Wednesday, September 18, 2019

KISII REPORT - REWARDS AND CHALLENGES


Never have I been involved with a work that has been so challenging, and yet at the same time so rewarding. On the rewarding side, to know that we have been involved with a work that has literally saved the lives of these children has been very gratifying and deeply satisfying. If no one had intervened in their lives, many would by now probably have been dead, and the rest living on the streets scrounging in garbage heaps.

One day in Kisii town, when I was walking in the market, I walked past two huge garbage dumpsters. As I was passing, two boys emerged from them, probably about 12 years old or so. They had an appearance like death itself— two starved and emaciat-ed children wearing filthy rags to cover what they could of their muck-caked bodies.

Of course this was horrible to see and my empathies went out to these boys, but I could not also help thinking that this would have also been the fate of our own children who would have managed to still stay alive even if we hadn’t begun the orphanage.
Market where the orphanage often buys food

Another aspect of this work that has been very rewarding is that the kids are truly thankful for what has been done for them. Before they were rescued, they were aware of their fate, at least the older ones who had an understanding of life. They knew there were no prospects for them to improve their lot, and no one who cared.
More of the Market

Because of where they had come from, they now joyfully praise God for having rescued them. They are alive and are being raised in an atmosphere of Christian love and nourishment.

These have been my rewards, and if you have been involved with this work, they are also yours.

The challenging side of this work is that the needs never end. We are accustomed in America to give a donation to some work and then congratulating ourselves for “doing our bit.” But of course this approach does not work in running an orphanage. You cannot feed a child one day and expect that he will not need to eat again.



No lumps in this mattress - just holes
Food costs are now about $1400 to as much as nearly $2000 per week (depending upon the highly fluctuating food prices - you can pray that the prices for food will eventually return to their normal "cheap" prices where we were only paying about $1000/month).

In addition school fees for the kids cost more than $1000 per month. Besides this, some items that I thought were covered, such as clothes and shoes, have worn out.

Even the mattresses are wearing out! These are not Temperpedic mattresses, you understand, but just thin pads of foam.


I also just learned that some kids are still sleeping on the floor, which may be why the mattresses are wearing out so quickly. I had previously thought that we had sufficient bunk beds, but we apparently do not. They still need two more beds, but the people of the Log Church of Kenya have dedicated themselves to contribute for this need until there is enough.
A week's worth of groceries
(They hire the van to transport)
And of course food is a constant challenge. The amount of money that I send from our own funds and from those of you who donate do not nearly meet the needs. It is not uncommon for the orphans to go four or five days eating nothing but one meal a day of thin soup made of ground maize.

So these are some of the rewards and challenges to this work. Am I glad that I became involved? Of course I am, but it really was not a matter of choosing. God would not let me rest until I did something about these children.


Buying sandals for the kids
“I passed by 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 (the Lord) made you thrive like a plant of the field. You grew up and matured and became very beautiful.” (Ezekiel 16:6-7)  



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If you would like to help the children of the Log Church Orphanage of Kisii, Kenya, you may make your check out to "The Log Church" and write "Orphans" on the memo line.

Send it to:The Log Church
PO Box 68
Tripoli, Wisconsin 54564 
Every nickel given in this way will be used for only aid for the orphans. It will be used for purchasing food, clothing, schooling, and other necessities of living. Nothing is held back or diverted for any other purpose



Sunday, September 15, 2019

THE GOOD DEED BALANCE SCALE


It is the common perception of spiritual reality around the world, in many different religions, and even in daily living—The Good Deed Balance Scale. You might call it Karma, the Golden Rule, or even “Paying it Forward.”

It is not that all these teachings are bad, necessarily. All are teachings to encourage us to do good to other people. Rather, it is that these teachings to no go far enough. 

There are some places in the Bible where I wish that the writers would have added a couple of footnotes. Today’s Scripture reading is one of those instances.
In this passage, some people had come to Jesus, wanting him to comment about some “Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices,” as the writer put it (Luke 13:1).

