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Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Hole in ALL of Us


While here in Kenya I have been reading the book A HOLE IN THE OUR GOSPEL (What Does God except of Us? The Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change The World) by Richard Stearns, President, World Visions U.S.
Fortunately I received this book in the mail a day before departing in Kenya. And I was thinking it would be eye opening in reading and experiencing the “hole” in our lifestyles. The book is very,very good. I would recommend you check it out and read it for yourself immediately. I’m sure I will blog more on the thoughts and stats from the book. And some time ago I heard a message from Francis Chan “Lukewarm and Lovin’ It” which he started by throwing out 2 dollar bills and commented how that meant nothing to those in the congregation yet that is a daily wage for the majority of the world. Look for those reading this isn’t a guilt trip, I’m just sitting here half tired/half relax and decided to blog about whatever. I know at home we get tired of the “help me” commercial and most are so numb to it that we can finish a slice of pizza or two as we see the starving children on tv, or change the channel but honestly changing the channels didn’t change anything except you and me becoming more numb to the fact that we are so blessed and spoiled at the same time.
Now there’s NOTHING wrong in being blessed, BUT that blessing is to BLESS OTHERS! Most people reading this cant imagine 2 dollars a day for wages. Come on if we get short change checking out at the store we complain, grumble, bitch and moan about that or perhaps our need for higher wages. I recall a Pro Basketball player saying he was holding out despite the 15 or so millions per year contract he had due to the fact that he had a family to feed. And my friends and I were talking about what a idiot he was to talk in such a way. But we do the exact same of talk and walk in the rest of the worlds eyes. Do you know if you make 25,000 per year or more you are richer than 90% of the world (the world!!) So go almost anywhere else in the world and you are a Bill Gates in eyes of the world. We don’t realize it because we usually compare ourselves to others and yea its usually to those who have more. (I don’t think I have heard anyone wishing they had less?) Im not going to overflow this one with stats (save that for later) but if you are in the 90% bracket there is so much we can do help others. There is need all around us. If you want to try to live on $2 a day for awhile, or try not using clean water for a day or two-great but please don’t stop there. Those achievements will leave you uncomfortable and yet comfort no one. Giving to others will always cost you something. But it will ALWAYS be worth the cost!
I recently heard pastor Chris Seay tell a story in which his friend told him to imagine of his 4 children one became rich but the other three were in need and the rich one kept his riches to himself and didn’t bother helping out the rest of the family. How would that make you feel as a father? He said I would be Piss! His friend said and that’s exactly how I believe our Father in Heaven is feeling towards a nation that has so much and gives so little.” Right, this isn’t about being a Believer or Atheist, Christian, Muslim,etc. Its simply blessing others because we are so very very blessed. Oh for those that may have gasp to read the words bitch and pissed. Did that upset you more than the fact there are Millions dying due to lack of clean water and Millions more “Surviving” on $60.00 a month, $720 annually. Just wondering? Get involved! To quote a man that Stearns refers to as a modern day prophet.. “We can be the generation that no longer accepts that an accident of latitude determines whether a child lives or does--but will we be that generation?”….

Saturday, June 6, 2009

TIA........


