Sunday, April 22, 2018

ONE LAD’S LUNCH + JESUS

In some overseas countries where I have lived and worked, I have seen some extremely difficult living challenges that many people must face on a daily basis. However, none of them are more difficult than for the people that the Lord has now most recently put into my life—the people of the Log Church of Kenya and the surrounding community.
 
The effort to find something to eat is an almost daily struggle for most of the people in the small community where the church is located. It is a rural area, and it is even an agricultural area, but despite these facts, there is not nearly enough food.
 
One of the principle reasons for this is that, despite it being in the countryside, there is quite a large population. For many generations, the family land holdings have been repeatedly divided up among the children of the family, giving each adult child with his new family only a very tiny plot of ground on which to grow food.
 
Most people have a garden, but these small food plots cannot produce sufficient amounts of food for the entire year. It is especially difficult for the people in the times leading up to the harvest season, since by this time, any food reserves that they may have has been depleted. It is this time that the people refer to as the “hunger season.”
 
The situation for the church is even more extreme than for a typical family, since they are trying to provide food for not only for the 32+ orphans, but also for the people who help out with the orphans. Indeed, they try to provide for all who come to the church looking for food. The piece of land that they have at their disposal for growing food is a plot of about 60 X 100 feet.
 
As I have shared before, and for reasons that I do not completely understand, these are the people whom God has given to me. He has said to me, “Feed them.”
 
Quite honestly, when God said this to me, I did not want to feed them. After living away from my home most of my life and serving others, in my retirement years I was frankly ready for some ME time. I had plans for my retirement. I was glad to be back on my farm and not keen to begin a new work overseas.
 
A Grocery Store Shopping Trip for 5000 People
In some ways, my thinking was like the disciples when faced with a crowd of 5000+ hungry people. Instead of taking it upon themselves to help the people, they said to Jesus, “Send them away into the surrounding countryside and into the villages so that they can buy something to eat.”

 
In response to that, Jesus said to the disciples, “You give them something to eat!”
 
He has said that also to me.

Friday, April 20, 2018

LIFE IN KISII (Part 3)

Besides the air that we breathe, there is nothing more indispensable to life than food and water. Probably for most people who read this post, these are seldom in question. We turn on the faucet and we expect clean water to come out, and we open the door of the refrigerator to a variety of vegetables and meats. 
 
It will not surprise you that this is not the case for the people of the community where the Log Church of Kisii is located. To correct something from a couple posts ago, I asked Joel the correct name and the spelling of this community. It is Matagaro, not Mata Oro as I remembered hearing it.  
 
Food 
 
The people there go through various times of hunger throughout the year. Many, and perhaps even most people have a small plot of ground where they can grow a garden. However, the area for the garden is so small that it cannot grow sufficient food to sustain a family. 
 
I keep thinking that it would be a good place for some teachings of gardening techniques and soil maintenance. There has been a lot that has been learned about these subjects through the years, things that have been learned through experimentation. Many of these are methods that could benefit the people of Kisii. 

Nevertheless, I have worked among people in developing countries most of my adult life, and it is also true that I have grown to have a high respect for the methods of these people. Many from the more wealthy countries look on these from developing lands as being a “simple” people, whose farming methods have not changed for hundreds of years.  

This is certainly true in a sense, but there are some additional matters to consider.
One is that the methods that these simple farmers use are methods that have worked well in their areas and in their culture. I tend to guard against assuming that the methods that we use in our big farms in the US can simply be adapted anywhere.

My first experience in working with agriculture overseas was during the “green revolution” of the 1970’s when we were attempting to do this. There were many good things that came out of the green revolution, but there were other things that was not so helpful.

That first experience of mine was with the Peace Corps in Northern India, where I saw this to be true. This first experience of mine taught me that listening is more important than talking. I could tell you many stories, but that will have to be for another time.

