Monday, November 26, 2012

Black Friday, a Missionary’s Worst Enemy

This is a re-post of Johnny's Blog which I feel he very well stated. I might add that Christmas, Valentine's Day, and every other holiday along with birthdays, anniversaries and over the top spending sprees should be added to the list of enemies of helping the widows, orphans and those who are sick that need help. Missionaries are not people who are on vacation to better themselves or live a life of ease. Well, I must qualify that and say I don't know any that are or think that way. I do know Johnny and Kate and I can safely assure you their life is not one of leisure or ease. They pour themselves out for those God has entrusted to them. They are constantly on guard for their safety, care and spiritual growth. They are good servants of God and have all my respect for living in Kenya the past 8 or so years on faith. 

Johnny and Kate with their children in Nakuru, Kenya

As I say this I also want to remind you there are many of our friends that are missionaries and involved in mission work around the world. They need our support, too. They could have chosen to do the American dream and lived their lives for themselves and their children but they did not. They chose a life of giving up their American dream and giving all they have, physically, mentally and spiritually to God for His service among people who have great need. Not just physical need but spiritual need to be joined together with other Saints in the work of the gospel where they are. They could not pick themselves up out of the slums and start a new life without someone to help them.

So without any more hesitation, Heeeeeerrrrrrreeeeeeesssssssss Johnny!

Black Friday, a Missionary’s Worst Enemy

Every year, Thanksgiving Day comes around, and we give thanks for the myriad blessings in our lives. We get together with family, some of whom we have not seen for the whole of the year, and gorge ourselves on great holiday foods. Good times. It is also when our minds begin to turn to the Christmas season. Actually, retailers and marketers force our minds to the Christmas season. To be honest, I wouldn't think of Christmas till the 24th if it were not for marketers. None the less, the atmosphere changes, and the pressure begins.
Black Friday. That day of the year when you cannot find a parking space no matter how far from the door you go. The day after Thanksgiving when retailers would have us all in their places of business instead of at home enjoying the extra long weekend. They have tricked us into believing that elbowing our way through the crowds for a once in a year deal is actually fun, beneficial, and even keeping with the Christmas Spirit. The day when greed gets the best of us.
Kate and I have come to think of Black Friday as our enemy. How can people be expected to remember missionaries in Kenya when they must go out and buy that latest IPad  Nintendo U, blue ray player, computer, clothes, and all the other gift items this year? There is a sense of great satisfaction in paying much less for something. You actually get to hold it, caress it, use it, and discard it. Proof of your frugality, fruit of your early morning wake up call, justification for the charge, exists in your hands after shopping on Black Friday.
Giving to us just doesn't produce the same results. All the fruit of your gift is enjoyed on this side. We see the hungry fed; the naked clothed; the sick cared for; the lonely, distraught, dying embraced. You cannot. We get to hug, kiss, and otherwise love on these orphans-no-more. We see first hand the changes wrought in their lives. We glimpse the hope they now have in their futures. You can only do so vicariously through us.
Yet we cannot experience this without you. We need donors. Simple. To save these children we must have money, and that money must come from donors.
Which is why Black Friday is our enemy. Not Christmas, not gift giving, not the holiday season, but the excess that Black Friday represents, that it encourages. When the deal is too good to pass up, and when there are multiple deals too good to pass up, there tends to be nothing left over at the end of the day.
Obviously, this is not a rant intended to stop you from participating in Black Friday. If I had wanted to guilt you out of shopping that day I would have posted this on Friday or Thursday. Many of you already shun the shopping day, and give us hope. No, this is not about shaming anyone, but just an expression of our frustration.
Johnny and Kate each have a FaceBook Page and a campaign on you can check out. Please consider showing them support as God enables you but most of all offer your prayers for them and their continued work in Kenya.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Shallowness of Character

This is a repost of Oswald Chambers Devotional that got me to thinking about how many times I might act like this. We are creatures of habit and the more we think of ourselves as above others, more profound than others and elevate ourselves above all others, the deeper in trouble we sink. 

The trouble being that we don't thin of ourselves the way we ought to. We don't see ourselves in Christ. Hidden and covered by his righteousness. There are definite times for being reserved and quiet but for the most part we need to loosen up and stop being so stiff. You know what I mean. That posture of aloofness and disconnect. The "that's too beneath me" look and feel.

I am going to work on that being the abnormal behavior for myself. I want to be connected and involved in peoples lives. Sometimes I feel inadequate among those I count as specially blessed of God and withdraw into my own little room in my head. Other times I have obtained some thought about myself that exalts itself above all others. It competes with God and I don't want to do that. I don't want to compete with anyone, actually. I just want to be free to be who God made me and life this joyous life for all that God designed it to be.

How about you? How does this practically work out in your life?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Addicted to Self

I am re-posting again because I believe what Andrew says is true and I wanted to share with all of you who may not read his articles. See if there is anything in here that causes you to pause and think about the way you live your life. It could be talking about you. And if it does talk about you, and me, and many more you know, then share it with them as well.

