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).
 
The dimensions of the building for the Log Church of Kenya is not too much different than our Log Church of Tripoli. I should measure our church here, but I asked Joel the measurements in Kisii, and he told me 18 feet by 40 feet.
Maybe not the best photo, but it shows
how tightly packed the worship services
are now, with many more outside



In Tripoli, when some Sundays we might have 40 or 45 people, we are feeling pretty tight. Some of the people may not be able to sit in their regular seats, which is always a little traumatic for them.

 
In the Log Church of Kenya, they regularly now have 300 people at the services. Many have to stand outside and listen from the windows.
 
The area is a very poor and rural, and the walking from house to house takes great effort, especially now in the rainy season. It is also the hungry season in that area of Kenya, when the food prices are high and very few crops are being harvested. Pastor Joel tells me that when they visit the families of the area, they find that many of them have had nothing to eat for almost a week.

But there is also great hunger for spiritual truth.

Here is what Pastor Joel writes:

"Dad thanks for the spiritual posts you are putting on the blog. It has help us more and we have lacked the bigger church building to hold those who come to hear the word of God. Keep praying for Kenya church to have a bigger church building because more are joining, we are going house to house visitation using teachings on the blog and your books that you gave us more people are coming, we are humbled for the increase.

"Beloved Keep praying that God will open financial doors because even as we are reach out people in their families people have no food, surely people live under poverty in the community God has called us and we are struggling in this but we cannot run away truth, and people are eager to hear about the Lord of all harvest."

Because the poverty in the area is so high, the people of the church are not able to donate much money for the care of the orphans. One Sunday, when the children had had nothing to eat for four or five days, the offering was about $8. This does not buy much in Kenya—especially for 42 children.

But the people bring food—bananas, potatoes, maize, whatever they can grow. This they give to help feed the children. But understand, NO ONE has much to spare. We are depending on the provision of God and we want you to know that we appreciate so much all of you who have helped. Here is some more from Pastor Joel:

"Dad, Mum, church and friends, Thanks for putting trusting on us to handle the money you send through Pastor Donald. These has given us the smooth and easy way to manage the children, despite the challenges of lacking to meet all the needs.

"We thank God for you all, thanks for your prayers and we pray that when God bless and increase others may He not pass you. May God cover and protect your families as you come and go out.

"Our prayers are with you and we are humbled to serve with you to see these children develop their relationship with God deeply and be the Christ ambassador in the future.

"All of willing heart to help we welcome you with open heart. Surely the work you all are doing here in Kenya is great if we had way we can bring you here you can testify that the money you are sending through Pastor Donald are not in vain its for the kingdom building purpose, kindly do not stop helping as the spirit speaks to you."

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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. This is not for use in the church of Kenya, but only for the orphanage
 
 



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 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 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, but 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

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

BREAKING DOWN THE BARRIER

Paul wrote to the church in the city of Ephesus, “Remember that formerly you who are Gentiles in the flesh and called uncircumcised by the so-called circumcision… at that time you were separate from Christ” (Ephesians 2:11-12 BSB).

Thursday, May 30, 2019

KISII REPORT- SCHOOL DAYS


In several ways, the caring for the orphans has grown beyond the Log Church of Kenya and has become a community effort. Regular readers of this blog may recall that in the previous school term, the children of the orphanage had been sent home because we could not meet the fee requirements.

Meeting these costs have been a constant challenge for us. The total school fees for all of the children run about $1000 for each of the 9 months that the school is in session (about $23/month/student). The schools themselves run on a very tight budget, so it is also difficult for them to accommodate non-paying students.

Thankfully however, after the pastors again went to meet with the staff at the various schools, each school has agreed to allow the children to return for this present 3 month term. The pastors showed each school administrator the history of texts that Joel and I have exchanged over the past months, where we were discussing the challenges of feeding the kids. Those texts showed that we often turned our eyes only to the Lord to provide for them a healthy place to sleep, clothing them and all of the other necessities, besides having money to send them to school.

This impressed upon the administrators the truth that it is a struggle for us, so they were gracious enough to allow the children to return to school for this term with the condition that we make the payments during the 3 month term. We have been able to so far pay $500 of the $3000 school fees.

But remember also that food costs run about $1000 per week, so every day is a test of faith.

With the work that God has given me over the years, I have been involved with several works of faith in several countries of the world. I must say that this one has driven me to prayer more than any other. The costs are so incomprehensible to me, that I know it must be the Lord who will provide.

Primarily so far, God has done this mainly through people like you, readers of this blog, whom the Lord has moved to send some money to help out. For this we all thank you very much. As difficult as things are, the lives of the children are so much better than they were one year ago. Thank you so much!

But even with this, we have not kept up. I am presently praying that God would open the windows of heaven to send his blessings on these, his orphaned children. The needs are so much beyond what we can do.

After all, they are not orphans to God. He is their Father.

“You, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand… You are the helper of the fatherless.”

We are thankful that the kids are now back in school, but the situation has renewed our thoughts about beginning a new school at the orphanage. The orphanage staff held a formal meeting to discuss the possibility of this.

