Friday, August 31, 2018


School buses soon will once again be driving up and down our town roads, picking up kids. I saw one today. I don’t know if it was a practice run or if school has actually begun, but if it has not, it will in a few days. I was in Walmart the other day and overheard a 10 or 11 year-old girl complain to her mom that all her friends get their school clothes at Target.

These are the American traditions at the beginning of the school year.

It is also the start of a new school term for the orphans of the Log Church of Kisii. No school buses there of course, and no shopping for clothing. Also, although they are beginning classes about the same time as are the kids here, the school year in Kenya has a different schedule.

In Kenya there are three terms that make up the school year. The 
first term runs from January to March, the second term is May to July, and the third term September to November. They have three months of holiday during the school year, but it is broken up into three periods. The months of April, August, and December are school vacation months.

For Pastor Joel and all at the Log Church, it is a priority that the orphans can go to school. Despite the critical need to put up a building to give the children a safe and healthy environment to sleep, and despite the constant need to feed the children, the church is doing what they can to provide an education for the orphans.

When I visited there some months ago, the children were not able to go to a proper school, but now because of the provision of the Lord through some kind readers of this blog and of others who have learned of the need, they have been able to pay the fees to go to the local school near the church.

It is a stretch to do so. School there is not cheap. Since 2003, primary school was supposed to be “tuition free,” but it seems to that mostly what has changed is the terminology. There is no specific tuition fee, but there is an “enrollment fee,” and an “administration fee.”

Added to this are fees to take the exams, medical fees, money to buy the text books, the exercise books, pencils, pens, paper, plus physical education costs and even toiletries. The school uniform is $12 each and the pair of shoes cost $21 for each child (seems high to me).

Paying the various fees to go to school is a burden for every poor family in Kenya, but imagine having 42 children! I do not know how the numbers may have changed for this term, but this is the report for the previous term:

For the lower grades, Ksh.1,800 per child per term. (Kenya Shillings—each shilling is roughly worth on cent US, so just move the decimal point: Ksh 1,800 = about $18.00 US).
We have 10 orphans at this level: Ksh.1, 800x 10 children=Ksh.18,000 ($180.00)
Primary grades, Ksh.2, 000 and we have 24 children in this level
Ksh.1,950 x 24=Ksh.46,800 per a term. ($468.00)
Secondary level, we have 8 children: Ksh.3,800/child x 8 children=Ksh.30,400 ($304)

The total cost to send these 42 children to school is $952. For the entire year is 3 times this amount ($2856). Besides some other incidental cost like uniform and shoes.

Despite this financial burden, it is important to Joel and the staff to provide this opportunity for the orphans. Without at least a basic education, we can feed and house these children for a few years, but after that, what chances would they have in this world?

It is an encouragement to me to see that many of these children, who once had no one to care for them and who were found in the rubbish heap looking for scraps of something to eat, now speak of hopes of becoming nurses or teachers.

It is even more of an encouragement to me to know that they are now surrounded by a loving community who is instructing them in the ways of Jesus—and they do love Jesus. I have never seen more exuberant singing and dancing for Jesus from children as I did when I visited there.

“Praise the Lord!”      
“Praise the living Lord!”

Sunday, August 26, 2018


These are the last words of Jesus after he had risen from the dead as they are recorded in the gospel of Mark. He spoke them to his disciples just prior to his ascension into heaven: 

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. (Mark 16:15-18 NAS) 

Of course, what we tend to do with these verses is what we do with nearly all of Jesus’ teachings—we try to reduce them to a formula or a ritual. So then, because of this unfortunate habit of ours, we have believers who think it must be a sign of true spirituality to speak in tongues, so they teach others how to speak in tongues, as if it were the next course in our spiritual education program. We have believers who think that it must be a sign of true spirituality to be able to handle poisonous snakes, so in their worship services there is a time set apart for snake handling.

Sunday, August 19, 2018


“Salvation” or “being saved” are terms that are thrown around a lot in Christian circles. They are good terms and they are Biblical terms, but often we do not understand exactly what it is from which we need to be saved. We think of hell—we need to be saved from hell. We also think of being “saved from our sins,” (another phrase that means different things to different people). These are actually accurate descriptions of salvation, but these definitions alone do not give us the full picture of what Jesus is speaking of when he speaks of our need to be saved. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018


