Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The BEST day of your life???

The best day of my life????

If I were making that choice, I can think of a lot of possibilities... but I would not be likely - EVER - to include my first day at a new school as an option!

But this is different!

It was PURE JOY to get to walk with these girls as they exclaimed, laughed and smiled over their first day in a new school!

We met first for a little snack and prayer time with some pastors from Nairobi Chapel/Jubilee Fund - the scholarship fund that will facilitate and mentor them through their education.  

I gave each girl - (after all we've walked through together, they feel like my own daughters in a way!) a journal with a reminder of God's love for them in the front...  

 I pray they never forget the God that PLUCKED them out of a horrible and hopeless situation.

As we toured the school, I GIGGLED with them as they responded to each "luxury" they encountered... water - actually available and a real shower!  (The center they came from usually had NO water - not even for drinking most of the time!)   They outright cheered when the matron mentioned the meal schedule - 3 meals a day and tea in the afternoon!?!  (Compared to the one meal - or none - they had faced at the last place they had lived... a situation that had pushed one of them into prostitution just to find food to survive).  A bed for each of them... no sharing with 2 or 3 others!

  Before we left them, in their new school - ready for a fresh start, Maggie told us that she knew what she would be writing in her journal that night...

"This is the best day of my life!" 

And we are excited to watch how our GOOD GOD works in each of them - as they grasp this new chance in life, reach toward their dreams for the future, and experience GOD'S love in a very tangible way!

We have been overwhelmed by the response to our request for help with scholarship funds for these girls!  Thank you to each of you that has contributed!!!  Our goal is to raise all the funds necessary for each of them to finish high school now so that we can just have the money tucked away, ready to pay for each new term. 

If you haven't contributed yet but would like to, here are some details to make it simple for you:
Our amazing church back in Florida has agreed to collect the funds, and issue you a tax receipt, then get them all over to the scholarship fund here in Kenya. - address and info below.  When writing a check, make it out to Summit Church and write Jubilee Fund (attn. Ministry Team) in the memo.  The Jubilee fund is the scholarship fund that we are using to sponsor our girls (through Nairobi Chapel) - we love that they provide a mentor and a close relationship with the student and their family as they go all through school.

Summit Church
735 Herndon Avenue
Orlando, FL 32803
office: (407) 897 8130

Sunday, September 16, 2012

His words struck me strongly so that after I heard them, I wrote them down - exactly as he said them... and have pondered them often, always hearing his voice in my mind as I read them...

“If I DIE, let me die doing 
                    what God has CALLED me to do.”

A hand that reaches out to rescue- regardless of the cost!
What impacted me was that both he and I knew very well - the case this man was helping me to uncover easily COULD cost him his life!

Yesterday, he nearly WAS killed.  He quickly reported to the police. “If they find me dead, I want everyone to know who did it.”  He packed everything he owns and has aleady relocated - to where he won’t be found.

I am left here with a thought that I can’t shake... 

 “What am I doing that I would be willing to DIE for?” 

Please continue to pray for his safety as well as the safety of all those who are fighting for justice for the oppressed in this situation!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Why is the Weird White Man Washing His Gate?

