Wednesday, September 18, 2019

KISII REPORT - REWARDS AND CHALLENGES


Never have I been involved with a work that has been so challenging, and yet at the same time so rewarding. On the rewarding side, to know that we have been involved with a work that has literally saved the lives of these children has been very gratifying and deeply satisfying. If no one had intervened in their lives, many would by now probably have been dead, and the rest living on the streets scrounging in garbage heaps.

One day in Kisii town, when I was walking in the market, I walked past two huge garbage dumpsters. As I was passing, two boys emerged from them, probably about 12 years old or so. They had an appearance like death itself— two starved and emaciat-ed children wearing filthy rags to cover what they could of their muck-caked bodies.

Of course this was horrible to see and my empathies went out to these boys, but I could not also help thinking that this would have also been the fate of our own children who would have managed to still stay alive even if we hadn’t begun the orphanage.
Market where the orphanage often buys food

Another aspect of this work that has been very rewarding is that the kids are truly thankful for what has been done for them. Before they were rescued, they were aware of their fate, at least the older ones who had an understanding of life. They knew there were no prospects for them to improve their lot, and no one who cared.
More of the Market

Because of where they had come from, they now joyfully praise God for having rescued them. They are alive and are being raised in an atmosphere of Christian love and nourishment.

These have been my rewards, and if you have been involved with this work, they are also yours.

The challenging side of this work is that the needs never end. We are accustomed in America to give a donation to some work and then congratulating ourselves for “doing our bit.” But of course this approach does not work in running an orphanage. You cannot feed a child one day and expect that he will not need to eat again.



No lumps in this mattress - just holes
Food costs are now about $1400 to as much as nearly $2000 per week (depending upon the highly fluctuating food prices - you can pray that the prices for food will eventually return to their normal "cheap" prices where we were only paying about $1000/month).

In addition school fees for the kids cost more than $1000 per month. Besides this, some items that I thought were covered, such as clothes and shoes, have worn out.

Even the mattresses are wearing out! These are not Temperpedic mattresses, you understand, but just thin pads of foam.


I also just learned that some kids are still sleeping on the floor, which may be why the mattresses are wearing out so quickly. I had previously thought that we had sufficient bunk beds, but we apparently do not. They still need two more beds, but the people of the Log Church of Kenya have dedicated themselves to contribute for this need until there is enough.
A week's worth of groceries
(They hire the van to transport)
And of course food is a constant challenge. The amount of money that I send from our own funds and from those of you who donate do not nearly meet the needs. It is not uncommon for the orphans to go four or five days eating nothing but one meal a day of thin soup made of ground maize.

So these are some of the rewards and challenges to this work. Am I glad that I became involved? Of course I am, but it really was not a matter of choosing. God would not let me rest until I did something about these children.


Buying sandals for the kids
“I passed by 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 (the Lord) made you thrive like a plant of the field. You grew up and matured and became very beautiful.” (Ezekiel 16:6-7)  



***************************************** 
If you would like to help the children of the Log Church Orphanage of Kisii, Kenya, you may make your check out to "The Log Church" and write "Orphans" on the memo line.

Send it to:The Log Church
PO Box 68
Tripoli, Wisconsin 54564 
Every nickel given in this way will be used for only aid for the orphans. It will be used for purchasing food, clothing, schooling, and other necessities of living. Nothing is held back or diverted for any other purpose



Sunday, September 15, 2019

THE GOOD DEED BALANCE SCALE


It is the common perception of spiritual reality around the world, in many different religions, and even in daily living—The Good Deed Balance Scale. You might call it Karma, the Golden Rule, or even “Paying it Forward.”

It is not that all these teachings are bad, necessarily. All are teachings to encourage us to do good to other people. Rather, it is that these teachings to no go far enough. 

There are some places in the Bible where I wish that the writers would have added a couple of footnotes. Today’s Scripture reading is one of those instances.
In this passage, some people had come to Jesus, wanting him to comment about some “Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices,” as the writer put it (Luke 13:1).

Friday, September 13, 2019

THE BAPTISM OF JESUS

John the Baptist came preaching repentance, telling anyone who would listen that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
What did John mean to say when he talked about this kingdom? How did the people understand the words “the kingdom of heaven”?
The ancient world had already had several kingdoms in its history that had arisen to such power that, during the times of their reigns, they had controlled the activities of all the known peoples of that day. Kingdom after kingdom had ruled this way in their times before falling from their position. Finally, leaving nothing but the stone ruins of their ancient and once great buildings, they were replaced by yet another kingdom.
But the Jews believed that this cycle of kingdoms rising and falling would eventually cease.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

KISII REPORT - WHERE WE ARE NOW


I think it has been almost a couple of weeks since I last wrote about things in Kisii. But here is how things stand at the present:
 
There have been days of hunger again for the children, but thankfully, the orphanage has once again been able to go to the market to buy some food. Thanks to each of you who have contributed for this, and thanks to God for not abandoning these kids to the world.

