Thursday, July 19, 2018

KISII REPORT #8

I have written and spoken before about the very obvious physical needs of the orphans of the Log Church of Kenya:
 - Food is almost on a day-by-day basis, with some days the children having nothing to eat.
 -  Tattered clothing and broken plastic sandals for shoes, if any clothing or shoes at all.
 - Sleep for some of the children is on a dirt floor covered only with a thin cloth.
 
These are the things that were immediately apparent to me when I visited there.

As I have said to people on various occasions, “I lived in a village in rural India 45 years ago, and the living conditions  for the orphans of the Log Church are more rudimentary today than the children in my Indian village 45 years ago.”

These are the basic needs, but then there are the secondary things as well. 
“Sir, we would like a ball that we could kick,” one of the boys told me one day.
 
A ball is a play thing, and one might say that a ball is not really necessary for play—or if you are a real hard-liner, you might say that play itself is not necessary for existence. But children need time and space to play, and in a world where soccer is the sport of choice (of course called “football”), a group of 42 children should have at least one “ball to kick.”
 
And then there is education. I was almost surprised that when God began to provide some monies that I could send to the orphanage, and despite all of these basic needs, Pastor Joel and the church leadership used a great portion of it so that they could begin to send the children to school. Before they began to receive help that some of you have provided, they had no funds to do this and were educating them the best that they could in the orphanage.
 
I have asked Joel many questions about this and he has sent me specifics on how the money has been used. I also have asked him to give me his thoughts on why he considers it is so important to provide an education for the children, even at the cost of delaying the construction of the much needed dormitory for the girls.
 
He sent me quite a long explanation, and despite the length of it, I have decided to include the greatest portion of it in this blog, only editing out short bits for the sake of brevity.
 
In the words of Pastor Joel, here is why he is trying to give the orphans the best education that he can:
 
“All countries are unique, as each and every single one has their own culture. They differ in simple ways: from small things like their flag and their languages, to big things like political leaders and religion.
 
“But when people think of all the characteristics that make a country differ from the rest, they don’t consider education as the most important one, the one that really defines a countries culture.
“But isn’t it?

 
“Today’s youth are our future leaders, the ones who will become the face of the politics, religion, and culture of their countries, and education is what prepares them for that. Many countries are able to provide their youth with a stable, structured education, but many cannot. There is an exhaustive list of countries that lack the resources needed to provide a proper education and among those countries is Kenya.
 
“Education can be defined in various terms. Some define education in terms of training, skills acquisition and as formal school attendance. Some define education as a process of acquiring desired knowledge skills and attitudes and being a process, it therefore means that there must be continuity in education.
 
“Education is a life-long process. Education therefore is an instrument of transforming culture, a means of individual development and a process of preservation and transmission of cultural heritage. 


 
“Importance of Education to the orphans
   (i) The personal dimension.
Education is aimed at furnishing individuals with the appropriate skills and knowledge so that they become self-reliant, adaptable and for them to self-actualize.
   (ii) The intellectual dimension.
Education is aimed at providing intellectual nourishment to individuals through provision of knowledge and skills that are favorable in aiding the same.
   (iii) The social dimension.
Education is aimed at providing interactions between persons and persons. Education as a social provider is also aimed at providing interaction between people and the world, person to self-interaction and it looks after the physical and emotional aspect of the individual and how they adapt at the family level and social level.
   (iv) The product dimension.
The importance of education should guide the school system to produce members of society who have adequate skills and knowledge that can be used to contribute to a productive society. The aims of education in Kenya today follow these dimensions and others.
 
“Education therefore aims at providing and achieving the following:
   1. The education must have the need of national development.
   2. The education must assist in fostering and promoting national unity.
   3. Education must prepare and equip the youth so that they can play a leading role in the nation.
   4. Education can unlock the potential of children and young people today, allowing them to secure their futures for tomorrow.
    5. Education lead to better spread of the gospel as the children are able to read the Bibles are ambassadors of Christ and are able to teach.
 
