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Entries from March 2006

Garbage

This morning as I was taking a shower I heard my wife, Kate, come into the house. She was clearly upset about something, as she was threatening to hit some guy on the head with the week's garbage.

We moved about a month ago to Racecourse in Nakuru, and now have garbage collection once a week. Or at least we are supposed to they missed a few weeks since we have been staying there.

Well anyway one thing Kate really cares about is keeping the environment clean. She hates to see people littering. Kenya is a beautiful place when you are viewing the game parks, or looking at a place maybe from real high in the Great Rift Valley, but it is another story when you get close or find yourself in areas where people live. Garbage is thrown everywhere and more often then not every street has open sewage somewhere on it.

So Kate took the trash out and some guys started to rip open the bags to look for hidden treasures. She got into an argument with them, which if you have ever argued with the street people of Kenya you will know that it is not worth your time. In the end they left the trash scattered all over the place and Kate was trying to devise some way of avoiding the situation in the future.

It is not only people ripping open the trash looking for treasure. When I left some few minutes later, I saw a small herd of sheep going through the trash.


Count the Cost

This past Sunday’s service went well at The Sitting Room. We continued our 5Ws series on Jesus. We are looking at the when, where, who, what, and why of Jesus. So now we have finished up when and where. I did not even come close to covering all the materials I had on first century life in Palestine, but that is how it goes. One of the things I spent considerable time covering on Sunday was not even part of my sermon, a major contributing factor to me not finishing. One of the things that really bother me about modern Christianity is how easy it is to convert. It is like we ignore what Jesus said about counting the cost. Jesus said if you cannot leave your mother and father then you could not follow him. Now I don’t know about you, but that does not sound easy to me. Take up your cross, is a statement that we have so spiritualized that I believe it has lost its meaning. Sunday we emphasized the end result of Jesus’ taking up his cross, death. When we take up our cross it will lead to our deaths, the good news is that a resurrection is just around the corner. Deciding to follow Jesus should take more reflection then the few minutes that it takes an evangelist to scare us, pull on our emotions, or otherwise sell us the Gospel. I know walking up to the altar and praying the sinner’s prayer is for some people the culmination of their seeking of Christ, and they have spent time considering the cost. However that is not how we preach it. We preach that all you have to do is believe and pray, but there is more. Salvation is a free gift from Christ to us, but Christianity will cost you something.


Have You Ever Seen A Chicken Ride A Bike?

Have you ever seen a chicken ride a bike?

Or a cow march in a parade?

Have you ever seen a zebra passing by?

Where we come from,

This happens every day!

Have you ever heard a hyena laugh?

Or seen a lion cry?

Have you ever seen a giraffe kneel down?

Or seen a monkey fly?

Have you ever seen a baboon take a bath?

Or seen an Elephant hide?

Have you seen a goat who’s lost his coat?

Or a dog on a bus hitching a ride?

All these things are able to be seen

Where we come from—

Kenya

.

This poem was inspired by my walk to church this morning. Butterfly and I saw a man carrying his chicken on his bike. As he passed, I said, “Butterfly, did you see the chicken riding on that bike?” Thus the poem was born. I’ve seen people ferrying everything imaginable on bicycles, including 2 goats crammed into a tiny plastic crate with their feet tied. It was a horrible site and SOUND mostly as they cried out of discomfort. Life in Kenya is different.

~Kate

ps

The dog on the bus actually happened in Russia on an electric trolley, not here in

Kenya but ride rhymed with hide so it’s there. BTW, the dog knew which trolley to take, too, to get from the market to his home! It was pretty strange! He was a regular traveler, too!


Reproductive Health Meeting

Today we met with leaders from all over Nakuru to discuss what the major problems are in the community regarding family planning, women’s health, etc… Then we sat in groups and brainstormed about our assigned ‘problem’ and discussed a plan of action.

It was a very productive meeting. The first 3 issues (among 30) we are attacking are:

1.  The Community is ignorant of family planning methods

2.  Lack of communication between children and parents

3.  Bleeding pregnant women are not seeking medical attention and end up dying

Johnny and I gave many bits of advice and input in the meeting. These are very important issues to me, and are something I am personally passionate about. So I was very glad to be a part.

Since this is the type of ‘church’ stuff we want to be doing (not only women’s health and family issues, but also AIDS aid), we’ve opened up our facilities to host future meetings and all educational seminars for the community, and I plan on teaching during the seminars about how a woman can recognize her fertility periods and avoid pregnancy because a great deal of women are too poor to buy contraceptives or don’t believe in using them.