This time they were 5 days basically without food. The only thing that they eat in these times is a thin soup/porridge made of maize meal – one bowl per day. These are the hunger times. The orphanage runs out of food quite often, so they must learn to endure and trust God that soon there will be something to eat.

I am thankful now that the kids have been able to have a full meal of rice, beans and vegetables (it is seldom that they can afford meat). I am happy to report that their food stores have been now restocked for several days.

I am also very happy also to

Sunday, September 1, 2019

"BAPTISM NOW SAVES YOU"


“Baptism now saves you.”—Saint Peter said that.
Jesus also said at one time, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.”
Just what role does baptism play in our spiritual walk?  

Monday, August 26, 2019

BORN FROM ABOVE


Nicodemus was a Pharisee, some of the most “religious” people of the first century. Not only that, but he was also a member of the Sanhedrin—the Jewish ruling council (John 3:1). Highly respected among his peers and the people alike, Nicodemus was nevertheless a troubled man. Some of the teachings of Jesus were in direct conflict to the teachings of the Pharisees, yet Nicodemus could not deny that Jesus taught with authority.

Friday, August 23, 2019

KISII REPORT - THIRD TERM SCHOOL

The cattle are from our Wisconsin farm
The goldenrod is in bloom in Northern Wisconsin. When I was growing up, this was always a reminder to me that school was soon to begin. For me as a kid, it was an unhappy reminder, but it is not so for everyone.

School is about to begin also in Kenya. The kids at the Log Church Orphanage are happily looking forward to being able again to go to schoolthe same as every other child.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

THE WIDOW'S MITE - (It's not about the money)


I take this reading from Mark 12:41-44 (NAS). 

He (Jesus) sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums.  And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

KISII REPORT - THE LORENA ROCKET STOVE


In many parts of the developing world, food is still cooked using
The Orphanage Cooks Preparing a Meal
Outside Using the Three Rock System
the “Three Rock” system. What is the three rock system? It is just as it sounds—three rocks spaced just right for a kettle to sit on top and a wood fire beneath. It’s the system we sometimes use when we are camping, and it is the system that they were using at the orphanage when I have visited them.

It works fine, except that most of the heat is lost so that it is not used at all for cooking. This way of cooking uses a lot of wood. In an area such as in Kisii, where most of the land is used for crops, firewood is not cheap. Money that instead could be used to buy food literally “goes up in smoke.”

STUMBLING BLOCKS


It is an interesting term – stumbling block. I seriously doubt if anyone ever set out to purposefully make an actual stumbling block. You can't go on YouTube for an instructional video, and I am quite certain that none of us have ever seen an object that we would recognize specifically as a stumbling block. We have never walked through a museum looking at historic artifacts, and seen a display of a block of some sort with a little identifying placard that said “Stumbling Block,” explaining its use and origin.

Nevertheless, despite this lack of experience, none of us have any difficulty knowing what is meant by the term. It is not difficult for us because all of us have stumbled over something or another at some time in our lives. We know what a stumbling block is.
 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

DISCIPLESHIP AND THE TONGUE


Getting the Small Things Right

In our reading today (Mark 8:34-38 - in footnote below), Jesus was explaining to his followers what it means to be true disciples. He used phrases such as “let him deny himself” and to “take up one’s cross.” What does he mean by these things?

Jesus then says, “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s shall save it.”

Jesus was actually preparing his disciples for the fact that he was soon to be crucified. He told them, “The Son of Man must suffer many things. He must be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

But Jesus was doing more than preparing his followers for that particular event. He was also teaching them the way of a true disciple in this present life. He is talking about things to which you and I should also listen. He is speaking of a life of self-denial. After all, he also asks the rhetorical question, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Then Jesus says something that may be particularly disturbing: “For whoever is ashamed of Me in My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” 
 

Friday, August 2, 2019

KISII REPORT - WHY IS FOOD SO EXPENSIVE IN KENYA?



The question I am often asked—“Why is the food so expensive in Kenya?”

How much is it? I used to give the round figure of $1000 per week to feed all the orphans and the workers. That is about 50 people, which works out to about $20 per week per person.

