Friday, July 29, 2011

The Second Team - Coming Soon!

It’s getting very close to time for our second team to arrive. The house got pretty quiet when Tabach and Chloe left and we’re ready for some new stimulation. Now Michelle is enough stimulation for a pretty big crowd but she’s a 2 ½ year old and it isn’t exactly the kind of stimulation we’re looking for. Sometimes we want her to go bother someone else for awhile. So we tag team her. Yahshana gets the most of this type of stimulation because she shares a room with Beatie who is Michelle’s nanny. This morning she came into the kitchen and wanted to play in the dish water. Yashana was ready for her to go into the other room so we could get done, but I felt the grace this time, which is rare. Yashana has A LOT of grace. I decided to let her help out, put her on a stool and let her wash a few dishes. Michelle was delighted!! And I had fun. Yashana took some pictures and then we were done. Little Michelle is so sweet and loving and very smart. She helps me when I miss my grandkids - which is most all the time. We actually consider her one of ours too.

Our Kingdom Hikers meeting was at the new land in the tent for the first time. We bought sodas and cookies for snacks and had a lively discussion to plan for the Talent Show coming up on August 6th. Please pray for this event. They really want to reach out to the youth in Nakuru and help support each other in Christian fellowship.

Sunday’s gathering was good. It seems each week they get better. During the worship I went with Yashana to watch her teach the kids. She’s awesome with them. 

She told the story of Elijah with her flannel graphs. 

Then we all turned toward the little door because Simon and Lloyd peeked in.  These two friends are inseparable. Lloyd was responsible for leading Simon out of gang life and into God’s life a few years ago. They are best friends. I’ve been looking forward to seeing Lloyd since we got here. We hadn’t seen Lloyd yet because he’s been away at boarding school. The two of them together remind me of those young Hebrew boys who went through the fiery furnace together. Simon and Lloyd are just like them.

As the singing died down I went back into the tent. Noah retold an awesome story from the bible about Naaman. It was so good I am including it here in this blog below:

