Wednesday, May 30, 2018

THE CONFESSION OF JOSHUA

The closing two chapters of the book of Joshua is a farewell. Chapter 23 opens by telling us that the initial conquest of the land was over, and that the Lord had at last given the people rest within the land that had been promised to their patriarch Abraham hundreds of years earlier.

This first verse then follows by informing us that Joshua was an old man—“well advanced in years,” as Joshua himself put it. He was saying “Goodbye.”

Like an old grandfather with his children gathered around him and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren kneeling on the floor or sitting in his lap, Joshua reconstructs not only his own history, but even the history of their people.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

KISII REPORT #1

My phone says that the temperature here in Spirit is 89°, but the
thermometer on my wall at our farm on Two Pine Hill says it is over 90, so who are you gonna believe? I tend to go with the old-fashioned mercury thermometer. For the rest of the normal world, either one is over 30° C —too hot for us northerners. My poor highland cattle are lying in the shade of the trees down by the pond, waiting for evening and for a little coolness so that they can go out and graze again.

Quite a different story in Kisii, Kenya. This was the afternoon temperatures and conditions there, according to my phone (I don’t think that they have a thermometer on their wall). But the climatic conditions are striking, to use a small play on words. It looks as if they at least have one or two drying days coming up. Vivian and I have been praying that the rains there would abate.

I have been in communication with Pastor Joel today. I am sorry to report that the miserable conditions continue for them. I am dismayed to say that my cattle have a far better living situation than they. 


I asked Joel where the children are able to sleep in these days, since because of lack of room and beds, many of them usually sleep on the floor. Now, with the flooding and the rains, the floors of the buildings that they do have are now mud. He told me that they clear the mud the best that they can, and the children sleep there—or at least try to sleep.

I was able to send them a little money yesterday via MoneyGram, and with part of it, they plan on buying some timbers to lay on the floor to elevate them off of the mud. This at least will protect them from the mud, the diseases and the biting insects in the soil. I am not clear what they have to place on top of the timbers for a platform. It is difficult for him to communicate too much with text messages on the phone.

They also are going to buy some more blankets, since the nights are very cool, and of course everything is wet. The children sleep fitfully, if they sleep at all. Many lie and whimper most of the night.

I learned that the daily cost for feeding each child is about $3.00 US. When you consider that they have 42 orphans now, if you do the math you can see that they have taken on quite a responsibility. Warm clothing or any clothing at all is quite another matter. They simply have no resources for buying clothes. Some of the smaller children are obligated to walk around in public naked. And of course shoes,  and especially in this season—gum boots.

We did not even talk more about schooling, since this is a luxury at this point.

What I have been able to send in no way even approaches all of the needs.

I told Joel that this work is bigger than he is and bigger than Vivian and I. These are all children with no others to help, but only the Lord can feed and clothe them. We are so very thankful for several of our friends who have also donated to help these children. I know that many more are praying. If you are one of these, I thank you also.

Life would be easier if we did not know of these needs—to just remain ignorant of the situation of some of our brothers and sisters. I don’t know if this works for you, but it has never worked for me. Ever since my early days in India, God has repeatedly brought needs to me from various parts of the world and asked me, “What are you going to do about this?”

I was thinking that my retirement to my farm would be a rest from all of this, but I think this no more. Now I am looking only beyond.

“There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9).

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

KISII, KENYA FLOOD REPORT

I’m afraid it’s not very good. The heavy rains continue and the problems begin to build one upon the other. The area of Kisii is one of the areas receiving the heaviest of the rains. Homes are being lost to the floods and the much needed vegetable and grain crops are being destroyed.

There is a deep heaviness in my heart as I remember these people, and how for some years they have given what little resources they have to help the orphans of the area and to help people in need. It has all been done in the name of Jesus. It is painful to me to learn of their present situation.

Joel told me of one family that he and another pastor were visiting to see how they were faring. As they were in the house, a spring of water suddenly erupted from the floor, leaving the little one-room building uninhabitable.

This isn't just mud on the floor--it IS the floor!
In the words of Pastor Joel, “The floods have destroyed everything, including the peace of this family. It is not now a living house, but a flooding place!”

The children at the orphanage, perhaps like all the children of the area, are suffering from chills during the night, crying because they are wet and cold. Even walking outside is difficult
if not impossible. It is mud everywhere, and it is of the heavy clay type that sticks to everything.

I frankly do not know where all the children of the orphanage are sleeping now, since I know that many of them had been sleeping every night on the floors. But now, with all the mud, I would think that this could not be an option.

