Saturday, February 26, 2011

Farewell for now

Monday, February 21st. Well, today is our last day to be with the Maasai for this trip anyway. We are back at Liberty Baptist church where Pastor Peter is the preacher. The people love him here, and he can really dance! He can really jump high when he dances, Michael Jordan could learn from him! Today instead of teaching, they have the men and women together. They want to have a question and answer time to be able to ask the team questions. They had so many questions that this went on for two and one half hours. We are happy that they have difficult questions because it shows that they are really thinking and studying God's Word. We sing praises and then eat lunch. The Maasai people are so gracious and hospitable to us.We then were given gifts by the women, then we gave them gifts. The Pastor's wife gave me a gift, and I gave her a gift. Trying to tell these dear, sweet, beautiful people goodbye is like trying to tell a family member you love goodbye. They are the most loving people, smothering us with hugs and kisses. One young woman laid her head down and just cried like a baby. Betsy cried, and I held it together until I got in the van to leave. I was waving out of the window, and saying " Olisetti", which is " Goodbye" in the Maa language. I thought I would actually hold it together until I spoke with Mike, one of our team members. I told him, " Mike, this may be the most important thing we ever do in our entire life!" Then, I cried my eyes out!! The Maasai people have a way of making a special place in your heart. I hope that we were able to teach them something. I know on the way back to our hotel, I prayed to the Lord, " Lord, I hope I made a difference in these people's lives, and He answered me in my spirit, " You're helping, but you're not the one whose making a difference in their lives, I Am!! Wow, yes Lord, I know. Thank you for the opportunity to "help" and using me to be on Mission for You!! I can't wait until next February to see my brother's and sister's in Christ again in this beautiful land- Kenya.

Church, wherever God's people are

Sunday, February 20th we divide our team up and go by two's to different churches to lead Sunday school and worship. Steve and I go back where we went yesterday to Pastor David's church, we pick him and his three girls up. On the way to the church, we see several giraffe and gazelle's. Now how many of you see that on your way to church? Steve teaches Sunday school, and the ladies sing. We have our worship service next, and I start the service by singing two hymns. Then the ladies and the children sing. Pastor David speaks for awhile. Even though he is not preaching today, he has to preach a little bit. I told Steve later he had the "can't help it's"! You know when you just have a fire in you for the Lord and you have to tell it, that's what I mean. Then they had praise and worship, and the ladies danced. They wanted me to get up and dance with the Maasai ladies, so I did. They are so gracious, I don't know how to get my neck to go back and forth like theirs. They are so graceful and beautiful when they do it, but they were sweet for including me. Steve then preached on Timothy. He did a great job, but of course, I am biased! Then Pastor David wanted Steve to pray for the sick, which were many, including his own daughter. We then passed out gifts to the women and dolls to the children and we gave Pastor David more Bibles to pass out to his people. We joined them for lunch of goat, chapati, cabbage and potatoes. It has been a beautiful day in God's house!

Mission trip/ Pastor David's church

Saturday, February 19th we drive a long drive past Liberty Church to Pastor Peter's brother's church. David Olonapa is also a Pastor and we went to his church for the day. It is a very hot day, more so than usual. We are so excited because we have 70 ladies, and over 100 children! Cameron and Clara are doing a wonderful job teaching the children, even though neither one of them have ever been to Kenya before. Betsy only teaches one lesson on the Redemption of Jesus. It is about how God's love changes us, and she also shared about her courtship with her husband, Joe. Because we have so many children today, Betsy goes to help Cameron and Clara, and they make colorful crowns for the children, they are so excited and proud of their gifts! I teach the whole day on, A shepherd's look at the Psalm 23, and Lord teach us to Pray, on the Lord's Prayer. The women are so attentive, and want to learn God's Word. Most women cannot read or write, but they still want to learn more about the Lord, and His Word.At the end of our time with them, we pass out Bibles to the men, and Pastor's who do not have Bibles. These are the Bibles that we took up money for at Hocutt, and Bay Leaf. The Bibles are in their language. They are so happy to receive them, and we are blessed in return to give them! We make the long journey back home, and when we get back to Whistling Thorns Marie says she is feeling bad, and we take her temperature and she has a fever! She was sick before we left, but she has gotten worse. We all think that she has bronchitis. She decides that she better not go with us tomorrow.

