Thursday, May 30, 2019


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.

(Want to help but don’t know how? Write to me at

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

Tuesday, May 28, 2019


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


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 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


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.”

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


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.”


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


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.

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




Sunday, May 5, 2019


After his long introductory sentence (1:3-14), the apostle Paul now begins to address the people of the church at Ephesus. “For this reason,” Paul tells them, “because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” (Ephesians 1:15 ESV).

We will remember that Paul concluded that introductory sentence by speaking of the how the people of the Ephesian church had come to belief in Christ, and how they were given the Holy Spirit as a pledge of their eventual redemption. All of this, he said, was “to the praise of the glory of God.”

Thursday, May 2, 2019


After many months of prayer and labor, we were at last able to open the dormitory for the orphans. This is a big deal, and the staff at the orphanage put together a big dedication program.

They also lined up a video phone and asked me if I
could have some words for the program.

This took place on 11:00 AM Kenya time on Sunday morning , which was 3:00 AM Wisconsin time. So, at 3:00 early Sunday morning, Vivian and I sat in front of my cell phone and shared in part of the ceremonies.
(More photos below)