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December 2006
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February 2007

Entries from January 2007

Birthday Gift Idea for Andrew

Here is a gift idea for Andrew's birthday which is coming up in March. He really loves dinosaurs and loved the series Walking with Dinosaurs. There is a package which includes Walking with Dinosaurs, Walking with Allosaurous, and Walking with Prehistoric Animals. This would be the most perfect gift for him.

In case you would like to send it to him let me know, otherwise if I do not here from anyone I will try and get it for him myself from Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Walking-Collection/dp/B000GIXLU2/ref=imdbpov_dvd_0/103-2289342-9928645


Works

All my life I was taught that ‘works’ in the religious sense was bad. We often hear and/or feel (or are made to feel) that ‘works’ negates Christ’s gift of grace. Some of us are taught that one can earn God’s grace through good works. Now I completely believe that we cannot work to get an already given free gift of grace.

But have we forgotten that we are living in God’s Kingdom NOW? We put so much focus on eternal life and getting to Heaven that we forget Jesus’ message about the Kingdom of Heaven being at hand. It is here and now that we must live IN the Kingdom of God. Also, we focus so much on Paul’s revelation about Christ that we forget to focus on Christ himself! What did Jesus DO while on Earth? Perhaps it is because some of us feel we can relate to Paul because he is HUMAN, but I feel that it is no bad thing to remember that JESUS was also human. It is when we forget that God became HUMAN thinking that it degrades him or something that we lose sight of who he really is! God is GOD, yet he became completely human, degrading himself, for US! I believe we need to focus less on Jesus’ death and more on Jesus’ LIFE so that we can see also how God wants us to live. Jesus did works. He did. He helped people who didn’t even care about his message. He healed those who didn’t even say thanks back. James says, “Faith without works is dead.” But I’d like to say it this way, “Faith WITH works is ALIVE!” Works makes our faith alive.

~Kate


Youth Leadership Meeting

We just finished a youth leadership meeting at our house. I asked youth from several different fellowships to come together for some discussion and lunch. Let me boil all the talking down to this; relationship. We came to the conclusion that the only way to minister to the youth today was to have relationship with them.

Kate and I fed them chili dogs, the first for everyone, and they seemed to really enjoy them.


Car

It has been over 2 years since we last drove or owned a car. We get around Kenya by public transport, known as matatu. If you have ever witnessed a matatu being used or have ridden in one then you know they are not the best way to get around. The drivers seem to have learned to drive by playing video games and not the nice ones either, something like Grand Theft Auto. They also seem to be perpetually drunk or high, needless to say not the best way to get around.

We have wanted to buy a car since day one in Kenya, but have not had the opportunity to do so till the day Emma was born. A few hours after Kate pushed our newest rug rat out I was at the dealership handing over money.

Now we are getting around in a 1990 Toyota Camry. No Land Cruiser or Prado but transportation none the less. We are really thankful to God for making a way possible where there seemed to be no way, and to those people who contributed to this vehicle over the past 2 years.

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Quote of the Week

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater."

-Galadriel, FOTR-Book


Hard To Understand

There has always been something about Jesus that bothered me, at least until recently. It seemed that he liked to help people. In fact it looks like he liked it so much that he did not mind the fact that helping others often was hurting him. He just kept on doing it.

I grew up knowing that I should be like Jesus, but I never liked helping others if it was to hurt me. If it was going to be bad for me I avoided it. Sure i did all the easy things like going to church, tithing, volunteering at the church, praying, and reading my Bible. But when it came down to giving something up to help someone, well you could just forget it.

Why was I like that? Two reasons come to mind. One I really did not know Jesus. I knew the "born again" version of Jesus. That Jesus is always far away at the end of some prayer or ritual, never close enough to actually tell me what to do. He always seemed to be interested in what I was doing wrong instead of the good I should be doing. I have come to realize that Jesus is not at all like that. Two, I had never tried to help someone when it was inconvenient for me. Your mother had this one down, "How do you know that you don't like it? You have never tried it."

When I tried sacrificial love out I found Jesus. Now I understand how and why he was able to do what he did. It is what we were made for, sacrificial love.


Open Doors

God continues to open doors for our project here in Kenya. As soon as it is possible I will travel to Kisumu to speak with a church about opening a school for orphans. I will discuss the budget, curriculieum, volunteers, etc. with the heads of the project. I am excited about this project. This group has identified 10 orphans that live in the slum where this church is located, and the project will feed, clothe, and educate these orphans.

