Sunday, January 13, 2019

KISII REPORT #32

Being able to go to school is not an assumption for the children of our orphanage. School uniforms are needed (as they were in most places we have lived), and shoes.
 
As I reported at the beginning of the school term last autumn, the Kenyan government closed down the local school where the children previously attended.


Not only is the school where they now are going more costly, but it is a considerably further walk for them.
 
The shoes are important anyway. Not only are they a requirement to be able to attend school, but there are many soil-borne parasites in the ground of the area.


These pathogens can enter through bare feet and bring with them various sorts of disease, so it usually is not a good idea to run around shoeless.

In all of this, the operative word in this report is shoes.

The new school term has begun now, and with some of the money that God recently provided by means of you readers of this blog, we were able to get the shoes needed.

Receiving these shoes is an event. I was not present for this

one, of course, but the pictures bring to my mind the day I was there when the children received the articles of clothing and school materials that I brought with me when I went last year.

The day was full of joy, and it looks as if this one was as well. Even balloons! I kind of wonder if they are still from last year that someone gave me to bring.

We are all so thankful to see how the Lord is continuing with these children. We are trusting that he will continue to provide for the rest of the school costs so that they can all finish out the term.

How is the dormitory coming? It is a bit on hold right now, as we have these school expenses to cover. And food. Always food.
But the dormitory will come! Our continual prayer that has been answered repeatedly is that God will provide for the needs of the children.

It is a week from tomorrow that I leave for Kenya. I will write more as the time approaches.
Questions for me? donaldrhody@gmail.com
 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

KISII REPORT #31

In less than two weeks I will leave for Kisii. As I did on my trip a little more than a year ago, I plan on writing about it every day as I travel and as I am there. In this way I hope that all of you can know what I see, and what I am thinking.

I also hope there will be pictures. My camera and my laptop are from yesterday’s technology and I am not sure of the compatibility of it all, but I think it will work.

I encourage you to read these posts to see if the questions you have about what is happening there will be answered by what I write.
I also will be encouraging you to email to me any questions that you have and that I may not have thought to ask the people there.

I write a lot about this orphanage on this blog, as any follower knows, but even with this, I have found that there are some misconceptions about the work there.
 
One person told me that I was doing “village rebuilding,” or in other words, I was trying to rebuild an entire village infrastructure. I am not entirely sure where this individual got his information (I think that he was just assuming many things), but it is nothing so grand as that and it is NOT the work that the Lord has given me to do.

There have been a few other comments made to me that demonstrated a lack of understanding what the task actually is, and that is why I am encouraging all who are interested to read the posts and ask me questions.

I will be writing more about all of this in upcoming posts, but in short I will tell you simply:
 
All of the money that has been provided to me from the Lord for this work, both that of Vivian and I, and also through other individuals, have gone 100% directly to help the orphans. Nothing, not even one dollar, is channeled into other uses, put toward administration costs or any "other expenses."

The building project that we are involved with is for the children.
The food purchased is for the children.
The school fees are for the children.
Clothing purchased is for the children.
Medication is for the children.

Can the orphanage ever become “self-supporting?”

I would be very interested how this could ever be done, or if there is any orphanage in the world where the children support themselves. I do not know if every country in the world has some sort of child labor laws, but I would hope that they would. 
 
What is my end in all of this? How long will I be involved?

This is the question that I have asked of the Lord many times. I do not know the answer. All that I know for the present is that God has given me the work to come alongside of these orphans to help meet their needs. Some of you have also told me that God has given you much the same calling. Thanks for your help!

Got questions for me before I leave? donaldrhody@gmail.com

Sunday, January 6, 2019

BLOWING UP THE OLD MAN (Lesson #2)

In Blowing Up the Old Man–Lesson 1, the post of last week, I wrote of the New Year’s tradition in Latin America called “blowing up the old man.” It is a custom that is supposed to carry with it the meaning of blowing up all of the problems of the previous year so that you can begin new in the year to come.

It is done in fun of course, because everyone understands that the problems in our lives cannot just be blown up and done away with so simply. We must deal with them.

However, if we are to deal with our problems, there are some things that we must realize about these difficulties that we encounter in our lives. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

KISII REPORT #30

As you saw in the most recent Kisii Report, when it now rains at the church and orphanage, the water just runs off of the roof on the dormitory for the orphans. We thank God for the completion of this step.

The building still lacks several elements before the children can sleep there, however. There still is exterior plastering to keep the rain from weathering the building, windows and doors that need to be purchased/constructed and installed, screening to keep out the malaria-laden mosquitoes (and hopefully all others as well), and just a few other things.

But all of these matters will take a step backward for now, since
there are more pressing needs to be addressed at the moment.