 “Our prayer request:
  -- Food for the orphans.
 -- School fees for the orphans
 -- Clothes
 -- Dormitory/shelter
 
 “Hannah never knew how the baby will come but she asked and God gave her
Jabez never knew how this change will come, but he asked God to bless him indeed, to enlarge his border, His hands to be with him and would keep him from all evil, and God granted his request.
Solomon asked for wisdom
Elijah asked for fire
Bartimaeus asked his sight to be restored
Hezekiah asked to extend his life
Joshua asked the sun and the moon to stand still, and God granted all of them.
 
“Ask from God in faith and leave the how for Him, He will answer. Ask whatever you need and whatever you will need; ask always and keep asking without giving up; ask without allowing yourself to be distracted by the words of others; ask until you have what you requested in your hands for He had promised to answer.
 
“Jesus Christ gave us this assurance, for everyone who will ask, will receive; everyone who will seek will find; everyone who will knock, it will be opened, and how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him? That is the promise for you this year.
 
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: [be confident God will never fail you at all]
 
Pastor Joel in the school yard
“Real good, we love you dearly. Minister this is your time of expansion in the ministry, spiritually financially, physically, and even materially. Thanks us praying for you. Have blessed day as we hope to hear from you, keep praying for food and school fees balance.
 
“May the Lord's word encourage & strengthen you as we walk out His will in the days ahead!
Love & blessings, Yours in Christ service Son Joel and Church Leadership-Log Church-Kenya..”

Sunday, July 15, 2018

PAUL'S SECOND LETTER TO TIMOTHY

Here is some of what Paul said in one of his letters to his younger friend Timothy, as we have recorded for us in the book of Second Timothy: 

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. (2:1-6 NAS) 

…Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry…I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness. (4:2-3, 5, 7-8 NAS) 

Paul the Scrapper

These words are almost standard fare for the Apostle Paul: Words of admonishment, words of advice, explanations of clear doctrine.

Paul was a fighter. He fought his whole life.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

SEVEN LESSONS IN GREATNESS


The gospel writer Mark talks about a time when James and John, the sons of Zebedee, said something that caused the other disciples to feel “indignant” toward them.

Indignant is a rather intense word. Some synonyms are outraged, incensed, angry and resentful.  What was it that these two brothers could have said to cause their friends and partners to feel this way?

The reason was because James and John had come to Jesus with a request. They approached him and said this: “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you” (Mark 10:35 NAS).

Thursday, July 5, 2018

KISII REPORT #7

I have mentioned before the highland malaria of Kisii. Historically, this was an area of Kenya that was free from the illness. But with the increased travel between the eastern coastlines and the western highlands in the beginning of the 20th century, the mosquito-borne parasite made its way to the area.

For many years, malaria was treated in Kenya by Chloroquine, which reduced significantly the spread of the disease. However, the parasite that causes the disease eventually developed a resistance to this medication. Largely because of this resistance, there was a re-emergence of malaria in the 1980’s.

Unfortunately, this emergence came about the same time that other health epidemics arose in Africa, epidemics such as HIV-AIDS, Zika and Ebola. This has all put a large strain on the already fragile health care system of Africa, which has reportedly been decreasing in quality in the past 25 years.

I asked Pastor Joel what drugs are now used by doctors to cure the malaria, and he sent me an extensive list of different ones that they try: Artemether/Lumefantrine, Coartem, Malarone, Plaquenil, Doxycycline, Mefloquine…25 in all. Nothing works great, but they at least give the doctors a choice of options to try, that is, if the drugs are available.

There are also several drugs that can be taken as prophylactics, or prevention medications, but they do not actually prevent malaria from beginning in the body. Once the person has been infected, in the initial stage of malaria, it first affects the liver. It is from the liver that it eventually spreads to the blood stream. At least this is my understanding.