Friday, September 13, 2019

THE BAPTISM OF JESUS

John the Baptist came preaching repentance, telling anyone who would listen that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
What did John mean to say when he talked about this kingdom? How did the people understand the words “the kingdom of heaven”?
The ancient world had already had several kingdoms in its history that had arisen to such power that, during the times of their reigns, they had controlled the activities of all the known peoples of that day. Kingdom after kingdom had ruled this way in their times before falling from their position. Finally, leaving nothing but the stone ruins of their ancient and once great buildings, they were replaced by yet another kingdom.
But the Jews believed that this cycle of kingdoms rising and falling would eventually cease.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

KISII REPORT - WHERE WE ARE NOW


I think it has been almost a couple of weeks since I last wrote about things in Kisii. But here is how things stand at the present:
 
There have been days of hunger again for the children, but thankfully, the orphanage has once again been able to go to the market to buy some food. Thanks to each of you who have contributed for this, and thanks to God for not abandoning these kids to the world.

This time they were 5 days basically without food. The only thing that they eat in these times is a thin soup/porridge made of maize meal – one bowl per day. These are the hunger times. The orphanage runs out of food quite often, so they must learn to endure and trust God that soon there will be something to eat.

I am thankful now that the kids have been able to have a full meal of rice, beans and vegetables (it is seldom that they can afford meat). I am happy to report that their food stores have been now restocked for several days.

I am also very happy also to

Sunday, September 1, 2019

"BAPTISM NOW SAVES YOU"


“Baptism now saves you.”—Saint Peter said that.
Jesus also said at one time, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.”
Just what role does baptism play in our spiritual walk?  

Monday, August 26, 2019

BORN FROM ABOVE


Nicodemus was a Pharisee, some of the most “religious” people of the first century. Not only that, but he was also a member of the Sanhedrin—the Jewish ruling council (John 3:1). Highly respected among his peers and the people alike, Nicodemus was nevertheless a troubled man. Some of the teachings of Jesus were in direct conflict to the teachings of the Pharisees, yet Nicodemus could not deny that Jesus taught with authority.

Friday, August 23, 2019

KISII REPORT - THIRD TERM SCHOOL

The cattle are from our Wisconsin farm
The goldenrod is in bloom in Northern Wisconsin. When I was growing up, this was always a reminder to me that school was soon to begin. For me as a kid, it was an unhappy reminder, but it is not so for everyone.

School is about to begin also in Kenya. The kids at the Log Church Orphanage are happily looking forward to being able again to go to schoolthe same as every other child.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

THE WIDOW'S MITE - (It's not about the money)


I take this reading from Mark 12:41-44 (NAS). 

He (Jesus) sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums.  And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

KISII REPORT - THE LORENA ROCKET STOVE


In many parts of the developing world, food is still cooked using
The Orphanage Cooks Preparing a Meal
Outside Using the Three Rock System
the “Three Rock” system. What is the three rock system? It is just as it sounds—three rocks spaced just right for a kettle to sit on top and a wood fire beneath. It’s the system we sometimes use when we are camping, and it is the system that they were using at the orphanage when I have visited them.

It works fine, except that most of the heat is lost so that it is not used at all for cooking. This way of cooking uses a lot of wood. In an area such as in Kisii, where most of the land is used for crops, firewood is not cheap. Money that instead could be used to buy food literally “goes up in smoke.”

STUMBLING BLOCKS


It is an interesting term – stumbling block. I seriously doubt if anyone ever set out to purposefully make an actual stumbling block. You can't go on YouTube for an instructional video, and I am quite certain that none of us have ever seen an object that we would recognize specifically as a stumbling block. We have never walked through a museum looking at historic artifacts, and seen a display of a block of some sort with a little identifying placard that said “Stumbling Block,” explaining its use and origin.