But that figure is no longer valid. Because of poor crop yields, adverse weather conditions and growing demands upon the food supply, prices have recently risen significantly.

Below are the prices that the Log Church Orphanage last paid in comparison with previous prices. I am giving the prices as Pastor Joel gave them to me last week (in Kenya Shillings). One Ksh in dollars equals 0.0097 at today’s exchange. That is close to a penny per shilling.

I usually just do my conversion simply by moving the decimal point to the left two places, and I figure it is close enough. But I know that there are some out there that like things exact, so I have also made the conversions to dollars. I have not however, done the kilogram to pound conversion. Maybe that is your thing that you like to do. If so, let me know how it compares with food here in the US:

Maize – was Ksh.8000 ($77.60) per 100kg. The new price is Ksh.15,000 ($145.50) per 100kg. That is an increase of Ksh.7,000 ($67.90) per 100 kg. (getting close to double the price)

Rice – was Ksh.8000 ($77.60) per 100kg, Now Ksh.10,000 ($97.13) per 100kg. That is an increase of Ksh.2,000 ($19.40)

Beans – was Ksh.15,000 ($145.50) per 100kg, but now is Ksh.25,000 ($242.50). That is an increase of Ksh 10,000 ($97.13)

Vegetables – I have no former price, but the orphanage spends Ksh 3000 per day for these ($29.14)

According to the World Economic Forum, the people of Kenya use 46.7% of their income on food. That is the second highest in the world. It is higher only in Nigeria, where they spend over half their income on food.

What do we spend in the US? The least in the entire world – 6.4%

Of course, this is more than a function of food prices alone. It also depends upon wages. But after all the calculations and comparisons are done, the end result always comes to this: How difficult is it to feed my family?

If you Google the price for food in Nairobi (the capital city), you will find that the cost of food for one person per month is Ksh 19,000 ($184.30). If you were feeding 50 people, as we do at the orphanage (42 children plus staff), that comes to Ksh 950,000, or $9,215.00 per month.

Joel tells me that the orphan workers figure that they spend Ksh 798,000 ($7,740.60) per month. That works out to $154.81 per person per month.
 
So, instead of the round figure for food of $1000 per week as I used to say, I think today it would be getting close to $2000 per week. What I am able to send does not approach this amount.

The people of the church in Kenya bring food items in for the children, but it is an area of quite severe poverty, so there is no abundance of food. But God is feeding His children, despite outward difficulties.

So these are the food needs. But of course there are many other necessities in raising children.

School shoes –  (42 Black Bata shoes needed) one pair cost Ksh.2200 =$21.37.

Clothes – one pair full cost Ksh.1000=$9.71. Clothes for 42 children are needed. Certainly they pass on clothing from child to child, but clothes do eventually wear out beyond repair.

20 Mattress are needed. One mattress costs Ksh.4500=$43.71. They are only a thin foam covered by cloth, and they eventually also wear out.

Blankets – 20 are needed at Ksh 800 each ($7.77)

Bed sheets – 20 are needed at Ksh 700 each ($6.80)

School – the children are now on holiday for the month of August, but when classes again begin in September, the school costs will run about $1200 per month for all the children (about  $28.50 per month per child).

Many people tell me that they are praying for all of these needs of the orphans of the Log Church Kenya. I believe in prayer and I have seen and been the recipient of genuine miracles directly as a result of prayer. So I will say, if that is what God is telling you to do – only bring the needs to him in prayer, thank you so much! I know that God will honor and answer your prayers.

At the same time, if God is telling you that you should also help in a more tangible way, but you only are willing to pray and nothing more, I do not have the same assurance that your prayers have any effect. Would you think that God actually pays much attention to the prayers of those who are not following what he is telling them to do?

“Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you tells him, ‘Go in peace; stay warm and well fed,’ but does not provide for his physical needs, what good is that?  So too, faith by itself, if it is not complemented by action, is dead.” (James 2:15-17)

And to all who have helped by sending funds for the needs of the orphans, I also say thank you so much. The money is not wasted, and it goes 100% for the needs of the children.

If God is asking you to give, I encourage you to loosen up those purse strings a little. I will tell you that you will not be sorry. There is nothing that feels quite so good as obeying the Lord.

***************************************** 
If you would like to help the children of the Log Church Orphanage of Kisii, Kenya, you may make your check out to "The Log Church" and write "Orphans" on the memo line.

Send it to:
The Log Church
PO Box 68
Tripoli, Wisconsin 54564

Every nickel given in this way will be used for only aid for the orphans. It will be used for purchasing food, clothing, schooling, and other necessities of living. Nothing is held back or diverted for any other purpose