             Lessons from 2 Kings Chapter 5 and the Story of Naaman
This is an awesome story and without much effort we can find some wonderful truths contained in it. Naaman was a good man. He was a real ‘man’s man’. He was a famous and a respected national hero.He had the admiration of his King, the love of his household, his servants, (even the captured servant girl from Israel liked him), the men he commanded and the gratitude of his country. God had mightily used him to conquer their enemy Israel. He was probably wealthy and as stated very highly respected. He seemed to have had it all with the exception of one problem. He had leprosy.His wife’s servant girl, quite on her own, suggested an answer to his problem. There was a prophet in Israel who could heal. It seemed worth a try, but being a man under authority he sent his request to the King.The King of Syria loved the idea and sent a letter to the King of Israel to take care of his general. The King of Israel having no relationship with God freaked out. Elisha, who did have a relationship with God heard about it and said, “send him to me”.Now this great and famous man really had two major problems. He could only see the more obvious one but God saw them both. And his leprosy was not his main problem. His main problem was the leprosy within ....pride. For that would keep him from ever knowing the one true God. So God began to deal with both the leprosy and the pride.Naaman rides up to Elisha’s house with great pomp and ceremony. He imagined he knew just how God was going to heal him; and it would be glorious. Being a great man there needed to be a great healing. But God had other plans. He usually does.As Naaman pulled up with all his entourage to Elisha’s house he waited for  Elisha to come out and wave his hand over the great general and his God would send down from heaven a beam of glorious light containing his healing….or something like that. So he waited for the great man of God to come out. And he waited, and waited, and waited.Elisha doesn’t even come out. He sends his servant out to tell this great warrior to go take a bath. Not just one bath seven of them. Can you imagine how Elisha’s servant must have felt? How would you like to go out and tell this man who conquers nations to go take a bath?Naaman was furious. How dare this hick prophet not come out and honor him. The rivers of Israel were but mud streams compared to the rivers of Syria. This is stupid. So off he goes totally irritated and indignant.Thank God for good friends. Naaman had some real friends in his servants. They risked his wrath and indignation to say …. “Hey; if the prophet would have asked you to do something big you would have done it, why not do what he says and see what happens?”  They knew about Naaman’s pride.Well Naaman recants’ cause he’s not only a good man but a wise one to boot. Yet all he can do is dip seven times in the Jordan.  Not wash …dip. His faith is small but enough. Several times while dipping he probably looked at his servants and men as if to ask… “Are you sure about this?” But the seventh time he dipped the proof that there was a man of God in Israel who knew the one true God was manifested.Filled with gratitude he returns to Elisha’s house and offers him a reward. He is clean inside and out. He has had an encounter with the living God. He got saved. Elisha says no because he really is a man of God. Real men of God don’t take money for things that God does. Remember what Abraham said after rescuing the kings? Hallelujah! He cares about God getting glory than his getting rich.Naaman has truly been converted; but he knows that he must go back and serve his heathen King. So he asked if would be alright if when his King went in the Temple to serve his false god if he could keep helping his king worship. What’s amazing to me is that Elisha says ….go in peace. God never puts more on his new born children than they can bare. See (Acts 15:28)But a double minded servant of Elisha’s by the name of Gehazi is plotting how he can “turn a few bucks” from this event. He figures serving God is ok but nothing wrong with making a few dollars in the process. He thinks no one will be the wiser anyway so he heads out to intercept Naaman.Naaman sees Gehazi and stops. Being so happy and extremely grateful for his healing and revelation of God he gives Gehazi what he asks for.When Gehazi returns he is greeted by his master with some terribly bad news …. “Gehazi you have broken my heart and defamed God”. Do you know where Naamans leprosy went?  It was looking for another home and it has found you. Gehazi went out a little richer and full of leprosy.Some spiritual lessons really emerge from this story. The first of which is our Father loves people who do the best they can with what they have no matter what they have done previously in ignorance. Naaman was a good man… just not a spiritual one. Much like Job who went from good to godly; Naaman was found by a God who was looking for him.Secondly; our ideas of how God should help us can really be a hindrance to … God helping us. Best thing to do when in need is to take what comes from God’s hand and not to question how it comes. Like the Syro-Phonecian woman who asked healing for her daughter and go called a dog. We should always remember that God is after more than what we’re asking for Him for. He is always considering our eternal well being over our temporal well being.Third; Better hope you have surrounded yourself with people who care more about you more than how you feel about them. If Naaman,s servants had not have had the courage to risk his wrath and correct him Naaman would have died in a leper colony.Fourth; Men in whom God entrusts His power to, are not in it for the money and them seeking it will ruin them. Godly men’s aspiration is to bring God glory not to obtain money.Fifth; Hanging around or even living with godly men does not ensure their godliness will rub off on you. And it’s foolish to think that God doesn’t see everything you do. Sometimes there’s a little Gehazi in all of us.Hopefully we have included in the collection of our relationships a few of Naaman’s friends. More hopefully we will listen when they speak.

I may be a bit prejudiced but I think he's a great story teller and gave a good message that we can all apply to our lives. People got excited. George spoke some clear words about following God in everything. Mary was back for the first time since her husband died. She said she didn’t want to stay away as long as the custom of grieving allows. She would have been here last week but she was sick. She thanked everyone for all the support she and her family were given.

Then she went into a story about how wonderful her husband was and how God had prepared for the time of his departure from this earth. They had a conversation and Syrus (Mary’s husband) told her he wanted to be a part of the church and he wanted to give his tithe. Mary really does believe. She was looking for the tithe she was sure he must have left behind and couldn’t find it. Suddenly, while she was at his coffin God showed her his wedding ring. This was the tithe he had left behind. She called the funeral home man and asked him to give her the ring. As she told this story she was bright and shining as if she were in the presence of God. That is why we call her our “priestess”.
After the gathering Noah spoke to the men. They’re growing strong in their faith and love and desire to hear the undiluted message of the gospel of the kingdom of God. Keep praying for us. God is strongly supporting our work here. He is the King of Glory!

