Especially notable to me was the case of a well-known church in St. Paul, Minnesota. Some years earlier, they had begun receiving similar emails as did I in response to their own website and online sermons. Responding to similar appeals for money for the supposed orphanage, the church began sending money. They did not actually at first send someone to see this orphanage—something that I did not understand, since with such a large church, surely they could have done so.
They did not do so for some months. When someone finally did go, they found nothing. No orphanage, no orphans, no staff.
As I suspected would happen, Joel read these words and appeared to be hurt by them. He wrote to me:
"Daddy, come and prove me and the church whether we are scammers this statement on your website from your friend in Kenya. Daddy have do not want to be rich from you. Your friend has worked in Kenya but is discouraging you from not working in Kenya. God had a purpose to direct me to you. Welcome Kenya."
Joel told me repeatedly that his desire was to profit spiritually, not monetarily. Of course this is something that a person would say, but with our many letters back and forth, I was coming to believe him.
But of course, one can give any impression one wants to in letters. In some ways, I was glad that it had not worked out for me to go and see him when I was in Ethiopia, since that trip alone wore me out physically. But in other ways, I was sorry that I could not go.