Sunday, December 30, 2018


Click the "READ MORE" button below to see what I said:

Tuesday, December 25, 2018


Merry Christmas from the Log Church of Kenya!

As you can see, the roof metal is all installed, which, as any builder will tell you, is a big step in the completion of a building. The rain now runs off the roof!
There is still much to be done for the completion of the dormitory, but we are thankful to the Lord and to each of you who have contributed to this project.
This Christmas is so much brighter for the orphans than it was in the last year, and the New Year to come holds out for them much more hope than they have ever had before. The new school term begins the second day of January, and we are praying that all of the children will be able to attend classes, even with the increased costs at the school.

In this past year, we have seen how the Lord has provided to
overcome great obstacles and many difficulties in order to give each of these children lives of hope. They also now have a family (of sorts) as they are part of the people of the church.
This family of theirs also includes each of you who have shown them your love and concern for their welfare as you have done what you could to provide for them.
Every one of these children are learning to see how God provides for his children in many and in unexpected ways. They are learning the wonderful ways of God as they are being raised in an environment of the love of Christ.
I’ve not done this before but I will now invite you to write to me by email if you would like to ask me any question that you have, or for any other reason. My address is simply
I will write more about the progress at the orphanage after the New Year and about the anticipation of my trip there at the end of January, but at the moment, we are all wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas.
"God Bless each of you real good!"

Wednesday, December 19, 2018


The metal for the roof has arrived and it is even at this moment being installed on the rafters of the children’s dormitory. I am writing this with deep gratitude to the Lord for providing for this metal, as it was quite a large expense.

My gratitude extends also to each of you who have listened to the Lord and have given of what you have so that these children, many of whom last year had neither family or home, now have been given a supporting family in the Log Church of Kenya, and are seeing a home being constructed for them.

The green colouring on the rafters is a wood preservative
Thank you each one so much for you gifts!

Some have recently asked me why I do not have a link on this web site where you can donate to this project. I know that not having one goes against all contemporary marketing practices in raising funds for a charitable work.

If this was to be done using current money-raising methods, you would see plenty of pictures of starving children dressed in rags with emotional appeals for money. I should try to move you emotionally and then “make it easy to give.”

I am not doing this because I do not want emotion to be the main driver in having people donate. I want this to be a work of the Lord, and although it is true that the Lord has given each of us emotion, the primary manner that he appeals to us to do something is through his Holy Spirit.

Emotion will only carry any commitment so far. I am afraid that our churches have by in large failed us just at this point. We are teaching people to make commitments about their lives based only upon an emotion that they may presently be having. Our churches often give us the impression that God speaks to us mainly through emotion.

That is not true. Certainly, emotion is part of God’s communication to us, but it is more than that—much more.

When God called me into this work of being involved with these orphans, it was not through a movement in my emotions. In fact, emotionally, I did not want to be involved. I actually gave all kinds of excuses why I should not. (“I did my bit. Let me retire!”)

My involvement instead came through a conviction in me by the Spirit of God. God’s Holy Spirit would not let me rest until I did something.

The old English poet (Francis Thompson) called the Spirit of God, “The Hound of Heaven,” constantly and unhurriedly pursuing until you submit to what He is calling you to do.

That is what God did with me. Always on my tail about this work in Kenya, not letting me rest. The work would not leave my mind.

I read the account of the teaching the 5,000, when the disciples wanted to send the people away so that all those people could find something to eat, but Jesus told the disciples, “You feed them.”

That was it. God told me—“You feed them.” I could run no more. The Hound of Heaven had captured me.

In the same way, I do not want to make emotional appeals to you to give for this work. That is not my job. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. If God is calling you to contribute, he will not allow you to rest until you obey him.

But I will tell you this: Once you submit sincerely and completely to God, your life will be changed forever—not only in regards to this work in Kenya, but in all areas of your life.

As for my part, I have never regretted submitting to God. It always has enriched and filled my life with a deep satisfaction and given my existence here on earth true meaning.