We’re counting the days until our second team arrives. Karibu to Doug, Tara and Brandon!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Last week.... late blog post

Sometimes I go to bed at night wondering what is my purpose here? I have no doubt I am supposed to be here. Not in a way of distress but I think it’s good to examine yourself and look for guidance. So I am doing just that. 

I believe God is laying a strong foundation here. The bricks are being made ready for the building of the wall – the men, then the women will have a safe place to add an expression of the loveliness  of this life.
 For the past 2 evenings we’ve met with the leaders here in our living room. Thursday Noah taught a strong word on the dangers of kingdom life. Strongholds are beginning to be pulled down. Friday’s meeting was questions and discussion. Noah was able to impart more of what God has taught us about living a corporate life. Then Petranilla asked if receiving the Holy Spirit was evidenced by speaking in tongues. That became a lively discussion as you can only imagine. We were talking about Christians who come to church, speak in tongues but live a life of sin throughout the week. You can surely fake speaking in tongues and it cannot be used as evidence of whether someone has the Holy Spirit or not. In the midst of that discussion Elizabeth – she is one of Mary Priestess’s sisters in law and has just started coming to our gatherings. I like her a lot. She smiles and is cheerful all the time – anyway, she got up and walked out. I was hoping we hadn’t offended her. Then George followed her out and came back with her. We asked if she was offended and she said emphatically “no!”. She needed to get home before it got too late. George offered to drive her home so she stayed for the rest of the discussion and had chai with us. Near the end she made a profound statement. She said, “if you don’t have the Holy Spirit you can’t do this.” (‘this’ referring to living a life of godliness). It was so simple. That is the evidence – that we walk in obedience, loving God and our neighbor as ourselves.

Saturday morning is our ‘sleep in’ morning. We have breakfast at 8:00 instead of 7:30. Chloe never could figure that one outJ  When I got up I found Beatie and Yahshanna in the kitchen, the later looking rather perplexed. We had run out of propane so Beatie was making coals in the little cooker on the floor. Yahshana was trying to figure out how to make French toast on the little coal cooker on the floor. I came in a suggested we just put it up on the counter by the sink and use the cast iron pan thing they use to cook chapati on. Yahshana whipped up some eggs,  I added cinnamon, she added milk. I started dipping the bread in the egg mixture and Beatie took over grilling the French toast. Nellie came in to see what we were up to. What started out as a problem turned into a lot of fun in the kitchen.

Back to my purpose. I cook and clean, do some personal laundry, take care of Noah, and I’m the accountant this trip. I really want to work on L.E.A.R.N. this week, AND I need to blog more. But most importantly I’m becoming friends with some of the most delightful people in the world and I’m watching God’s family being knit together here in Nakuru, KenyaJ

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Schmorgasborg of Happenings

It’s been some time since I wrote a blog so I’ll do so now.  This will be a schmorgasborg. I want to start with thanking you all for your emails of encouragement and just loving me and saying ‘Hi’. It means a lot to know I have family and friends always praying and thinking about us while we are so far away. For example---this is an email my mom wrote after reading some of our blogs, followed by my reply.
For your reading enjoyment……

 Hi C,
Happy Fourth of July. I loved the album, especially Helen's work place. I think it shows the strength of these people, the poverty and the hard life, yet the spirit of the power of God in that life. I love that picture and the people, even though I have never met them. I also like (or dislike) the fish photo. It shows how strong you are and what you will endure to further the love of God and his work. It also shows me how very lacking I am because I could not eat it. I humbly bow to you, Dave and your group for your ability to endure. My next choice is the one of you and David. David looks tired. I see in that picture the support you give him. I see the love for him and God in you, and the determination to uphold and encourage him in this work. I would ask if David knows how very fortunate he is to have you, but I am sure he does, so I won't ask. But I would include the fact that I am prejudiced when I would ask this.
I love you and Dave and these people that you hold in your hearts,