A CULTURE ADDICTED to "SELF" - Comments??  by 'Pastor Dave'

Yesterday, I read a report about an Ohio State University study
involving 900 adults ranging in age from 18 to 90 which claimed
that young Americans place such a high value on their sense of
self-worth that they crave praise and compliments more than food,
friendship, and sex! The study also observed that this craving is
akin to an addiction. It is insatiable. The participants in the study
are not all narcissists, of course, but they're kissin' cousins.

The professor who conducted the study identified the 1969 book
The Psychology of Self-Esteem as the launching point for a
generation of Americans obsessed with self-esteem. He concluded
that the obsession is only going to get worse -- "as each new
generation enters a culture that puts a premium on self-worth,
younger Americans spend more time craving and searching for
self-esteem boosts--and less time thinking about others. All that
time spent thinking about yourself not only contributes to
depression, but it makes society a less kind and gentle place."

The seismic shift that began in 1969 has resulted in the tsunamis
of Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, reality TV shows and life-
enhancement church services. Americans just can't seem to get
enough of being true to self, expressing self, fulfilling self, improving
self and advancing self. This addiction has had an enormous impact
on the Christian community. Choosing a church to attend is no
longer a matter of finding where the Word of God is taught and
where people are striving to live in a manner that pleases God. It
is now a matter of finding a church that has the best programs,
preferred music, and activities.

American Christians have become consumers rather than
practitioners. We look for the  most enjoyable services, the most
convenient schedules, the most engaging presentations, and the
programs that fulfill our desires to the greatest degree. We seem
drawn to the churches that are most like the world. Our primary
concern about church is not how we can serve the church body,
but how the church body can serve us.

Churches that are preaching that Christians are deserving of and
entitled to good things, happiness, blessings, and personal fulfill-
ment are bursting at the seams. Churches that preach poorness
in spirit, mournfulness for sin, meekness, purity in heart, and a
hunger for righteousness, are struggling to find people willing to
listen. Are we witnessing the fulfillment of Paul's warning to Timothy,
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine,
but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears,
they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their
ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables."

We can't be hungry for righteousness and addicted to self at the
same time.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fast Track Christianity

I am re-posting this blog from Alpha Omega Publications' Daily Focus for Homeschoolers.
God has been working on me this past week to not give up. Taking shortcuts is like giving up on the perfect plan God has for your life. I don't want to take any shortcuts or give up on the best of what God has prepared for me. Perhaps you have the thought that there is an easy way or a shortcut to finding the perfect life of God. There is only one way to go through the course of this life, the one that strips away everything that is not of God. That takes time and lots of painful work. Don't be deceived into thinking there is another way.

ShortcutsSeptember 23, 2012

"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13).

Life is full of shortcuts. High-priced technology has changed the way we live and made shopping so easy we can get what we want with a simple click or a wave of a debit card. Although technological advances have also made homeschooling easier, there is one aspect to teaching our children at home that can't be fast forwarded — your children's spiritual growth. Developing biblical values and godly character requires a daily, concentrated effort in building God's truths precept upon precept. Money simply cannot buy instant access to Christianity or purchase shortcuts in learning God's lessons in humility, obedience, and submission.

Trying to "fast track" Christianity has been a problem since the Lord returned to heaven. In Acts 8:13-24, Simon, the ex-magician, thought he could bypass the disciplines of being trained in righteousness. Wanting to impress the crowds and perform miracles like Peter, Simon offered money to find a shortcut to the Holy Spirit's power. Rebuking him for his fleshly attempts to control God, Peter said, "Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God" (Acts 8:20b-21).

What about you? Are you guilty of looking for shortcuts in your spiritual growth? Quick prayers and short devotionals are not enough. Spend time alone with the Lord today in prayer and Bible study and let the Holy Spirit reveal those changes that need to take place in your life. "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection" (Hebrews 6:1a).

Lord, forgive me for being like a child and looking for the easy way out of Your lessons. Help me to walk with You today and not run ahead of the disciplines that teach me Your truths. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Jesus Looks Beyond Politics

I have voted every year that the presidential elections have come about. I've not always liked my choices and struggled with what to do about it.

This article helped me with the attitude that develops around this time of year. More so an attitude of disdain and feeling trapped by voting for one of two or three choices that I didn't want to place my X of approval on. I struggle with the process and feel totally disconnected from the reality of who is really in control. I hope this will help some of you also.

-extracts by J. Lee Grady.

People didn't vote in ancient Israel, nor did they put "KICK THE
ROMANS OUT!" bumper stickers on their chariots. But there was
plenty of political anger seething in Palestine, even without Fox
News, CNN and MSNBC around to stir the pot.

Jews especially abhorred tax-collectors, since (1) tax-collectors
were usually thieves, and (2) they worked for the hated Roman
Empire. Yet when a chief tax-collector named Zacchaeus showed
up to hear Jesus preach in Jericho, Jesus did an unlikely thing.
He called Zacchaeus down from his perch in a sycamore tree
and proposed a meeting at his house.

I´m sure the crowd was shocked that a holy rabbi who honored the
Ten Commandments would fraternize with one of Caesar´s cronies.
They probably expected Jesus to give Zacchaeus a stern lecture
on the evils of embezzlement. But the Bible doesn´t say Jesus
talked to him about his fraud or the injustice of Roman occupation.
Their meeting was not about politics.

