Tuesday, March 31, 2020

KISII ORPHANAGE - "OUR DADDY HAS COME!"

This series of Kisii Orphanage posts is a recollection of entries
 from my journal when I visited the Log Church and Orphanage of Kenya for the first time.
To retain the continuity of the journal, please scroll down to the entry entitled How it All Began, and work your way up, reading each post that begins with Kisii Orphanage.
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“Our daddy has come!”
It was after the newly formed church in Kenya made the
decision to become the Log Church of Kenya that Pastor Joel began to refer to me as “daddy,” and to Vivian as “mummy.” It was also after he had written to me that they as the leadership of their church had chosen me to be their mentor.

I frankly wished that he would not have started calling me “daddy.” It seemed overly intimate to me.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

KISII ORPHANAGE- THROUGH THE GREAT RIFT VALLEY TO KISII

This series of Kisii Orphanage posts is a recollection of entries from my journal when I visited the Log Church and Orphanage of Kenya for the first time.
To retain the continuity of the journal, please scroll down to the entry entitled How it All Began, and work your way up, reading each post that begins with Kisii Orphanage.
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Journal Entry – November 18, 2017 


This morning I am awaiting the arrival of Pastor Joel. I am fairly certain that he will come, because since my arrival in Kenya, I have talked with him a few times on the phone.

Nevertheless, I cannot seem to progress beyond the feeling that this entire trip is all one big journey of folly. What man in his right mind would go off and do such a thing as I am doing at this present moment?

If I had been seeking an adventure – then perhaps.

If some mission organization had first made a study of the area and its needs, and then had asked me to go – perhaps also then.
 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

KISII ORPHANAGE - PRAYERS TO HITLER

This series of Kisii Orphanage posts is a recollection of entries from my journal when I visited the Log Church and Orphanage of Kenya for the first time.
To retain the continuity of the journal, please scroll down to the entry entitled How it All Began, and work your way up, reading each post that begins with Kisii Orphanage.
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Journal Entry – November 17, 2017

This morning I spoke to Joel on the phone. Tomorrow he will be making the seven hour plus trip to Nairobi. The plan is that tomorrow after he arrives, we will go together to Kisii. He tells me that the church is actually not located in the city itself, but about a half an hour out of town in a tea growing region.

These are some of the tea gardens near the orphanage
I took this photo later
The tea growing region sounds nice. I should feel right at home.

Today was a very quiet one for me. I took another walk around the area of the hotel and got lost once, but managed to find my way back. I was looking for some kind of market, but there is apparently none within walking distance—at least none that I could find.

I did spend some more time at the park that I mentioned yesterday. It is an unkempt area with the grass unmowed and the benches broken, but it is nice nonetheless. There is a wooded area with a well-worn path through it.

I met many students on the path, all carrying books and who seemed to be in a bit of a hurry to get someplace. I did not speak to any of them, but most smiled and nodded when I met them as we passed. My assumption is that they were off to class someplace.

In the wooded area there was a little creek banked by tall trees and vines—and monkeys, many monkeys. I am not a great lover of monkeys due to several disagreeable experiences with them when I was living in India. But these seemed quite cute, at least as viewed from a distance.

I stood on the bridge and watched them play like small children in the creek. They chased each other around through the water and up the bank, then scurry up a tree, jump to a vine and back to the creek. Cute, but I still don’t trust them. 


Prayers to Hitler

Last night in the outside dining area at the hotel I was having a coffee when two westerners sat down at the table next to me. The tables are small and quite close to one another, so after friendly greetings, we began having light conversation.

Friday, March 27, 2020

KISII REPORT - "SOCIAL DISTANCING" COMES TO THE ORPHANAGE

(I am taking a break for telling the story of my first days of being involved with the Log Church Orphanage to give a report on what is happening today.
So from November of 2017, we now jump ahead to March of 2020)
 
How do you do “social distancing” when you sleep 4 to a bunk?
(That’s 2 on top and 2 on the bottom). That’s the situation right now at our orphanage. Like most of the rest of the world, Kenya is also enacting the social distancing policy.
Because of Covid 19 and the new distancing requirements, the orphanage was visited by the health inspector who came with new instructions from the Office of Health. The inspector told the church leadership that the children are no longer to sleep in the same beds. The new requirements must be put in place. The children are now to spread out in the room as much as possible, putting separate mattresses on the floor.
 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

KISII ORPHANAGE - I ARRIVE IN KENYA

(If you have not already read them, in order to preserve the continuity of these writings, please scroll down and begin reading with How it All Began, and make your way upward.
Remember that these are written in the “historical present” sense, meaning that I am not in Kenya now, on March 26, 2020, but I arrived on the date below, November 15, 2017. But I am writing as if it were happening now)  

Journal Entry – November 15, 2017

All that I had written above in the previous post concerning my trip to Ethiopia
took place last March and April. It is now the 15th of November, a mere seven months later. Right now however, that trip to seems like another lifetime to me.