In Kisii, the family land has been repeatedly divided between the children for many generations, until today the tiny plot left for each one is not enough to sustain a family. This leaves the people of the agriculture community dependent on outside work. The difficulty is, there is very little work to be found.
 
There are some tea plantations, where one can be paid for picking the tea leaves. But these are not large and expansive gardens that hire many workers, and what work there is, it is very sporadic.
 
When there is no food or money to buy food, there are no food banks to go to, no community pantries of donated canned goods. There is nothing. The people simply do not eat. They stay home to conserve energy, and they go hungry. 
 
Water
 
I was a little surprised when I learned that water was also at times in short supply. I was told when I first went there that they received rain in every month of the year. Certainly, some months are dryer than others, but there are no long periods when rain does not fall.
 
But Joel informs me that getting clean water is actually quite a problem, and the people have only contaminated water to drink. I do not need to tell you what health problems that this can cause. It is like the inadequate latrine situation. The reoccurring diseases and parasites have a cumulative and cyclical effect.

 
The answer of course is to dig a well. They call them “bore holes.” Kisii is a higher altitude so I assumed that the bore holes would need to be quite deep, but I did not know how deep. I sent a text to Joel to ask him if he knew how far down the water table was. 
Joel responded, “Praise to God, clean water can be obtained at the deep table of 129 meters down.” 
 
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This coming Sunday on the 22nd of April,  in the sermon at the Log Church of Tripoli, Wisconsin, I am going to be sharing something that the Lord has been teaching me through this experience that he has given me will the church and orphanage in Kenya. 
 
The motto for our church: "All Are Welcome"
And YOU are welcome. We meet at a new time now - 9:30 AM. It's a one hour service.


 

Monday, April 16, 2018

LIFE IN KISII, KENYA (Part 2)

I know that I had closed the previous post saying that this time, I would be talking about the food and water shortages of the people of the Log Church of Kisii. I still intend to do that, but I think that it will need to wait for another day. First, I need to write about a subject that should have properly been part of the previous post, because it involves the housing and health needs of the orphans.

That subject is the need for at least one additional latrine for the church and orphanage.

I am quite certain that it would be no surprise to anyone that there is no septic system at the church, which doubles as an orphanage. They have one open pit toilet—what we would call an outhouse, or as we called them in New Zealand, “a long drop.”

The sudden need for a latrine was actually how I began becoming financially involved with the church in Kisii in the first place, long before they called themselves the “Log Church of Kenya.” Before that time, my relationship with the church was simply of a teaching nature. They had been using the sermons that I post on this website as part of the teachings that they used in their meetings. The pastor would often write to me about the sermons, commenting on them and how they used them in their meetings.

Then one day, after a few months of these types of letters, Pastor Joel wrote to tell me that the latrine that they had for the church suddenly collapsed, sending two of their orphans to the hospital. They needed money to build a new latrine and also to help with the hospital bills. He asked me if I could help them out. For our relationship to suddenly take on a financial aspect was a little troubling to me.

The internet being what it is, I could not help but be a little suspicious. I wrote frankly to him, telling him. However, the Lord would not allow me to let go of the matter. After several exchanges of emails, I eventually sent them some money to help pay for these expenses. I wrote about this pretty extensively about a year ago, so I will not go into detail about it again.

As a confirmation, I asked him to send me photos of the collapsed latrine, and also the reconstruction as it began to take place.
 
They finally were able to build a very good latrine, and when I was there, I could see that it served them very well. However, as good as it is, I know that it is very inadequate for the number of people who use it. Herein is the problem with outhouses.

I am old enough that I remember having an outhouse on the farm where I grew up, complete with the Montgomery/Ward catalogue. We also had indoor plumbing for most of my growing up years, but I also remember using the outhouse many times. We usually only used it in the summer, as I remember, since it was quite far from the house, which is better than being too close to the house.

But having an outhouse on a family farm that is used by one family is far different than a single latrine that is meant to serve fifty people or more. The main problem is hygiene. 

