Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Healing the brokenhearted

Sunday we visited a new church and the pastor informed us that his wife was ill, so after the "session" (that is what they call it here) we walked to his house to pray for her. Once there we discovered that she had given birth 3 weeks previously and the baby had not survived. Having lost a daughter myself, my heart was immediately grieved and I felt such compassion for this poor mama. Her name is Janet.

I made my way through the cram packed sitting room to Janet's chair and my impulse was to hug her and cry with her, but it seems that Kenyans don't show much emotion at times like this, and they do not even greet one another with hugs as we are used to. She didn't even seem to be comfortable with me holding her hand as I prayed for her. I could barely choke the words out in the beginning, and a tear fell from my eye onto her hand, which was still open in my gentle grip. I prayed for her physical and emotional healing and with an awkward "amen", headed back to my seat. As we left, I assured her that I would be praying for her.

Her husband, Hudson, walked us back to his church. Along the way he confided in me with a pained look on his face, that his wife did not want to live in their home anymore. She was desperate to get out of there, and he was worried for her as she was not behaving normally. The Holy Spirit seemed to speak through me as I told him that she was trying to run from her grief, but there was no escaping it. She would have to go through it with Jesus, and He would carry her. I continued to pray for Janet throughout the afternoon and evening.

I haven't said anything, but I have been struggling to adjust here in Africa. It has only been 2 weeks and culture shock is a reality that cannot be ignored. I have shed many tears lately. I woke up the next morning sad and in despair...longing for home or at least another home of our own here in Africa where we can settle in. Immediately, the Lord brought to mind the words that I had spoken to Hudson the previous day and I realized that I, like Janet, could not run away from the assignment God has given me here. I must go through it with Jesus, and He will carry me. Then the Holy Spirit led me to Psalm 139, which sums it up perfectly:

1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
5 You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.

Thank You, Father.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Our first week in Mombasa

We arrived in Mombasa at 3am last Wednesday after a very long 30+ hour journey. Getting through immigration was a breeze this time, but then we discovered that only 2 of our suitcases had made it to the airport. As you can imagine this was a bit distressing! One of the baggage men just so happened to be a Christian brother and he went above and beyond the call of duty to get our luggage to us 2 days later. He also invited Sean to go on an outreach with him in Samburu on Saturday. They distributed food and other items and preached the good news.

Do you remember Dennis? The motorbike driver that surrendered his life to Jesus during Sean's trip to Kenya last August? Sean was invited by his new pastor to preach on Sunday. I didn't get pictures, but the church was what we would call a "hole in the wall". There were about 25 of us crammed in there and it kept raining and soaking everyone in the back row. The hole in the wall next door was full of garbage and the flies were abundant. Welcome to Africa!

After church, we visited Dennis' cousin and his family. They lost a newborn baby recently, but were so gracious to invite us for lunch. We believe that God is working in their lives and they will play a big role in the kingdom when they are converted! Their home is the perfect setup for house church meetings.

There has been some opportunity for ministry here at the YWAM base as well. A young man came to the gate asking for 200 Kenyan shillings to start his own shoe repair business. He has a young wife and baby who are separated from him right now and he is homeless. After speaking to him and seeking God, we have given him some work to do here at the base. When he earns the money to buy his shoe repair equipment, Sean will go with him to make the purchase. Sean and some of the other men here have been discipling Willington, who wants to preach the gospel. We hope to reunite him with his family very soon. The neat thing is that Dennis took it upon himself to find a room for Willington to stay in until he can afford to rent a place of his own. We are so happy to see him growing in the grace and knowledge of God.

Tuesday we visited the Baby Life Rescue Center I posted a video about some time ago. We are looking forward to working with Peter and Selpher to rescue abandoned babies and care for them until the Father sets them in their families. They have many empty beds that they haven't been able to fill due to lack of finances (for food and supplies), so we are trusting God to provide that need.

Life at the base has been a blessing and a challenge. We are in a cabin (think family camp but a lot more rustic). The bathrooms are all outhouse style. We have all kinds of wildlife visiting us~geckos (and their poop), huge millipedes, poisonous centipedes, and most of all mosquitoes who have never met a repellent they couldn't beat. Basic tasks like laundry take forever for us greenhorns. And cold bucket showers...well you can figure that one out!