The parasite reaches the liver through the blood by an infected mosquito bite, but then goes through part of its development in the liver. It is only when it reaches the “erythrocytic stage,” or the blood stage, were these “prevention drugs” have any effect at all.

Malaria cases have been very high in Kisii this year in particular because of the historically heavy rains. Beyond the human suffering, and speaking on merely a pragmatic level, it has been a huge drain on the funding for the orphans. In addition to the challenges caused by the prices for many vegetables doubling their former levels, and the other problems brought on by the rain, Pastor Joel and the church leadership have had to spend a lot of money on malaria prevention and treatment for the orphans.

Hospital stays have been the most costly, but they have also bought some prevention drugs and mosquito nets to help protect the orphans while they sleep. I have never visited the hospital where they bring the sick orphans, but they have sent me so many photos that I almost feel like I have been there.

Interestingly enough, another prevention against malaria has simply been buying clothing for the children who had none.

The new dormitory of the orphans would also be an important prevention for this problem (along with other problems), and that is why I am praying that we can get it built before next rain season. I appreciate your prayers also in this.

We pray that our God in heaven will bless His children with this gift.

I have spoken before of the great needs at the orphanage. They are not unique needs, I know. Many in the world live in similar situations. But for reasons that I do not know, these are the children that the Lord has given to me. Perhaps there are others who will join with me in this task in helping these children.

When I look at this situation with a realistic eye, it seems undoable. I have mentioned on several occasions that this task is so great that it is actually beyond any resources that I can image. It will take even the lunch of a boy to meet these needs.

By this I mean at the feeding of the 5000, the need to feed the people was so great that the disciples could see no way possible. But there was a boy there, a young lad, with a humble lunch of five small loaves of bread and two fish. These he gave to Jesus. Jesus blessed the food and began giving it to the disciples to distribute to the people sitting on the ground. All ate until all were satisfied.

This is what we need. We need the blessing of Jesus on this work.

We also need to pray that the children be protected from additional peripheral problems, like malaria and other illnesses. If you do not mind the graphic illustration, but these illnesses drain the resources from the children like diarrhea drains the energy from their small bodies.

We pray to Jesus for his blessing and protection.

 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

WEARINESS

The Apostle Paul wrote in one of his letters, “Do not grow weary of doing good” (2 Thessalonians 3:13 NAS).

When one is facing extreme difficulties and is already weary of the effort, these are words that seem almost too easy to say.

It seems it is a bit like saying to a sad person, “Be happy.”

We cannot simply generate happiness, just as we cannot simply deny that we are weary. There must be reasons for a person to feel happy. In much the same way, for one to not be weary when he feels fatigued, something also has to be done. 

Weariness of a Different Color

Certainly in happiness, it is sometimes a matter of outlook. We become unhappy when we allow ourselves to focus on what is not going right and ignore or diminish the blessings that we have.

Can such a positive outlook in the same way enable us to overcome weariness?

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

KISII REPORT #6

The single observation that affected me most when I visited the Log Church of Kenya last year and met the orphans, was to see their gratitude over the most simple of gifts. I still hold in my mind the image of two little boys who each received one pencil and two color crayons, holding them up in the air and so thankful that they had their own things to draw with! Their smiles were so broad, and their huge eyes almost laughing with joy, it seemed like with all the smiles and the eyes, there was very little room left for face.

The needs continue there, and if I wished, I could write every day and tell you about some new problem that has arisen—malaria being the latest. But instead I want to share a letter written to me by Pastor Joel. It does not show a complaining people who are engrossed in self-pity, but a thankful people who are joyful in the gifts of God!

 

Dear Dad Don,

We are hoping that all is well with you over there in the States! We thank God for what He is doing for the church and orphanage down here in Kenya!

How is your family and the church ministry doing over there?

Our Lord God is always great and merciful to our services that we do in serving Him and volunteering ourselves in the ministry! Every time we praise and glorify God for the gift of
life and the good care of our orphans here in Kenya!

