Wednesday, November 14, 2018

SAMSON—A WEAK MAN WITH A STRONG GOD - Judges 14-16

“The woman bore a son and called his name Samson. The young man grew, the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol” (Judges 13:24-25).

It is with these words that we are introduced to the life of Samson. The names of those towns are not important to us at this point. They only tell us where Samson was living with his parents. What is important is the phrase, “The Spirit of the Lord began to stir him.”

This word “stir” used in this way causes me to ponder it a little.

Friday, November 9, 2018

KISII REPORT #22

In the previous Kisii Report, I mentioned that meagre words could never express the gratitude felt for all the donations to help the children in Kenya.

Early this morning I received this email from Pastor Joel. Click on the READ MORE link below to read it.

It looks like they did a great job in expressing in what is a second language for them their expressions of thanks. Even the orphans had one of them write on their behalf. (I added the photos)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

THE VOW OF THE NAZIRITE - Judges 13

If you thought that the story of Jephthah had some unusual twists, hang on to your armchair for the story of Samson.

I believe that most people in western cultures know something about Samson. Most everyone has at least heard of him. Perhaps you did not remember that Samson is listed as one of the long line of judges of Israel, but probably you do remember that he was incredibly strong until he got his hair cut, and that his wife Delilah had given away this secret of his strength.

Unfortunately for those of us who are trying to explain the story and find applications in it for our own lives, these are not the strangest aspects of the life of Samson.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

KISII REPORT #21


 
As you can see, the concrete plate beam has been finished to tie all of the walls together. This is a big step. It is difficult work tying the re-bar together and pouring the concrete on the top of the wall.

In the past, and over the years in various developing countries, I have been involved with several works with this type of construction. Every part of it is physically exhausting. The mixing of the cement powder with the sand/gravel mix is done by hand in what we used to call “volcanoes,” then hoisted to the top of the walls using buckets.

It has been quite a few years since I have done this work in these places, but in my memory, it seemed it always had to be done on only the hottest days when there were no clouds to give some relief from the sun. I remember sore backs, dripping with sweat, drinking tepid water since that was all we had, and being too tired to eat. 

But I also remember the satisfaction of helping to provide something for the people that they would not otherwise have. Some who read this blog post will remember some of the work teams that Vivian and I led in various countries. Some of you were even team members on those work teams. “Get dirty for God”

The next step is the roof. It is quite a large expense ($5,640) but we trust that God will also supply for this as well. Right now we have more food to buy and some school bills to pay.

 
A big “thank you!” for all who have contributed to this work. It is impossible to express with mere words how much it is appreciated.

Monday, October 29, 2018

A VOW HASTILY MADE - Judges 11


But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment. (James 5:12 NAS)
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In some ways, Jephthah could not be considered a significant judge of the Old Testament Israelites. He was not called by God to be a judge in the same way as were Deborah, Barak and Gideon, and he only ruled Israel for six years in contrast to other judges who ruled up to twenty, forty, and even eighty years. Neither was Jephthah an extremely positive example for us. There are some things about him that are admirable, but there are other things that are deplorable.

Friday, October 26, 2018

KISII REPORT #20

There are many praises these days in the Sunday services of the Log Church of Kisii (as well as at the Log Church of Wisconsin). The orphaned children are able to now walk around what we pray will soon be their dormitory.

Remember, these are children who had been abandoned by the world and left to fend for themselves. Some of them were little more than toddlers at the time.

These photos are from last Sunday’s services. The children were very excited as they walked about the almost completed walls. The work continues this week. Hopefully in a few days the cement plate beams will tie the walls all together and we will next trust the Lord for the roof structure. We believe God will supply for that as well.
 
We all thank you from the depths of our beings for giving to this work. Our praise is always to God, who has placed this desire to help in your hearts. You listened to God and responded, and we thank you so much for that.
I like seeing these photos of the children praising the Lord for what is happening. The children are abandoned no longer, and they will soon have a healthy and secure place to sleep.


And they now have a family. 

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)

Thursday, October 25, 2018

BURNED BY THE BRAMBLE

(In the Log Church, we are presently studying some of the Judges of the Old Testament book by that name. Earlier this year I spoke on one of these judges in two sermons. These were entitled Gideon and 300. In retrospect, I should have saved them for this series, but at the time, I did not think of this. In case you would like to read these, here are the links)
http://www.donaldrhody.com/2018/03/gideon-valiant-warrior.html#more
http://www.donaldrhody.com/2018/03/300.html#more

After such a great victory over the Midianites, the Israelites were understandably appreciative of the leadership of Gideon, and apparently enthralled with his capabilities as a leader.

They said to him, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.”

It is interesting here to note that the people wanted a ruler—someone to “rule over” them. Using pure logic, one would not have expected this request from the people. They had just been rescued from seven years of severe oppression from rule. It was an oppression that was so harsh that the common people had taken to living in caves in the mountains for their own protection. They lived under a regime that was so severe that when they planted any crop, it was quickly taken from them by those who ruled them.

Friday, October 19, 2018

KISII REPORT #19


 
It is beginning to look like a building. One end is for the boys and the other for the girls. Each will have their own latrine, which is an important need. There is only one common one now, and it has to serve many people, both adults and children.

Everyone is so thankful to see this building starting to take shape. Ever since the previous rainy season (where it rained every single day for three or four months), we have been praying that we could get this dormitory built before the next major rains come (which is in about April). Last season, the living conditions became so unhealthy for the orphans that battling sickness became a
daily chore.

With dirt floors and unsanitary latrine facilities, it was difficult if not impossible to keep the living conditions clean and hygienic. Malaria also became a problem.