First of all, the failure in hygiene with outhouses is that not everyone bothers to use it when they should. If a single latrine is meant to serve a very large number of people, it is easy to see that it will not always be available at any moment for anyone who might need it. Kids, being who they are, do the next best thing. Adults may also do this, of course.

When you combine this with the fact that the orphans often do not have shoes, you can see why parasites and diseases can easily spread. The kids run around bare-footed, picking up any worms or other soil-borne pathogen. This often causes diarrhea, which only exacerbates the problem.

Of the multiple difficulties that the orphanage faces, this is actually quite an important one. They mentioned it to me several times when I visited there. When good hygiene is impossible to maintain, it has a very negative and cumulative effect. One health problem causes another health problem.
 
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I think I will need to wait a couple days to continue this series, since I cannot see how I will have time to write anything extra for a while. I need to work on my sermon for next Sunday, which actually will be centered on what I have been learning in my own life through this relationship that I have had with the Log Church of Kenya.

I also have several other things going on. Plus, it looks like I need to plow snow again this morning. The snowfall is over now, but we got an unbelievable amount. It is hard to say exactly how much since the blowing and drifting was so extreme, but it was certainly well over a foot. Some areas are reporting 20 inches or more—even close to 30inches.

Spring anyone?

Sunday, April 15, 2018

LIFE IN KISII, KENYA (Part 1)

This is a winter that is trying its best not to go away. On this Sunday morning, the 15th of April, the government travel map has State Highway 8 colored in black, which means “travel not advised.” This is the road that runs past the Log Church of Tripoli.

So once again, we have cancelled the Sunday service for this morning. It is not the first time this winter. I don’t remembered if we cancelled only one other time this winter, or maybe it was twice. This winter has been a long one and my mind is tending to drift like the snow outside my window. We are all winter weary up here in the northwoods, and waiting for spring.

It will come—just not today.

But this quiet Sunday morning at home gives me an opportunity to put down some thoughts that you may or may not be interested in. My thoughts are regarding the Log Church, not of Tripoli, Wisconsin, but of Kisii, Kenya.

If you are interested to know some of these thoughts—read on. If you are not—turn on the TV.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked Pastor Joel to explain to me more about the challenges that the people of the Log Church face, and in fact, the challenges of living that all the people face in that region.

When I was there in November, they had me so busy with my teaching in the Bible conference that they arranged, I had little time to get to know the region. I asked many questions, but I still was not able to learn a great deal about life there. Should the Lord send me back there, I am going to ask them not to have a conference, but just allow me to get to know the people better and learn about the local situation.

But that being said, Joel has been a great help in educating me during these past couple of weeks. He has sent me many photos, which is not a simple thing for him to do from over there, and he has written to me many pages of information. It is some of that which I am going to share with you. 

Housing

As I mentioned, the church is in a rural area. There is a town of sorts, but most of the people live on their portion of their own family’s land out in the country. The town is not actually named Kisii. Kisii is the larger town of the area. It is where I stayed when I visited there last November. Every day, it took me about a half an hour by taxi to reach the smaller community were the church is located.
Market Day in the Village Near the Church

I never properly got the name of that community. I asked, but I did not have them write it down for me, so I do not know the spelling. I only remember that I thought that it sounded like “mata oro” in Spanish, which means “golden bush.” But I am sure that is not what it means in Ekegusii. Ekegusii is a Bantu language and the local tongue of the Kisii tribe of Kenya.

The housing is very basic, generally one room that may be divided
(The photos are actual photos of church member homes)
into two or three sections by curtains of cloth. The houses are usually of wattle and daub construction and with tin roofs. It provides adequate living conditions for the temperatures of the region, but it also presents some problems.

This type of construction also is not well suited for longevity in that climate. It requires constant repair and occasional reconstruction. It is for this reason that we decided to build the sleeping room for the girl orphans out of brick. The cost to construct it is about ten times as expensive, but our thought that this is a ministry that will last for many years (scroll down to see the blog 5,500 BRICKS).  