After one visit with Jesus, the infamous Zacchaeus, who was
"small in stature," experienced a great big conversion. He repented
of his crimes and pledged to give half his possessions to the poor
(see Luke 19:1-10). Jesus´ act of kindness led to a total heart change.

This was Jesus´ style. He looked beyond race, class, social labels
and sectarian divisions. He was as comfortable talking to prostitutes,
drunkards and condemned criminals as He was to synagogue
officials, high priests and Roman centurions. He looked into men´s
hearts with a piercing laser beam, not so He could judge their sins
but so He could shine the light of His mercy.

And today Jesus calls His followers to love everybody* that way.
*NOTE: "Everybody" includes Democrats, Republicans, bleeding-
heart liberals, Tea Party conservatives, Jesse Jackson, Rush
Limbaugh, left-leaning journalists, right-leaning journalists,
President Obama, Mitt Romney, Joe Biden, Paul Ryan - and,
yes, Clint Eastwood!

I´m saying this now (and preaching to myself) because too many
of us are losing our religion in the current presidential campaign -
which promises to grow more divisive before Election Day. It´s not
just political commentators who are screaming at each other like
banshees on Sunday-morning talk shows; Christians are unfriending
each other on Facebook because campaign rhetoric has grown so
hateful. We can´t even eat a chicken sandwich without triggering
a war of words.

I propose we make some attitude adjustments so we can reflect
Christ both during the campaign season and after Nov. 6 -
regardless of whether Obama or Romney wins.

1. Love people regardless of their political views...
How can I be a vessel of Christ´s love if my heart is full of hate?

2. Quit making politicians into gods. At the root of today´s angry
rhetoric is the mistaken idea that politics can solve our moral
problems. Christians in the United States, especially since the
early 1980s, have embraced an unhealthy infatuation with
presidents and political power. We clamor for a King Saul to
save us when God wants us to trust Him alone.

News flash! Ronald Reagan didn´t save us. Neither did Bush
No. 1, Clinton or Bush No. 2. Neither Obama nor Romney will
deliver us. And let´s not forget that the greatest spiritual revival in
this country in the past 100 years occurred during the presidential
terms of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon - one Democrat and
one Republican!...

3. Frame your words with kindness. In our culture it has become
in vogue to be hot-headed. Candidates and commentators throw
vitriolic barbs like grenades, and when the discussion is moved
online, everyone starts dropping F-bombs to prove their point.
There is no such thing today as civil debate. In modern American
politics, we thrust, jab, kick, punch, skewer and impale each other
with our words. And this is equally true of Democrats and Republicans.

There is a higher way for people of faith. The apostle Paul called
us to season our conversation with grace (see Col. 4:6) and to put
on a heart of compassion, kindness and gentleness (see Col. 3:12).
But we can´t express kind words if our hearts are full of judgment,
racial bias, hatred of certain people or organizations, or anger
toward those we disagree with. If you hold judgments in your heart,
they will become like buried mines in a battlefield. When someone
walks near them and pushes your button, you will explode.

We must speak the truth, but we must say it in love. It would be
better for us to keep our mouths shut if we can´t say what Jesus
is saying with His tone of voice.

-Please comment on Lee Grady's article at our website below-

-Original source-

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Golden 16th Birthday for Zachariah

It is Zach's 16th birthday today. His Golden Birthday. His mom embarrassed him quite well today as we were in our gathering with the whole of the church present. Zach was hesitant to get up in front of everyone but he finally did. This link will take you to the video on YouTube of the event. The song is an original birthday song by Mala and in her usual style of blending the characteristics of the birthday person with music ,she did a superb job. Thank you Mala! It was a great gift for Zach that he will have for the rest of his life.

Here is the link:


I'll put the words out here as soon as we are able to get them from Mala.

UPDATE: Here are the words to the song.

Oh How We Love Zach!!!
How we all love Zach
And we're so glad he's back  from Africa.
He is one great kid with a heart SO BIG
And that's a fact y'all
We love you Zach- so glad you're back...dear Zach!!
Abba and Amma miss Zach
Wish that he'd come back to Africa!
He was such a help to them
Did the work of 50 men in Africa!
They love you....and we do too!!! Dear Zach!!
And it's your golden birthday,
And we just want to all say,
Happy Golden Birthday to you Zach!!
Yes it's your Golden Birthday,
And we just want to all say
Happy 16th Birthday Zach!!!
Zach's a popcorn addict
and a chocolate chip cookie fanatic
in case you didn't know
He has a servant's heart
and gives with every part wherever he does go.
He's got a heart so big
we sure love this kid....Zach!!!!
Zach loves babbies and toddlers too
There's just so much this young man can do.
And he willingly shares his room
With 4 little Sonic Booms
Andrew-Noah-Eli-and Brandon
Zach you're one amazing young man!!!
And it's your Golden Birthday!
And we just want to all say.
Happy Golden Birthday Zach!!!
Yes it's your Golden Birthday
and we just want to all say,
Happy 16th Birthday Zach!!!