Tuesday, December 11, 2018


At this point, the rafters and the entire roof structure may look like a jumbled pile of pick-up-sticks on top of the walls, but there actually is an order to it all.


Perhaps a view from up top might make a bit more sense.


Or a view from inside looking up:


To make it look complete from the outside, the rafter tails need to be trimmed and, of course, the “roof iron” has to be attached. 

View from inside of the church
building. This is near where
the dormitory is being built
I was able to send them a bit more money this week to go into the fund for buying the metal for the roof. It is not yet enough, but Pastor Joel is thinking that it may be enough in “earnest money” to allow the supplier to extend to us some good faith.
After all, we have been faithful in all promises so far. Besides that, we have nearly enough for all the tin at this point, and we certainly want to see this building completed before the heavy rains begin.

All of our purchases need to be coordinated with the transport, since the orphanage is in a rather remote area. When we pay for trucking, we do not want to pay for partial loads. That is why we cannot just buy a little at a time.

Of course, there is still more work to be done on the building after the roof is complete. Primarily, there are doors and windows to make. I am not sure what beds will be needed. It would be nice if the children did not have to sleep on the cement floor, but first things first.

Even as it is, sleeping on a cement floor that can be kept reasonably clean is better than sleeping in the damp dirt during the rains. A completed building to keep out the rains, the mud, and hopefully most of the mosquitoes will help with the health problems and the malaria during the rains.

We still have some time before that, but we also keep in mind the supplying of food and the other daily needs of the children. The new school term begins in January also. It is our prayer that all of the children will be able to attend classes again. This represents a significant cost, but if there is to be a future for these orphans, then they must be able to go to school.

These are all things I think about every day, but I am thankful to see how the Lord has been faithful in supplying the needs.
If you could see what the lives of these children were like before the church took them in, then you would be able to understand why each child is so thankful to God for how He has rescued them.

It makes me think of some verses from the book of Ezekiel. The context is all wrong of course, and the Scripture application, but the words nevertheless come to my mind:

On the day of your birth your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water for cleansing. You were not rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. No one cared enough for you to do even one of these things out of compassion for you. Instead, you were thrown out into the open field, because you were despised on the day of your birth.

Then I passed by you 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 made you thrive like a plant of the field. You grew up and matured and became very beautiful.

God has also said to each one of these children, "Live!"

"May God make every one of these children of the Log Church Orphanage live and thrive like a plant in the field."




Wednesday, December 5, 2018


If you scroll down a few reports you will see a tree trunk being sawed into dimensional lumber by a Husqvarna chain saw. That was done to a number of trees to make even a greater number of 2-inch framing boards—380 boards to be precise.

The logs are those of eucalyptus trees. Eucalyptus is not a native tree to Kenya, but is a species of tree that has been imported from Australia. The tree is now grown not only in Kenya, but in most parts of the tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world (this does not include Northern Wisconsin).

Mostly Eucalyptus Trees in the Background
It is called the gum tree in Australia, and some say that it is the Ausie’s gift to the world. It grows fast, is straight-grained and largely knot-free. Not everyone loves it, however. It drinks a lot of water, and some say that in drought-prone areas it exacerbates the scarcity of ground water. Our son Levi knows about this. He did a study of it in Ethiopia.

Some of the Church Leaders and some of the
Older Boys who are working the dormitory
(Not here.Here they are taking a break)

But eucalyptus also makes strong 2X6’s, and its aromatic qualities can inhibit termites. It has some natural insecticidal qualities. Levi also knows this.

When I was going to visit him in Ethiopia, he cautioned me to be prepared to get used to sleeping with bed bugs.

“They’re everywhere,” he said.

But then, about a week before I arrived, he made a smudge fire out of eucalyptus on the floor in the middle of his house, closed the house up tight, and left it for that week when he came to meet me.

