Wednesday, June 27, 2018


The single observation that affected me most when I visited the Log Church of Kenya last year and met the orphans, was to see their gratitude over the most simple of gifts. I still hold in my mind the image of two little boys who each received one pencil and two color crayons, holding them up in the air and so thankful that they had their own things to draw with! Their smiles were so broad, and their huge eyes almost laughing with joy, it seemed like with all the smiles and the eyes, there was very little room left for face.

The needs continue there, and if I wished, I could write every day and tell you about some new problem that has arisen—malaria being the latest. But instead I want to share a letter written to me by Pastor Joel. It does not show a complaining people who are engrossed in self-pity, but a thankful people who are joyful in the gifts of God!

Sunday, June 24, 2018


For some years I was on the teaching staff at a Bible Institute and Seminary in Venezuela. During the course of the school year, we had daily chapel services for the staff and students. The messages for these services were generally given by one of the professors, but the time was also intended to be practical instruction for the students, in that they were in charge of arranging the rest of the service.
It was for one of these services that the director of the school asked me to speak on the subject of the wrath of God. Two or three of the students were preparing the rest of the program and were to plan it around the same theme. When the young woman who was in charge of finding the music approached me with her dilemma, I understood her situation.

The young lady told me that she could not find any hymns or other songs that had the “Wrath of God” as their subject. For all the other attributes of God: the grace of God, the love of God, the wisdom of God, and all the rest, we have many songs in our song books.

But we do not sing “Oh, the Wonderful Wrath of God” or “We Rejoice in the Deep Wrath of God.” What the young student told me was true. Nor, if we think about it, do we even hear many sermons on the wrath of God. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018


In the past week or so, I have been in frequent contact with Pastor Joel concerning the building for the girls. Thanks to the gifts of several people, we recently have been able to purchase the crushed rock for the construction of the base. It is perhaps a small step
forward in the process, but this will most likely be a project completed by small steps. We already have bricks needed for the building, plus a few other basic materials.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


The town of Kisii is only about 47 miles from the equator (0.68º N). Because this seems like it should be a tropical climate, it appears strange to many people that one of the needs of the orphanage is blankets. We northerners have a general perception that the equatorial zones have only two seasons: hot and hotter. But it is amazing what a little elevation in altitude can do.

Kisii town has an elevation of 5558 feet. This altitude modifies the temperature considerably throughout the year. The daily highs remain mostly in the 70’s, with the 50’s at night. It does seem quite ideal, except when there is the wind from a storm system, you are in wet clothing under a thin wet blanket sleeping on a wet dirt floor, and you have had nearly nothing to eat all day.

Girl's Dormitory
The rains in Kisii are beginning to subside now, but for the past three months or so, they have had almost unprecedented wet weather, receiving rain about every day. I wrote in an earlier blog of some of the difficulties that this created for the people and the orphanage of the Log Church, including some of the difficulties that it caused for the children.

One of these difficulties was that they did not have more than one set of clothes so that they could put on something dry (some of the smaller children had no clothing at all). Another difficulty was that many of them had to sleep on a wet floor, and since the floor is dirt, the wetness could almost be defined as mud. A third difficulty was that they had inadequate covering at night to try and stay warm.

These difficulties compounded to create very stressful physical living conditions. Constantly staying wet and cold at night kept everyone from receiving adequate rest, preventing the children to be able to fight off sickness.

Oh, there is one more difficulty I should mention that compounds this problem. This is that the availability of food has become very difficult because of flooding and ruined crops. The food that has been available has been very expensive. In the last Kisii Report I gave an example of an increase of about 34%, but Joel tells me now that many vegetables (their primary diet) have doubled in price.

Sleeping on the dirt floors have also exposed the children to a number of illnesses, soil born parasites among them. However, perhaps the most dangerous problem from sleeping in this way is the exposure to fecal matter that has been brought in on the shoes of the children, or on their bare feet. It almost impossible to sterilize the soil, and this causes much diarrhea, which is actually the leading killer of children in third world countries.

Of course good sanitation would help, but keeping good sanitation in such an environment with inadequate facilities becomes nearly impossible. You can see that there are many needs at the orphanage, adequate buildings and also latrines among them.

All of these things together has created a “perfect storm,” when the weakened bodies of these children are unable to fight off illness. I was also going to write a little about the malaria situation at the present, but I will wait on that for another time.

Those ain't plastic store bags!
We have been very grateful for several gifts from readers of this blog so that the workers of the orphanage were able to buy good amounts of food. They had to travel quite far to find it, but as you can see in the photo, they came home in a hired car with some full shopping bags!

The orphanage has been in emergency mode as of late because of the weather conditions and the food shortage. We are praying that we can move beyond that now and resume gathering building materials for a sleeping room for the girl orphans. It is my prayer that we can get it built before next rainy season.

More about that next time.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018


I have been asking Pastor Joel some more about the food situation for the orphans. These past two weeks, and thanks to Lord speaking to some faithful servants of his who gave some money gifts for the orphans (These were also friends of mine, even going back to someone that I have not seen or even corresponded with for 35 years), I was able to twice send a nice amount to the orphanage. Because of the concern and obedience of these servants of God, these money transfers were $600 each time.