Health Problems

One of the disadvantages of the mud houses is that they become very dusty—dusty to the point where they can cause health problems. This is actually a problem in the place that the girl orphans presently sleep. Several of the girls have to sleep on the dirt floor with only a thin cloth covering the soil. This exposes them to chiggers and other soil-borne parasites. Many of the girls also have respiratory problems because of the dusty conditions. This is also true for the boy orphans, but it is more severe for the girls. That is why we are addressing this problem first.

Malaria is also a difficulty of the area. This is highland malaria, which is regarded by some medical personnel as being a separate strain of malaria.

During the colonial period of Kenya, the British considered the higher altitudes of the region around Kisii as being a “safe haven” against the malaria prone lowlands. However, in the time since then, factors such as population growth, improved road systems and more interchange with lowland tribes, malaria has now spread into the highlands.

In some ways, this highland malaria is more virulent than the lowland variety, especially since the local Kisii tribal people do not have built up immunities as do people who had been exposed to the disease for several generations. When I was in Kisii in November, I occasionally would hear of a church member who was presently suffering from a bout of malaria. Since returning, I have continued to hear of this from people there. 

The food and water shortages are another of the difficulties that these people face—almost on a daily basis. I will write about that tomorrow. It sounds like spring will not be returning tomorrow either.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

THE DOUBTERS

On the third day after he had died, and actually much to the surprise of his disciples, Jesus rose from the dead. Mary Magdalene even saw him alive outside of the tomb. Also, the other women who had gone with Mary told the disciples that they saw the empty tomb and that angels had appeared to them, telling them that Jesus had risen from the dead.

Nevertheless, in large part, it seems like the disciples were reluctant believe any of this. They were skeptical of what the women told them. Perhaps they thought that the women wanted so badly for this all to be true that they had imagined it. Wishful thinking.

Friday, April 6, 2018

MAKING PROGRESS


I have not spoken a lot about the day-by-day needs of the orphanage of the Log Church in Kenya. I do not intend to sound super-pious, but my speaking has been mostly to God.

After all, I have always considered this his work. I had no vision for doing this when we first became involved. It was not something that I personally had in mind to accomplish. Quite unexpectedly to me, God suddenly placed it in my lap.

As I have shared before, it is a great surprise to me that God has me involved in this work to this level. I never saw any of this coming when Vivian and I finally returned home after serving for a long time in other countries—none of them in Africa prior to this one. But for reasons unknown to me, God has put the lives of these children in our hearts.

It has been an experience of faith to see how God is raising funding so that the children, who before had not been able to attend school, now for the most part able to do so.

I believe that they have also been able to have meals on more of a regular basis as God has provided money to buy food.

These needs will continue of course, but we are also looking to build an adequate place for the children to sleep. There are even more orphans in the church now than when I was there in November, and many more children end up sleeping on the floor, separated from the dirt by only a thin cloth. It is the girls who are most in need for a sleeping room.

We are in the process of buying materials so that work can begin on a place for them. We have the bricks and are now praying for the provision of enough so that a cement footing for the walls can be poured. It is a slow work, but we know that God will provide in his time.

Thank you also as you pray for this.

Meet a few more of the orphan girls below:
 
This is Mongina  Kaisa. She is 8 years old and an orphan in our orphanage since 2016. She was found thrown in a rubbish pit, crying and brought to our orphanage. She is in  grade 3. She likes singing and reading the Bible. She also wants to become a teacher.
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This is Eunice Nyandwaro. She is 9 years old and an orphan in our orphanage since 2016. She was left alone when her parents were involved in a severe road accident. She is in  grade 7 and likes singing and playing with other children. She also wants to become a doctor.
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This is Vivian Mosoti. She is 7 years old and an orphan in our orphanage since 2016. Vivian was picked from the street and brought to our orphanage after her parents were unknown. She is in grade 2. She likes singing and reciting Bible verses .She also wants to become a nurse.
 


