Last Weekend I had the pleaseure of photographing The Glennwood Dance recital. These Kids were awesome. I had so much fun!
Last Weekend I had the pleaseure of photographing The Glennwood Dance recital. These Kids were awesome. I had so much fun!
The need is great both physically and spiritually. But I’ve heard it said that you cannot minister to a man’s Spirit until you have first ministered to his body. I believe that to be true to a large degree. One often cannot hear the whisper of the Spirit over the loud demanding screams of the physical realm. When I ask God to bless the people of Kenya, I ask Him to perfectly fulfill their needs in abundance, but I have trouble asking Him bless them by giving them all the money they need, because I see, from my own experience that with money comes a whole other set of material problems that they are not encumbered with as of yet. Money/materialism like poverty screams at us and takes our attention away from the quite leading of the Holy Spirit. If you ask me it is just two extremes that our Enemy uses for the same ends; that is to keep us from living the Spirit-filled life God intended for us to live.
I am also reminded of the proverb, “If you give a man a fish he will eat
today, if you teach him to fish he will eat everyday.” sometimes just giving
money is hurtful rather than helpful (case in point our welfare system which
causes people to look for a free handout rather than looking for how they
can help their selves. And the people who take the handout are subsequently
owned by those whom they are dependant upon. Slaves to our corrupt government. Ok I’ll stop there. I don’t feel like stepping on anyone’s toes.)
There is a balance between dependence on God which brings freedom and
dependence on Man which brings enslavement. I think how often God works in
our lives through our need or lack to bring us closer to him. It grows dependence
on Him as we are unable to meet our needs and look to Him to meet them. But
at the same time that need and lack can be misused for evil purposes
creating a dependency on man which only brings suffering and enslavement.
Where is the balance between dependence for our daily needs and the
Independency of Freedom? So much of life seems to hang in a delicate balance
between extremes. And it is so easy to knock it off balance. But even there
God is still God.
I’m sorry for ranting on and on. I sometimes get stuck in the deeper
questions and miss the practical solutions. The physical/financial need is
real. God Does call us to help our brothers in need. And God does work
through us to meet the needs of others. The important thing for us to do is
to be sensitive to how God is individually calling us to help and act in our
community and in the world, and then to be obedient to that call with
abandonment. In order to do this we must lose our in dependency which is
always inadequate for the task God calls us too and become dependent on His
Power and Might. Pretty awesome!
If you would like to find out how you can sponsor a child at The Methodist Mission School in Nakuru through Kenya Partners please ask me or check out there website. http://www.kenya-partners.org.
Please pray for the Church in Kenya, and around the world including the
Church in America; For God’s Spirit to be poured out upon us and for our
hearts to be willing vessels for the Holy Spirit to set us a blaze! And seek God with all your heart, mind and strength. It is then that we will see The Church move in the power and freedom it was destined for and will bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. Amen!
Migori has been hard. On Saturday afternoon after closing the clinic and packing the vans we traveled the 6 hour journey to Migori a much more remote village that is not on the map We got a late start because one of the vans had a flat tire. The drive was beautiful after we got out of Nakuru we headed out towards the distant mountains. Everything turned from brown to green as we climbed the mountains. There were tea fields as far as the eye could see and tea plantations. The hillsides were dotted with the pretty little whitewashed building with red roofs. These are the houses where the field workers live. By this time it was late afternoon and soft warm sunlight scraped across the buildings and fields in a magical way. We stopped a one tea plantation hotel in Kericho for a bathroom break and stayed for a few minutes to just enjoy our surroundings.
Due to the late start the last hour or two of our trip was driven in the dark. That was hard because we got off the paved road and were back on bumpy dirt roads. I really have respect for the abilities of our drivers to do what they do driving under these conditions. And I really have no idea how they find their way. There are not very many street signs at all. We did not really know what we were in for when we arrived.