TIA….We arrived in Nairobi Kenya around 11pm..it was cool and raining out. A few familiar faces met us at the airport and indeed it felt good to back in Kenya once again. This time our Pastor Randy came along with us, and now the three of us were looking forward to getting to our home away from home. To say the least it was good to see Judah,Salma & Mwende again. They were excited to see us but I’m not sure if it was me or the books Judah wanted to see more (perhaps more on that later). This family has opened their house to us the last two years and it certainly has been a blessing to have it as a place of rest. Last year there baby girl Mwende was in love with my wife Adriane but now that she’s one year older and wiser she seems more fond of me :). On weds Morning we went to the office downtown to meet with Dominique and he gave us a orientation of SYN( Swahiba Youth Networks ) and things that were in need for the ministries that they are part of throughout Kenya (more on that in future blogs). Thursday we went to “Hidden Treasures” It’s a kindergarten class about 40 minutes out of town. This was our first time there. This place is actually not considered a slum but the conditions at the kindergarten class would certainly make you think and see otherwise. With our initial visit we played with the children. Randy became a human lift machine for the kids and they gladly took the challenge to wear him out. On Friday we took a walk throughout Kibera, not only the Blue House area but more widespread this time. It had rained the last few days which made the walk a bit more interesting. Then we returned to Hidden Treasures once again and tried to lead them in songs which actually led to the children teaching us songs. Then Randy told them the story of Father Abraham. As with Sarah Juniors class last year (In Kibera) we helped give them their lunch of rice and beans. For more than a few in this class it’s a race to finish your food first to be one of the few fortunate ones to get a double portion. Saturday we returned to Blue House to teach on Personality and Communication. Classes were divided as Randy and Dominique took one class and Adriane, I and Sally took another class. Once you get the students started there is a good bit of interaction. And finally Saturday afternoon we returned to NEW LIFE CHILDRENS HOME, this is where I met Jimmy last year. This is a beautiful place that holds orphans from the ages of 3 months to age 4. Anne the receptionist gave us a tour of the place and when we asked about Jimmy she immediately knew who were we talking about and informed us that he had been adopted and in fact to their amazement adoption had really picked up and the kids were being adopted at a faster pace more than ever before. So for the rest of the afternoon we helped feed the little ones, and then took them outside. Its amazing how over 20 one to three year olds can be laid back and be well behaved (only in Africa?) Sunday we returned to the Blue House (school/church) where Randy gave the message this time. As with last year they really are glad and encouraged to see Christians from another nation. Sunday evening we had off and Randy did a leadership class for SYN. Monday was national holiday for Kenya so it’s a time to relax and celebrate. We visited Salma’s parents home out in the country. It is beautiful, fresh air, farming, and gardens. This definitely led us to think about out home in West Virginia (and the house made us think of homes in Canaan, very nice). That evening we returned to dine at the Carnivore. We went to this last year and this place deserves its own blog, we wanted Randy to take part in this Brazilian style buffet that ranges from sausage to crocodile and ostrich meatballs (personally one of my all time favorites, I think I had at least 8) for dessert was pineapple pie (yes just like apple just do the pineapple, again very good) and ice cream. So yes as you can tell Monday was a very hard day for us :). Tuesday we returned to the Bluehouse to teach about Father Abraham and His Faith and then we stopped in to see the kids at Sarah Juniors, the teachers were glad to see us and the kids welcomed us with a number of songs. Then we returned to New Life, there is a child name Enoch and for some reason he only likes Munzugus (whites) he is attached to Adriane and he cries when she puts him down and of course when we leave. One of the nurses said she hopes that a white couple adopts him. Weds back to Huruma Hidden treasures where this time the kids were even more excited to see us chasing after us and running from us. Taking turns letting me lift them in the air. Hey by the way have you EVER seen a 4 or 5 year old get excited over a sticker? ( I said it before many of children we meet if they are given anything from a piece of candy, a pencil or sticker its like you just bought them a Wii system). Then we went to Moi Avenue Primary school to teach on effective communication? Well scratch that, that’s what was on the schedule instead we taught on sex, yea a bit more interesting. As Randy told the class we came all the way from America to talk to you about sex, which broke the ice. Thursday Randy visited a few homes in Kibera with some of the team members then all of use went to Juvenile home this is the place that we visited last year and gave money to help purchase shoes for 120 teens to help prevent jiggers (see post in archives for info). They patiently waited for us as we were late getting there. Then we shared with them about what to do now that they had obviously made bad choices (this is a reception station and within 3 months they will be sent to detention from 6 months to 10 years). One thing that really got me was when a SYN staff member was sharing about when one commits a crime their parents don’t want to claim them. She then asked who would claim a child that was a thief or even done worst? And only 2 or 3 raised their hands. So she called on one of the boys and asked him, so you would still claim your child, why would you claim him? He replied because you can’t forsake your own child” (Speechless, nothing more needs to be said) I then shared on the way we see ourselves is actually through the eyes who means the most to us. Which can usually lead to bad choices through trying to impress friends and others but the good news is God wants us to see through His eyes how much we mean to Him and that was shown through Christ and what He did for us and as the young man mentioned once your Gods child He will not forsake you. Adriane shared with them its okay to be angry with God, some here have been through a lot in life and have reason to let their anger out and God can handle it. And as a team we shared that all of us at times have been angry at God. Randy closed in prayer. Then we set off for the longest short ride ever and ah finally made it home. Friday we woke up 5:45 am to leave at 7am to travel apx. 40 mins to teach for 30 mins at St Bridgets school. This is a public Catholic school (non catholics, catholic as well as muslims attend here) afterwards we headed back to our place for lunch and then went to New Life where they had a birthday party for the child turning one (felt like we crashed party showing up without a present?). By the way Moses is the only child we recognize from last year. Again this is awesome as mentioned earlier adoption here is on the rise. And just the other night, NEW LIFE got national tv coverage in Kenya. Doug, Joe (yes have to love the Kenya names) and Enoch are the ones that have stuck out to us this time. Doug told me no several times, scratched me then we became good friends. Saturday we were back to Blue House and taught a class of 75 kids, and Saturday seems more like an optional thing for them so its good to see that many show up. For the most part the teens are very responsive in the class. Afterwards we introduce Randy to YAYA, a mall just about 5 blocks from Kibera. YAYA is the place where I tell out host Judah that we see many of our tribe members. They have a very good restaurant here called the Java house which offers a full menu but I cant turn down a good hamburger , fries and Heinz ketchup (God bless Heinz Ketchup). The director of this ministry Peter met with us today for a few hours to share his testimony and the vision of SYN. We also had several good laughs. Peter has a great heart for God, youth and life.
So did you make it this far? (no bookmark needed) thanks. If you are checking this out for the first time then look at the archives to see last years blog on our trip and they are indeed much shorter and well better. Tomorrow we go our host Pastor Judah’s church then we are hanging with Victor, he was our all around tour guide from SYN last year. But this year he is doing his own ministry. We miss hanging with him this year. Okay thanks for reading this, hopefully will add a few more before arriving back HOME.