Across our path lives an old Muslim man, alone in a very small house, if we can call it that.  He is known all over Ngando as "Mzee Moja",  "Old Man/Elder #1."  He build our house in 1964 and still works finding odd construction jobs here and there.  I estimate he must be at least in his 70's but some say he's close to 100.  [Most people his age don't know the year they were born and ballpark their ages by 5 or 10 years.  The estimated year usually coincides with a big event, like a flood or drought]. He doesn't speak a word of English so communicating with him can still be challenging. We care a lot about him and pray for him quite often.
On Saturday he asked me for a favor.  It took a while for me to figure out what he wanted... over a cup of tea, hand gestures and referencing our Kiswahili/English dictionary we finally arrived to the fact that he needed a small loan to cover his rent this month.  He hasn't had any jobs lately...
I have been procrastinating on an outdoor painting project so I offered to hire him in exchange for the money he needed for rent.  I was glad to not paint; He was glad and grateful for the job.  "Shukrani Baba," he said, (trans.) "Very grateful Daddy" [around here, I'm known as Baba Nathan, Baba Abby or Baba Sam, never Brad]. We agreed he would paint on Tuesday.
The project consisted of painting our wooden fence with a mixture of used motor oil and kerosene;  Something a neighbor taught me as a good protection from termites.  A messy job - hence my procrastination.
He arrived early and got to work.  I was impressed he even brought a string to ensure he would paint a level line across the fence.  I left for the office as he was well into the job.  All was great until I got a phone call from Camie.  When he finished with the fence, "he took it upon himself to paint our entire metal gate with the oil/kerosene mixture!  It is a mess!  Simba [our white dog] is filthy!"  I have no idea what he could have been thinking other than that the gate had a few pain chips peeling off and he must of thought he would cover them up by repainting the whole gate with the oil.  He must of assumed it would dry like paint and wanted to do me a favor by "going the extra step."
Anyhow, he was "finished" and gone by the time I got home.  I arrived at my gate and could not believe the mess I found.  I was extremely annoyed and frustrated with Mzee.  I changed my clothes and with Sam, my youngest son, began to scrub the fence with soap, oven cleaner and water.  As I scrubbed I was mumbling under my breath, "How could anyone be so stupid?  What was going through his mind? I should have just done this project myself! There is now more paint peeling off the gate than before he began! What was he thinking?  I'll just give him a piece of my mind! Is this just another one of the devil's schemes to frustrate me? Maybe he did it on purpose.  I certainly will never hire Mzee for another job!"
We ended up quite wet and oily.  Sam thought it was fun.  I needed my buddy to give me perspective. I had a few awkward moments trying to explain myself to neighbors walking by, wondering why the weird white man is washing his gate.  "Umm...someone put oil all over my gate?" as I held my hands up in the air.  Who knows what the neighbors are saying about us now?
So, about an hour later, Mzee showed up wondering what we were doing?  "Ah, Mzee. Fence is good but mafuta mbaya sana mulango!  Mimi ni kazi mingi!" I surprised myself since I was able to clearly communicate my problem in decent Kiswahili. Close enough to, "...oil is very bad on gate! I now have a lot of work!"  I wanted to give him a piece of my mind but... truth took over and God reminded me about his heart, his soul and mind.  I just said, "it's all going to be ok."  When I saw his face I couldn't help but be reminded of how much God loves Mzee.  Somehow I found myself looking at the face of Jesus. Mzee needs Jesus.  He needs to know how valuable and precious he is in God's eyes. "We're ok Mzee, it's going to be fine." He was profusely apologetic, repeatedly saying sorry, "Pole Baba," with his jolly, old man giggle and smile.  I could only smile and giggle back at him.
A few thoughts in summary:  1. Even in a very frustrating situation, it would have been so hard-hearted of me to get angry over a pithy thing and risk missing a glimpse of the kingdom. I almost blew it! 2. My heart breaks for Mzee.  While I'm not able to clearly share the truths of the gospel with him in word,  I pray that my deeds would always reflect the love of Christ and somehow point him towards Jesus. 3. How is it that when I'm expressing an issue filled with emotion, my Kiswahili becomes so workable? I pray that I may soon be that conversant and confident in casual conversation. 4. I thank God for my Sam. He really chilled me out today, somehow making the clean-up fun. 5. My fence is painted and termite proof, Mzee's rent is paid and I have a silly story to laugh about. 6. I now definitely need to re-paint my gate.  Do I hire Mzee to do the work? Likely.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Can't wrap my mind around it!

A dorm room, housing 22 teenage girls...

TWENTY-ONE of them pregnant at the same time!

Please keep praying that this man will be STOPPED!