Nevertheless, despite this lack of experience, none of us have any difficulty knowing what is meant by the term. It is not difficult for us because all of us have stumbled over something or another at some time in our lives. We know what a stumbling block is.
 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

DISCIPLESHIP AND THE TONGUE


Getting the Small Things Right

In our reading today (Mark 8:34-38 - in footnote below), Jesus was explaining to his followers what it means to be true disciples. He used phrases such as “let him deny himself” and to “take up one’s cross.” What does he mean by these things?

Jesus then says, “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s shall save it.”

Jesus was actually preparing his disciples for the fact that he was soon to be crucified. He told them, “The Son of Man must suffer many things. He must be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

But Jesus was doing more than preparing his followers for that particular event. He was also teaching them the way of a true disciple in this present life. He is talking about things to which you and I should also listen. He is speaking of a life of self-denial. After all, he also asks the rhetorical question, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Then Jesus says something that may be particularly disturbing: “For whoever is ashamed of Me in My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” 
 

Friday, August 2, 2019

KISII REPORT - WHY IS FOOD SO EXPENSIVE IN KENYA?



The question I am often asked—“Why is the food so expensive in Kenya?”

How much is it? I used to give the round figure of $1000 per week to feed all the orphans and the workers. That is about 50 people, which works out to about $20 per week per person.

But that figure is no longer valid. Because of poor crop yields, adverse weather conditions and growing demands upon the food supply, prices have recently risen significantly.

Below are the prices that the Log Church Orphanage last paid in comparison with previous prices. I am giving the prices as Pastor Joel gave them to me last week (in Kenya Shillings). One Ksh in dollars equals 0.0097 at today’s exchange. That is close to a penny per shilling.

I usually just do my conversion simply by moving the decimal point to the left two places, and I figure it is close enough. But I know that there are some out there that like things exact, so I have also made the conversions to dollars. I have not however, done the kilogram to pound conversion. Maybe that is your thing that you like to do. If so, let me know how it compares with food here in the US:

Maize – was Ksh.8000 ($77.60) per 100kg. The new price is Ksh.15,000 ($145.50) per 100kg. That is an increase of Ksh.7,000 ($67.90) per 100 kg. (getting close to double the price)

Rice – was Ksh.8000 ($77.60) per 100kg, Now Ksh.10,000 ($97.13) per 100kg. That is an increase of Ksh.2,000 ($19.40)

Beans – was Ksh.15,000 ($145.50) per 100kg, but now is Ksh.25,000 ($242.50). That is an increase of Ksh 10,000 ($97.13)

Vegetables – I have no former price, but the orphanage spends Ksh 3000 per day for these ($29.14)

According to the World Economic Forum, the people of Kenya use 46.7% of their income on food. That is the second highest in the world. It is higher only in Nigeria, where they spend over half their income on food.

What do we spend in the US? The least in the entire world – 6.4%

Of course, this is more than a function of food prices alone. It also depends upon wages. But after all the calculations and comparisons are done, the end result always comes to this: How difficult is it to feed my family?

If you Google the price for food in Nairobi (the capital city), you will find that the cost of food for one person per month is Ksh 19,000 ($184.30). If you were feeding 50 people, as we do at the orphanage (42 children plus staff), that comes to Ksh 950,000, or $9,215.00 per month.

Joel tells me that the orphan workers figure that they spend Ksh 798,000 ($7,740.60) per month. That works out to $154.81 per person per month.
 
So, instead of the round figure for food of $1000 per week as I used to say, I think today it would be getting close to $2000 per week. What I am able to send does not approach this amount.

The people of the church in Kenya bring food items in for the children, but it is an area of quite severe poverty, so there is no abundance of food. But God is feeding His children, despite outward difficulties.

So these are the food needs. But of course there are many other necessities in raising children.

School shoes –  (42 Black Bata shoes needed) one pair cost Ksh.2200 =$21.37.

Clothes – one pair full cost Ksh.1000=$9.71. Clothes for 42 children are needed. Certainly they pass on clothing from child to child, but clothes do eventually wear out beyond repair.