Zach at the Sunday Gathering

Zach in Nairobi at the end of June - Java Cafe

Zach, Nikki and Suzie at the Danish Mission

Zach helping with Patrick and Christine's move

Zach sitting on the swing he made

Zach at Nakumat Saturday morning Devotions

Zach being cute at the house

Zach & I with Patrick and Christine's family

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Needing Income and Looking for a Job

Good Friends in Kenya
Looking for a job is a daunting task. I have helped a lot of people find jobs but, not be on the search myself. I have always seemed to have something to produce income, so as not to worry about making a living. However, in the past year I have had to trust God for my income more and more.

My needs are not huge with respect to finances. We have no real debt other than back rent for two months. I have been able to make ends meet for quite a while. Usually I sell some things on eBay, help on the farm, do computer repair or take up a position with one of the businesses here in the village for a while. So far that has been able to meet my obligations. That is not the case any more.

I just returned from Kenya, where we were for the past two months and having a job wasn't a priority there. We had saved up for the trip and Tara was able to help on the farm to provide for the very basic needs we had here at home. Mostly some bills, gas and living expenses for her and the kids. She was awesome, in spite of her Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever attack and diagnosed Rheumatoid Arthritis pain and inflammation. As well, the men in our clan came to the rescue and helped supplement our needs during my absence. My sincerest thanks and appreciation goes to every single man here for helping us and being available to assist my wife during those two months.

2011 Kenya Mission Trip
But now, I am back and need to find a source of income that doesn't center on donations from clan men and my wife working her arms and legs off. I need to hear what God has for me and find work to provide for my family as a part of the Church here. I believe every man would agree that a husband and a father should be about taking care of his family. Providing for the needs of my wife and children is paramount right now. So the search is on.

In this new age of technology driven information exchange, there seems to be a new vehicle for locating and applying for a job. It is based on the internet and carries it's own set of protocols. You still need a resume and cover letter, styled and geared for the particular job or career opportunity you are applying for, but there is an even greater need for being connected that come into play. Facebook, Linked-In, Google, YouTube and every other point of social networking is used to find and secure a job. Somehow, I am not plugged into those venues. Imagine that?

Well, I have applied for 5 or 6 jobs in this immediate area so far. I applied at Kimberly Clark, Fred's, AT&T, Bed Bath and Beyond, All-State and  Wal-Mart . I got rejected from Wal-Mart as a prospective internal investigator but I'm not too upset about that. I was thinking that being a greeter was fun, but I hear they aren't doing that any more. At least not here, in this area. I like meeting people and helping them so I'm a bit disappointed with that. Oh, well.

I'm on for the next round of applications and looking at how to get this social network going. I'm not sure how that will help but it seems to be one of the things I am being told to do by the recruiting sites I have visited. Any thoughts on that?

I'm trying to think of jobs that could fit into some of the areas of expertise I own, such as whistling, driving to  Wal-Mart,  talking to people, putting together schedules, drinking coffee and eating hot dogs. I don't seem to find any of those jobs out there. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places. Maybe a bus driver? or a taxi-cab operator? Policeman? Hot-dog Vendor? I'm gonna check those out as soon as I am done with this blog. The Internet is a fascinating tool for research. Google can tell me almost anything I want to know. It just hasn't told me where my next source of income is at.

I'm looking so if you can think of something or have some ideas, let me know. It will be much appreciated.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


We are on our way home now, after 2 months in Kenya. (Update: We are now home.)  I am conflicted with wanting to stay and wanting to be back with my family. Of course the best of both worlds would be to be in Kenya with my family. But then, I'd have to leave a part of my family back in Kenya as well. It seems any way I slice it part of my family is not going to be with me whether I am in Kenya or not. So what do I do?

After boarding the plane in Nairobi, God gave us a companion to be with until we left London.  Her name is Naomi. She is a Kenyan woman of 60 years. She has four children, all grown up and on their own. Her husband has passed on and she is on her own, too. Naomi was a teacher for a while after her husband died but before that they lived in one of the outlying villages. They had a house and a shamba (farm) where she raised their children.

Now Naomi is trying to find her way without work; she had to sell her house and business because of a long bout with meningitis that kept her hospitalized for a long while. She was now traveling to Chicago to stay with her nephew.

When we met, she found her assigned seat after being located in the wrong one during boarding. She sat on the aisle seat in the row Zach and I were sitting in. She is a large woman so between her and I we took up most of the row. Poor Zach. I raised the arm rest between us so I could give Naomi a little more room. Little is the operative word here, as you know if you have flown in the economy section of an airplane lately.

Since the flight was a night-time flight we talked a little while and then tried to get some sleep. Sleep was sporadic and more tiresome than restful. When the lights were brought back up and we were served breakfast, she started to ask me questions about what to do when she got off at London. Questions that indicated she had no idea of what to do or where to go to find her connecting flight to Chicago. I heard God say, “You have a Kenyan woman here who needs your help.” Yes, we did. God was right. I told Naomi we would lead her out of the plane and help her find her connecting flight. You could see the relief in her eyes and a smile came over her face.

As we exited the plane we moved through the maze of escalators, people moving ramps, hallways and found our way to the bus for Terminal 3. London Heathrow Airport is large and spread out between 5 terminals. Masses of people in front of us, behind us and all around us. The bus was packed but we arrived at Terminal 3 and moved through another set of mazed paths to security. After passing our security inspection we arrived at the American Airlines check in area. We waited for Naomi as the agents drilled for information about who, what ,where, when and why she was there and her final destination.

