Saturday, June 21, 2014
Monday, June 16, 2014
Sunday, June 15, 2014
Clint did a wonderful job this morning as he delivered God's Word. He challenged us to "keep moving forward" no matter what difficulties may come because God has called us to finish our races well. It was a great challenge for all of us.
We had the honor of worshipping with Mwaura's mother and father this morning. His father is a retired pastor, but is preparing to start a new church located in his home. He is a wonderful man of God and it was a joy to meet them both.
Speaking of finishing well, our team has one more day of ministry in front of us tomorrow. We are excited about the opportunity to share God's message of hope and salvation through Jesus Christ. We will be visiting two more schools tomorrow. We are working to rearrange our schedule just a bit to provide us with some much needed rest tomorrow afternoon, but are ready for whatever God has in store.
The Holy Land. Those words alone invoke emotions and thoughts and maybe even images of where Jesus walked. Yesterday was our day of orientation. We drove around the area where the children's camp will be held and drove further to see the historical nature of the area. As we drove through Samaria stopping at Jacobs well and visiting the actual well where Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman the group felt great emotion. I was asked to lower the bucket the depth of more than 350 feet to fill it. As I turned the crank which raised the bucket, which was heavy by the way, I tried to imagine the women raising water from this well. We were invited to drink a sip of the cool water and it made the experience even more real. Another tourist group were there as well and one of the group began to read the Bible passage from a French Bible. What an amazing experience to have in an area where almost all the Christians have left. We next visited the cave where the lepers were healed by Jesus. The scripture became more real as we stood at the cave turned into a chapel in the 4th century and looked down at the ancient road. When the lepers saw Jesus they called down to him. Well, they were in a cave on the side of the hill above. The construction of the churches and the ornamentation made the experience a bit surreal but no less powerful. Starting tomorrow we will be working with children of families who live in the place where Jesus walked but do not yet know Him as their savior. Please pray for us that we would show Christ love to them and the Holy Spirit would speak the those we interact with. Typical witnessing is not allowed but God will speak. We plant seed and trust God for the harvest.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
We rented a bus and brought over 30 people in from Makuyu, including lots of kids from the Children's Home. It was a blessing to be able to pour truth and love into the lives of these kids. And of course we will never forge the laughter as we lots of silly games., many that were new to these kids.
As we enter the final days of our mission, I am reminded of Matthew 22 where Jesus answers the question about what the greatest commandment is; he says Love God & Love People. That's my simplified version, but the truth is the same.
Our team has spent the last several days and the days to come Loving God and Loving People. It is one of the most spiritually refreshing expeiences a person can have in their life. The challenge before us, before all followers of Jesus, is to make Loving God and Loving People a daily part of who we are, rather than a short-term moment. "Missions" is not just a trip or event, "missions" is a way of life that Christ has called us to live every moment of every day. Often, this is something that is easier said than done, but the command from Christ remains. One of the questions we asked many times to the people we met during the course of this trip was "Now that you know The Truth, what will you do?". I cannot stand idley by while my neighbor - be that across the street or across the global - remains in darkness and sin, can you?
Continue to pray for our team, we are not finished yet. We will celebrate the 2nd Anniversary of Lifespring Chruch tomorrow. It promises to be an exciting day. Pray for Clint as he preaches tomorrow and for the people that will be challenged by God's Word.
Friday, June 13, 2014
As we walked across the courtyard, Pastor Mwaura mentioned that our time would be spent sharing God's plan for sexual abstinence until marriage. The principal stopped us and said "Oh, you have been sent by the Lord." She went on to explain that the issue of sexual promiscuity among teens in their area was a major issue that had lead to diseases and pregnancies. They currently have four girls out that are pregnant and one 9th grade girl that just found out that she is pregnant. She was excited because it is an issue they face constantly and has been an especially major issue in recent months.
After our presentation we had several students that stayed to speak with Pastor Mwaura and Nelson. The principal has also requested that either Mwaura or Nelson start a regular discipleship/mentorship program at the school starting with more training and information on sexual abstinence and God's plan for salvation.