My New Book now available.
You can go to Amazon to see the entire table of contents Witness- the Early Years , but it includes chapters that deal with such questions as:
- Why was eating of the tree of knowledge a sin? (I thought knowledge was a good thing)
Did God originally intend to keep us in ignorance?
- Cain brought a work of his own hands as an offering to God. Why did God not accept it?
- Who were the real “tormented souls” of Sodom and Gomorrah?
- What was the sound of battle that Joshua heard but Moses did not?
$16.95 from Amazon if you have free shipping
$14.00 from me if I can hand it to you - $17.50 if I send it (I can do this only for USA addresses) 

Sunday, August 12, 2018


Today we had a missionary speaker in our Log Church, so I did not have an actual sermon. Nevertheless, I did have a few words. Here they are:
Today, since we are going to be casting our eyes to other lands, I thought that I would take a few minutes and talk about Kisii. Although I have written into our prayers a prayer for them every Sunday, I have not spoken a lot in church about the situation in that land. There are a couple of reasons why I have not:

The first is that this is not something that I am assuming that everyone is interested in. It is a calling that the Lord has given to me, personally. The story of how the Lord called me to this involves the Log Church of Tripoli, and I have been very grateful when others have contributed money, clothing and school supplies, but it was God’s calling to me, and I do not want to make assumptions about others. God can also call others to this task if he so desires, and I am grateful when he does.

The story of how I first became involved with the church and orphanage in Kenya is a long one, and I wrote about it quite a lot on my blog page (this one), but the short of it is that, in the end, I simply could not turn my back on the orphans. God’s calling to me for this particular task came to me one day when I was preparing a sermon for a Sunday many months ago. The story I was dealing with was the very familiar one of the feeding to the 5000.

As you remember the story, when the evening came the disciples told Jesus to send the crowds away because the people were hungry.

“Let them go find food,” The disciples told Jesus.

Do you remember what Jesus told the disciples? “You feed them,” he said.

I realized that I was like the disciples. When it came right down to it, I had to admit that I did not want any part in the feeding of the orphans. The church was using my sermons that I placed on my blog page as part of their teachings, and I was happy to have that involvement in the lives of those people, but when it came to providing food—that I thought I would leave to someone else to do.
I was acting just like those disciples on the mountainside. “Send them away,” I had been saying in so many words. 
Jesus said to me, “You feed them!”

That was my calling. But just as in the story of the 5000, I had not much to give. In the story, all that the disciples had at their disposal was the lunch provided by a small boy—five small loaves of barley bread and two little fish—that was all. But in the hands of Jesus, this small lunch fed a multitude.

This is why I have not been making appeals for money for the orphans. I do appreciate those, just like the small boy, who give what they have to help, but I have not been making passionate petitions for funds. I am giving whatever becomes available, even small lunches, and giving it into the hands of the Lord. He is the one who is feeding the children—not me.

(Link to song on youtube by Keith Green) - A Billion Starving People - Keith Green

That is one of the reasons that I have not spoken much about Kisii. The other is this:

In our Sunday services, my concern is for you. That is why I work very hard to bring you teachings from the Word of God. I am concerned for each of your lives.

There is not much that I can do to help you in your physical lives, but God has placed me here to “keep watch over your souls,” as it says in the book of Hebrews. That is my concern on Sunday mornings.

I want each of you to grow in your Christian lives and to realize that your relationship to God should not only be one of the many aspects of your life —it should not even be the most important aspect of your life—it should be the only thing in your life.

All other things that we have in our lives are like cheap toys and trinkets that we buy at the dollar store. We use them for a couple of weeks until they are broken. They all just eventually end up in the landfill.

I want each of you to realize how rich you are in Christ, and to grow in him. That is my concern and my desire.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


To very many people, the things that this world has to offer have become so important that they give almost no thought at all to eternity. The entire sum of their thinking and planning concerns how they can extract the most pleasure and enjoyment out of the few years that they have alive on this earth.

But this perspective can change. One of the ways Jesus explained it is that it is like a new birth. When we were first born into this world and begin this life, most of our desires are conditioned to be for the world. We like the clothes, the cars, the electronic gadgets, and almost any other thing that the world has to offer. We save our money so that we can buy these things that we think will make us happy.

However, after we have been reborn into the kingdom of God, our desires begin to change.

Thursday, August 2, 2018



Like it or not, to most of the people in the world, if you are an American, you have money—a lot of money. At least this has been my experience with people in most of the countries where I have worked. I suppose this is not true in some of the wealthier countries of Europe, Asia and elsewhere, but since the greatest portion by far of my work has been in financially strapped places, this is the perception of Americans that I have usually encountered.

In some sense this is of course true. Financially speaking, I believe that Vivian and I live below the poverty line here in the US, but we are still far, far wealthier than most of the people in the world.