The hotel we were supposed to stay at was full so Diane made arrangements for us to stay at the Bliss Park Hotel. I suppose it is one of Migori’s best hotels, but let me tell you it is far from American standards. Even the worst motel I’ve stayed at in America (That would be the Econolodge somewhere between NC and PA) pales in comparison. It was a hard pill to swallow, but we were all just exhausted. This whole part of the trip has been much harder. I think it is partly because we are all tired and worn by this point. And up to now we’d been staying in a pretty nice place. Not like you’d find in the States, You might not always have electricity, there are a lot of brown outs and I never had a hot shower while I was there, but it was clean and friendly. So even if you were in bad conditions all day you knew at the end of the day you could relax in a nice comfortable place. Not so in Migori. Also Migori is south west of Nakuru and it is warmer here. I am not used to the heat and it would just wipe me out. My room was very hot too.
It is a little sad to think just how easy it is to discourage me (& others on the team.) and give us bad attitudes. It is something I’ve had to fight the past few days. It seems that gratitude and perspective at the best weapons for this battle. On the drive to Migori I turned on my Ipod and listened to my favorite band as I was looking at the scenery fly by the window and was just praising God for His creation and the perfectness of his provision of us. All of us all around the world. It is just as beautiful here as it is in America. I thinking about what God was showing me, and how He was changing my heart and perspective on this trip thus far. There was one song on the CD called “From Protest to Praise” I was reminded of that song as I climbed into my somewhat dingy bed in my un-bearably hot room and put a dirty mosquito net over my head closed my eyes and began to thank God for every blessing I could think of. I slept well that night even the Muslim Prayers over the loudspeaker at 4am could not keep me up.
The next morning we worshiped at one of Pastor Kephas’s Churches, John Wesley UMC. Worship started at 10AM and went till after 2PM. IT was amazing rime of worship. They spent probably 15min just on one song welcoming the Holy Spirit to come fill this place. And the Spirit was there. This trip has given me a new perspective on the Church Universal both around the world and throughout time. To know that the Church Here in Migori is Praying for us in the U.S. And now I will be praying for them too ties us together in ways only the Holy Spirit could. I prayed for the Church back home too. And I know without a doubt that God is listening to the prayers of His people and is storing them up to be poured out at the right time.
The Sermon was from the book of Samuel Chapter 30 When David and His Army had been away their woman and Children had been taken by the enemy. They went after it to “Recover” What was theirs. The Pastor Sermon was on Recovery; to get back what has been taken from you. He was speaking in terms of what our great enemy, Satan has stolen from us whether it be our peace, or our love, or our relationships… It was about spiritual warfare; something that seems to be discussed a little more here than in the States. It was a good sermon, and only about 40 minutes long! LOL Just as the Church here in Kenya has a spiritual battle for it’s freedom, so we at home do too. Satan may use different tactics in different areas, but the Battle is basically the same. And the outcome is always the same. The Battle is already won. We must only stand our ground in the Victory of the Blood of Jesus Christ of Nazareth!
Then we went to Betrice’s house. She is the UMW president. It is just a mud house as is common around here, but it did have a tin roof. No electricity or running water. They know how to host over here. We are treated like royalty. The serve us more food than they probably eat in a month. Especially the meat. You know they slaughtered their prized chicken just for you to eat. It is oh so humbling. They are so gracious. I have become a vegetarian for this trip becuase the meat is not kept in the sanitary conditions that we are used too. The meat is not refrigerated and is left out in the open. Along the streets you can see plates of fish just standing out in the sun all day with flies all around. So Despite my desire to graciously accept their hospitality, I do not eat the meat. …But I can’t tell how badly I want a slice of American pizza or a Hamburger right now. I am longing for the comfort of the familiar.
That evening we had evening worship at the District Office, Pastor Kephas wanted to show us his offices. And the different groups gave presentations for us.