When we came back after the week—  Boom!  No bed bugs!
The eucalyptus smoke had infused everything and killed all the bugs (or driven them away).
Also, all of his clothes smelled a little like arthritis ointment!

These are the aromatic boards that are now being made into the rafters for the dormitory. The roof design looks a little complex, what with the latrine addendums and the food storage room being added.

The roof iron? (metal roof sheets). We only have them about half paid for, but then again, neither are we ready to put them on yet. We have seen how God supplies for this building for the children when the need arises, and we will await to see how he will also supply this roofing material.

Thanks to all who have helped!
It is going well.

Monday, December 3, 2018


When someone whom we love dies, it is natural for us to have some questions about death. In fact, it would seem unusual to me not to have some questions. Despite the fact that death is something that is part of everyone’s experience, there remains much about it that we do not know or do not understand. Our questions about this are not surprising, since there is also much about our very existence that we do not understand.

It is our nature to react negatively to the concept of death. We react in this way because there are so many unknown factors about it. We have some assurances in the Bible about what to expect if we have placed our trust in Jesus, but there are still many questions that we have.

What actually happens when a believer dies?

Friday, November 30, 2018


Please remember that the Log Church orphanage is located in an extremely poor area and the present situation is very unhealthy for the children. They constantly are fighting sickness because of poor sanitation. It is not that they do not care or do not know better, but it is just that the conditions are so desperate.

Pastor Joel and the church have graciously been caring for these orphaned children, but they themselves have very little. It is difficult for us to imagine what it is like to care for 42 children and provide them with food, water, clothing, schooling, housing and all the other essentials when they do not even have enough for their own families. That is why we are helping.
One of the workers with some of the children

Besides that (I am only speaking for myself personally on this), we have those words from the apostle John when he said, “If anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?”

It is one of the two verses that the Lord gave to me when I was dragging my feet about getting involved. I could not continue my life and just ignore this situation after God went to great lengths to lead me into it.

This said, let me show you a little about the sanitation needs at the orphanage. I have mentioned that the plans for the orphanage include two latrines, one for the boys and the other for the girls. This is part of the overall improvements in sanitation that we are hoping to establish for the children.

The photos are of the two latrines presently at the orphanage. The one made from blocks is one that we made last year after the former one had collapsed. It is a nice latrine, but insufficient for the large number of people that must use it.

The other photo is the other latrine currently in
use. Of course you can see how inadequate it is and how difficult it would be to keep oneself clean.

When you consider the number of children and when you consider that they are in constant contact with the soil and even sleeping on the dirt floors, perhaps you can understand why stomach illnesses are very common, along with other parasites that enter in through the skin.

Also remember that these are children—not adults. Even the most responsible of children do not always do things properly, and these children are orphans, some of them rescued from the rubbish heaps. Sanitation is a new word to them. It must be taught to them.

With the two latrines that we are building in conjunction with the dormitory, along with the cement floors instead of dirt, we hope to greatly alleviate these problems of illnesses.

Pastor Joel with two of the boys
Clean water is yet another major difficulty there. The children need to carry the water about a kilometer, and as you can see in the photo, it does not come from a very clean source. I did not see this when I was there so I am not clear on the specifics, but I intend to go and look at it when I return next month (January).

Water needs to be carried about a kilometer to the orphanage.
There are several questions that I have concerning the water situation, but I will wait until I am there to see how it is.

I know that the answer is a bore hole (a drilled well), but it is not small undertaking. In the words of Joel, “Praise to God, clean water can be obtained at the deep table of 129 metres down.”

Right now we are doing nothing in regards to water, but we will see what God will do in
the future. We work as God provides. Thanks to all of you who have taken on part of this burden along with us. I can tell you that it is really appreciated!

A bit more money has come in for the tin roof sheets. We still lack just under $1500 to complete the roof, but we have seen that God will provide for these children of His

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


Construction of the dormitory for the children is somewhat on hold at the moment until we have enough money to buy the tin sheets (or the “iron,” as they call it) for the roof. But as you saw in the previous Kisii Report, we have the logs for making the trusses and rafters, and that is currently happening.