My dad, we had a good Sunday service in the church. Many came and more souls were saved into the kingdom of God!


Children praised God with songs and dancing gratefully to Him because of the good care and protection of their lives!

And the church choir glorified God with some songs too!

After the service all church members and the children enjoyed eating food during the lunch time at the church! We provided enough food for children and the orphans to eat till everyone got satisfied with the meal.

Pastor Don, we also helped some poor families with food and gifts. Besides, children are thankful to God for the gift of clothes that you sent them!

My dearest dad, actually it is a great joy to our children in the orphanage that God is always using you and your friends to care for their miserable lives into a better thing! We are praying for you and God to enrich you with His blessings!!! 

Proverbs 11:25
Your Son Joel



Sunday, June 24, 2018

OH, THE WONDERUL WRATH OF GOD

For some years I was on the teaching staff at a Bible Institute and Seminary in Venezuela. During the course of the school year, we had daily chapel services for the staff and students. The messages for these services were generally given by one of the professors, but the time was also intended to be practical instruction for the students, in that they were in charge of arranging the rest of the service.
It was for one of these services that the director of the school asked me to speak on the subject of the wrath of God. Two or three of the students were preparing the rest of the program and were to plan it around the same theme. When the young woman who was in charge of finding the music approached me with her dilemma, I understood her situation.

The young lady told me that she could not find any hymns or other songs that had the “Wrath of God” as their subject. For all the other attributes of God: the grace of God, the love of God, the wisdom of God, and all the rest, we have many songs in our song books.

But we do not sing “Oh, the Wonderful Wrath of God” or “We Rejoice in the Deep Wrath of God.” What the young student told me was true. Nor, if we think about it, do we even hear many sermons on the wrath of God. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

KISII REPORT #5

In the past week or so, I have been in frequent contact with Pastor Joel concerning the building for the girls. Thanks to the gifts of several people, we recently have been able to purchase the crushed rock for the construction of the base. It is perhaps a small step
forward in the process, but this will most likely be a project completed by small steps. We already have bricks needed for the building, plus a few other basic materials.

We would have actually been able to purchase much more of the needed building materials, but the present food/clothing/malaria crisis has taken most of the money that has been donated. We are very thankful for those who gave, since it provided much relief for the orphans.

The high food prices continue, and three of the orphans are presently in the hospital with malaria, but I would like to take this time to talk about the building that I am praying can be finished before the next rain season.

The church had in mind to build quite a large building for the girls (30 X 48), which they said would sleep up to 70 girls. They are thinking of future needs, and I don’t mind saying that it is a little frightening to me to learn that the need is this great.

Presently however, the orphanage has only 42 children—boys and girls. I suggested to Joel to partition the building so that it could house all of the orphans that are there at this time, girls on one end and boys on the other. The present situation for the boys is not much better than that of the girl’s, and I thought that this might be a
Present Boy's Dorm
better use of the building at this time.

Having very little knowledge of local customs, I suspected that there may be cultural reasons for not doing this, reasons of which I was not aware. Just as I suspected, Joel responded that he did not know if the government would allow the boys and girls to be housed in the same building, even with a solid partition. It was for “security” reasons, he said.

I then suggested two smaller buildings, with a plan for expansion when that would become necessary. More cost, but it would better meet present needs. Joel said that he would go into Kisii town to speak with the Kenyan building authorities.
The Girls Inside Their Dorm
I guess I do not have an outside photo of the
Girl's dorm, but it is just a corner room of the
already small mud house where the pastor lives
with his wife and two small children

The end result is that the government will allow the common housing, given certain restrictions. To build under these restrictions will also increase the cost of the original plans somewhat, but nowhere near constructing two separate buildings. Since they have not yet begun to build, nothing is lost, so we continue to move ahead in short steps.

You can see that the care of these orphaned children is a large commitment. In some quiet moments that I have, it still sometimes hits me quite hard that the Lord has put this upon me in this twilight stage of my life. It is not what I had in mind for my life and something that I ran from for about a year until I could run no more.

