Saturday, May 18, 2019

KISII REPORT - AFTER THE HUNGER


On Tuesday I was able to send some money to the orphanage. On Wednesday, the staff was then able to go to the market to get some food. After four days without eating, the children at last had some food.  

I remember days in the past when at times the days of famine were closer to a week. But at least in these mornings when I awake, I am thanking God that the children will be able to eat today. 

How long will this last? Joel tells me that they have enough until next Wednesday. 

The food supply does not last that long at the orphanage. Remember, there are 42 children, many of them adolescents and even some teenagers. Their bodies have more demands than many of ours. 

Vivian and I, for instance, simply do not eat much for our meals anymore. Our food budget is very low, and it could be even lower if I stopped buying maple nut ice cream. But we also remember what it was like when our four sons were in their growing years. Food would seem to vanish before our eyes! I even remember having to hide my maple nut so that they would only eat the vanilla. 

Forty-two children need a lot of food, and food is not cheap in Kenya. In times before some crops are harvested, food in fact becomes very expensive because of the low supply. 

There are no food banks in the area where the orphanage is located. There are no churches with food pantries, no NGO’s or mission organizations working there that supply food, and the government of Kenya has no food stamp program or any such thing. 

 I have serious doubts if there are any free food banks at all in all of Kenya, unless some large mission or organization has one in another area. Some of you with more experience in Kenya might be able to tell me. 

I asked Joel to tell me a little of the disposition of the children during these times of hunger. He has never mentioned it to me before, although he has said that many times some children cry most of the night. A question that he is often asked is, “Why is God forsaking us?”

He has also overheard children saying things like:
“God, remember us!”
“Where is food, God?”
“Why did my parents die? Why, why?”
“God, you gave us food in the past. Kindly give us food today.”
“God, give us food. It is better to die!”

Some who have been rescued from the streets talk about going back. Realistically however, this is no good option, and the children know it. It is not only the children in the orphanage that go through times of hunger. It is common in the area, especially when the crops are not yet ready to be harvested and the food supply has run out.

“The days of hunger,” the Kenyans call these times.

The people try to grow enough to sustain their families, but most have land holdings that are so small that they are unable to have sufficient supplies.

Since the children now are not in school (no way to pay the fees at this time), they are in the orphanage all day. The pastors and staff have Bible studies with them, telling about the times in the Bible when the people had nothing to eat but God did later supply food for them.

“Be patient, God will supply,” the leaders tell them.
“Trust in God, children.”

It is in these situations that the words of the Lord’s prayer take on special significance: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

“Trust in God children, God will supply.”

*****************
Thanks to those of you who have helped during this past week.
With the help that we have been sending for these children, several people have spoken to me to ask me or to warn me about creating a relationship of dependency.

After working with and even living among some of the most needy people of the earth for a good part of my adult life and facing many similar circumstances as this one, I actually have some opinions about this subject that you may find interesting.

Maybe I will write about that next week.

 

 

Sunday, May 12, 2019

KISII REPORT - YOU MAY NOT LIKE READING THIS

Believe it or not, one of the most disheartening emails that I receive in relation to the orphans in Kenya is when someone writes to me and tells me that they plan on sending me some money for the children.

“Why is that?” you might ask. “I would think that this would be encouraging for you.”

THE SPECIFICS OF HOPE


As I wrote in the previous post of this series, the way in which the Bible uses the word hope is not as we commonly use it in our everyday language. We use it to express a wish that may or may not be realized.
However, the hope that comes from God is not a mere yearning or a desire. It is an inevitable goal that is promised to us. This promise gives us strength to persevere under extreme circumstances.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

KISII REPORT - ARE WE DONE?


The dormitory has been finished and the orphans are now sleeping in their new home. This has been a long and continual prayer of ours, and is the result of several people helping out financially. Most of all, of course, it is the result of the goodness of God.

It was a step-by-step process, where we built as we had funding. Every step was done in consultation with the government officials, since we wanted all to be done properly.