 
 
 

 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

MARY OF MAGDALA - SOMETHING MAGICAL HAPPENS

The first person to see Jesus alive on the resurrection morning was Mary of Magdala, otherwise called Mary Magdalene in the Bible. Very early in the morning, even before it was light (John 20:1), she, along with at least three other women, picked their way through the darkness to go to the tomb, where they knew the dead body of Jesus had been placed after he had been taken down from the cross. That event happened, as you know, on the previous Friday.

I do not know why these women decided to go to the tomb so early in the morning. For some reason they wanted to get to the tomb even before the sun began to bring a little light to the sky. However, one thing that is certain; they did not think that they were going to see a living Christ.

On the night that Jesus was crucified and according to their custom, they had prepared embalming spices to put on the dead body of Jesus (Luke 23:56). It was these spices that they had brought with them to put on his lifeless body. The women did not expect Jesus to have risen from the dead.

Of course, Jesus had told all of his disciples that he would come back to life after three days, but it all seemed just too incredible to them to think that it was actually true. These women were among those who followed Jesus, so they had also heard his words, but neither did they completely understand or truly believe what Jesus said about this. Like the rest, they thought that Jesus must have been speaking figuratively.

Friday, March 30, 2018

THE ANGUISH OF "GOOD" FRIDAY

We call the day “Good.”
“Good Friday.” I suppose that we call it good because it was on that day, the day that Jesus died, that the price was paid for our redemption.

But for the disciples of that day, it was not good. It was not good for the apostles, and it was not good for the other followers of Jesus. It was not good for Mary, the mother of Jesus, nor for the other women who were his followers. It was not good for the several others who, after Jesus had been crucified, retreated behind locked doors out of fear of the Jews.

The day for all of these people was not good. It was the darkest of all possible days.

These people were not only followers of Jesus, but they had placed every hope that they had in him. They did not have an option number two.

And now, Jesus was dead.

I DIED ALONGSIDE JESUS

I don’t have a name that you would recognize, but it was a name many people in Jerusalem once knew. My name was one that they hated.

I was a robber, but not just a typical thief. My partner and I became notorious for the terror that we exacted on the people of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. We prided ourselves for escaping capture for so long. I held great disdain for the law and for the people. I actually enjoyed terrorizing the people. It made me feel powerful and invincible.

However, in the end, my partner and I were caught. The courts tried, convicted and sentenced us. So hated were we that the sentence was the worst one that they could possibly give us. Not only was it execution, but it was execution by crucifixion, the most excruciating kind of death.

I almost did not care. I hated these people so much, I was almost glad to be taken away from them. My hatred for these people had grown so much that I also had come to hate my own life. I even hated life itself. I was glad to die! I loathed life!

But crucifixion is not a quick death. It sometimes takes days to die. It is a painful and prolonged sort of death. The executioners usually first whip the condemned one. They did this for the initial pain that it inflected of course, but also so that they could put deep wounds into the condemned man's back so that it chafes against the rough wood of the cross.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

SAVE US? SAVE US FROM WHAT?

First I think that it might be helpful to piece together the events that led up to the triumphal entry into Jerusalem by Jesus. It is the time that we recall and celebrate as “Palm Sunday.” We are told of the events of Palm Sunday in all four gospels of the New Testament.

Probably all of us know the basic storyline: At the beginning of the week when he would be crucified, Jesus enters Jerusalem mounted on a donkey and is greeted by a great crowd of people with palm branches in their hands to lay down on the road before him to carpet his path. They also spread their cloaks out on the road. We also think of Palm Sunday as the “Triumphal Entry” of Jesus into Jerusalem. It is that which we are commemorating today.

Each of the four gospels tell of the events a little differently than the others, depending upon what the author was trying to emphasize or explain, but if we weave together all four explanations, it seems the day went much in the following fashion:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

BEFORE YOU CALL

"Before you call, I will answer."