                                                                      Hi Mom,
 I loved your email. It was so encouraging. I always feel your strong support when we come here. I must confess I didn’t eat the little fish. We actually eat well. The meats and veges are organic and the fruit is fresh and sweet. But it is inconvenient to prepare food here. We cook on a 2 burner camp stove and don’t have an oven. We bought a little charcoal grill for meats. That’s nice. I’m going to do lamb chops tonight. We have a cook that helps at dinner because we usually have meetings to go to. She’s really sweet and cooks for about $2 a day. Beatie does our laundry for $2 a person a week and irons our clothes for 10 cents each piece.  All the laundry is done totally by hand. It’s a big job. There’s definitely a big difference in life at home and we do feel the sacrifice but it is a light affliction compared to the rewards of loving these people. Everything is inconvenient and a process but nothing like what the 19th and early 20th century missionaries endured. When I read stories of the early missionaries I feel spoiled.
Yesterday we celebrated on the new land God gave us. We gathered together to worship God. We set up the tent, gave the kids balloons, sang and danced. It was a glorious day. They are all so grateful and our faith is built up. Dave is a great husband and always appreciates me. I would follow him anywhere because I know he follows GodJ
Well this email is turning into a blog. Keep in touch.
Love, C

We had a couple of slow weeks as far as the work goes because the church was actively participating in supporting Mary’s family as they endured the loss of their husband and father, Syrus. He was suddenly killed in a motorcycle accident. People visit the home of the family and give encouragement and express their desire to help in any way they can. There’s tea and sometimes snacks or food prepared and served by close family and friends to the visitors. We went to Mary’s house a couple of days after the accident. This was the first time we visited since the building was complete and the family living there.

(see She’s done so much to make a home and farm for her family. We see the timing of God to establish her in this place before her husband died. Going to Mary’s house was a particular challenge to me. This is where I got the tick bite fever that made me really sick last time we were here. I covered myself with repellent, prayed and walked cautiously avoiding bushes and the like. She’s done so much clearing of the land that the danger of getting another tick attack greatly diminished, so I relaxed and enjoyed the wonder of it all. I am amazed at the grace God gives His people when a loved one is taken home. We haven’t been to an actual funeral service here because they travel to the home village for the burial. Sometimes it’s a week or two before they go. They put the deceased in a coffin and tie it to the top of the van they will be traveling in. Truly there is no victory in death for we will all be together in eternity. God is so good!

This is the house that Mary built - Beautiful and full of God's love and grace.

We took a much needed safari to the lakes of Kenya. I really enjoyed the boat ride and visit to the small island owned by -  “one man, five wives and 26 children”. Our tour guide repeated this several times. Once he said there were 27 children. Guess one of the five wives just had a baby. The island was so beautiful! The Desert Rose trees were beautiful. We saw all kinds of birds and reptiles. (see For our Grandkids tab at the top of this page - Zelda the Zebra and abba’s blog tab - safari, for pictures and details). Nature is so very diverse and speaks of the handiwork of the Creator. These outings are always refreshing.

We go to town frequently for various reasons. The hawkers can make you a little crazy at times. They’re very pushy and won’t leave you alone.  You have to try not to be rude and unkind but firm in your ‘Hapana, asante’, (no thank you). There are some we are drawn to. Like Issac at the Wool Matt. He always greets us and offers his assistance with the heavy bags and the water jugs we buy at WM. He sells onions and tomatoes for 100 shillings a bag. That’s about a dollar.  There’s a fine line between being taken care of and being taken advantage of. We’ve learned to discern the difference. The problem is that there are so many hawkers and they all need your money. We have to choose who we give to. Sometimes it’s obvious but it’s not always that easy.

Kingdom Hikers are doing so well. They are learning to work together for the purpose of raising a standard for the youth in Nakuru. That standard is not to be drawn into the worldliness but to draw their peers into Godliness. They want to Hike to the highest mountains of God and follow Him together. We visited ‘Tamasha’ – means ‘Festival’. Tamasha is a band of college age people 4 of whom are Kingdom Hikers. They don’t just play instruments and sing songs, they send a message of hope and the life. You won’t want to miss this -

We’ve had some very good but in depth discussions with George, Nellie and Petranilla. We’re going deeper into each other’s hearts and minds to understand how we can bridge the cultural differences. In the end it’s not Kenyan or American culture that matters. It’s what does God want? How can we overcome the traditions of men to find His will and follow His leading?