I wrote yesterday while sitting under the clock of the silent worker at the Amsterdam airport, who dutifully erased and painted the new clock hand at  each minute. But today I am in Kenya. I arrived in the middle of the night to the airport in Nairobi. By the time I made it through immigration and customs at the airport, it was about 1:00 AM. It was with some trepidation that I walked outside of the airport terminal.

Would I find a taxi driver holding up a placard with my name written on it? In preparation for the trip, I had first tried to reserve a taxi through this hotel, but the website seemed not to work properly. I did receive some kind of cryptic confirmation that gave me hope that I may have a room, but none at all concerning the taxi.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

KISII ORPHANAGE - THE COSTA RICAN CONNECTION

Please read first in order, How it All Began,
The Collapsed Latrine, My First Trip to Africa
 
(The following is written sitting near the manual clock in the Amsterdam airport)

Back in 1995, Vivian and I were living in Costa Rica while we
were attending a Spanish language school. It was there we were learning the language before we were to later move to Venezuela. It was also there where we became friends with a family from California, and who were going through the same language training.

Through the years we more-or-less lost track of our friends, but I had learned that for reasons unknown to me, after a few years of working in Central America, they ended up working in an orphanage in Kenya (of all places). Besides that, as I looked at the map of Kenya, their city seemed to be about an hour or a little more away from where Joel’s city was.

I found their contact information on their mission’s internet site and wrote to them.

“Are you still in Kenya?”

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

KISII ORPHANAGE - MY FIRST TRIP TO AFRICA

(Please read first the two previous posts - How it All Began, followed by The Collapsed Latrine)


At some point between yesterday’s journal entry and today’s, I seem to have gained a day—or maybe lost a day. I’m not sure which.

Anyway, my phone says that it is the 14th of November today instead of the 13th.

As a stopover on my way to Kenya, I am presently in the airport in Amsterdam. They have the coolest wall clock here that I have ever seen. It is not a digital-type clock, but one with an hour and minute hand. It is perhaps eight or nine feet in diameter, and the face of the clock of frosted glass. But the most striking aspect of this clock is that there is a man standing behind the glass. His image somewhat obscured or blurry because of the unclear nature of the glass, but there he is, standing in full height.

I should add that the man is not actually standing, because at every minute he erases the minute hand and paints a new one—except he advances it one minute. He sometimes has time to be still and rest for a couple of seconds, but very soon he is back at it, removing the old minute hand and painting a new one.

Monday, March 23, 2020

KISII ORHPAHAGE - THE COLLAPSED LATRINE

(Read first previous post - How It All Began)

Journal Entry – November 11, 2017

Joel’s next letter, the one following the desperate plea for food, was just a note. Keep in mind; this was a letter from last March. It was an additional appeal and read like this:

March 9, 2017
Daddy, Mummy and Church,
Greetings in Jesus name,
kindly Daddy help the children under our care who have stayed without taking food this is the second day. Kindly help we are starving greatly. Help us with what is at your hand it will save life.
Thanks
Yours Son Joel 

I responded in this way:

Sunday, March 22, 2020

KISII ORPHANAGE - HOW IT ALL BEGAN

INTRODUCTION
 
The coronavirus has hit our lifestyles hard, even if it has not
perhaps yet affected our personal health. Nevertheless, we have been strongly advised (even banned) to avoid large gatherings (defined as 10 or more), so we as the Log Church cannot meet in our normal fashion.
So in lieu of that, I will be posting this series about our connection with beginning the Log Church Orphanage of Kenya, explaining how and why we are involved. It may not have been your choice to be involved with this orphanage, but neither was it mine. If you read you will understand.
I have often been asked how we can know God’s desire for our lives—what we are to do. “How am I to know God’s will for my life?”
If nothing else, this series will at least give an example of how God led me in this particular case, and how I was finally convinced that it was the will of God for me to begin to be involved with this work so far off on the other side of the globe.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

CORONAVIRUS - WHAT I TOLD MY CHURCH SINCE WE CANNOT MEET

Dear Church,
  
Watching the channel 12 news this morning, I see that governor
Evers has just announce a ban on gatherings of 10 or more.

Seeing that this is the case, I do not see how it is possible to have church on Sunday, or if it would even be responsible of us to do so.

For more than a week, I have been wondering about the possibility that this might happen, and thinking about what we could do instead.

 
As those of you who were in church last Sunday already know, for the next Sunday I was planning on beginning on telling the story about how and WHY I began to be involved with beginning the orphanage in Kenya.