The rains in Kisii have begun, so we are grateful that the orphans now have a dry and healthy place to sleep. Were it not for the completion of this dormitory, soon we would have begun to experience some of the health problems that the children experienced last year. We are praying for a much better year this time.

First Step - we were able to buy
5,500 bricks
So what’s next? Are we done?

Speaking for myself at least, I cannot say that I am done. God has given Vivian and me no indication that we may now retire from this work. The needs of the children continue,
leveling and preparing the site
and with 42 of them, the cost of running the orphanage is significant—about $5000 per month.


 
 
Food is the main expenditure, of course. But there are also other needs, such as shoes and
clothing, cleaning supplies, personal care and health items, fuel for cooking, and all the rest that go along with growing children.

Footings
Then there is the schooling. For nine months out of the year, the fees to the schools equal about $1000 per month, plus the cost of uniforms, books, paper, pencils, and some other incidentals. 

Beginning the brick work
Of the $5000 per month, there are no salaries included. No one is making money in this work. 

It seems overwhelming, but my attitude is that I can only do what the Lord enables me to do. As I have told Pastor Joel on several occasions, I have been a servant of God and of the church my entire adult life. I have never worked in a job that has made me a man of substantial financial means. When it comes to finances, I do what I can, but I have no great wealth to contribute.

However, throughout my life, I have seen God do amazing things. In truth, I have seen many things happen in God’s work for
plate beam ready
which I could see no logical explanation. I was not able to put pen to paper and calculate how the costs that we faced had been paid. They were not met by extensive financial petitions or clever campaigns designed to appeal to the emotions of potential donors.

rafters are cut
The best that I could say was that it was the result of the hand of God.





I am convinced that God will continue to do amazing things in the lives of these orphans. They are his children, and he will care for them.














plastering inside and out



HUGE septic tank




Ceiling and painting

 

 







 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

TRUE HOPE LIES ONLY IN EYES THAT CAN SEE

After his long introductory sentence (1:3-14), the apostle Paul now begins to address the people of the church at Ephesus. “For this reason,” Paul tells them, “because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” (Ephesians 1:15 ESV).

We will remember that Paul concluded that introductory sentence by speaking of the how the people of the Ephesian church had come to belief in Christ, and how they were given the Holy Spirit as a pledge of their eventual redemption. All of this, he said, was “to the praise of the glory of God.”

Thursday, May 2, 2019

KISII REPORT - DORMITORY DEDICATION

After many months of prayer and labor, we were at last able to open the dormitory for the orphans. This is a big deal, and the staff at the orphanage put together a big dedication program.

They also lined up a video phone and asked me if I
could have some words for the program.

This took place on 11:00 AM Kenya time on Sunday morning , which was 3:00 AM Wisconsin time. So, at 3:00 early Sunday morning, Vivian and I sat in front of my cell phone and shared in part of the ceremonies.
(More photos below) 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

WHY MOST AMERICANS HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED TRUE JOY

We Americans live at a disadvantage in experiencing joy. If someone has known joy, it has likely been only a measure.
Most Americans have never known a full and unreserved joy.
This is a realization that I have come to as a result of two separate and seemingly unrelated events of this past weekend.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

KISII REPORT - NOTES FROM THE ORPHANS

Last week I wrote about some notes that a group of children from a church in South Dakota had sent with me to give to the orphan children of Kisii.

Today I want to show you some photos that I received the very next day after I had put that post up on this blog page. The photos are not quite clear enough to read what is written, so I asked Pastor Joel to send me the wording
 
 
 
 
Thank You Church of USA. Am Elmeldah Kenyanya I thank God for the provisions for schooling and other necessities. Thanks to all who donated to this term. I pray God to provide for the next term also. Keep paying for us here in Kenya as we also do the same. 

 
Cynthia Miruka I thank almighty God for all things that He had helped us student to be  
supported by our church in one way all the other at our academic and other things. We seek God to keep providing.