We wound ourselves into the massive waiting area to wait for the posting of gate assignments for our next flights. We talked more about our lives and how God had brought us together to help her to reach Chicago and her nephew. We realized we had a divine appointment that God arranges for us. So we didn’t waste the time we had. We exchanged contact information and I asked if I could take her picture. She was more than willing to let me. (see above)

I sent Zach out to find water for us all and check on gate times. I was carrying a small envelope of UK change for the London airport needs while we were there. I gave Zach the change and the rest of our Kenyan shillings to pay for it. He exchanged the shillings for UK money and found us two waters and a Dr. Pepper for himself.

Naomi told me her nephew said not to bring any money and he was quite wary of people in airports, believing the worst of being robbed or taken advantage of while traveling. I can’t really blame her but this time God had other plans So God said to give her the change Zach had left over. It was only 4 pounds 27p but I knew she could exchange it for about $8 in Chicago. She was overwhelmed that we would give her anything and started to tear up.

Our gate assignments finally were posted so we headed out to our connecting flights. Naomi’s was gate 36 and ours was 26. As we approached 26 we asked if we had time to go to 36 and come back. The attendants assured us we would have time. So we continued to gate 36. Upon arriving we confirmed this was the correct gate and sat down with Naomi. I asked her if we could pray for her and she accepted. We thanked God for His divine assignment and asked if he would allow us to meet again. We also ask that He protect Naomi and bless her. We hugged her and parted ways.

As we walked back to our gate I said to Zach, “Now, what are the chances of that just happening?” He said, “God set that up for us to help that woman.” He surely did and we were blessed in the process. All we had to do was to be available and look for what God was doing. It would have been real easy to overlook Naomi and just go our way but God had other plans. We are glad He did.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Week Six & Seven in Nakuru

Laundry Day Wash
The days are all running together here. Last year it happened the same way. One day just transitioned into another and before I knew it, it was time to go home.

Starting on Sunday, August 5th, we stayed at home and had fellowship with our household and ate lunch together afterwards. We were wore out from the previous weeks activities and needed a little down time. Later that day I met with a man to talk about different work for him to do. We reviewed his business plan and previous experience and explored some possibilities for him to looked at what it would take to do that kind of work again. Right now he works 7 days a week without time off till the end of the year.

Later that afternoon we talked about budget and income, Looked at expenses and income potential for the rest of this year and into next year.

Every Monday we do our grocery and supply shopping where we run for groceries and other necessities we need for the week. I managed to get a haircut and so did Abba at the Nakumat hair salon. They give head and neck massages here when they cut you hair. For a little extra you can get you hair washed as well.

We met with one of the local pastors we know, really like and respect and talked. He considers us his friends and fellow workers in the Lord. He is interested in doing things with the youth and finding ways to align with us in common works for God. His son is also going to school for Web Design and communications. Likewise he is helping to get training for people with computer skill needs. Later we had lunch at Guava and met with another pastor for a discussion about the Friendship pastors meeting and things that had been going on there. He suggested we reorganize the friendship and set out some guidelines for those who want to be a part of it. He is concerned about some of the other pastors in the friendship.

Tuesday we spent the day resting. Abba and Amma went out to lunch. I stayed home and worked on some projects, and reports for a meeting the next day.

Wednesday we had a meeting with a few men we know here to discuss direction and our current position of ministry here in Nakuru. We want to continue to meet pastors, preach and teach, partner with other churches and organizations for opportunities to teach and bring some hope to those who have lost hope.

Thursday, we met with two pastors, Thomas and James about spiritual matters in the church and project ideas in their respective ministries. James gave us a layout for a ministry registration in Kenya and we agreed to meet next Thursday for lunch again. They are very helpful and dedicated men, wanting to make sure we are taken care of. It is a refreshing relationship with the two of them.

Later that night, Jason and Esther and their 5 children, 2 grand children and daughters-in-law came over thinking we were doing supper for them but it was really scheduled for Saturday evening. We fellow-shipped, sang songs and had popcorn and masala tea. We had a great time and we all agreed that Saturday night we would have another great time of dinner and fellowship, Their children's names are: Mike, Sam, Darlene and Monica. Sam is married to Irene and Mike is married to Rachael.

Friday, Joshua came over to lead us to a visit with his land. We drove to see Joshua's land (1 acre) southeast of Nakuru where some of the poorest people live and need assistance with education and living in general. We took pictures, videos of three families and an interview with Joshua in the corn field. We received a live chicken as a gift from one of the grand fathers who is caring for 7 orphaned boys. Another woman has three children she is trying to take care of with no income. Another older couple are caring for three boys and are struggling to feed them. There are more than a couple miles of road where people are living in the same condition. They all need assistance with the very basics of living.

The power went out Friday night so we ate a candle lit dinner and went to bed early.

Saturday, Abba to spoke at Nakumat for an employee meeting. This was his second time and he was invited to speak every Saturday morning. He accepted. This is a great opportunity to speak to 160 or more employees. It's like being invited to speak at the Super Walmart in your local town.