 
Since we cannot meet as we normally do, I will instead put this on my blog page (www.donaldrhody.com) so that you can read it there. In some ways, it may even be better this way since I can include photos when appropriate, and you do not have to feel obligated look at my face!—and you can read it in your pajamas!!!

 
Also I wanted to tell you that since ours is a church with many older adults who perhaps should not go out, I will volunteer to run any errands for you, like picking up groceries for instance. I am also an older adult, but God has gifted me with a strong immune system, made stronger by living and working in many third-world countries. I am, however, more concerned about Vivian with her compromised respiratory system, so this offer may change if conditions change.

Let me know, and we can stay in touch.

Also let me know if there are others that are not on this email list who would like to know.

Love and prayers, Pastor Don
www.donaldrhody.com
 
 
 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

KISII REPORT - A GIFT OF FOOD

I think it was last October when I filled out a questionnaire and application for a donation of food to be sent to the orphanage. The application was to an organization called Feed My Starving Children, based in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. One week ago (March 10) I received an email from them, wondering if we had ever received the food shipment that they had arranged.

Apparently, this food had been cleared to be shipped to the orphanage in early January and was in a warehouse in Nairobi, but because the email that they had sent to me at that time was lost someplace in ether-space and never made it into my in-box, I was
not aware that this had been approved and did not know that to receive the food first required some action on my part.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

INTO THE DISTANT HORIZON

Paul’s Closing Words to the Ephesians
Ephesians 6:21-24 (The last of this series)

 
We have approached our reading of the book of Ephesians as a study more than anything else, but it is in fact a letter. It is a letter written from Rome by the Apostle Paul to a group of people who met together as a church in Ephesus, a harbor city on the banks of the Aegean Sea. As you would expect, the letter was hand delivered. No international postal service in those days. The name of the man who was to carry the letter was named Tychicus.

As Paul introduces his helper in the letter that Tychicus was to carry to the Ephesians, he calls him a, “A beloved brother and faithful servant in the Lord.”

“Tychicus will tell you everything,” Paul adds, “so that you also may know about me and what I am doing. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about us, and that he may encourage your hearts” (Ephesians 6:21-22 BSB).

 

Final Greetings

With those words of presentation of Tychicus to the Ephesians, Paul is now preparing to put down his pen. His final closing is one of the most beautifully written anywhere in Scripture:


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

LETTER FROM JOEL - SCHOOL IS ALMOST OUT

Dear Beloved Dad, Mum, Church and friends,

Greetings in the precious name of Jesus our lord and savior, we are humbled once again when we remember how great your help that you have donated for the children in Log Orphanage Kenya, which has brought hope to them.

We as the church and staff we are praying for your all who have taken your time and resources to support these children for the well stay, despite there are other needs which have not been met and others are required daily for the survival, we are praying and seeking God to provide and give you the desire of your heart.

We praise God for the financial help we received and we were able to buy food that will last from Tuesday through Sunday this week, thanks to all who have donated. We thank God for you each day, we requesting your prayers, for food, school fees, clothing and other basic needs.
At the Laundromat

We received $800+$10 service/withdraw fee this help we received was budgeted for food. We trust God to provide. At the moment we are challenged by school fees as we have 2 weeks to end the first term, the children have been sent to collect the school fees balance.

We want to thank all who have donated the school fess this far. Surely we are almost done by paying more than the remaining but because the school is closing the fees is needed to clear bills, pay administration cost, buy examination papers, printing costs, pay water bills and pay staff workers, kindly keep praying for the school fees.
Drying clothes on the tea bushes

We had to pay $4200 for the school fees this term we have paid $2840 and we are remaining with the balance of $1360 we trust that God who provide that big figure will also provide $1360 for the clearing of first term fees balance.
 

Thanks goes to Pastor Don, Vivian and all donors who have trusted the information and report at the blog which has moved you to help these children under our care.
 

Surely without your help, this burden we could not be able to make. Most of these children could have been in the streets and others have died long ago because they were in desperate without no hope. But now we have given them hope in the word of God and your help have played much.
 

Our prayers is that this education will help these children to be able to preach the word of God and make Jesus known because that is our outmost priority as our Lord Jesus Christ will return soon.

Thanks to all supporters. We celebrate you. Kindly keep praying for these children. The little you have done is great in the eyes of God. Keep doing it greater is the one that hear what God is speaking in his heart and react. Beloved your prayers and help requested by the family in Kenya God to provide for remaining school balance of $1360.

Yours Son Joel and Church/Orphanage Leadership.

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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, March 8, 2020

THE INTERMINABLE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS


What does it Mean to “Pray without Ceasing?”