It is a good amount, but when you consider that their food/water
costs amount to about $3.00 per day per child if they were to eat well, and that there are 42 orphans besides others who are in extra need of help, you can see that it does not last that long.

Sometimes I am asked if we are not simply “enabling” these people and causing a dependency. I have been asked that all of my adult life regarding things that I have done in other countries. I have written quite a lot on this in the past so I will not do it again here, but I will very quickly say that I am working very hard to instill in the people that all sufficiency comes only from the Lord.

After all, every one of us is equally dependent on the Lord. Without
God, none of us have anything. It is only our arrogant western culture where we look pridefully at ourselves as being “self-sufficient.” If you feel like this, you have my pity.

Inevitably, the people who ask or accuse me of this are ones who have never lived in a third-world country and probably have never even visited one except to stay in some plush seaside beach resort (the bane of all cross-cultural appreciation). I challenge every one of you who feels this way to live one year in a third-world village. It almost does not matter in what country.

But you must live an entire calendar year with the people to see their struggles in each season of the year, and you must live as their neighbor. (Sorry, but a summer ministry trip capped by a couple of nights in one of the aforementioned beach resorts will not do it).

Now, I will step down off my soapbox and tell you what pastor Joel told me about the food situation there. Because of the recent flooding in the entire country of Kenya, there is a scarcity of virtually every basic food item. The inflation is not super-high, as it presently is in some of the other countries where we have lived (most notably Venezuela), but it still significantly effects the budget.

The orphanage tries to buy their food supplies in large quantities if they have the money, since it makes it less expensive per kilogram. The prices that he gave me was for a 90 kilo sack, which is 198 pounds. I did not ask, but it must come divided into smaller sacks. Who is going to carry a 198 pound sack!

Maize flour purchased in this way, for instance, now costs about $67.00. Before it cost $50.00 (They do not use Dollars there but the conversion is made from Kenyan Shillings).

This works out to about 55¢/kilo or 25¢/pound. For all you millennials, the ¢ sign stands for “cents,” and it is .01 of a dollar. We actually used to use this sign, and there used to be a key for it on the typewriters, but I had to look quite hard on the character map of my laptop to find it.

I was in town today so I went into the Medford County Market to see what maize (corn) flour cost here in Wisconsin. I know nothing about it, but the price range was from about 64¢ to about 96¢/pound.

Thus, 25¢/pound in Kenya sounds like quite a bargain.

But I asked Joel what the daily wage was for a person picking tea, which was about the only work for pay that I knew of in that region. I also asked him if the work was even available and if there were other sources of work that the people could do.

Here is what he wrote to me: “The wage of picking tea is $1 per day. We have other work, eg, cultivating shambas (small fields - it is all hand work) for those who have a larger piece of land but not easily found and its wage depends with the shamba. But in all each person earns about $1 a day.”

So this puts it into perspective. It will take a worker a full day’s work to buy 4 pounds of maize flour. That is like one of those little sacks I saw at the County Market. And that is only if he is able to buy it in 200 pound quantities.

I was also going to write in this blog about something else that I have been asked. If Kenya is on the equator, how is it possible for the children to be cold? But I will write about that next time.

Friday, June 1, 2018


Perhaps sometime in your life you have been on a camping trip when every night you laid chilled in a damp sleeping bag listening to rain falling on the roof of your tent. With your flashlight, you could see little drops of water seeping through and falling from the seams in the tent material above you. After nearly not having slept most of the night, in the morning you finally gathered up enough courage to put on your least wet clothes and to go outside to try and get a fire going with wet wood and rain still falling.

I have been on some camping trips like these, and as much as I love to camp, I must say these times have been depressing, discouraging, disheartening, dispiriting, and a few other dis-words.
Now, imagine that you were on a camping trip like the one I described above, but that lasted nearly three months. Think of how demoralizing it would be to have to face yet another day of rain, cold and wet all day, and unable to find any place to get comfortable.

If you are able to get your imagination to go there, then you are getting close to what these kids from the orphanage of the Log Church of Kisii are facing.

In the past week or so, they have had a couple of days when it did not rain so that they could hang their few blankets out to dry, but I imagine that the humidity levels must be so high that they could not have dried much. These are not sunny days, only days when there was no rain.

I see there is a big hole in the middle of that one blanket. It reminds me of when I was a kid and I shared a double bed with my brother Danny. It was cold upstairs in our farmhouse in the winter, and we would fight for the covers.
One way was that we would each roll in the blanket from opposite sides, fighting for more than our share. Mom would complain that our blankets would always start to rip, right up the center.
I don’t know if that is what happened here with the blanket, but “boys will be boys,” as my mom would often say with a slight sound of exasperation in her voice.

Those mounds beside the hanging blankets are others that are draped on the bushes, trying to get them to dry.

Food throughout Kenya has remained in short supply and expensive because of the relentless rain. Some have sent help, for which I am very thankful, and so are the children and people in Kisii. 100% of funds go to the orphanage and church, and if you would like to help out, write and ask me how. Once it is received in Kisii, I will tell you exactly what your gift was used for.