Hopefully we can give women the power to choose what she should do by giving her information about her body, her health, and allowing her to ask questions regarding these matters.

It is also a desire of mine to see Kenyans learn to be more open with their children. There is a lot of taboo about sex and pregnancy. Hopefully we can get people to open up enough to discuss their needs and get some help!

Our seminars for each of these issues will be held the first week of May.  So pray for us that the people will be receptive and not be too shy to come, listen, and learn!

~Kate

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Baboons

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Here are a couple of baboons we recently spotted on a Friday family outing. We live within walking distance of the Lake Nakuru Game Reserve. We actually cannot go into the park because we do not have a car, but the baboons come out to us.


5Ws

Yesterday we started our series on Jesus called the 5Ws. When, where, who, what, and why will all be answered in the next five weeks. Attendance was good, and we continue to see people responding to our message. Next week we will be hosting a reproductive health meeting with local community leaders. I am hoping that we can make good connections, and come away with ideas on how to educate women on their health.


Earrings

Our two year old daughter Butterfly was admiring her daddy’s earrings. Upon being asked by her daddy, if she wanted to get her ears pierced, her reply was, “No way! I’m a girl!”

March 12, 2006

~Kate


Family Adventure Part 2

After finally reaching the top of the hill, we decided to set up our picnic. The view of the game park was breathtaking, and behind us, the view of most of Nakuru crowded with its brightly colored rooftops and giant hills was beautiful and colorful.

We found a level spot, spread our table cloth, and started to unpack our food. As soon as we started to get the food on the plate, an enormous male baboon surprised us with his presence. He was only 3 feet away from us (no fencing in-between), and he seemed curious about what was on the menu! I was glad I brought the stick to scare him off (though I was tempted to feed him because he looked hungry). I knew it was best that we didn’t encourage him to hang around.

As soon as he saw the stick he knew he wasn’t welcome to join us, and he ran up the hill, easily climbed the tall wooden fence post, and perched on top just staring at us. It was so cool. The kids were so happy to be so close to a baboon in the wild.

Then just minutes later (before we took our first bite of food) a female baboon showed up looking for a taste, too. One flash of my stick and off she went up the hill to watch us eat from a safer distance. She was so close I could have touched her! Wow! Eye to eye with two baboons! The kids were thrilled.

After eating, we took out the binoculars and looked at some zebra and buffalo of in the distance at the game park. Then we hiked down the easy way which only required a little help from Mommy because it was still very rocky but not as steep.

~Kate


Family Adventure Part 1

Fridays in our family is our ‘special day’ (as said by our children). Since our schedule is so busy, we do our best to make sure that Friday’s schedule has nothing on it (except for evening prayer at the church) but a day of focused family fun! Usually we like to take the kids swimming, but today I decided we’d hike/climb up a hill (it almost qualifies as a mountain to me) near our house at the edge of the game reserve to have a family picnic. I mentioned my idea to Johnny with as much adventurous enthusiasm as I could to ‘sell’ it to him, but he decided he’d stay home since he is not much of a ‘climber’.

So I packed our picnic lunch of fried vegetable rice, hot tea remaining from breakfast, fresh grapes, along with all the necessary utensils, our table cloth so we could safely sit on the ground, and a special stick for protection from any hungry animals all into the backpack. Andrew grabbed his binoculars we bought him for Christmas and off we went!

The kids were so excited about the idea of climbing the hill and peering into the game park to see what they could see. After only a few minutes of walking, we were at the foot of the hill.

I thought the hill had a side to it where we could all hike up, but as we approached the hill, its slope was less ‘hikeable’ and more like a vertical rock climbing wall. Here imposed a small problem… I have no problem scaling this, but looking back at my small children ages 7, 5, and 2, I realized they more than likely couldn’t get past the first few feet. SO how could I get them to the top?

I decided to hike to the top myself to scout out a better option for the kids. It was a difficult climb with the backpack and binoculars in tow, but I made it! I saw a couple of guys already peering into the park through the fencing on the hill so I asked for their assistance. They told me of an easier way up the hill, but it was far from where we were, so we decided to try ferrying them up. Andrew managed to climb up mostly on his own. (He’s very proud of himself and so am I). Each guy stood at various spots on the hill and grabbed Butterfly, climbed a bit, passed her to the next guy who climbed up to me, passed her to me, and then I lifted her up to the top. Then the same with Makena, and a little help for Andrew, then we were all on top!