The next day the Medical crew went to the remote clinic about 25KLM from Migori in the community where Kephas grew up. The outreach team spent the morning at the Susannah Wesley Academy. It is a pre-school housed in the Church building. There are about 50 kids there some of them orphans. We sang with them and told bible stories and then helped feed them. They have a feeding program here just as the Mercy school in Nakuru has. The Children are given a half cup of porridges for lunch. We brought juice and biscuits (cookies) to add to their meager feast. But even in this, God is providing. Praise the Lord.
Then we all went to the clinic to tour it and meet with the community mid-wives who are using the clinic, and also with the HIV support group. A few people have come out with their stories of being HIV positive and getting help at the clinic so that their testimonies have encouraged others to get the help they needed rather than hiding away. It has a made a big difference I the community. The clinic is poorly supplied and needs simple supplies badly. Malaria and Typhoid run rampant throughout this area. Just in the one day our people where at the clinic 40 people were diagnosed with Malaria. The clinic does not have what it needs to test for Typhoid.
While we were meeting with the group under a tree outside the clinic it started raining. We moved to a lean-too made of wicker reads. It kept out some of the rain, but we still got soaked when the rain clouds let loose. A few of the woman were so gracious and took off their scarves and gave them to us to put over our heads. I it supposedly good if it starts raining when guests come. It is as if they bring a refreshing rain and prosperity with them.
After That Pastor Kephas took us to see the Church where he grew up and to his mother’s house She was expecting us and had prepared another feast for us. It seems like everywhere we go we eat…..It is the Methodist way!
That afternoon several people in our group fell ill either from the food and water or from a stomach virus. By the next morning there were 5 sick. Those of us who were well went with Pastor Kephas to the Joy Bringers academy. The school was father out then I expected. We drove out of Migori proper and then turned down a dirt road that lead us through the town of Awendo and past fields of Sugar cane. The sugar cane was being harvested and there was an odd smell about the place. I did not find it pleasant. After a 30 min drive down the road we finally arrived at the school where we greeted the Children and broke up into teams going to different class rooms with Bible stories and gifts for the Children. We also brought juice and Biscuits for them to have at lunch.
Then we walked down the road a bit to the local Church and met with the woman’s group. Rebecca, who works at the school and is part of the Church’s woman’s group had met us earlier in Nakuru and had seen Janet working on a tapestry. She had asked Janet to teach the woman how to do this type of tapestry when we came to Migori. So we brought the supplies with us and taught the woman….Then they Fed us another feast! LOL
Then we were on our way to the Masai Mara. It would be another exhausting 6hr ride down a long dirt road. But When we got there we would have a time of rest before our travel home. While Migori was difficult on all of us It was still a blessing. The countryside is beautiful, and the people are kind and friendly too. There is so much good that the Church in Migori wants to do to be an outreach to it’s community, But they lack the funds. Please pray for these people that God would bless them.
Squatters Hill is a very poor community in Nakuru. A few years ago is was just a hill side where people gathered when Kenya Partners started a feeding program. The kids would come from all around and swarm the hill. Now there is a school build there. Mercy School. A few of us not busy at the clinic went over to squatters hill for
the morning. We got there just in time to help feed the Children their porridge. It was really something to think about. This meager meal of a half cup of porridge may be all some of them get in a day. I would hardly consider it palatable, but they drink it up with zest.The porridge is cooked in a large pot and then divided up into individual cups. The children from each class then stand in line to get their cup. As usual They are so excited to see a mazungu. They crowd around wanting to shake your hand and greet you. Jambo!
After the little one had received their porridge I sat down on the steps to their classroom and was surrounded by the little ones pushing in on all sides. I took out my camera and started taking their pictures. They absolutely love to see themselves on the back of the screen. It is all I can do to keep the camera in my hands and the front of my lens un-smudged by little hands. We had a great time talking and playing. There is a little bit of a language barrier. They are taught English in school and know it pretty well, but it spoken very differently. I sometimes have a hard time understanding them, and they me.