Ephesians 6:18-20

In the previous two posts we have seen what it means to pray in the Spirit and the purpose of prayer. We came to understand that even though God knows our needs even before we ask, our prayers to God are still a valuable part of our Christian lives.

We also saw a quote by Jesus when he was teaching his followers to pray: “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:7-8 NAS)

I do not know specifically what pagan Gentile religion Jesus was referring to, or if it was perhaps a common practice for the pagans to believe that the more they repeated a prayer, the more effective it would be.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

KISII REPORT - DISPROPORTIONATE PRICES

“Dear beloved Dad, Mum, Church and Friends,

Greeting from Kenya family, our prayers are with you all. The church in Kenya is praying for you all as you are doing so in return.
We pray that God of the universe to bless you and answer your prayers. We are humbled for your prayers we are seeing the lives of people here being transformed and changed more are coming to Christ who had never before accepted Christ. Our prayers are with you all. Thanks for your support and prayers for the work in Kenya.
 
Inside the church
The church in Kenya is growing and many people are joining and the two Log Churches in Kenya. The church at the Matagaro Church has 358 members, counting the children, youth and adults. In the church at Nyakembene are 223 members.”
 
Outside the Church
This is the opening portion of a letter received last week from Pastor Joel. Both Matagaro and Nyakembene are regions of Kisii land. Even though the donations that you, the readers of this blog, give me to send to Kenya are used exclusively for the orphanage, I of course am also interested and involved with the development of the churches in Kisii land. These are the now the two Log Churches of Kisii, Kenya.
 

Outside
Given that the area is so heavily affected by poverty, the challenges that the people and churches face are very great. Joel tells me that among the church members, “nobody” has employment—that is the word he used, “nobody.” There are absolutely no jobs to be had in that immediate area, except if they can find day work in the field of a larger land-owner. This work typically pays $1-$2 US/day.
 
Inside
Even though the salaries for day labor are so low, the cost of living is not correspondingly inexpensive. Needless to say, neither the orphanage nor anyone else in the area purchases any prepackaged or prepared food. They buy only the raw food product. It may be that the cost of these foodstuffs are usually a bit less expensive than here in the US, but given the usual wage of a day-worker, you may be surprised at how expensive it is.
 
This morning I did a quick online price comparison between the prices that we would pay at our local supermarket in Wisconsin with the accounting that I received from Joel for the last food purchase of the orphanage:
 
 
In Kisii: 250kg of MAIZE (corn flour) – Kenya Shillings.50,000 ($500)
Our local supermarket: $2.10/kg in 2 kg bags ($525 for 250 kg)
 
In Kisii: 150 kg of BEANS – KS, 20,000  ($200)
Our local supermarket: 150 kg=330 lbs. At 1.39/pound –  $458.70 for 150 kg
 
In Kisii: 200kg of RICE – KS 30,333 = $300
Our local supermarket: (sold in 5 pound bags) 4.95/5 lbs (2.26 kg) = 2.19/kg total for 200 kg $438

In Kisii: COOKING OIL (20litres) – Ksh. 6000 = $60 US
Our local supermarket: 6.99/gal (20litres = 5.28 gal) $36.90 US


Perhaps you can see why it is so difficult for the families there. Joel continued to tell of some of the difficulties that they as a church are facing with the rapidly growing congregations in such a poor area of Kenya.

The buildings that they have at each site are far from adequate. Despite the fact that they have two services (services that often last 3 hours or longer) in each church every Sunday, not all are able to fit inside. Many have to sit or stand outside to listen in, which is especially a problem if it is raining. Sometimes they can rent extra chairs, but the people often have to sit on the ground. If it is raining, they need to stand. They also rent tarps to protect from the rain if they have the money.


 
In the words of Pastor Joel: “Beloved, we know that you are asking that why the members are not able to build the place of worship. The place where God has called us members who are not able because they are from poor families. Even for them to have food for their own families they are not able to feed themselves. They stay hungry even for a number of days. This are the people we are taking the gospel to them and give them hope from the word of God. Bibles are the challenges also pray for this also.”
 
Pastor Joel and his family donated the land on which the church and the orphanage are built. This is no small sacrifice, since the availability of land there is so limited. Kisii is the most densely populated rural area of Kenya. The price of agricultural land runs about (hold on to your hat), $12,000-$14,000/acre.
 
That may not be so shocking for some of you from richer areas, but the average price for agriculture land in Wisconsin is about $4,000 per acre, and in the poorer agriculture where we live, I think you could find farmland (not woodlands) for $1000 per acre. In addition, when you take into account the wages in Kisii, you can see why land prices seem disproportionally high. It all is because the high population of the rural lands.
 
Your gifts that you send for Kenya will continue to go toward the needs of the orphans, but please remember these families who live in a very destitute situation. They are our brothers in Christ. We uphold them before the Lord.

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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