Several times I have explained to Pastor Joel of the Log Church of Kenya that it is not my intention to solicit funds for the 32 orphans under their care.
"God will do that," I have told him. 

“If this is the Lord’s work, then he will provide. Our task is to continue to work at what the Lord has given us to do, and to bring our requests to him.”

It is a constant life of faith, since there are no pledges of funding or any source of regular income. I am not sure how this has been for all at the orphanage, but it has been amazing to me to see how God is meeting the needs. The experience for me has been a series of lessons in living by faith.

Occasionally, because God has moved in someone’s heart, they will give to me or send to me a little money (sometimes a larger amount of money), for the support of the orphans. When enough has been accumulated to make it worthwhile to pay the transfer fee (it costs $10 to send $500), I send it to them. This week I did that. Joel always gives me an accounting for how the money from each transfer is used.

This time however, the sending and the receiving was especially interesting to me. Between the time that I sent it, but before it was available to them in Kenya, I received a text from Joel. He told me that the children had been sent home from school until they could find the money for school fees. Also, he said that providing food for the increased number of children now had was getting increasingly difficult.

“Please pray with us in asking our heavenly Father that these needs be filled,” he wrote to me.

I was able to respond to him, “There is money already at the Western Union office. In the morning, you may go and pick it up.”

It reminded me of some words of God about caring for his people. He says,

“It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.”

God knew of the need beforehand, and he had it all arranged. I did not have to speak to others of the need. God spoke. He had answered even before the call.

Thanks to all of you who listened to God speaking to you, so that these needs could be met.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

300

Perhaps you have seen the film of some years ago that was simply entitled, “300.” The movie is a fictionalized version of the Battle of Thermopylae in the Greco-Persian Wars of the 5th century BC. In the plot of that film, three hundred Spartan soldiers bravely and repeatedly hold off a series of attacks by tens of thousands of Persian forces.

Alas, after fighting valiantly and holding their position for a long time, in the end the Spartans finally succumb to defeat.

The battle is an actual one that took place in history, although of course it is romanticized and embellished for the film audience. Nevertheless, this battlethe Battle of Thermopylae, both in the movie and in actual history, is held up as an example of the power of a patriotic army defending its native soil. The heroes are the 300 Spartans, men who even in their death are revered. 

Today I am going to tell you of another 300. It is another actual battle that took place in history against tens of thousands of opponents.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

CHILDREN OF THE LOG CHURCH ORPHANAGE

When I was in Kenya in December, the Log Church in Kisii was caring for 21 orphans in the church, which doubles as an orphanage. Since then, I had lately been hearing about additional children that had come to live there, so I asked Pastor Joel about it. They now have 32.

With each child there is a story of the death of their parents through malaria, HIV/AIDS, being hit by a vehicle on the road, or some other tragedy. Some of the children have simply been abandoned. They do not know where their parents are.

When I was at the church in Kenya last year, I was so busy with the Bible conference on every single day that I did not really have a good opportunity to get to know the children personally. So, I have asked Pastor Joel to send me some of the personal histories of the children and some photos.

He has sent me several of them. It is a difficult process for them to send photos since they do not have computers, but through a cyber-café in Kisii town they can do it, although they tell me that it is costly to do so.

I am going to include some background information about a couple of the children below. Their stories are by no means extraordinarily different than the other orphans, but it will give you a sense of the level of poverty and abandonment that these children come from. I will write about others in the days to come.

This girl is named Faith. She is now 6 years old, but was found thrown in a rubbish pit when she was only 4 and brought to the orphanage. She is in grade 1. She likes singing and reciting Bible verses and says that she wants to become a teacher.

Fabian is 5 years old. His parents are unknown, for he was found wandering in the street and brought to the orphanage. He is in preschool and likes singing and is learning to read. Like Faith, he also wants to become a teacher (maybe he heard Faith say that so he wants to be a teacher too).