The children have been making the most of it~helping out with chores like cooking, cleaning and taking care of the shamba (garden).

We are thankful for the loving hospitality of our brothers and sisters here at the base and also for the time to acclimatize ourselves to life in Africa while we wait on God to provide a home for us. Sean has been looking and we do have some prospects. We want to be where the Lord wants us, so please pray for His open door to be obvious.

Words can't say how much we cherish the love and support that you have shown us~we love and miss you all!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Parting Song~Glorious Unfolding

The other night we were in a Christian bookstore and this song was playing~the lyrics shot straight into my heart and I knew it was encouragement from my heavenly Father. Listen and be blessed! We will post again as soon as we can~love to all and thanks for your prayers!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Our American Adventure Part 3

A dear friend of ours drove all the way from Branson to pick us up from the conference and take us back home with her. Thankfully, she has a 15 passenger van and we were able to fit ourselves and all our stuff inside! We spent 9 days in Branson. Some of the best highlights were:

Visiting our dear friends who we had known for years via the internet, but had never met face to face:

Meeting my aunt and cousins who drove down from Arkansas to see us. We hadn't seen them for over 13 years!

Seeing "Jonah" at Sight and Sound Theater:

Doing a radio show on KLFC Branson and a speaking engagement at the Lodge of the Ozarks:

Meeting Riley Banks, a fellow missionary to Kenya who runs a thrift store called Riley's Treasures. All proceeds benefit disadvantaged children in Kenya. It was a joy to meet Riley and her family and hear about their obedience to God's call on their lives!

We were also able to meet many dear brothers and sisters at Calvary Chapel Branson and share at a weekly Bible study. God truly blessed us beyond belief!

I don't know when I will be able to post the next blog~we are leaving for Kenya tomorrow morning! Thank you so much for following us on this adventure with Jesus! We love and appreciate you all!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Chronicle of our Trip to America~Part 2

When God called us to Kenya, we figured we would move there from Australia. We had no idea at the time that our Father had other plans that would bless our socks off. We received an e-mail about an International Gathering that our friend Jim Barbarossa had organized, and I didn't even consider it. Going to America was totally NOT on my radar. But Sean saw the e-mail and asked me if I had prayed about it. As I stood there with my mouth hanging open, our 7-year-old son piped up and said he wanted to go! I told him that He'd better pray about it in a bit of a sarcastic voice, but he went right upstairs to pray and came back down to report that the answer was "YES!"

I began to wonder if God was up to something, so I sat down to actually look at the information on the Gathering. The Holy Spirit touched me and I began to cry. Sean and I began praying and seeking God for confirmation. Sean felt that God was telling us to go, and that it would be for His glory. Well, that was enough for us. We changed our plans to conform to our Father's plans and waited on Him to make it happen. "Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass." Psalm 37:5

God had spoken to us and confirmed through others that He was going to do exceedingly and abundantly above all we could ask or thing. He certainly has so far and we believe He will continue. He provided exactly the amount of money that we needed to buy our tickets to America AND Kenya as we trusted and obeyed. There were tests and trials along the way. At one point we had enough money to get to America, but we had a bill that we knew we had to pay (incurred by dental expenses) that basically wiped us out again. We knew that we had to obey God and do the right thing, so we paid that bill. Then 2 days later, God opened up the windows of heaven and poured out a blessing. We rejoice over His faithfulness!

So the next stop in America was the International Gathering in Portage, Indiana. Lo and behold, two men from Kenya were there! It was such a blessing to see that Kenyan flag. We met so many brothers and sisters that totally embraced us and encouraged us that weekend. It was amazing. We gathered around Jim's huge "last supper" table and had real church. The gifts were flowing, God was speaking to us and through us. The whole weekend was an absolute balm to our souls.

Here is a picture of our son with his friend, the Shofar Man (Jim Barbarossa). God heard a young boy's prayer and made it happen!

We know that God gave us many divine connections at this gathering, and believe that we will be working with some of them in the future in Kenya. We look forward to working together in unity with our brothers and sisters according to God's pattern so we that we can see God glorified and His kingdom established!