I am not sure what all God will do with this school, but the reception we received from both the administration and the students, I know that are presence there today was a divine appointment that I am grateful we did not miss.
Tomorrow is our big Day Camp from 10 AM - 5 PM. Please pray for our team as we lead. We are expecting lots of kids and are even having some bused in from Makuyu. Pray that the kids are relatively calm and orderly as our small team manages the large numbers. Pray that God's message is clear. Also pray that is does not rain. We are trusting the Lord in all things.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Tonight we began our Bible Club at Lifespring Church in Kenol Town. We had 15 kids tonight, which was wonderful for this young church start. We look forward to what God will continue to do through us here.
I was introduced to a 21 yeard old young man tonight named Kagunda. Kagunda is the son of a Baptist pastor near Nairobi. I think he was under the influence of alcohol this evening but managed to carry on a reasonable conversation. Kagunda has had a falling out with his father and moved to Kenol Town looking for independence and freedom. Little did he know that he moved in nextdoor to Lifespring Church. As we spoke tonight, we discovered that Kagunda's father was a student in Mwaura's theology class at seminary and Mwaura and his father are still good friends. Mwaura immediately called Kagunda's father to let him know his son was okay and living nextdoor to the church Mwaura has recently started. Kangunda and I spent several minutes talking. I reminded him of God's love for him and God's desire to restore his relationship with Himself and his father. I also encouraged him to let Mwaura help him and to start attending Lifespring Church. I am not sure how thrilled Kagunda is with what God seemed to be doing around him and for him, but he definitely recognized that all the events of tonight were the hand of God on his life. As we were leaving he promised to talk with me more about "what God might want from him". As I prepared to leave Kagunda said, "I am very confused by what has happened, but feel that maybe I should just stand right here and wait for Jesus to do whatever comes next."
Pray for Kagunda as he weighs what God is trying to do to restore his relationships. Also pray that Kagunda is a little more sober when we talk tomorrow. Pray for me as I minister to him. Pray that the Lord will guide my words, give me understanding and wisdom.
Please begin to pray for our Day Camp on Saturday. We still have preparations to make for some of the final details concerning meeting space. Our Day Camp will be from 10 AM - 5 PM. This will make for a long day but will also provide for a great time of ministry to many children. Pray that many will come and that the message of Jesus love and salvation will be clear.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
I am amazed at the last 3 days of ministry. Every school has been so welcoming and gracious to our team. The children have been attentive and responsive. The administration has been grateful and supportive. My prayer is that all the information we are sharing has been clear and that these students begin to apply God's Truth to their lives.
HIV/AIDS has ravaged this country's youth as much as any other place in Africa. Children growing up in homes without fathers is a major issue facing most communities. Each day we have ministered to several children from a local children's home that are orphans because of one or both of the previous issues. So as we share about God's plan for abstinence until marriage and fedelity with in marriage, we are praying that this generation of students becomes the generation that turns the tide in this country's war against disease and unwanted pregnancy.
Tonight at our Bible Club we talked about how someone can have victory through Jesus. Clint taught the kids to raise there hands over their heads in a "V" shape to remind them of the victory they can have in Jesus. After our Bible story, the kids sang a song about Jesus being a winner danced around the yard with their arms over their heads representing victory. It was a fun moment for everyone.
Pray for our team as we continue ministry tomorrow. We will transition to a new village tomorrow. We have been in Makuyu, but tomorrow starts a new place of ministry in Kenol Town. We start a new Bible Clun location tomorrow at Lifespring Church as well. We are excited about new opportunities ahead.
For those of you that have been praying for Nelson's son. All is well and he is going to be fine. Thank you for your prayers.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Tonight we had 93 children from ages 4-14 at our Bible Club. They were so attentive as Courtney shared about what Jesus did for them on the cross. They soak up every bit of information and truth like sponges. Clint did a fanstic job in coming up with several silly games for all the kids to play resulting in so much joy and laughter. We even brought out the American Football and shared a laugh at the confusion with this odd shaped object that, as a few kids found out, does not bounce well.