The need for food is always present of course, and the requirement to purchase items for the building has caused a strain on the food budget. But the matter I wish to bring out in this report is the fact that the first school term of the year has begun in Kenya.

We have 40 students, 32 children in the primary grades, and 8 in secondary. We believe that providing schooling is very important, because for these kids to have a future, they need to be able to receive an education.

This is especially true in the culture of the Kisii tribe, where a family inheritance, as small as it may be, is important in giving a young person a beginning in life. These orphans and otherwise abandoned children, of course, will have none of that, so their hope is to be able to grow up with some preparation in education.

 The cost to send the students to school are different depending upon the level that they are in, but in short, the total cost for these 40 children for this 3-month term is 288,000 Kenya Shillings, or about $3000 US.

It seems overwhelming to me, especially when all the other needs are taken into consideration. But as I told Vivian this morning, everything that God has called me to do has always been overwhelming to me.

Also, many of you have stepped up to help. We are very grateful. When I say “we” are grateful, I of course mean Vivian and I, but even more than that I mean the children and the church in Kenya.

They have never received any sort of help from anyone before, and they are amazed to see that there are fellow believers here in America who care about their situation.

Nothing is taken for granted and all is received with deep gratitude.

Thank You!

Monday, December 31, 2018

BLOWING UP THE OLD MAN (Lesson #1)

There is a New Year’s  custom in many parts of Latin America called “blowing up the old man” that is far more sensational and eventful than watching a crystal ball slowly and agonizingly descend a pole in Time Square.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

WHAT I TOLD MY CHURCH CONGRETATION ABOUT 2019

Click the "READ MORE" button below to see what I said:

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

KISII REPORT #29

Merry Christmas from the Log Church of Kenya!


As you can see, the roof metal is all installed, which, as any builder will tell you, is a big step in the completion of a building. The rain now runs off the roof!
There is still much to be done for the completion of the dormitory, but we are thankful to the Lord and to each of you who have contributed to this project.
 
This Christmas is so much brighter for the orphans than it was in the last year, and the New Year to come holds out for them much more hope than they have ever had before. The new school term begins the second day of January, and we are praying that all of the children will be able to attend classes, even with the increased costs at the school.

In this past year, we have seen how the Lord has provided to
overcome great obstacles and many difficulties in order to give each of these children lives of hope. They also now have a family (of sorts) as they are part of the people of the church.
This family of theirs also includes each of you who have shown them your love and concern for their welfare as you have done what you could to provide for them.
Every one of these children are learning to see how God provides for his children in many and in unexpected ways. They are learning the wonderful ways of God as they are being raised in an environment of the love of Christ.
I’ve not done this before but I will now invite you to write to me by email if you would like to ask me any question that you have, or for any other reason. My address is simply donaldrhody@gmail.com
 
I will write more about the progress at the orphanage after the New Year and about the anticipation of my trip there at the end of January, but at the moment, we are all wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas.
"God Bless each of you real good!"

Monday, December 24, 2018

MESSAGE FOR ADVENT #3

When we speak of examining and even questioning the subject of traditions that surround the Christmas holiday, we put ourselves in a very precarious situation. Traditions at Christmas time are like a mighty river, running strong and deep. If one attempts to alter the course of any one of these traditions in any way, the barrier that is placed in front of that current will only cause the pressure to increase to a point where all will burst loose.

Is there any meaningful value in tradition? If there is not, how are we to alter its flow or even stop the current completely?
But, if there is value to our traditions, how are we to gain from it?

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

KISII REPORT #28

The metal for the roof has arrived and it is even at this moment being installed on the rafters of the children’s dormitory. I am writing this with deep gratitude to the Lord for providing for this metal, as it was quite a large expense.

My gratitude extends also to each of you who have listened to the Lord and have given of what you have so that these children, many of whom last year had neither family or home, now have been given a supporting family in the Log Church of Kenya, and are seeing a home being constructed for them.

The green colouring on the rafters is a wood preservative
Thank you each one so much for you gifts!

Some have recently asked me why I do not have a link on this web site where you can donate to this project. I know that not having one goes against all contemporary marketing practices in raising funds for a charitable work.

If this was to be done using current money-raising methods, you would see plenty of pictures of starving children dressed in rags with emotional appeals for money. I should try to move you emotionally and then “make it easy to give.”

I am not doing this because I do not want emotion to be the main driver in having people donate. I want this to be a work of the Lord, and although it is true that the Lord has given each of us emotion, the primary manner that he appeals to us to do something is through his Holy Spirit.

Emotion will only carry any commitment so far. I am afraid that our churches have by in large failed us just at this point. We are teaching people to make commitments about their lives based only upon an emotion that they may presently be having. Our churches often give us the impression that God speaks to us mainly through emotion.