We’ve almost enough money to finish the walls up to pouring the cement beams for the plates on top of the walls. Thanks so much to many of you who have contributed to this need.

Our next step is the roof. It is a larger expense to buy the rafter material and the roof tin, but we are confident that the Lord will provide for these children of his. This entire project has been a step-by-step affair, and a walk of faith.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

STRUGGLING IN THE LAND OF PROMISE

Centuries ago, the Apostle Paul wrote these words to the Christians in Rome: “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4 NAS).

Some people have trouble believing the accuracy of the history as it is written in the Old Testament. Some of the stories written there seem incredibly fantastic and even bizarre. These things, many think, simply cannot be true.

DEBORAH AND BARAK

The time of the judges is a time of struggle in the Promised Land. It is a time of great swings in the levels of morality of the Israelites. The people would go through periods when they fell into great sin, which led eventually to blatant idolatry. Because of this, they also repeatedly suffered through times of disciplinary actions sent to them by God. This God did by means of oppressors from outside of their country.

Then, when the people saw the error of their ways, God would raise up a judge to rescue them. We are not told a great deal about some of the judges; for some of them we have only a sentence or two. But for others, we learn a little more of their stories.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

KISII REPORT #18

Imagine trying to put 42 children to bed who have not eaten anything for five or six days. I am very thankful that this is not the case for the orphans in the Log Church right now at this moment. At this time, the orphanage has food reserves for at least a couple of weeks. Nevertheless, these children and all the people there truly do know what it is like to look to God for their daily meal.

Because they actually do go through times of deep hunger, I respect their views on being hungry. We ourselves can be cavalier about our opinions on hunger and scarcity, but if we have never hungered or have ever had lack, then I am afraid we need to question our own credibility.

I instead respect the opinions of those who know true hunger. I will listen to the perspectives of those who know what it is to have absolutely nothing to eat, and who have had times when, besides having not eaten for five days, could see nothing on the horizon for having something to eat tomorrow. Imagine what it is like to put 42 of these hungry children to bed (of course, most of them do not sleep in an actual bed, but on the floor). 

“We are humbled that even if sometimes we sleep hungry, we know it is for the purpose and the test of our faith. We tell the children that we do not know why we need to have times of hunger, except that it is part of our journey from the Lord. We must trust that God will provide.” 

Perhaps you can see why this relationship between me and Pastor Joel and the Log Church and Orphanage of Kisii is more than me being the means or the conduit through which donations can be sent to the orphans. It is much more than that.

This is also part of my own journey from the Lord. I have resigned myself to the fact that my “golden years” will not be years of fishing every day and playing golf (or tending to my farm), but they instead will be years in which among my first thoughts in the mornings are for the children. “I wonder if they have food today.”

I am not complaining when I say this and I am not trying to impress anyone (nor do I want to make you feel guilty about lowering your golf score—go for it!). I am not trying to do any of that. It is simply a fact about my own life.

After years of living in such wide-ranging places as India, South America and Polynesia, this connection with Africa in my late life has been teaching me things that I have never before experienced. It has set me back on my heels.

None of any of these things in my life has ever been my own dream or my own plan. I rather preferred to stay home on our farm. But this has been my own journey of faith that the Lord has put before me.

Nevertheless, this late and unexpected part of my retirement years is also a joy, as has been all the rest. I am learning so much from these people and from God about life. They offer me a perspective of life and of living that I have not before experienced.

I will again be visiting the church and orphanage in January. Long hours in coach and long-drawn-out overnight airport layovers – but how should I complain? I expect that I will have food to eat.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

KISII REPORT #17

This week it hit me what the Lord has given me to do. What he has given me is caring for the orphans in Kisii, certainly, but that is not what I am talking about here.

What I am talking about at this moment is being the steward of the hard-earned money from the people who have given it to me in order to feed, clothe and provide shelter for the orphans.

I do not use the term hard-earned lightly. I know most of these people personally, and I know that they do not give from the excess funds that they have in the bank or lying around the house.

One fellow, as he was writing out a check to give to the orphanage was murmuring under his breath as he filled out the amount. I am certain that he did not intend for me to hear, but I heard him anyway. He was telling himself, “You must be faithful to what the Lord told you to do.”

I know this guy is living in very humble circumstances and has recently suffered some serious financial setbacks. His gift was a real sacrifice.

Another one of my friends who gave me some money could have at one time even been called “wealthy” (at least by northern Wisconsin standards). But in the past years, he has lost almost everything. He told me that he used to give out of his abundance to help the needs of others, but now he is learning to give out of his scarcity.

Still another friend told me as she handed me some money that she had been “saving up” to buy a Sirius radio, but decided instead that she should give the money to the orphans.

Yet another friend had someone run into his car in a parking lot. When he got the insurance payment for the accident, instead of getting the dents in his car repaired, he gave the money for the orphans.

I tell you these things so that you can see how God is moving in the hearts of people. This is also a burden that I take very seriously. This week it has laid on my heart quite heavily. I realize that this is your sweat and blood that I am taking from you, even your own food in some cases.

When I was just sending money from Vivian and I, it was a little easier. But this is beyond our own giving. This has become a weighty realization for me.
 
I know that we are helping these children, but God is also working in my own life and I hope all who give. It is a spiritual journey for all of us.

By the way, to repeat myself on something I have said before: 100% of the money given, every penny, nickel and dime (and dollar), is given to feed, clothe, shelter, provide schooling, and to otherwise provide for the needs of the orphans of the Log Church of Kisii, Kenya. There is nothing held back for “administration,” “office expense,” or some undefined “other costs.” There are even no funds transfer fees taken out of your gift. It all goes to the orphans.