This is Josephine. She is 8 years old and like most of the children, she has been in our orphanage since 2016. Josephine`s parents died of diseases and she was left alone. She is in grade 2. She likes singing and caring for other children and wants to become a nurse. 

In the words of Pastor Joel, “Kindly pray for these children, that the Lord will provide for the meeting of their needs, like clothing, medication and shelter. Other children are suffering many sicknesses, such as chiggers, skin diseases, kwashiorkor, and marasmus.” (I had to google these words to see what they were)

Most of the children also have worm illness because they live in dirty places and they do not get enough food. 

There is so much more that I could share. I have said nothing of the work of the church in reaching their neighbors with the message of Christ. Nor have I written about how the church is involved in bringing about new lifestyles in the community, so that many of these family situations like the orphans have come from will not be so common.

It is still puzzling to me how and why God has called me to be so closely involved with such a work so far away after I have spent most of my life ministering in Latin America, and after I was happy to have my overseas work completed so I could just stay home on my farm (or so I thought).
I do not know but I do not complain. These children are precious in the eyes of the Lord, and they now have become my children as well.
If you would like to become involved, write to me and tell me what you have in mind. donaldrhody@gmail.com



Sunday, March 11, 2018

GIDEON - THE VALIANT WARRIOR

After the extended time of forty years in the wilderness, the Israelites finally were able to cross the Jordan and enter into the land of milk and honey. Sadly, the spiritual history of the people in that land was not much better than it was when they were in the wilderness.

The sixth chapter of the book of Judges in the Old Testament opens with these words: “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites.”

Sunday, March 4, 2018

CALEB—A DIFFERENT SPIRIT

It should not be a forty-year journey from Egypt to Canaan.

True, the trip was never meant to be a direct one—nonstop to Canaan. After all, what Moses had told the Pharaoh was correct; he actually did intend to take the Hebrew people into the wilderness to worship the Lord. It was in the wilderness and specifically at Mount Sinai where God had planned to give instructions to this new nation that he was forming. Before the people were to enter into their promised land, God wanted to teach them his law, as well give them the instructions for the building of the tabernacle.

But despite these matters, when Moses and the Israelites left Egypt, no one expected this to be a forty-year stint in the wilderness. The time required for the instructions at Mount Sinai was only a matter of a few months at the most, and the journey itself should not have taken more than an additional month.

But things got complicated.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

5,500 BRICKS FOR THE LOG CHURCH

 

I am not certain of the current number of orphans that are in the Log Church of Kenya orphanage. In the last list that I had of the names, there are 21 total, but a couple or perhaps a few more have been added since then. The children are split almost evenly between girls and boys.

In one of my blog posts that I wrote when I made a trip to visit the church and orphanage, I spoke of the sleeping room that the girl orphans had. This was (and still is) a small room in the pastor’s family already small house. It is a mud house, made in waddle and daub construction. The girls have a room that is about 10 feet by 12 feet (as near as I could estimate), leaving the pastor’s family of four a private room of only about 10 by 8.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

THE SOUND OF BATTLE

“Go down at once,” the Lord said to Moses on Mount Sinai, “for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves” (Exodus 32:7 NAS).

It was the incident of the Golden Calf. In the days before this event that took place at the foot of Mount Sinai, the Israelites had just been delivered by the powerful hand of God from four hundred years of slavery in Egypt. In their exodus from that land of slavery, they had witnessed God’s great power in the ten plagues that he had brought upon the Egyptian nation and on Pharaoh, finally forcing the Pharaoh to agree to let Moses lead the Israelites out of the country.

But Pharaoh later changed his mind about this, and sent his vast army to pursue the Israelites. As God’s children fled before the armies of Egypt, they saw the Red Sea open before them so that they could pass through. When the Israelites had crossed the sea, they looked back and saw the water close up again to swallow up the Egyptian army. The army had been right on their heels in their pursuit when they had entered the sea.