Mission trip/ Church in Rift Valley

Friday the 18th, we make about a 2.5 hour journey to a church in the Rift Valley, near Narok.On the way we pick up Mark and Sharon Sweeting who live and work in Kenya, they used to be members at Hocutt. We are at a village that has a lot of poverty. We divide up the men and the women, as usual, we walk quite aways to where the women will meet in a little tin building. Betsy speaks to them about God's love, and then Sharon gives a wonderful lesson on Prayer. I speak on the Prodigal Son, and half-way through my talk it begins to rain. I really mean, it was more like a monsoon! It rained harder, and harder sounding like hail on the tin roof. I get louder and louder, and so does my interpreter. Walt comes to retrieve us, and tells us we must go now, the drivers are afraid that they may not be able to make it out. We say our goodbyes, and leave. So sorry that we can't spend the whole day with them, but if we don't leave now, we may get stuck in the mud! It is difficult getting out, the rain water is flowing down like a mini river. I pray the whole way out, and thank the Lord we did not get stuck like we did last year. We are definitely on a great adventure!

Mission trip/ Liberty Baptist Church

It rained last night, very hard, I know that they have had a drought here so I am sure the Maasai are very happy about the rain that they received. We drive from Whistling Thorns in Kiserian to Pastor Peter Olonapa's church, Liberty Baptist. Peter showed us the foundation for his new church, and the corner stone that has been laid. We have to wait for the ladies, and the Pastor's to arrive before we can begin, because the women have a lot of chores to do. They have to go and draw water, and bring it back. They have to cook, and so on. Once the majority of people are there we begin with like an opening assembly. This is when the Maasai men and women sing praises to the Lord, and dance their dance. I know these wonderful people are here for us to teach them, but they are sure teaching me something about true worship of the Lord! Betsy and I tried to dance, but we don't know what we are doing. I wonder if it's all they can do to not laugh out loud at us! The people are so friendly, and loving. Marie Allen, the oldest member of our team, teaches the majority of the day, and Betsy and I give one lesson each. We are served lunch of goat, chapati, cabbage and potatoes. It is good, and we know that they are giving us a sacrificial meal, and serving us the best that they have. Thursday, the 17th we are also at Liberty Baptist. We see some little bright red bugs crawling along the ground and I asked my interpreter Joel what they are and he said they are called "Children of God" because they come out when it rains. They are glad to see them because they think that they will bring more rain. Marie teaches again at the beginning of the day, a wonderful lesson on Mary and Martha. Betsy and I also teach. Betsy talks about God's love and redemption. They always love Betsy because they can see that she loves them! I teach about Jesus commands to His disciples with lessons on Repentance, Faith/Believing, and Loving One Another. They were eager to receive God's Word with gladness, and gratefulness. We had a wonderful day in the Lord!

Mission trip to Kenya

Monday, February 14th we are in the airports and an airplane, it is Valentines Day, but I still get to be with Steve. I think about the other members of my team who are away from their loved ones on Valentines day. I hope the Lord will do something extra special for them today! We arrive in Nairobi, and we stay in a hotel called the Jackaranda. We are up early on Tuesday on our way to Kiserian, Kenya where we will be staying at a place called "Whistling Thorns". On our way to the hotel Marie and I are talking in our van when all of a sudden we are slammed by another van. We are hit twice in the van we are riding in, but no one was hurt. My arm is a little bruised, and we are a little shaken, but we are all fine. Marie says that she has never been in a wreck before. Well, now she has! We went to a little church past Pastor Peter's church, but because of the wreck, we arrive late, and don't get to spend as much time as we would like with this group. I know the Devil certainly would have loved to stop us from what we set out to do, but we will not give him the satisfaction! How he would have loved to send the Pastor and his wife to the hospital in Kenya, or even worse, stopped us all together, but God was with us, and protected us. Thank you Lord for your protection on the way, and while we are here. You are a strong tower, and nothing can get to us unless it goes through You!