20 Mattress are needed. One mattress costs Ksh.4500=$43.71. They are only a thin foam covered by cloth, and they eventually also wear out.

Blankets – 20 are needed at Ksh 800 each ($7.77)

Bed sheets – 20 are needed at Ksh 700 each ($6.80)

School – the children are now on holiday for the month of August, but when classes again begin in September, the school costs will run about $1200 per month for all the children (about  $28.50 per month per child).

Many people tell me that they are praying for all of these needs of the orphans of the Log Church Kenya. I believe in prayer and I have seen and been the recipient of genuine miracles directly as a result of prayer. So I will say, if that is what God is telling you to do – only bring the needs to him in prayer, thank you so much! I know that God will honor and answer your prayers.

At the same time, if God is telling you that you should also help in a more tangible way, but you only are willing to pray and nothing more, I do not have the same assurance that your prayers have any effect. Would you think that God actually pays much attention to the prayers of those who are not following what he is telling them to do?

“Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you tells him, ‘Go in peace; stay warm and well fed,’ but does not provide for his physical needs, what good is that?  So too, faith by itself, if it is not complemented by action, is dead.” (James 2:15-17)

And to all who have helped by sending funds for the needs of the orphans, I also say thank you so much. The money is not wasted, and it goes 100% for the needs of the children.

If God is asking you to give, I encourage you to loosen up those purse strings a little. I will tell you that you will not be sorry. There is nothing that feels quite so good as obeying the Lord.

***************************************** 
If you would like to help the children of the Log Church Orphanage of Kisii, Kenya, you may make your check out to "The Log Church" and write "Orphans" on the memo line.

Send it to:
The Log Church
PO Box 68
Tripoli, Wisconsin 54564

Every nickel given in this way will be used for only aid for the orphans. It will be used for purchasing food, clothing, schooling, and other necessities of living. Nothing is held back or diverted for any other purpose

Sunday, July 28, 2019

THE PROBLEM OF HUNGER - (part 5)



 
FAMISHED FOR THE WORD
 
In our speaking of hunger, we have seen a relationship between physical and spiritual hunger that is not often recognized by most people of the world. As a physical life cannot be sustained without physical food, neither can a spiritual life be sustained without spiritual food.

God has given us physical hunger so that we can learn that life itself depends upon him. It is not difficult to see that we need the physical food from his creation to sustain us in body. We become aware of that every day, usually around breakfast time.

From this observation, we should learn that even in our souls and in our spirits, we need his life-giving spiritual food. Receiving spiritual food is not simply a one-time event when we are saved, but just like our physical food, but we need it continually—even every day. As with our experience in our physical life, our spiritual life may have come alive when we are born again, but it needs to be sustained to remain healthy. 

The Physical and the Spiritual

Ours is a world culture that is centered on the physical. Watch any TV show, look at any of the advertisements, pick up any magazine, walk down to the mailbox and get your mail, look at the billboards as you are driving—in every single aspect of our life in the world, we see the emphasis on our physical well-being.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

NATIONS


One of the most intriguing statements in Scripture concerning human history was made by the Apostle Paul when he was addressing the people of Athens in the Aeropagus of that city in Greece. The citizens of Athens had invited him to speak on his beliefs about God, since Paul was bringing to them some teachings that they had not before heard.

The Athenians were polytheistic in their beliefs, meaning that they had many gods. There were hundreds of images of various gods sculpted in stone that lined the streets of the city. In case the people had missed one, they even set up one captioned with the inscription, “To An Unknown God,”

A visitor to the city, one Epimenides from Crete, after viewing these statues as he walked the streets made the comment, “Finding gods in this city must be easier than finding men.”

Friday, July 19, 2019

KISII REPORT - LOG CHURCH OF KENYA

The Church in the Beginning
Since my main concern in these Kisii Reports has been for the orphans and their provision, I have not written much about the Log Church of Kenya itself.