I would also think that the road is impassible. During my visit
Main Road Into the Town Where the Orphanage is Located
there, we had mostly dry weather. But there were a couple of days when it rained, and the road instantly became a muddy slough. In the places where there was a crown on the road, anything trying to drive on top simply slipped sideways down into the ditch.


There are no government disaster relief agencies to help, no FEMA (the agency we complain about here in the US). No Red Cross, no charitable organizations that I know of in that remote place. Just the Log Church. I hope that I am wrong on that account, but I sincerely doubt it. Except for how the church can help, the people simply have to fend for themselves. (I just confirmed that this is the case. The people are left to themselves)

Last week, through the kindness of friend from our church, I was able to send the church and orphanage $500 so that they could buy food, blankets and gum boots—needs that I mentioned in the previous post on this blog. Since I have begun to be involved with these folks, all of my “sacred funds” have also gone to help these brothers and sisters. Joel reported to me what he was able to buy for the children, so I am thankful that they at least have those items. 

We do what God puts in our hands, but in the end, this is the Lord’s work. They are His children and His workers. It is God who will meet the needs of his people.

The rains are falling from above, and so must the answers for our prayers. Thank you for praying with Vivian and me, and with all the people of Kisii.

We are all looking to the Lord for help.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

BALAAM—NOT SUCH A BUFFOON

If the story were to be written as a play, the character of Balaam would probably be cast as the hapless buffoon, who because of his stupidity, had to be rebuked by his own talking donkey. But Balaam was no buffoon. For such a seemingly minor figure of the Old Testament, it is surprising how often he is mentioned in not only the Old Testament, but also in the New.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Kenya Report--RAIN!

I asked for a photo of all 42 children together.
I am not sure if they are all in there or not
To the present, God has brought 42 children to the Log Church Orphanage in Kisii, Kenya, twice as many as when I visited there last November. It is difficult for the leaders and the people of the church to turn anyone away. Nevertheless, I believe that they have now reached the point of saturation where they simply are not able to take in more. Others do come for food, however. There simply is no more room to stay there, but at least they can get something to eat.

I have no idea how the children they presently house are able to find a place to sleep. Last year when I saw the situation and at that time with even with half of the number of children, many of them had to sleep on a cloth on a dirt floor. It makes the completion of the dormitory we are trying to build all the more urgent.

Speaking of the building, we continue to buy the materials as money becomes available. We have now begun to purchase the bags of cement for the base. I will be glad when they are able to begin building with the bricks, as I think that it will be a big encouragement for the people to be able to see an actual building starting to take shape.

The building is needed now more than ever for another reason as well. Perhaps you have seen some news reports of the historic flooding that has been taking place in Kenya.

I have an app on my phone that shows the weather each day in Kisii. For at least the past two months, it has shown rain falling every single day. The extended forecast is also for daily rain. Pastor Joel did not mention the difficulties that they are presently facing until I asked him about it. He tells me that they have never experienced anything like this.

The price of vegetables has increased significantly because of the flooding, and there is a general food shortage. Kisii is located in the highlands, so they have not seen the worst of the flooding. Nevertheless, the constant and historic rains is putting everyone under unprecedented hardships.

We are very thankful that the 42 children of the orphanage are now able to attend the school there, thanks to the funds that God has supplied through some readers of this blog who have seen the need and contributed.

Nonetheless, many of these children still have no shoes and not even a change of clothing. When they walk back to the church (the orphanage) after classes at school, they are soaked to the skin and with feet caked with mud. The nights are cool and there are not blankets enough for everyone.

As you can imagine, these little bodies are in constant physical stress as they lie and shiver all night, especially when their diet has been lacking. I am not sure of the current state of food supplies for the orphans at the moment, but I do know that they sometimes go without food for entire days.

I actually began this blog post thinking to write a happy report of how the children are able to attend school and to tell you a bit of what it is like for them, but when I began asking questions of the situation there, I learned of the level of difficulty that the people are facing now. I must admit, the long-term goal of a supporting business that the people can do seems a long way off right now.

Vivian and I are praying that sickness and disease will stay away from the children, and that the malaria will not make a resurgence. Other needs there are for warm clothing for the children, shoes and especially gum boots, school fees, and of course food—always food. They distribute a lot of it these days.

It’s a good day to pray!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE GIBEONITES

When Joshua and the Israelites first entered the land where God had led them, they quickly defeated the city of Jericho, and soon afterwards, the city of Ai. When the other kings of the land received this news, they knew that they were also in great danger. Some of these other tribes are identified for us as the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. All of these tribes, in order to defeat this threat at their borders, gathered their forces together to fight the Israelites. 