I see no end to this work for me—no retirement, but I must say that it is a great honor to me that the Lord would entrust this to me. Certainly there are others who are much better equipped, but I have sought to serve God through serving his church my entire adult life. I am grateful (at least in some ways) that even in my old age, he still considers me trustworthy.

It is a ministry that is so far beyond me that I actually have no hope of being able to do it. This work is so large for me that it requires a young lad’s lunch. I think I have mentioned that before, but I will explain more in the next Kisii Report.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

KISII REPORT #4


The town of Kisii is only about 47 miles from the equator (0.68º N). Because this seems like it should be a tropical climate, it appears strange to many people that one of the needs of the orphanage is blankets. We northerners have a general perception that the equatorial zones have only two seasons: hot and hotter. But it is amazing what a little elevation in altitude can do.

Kisii town has an elevation of 5558 feet. This altitude modifies the temperature considerably throughout the year. The daily highs remain mostly in the 70’s, with the 50’s at night. It does seem quite ideal, except when there is the wind from a storm system, you are in wet clothing under a thin wet blanket sleeping on a wet dirt floor, and you have had nearly nothing to eat all day.

Girl's Dormitory
The rains in Kisii are beginning to subside now, but for the past three months or so, they have had almost unprecedented wet weather, receiving rain about every day. I wrote in an earlier blog of some of the difficulties that this created for the people and the orphanage of the Log Church, including some of the difficulties that it caused for the children.

One of these difficulties was that they did not have more than one set of clothes so that they could put on something dry (some of the smaller children had no clothing at all). Another difficulty was that many of them had to sleep on a wet floor, and since the floor is dirt, the wetness could almost be defined as mud. A third difficulty was that they had inadequate covering at night to try and stay warm.

These difficulties compounded to create very stressful physical living conditions. Constantly staying wet and cold at night kept everyone from receiving adequate rest, preventing the children to be able to fight off sickness.

Oh, there is one more difficulty I should mention that compounds this problem. This is that the availability of food has become very difficult because of flooding and ruined crops. The food that has been available has been very expensive. In the last Kisii Report I gave an example of an increase of about 34%, but Joel tells me now that many vegetables (their primary diet) have doubled in price.

Sleeping on the dirt floors have also exposed the children to a number of illnesses, soil born parasites among them. However, perhaps the most dangerous problem from sleeping in this way is the exposure to fecal matter that has been brought in on the shoes of the children, or on their bare feet. It almost impossible to sterilize the soil, and this causes much diarrhea, which is actually the leading killer of children in third world countries.

Of course good sanitation would help, but keeping good sanitation in such an environment with inadequate facilities becomes nearly impossible. You can see that there are many needs at the orphanage, adequate buildings and also latrines among them.

All of these things together has created a “perfect storm,” when the weakened bodies of these children are unable to fight off illness. I was also going to write a little about the malaria situation at the present, but I will wait on that for another time.


Those ain't plastic store bags!
We have been very grateful for several gifts from readers of this blog so that the workers of the orphanage were able to buy good amounts of food. They had to travel quite far to find it, but as you can see in the photo, they came home in a hired car with some full shopping bags!

The orphanage has been in emergency mode as of late because of the weather conditions and the food shortage. We are praying that we can move beyond that now and resume gathering building materials for a sleeping room for the girl orphans. It is my prayer that we can get it built before next rainy season.

More about that next time.

 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

KISII REPORT #3


I have been asking Pastor Joel some more about the food situation for the orphans. These past two weeks, and thanks to Lord speaking to some faithful servants of his who gave some money gifts for the orphans (These were also friends of mine, even going back to someone that I have not seen or even corresponded with for 35 years), I was able to twice send a nice amount to the orphanage. Because of the concern and obedience of these servants of God, these money transfers were $600 each time.