Our Journey Begins

We had begun our Mission trip, in the airport I pick up a magazine to read on the way. I am thumbing through the magazine when I come across an ad for a lotion, and it reads " We're on a Mission to Rescue Dry Skin" well, this ad I feel is used by God to speak to my heart. It speaks and says, you're on a Mission now. Your Mission begins now on this plane with the people you come in contact with. Your Mission continues after you are done with your lessons and you go on Safari to Ambocelli. You are always on Mission. Wow! God can tap you on the shoulder, and use whatever he wants to get your attention and remind you of what you are doing, what you are here for, in what ever way he wants to, even an appointed ad in a magazine! So, I tore the page out of the magazine, and will be putting it into my travel journal. I am home now, and blogging about my Mission trip to Kenya, and yet, I am still on Mission with God. My Mission will not be over until I go to heaven to be with the Lord. I am thankful that He has given me a Mission to work, a purpose in life. I am thankful that Kenya is just a part of it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Missing Ingredient

I went to a little Christmas gathering in one of the ladies homes one year. The same ladies would attend every year, and they brought the same dishes. I am not complaining because I look forward to these foods every year.

One particular year though something amusing happened. We had enjoyed our luncheon of the delicious varieties of foods. I was saving the best for last! That is the dessert of course! In my opinion you don't waste calories on dessert unless it's chocolate, or maybe pumpkin. So, I was so happy that someone brought a pumpkin pie. Well, I bit into it and whoa, it didn't taste like a normal pumpkin pie. I didn't say anything. I waited for the lady that brought it to taste it. I studied her face to see her reaction. She got a horrified look on her face, and she said, " Oh my, I believe I left out an important ingredient!" She pinpointed, and we all agreed that it was the sugar. When you are making a dessert that is an important ingredient, I would say it is an essential ingredient!

In Scripture God tells us in I Corinthians 13: 1-3 " If I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophesy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing."

All of these things listed are important things. You can preach, and if you don't love, it means nothing! You can know the deepest mysteries, and have knowledge of everything, without the missing ingredient, LOVE, it means absolutely nothing! You can even have so much faith, that you could move mountains, but without the missing ingredient, LOVE, this too, means nothing! Finally, you can even give up your life, but if you don't have the missing ingredient, (say it together) LOVE, this act is worthless, it means absolutely nothing!!

While we are nearing Valentines Day, our hearts start to focus more on thoughts of LOVE. This year may we reflect on whether we are truly loving our Lord with all our heart, mind, and soul. If we are loving our families like we should. If we are loving the people around us. The challenge is to love the unlovely, the down and out, the people that miss treat us, that may persecute us. How are we doing with that? That's a little more challenging isn't it?

This year, even past the official day of love, let's not leave out that most important, and most desired ingredient, LOVE!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Aflame for God

Are you "burnt out"? Your candle has been burning at both ends and now the flame is completely gone out? How can we be so " on fire" for the Lord at a certain time in our life, and other times we feel like someone put a " wet blanket" over us and that fire is gone completely out?

I received an answer to that this morning. I was watching Beth Moore speak and she quoted this verse. " Is not My word like fire?" declares the LORD, " and like a hammer which shatters a rock?" Jeremiah 23:29.

Bless my soul, there is the answer! If we are doing things in our strength, speaking our own words, without seeking God's face,then no wonder we feel cold and distant! We need to be in His Word to stay " on fire" for Him. God says Himself that His Word is "fire". When you feel like you have drifted from God, and you have grown cold (even in your service to the Lord). Go to His Word, that is our power source, that's where the fire comes from!

In Scripture the Holy Spirit is a symbol of oil. He was a symbol of oil in the lamp stand of the Israelites. So we as modern day Christians today have the Holy Spirit within us as our "oil". When we put the oil of the Holy Spirit, with the "fire" of His word. Puff! we have an explosion! These two things together are combustible, and flammable. That is how we stay white hot for the Lord and for His kingdom.