I was surprised how difficult it is if it is to be done in accordance with the Ministry of Education of Kenya. We do not realize how blessed we are in the US to be able to begin a home school for our own children, with even the additional aid of organizations to help us along.

I will write about that planning meeting where the opening of the school was discussed in the next post.

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(Want to help but don’t know how? Write to me at donaldrhody@gmail.com

Every nickel given is used for the needs of the orphans. Nothing is used for any other purpose.)

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

THE RESCUE

In the previous installment of this series (The Spirit of This World), we began looking at one of the most astounding statements of all of Scripture. We saw the first part of this statement, in which Paul tells us that because God was rich in mercy and because of the great love with which he loved us, saved us and gave us life—even when we were dead in our sin. “By grace you have been saved.”

To complete Paul’s thought on this, we continue: 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

KISII REPORT - CREATING A "DEPENDENCY RELATIONSHIP"


One of the things that people have often asked me about in relation to our work at the orphanage in Kenya is if we are creating a relationship of dependency, where the Kenyans who are working with the orphans look only to us to supply the monetary needs, and do little or nothing themselves to contribute in this way.

It is true that this is always a danger in working in poorer nations. Most of the people in poorer countries have the impression that all Americans have a lot of money, or if they do not themselves have it, they have ways of getting it.

I have often encountered this in my work overseas. It is a dangerous situation that can produce not only a dependency relationship, but one of co-dependency. It is not only that the people in those places will begin to need the American to fulfill their financial requirements, but also the American needs to feel needed. It is a gratifying thing to be in a position where you are needed.

But all of this is especially dangerous in the work of the church.

As an example, after I had been living in Venezuela for several years, I was in a meeting with other church leaders where we were discussing a looming financial crisis involving our work in the country.

One of the men in the meeting stood up and suggested, “Perhaps we can get The North to send us some money.”

By “The North,” he of course meant the United States and Canada.

Anyone who has worked overseas knows that this is very common—tell the richer countries of your need and hope that they will supply. It is the easy way, but it is not God's way.

By that time in my life in that country after living there for as long as I had, I actually felt more Venezuelan than I did American. Like my brothers and sisters in that meeting, I also felt the burden of the need at that time. Neither did I have a ready solution.

If I had been new in the country, I perhaps would not have responded as I did at the meeting, but after having lived there so long, when I spoke to the suggestion, I was not even speaking from the American perspective. I was simply speaking as a brother in Christ coming from the same perspective of everyone else present in the meeting.

“Hermanos,” I began, “Sometimes it seems to me that when we have a need, we look to The North first, and to the Lord second. Amados hermanos, it should not be this way.”

It is basically what I have told Pastor Joel and the people of Kisii. “The American is nothing, but the Lord is everything.”

But neither is it good for us Americans to have the idea if the people in these places would just work harder and show some initiative and ingenuity, they would be able to support themselves.

The individuals who have warned me about creating a relationship of dependency have never themselves lived in a third world country. They have perhaps vacationed at one of the beach resorts and even taken an excursion inland to see how the “real natives” live, but they know nothing of the hardships of existing where there are few options for improvement.

My suggestion is this: if you want to know the struggles of a people, go live with them in their village for at least an entire year. Get to know them as people like yourself. Live through their struggles with them. Ask yourself what your life would have been if you had been born there. A vacation in that country or even a short-term mission trip will not teach you this.

The more basic truth is that none of us are independent. We are all equally dependent upon the grace of God. If we look at the blessings given to us by God as something that we have because we have worked hard and have “pulled ourselves up by our own bootstraps,” we have missed the point in our lives with Christ.


At least we have begun with bootstraps. This is grace. Some do not even have boots.

My own view is since I have received this grace from God, I should be willing to share it with others who have not.

In doing this, I have found not loss, but great gain. They have received the grace of God in other ways than we have here in the US, and this they have shared with me. Through the process, we all are growing in the grace of God.

I know that many of you also think the same as I do, and I thank you for helping out.

Thanks to those of you who have sent gifts this week. Because you were willing to share what God has given you, the children now have food for another week.
We trust the Lord for the future.


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

THE SPIRIT OF THIS WORLD

The Apostle Paul writes of the Ephesians: “You were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you used to walk when you conformed to the ways of this world, and to the ruler of the power of the airthe spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:1-2).

What does the apostle mean when he speaks of the “ways of this world” and “the prince of the power of the air?”

Saturday, May 18, 2019

KISII REPORT - AFTER THE HUNGER


On Tuesday I was able to send some money to the orphanage. On Wednesday, the staff was then able to go to the market to get some food. After four days without eating, the children at last had some food.  

I remember days in the past when at times the days of famine were closer to a week. But at least in these mornings when I awake, I am thanking God that the children will be able to eat today. 

How long will this last? Joel tells me that they have enough until next Wednesday. 

The food supply does not last that long at the orphanage. Remember, there are 42 children, many of them adolescents and even some teenagers. Their bodies have more demands than many of ours. 

