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.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

“OH, THAT’S BAD!” “NO, THAT’S GOOD”

Pardon the levity when it comes to Joseph of the book of Genesis, but on one level, his story could almost be told as one of those worn-out comedy sketches that you all have heard: 

“Joseph’s father made him a special coat of many colors to show him that he loved him.”
“Oh, that’s good.”
 
“No, that’s bad, because it made his brothers jealous of him.”
“Oh, that’s bad.”
 
“No, that’s good, because God gave Joseph some dreams that told him that one day his brothers would bow down to him.”
“Oh, that’s good.”
 
“No, that’s bad, because then his brothers hated him and threw him into a pit and planned on killing him.”
“Oh, that’s bad.”
 
“No, that’s good, because the Lord rescued him out of the pit.”
“Oh, that’s good.”
 
“No, that’s bad, because the brothers sold him to some slave traders.”
“Oh, that’s bad.”
 
“No, that’s good, because a rich guy from Egypt bought Joseph and put him in charge of everything that he owned.”
 
“Oh, that’s good.”
“No, that’s bad, because the rich guy’s wife had a thing for Joseph, and when Joseph refused her advances, she falsely accused him of rape, and Joseph was thrown in prison.” 

Bad Turned Into Good
I could go on and on in this manner through the rest of the life of Joseph, but the hackneyed jokes start to wear a little thin.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

FOOD IN THE BELLY AND SCHOOL BOOKS IN HAND

If anyone tells you that they have no respect for Christians because they are just a bunch of hypocrites, tell them to come and talk to me for a while. My experience has been different.

A couple of weeks ago, I shared on this blog page an open letter that I sent to Pastor Joel of the Log Church in Kisii, Kenya (January 14). They were going through an extreme time of hunger and were asking for help.

The same day, I just happened (not planned) to be reading in the book of Numbers in the Old Testament where Moses was crying out to the Lord about the needs of the Jewish people in the wilderness. I felt a bit like he did.

Moses cried to the Lord:

“Why have you been so hard on your servant (me)? And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you have laid the burden of all this people on me? Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant…’ Where am I to get meat to give to all this people?”

I made no appeal for people to help, but I shared the letter to Joel on my blog both because I wanted certain principles of giving and receiving to be understood, and I wanted the need to be known.
 
My brothers in Christ read the letter and the Lord moved their hearts. As a result, not only do the orphans and the other people of the church now have food, but there are today 24 children who are enrolled in primary and secondary school who last week had no money to go.

All this happened in one short week because Christians listened and obeyed. Thanks to them and all praise to God! This has been my experience for my entire life in working overseas. When the need is genuine, Christians respond.