I tried working on some mission reports and do some video uploads but my computer kept crashing. So I had to do some trouble shooting and some repair work to get it to work again. Windows 7 on an old computer doesn't always work like you expect it to. I may have to reload XP when I get home.

Jason and Esther’s family did come back over for dinner and visit. In spite of them being late they all showed up and we had a great time. They are a great family to know and love. I was informed I would be teaching the next morning and Abba would be preaching. Nothing like the last minute timing. NOTE: It went well and they loved everything we shared. We went out to eat afterwards at our favorite outdoor restaurant called Kokeb. Of course we had to take some pictures.

Monday the 13th was a regular shopping day again and we managed to stuff a full days worth of working on fixing things up and running around picking this and that up till we exhausted ourselves. Good thing we got some rest the prior week.

Tuesday I spent most of the day doing blogging and working on another report for the mission team. Abba and Amma went into town to pay bills and meet with the pastor of one of the churches that Amma is teaching a health and nutrition seminar at on Saturday.

Pastor Elvis(right) and Friend
Wednesday was laundry day and we spent a couple hours meeting with Pastor Elvis (yes his name is Elvis) talking about spiritual matters and he wanted to encourage us. The last time we met with him was at his church building and he was making plans on fixing up the place. This time he is moving to a piece of land that will allow them to expand and grow into a building they are putting up. He is a very positive and uplifting man. Never as a bad word to say about anything and always filled with faith and encouragement for us. He sends texts several times a week to just let us know he is praying for us and to share some word of encouragement.

Thursday was another day of meetings. First with two businessmen who want to help us get a mission front established to put us in a position to minister where and when we want. Also to help us with registrations and other legal matters that we need to have here in Kenya. What a blessing they are to take their time and effort doing all they do for us.

Right after that we met with James and Thomas again for lunch. We had a relaxed time, talking about their churches, people in general and how the Gospel is sometimes ignored and sidestepped so often. We talked about how the church has departed so far from where the original early church was at and how they did things then. We want to return to those simple and meaningful measures of worship and service to God.

The next evening we met at Jason and Esthers house for a Bible study they had asked us to do with them and their family. We talked about principles from Watchman Nee and the basics of a spiritual man. We took tea afterwards and made our way home.

Amma taught her Health and Nutrition Seminar on Saturday and there was a good group of ladies that were anxious to know more about how to eat and live healthy. So many people here are so poor they can't even afford to eat a healthy balanced diet. Amma taught them how to think differently so they can buy the better quality foods and keep their families healthier. That was also the day the city shut off the water to the house. There was some confusion about what the landlord had originally built for water access in the 70's that now is considered illegal by the water department. We did eventually get the water turned back on. It was quite a fiasco.

Today, Sunday the 19th, we spent another day at home and fellow-shipped with our neighbors and friends that came over. We had lunch at a restaurant the is called the Oyster Restaurant but they don't serve any oysters. I think they just thought it was a cool name for the restaurant. Tonight we have about 9 girls sleeping on our living room floor. They came over after dinner and ate popcorn, watched a movie and are having a slumber party.

It's after 11 here now so I will plug in some photos and call it a night for this blog post. Hope all of you are well and rested like we are. Pray for us that this last week will be a prosperous and blessed week for us and all those we will be sharing with. 9 days and we will be back in the states.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Where Do You Share the Gospel?

I have to ask the question "Where do you share the Gospel?" because it is such an obvious question, yet such an overlooked one for Christians. 

John the Baptist was referred to as "one crying out in the desert". Jesus Christ walked from town to town proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. He preached in the synagogues, held gatherings on hill sides, taught from a boat, went into homes, the market place, and even called forth the dead. He sent his disciples out two by two. He said the fields are white to harvest, but the harvesters are few. He told his disciples to go out and make disciples of all nations. The Apostle Paul preached in multiple cities across Asia Minor and the Mediterranean Sea area.

With such an example from the scriptures we could do much more if we put our minds to it. There are many more places to share the good news of the Kingdom of God. Men and women of God go into the whole world today sharing the Words of God and spending their time ministering to the lost in multiple ways. Their entire lives are given to the work of the Gospel. They have given up lives of pleasure and wealth to make themselves available to those who need much more than they can ever give. But they do it gladly.

So what's your excuse? Where do you share the Gospel? or Do you share the Gospel? 

I guess the answer to those questions depend upon whether your life belongs to you or to the Lord. For those that belong to the Lord there really isn't any excuse for not sharing the Good News of the Kingdom of God other than you are trying to save your life and live it in a different way than what Jesus has instructed you to. As a disciple of Christ you should always be ready to give the reason for your love of God and show your dedication to Christ by introducing people to Him. That's what the men and women of the early church did. Their lives were all about Christ.

We have had the privilege of sharing the Gospel here in Nakuru, Kenya for the past four years. This year we have expanded our tent pegs and gone out even farther, into the highways and byways of Nakuru. One particular place we have been fortunate to be invited to has been a local supermarket center much like Wal-Mart in the US. This supermarket center is called Nakumat and there are approximately 160 employees there who WANT to have us come and share the Kingdom Life message with them.