I know without a doubt that God has a reason for me to be here, but sometimes I wonder what exactly it is. We tend to have the mentality that we have to be doing something; be productive, to be making a difference. But all I’m doing is handing out cups of porridge and playing with kids….What I have come to see is that God is not always in the business of doing, He’s in the business of being, and that being is in relationship. I’m not sure I will ever totally understand what an impact just being there and showing you care has on those kids.
Later that day we went to the boarding school. I ended up talking to the man working on painting the schoolrooms that were being renovated for a while. Once again, it was just the act of being in relationship that was important. I am a task-oriented person, so being relationship oriented is something I have to work on a little. Sometimes I lose track of what is really important while trying to get the lesser thing accomplished.
On the way back to the hotel for the evening we stopped at the clinic to pick up the others. While I was waiting in the Van (Matatu) I struck up a conversation with a little girl named Lucy. There is always a group of kids waiting outside the clinic door for us to come out at the end of the day. They are waiting for sweets. Lucy is a supper bright girl and very outgoing. Most of the children are a little shy when you start talking to them, but Lucy jumped right in. I asked her to teach me some Swahili words. She went on for 15 minutes teaching me one word after another. “and for God Bless you, you say…..Mungu haku bariki…and for…..” I had so much fun with her.
The outreach team went to traveled to Saveo today to visit Pastor Steve’s Church and community. We went first to visit the primary school. There are 40 children there being taught in a one room school house. They are renting the building and would like to be able to have their own building someday. We watch the teacher teach the children for a while then we taught them about King Jesus and how much he loves us all. We sang a few songs with the kids and gave them all burger King crowns that we brought from the states with JESUS written across the front representing Jesus Being the King of the our lives and the universe. They went out side to play a little and sing some more.
Afterwards Pastor Steve took us for a walk through the community to His Church. He too showed us the plot of land they own, but they need funds to build their church. They had a Church there in the past but it fell down. They are currently meeting in a rented building. The cost of the rent takes most of their money. There were about 20 people inside the church building waiting to greet us. We talked with them and they sang for us and showed us the projects they are working on to raise money. They are raising Chickens and a pig.
Then Pastor Steve took us to his house to meet his wife. Pastor Steve is a godly man. All of the pastors that I have met here have been Spirit filled men of God. And the people to have a deep rooted faith. The one thing that Pastor Steve said that really touched me was when we were talking about praying for each other. Teresa asked him to be praying for the people that we will be talking to when we get home that God would give them generous heart to help, and Then Pastor Steve said that he was already praying for us; that he had prayed for God to send us to him and Now he has. It just made me so aware of how God is moving and working in Hearts all around the world for one purpose. And I am reminded of the journey God has taken me on over the past few months to prepare my heart to come here, and to open my heart to His Voice as he has called me here.
In the Afternoon I worked at the Clinic escorting people to the appropriate places and doing a little crowd control. This was a crazy day at the clinic things just sort of fell apart and tensions were running pretty high. The enemy was definitely at work trying to destroy what we were doing today and to devide our unity. I was fine, I just have a very layed-back personality but there were people who were struggling. And there were other things going on at the school too. Our Theme was the fruits of the spirit and each morning Pat and Nancy leave a little something at our door with a note with a different fruit. Today’s note was Patience. I thought it was very fitting for the day. We all needed to demonstrate a little patience.
Words I’ve learned: (This is a phonetic spelling. LOL)
Cuja – come
A sante sana – Thank you very much
Karibu – Welcome
Mungu hakubariki- God Bless you.
Yesu Anakapeda – Jesus Loves you
Habari a asabui – Good Morning (more accurately – How are you thing morning?)