It is not an old church, having begun under the shade of a canopy of branches only a couple of years before the Lord also called me to be involved.

I think that I must have mentioned that it was begun by four friends who felt a burden for the area, Pastors Joel, Vincent and Douglas, and Elder Benjamin. These men work very hard, visiting the houses of the area and telling the people about Christ.
 
Kenya is a country that is strongly Christian in their present-day culture, but in that remote area, there is still much paganism and witchcraft. The story of Jesus is new to many people.

 

The Size of the Church
When I First Visited in 2017
The church in Kenya is growing quickly. They no longer meet under a canopy of banana leaves, but have put up a mud building (wattle and daub).
 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Problem of HUNGER - (part 4)


Why is there Hunger?

God has created us hungry beings. We need food every day—and it is not only us. Every living creature requires daily nourishment of some kind.

Why did God do this? Why is there even such a thing as hunger?

Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Problem of HUNGER - (part 3)


AILMENTS OF THE HEART
 
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

This is the advice that the writer of the proverb gives to us (Proverbs 4:23 ESV).

We have been thinking of the subject of hunger and comparing the hunger that we feel in our bodies to the hunger of our souls, or the hunger in our hearts. I have spoken of the similarities and the differences between the literal physical food that we eat, and the spiritual food that we need to feed our hearts.

The central issue of this theme is contained in the words of Moses when he summed up the forty-year lesson of the wilderness experience. The lesson was that the people should come to know that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

I also quoted Jesus, when he told the great crowd of five thousand people, “Do not work for food that perishes, but for food that endures to eternal life… I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never hunger.” (John 6:27, 35)

Jesus was speaking primarily of spiritual hunger of course, but he was not ignoring the fact that our bodies also need physical nourishment. The day before Jesus spoke the words above, when that same crowd of people had become hungry, the disciples wanted Jesus to send them away, because there was nothing to eat in that place.

The response of Jesus to the disciples concerning their proposal was, “You feed them.” 


Feeding the Orphans

Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Problem of HUNGER - (part 2)


The Blessings of the Wasteland

Hunger of the heart has many symptoms similar to hunger of the stomach. When speaking of the heart, I am of course using it in a figurative sense as it is used in the Bible and as I did in part one of this series. The word is used to speak of our spiritual lives.

Jesus speaks of the heart as being an indicator of the spiritual condition of a man: 

The good man brings good things out of the good treasure of his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil treasure of his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45 BSB) 

And, as the proverb puts it: “As water reflects the face, so the heart reflects the true man” (Proverbs 27:19 BSB).

What is it that your heart is reflecting for all to see? 

Friday, June 28, 2019

KISII REPORT FROM PASTOR JOEL

Dear Beloved Dad, Mum and Church,

Greetings in Jesus name, we thank God for you all, for your prayers and financial support to make these children have hope and to know that God is the provider.
 
Thanks for your donations hereby we praise God for every remembrance of you all, surely if not you and support these children could have not known that God is the answer you have made the church in Kenya to grow spiritually and through your prayers we have reached more souls for the Kingdom. 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Problem of HUNGER - (part1)



Satan used the thought of food as the first temptation that he tried on Jesus to try and make Jesus listen to him.

“Prove that you are the Son of God and turn these stones into bread,” the devil said to Jesus.

Jesus had just spent forty days of fasting in the wilderness and undoubtedly would have loved to have a sandwich, but it would not be under those conditions. He would not do it merely out of response to a suggestion by Satan. He instead used the situation to teach an important truth.

Jesus responded, “It is written:  ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). 

This is the first of several lessons that Jesus had for us on the subject of food, although it is not the first in Scripture.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

THE GREATEST OF ALL MYSTERIES


We began our study in the book of Ephesians talking about climbing mountains. I mentioned some of the mountains where I have hiked and how, as I ascended, I could get a clearer vision of the surrounding countryside. Many things that I simply could not see at all at the lower altitudes or that seemed confusing began to make sense as I achieved a higher perspective.