In Elizabeth Elliot's book, " Through Gates of Splendor" she quotes her husband. Jim Elliot wrote in his journal, " He makes His ministers a flame of fire," Am I ignitable? God deliver me from the dread asbestos of 'other things.' Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be aflame....'Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God."

As I get ready to leave for Kenya, that is my heart's desire. To be " a flame of God" on fire for Him and His Word. To be "on fire" like the burning bush, where I am consumed with God and a love for the people that He loves, without burning out! Yes Lord! This is my prayer, and earnest plea.

A great hymn that goes along with this that I have been singing all morning is:

Set My Soul Afire

Set my soul afire Lord, for Thy Holy Word, Burn it deep within me, let Thy voice be heard
Millions grope in darkness in this day and hour, I will be a witness, fill me with Thy power

Set my soul afire Lord, set my soul afire.
Make my life a witness of Thy saving power. Millions grope in darkness, waiting for Thy Word. Set my soul afire, Lord, set my soul afire!

Set my soul afire, Lord, for the lost in sin, Give to me a passion as I seek to win; Help me not to falter never let me fail, Fill me with Thy Spirit, let Thy will prevail.

Set my soul afire, Lord, in my daily life. Far too long I've wandered in this day of strife; Nothing else will matter but to live for Thee, I will be a witness for Christ lives in me.

C 1965 Words and Music by Gene Bartlett

Monday, February 7, 2011

10 Ways to Say " I Love You"

Valentine's Day is just 7 days from today, so let's get ready!

1. Apply the three C's

Seize every opportunity to compliment, commend, and congratulate your mate. Apply to your marriage, Biblical advice: " Whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things." ( Phil. 4:8)

2. Turn of the T.V.

Most couples are extremely busy and have so little free time to spend together. So, they use T.V. as a time to relax. Try to turn it off and talk to each other, or even being quiet together and reading, or playing a game.

3. Have a fair division of labor.

Make sure you try to be fair with your dividing of the chores in your home. Someone once asked the husband of Margaret Thatcher, the former British premier, " Who wears the pants in this house?" He said, " I do, and I also wash and iron them.!"

4. Show patience

" You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it open," said author Arnold Glasgow. You may not always understand your partner's actions or appreciate his attitude. During those times, extend courtesy of patience.

5. Grant your spouse three wishes.

Most people are more comfortable giving than receiving. So, cut through this obstacle; tell your partner you want to grant him three wishes!

6. Think before you speak

" Raised voices lower esteem. Hot tempers cool friendship. Loose tongues stretch truth. Swelled heads shrink influence. Sharp words dull respect," writes William Arthur Ward. Do your best to spend your words as wisely as you would spend your money.

7. Routinely send love signals.

Small gestures often convey large meanings. So don't hesitate to express your love through small acts of kindness, tenderness, and gentleness.

8. Lighten and brighten with laughter.

" A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."(Prov. 17:22 One recent study of couples married at least 50 years revealed that 79 percent of them said that they laughed together everyday.

9. Listen with your heart.

The Bible offer this wisdom: " He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise.: (Prov. 15:31) When your spouse is upset, let him express freely. Don't pick away at the details. Just listen.

10. Be generous with forgiveness.

A family therapist, Fred Piercy, is often asked if a relationship can be saved. His response is, " No, but you can build a new relationship. " " Forgiveness allows that process to begin. "

Article written by Victor M. Parachin

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Vapor

I received some heart wrenching news this morning that a dear friend and interpreter for our group died in Kisumu, Kenya. Elizabeth Onyango Orondo was a sweet, godly woman. She interpreted for me last year when our group was in Kisumu. Elizabeth was truly a Proverbs 31 woman. She was a student of God's Word, and always was interested in learning more about the Lord and His Word. She was one of the few women that graduated from the Pastor's school in Kisumu. We were so privileged to attend the graduation ceremony. Elizabeth was so proud that day. She walked very slowly to receive that diplomma that she had worked so hard for. Savoring every moment. Elizabeth made all of her own clothes, she was a fine seamstress, and she made the clothes for her three girls. She was so proud of her little family. Elizabeth worked hard at everything she did. She worked hard at her English. She was so precious to me the first time I was with her in Kisumu. She took the time to write out common phrases in Swahili, and what they meant in English. She wanted me to know and learn her language.She had a ready smile, and a sweet spirit about her. I will miss her greatly. But we don't grieve as those who have no hope. I know that Elizabeth is with her Lord and Saviour. I will see her again one day, and I rejoice in that fact.