 
RE: Appreciation Letter.           Am Faith Moraa, I thank the almighty God for the doors that He has opened and I have report the support throughout this term. Is really God who has done this. I also thank the supportive staff who has done this great wonders and praying God to open the doors next term.  May God almighty bless you for your moral and financial support.
 
 
 
Thank you for donations.
God bless you
 
Pray for School Fees
 
 
 
Pray for food
 
 
Thank you for donations
(The second part I just cannot make out. Any suggestions?)
 
 
 
We praise God that we are very close to finishing the home for the children. I hope to have this news for you next week along with some photos.
 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

TWO RIVERS BECOME ONE

Content Despite Our Limitations

In last Sunday's post, I alluded  to some of the smaller mountains that I have climbed in places of the world where I have lived. Each time I hiked up the side of a mountain, as I got higher on the trail, my perspective of the surrounding countryside became clearer. Sometimes however, as I sat down to rest and to take in the view, it became apparent to me that I would have to wait until I was on the top of the summit until I would have a complete perspective of the land that was surrounding me.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

KISII REPORT - ALMOST DONE + NOTES FROM SOUTH DAKOTA

These photos are the most recent that I received from Pastor Joel. They are installing a ceiling in the dormitory for a couple of reasons.

The first reason is that since there are boys on one end of the building and girls on the other, the government directed us to put in the ceiling.

We are complying of course, especially since the Kenyan government has already made concessions to allow us to have both boys and girls housed in the same building. This has not been allowed in the past.

The other major reason for the ceiling is to help keep out mosquitoes. Malaria is a problem in that area, especially during the rainy season when the mosquito population explodes. The ceiling will go a long way to keep the insects out during the nighttime hours.

On another matter, this week I feel that I need to mention that from the very beginning of my involvement with the orphanage, it has not been my intention to “raise money” for the children. I did not think that this was something that I was called to do. My task was to tell the story of the Log Church and Orphanage of Kenya, and then trust God to put it in the hearts of people to donate. That is why I do not make any appeals for funding.

However, someone mentioned to me this past week that they thought since I do not ask for money, it must mean that the orphanage is fully funded.
Not so—except as the Lord supplies.

The Kenyan church of 200 people or so in that small village, themselves all just living from day to day, are all who supply for these children—they and anyone who reads this blog and whom God calls to donate. There is no organization backing this work, no church denomination, no large donors, just the few whom God has called.

It has been amazing to the people there, and to me as well, that we have seen this building for the children almost completed in a span of less than a year. It will be their home. It has not been an inexpensive proposition, yet God has made it possible. And now we are happy to say that very soon we expect that the children can move in.

But that does not mean that the needs stop. Feeding 42 children plus the half-dozen or so workers costs over $4000 per month, and the schooling $1000 per month when school is in session. These costs are on-going. We do trust God and are so thankful to see how He has provided.

And I am thankful that God did not allow these children to be abandoned to the world, but raised up a humble church to care for them. He has also called Vivian and me, and he has called some of you. Neither can I abandon them.
***********************************

I actually had another matter that I wanted to write about this evening, so despite the fact that this post is getting a little lengthy, I am going to include it. This matter has to do with the photo on the right.

When I went to Kenya in January, a children’s group from a church in South Dakota asked me if I could bring some booklets of John and Romans with me to hand out to the children in the orphanage.

These kids in South Dakota have taken a big interest in the orphans, keeping up with what I write and praying for them. They also have sent some offerings. I was glad to take the booklets, because in the front of each one, the kids wrote a personal note to the orphan who would receive it. Many had pictures that the children had drawn.

I read through the notes before I packed them, and they were so nice, I decided to copy each one before I put them in my bag. I wish I could have copied the drawings as well, since many of the kids were so young that their drawings were their best expressions. Many of the booklets had only pictures drawn, since the children were very young. But here is what I copied:

“Hello from South Dakota USA. We are a small group of believers who love you and pray for you in Kisii Kenya”

From Jasper (age 8): with drawings of a sun, a heart, flower and one of Jasper himself: “Good day to you, my friend.”