But those events were behind the people of Israel now. They were entering into a new relationship with God, and Moses was the man whom had been appointed by God to be their representative. At one point not long after the people had escaped from Egypt, Moses climbed Mount Sinai with Joshua to meet with God and to learn of God’s vision and plans for this new nation. It was to be a meeting that would last many days.

In the meantime, the people at the foot of the mountain were growing tired of waiting for the return of Moses from the heights of the mountain. It turned out to be forty days and forty nights before Moses finally did come down (Exodus 24:18). During that period, the people had grown increasingly impatient for him to return. The Israelites had expected a lot more from Moses and apparently wanted it a lot sooner. They were restless. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

THE COMPLAINT OF MOSES

Some time ago on this blog, I mentioned that in the beginning of my overseas work, during the time when my family and I were living out of our suitcases for many long months, I identified with the nomadic man Abraham more than any other individual in the Bible.

That work for me in foreign countries continued for many years. Although my family and I no longer had to live out of our suitcases during that entire period as we did in the beginning, our lives still were far from settled. In those years, our place of residence changed several times. During different periods, we lived in four separate countries. In addition, I was required to travel extensively for my work.

At the end of it all, I was tired, and I was glad to come home. My wife Vivian and I moved home to our own little farm that we had for so long missed. In my mind, I was done with all the activity of the past and was glad to settle in to a simple life. Vivian and I acquired a few farm animals, and we looked forward to living out our lives being small-time farmers—hobby farmers, I guess you could say. We had long desired to return home to live, and we were happy those years had come. We came home and settled in. I was done with the life of such busy activity.

In leaving all of that activity in the past, instead of identifying with Abraham any longer, in some ways I felt what I imagine Moses must have experienced when he had left Egypt as a young man and settled into living a life of a shepherd in the land of Midian. I think that he was actually happy to be away from the palace life where so much was expected of him, and even away from the responsibilities of thinking of helping his own people—the nation of Israel.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

ASH WEDNESDAY

If you are in the custom of watching the local evening news, on almost any given evening, you may see a story about some unfortunate family who had just suffered a devastating house fire. This is especially true during the months of the winter heating season. Perhaps even some of you have had this experience.

As the reporter interviews the family, the husband and wife are usually standing in front of what was once their home. In the background is the rubble of their building—and ashes. Many ashes.

Ashes are what is left after all that is useful is burned away. After the fire has consumed all that was worth consuming, it leaves the ashes. Ashes are the useless byproduct of disaster. Even the fire refuses these.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

ASPIRATIONS OF A YOUNG MAN

By the time that we first read of God speaking directly to Moses, Moses was no longer young. In fact, he could already be called an old man. He was fully eighty years old when the Lord God called him from his life of tending sheep; and the manner in which God called him was designed to awaken Moses out of forty years of the slumber.

Moses had been living a quiet life in the country. We know very little of this forty-year period of his life, but they seem to have been years in which he did little more than caring for the flock of sheep and goats of his father-in-law.

When God appeared to Moses, he did not do so in a dream. Moses may have dismissed a strange dream as simply the result of some undercooked mutton that he had eaten. Rather than this, so that there would be no misunderstanding of the certainty of the calling, the Lord appeared to Moses in a way that he would not be able to forget. God spoke to him from a blazing fire in the midst of a bush.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

KFC - Kisii Fried Chicken (and eggs)


A week ago I wrote on this blog that through the gifts of some brothers in Christ, the present food crisis for the orphans of the Log Church in Kenya had been averted. Not only that, God has blessed to the point where the 24 orphans were able to be enrolled in the primary and secondary schools. This ability for the children to attend school has been an answer to the prayers of many months and even years.

We are glad for the answers for these present needs, but of course to have lasting change for the orphans, there needs to be an ongoing and more permanent improvements made in the lives of all of these people. One matter that is important is new sleeping quarters for the girls. We have a start on purchasing building materials for this, but I will write about that another time. Tonight I have something else in mind.