Vivian and I, for instance, simply do not eat much for our meals anymore. Our food budget is very low, and it could be even lower if I stopped buying maple nut ice cream. But we also remember what it was like when our four sons were in their growing years. Food would seem to vanish before our eyes! I even remember having to hide my maple nut so that they would only eat the vanilla. 

Forty-two children need a lot of food, and food is not cheap in Kenya. In times before some crops are harvested, food in fact becomes very expensive because of the low supply. 

There are no food banks in the area where the orphanage is located. There are no churches with food pantries, no NGO’s or mission organizations working there that supply food, and the government of Kenya has no food stamp program or any such thing. 

 I have serious doubts if there are any free food banks at all in all of Kenya, unless some large mission or organization has one in another area. Some of you with more experience in Kenya might be able to tell me. 

I asked Joel to tell me a little of the disposition of the children during these times of hunger. He has never mentioned it to me before, although he has said that many times some children cry most of the night. A question that he is often asked is, “Why is God forsaking us?”

He has also overheard children saying things like:
“God, remember us!”
“Where is food, God?”
“Why did my parents die? Why, why?”
“God, you gave us food in the past. Kindly give us food today.”
“God, give us food. It is better to die!”

Some who have been rescued from the streets talk about going back. Realistically however, this is no good option, and the children know it. It is not only the children in the orphanage that go through times of hunger. It is common in the area, especially when the crops are not yet ready to be harvested and the food supply has run out.

“The days of hunger,” the Kenyans call these times.

The people try to grow enough to sustain their families, but most have land holdings that are so small that they are unable to have sufficient supplies.

Since the children now are not in school (no way to pay the fees at this time), they are in the orphanage all day. The pastors and staff have Bible studies with them, telling about the times in the Bible when the people had nothing to eat but God did later supply food for them.

“Be patient, God will supply,” the leaders tell them.
“Trust in God, children.”

It is in these situations that the words of the Lord’s prayer take on special significance: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

“Trust in God children, God will supply.”

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Thanks to those of you who have helped during this past week.
With the help that we have been sending for these children, several people have spoken to me to ask me or to warn me about creating a relationship of dependency.

After working with and even living among some of the most needy people of the earth for a good part of my adult life and facing many similar circumstances as this one, I actually have some opinions about this subject that you may find interesting.

Maybe I will write about that next week.

 

 

Sunday, May 12, 2019

KISII REPORT - YOU MAY NOT LIKE READING THIS

Believe it or not, one of the most disheartening emails that I receive in relation to the orphans in Kenya is when someone writes to me and tells me that they plan on sending me some money for the children.

“Why is that?” you might ask. “I would think that this would be encouraging for you.”

THE SPECIFICS OF HOPE


As I wrote in the previous post of this series, the way in which the Bible uses the word hope is not as we commonly use it in our everyday language. We use it to express a wish that may or may not be realized.
However, the hope that comes from God is not a mere yearning or a desire. It is an inevitable goal that is promised to us. This promise gives us strength to persevere under extreme circumstances.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

KISII REPORT - ARE WE DONE?


The dormitory has been finished and the orphans are now sleeping in their new home. This has been a long and continual prayer of ours, and is the result of several people helping out financially. Most of all, of course, it is the result of the goodness of God.

It was a step-by-step process, where we built as we had funding. Every step was done in consultation with the government officials, since we wanted all to be done properly.

The rains in Kisii have begun, so we are grateful that the orphans now have a dry and healthy place to sleep. Were it not for the completion of this dormitory, soon we would have begun to experience some of the health problems that the children experienced last year. We are praying for a much better year this time.

First Step - we were able to buy
5,500 bricks
So what’s next? Are we done?

Speaking for myself at least, I cannot say that I am done. God has given Vivian and me no indication that we may now retire from this work. The needs of the children continue,
leveling and preparing the site
and with 42 of them, the cost of running the orphanage is significant—about $5000 per month.


 
 
Food is the main expenditure, of course. But there are also other needs, such as shoes and
clothing, cleaning supplies, personal care and health items, fuel for cooking, and all the rest that go along with growing children.

Footings
Then there is the schooling. For nine months out of the year, the fees to the schools equal about $1000 per month, plus the cost of uniforms, books, paper, pencils, and some other incidentals. 

Beginning the brick work
Of the $5000 per month, there are no salaries included. No one is making money in this work. 

It seems overwhelming, but my attitude is that I can only do what the Lord enables me to do. As I have told Pastor Joel on several occasions, I have been a servant of God and of the church my entire adult life. I have never worked in a job that has made me a man of substantial financial means. When it comes to finances, I do what I can, but I have no great wealth to contribute.

However, throughout my life, I have seen God do amazing things. In truth, I have seen many things happen in God’s work for
plate beam ready
which I could see no logical explanation. I was not able to put pen to paper and calculate how the costs that we faced had been paid. They were not met by extensive financial petitions or clever campaigns designed to appeal to the emotions of potential donors.

rafters are cut
The best that I could say was that it was the result of the hand of God.





I am convinced that God will continue to do amazing things in the lives of these orphans. They are his children, and he will care for them.














plastering inside and out



HUGE septic tank




Ceiling and painting