It is a good amount, but when you consider that their food/water
costs amount to about $3.00 per day per child if they were to eat well, and that there are 42 orphans besides others who are in extra need of help, you can see that it does not last that long.

Sometimes I am asked if we are not simply “enabling” these people and causing a dependency. I have been asked that all of my adult life regarding things that I have done in other countries. I have written quite a lot on this in the past so I will not do it again here, but I will very quickly say that I am working very hard to instill in the people that all sufficiency comes only from the Lord.

After all, every one of us is equally dependent on the Lord. Without
God, none of us have anything. It is only our arrogant western culture where we look pridefully at ourselves as being “self-sufficient.” If you feel like this, you have my pity.

Inevitably, the people who ask or accuse me of this are ones who have never lived in a third-world country and probably have never even visited one except to stay in some plush seaside beach resort (the bane of all cross-cultural appreciation). I challenge every one of you who feels this way to live one year in a third-world village. It almost does not matter in what country.

But you must live an entire calendar year with the people to see their struggles in each season of the year, and you must live as their neighbor. (Sorry, but a summer ministry trip capped by a couple of nights in one of the aforementioned beach resorts will not do it).

Now, I will step down off my soapbox and tell you what pastor Joel told me about the food situation there. Because of the recent flooding in the entire country of Kenya, there is a scarcity of virtually every basic food item. The inflation is not super-high, as it presently is in some of the other countries where we have lived (most notably Venezuela), but it still significantly effects the budget.

The orphanage tries to buy their food supplies in large quantities if they have the money, since it makes it less expensive per kilogram. The prices that he gave me was for a 90 kilo sack, which is 198 pounds. I did not ask, but it must come divided into smaller sacks. Who is going to carry a 198 pound sack!

Maize flour purchased in this way, for instance, now costs about $67.00. Before it cost $50.00 (They do not use Dollars there but the conversion is made from Kenyan Shillings).

This works out to about 55¢/kilo or 25¢/pound. For all you millennials, the ¢ sign stands for “cents,” and it is .01 of a dollar. We actually used to use this sign, and there used to be a key for it on the typewriters, but I had to look quite hard on the character map of my laptop to find it.

I was in town today so I went into the Medford County Market to see what maize (corn) flour cost here in Wisconsin. I know nothing about it, but the price range was from about 64¢ to about 96¢/pound.

Thus, 25¢/pound in Kenya sounds like quite a bargain.

But I asked Joel what the daily wage was for a person picking tea, which was about the only work for pay that I knew of in that region. I also asked him if the work was even available and if there were other sources of work that the people could do.

Here is what he wrote to me: “The wage of picking tea is $1 per day. We have other work, eg, cultivating shambas (small fields - it is all hand work) for those who have a larger piece of land but not easily found and its wage depends with the shamba. But in all each person earns about $1 a day.”

So this puts it into perspective. It will take a worker a full day’s work to buy 4 pounds of maize flour. That is like one of those little sacks I saw at the County Market. And that is only if he is able to buy it in 200 pound quantities.
************************** 

I was also going to write in this blog about something else that I have been asked. If Kenya is on the equator, how is it possible for the children to be cold? But I will write about that next time.

Friday, June 1, 2018

KISII REPORT #2

Perhaps sometime in your life you have been on a camping trip when every night you laid chilled in a damp sleeping bag listening to rain falling on the roof of your tent. With your flashlight, you could see little drops of water seeping through and falling from the seams in the tent material above you. After nearly not having slept most of the night, in the morning you finally gathered up enough courage to put on your least wet clothes and to go outside to try and get a fire going with wet wood and rain still falling.

I have been on some camping trips like these, and as much as I love to camp, I must say these times have been depressing, discouraging, disheartening, dispiriting, and a few other dis-words.
 
Now, imagine that you were on a camping trip like the one I described above, but that lasted nearly three months. Think of how demoralizing it would be to have to face yet another day of rain, cold and wet all day, and unable to find any place to get comfortable.