Kwahairi – Goodbye
Mazungu – The term for us White people
D.S. Pastor Daniel Invited us to come to his Church in Njoro to meet the women’s group that was started there, and to visit the local school. about an hours drive from Nakuru and we made our way into the beautiful rustic countryside down rutted dirt roads. It is so dry that the van just kicks up so much dust you can barely see through it. The country side was dotted with little bits of civilization; small shops and small houses made of stone or mud. And everywhere you go there are people walking along the sides of the road with heavy packs on their backs or the occasional mule cart. You wonder where they are going and how far they have to walk to get there, because there isn’t much out there.
Before stopping at the woman’s group we stopped at the future site of Pastor Daniel’s Church. He showed us the land and the beginnings of a building and told us about his church. This was the first and oldest Methodist Church founded in the Nakuru District. It was started in 2001. They have been meeting in a barrowed building, but were given some land a few years ago and they began building the church, but it has been on hold because of the drought. (I’m not quite sure exactly why, but Pastor Daniel mentioned something about making mortar. There probably isn’t enough water.) The walls of the church are about 2/3 the way up. He says it is going to take the equivalent of $20,000 to finish the roof. We all packed into the van and continued up the road a bit farther.
We heard the drum beats greeting us from far off. Everyone we have met here have been so welcoming and hospitable. They are excited to greet us. There were about 40 women that meet to learn trades and make crafts to sell and earn money. It is a fairly new group. The make woven baskets, crochet, make paper bead necklaces and have a couple of tailors that make clothing on the two sewing machines. These are not electric sewing machines. There is not power out there. It was a small wood building with a fenced in courtyard. Over to one side was a small silo and a new chicken coop. The women greeted us with singing and dancing in Kenyan style, and then shook our hands and embraced us. They led us through the courtyard and into a narrow entrance to the front room of the building and invited us to sit and rest. As they served us hot coffee and cooked white sweet potatoes. I’d never seen a white sweet potato, but it was very good! Then we went back out to the courtyard and the ceremony started. Pastor Daniel was dedicating the new Chicken coop which was the newest project for the women to raise money. Pastor Daniel introduced us and we each were able to say a greeting to the women as Dickson Translated for us. There was something very uniquely special about this group of women, I’m not sure quite what it was but the Spirit was there, and you could feel it. The Leader of the group prayed for us, and although the only words I understood were Jehovah and Jesus Christ, I truly physically felt the presence of the Holy Spirit there and I thought about how the Name of God is called upon all over the world and HE hears it all!
Pastor Daniel proceeded with the ribbon cutting ceremony, cutting the ribbon that hung across the coop doors. Everyone applauded and wanted to show us the Chickens. They will be able to sell eggs and Chickens now. Then they brought out their crafts for us to look at, and of course buy. We all bought something, and then we were led about a quarter mile up the road to the school for the presentation of 5 new uniforms that the seamstress had mad for a couple of the Children who needed uniforms but could not afford them. A couple of the Children were orphans taken in by the school. They did not have shoes on their feet or decent clothing. It was kind of the woman to donate these cloths. Even though they don’t have much themselves they are very generous.
When we had walked back to the van and were getting ready to leave we were asked to stay for lunch. The woman had prepared more food for us! I cannot begging to tell you how blessed I felt that they had gone to so much trouble to be so kind to us. And although I had some misgivings about how safe it was to eat their food, I realized how much of a sacrifice this was to them and how rude it would be to refuse. Se feasted on a meal of cabbage, sow beans, Chicken, and another dish of ground corn mashed together to make a kind of dough. (I can’t remember the name.) It was all very tasty.
We finally made it back to Nakuru several hours late. Kenyan time! So we never made it to the school we were going to visit that afternoon. We went to the clinic to pick up a few people and then spent an hour that evening going up to the Menengai Crater. The view form the top was amazing. Africa is a beautiful place. And so big. Views like the one from the top of the crater really give you a new perspective on the work=ld and your place in it. The patchwork valley stretched out below us and then rose to meet the green mountains on the other side. A cool wind was blowing over the top of the ridge and the feeling was so peaceful and awe inspiring.