Monday, March 20, 2023


Nyakembene. It is a word that seemed to take me a long time to remember and pronounce. It is the name of a remote town of Kisii county and the location of the church that was planted by the Log Church in Matagaro. Matagaro is actually where the first Log Church and where our orphanage is located. It is all within Kisii county, but both some distance from Kisii town.

Yesterday morning, Vivian and I and Larry took the hour and a half ride along with Pastor Joel and Amos, the driver and my friend from my other previous visits. Amos has a car and drove us to church we were to visit.

The visit to the Nyakembene church was actually one of my main goals in returning to
Kenya. Some time before my most recent visit here, the church in Matagaro had begun this new church in Nyakembene, but I was not able to go there at that time. Then, on the final Sunday of that visit, several brothers and sisters walked the 4½ hours to reach Matagaro to join us in worship.

It was during that service that, to my great surprise, the church in Nyakembene gave me a beautiful soapstone-carved figure of an African dove. Soapstone carving is the craft of that small town, and they have artisans there.

Because of the distance, we arrived late. But even though we were late, there were others from Matagaro who were not. Several of the older orphan children along with some of the staff of the orphanage had gotten up early and walked the same 4½ to join us in Nyakembene. They did not walk by road, but on trails through the mountains and hills. There is no direct road that connect the two locations, since the terrain is extremely rugged.

The location of Nyakembene is even more remote than Matagaro. We drove over very rocky and rough roads—the kind “off roaders” like to drive. But Amos managed to climb over the rocks on the road very well in his front-wheel drive small van. I have previously written of the driving skills of Amos in mud, and now I see it also in rocky terrain.

After many miles of these roads at the speed of perhaps 5 miles per hour, we finally arrived at the church quite a lot later than we wanted. Nevertheless, the people had stayed, singing and worshiping as they waited.

I was the “messenger” for the service, meaning that I was to bring the word of God. I had a sermon prepared of course, because I had expected this to be the case. But I was so happy that a couple of days ago, Pastor Joel had also asked Vivian to share a talk for the kids of the church. However, it was really to be for all of the people, since all were present.

She gave a very nice message that had to do with thanking God for everything that comes upon us in our lives, including those things that we consider the “bad things.” She told of a time in our family when we were struggling with a severe health problem in one of our boys when he was only a few years old. We took him to several doctors, and nothing anyone did or suggested that we do helped.

During this time she was reading the account in the Bible of the time when Jesus commanded the waves and the winds to stop when the disciples were fearful, she said that during those years as she prayed, her prayer was with fear of the situation, and she felt as if the waves kept on hitting her and hitting her with “No answers,” “No answers.”

One day, after about a year and a half since the situation began, God said to her, “I allowed this sickness in your boy. Can you thank me for it? Can you thank me for this sickness?”

Of course, this was a very difficult thing to do. She could immediately do so. However, after a day or two thinking about it and an act of her will, she at last told God, “Thank you that you sent this upon our son.  I trust you because I am in the boat with you, Jesus.”

That white "dress" is actually the podium.

This was hard to do, but she did it and continued to thank God for this sickness. For about 5 months or so she continued to thank him without seeing any real change in our son’s health.

Then one day, our of the blue, our little boy, then 4½ years old, came up to her and said in his little voice, “Mommy, today my problem is over.”

She actually did not think much of it at the time, thinking that perhaps he was only having a good day.

But I had been doing my own praying. Like my wife, my day was also occupied thinking and praying for my son. That same day I remember distinctly because I was on a job, driving our truck to pick up some lumber and praying. As I was praying, I had a very clear and definitive sense that my boy was healed, that “his problem is over.”

The first thing that I did when I got home was to go in and tell Vivian what God had said to me. She looked at me with wide eyes and said, “You won’t believe what our boy said to me today…”

Pray without ceasing, and in all things give thanks.


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