As my friend, brother and fellow worker in the Kingdom so eloquently put this into demonstration of what is going on here:
"Imagine this ... First ... after arriving in the forth largest city in America, you begin to share with two men at a breakfast your burden for the church to begin walking in first century Christian living. Next time you meet for breakfast, there are sixteen new pastors asking to hear more. Three weeks later, there are over 20 pastors each asking for you to come to their church and share anything in your heart with their people. Originally you had come to this city to help one church hear and see the things God has done, now there are scores of churches wanting to learn. 
Then weeks later while you are shopping at a Super-Wal-mart, out of the blue your wife meets a man who begins to talk about Christ and His Church. After a short talk she calls you to meet him. Upon meeting you connected with him almost instantly. You then find out he is head of the Christian fellowship of the newest and biggest store the city. He then proceeds to ask you to come and teach 160 employees that gather for spiritual devotions on Saturday morning before work. 
You do so and they are so excited that they ask you to come every Saturday morning and teach. Their leader says that when you taught that day, the whole store was buzzing about the Word of God that came. This includes the Muslims that were there listening. One (Muslim) even came up and thanked me for the teaching! 
Now  the word is starting to get around that someone is teaching new and wonderful things, and High Schools begin asking that you come and share with their students.... hundreds of students. Your wife is being asked to teach women about everything from Christ to Health care. Pastors are begging her to come and preach. Which she respectively declines but says she would love to teach and train any of the women.
All the while your are getting invitations to visit worthy ministries of men and women that are not just seeking money like so many, but desire counsel and advice on how to continue with God.
This is what we have been experiencing the last 3 months in Nakuru, Kenya."
So, may a venture to ask the question again? 

Where do you share the Gospel?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Week Five in Nakuru, Kenya

Oh my, the time is flying by. No pun intended. There are lots of flies here but most of them just congregate on food that is being served outdoors. Not much different from what happen at our picnics in the US. But that isn't really what I wanted to tell you.

What I wanted to tell you is that this week has been a very eventful week! Somewhat overwhelming.

Every week we go shopping on Monday to stock up on dry goods and produce. There are items throughout the week that we usually need to pick up extra but for the most part, Mondays are dedicated to shopping and getting our buying stuff out of the way. That is always and experience. Street vendors, hawkers, beggars and glue sniffing boys hooked on huffing and panhandling for more glue. 

Abba and I met with a pastor that comes to the Wednesday meeting. He has a plan for an orphanage, school and church complex that he is looking for funding on. We told him that we were not here to finance projects but to share what God had given us to share about Kingdom Life. There are many pastors and other persons looking for funding for their projects. We are more interested in seeing men work hard and growing into things rather than getting a sum of money to build things that may or may not work out. Plus, we don't have that sort of financing. Banks do but they don't loan on speculation. They loan on collateral. He has none. So if his project will be financed and built we offered he seek God for the timing and move slowly. There are lots of orphanages, schools and churches here. I think there are something like a 1000 or more of them here in Nakuru.  

Nakumat Devotions
We usually stop at a store called Nakuamt for some of the groceries. Amma met a man whose name is Glipson and he had invited Abba to speak at an employees daily morning devotional meeting they have. Imagine that. The whole store of employees, singing, praising, praying and worshiping God, in the store, with the owners permission (he's Muslim) and they invite us to speak. It was a real spiritual experience. All these people are devoted to following God and loved everything we had for them on Saturday morning. The owner of the store likes for them to do this because he believes that their commitment to God and righteousness helps prevent theft and employee issues. The atmosphere of walking into Nakumat is spiritual in that you know the employees care about you and show that freely. They are always asking how you are doing and what they can help you with in a way that is genuine and not pretend or for monetary gain.

Last week was not much different but that we started preparing the guest house for our new guests. Yes we have a guest house and it was in bad need of repair and painting. So, Patrick and Gideon began to clean up and paint on Monday. Here is a before picture of the shower to give you a feel for what they were up against. They work diligently cleaning, scraping and sanding the walls for application of paint. Almost every surface needed something done to it. I bought some electrical sockets and switches and repaired the electrical in the house. It's European style electrical but very easy for a do-it-your selfer like me. I would have got with John Fagan but he's not in town. We also repaired the window latches that were broken and got things so they would be able to open and close correctly. 
Paint job is done
Bright, fresh paint
At the end of the day we discovered that neither Patrick nor Gideon are painters. I think Abba took some pictures to share with Zemar and Nathanael. It looked horrible. There was paint all over the place and all in the wrong places. So, Patrick, knowing I wanted a good paint job and being the responsible man he is, found a fundi to help. A fundi is a trained and professional person. This one was a painter. He was pretty good too. They started to repair the mess-ups and get a good coat of paint on the ceiling, walls, doors, trim and floor. Yes, the floor was painted as well. The final product was two days coming but was well worth the $25 we spent for the fundi. Here are some after pictures.

Patrick at the slum house
 Patrick and Christine are now moved into this house and they are ecstatic about it. They were all smiles and giggles when they got here. They have been living in a very small two room apartment with five children, in the heart of the slums for 20 years. I have pictures of their old place to show you. It was a terrible place to live and raise a family. But that is all history now. God has given then a new home also. 