As we wait, I thought that I would take the opportunity to show some of the other things around the orphanage.

Some have asked me why the people there cannot grow enough food to feed the orphans. Here is a photo of the land that they have to grow crops. It is an area of about a quarter acre.

How big is that?

In our increasingly urbanized US, not many people have any idea what a quarter acre is unless it is compared to a city lot, or as more common in these days, comparing it to a football field. (I recently heard a news report about the recent devastating Carr Fire in Northern California, comparing the area burned to the number of hundreds of thousands of football fields instead of the number of acres! This alone is a commentary of where our culture has moved).

Well, look at a quarter acre in this way: If Aaron Rodgers completes a pass for a 25-yard gain, that area gained is about a quarter acre. Or if you prefer, if Aaron Rodgers is sacked for a 25-yard loss, the Packers just gave up about a quarter acre of field. A nice gain (or devastating loss) in football, but hardly enough to feed 42 children plus Joel’s family and the staff.
OK, now everyone wave!

The crop that is grown there is called locally sukumu wiki (kale), which should be to the considerable delight of all you health food enthusiasts out there. The fact is, it is a good food to grow for them.


Besides the dormitory which is being built, I see that they have also have taken advantage of the construction happening in the orphanage to upgrade the swing. It is the only playground equipment that the children have.


When I was there a year ago, I had purchased those chains because the nylon rope that they had kept breaking. But I see that they also have put in some concrete footers for the uprights.

I wonder if they still have the football (soccer) that I bought. They before had none. One of the boys came up to me and said so politely, “Sir, we would like a ball that we could kick.”

The signs that the children are holding are not legible on the photo, but they say:

“Thank you donors,” “Thank you for the building.”
“Thank you for the food.”
“Thank you for the clothes.”

Joel tells me that these statements of gratitude were written from the hearts of the children. I believe that it is true. The thankfulness of the children is one of the things that was so notable to me when I visited.

God willing, I will be back in about two months.


Sunday, November 25, 2018


These days with the various responsibilities that have been given to me, I spend a good amount of time visiting with old people. I am not talking only about old people like me, but people who know that even under the very best of health circumstances, their days left on this earth are few.

At that time of life, all pretense is gone. All need to impress anyone has disappeared, and it becomes evident what is truly important to these old folks.

As I visit with these people, do you know what we talk about more than anything else?

Friday, November 16, 2018


I must say that it is encouraging for me to see the step-by-step progress on the dormitory for the children. Seeing the photos as it goes up, it is apparent that the building is more complex than what I had at first envisioned.

I think that I mentioned before that they are putting in two latrines, one for the girls and one for the boys. I am sure that this will help the children stay much healthier, since as it is now, it is impossible for them to maintain a clean environment.

There will also be a place for storage of food. Buying food for 42 children requires constantly looking for the best prices, which come when they buy in bulk. Having a safe and clean place to store the food will enable them to better do this.

The preparation for putting on the roof is being made. There are trees around the Kisii area, but they are a precious commodity. So far we do not have enough funds to purchase all that are needed to make the roof structure. However, the man who is selling the trees is allowing them to cut all the timbers that they need so that the work can progress. We gave him what we had now, and will pay the balance as God sends it to us.

I am pretty impressed on how straight these planks being cut by chainsaw appear. I have tried to do this in the past, and it is not as easy as you might think. I blamed my chainsaw. My boards did not come out so straight, but I did make some pretty good wedges.

We will keep you all informed the best that we can. Progress is being made. There is still a long way to go, but the Lord will see this through.
It is a journey of faith for all of us. As the children see their home being built and as they pray daily for it, they also see how God answers.

There is still the metal to buy for the roof, and this also is a large expense. But we are all amazed at how many people are helping in this effort. Each one is doing so as they are prompted by God.

Thanks so much to each of you!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018


“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


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


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


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


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)
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


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)