Monday, December 31, 2018

BLOWING UP THE OLD MAN (Lesson #1)

There is a New Year’s  custom in many parts of Latin America called “blowing up the old man” that is far more sensational and eventful than watching a crystal ball slowly and agonizingly descend a pole in Time Square.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

WHAT I TOLD MY CHURCH CONGRETATION ABOUT 2019

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

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

KISII REPORT #29

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 donaldrhody@gmail.com
 
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!"

Monday, December 24, 2018

MESSAGE FOR ADVENT #3

When we speak of examining and even questioning the subject of traditions that surround the Christmas holiday, we put ourselves in a very precarious situation. Traditions at Christmas time are like a mighty river, running strong and deep. If one attempts to alter the course of any one of these traditions in any way, the barrier that is placed in front of that current will only cause the pressure to increase to a point where all will burst loose.

Is there any meaningful value in tradition? If there is not, how are we to alter its flow or even stop the current completely?
But, if there is value to our traditions, how are we to gain from it?

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

KISII REPORT #28

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.

 

 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

MESSAGE FOR ADVENT #2

Worshiping the Baby Christ Child
 
Redemption came to us wrapped in swaddling clothes. We could not have been more surprised by the manner in which God sent his Son to us.

But in our astonishment, we must be careful of how we interpret this message of redemption. It is actually the totally surprising manner in which Christ came that may even contribute to our confusion about who he is. The story of his birth is so marvelous that we make the telling story the focus, instead of the deeper significance of the story.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

KISII REPORT #27


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."




 

 

 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

MESSAGE FOR ADVENT #1

Surprised by Christmas

Sometimes our spiritual journeys take on the manner of basically just plodding along in our lives, step after step, almost forgetting what our real purpose in the journey is. We become so accustomed to dealing with a chaotic and war-faring existence that we must face almost every day that we lose sight of our ultimate goals.

Then suddenly, when we expect it the least, we are surprised by the possibility of redemption. We catch a glimpse of the Redeemer.
--

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

KISII REPORT #26

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!
Win-win!
 


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

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DIE (FOR CHRISTIANS ONLY)

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?