Monday, July 30, 2012
Friday, July 27, 2012
Above: Kimber and I (Rebecca) posing with some of the staff before we left...
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Moral of the story: Christ works through mosquitos? Only kidding, but it is so, so cool to see everything that is going on here and I know that if we were to visit again next year, we would see so so so much more done. Kenya=Awesome!!
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
2 Timothy 4:1-2
Preach the word: whenever, wherever, to whomever, however. There is only one other option and that is silence. A silence that shouts of indifference to those whom might hear. A silence that screams of your selfishness that rationalizes your silence.
We are God’s ambassadors. Ambassadors speak the message of the King.
We are filled with the Holy Spirit. There’s one thing the Holy Spirit makes people do throughout the book of Acts and all of Christian history and that is speak.
Yet I (Daniel), and most likely, many of you have remained silent at times when God has urged us to speak. The events have been orchestrated, the audiences prepared, and yet our mouths remained empty of any Good News. But why? Why would we keep this Gospel to ourselves? Why would we not carry out the will of our Savior?
Fear. Fear of what they might say. Fear of how they might react. But more often, fear that we will not know what to say. We want to be prepared. We want to have every answer for every question. We want our outlines and notes prepared. We want the details of our speaking engagement and a survey of the audience we will be speaking to. We want to be prepared. And so we remain silent until we are.
The reality is we are prepared. Our past, our experiences, and our personality have prepared us for the work God is calling us to.
The ten days I spent in Kisumu were a crash course in realizing this. Of the nine times I spoke in front of a group only four times did I know the night before that I was speaking the next day.
Sometimes these unprepared messages were short and simple. I was asked to share the Gospel message to the group of kids we played soccer (football in non-American English) with.
Other times God seemed to simply be having fun with me. I found out at lunch that I was to give a word at a revival that afternoon. Ok, I can do that. A word in my mind translates to about 10-15 minutes. That I can do. When I got to the revival the pastor asked me how long I expected to take. I still had no clue what I would speak about so I asked him how long he was expecting me to take, his reply, “Around forty minutes.” Apparently a word in Kenya means 40 minutes worth of words . But God was faithful; He provided me with a message that not only proclaimed the Gospel to those who had not heard it, but which challenged those who have already believed.
And one time I could clearly see that God had clearly been preparing me for what I didn’t even know was coming. We were supposed to speak at a leadership seminar. Jim said he had it covered so I went to bed glad that I would have the day off from speaking. But when we got up, Jim was sick, leaving the seminar without a speaker. I volunteered thinking I would be a speaker in the seminar, but of course that thought was also proved incorrect as I was the speaker for the seminar. But God was faithful. Two semesters ago I took Leadership in Ministry at Ozark; God was already preparing me. Then earlier in the summer I had felt compelled to reread Bill Hybels book Courageous Leadership; God definitely prepared me.
He brought me into the situation. He prepared me. I did not have an opportunity to back down. I had no escape route. There was no plan b. All I had to do was open my mouth and speak. Speak His words of truth and life, speak his Good News to the nation, and speak whatever words the Holy Spirit lead me to speak. Though I did not consider myself prepared, it did not matter, God just wanted me to open my mouth; He supplied the words.
So speak. By all means speak. Do not back down. And when you are faced with a situation where you feel you cannot speak because you are not prepared, for the sake of those before you, open your mouth and let the Spirit speak.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Last week, we had the privilege of spending time in Mathare, which is another slum in Nairobi. It is half the size of Kibera, but there are still a great deal of people living there. One of the pastors told us the population is about 600,000.
Mathare has a completely different feel than Kibera, though they are similar in a lot of ways. The poverty is clear but Mathare is more developed. And, it was safer for us to walk around, so we got a better idea of what is going on. I asked one of the guys what he thought was the biggest problem in Mathare for the youth and he quickly said, "unemployment...there are no jobs." You see a lot of people that are idle, and one might be quick to assume that they are just lazy but the majority just can't find jobs. So you find people idle, but it's not by choice. I did, however, see so many people selling various things. Everywhere you go, you can find someone trying to do something to provide for their families which is always encouraging. They might be selling maize, mandazi, shoes, clothes, beans, and/or all sorts of other things. I think that if some of the people without jobs could get some start-up capital, they could really make a business for themselves. The African people, if nothing else, are very creative and they love to work with their hands. I love it.
LIA has been in Mathare for about a year and a half. They are currently working with a group of youth and a group of women for economic empowerment. We got to hang out with the youth (ages 15-23) on Tuesday. They have a business together selling fresh juices in the market. So we got to wash, peel, and juice many fruits/veggies that day with them. We had paw paw, mango, pineapple, oranges, watermelon, carrots, beet root...I think that was everything. So, they sell the juices and share the love of Christ with the community. And then, they split the money amongst themselves. LIA has gotten them all savings accounts, and encourages them to save their money. Very cool.
On Wednesday and Thursday we spent time with the women's fellowship. I love them! They are so much like a family and Keziah and Beth (LIA staff in Mathare) were telling us that they just share and encourage one another openly. For their business they do a lot of bead work...purses, necklaces/bracelets, jewelry boxes, and they do some knitting too. We got to work on purses with them those two days. Most of the women are the sole providers for their families so it's great they have something to do that not only helps them economically but spiritually as well. This week was mainly a time of sharing and fellowship. I loved to hear from the women and to learn about their dreams and desires as we worked alongside them. They are very funny women and they love the Lord =)
Almost forgot - we went on home visits on Monday. They split us up and we went to one house each. Daniel and I were together with Pastor Jennifer and one of the young CHEs, Bernard. We visited the home of Jane...very sweet lady. She is there by herself doing the best she can to provide for herself and her two children. The father is not in their lives but she makes a living selling beaded pieces to a sandal-maker. I later found out that she's part of the women's fellowship, too! My face lit up when I saw her again on Wednesday lol because I thought I never would. At her home she showed us some of her work and it was stunning. We talked with her for a while and prayed for her needs and gave encouragement to her along with a bag of food items. Home visits are really something special. I wish we did them more in the US.
Friday is Mathare's prayer and fasting day so we joined them for that. And since it was the last Friday of the month, we took the Lord's Supper with them as well. It was a much needed time of prayer and reflection. And then we headed to Thika! Busy, busy, busy. The pastors were disappointed that we couldn't spend Sunday with them. =(
Thanks for reading, Rebecca.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14