient peaking order.

But John truly was beyond his years in dedication, humbleness, and love of his neighbor. He was a pastor. I believe that he was living a authentic Christian life that often evades so many of those who attempt. I had to travel across the world to find a philosopher king. He nearly had what Kant called “a wholly will.” Jesus in Africa. Every time he traveled to Ikutha, many miles from his house, he would buy candy for his nephew. His nephew he had adopted despite a pastor’s salary. His shoes had matching holes in them; socks exposed four calloused toes ; he owned one shirt, which he would wash each night and leave on the close line to dry for use the next morning. His bicycle should was destined for the trash heap ten years ago, with its crooked steering wheel and its tires so thin that one could see the intertube inside. ( A lorry had running over his bicycle and I baled him out with money for repair). John lived a simply and never complained about the holes of missing parts in life.

Also, John had proven to his community his ability to lead. Located at the foot of a seasonal River, shaded by Acacia trees, was a catherdral of baked bricks and aliminum roofing, where every Sunday, John led people in worship.
In the summer of 2007, before returning for the second year of medical school at Ben-Gurion, I saw John again...



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