Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
The countryside of Kenya is beautiful with rolling mountains, green everywhere, tea fields, and so on. As we made our way from Homa Bay (West Kenya) to East Kenya (Nairobi) we passed through Luhya land through several Kissi villages, through the Rift Valley (where we met our Maasai friends. We have seen so much this week in terms of the different landscapes, the different socio-economic classes, the beautiful tribes and languages, the different types of food consumed here, but overall...overwhelmed by just 2 things. The first being the overwhelming poverty everywhere in this country. Sure, there are a few spots of living above the poverty level, but the sheer amount of people living on very little, working so hard and not being able to rise above it, have shaken us. The second, and more important to us is this... the heart of God that lives in Kenya. These people...no matter what tribe or tongue, love God, love each other and have such a sweet spirit about them that we cannot easily understand it. Even in the midst of a traffic jam, they don't yell at each other, they joke with one another and seem to have a sort of laid back, cooperative Spirit about everything they do. I believe this to be a reflection of a nation that embraces the teachings of Christ.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
It has been a very interesting and intense journey that God has sent us on, but one we are so grateful to Him for. Our journey to Homa bay took us by road (mostly dirt, sometimes gravel, and always giant potholes) through Kisitown (the Kisi Tribe lives there),into the land of the Loowas (spelling?).
We were all exhausted, and had headaches at the end of the ride, but after 6 hours, our heads banging the ceiling and the windows, we arrived in Homa Bay which sits right on the banks of Lake Victoria in Western Kenya. The landscape is beautiful here as it is filled with rolling hills and mountains of tea plantations and villages scattered in every free corner as far as the eye can see.
After eating dinner and resting on Friday night, we got up early on Saturday morning to attend the “Revival” meeting that was held in our honor. We drove up a hillside in Homa Bay, through various dirt and gravel roads to the home of Pastor Denis, Mama Denis and the entire “New Haven Church community.” We were greeted with open arms, a tour to see the needs of the community and THEN I PUT ON THE PREACHING SUIT as Pastor Peter described it. At the end of the service, there was an alter call and we ended up praying for 50 people over the next hour.
I have to tell you that the worship was like nothing we had ever witnessed and we found ourselves dancing (for a very long time), sweating (profusely…yes even Carrie) and longing for an extremely large bottle of water to consume in record time.
The presence of God is here as well. We were a bit unprepared for the amount of need that exists in this little village. Hundreds of orphans (we were given a list from 2 years ago and found that there are close to 200 orphans in this village. Unlike GCF in Nairobi, there is a shortage of organized leadership here to take care of these orphans. I believe they are doing the best they can, but the need seems to be getting greater due to parents dying to HIV/AIDS, Typhoid Fever, and Malaria (very curable with Medicine). We left after day one, exhausted, overwhelmed, hot and disturbed by the needs before us.
The Kenya government has given some seed money for a medical clinic here. They showed us the blueprints (of which only 10% was completed). While we were touring the partially built clinic, a woman whose infant has malaria, rode up on a motorcycle (a piki piki) , and the leaders had to turn her away because there was no doctor there to help her.
HIV AIDS, Malaria, Typhoid Fever.
To top that off, Pastor Peter arranged for us to visit an orphanage in the heart of Homa Bay. The Director (Morris) showed us around and it was clear to me and the others that He has a heart of gold for the children he is caring for at the orphanage. This was started in the 1960’s by Finland missionaries and the work continues today. The average age of an orphan here is 3 years old and they try to place by age 4 with families who can care for these children in the community. He appears to be successful at this, but admits that it hurts him when they “lose a child”.
This little adventure to the orphanage really shook us up. Carrie and Ryan really had a difficult time here. Please pray for them that God would minister to them as they process what they saw here.
After stopping at an open air supermarket (dead fish with flies everywhere), we quietly made our way back to the hotel. We all have a lot of processing to do.
Sunday morning brought another round of “REVIVAL.” We ate Getheri (beans and corn), and had some fellowship with the area Pastors in Homa Bay. Then the church service started. It was a packed house with standing room only. Worship was crazy great but very long…then Pastor Peter preached on giving, I “preached” on Micah 6:8, and then there were several church leaders who got up and spoke to thank us for our coming. We again were asked to pray for people (probably over 100 today), and then everyone lined ups to shake our hands. The needs of the community were brought up for prayer one last time and then we were escorted to the home of Mama Denis for lunch (Ric ate a fish head with the brain, eyes on Friday night…I forgot that one…come to think of it, he has been a little wittier since that night).
We just arrived back at the hotel to rest and we all took power naps for at least 2 hours. Pray for Ryan…he might be getting Montezuma’s Revenge. I hope he is ok.
Tomorrow, we head back to Nairobi. After everything we’ve seen in the rural area, we are ready to go back to Nairobi.
Tomorrow night, I will be speaking to the leadership at GCF and talking about living out faith instead of just preaching about it on Sunday. Our time here has opened doors for us to share candidly what it means to be a “go and do” church rather than a “come and see” church. Pastor Peter is truly a great friend of ours now and he is faithful man of God who desperately wants to Challenge the congregation of GCF to live out their faith rather than just talking about it.
I will try to blog one last time before we head home tomorrow night. I love all of you and hope that God will help me to communicate what things are like here in a way where you will get it. Thank you all for your unceasing prayers. I know this is why God is opening our eyes to things that make his heart break. We miss all of you and can’t wait to get home.
Friday, January 30, 2009
After 5 days in Nairobi at GCF, we desperately needed to get out of the city and be with God. I definitely understand when Jesus had to get away to be with his Father after being with the poor, sick, and hurting for days.