I had been praying lately because I had no idea where the money was to come from. I sometimes get anxious about the money, but have been trying to not worry about it. Well it seems that God continues to make ways were before the only thing I could see was roadblocks.

I will let you know more soon. I am planning on heading to Nairobi today to handle some business, and perhaps meet with some pastors there. I should be able to report from there. Kate is doing fine, and will have someone staying over with her while I am gone.


Updates

Just wanted to let everyone know the report on Mercy from the doctor. He wants to monitor here for a week or so to determine the next step forward. So she was prescribed some medications, which we were able to help the family get. The cost of the drugs was a significant portion of their monthly income, Thank God we were able to assist. She is going to see the doctor this Friday and I will let you know how it goes.

I am also pleased to announce that with the help of our donors we have been able to assist 3 children with going to school. We were also able to assist two others with books and calculators. I love doing this stuff.

During the course of the last week we were able to feed 2 families who had no food for days.

Also before I go sorry about the lack of content for the past few days, but things have been busy since the arrival of Emma. She is still doing great, as well as Kate. I am trying to pressure Kate into taking it easy, but that is no easy task. Feel free to email her at back2kenya@yahoo.com and encourage her to chill for a few days.


Mercy Atieno

This little girl has some type of intestinal problem. I am not sure what the issue is, so I arranged for her to see a doctor today. She is meeting him at 10 a.m. and I will go by to see what needs to be done to help her. I pray that our Father will guide the doctor, her parents, and us to solve her problem. I will let you know how things go.

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African Home Birth Story

A couple of months ago, I met a lady in a hair salon who just happened to be a midwife seven years ago in an African hospital. She said she was willing to help me deliver my baby at home. I was excited to have someone willing to help me in the incident that I couldn't find a way to get my friend who delivered my other 3 children to come all the way from the US to Kenya for this birth. I spent several visits discussing with her certain things I wanted in my birth, and I loaned her books on homebirthing. I told her how I feel about having a natural, gentle birth. She is used to the 'conventional' methods of child birth which I abhor. So I felt as if I had to train her on how to deliver a baby without being intrusive.

Sunday morning I got up early to get ready for church after a sleepless night of minor contractions. I was already 4 days past my due date and was thinking I may not make it to church when my water broke! I was leaking water every where so we had to arrange for someone else to open up, sing, and speak to the congregation. All day I walked, played with the kids, watched TV and just waited for some 'serious' action, but it wasn't until after I put the kids to sleep and tried to go to bed myself that contractions really started coming.

The baby was posterior then entire last few months and all the way through labor so I had a great deal of back pain. The contractions were very difficult to endure compared to my other labors because the baby would stretch against each contraction pressing her feet up towards my belly button and really pressing her head down into my back. I really longed for a nice hot bath to sit in, but living here, we don't have a working hot water heater.

Since it was late, Johnny went to bed and slept through most of my labor. When I felt that I was getting pretty far along and starting to get the 'shakes and hiccups,' I decided to call the midwife and tell her to come check my progress. It was 3am and she was asleep so I'm sure she was quite tired because she suggested we wait a little longer before she walk over here. As soon as she hung up, I felt an urge to PUSH! I looked over at Johnny snoring and remembered thinking, "I'm gonna have to deliver this baby myself!"

I’m not going to go into all the birth details at the moment about how I had to insist the midwife listen to me and do things my way, but Emma Caite was born at 5:12 am Monday morning (OUR time) the 15th of January. She was posterior the entire time and took a great deal of work, but all in all, she had the smoothest delivery we could ask for. She was born in our bedroom (concrete floor!). The midwife wasn't quite ready for me to start pushing, but fortunately, she caught her as she came out. She took 6 hours of labor and 7 or so pushes. There were absolutely NO complications.

We just held her and let her cry for a minute. We didn't cut the cord until it was finished pulsating. We didn't suction her mouth, weigh her, measure her, put gook on her eyes or bathe her. She just got wiped of a bit and loved on! What a gentle way to come into the world! Makena woke up as soon as Emma was born and then Andrew soon followed. Butterfly woke up at her usual time and saw her sister for the first time, too.

During labor I remember really focusing on how the baby must be feeling and on how God was with me. I remember even singing with joy in my heart during a really difficult contraction, "God is good. He has done me well. Oh my soul, arise and praise the Lord!" Thank you for all your prayers out there. It kept me focused and encouraged through the entire labor and delivery process!

~Kate and Emma Caite