The old water source
The lorry
The old bath and shower
Newly painted Guest house
The kids are able to be with us and we are starting to feel like a real family. Patrick and Christine served us a new home meal Saturday night of traditional rice, ugoli, greens and stew. Patrick even found a pelipeli (hot pepper) for me. It was hot but I loved it. We spent most of Saturday morning helping them get things loaded into a lorry (truck) and then transporting it and unloading everything at the new house. Quite the ride too. I rode in the back part of the truck with some of the kids and Patrick. Very exciting. We videoed a lot of the move and interviewed Patrick and Christine before and after the move. I'll update those when I have some free wi-fi, since it costs too much to upload all that from my SafariCom modem. To say the least, everyone was so happy that they are out of the slum house and in the guest house now. 20 years of living that way, hawking belts and whatever else he could do to provide a meal a day, in a good week and pay the rent. We only wish we could help more get out of the slums. They are stuck there without someone lending a helping hand. They live on about $30 - $40 a month income. If you want to help someone better themselves and you feel inclined to assist them, please let us know and we will find a connection for you to do so. If you want to donate anything to helping this family stay out of the slums, please click on this link to do so.

We also visited the Grace and Mercy Center that another one of the pastors takes it upon himself to provide administrative and provisional services for the school. Everything they get is donated either by James’ church or other people who want to help the school. The teachers who are there at the school are literally dirt poor but they teach, feed and minister to these children who are worse off than them. The children are mostly orphans because their parents abandoned them, died from aids or violence, or were left with a relative and they are not able to support them any longer. There about 85 of these children and they are all in varying age groups and a quick needs assessment showed that they may only receive the one meal a day that they get for a school lunch. That is if the school has enough resources to provide a lunch that day. Old rickety benches serve as community desks and smaller rickety benches serve as the chairs. Some have plastic chairs to sit on. There is not enough room to put two books back to back on some of the tables or contain the number of children needed to teach. Our visit was a very cheerful visit for the children as our three youngsters played games and spent time talking with the kids. It was hard to leave but we have an open invitation to come back this week. School is out for a month after that.

Later Wednesday night we invited Tabu, Millie and Leon, their son, to dinner. We hadn't seen Tabu for over a year and really wanted to visit and catch up on how they were doing. We would also like to do something with Tabu and Simon is a business way. I'm thinking computer and website work. Simon is being trained in website construction and Tabu has prior experience in computer sales and repair. We will see what God puts together for us.

Suzy helping Kate make pizzas
Elizabeth's daughter Modesta
Friday night we got together with our neighbors, Johnny and Kate, the kids (14 of them) and had a pizza party. Suzy and Zach helped put things together and we brought salad fixin's (my favorite part) to the party. Modesta was spending the night with our girls and she fit right in to the mix of people that were there. It was a refreshing time of good fellowship and fun. Kate and Johnny are trying to buy an 8 acre piece of land to be able to move onto. They want to have plenty of room for themselves, orphans, produce growing, livestock and additional dwellings for facilitating their ministry goals. They have made a video and signed up for a fundraising site like Kickstarter called Indiegogo. You can watch their video for raising money to buy the land here. If you would like to donate to their campaign, please do so. It's for a really good cause and their heart is to take care of orphans and those suffering from AIDS/HIV here in Kenya.

Children at Peter's Church
Thomas's 500 chickens
Saturday Amma was able to address the ladies of Peter Melody's church. They really love her and all she brought to them. They served us rice and beans when Abba and I arrived to pick up Amma. Watch Amma's blog for details. Sunday both Abba and I were in different churches preaching. Abba went to Thomas's church and I went to Peter's church. I sort of got hijacked by Peter (in a nice way) when we were picking up Amma on Saturday. Zach came with me and we had a good time there. The church building is not much more than a small room in a multi-room building with another church competing for time and space at the same time. Interesting dynamics for both churches. Not sure why they aren't together in all that. Yes I am, I just wish they could see themselves working together. The picture they represent there is that Christ is divided but I can only pray they see that one day and allow God to bring them together. Anyway, afterwards Abba picked us up and we went to Thomas's house for lunch. Traditional meal of ugoli, rice, stew, chopoti, peas and beans, chicken and soup. Some of the elders of the church were there and we were packed into one small living space for a couple hours visiting and eating together. Thomas raises chickens and he has 500 of them. He uses the income to support himself and the church.

Well, that's a lengthy rundown on last week but I wanted you all to know that there is a lot of things happening here. So many needs. So little we can do other than try to find where God wants us to be involved and sharing the Kingdom life we have with others. In regard to that Kingdom Life, almost everyone we talk to about that life is amazed that we have been together 20 years and still are able to love one another, live with each other and take that life out to others around the world. I only hope we appreciate all of that as much as they do and not be lax in our responsibility to share all God has given us with others around us. No matter where we are, I want to be the first to stand up and say, God is Good, All the Time and Living this Life is an extraordinary and amazing privilege for me to be a part of. Thank you my brothers and sisters in Christ back home, for praying for us and taking care of my wife and children there. Thank you for supporting us and encouraging us here as your sent ones in Africa. May God bless your socks off and enlarge your hearts for all those around you. I know He will. I'll leave you with this video of Noah and some of Patrick and Christine's children to enjoy.