From Morgan (age 13): “I hope you have a good future. I’m learning about what Jesus did for me. I didn’t grow up knowing the Bible, but I’m learning now. My mom just had surgery. Grandma has cancer.”

From Taber (no age given): “I live on a ranch. We raise buffalo. I like animals. God made them all. We pray for you.”

From Joni (no age given) with her drawing of a church with an angel, a snowman, a drawing of Joni herself along with one of the orphan children: “Dear wonderful child. Hi, my name is Joni. I hope you got money and food. I hope you get better and get a warm home! I hope you get your home built before the cold time. From you friend Joni.”

From Megan (no age given): “Please know that you are being prayed for and that God loves you very much! One of my favorite verses is Phil. 4:6-7”

From Erin (age 11): “Never forget, God is always here, God is always there. God is watching. God cares, Cast all your care upon him for He careth for you.”

From Sawyer (age 8) with some drawings of a house, some flowers and a snowman: “Dear child. Hi my name is Sawyer. I heard you are trying to build a house before the rainy season. I hope you get plenty food and water. I hope you get your house built before the rainy season and I hope your house is nice and warm like mine. I have been praying for you.  Have sent some money for you and your friends. I hope you get a lot of money. To awesome child. Love Sawyer”

From Ty (age 11): “Always keep God with you. He promises to always watch over us – in Kenya and in South Dakota.”

From Morgan (age13): “Wish you a happy life. God go with you.”

From Joshua (age 12): “And by the way, if something is hard, never give up. God says he will never fail us or forsake us.”

From Riley: “Hi, I’m Riley. I’m 10, and I hope you can get food and money to help the kids.

From Cayson: “I hope you are happy. My name is Cayson. I am 6.”

From Shaniah (age13): “Always be a child of the heavenly Father. He made you and is watching over you.”

From Alanah: “Hi my name is Alanah and I am 11. I will always try to help, and donate money. I am always interested in you. May God watch over you in love.”

From Ruger (no age given): “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you. He will never leave you or forsake you. Deut 31:6.”

Sylvia: “What a privilege to hear of a church adopting children and to be a very small part in helping meet their needs. We pray…for Jesus…does not fail us…thank God for the little Log Church in Kenya. May the love and light of Jesus. Continue to shine bright in your hearts. Romans 8:38-39”

 

Sunday, April 7, 2019

IT ALL BEGAN WITH GRACE

A Choice that was Made in Eternity Past

I closed the previous post on this subject saying that we were about to begin a very difficult climb in our understanding of the life of faith. Thus, preparing ourselves to do some weighty thinking, here is how Paul continues as he writes to the church in Ephesus:  

He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the Beloved One. (Ephesians 1:4-6 BSB)  

We have been likening our study of these first verses of Ephesians as climbing a mountain in order to obtain the viewpoint from the summit. It is only from the summit that we are able to see clearly the lay of the land. Things that seem confusing and even contradictory when we see them at ground level become more evident when viewed from a higher perspective.

In the verses that I quoted above, the apostle introduces us to some concepts that, as we view them from ground level, we cannot understand. So impossible for us to comprehend these things now, that many people reject them completely.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

KISII REPORT - THE RAINS ARE BEGINNING TO COME

It is 3:30 in the morning in Kenya as I begin writing this (7:30 PM here in Wisconsin). On my phone I monitor the weather in Kisii, and as you can see, the rains are beginning to come to the area. It is not raining every day yet, as there are still some pictures of sun, but soon it will be raining almost every day. Pastor Joel told me that they have some days of heavy rains now.

As you can see by the other photos, the septic system is finished and covered. That was done before rain began pouring in from the roof.

 
There are a few additional things that must be completed before the children can move into the building, but hopefully that will be soon.

My prayer always has been that we could get them a healthy and safe sleeping building before the heavy rains are upon them, and it remains my prayer. We continue to look to the Lord to provide for the needed resources to complete this building.

Got questions or comments?
donaldrhody@gmail.com