James 4:14 says, " Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow, you are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away."
When I went to bed last night I had no idea that I would wake up to this news. We truly do not know what our life will be like tomorrow, or even if we will be alive tomorrow. We should take every opportunity to love our family and friends, and tell them what they mean to us because we don't know if we will have another opportunity to tell them. I sure wish I would have loved on Elizabeth more!

I will not say Goodbye Elizabeth, just so long for now, it sure has been good to know you! Until we meet again...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Listen to God

Our world is changing, and not for the better. In recent days we turn on the T.V. ( our first mistake), and what do we see? The people in the streets in Egypt are rioting and fighting each other, and setting buildings on fire. It was Tunesia last week. Yemen is also in turmoil, and Jordan is changing it's government because of pressure from demonstrators. Chaos seems to be everywhere we look. How do we navigate this? If we are not careful, this can consume us with fear, and anxiety. So what do we do? Well, as Christians we turn to the Word of God. In Proverbs Chapter 1, we are told about Wisdom and her rewards and what she can do, but I love verse 33, it says, " But he who listens to me shall live securely and will be at ease from the dread of evil." (NASB). I also love the KJV, it says, "... shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil." I believe that God Himself is the author and originator of Wisdom. So I will take this a step further and say this means we should listen to God.

Do you remember ever being afraid as a child and your Mother or Father would take your hand, and you would feel more secure? Let's take this a step farther, Have you ever been in such a turmoil as a child, maybe you have just worked yourself into "a tizzy" and your Father didn't get upset, but to get your attention,he took your face and held it in his hands, and he looked you in the eyes and with a quiet almost whispered voice, he said, "Listen to me." You became quiet, the fear was drained from you. This is what I picture with this verse. If we stay in a close relationship with the Lord, we listen for His voice and instructions for us on a daily basis, we will "dwell" safely with Him. He will "quiet" our hearts. We can be at ease from even the dread of evil.

In Proverbs 3: 25-26 we find some companion verses to these earlier verses. They say," Do not be afraid of sudden fear nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. An interesting word in this verse to me is "when". I believe this verse is saying, Don't be surprised to see these evil things happen, they will happen. The scripture says, "when", not "if". We need to prepare our hearts ahead of time for when these things happen!

How do we do we prepare ourselves? We stay close to the Lord. We ask Him to give us His Wisdom and strength to face these coming days. Isaiah 26:3-4 says, " The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. I believe that we have found the key that opens the lock to this question. How do we have a steadfast mind? The second half of the verse tells us. He trust in the Lord!

Nations are in uproar, and eventually who knows, it may reach our shores, but we don't lose heart, we trust in the Lord. We know that no matter what happens, that He is in control. I don't want to sound like "pie in the sky". But even if everything crumbles around us, the ground we stand on falls out from under us, we know that we have a hope for eternity. That even if we lose our lives, that God whom we love and trust, that same God loves us, and He will bring us to our home in heaven with Him one day. So, don't be afraid! He has you by the hand. He has your little face, and He is whispering... Shhh, listen to me, don't be afraid!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

10 Ways to a Better Life

10 Ways to A Better Life

1. People are illogical,unreasonable and self-centered.

Love them anyway.

2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.

Do good anyway.

3. If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies.

Succeed anyway.

4. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.

Do good anyway.

5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.

Be honest and frank anyway.

6. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.

Think big anyway.

7. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.

Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.

Build anyway.

9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.

Help people anyway.

10.Give the world the best you have and you may get kicked in the teeth.

Give the world the best you have anyway.

From "Anyway": The Paradoxical Commandments by Kent M. Keith