If you are able to get your imagination to go there, then you are getting close to what these kids from the orphanage of the Log Church of Kisii are facing.

In the past week or so, they have had a couple of days when it did not rain so that they could hang their few blankets out to dry, but I imagine that the humidity levels must be so high that they could not have dried much. These are not sunny days, only days when there was no rain.

I see there is a big hole in the middle of that one blanket. It reminds me of when I was a kid and I shared a double bed with my brother Danny. It was cold upstairs in our farmhouse in the winter, and we would fight for the covers.
 
One way was that we would each roll in the blanket from opposite sides, fighting for more than our share. Mom would complain that our blankets would always start to rip, right up the center.
 
I don’t know if that is what happened here with the blanket, but “boys will be boys,” as my mom would often say with a slight sound of exasperation in her voice.

Those mounds beside the hanging blankets are others that are draped on the bushes, trying to get them to dry.

Food throughout Kenya has remained in short supply and expensive because of the relentless rain. Some have sent help, for which I am very thankful, and so are the children and people in Kisii. 100% of funds go to the orphanage and church, and if you would like to help out, write and ask me how. Once it is received in Kisii, I will tell you exactly what your gift was used for.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

KISII REPORT #1

My phone says that the temperature here in Spirit is 89°, but the
thermometer on my wall at our farm on Two Pine Hill says it is over 90, so who are you gonna believe? I tend to go with the old-fashioned mercury thermometer. For the rest of the normal world, either one is over 30° C —too hot for us northerners. My poor highland cattle are lying in the shade of the trees down by the pond, waiting for evening and for a little coolness so that they can go out and graze again.

Quite a different story in Kisii, Kenya. This was the afternoon temperatures and conditions there, according to my phone (I don’t think that they have a thermometer on their wall). But the climatic conditions are striking, to use a small play on words. It looks as if they at least have one or two drying days coming up. Vivian and I have been praying that the rains there would abate.

I have been in communication with Pastor Joel today. I am sorry to report that the miserable conditions continue for them. I am dismayed to say that my cattle have a far better living situation than they. 


I asked Joel where the children are able to sleep in these days, since because of lack of room and beds, many of them usually sleep on the floor. Now, with the flooding and the rains, the floors of the buildings that they do have are now mud. He told me that they clear the mud the best that they can, and the children sleep there—or at least try to sleep.

I was able to send them a little money yesterday via MoneyGram, and with part of it, they plan on buying some timbers to lay on the floor to elevate them off of the mud. This at least will protect them from the mud, the diseases and the biting insects in the soil. I am not clear what they have to place on top of the timbers for a platform. It is difficult for him to communicate too much with text messages on the phone.

They also are going to buy some more blankets, since the nights are very cool, and of course everything is wet. The children sleep fitfully, if they sleep at all. Many lie and whimper most of the night.

I learned that the daily cost for feeding each child is about $3.00 US. When you consider that they have 42 orphans now, if you do the math you can see that they have taken on quite a responsibility. Warm clothing or any clothing at all is quite another matter. They simply have no resources for buying clothes. Some of the smaller children are obligated to walk around in public naked. And of course shoes,  and especially in this season—gum boots.

We did not even talk more about schooling, since this is a luxury at this point.

What I have been able to send in no way even approaches all of the needs.

I told Joel that this work is bigger than he is and bigger than Vivian and I. These are all children with no others to help, but only the Lord can feed and clothe them. We are so very thankful for several of our friends who have also donated to help these children. I know that many more are praying. If you are one of these, I thank you also.

Life would be easier if we did not know of these needs—to just remain ignorant of the situation of some of our brothers and sisters. I don’t know if this works for you, but it has never worked for me. Ever since my early days in India, God has repeatedly brought needs to me from various parts of the world and asked me, “What are you going to do about this?”

I was thinking that my retirement to my farm would be a rest from all of this, but I think this no more. Now I am looking only beyond.

“There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9).