These were things that I may have been able to describe to someone who had never climbed that particular mountain, but a simple description of the view from higher altitudes could never give a totally satisfactory idea of what it was actually like to be on the mountain for oneself. The experience involves more than simply connecting lines on a map. It is much more than a bare reporting of the facts.

In the book of Ephesians, Paul is describing to us some of the things that he had seen on some of the spiritual mountains that he had climbed. I am sure that as he was writing, he at times must have been frustrated that his description of his experience fell far short of what he had actually witnessed.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

kISII REPORT - LOG ACEDEMY SCHOOL(part 2)


Last post I said that this week I was going to write more about the planning meeting for the Log Academy School of Kisii, but I have to say—my heart just is not in it. It seems a bit of an irrelevant discussion at the moment.

Never in my life has so many of my thoughts of the day turned to food—not what can I eat and what do I like to eat, but will my orphans have food today?

But the school discussion does enter into all of this, because we are presently also trying to pay off our school debt. We have had to divide the money between that and buying food, resulting in some days during every week without food to eat.

Nevertheless, in order to fulfill what I said last week that I would do, I give the following taken from the minutes of the meeting that was sent to me. I will begin at point 6 of the discussion. This point sums up the requirements. You can see that it is kind of a big deal:

6.    HOW TO START THE SCHOOL
 

Sunday, June 9, 2019

THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD


Because of all that Christ had accomplished, Paul was able to tell the Ephesian Christians that, even though they were Gentiles by birth, they were no longer strangers and aliens to the promises of God, but rather “fellow citizens with the saints, and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19 ESV).

After affirming the place of the Gentiles in the household of God, Paul begins to explain something about this household. The term the household of God was not to be understood in the same way as it had been in the Old Testament.

The Household of God as it Existed before Christ

Thursday, June 6, 2019

KISII REPORT - LOG ACADEMY SCHOOL OF KISII

The spiritual lives of the children are first priority in the orphanage, and I can attest to the fact that I have seen great concern of the orphanage staff and the pastors for the spiritual lives of each of the children.

The kids have not only been rescued from the streets and from the garbage heaps, but they have been rescued from death itself—not only physical death, but also spiritual death.

The spiritual lives of the children are first priority.

Next come the physical needs. 


Food, of course, is vital. It is the first of our physical priorities for the orphans. This alone is almost on a day-by-day basis. Lately the orphanage has run out of food every week and there is nothing to eat for at least one or two days. Sometimes longer.

Food is the first priority. No longer to we have to mention housing as an immediate need. We are grateful that we no longer have to think about a healthy living space for the children. This rainy season they are dry and warm in the new home that the Lord has provided.

Naturally, there are other items of life that the children need—clothing, cleaning and personal items, and sometimes medicine. With the rains come mosquitoes, and with mosquitoes come malaria, but we are trusting in God this year that with the new sleeping arrangement there will be less of that.

Another priority for us is schooling.

Last week I wrote of the fact that the kids are now in school only by the benevolence of the school administrators. We do not have the money to pay the fees in full, but are trusting God to provide the entire amount before the end of the term. For this we still lack $2500 to be paid by the end of July. It seems like a lot (and it is), but remember, we have 42 students. That breaks down to about $23/month/child.

But this situation has gotten us thinking more about opening our
 
Own school for the children. We at least need to explore the possibility. The pastors and I have been talking about it for some time, and on the 30th day of May, the church and orphanage staff held the first planning meeting for what they have decided to call the Log Academy School of Kisii.

Do not think that this is something that is going to happen in the next year or two. Perhaps it will never happen. But it is a vision to help the children presently in the orphanage, and those children who will be there in the future.
 

All is in the hands of God. We look to Him for direction. Of one thing we are fairly certain - in this life there will always be orphans who the church is called on to help.

Next week, more on what was said in the meeting.
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Want to help but don't know how? Write to me at donaldrhody@gmail.com