I never cease to be amazed at how God works to bring together to right combination of people and gifts to accomplish His purpose. Yesterday I mentioned Nelson, our translator. Tonight I want to mention Edward and Silas. Edward is a local pastor that is helping Mwaura with the church plant in Kenol Town. He is a dynamic man of God and an enthusiastic evangelist. Silas is our driver but he is also a follower of Jesus and a worship leader at his church. He helped lead some of the singing today and has a great voice. It has been a joy for him to join us in ministry and not just drive. He tolds us yesterday that most groups he drives are tourists, so he was excited to find out that he was getting to drive a mission team around and participate in the ministry with them.
Pray for good rest tonight. Our team has been working hard and the pace is starting to catch up with us as we reach the half-way point. Pray for Nelson's son. He is very sick and only two years old. We tried to convince Nelson to go home but he assured us that everything was fine and the medicine was working.
Monday, June 9, 2014
Every school from the children to the administrators was so welcoming and grateful for our visit and time at their schools. Most importantly, we ended today with over 50 children that asked for a visit from the local pastor because they are interested in making a decision to follow Jesus. Pray for this because we want to be sure the children are serious and not just making a decision because it may please the American visitors. Pray for the local pastor, Mwaura Wanyoike and his church leaders as they follow up with all of these children. And this is just Day 1!
We have a tremendous translator working with us this week. His name is Nelson Seed. He is a very talented translator and works very well with the children. Nelson makes us look really good because he is so engaging and interactive with the children.
Tonight at our first night of Bible Club we had 50 children come to hear a Bible story and play some games. Clint put on his old coach's hat and attempted to teach the children some new games. Some games were more sucessful than others, but the joy and laughter was the best part of the evening because a joy-filled smile trancends all cultures and languages.
"Flexibility" has been the buzz word for our team. We really have no idea what to expect from ministry site to ministry site, but we trust that the Lord will bless our preparation and our desire to be used for His glory.
Pray for us as we continue to share God's word. Pray for Pastor Mwaura as he thinks through the logistics of following up with all these children that are responding to God's Word. We wait in anticipation of God's great work in the days to come.
Sunday, June 8, 2014
After church we travelled to the local market and spent time fellowshipping with the church members, playing with local kids, inviting children to our Bible Clubs this week, and sharing the Gospel with some of the vendors.
Cross-cultural experiences are one of the highlights of my life and gratefully, my job also. I think the children fascinate me the most because their reactions to the presence of foreigners is so honest and varied. Some are curious and some try and play it cool. Some are brave and run to touch you and some are fearful and hide. Some stare unblinking and some can't help but giggle at what they percieve as your odd appearance. What ever the varied reactions, they all are honest about it...in other words, what they are thinking and feeling is etched on their faces. It reminds me of why Jesus tells his followers to approach Him as a child, because they can't help but be honest. Children have not yet learned the controlled and sanitized responses that adults have. May God use moments like these to remind me to be more child-like in my relationship with Him.
Tomorrow will begin our very full schedule of ministry. The majority of our time will be spent sharing a Christ-centered abstinence program in numerous local schools, both private and public. We are all a little nervous but know that God will use us to glorify His name and His Truth. In the evening we will be hosting Bible Clubs for local kids in cooperation with Lifespring Church and New Hope Church. Pray for us as we share and communicate the Truth of God's word.
Saturday, June 7, 2014
Today is a day of rest for us. Sometimes rest seems so counter-intuitive to me. I feel the need to fill all my time "doing" things that are "productive", as if my life is measured by a punch clock. But rest is healthy and rest is beneficial because in it we find much needed time for silence and reflection. As I look out the window on the tranquil courtyard at our hotel, I prayerfully consider what is in front of our team this next couple of weeks. As I consider our schedule, I am grateful for the rest I will get today.
Pray for our team and our preparation. We will have the opportunity to be in several schools and in front of many young people during our time here. Pray that God's message is clear and that we speak only through the power of His Spirit.
Pray for me and for Clint as we will both be preaching on Sunday morning. Pray for boldness as we share God's word.