The Gibeonites

However, there is one specific tribe who lived in the land in those days that took on a different strategy. These were the Gibeonites. The inhabitants of the city of Gibeon had heard about the downfall of the cities of Jericho and of Ai. The Gibeonites knew that these were well-fortified cities, and when they learned the manner in which they were taken, they realized that it would only be a matter of time before Joshua and the Israelites came also to their city.

Thinking that they could not stand against this force, the people of Gibeon came up with a different plan.

Monday, May 7, 2018

WAS THE CONQUEST OF CANAAN MORALLY JUSTIFIABLE?

There are at least a couple of things about this post and the one to follow that may be unsettling to many, and one thing that for some will be absolutely unbelievable. This entire episode of Biblical history is not an easy subject for me to write about, and one that I have avoided for some time.

The topic is the conquest of the land of the Canaanites by the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua. Because of the current political situation in this region, you can understand one of the reasons that I hesitate to write about the original conquest. However, the events that we are going to be looking at in this post occurred some 3400 years ago and have very little to do with today’s political climate. This especially so since we cannot equate of the nation of Israel in the days of Moses and Joshua with the Israel of prophecy.[1] Because of these reasons, I am going to ask you to consider the events described in the Bible on their own merit only, and to not associate them with current situations.

 The conquest as described in the Bible is difficult enough to write on even without trying to relate it to today’s headlines. It is actually quite a troubling subject and one that is considered morally unacceptable by many today. It is not difficult to see why, for the Israelites did not move into a vacant and uninhabited land, simply waiting for someone to dwell there. When the Israelites crossed the Jordan River to begin to occupy what would become their homeland, the lands were already populated by several nations whom God told the Israelites to drive out and even to annihilate.

Friday, May 4, 2018

The American is Nothing. The Lord is Everything

Since my visit to the orphanage of the Log Church of Kenya, there has been a large increase of orphans at the home. The need is so great as it is in all parts of Africa, and indeed in all parts of the developing world.

Nevertheless, I have had a question in my mind if this increase of children at the orphanage was not greatly influenced by my visit there, since the people of the area might have gotten the idea that since an American was helping them, they would suddenly have a lot of money to care for the children.

This is a perspective I have battled my entire adult life as I have worked among people of third world nations. So that the people in Kisii (Kenya) would understand, I recently sent the letter below to Pastor Joel and the church leadership. The key line in the letter is: The American is nothing. The Lord is everything.

Mom and Child at the Hospital
Angwenyi now feeling stronger
The occasion of the letter is Pastor Joel giving me information of the hospital bill for little boy named Angwenyi who had come down with malaria. I have written before about potency of the highland malaria, and what a danger it poses to the people there.


Thankfully, the health of little Angwenyi is improving and none of the other children in the orphanage have shown any symptoms of malaria as of the writing of this letter.
*************************** 

Dear Son Pastor Joel

It is good news that Angwenyi is improving in hospital and that none of the other orphans have showed any indication of Malaria. We all must continue to pray. 

I would like to mention something about finances so that you and the leadership may understand my perspective. I am sending you everything that the Lord supplies to me for the orphans and for the church. I will hold back nothing. When you tell me that you need $190 to pay a hospital bill, I cannot simply send you $190 if the Lord has not first supplied it to me. I need to tell you again that I am not a wealthy man. I have lived my life as a servant, not as a nobleman. 

I realize that you have taken on a big responsibility with all of the children. May God bless these efforts. We need to continually bring our needs before Him. With the many more children now under your care, I know now that you have a large increase in the need of food. This the Lord must supply. I trust you are also praying for local sources of food. I also hope that the people of the area are not getting the idea that they can come to you with their needs because they have heard that an American is helping you.
 
They must know that you have nothing apart from the Lord. The American is nothing. The Lord is everything. 

"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow."

We have also begun the planning on the girl’s sleeping room, and there is a need for other buildings as well. This all results in a large increase of money. We will look to the Lord to supply. 

All of you in the church have affectionately called me your Dad. I also call you my Sons and my Daughters. But we all know that we have one Father. It is to him that we bring our needs. He will supply all good things to us. 

Dear Son, I am also going to put this letter on my blog page, as I want people here to also realize these priorities. The entire world has a need to learn dependence on the Lord, and not on wealth. 

With the Love of a Dad for the Children of Our Father.