That is not true. Certainly, emotion is part of God’s communication to us, but it is more than that—much more.

When God called me into this work of being involved with these orphans, it was not through a movement in my emotions. In fact, emotionally, I did not want to be involved. I actually gave all kinds of excuses why I should not. (“I did my bit. Let me retire!”)

My involvement instead came through a conviction in me by the Spirit of God. God’s Holy Spirit would not let me rest until I did something.

The old English poet (Francis Thompson) called the Spirit of God, “The Hound of Heaven,” constantly and unhurriedly pursuing until you submit to what He is calling you to do.

That is what God did with me. Always on my tail about this work in Kenya, not letting me rest. The work would not leave my mind.

I read the account of the teaching the 5,000, when the disciples wanted to send the people away so that all those people could find something to eat, but Jesus told the disciples, “You feed them.”

That was it. God told me—“You feed them.” I could run no more. The Hound of Heaven had captured me.

In the same way, I do not want to make emotional appeals to you to give for this work. That is not my job. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. If God is calling you to contribute, he will not allow you to rest until you obey him.

But I will tell you this: Once you submit sincerely and completely to God, your life will be changed forever—not only in regards to this work in Kenya, but in all areas of your life.

As for my part, I have never regretted submitting to God. It always has enriched and filled my life with a deep satisfaction and given my existence here on earth true meaning.

 

 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

MESSAGE FOR ADVENT #2

Worshiping the Baby Christ Child
 
Redemption came to us wrapped in swaddling clothes. We could not have been more surprised by the manner in which God sent his Son to us.

But in our astonishment, we must be careful of how we interpret this message of redemption. It is actually the totally surprising manner in which Christ came that may even contribute to our confusion about who he is. The story of his birth is so marvelous that we make the telling story the focus, instead of the deeper significance of the story.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

KISII REPORT #27


At this point, the rafters and the entire roof structure may look like a jumbled pile of pick-up-sticks on top of the walls, but there actually is an order to it all.
  

 





Perhaps a view from up top might make a bit more sense.


 





Or a view from inside looking up:


 
 
 

To make it look complete from the outside, the rafter tails need to be trimmed and, of course, the “roof iron” has to be attached. 
 


View from inside of the church
building. This is near where
the dormitory is being built
I was able to send them a bit more money this week to go into the fund for buying the metal for the roof. It is not yet enough, but Pastor Joel is thinking that it may be enough in “earnest money” to allow the supplier to extend to us some good faith.
 
After all, we have been faithful in all promises so far. Besides that, we have nearly enough for all the tin at this point, and we certainly want to see this building completed before the heavy rains begin.

All of our purchases need to be coordinated with the transport, since the orphanage is in a rather remote area. When we pay for trucking, we do not want to pay for partial loads. That is why we cannot just buy a little at a time.

Of course, there is still more work to be done on the building after the roof is complete. Primarily, there are doors and windows to make. I am not sure what beds will be needed. It would be nice if the children did not have to sleep on the cement floor, but first things first.

Even as it is, sleeping on a cement floor that can be kept reasonably clean is better than sleeping in the damp dirt during the rains. A completed building to keep out the rains, the mud, and hopefully most of the mosquitoes will help with the health problems and the malaria during the rains.

We still have some time before that, but we also keep in mind the supplying of food and the other daily needs of the children. The new school term begins in January also. It is our prayer that all of the children will be able to attend classes again. This represents a significant cost, but if there is to be a future for these orphans, then they must be able to go to school.


These are all things I think about every day, but I am thankful to see how the Lord has been faithful in supplying the needs.
 
If you could see what the lives of these children were like before the church took them in, then you would be able to understand why each child is so thankful to God for how He has rescued them.


It makes me think of some verses from the book of Ezekiel. The context is all wrong of course, and the Scripture application, but the words nevertheless come to my mind:


On the day of your birth your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water for cleansing. You were not rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. No one cared enough for you to do even one of these things out of compassion for you. Instead, you were thrown out into the open field, because you were despised on the day of your birth.

Then I passed by you and saw you squirming in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, “Live!”

There I said to you, “Live!”

I made you thrive like a plant of the field. You grew up and matured and became very beautiful.

God has also said to each one of these children, "Live!"

"May God make every one of these children of the Log Church Orphanage live and thrive like a plant in the field."




 

 

 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

MESSAGE FOR ADVENT #1

Surprised by Christmas

Sometimes our spiritual journeys take on the manner of basically just plodding along in our lives, step after step, almost forgetting what our real purpose in the journey is. We become so accustomed to dealing with a chaotic and war-faring existence that we must face almost every day that we lose sight of our ultimate goals.

Then suddenly, when we expect it the least, we are surprised by the possibility of redemption. We catch a glimpse of the Redeemer.
--