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Entries from March 2008

Update on Mike

mike

Remember little Mike? He was so sick that he couldn't even smile or walk from the chair to the bed. We've made it our number one priority to see that Mike gets consistent care. We visit him daily bringing food, checking on him, and helping pay for his health care. Mike has AIDS, and he may not live much longer, BUT we are making sure that he gets every chance he can to live and to not only live, but to feel loved, as well. Little Mike came to our Easter celebration this past Sunday. He was running and playing with everyone. You'd never be able to guess that Mike was recently on his death bed. He is on ARV's now and doing better. Continue to pray for him. Although we are doing every thing we can to ensure he gets the best chance, he's still got a long way to go. Doctors say there is a chance he has liver failure. Despite his condition, little Mike is a changed young man! He is getting stronger and happier each passing day!

 

kate's-head ~Kate Brooks

Missionary to Nakuru, Kenya, Co-founder of A Future and a Hope


CAN YOU TEACH AN OLD AIRPORT NEW TRICKS?

In a dream last Sunday I was taking my family through airport security procedures. We were going on some kind Flying Dog of long flight and it was going to be overseas. I remember thinking about the way things had changed since September 11th . Same old airports but new or modified ways of checking in for a flight, entering into the boarding areas, and then actually boarding the planes.

I was still anxious in the dream because I was aware of how determined the terrorists really are and of how much we are still vulnerable in spite of the changes. (If you read up on it you’ll discover there’s still many issues of vulnerability.) In my dream I remember just coming to the conclusion that maybe this just isn’t working.  You can’t take a huge structure that was designed for conditions that existed 50 years ago and then modify it for a whole new set of conditions today and then expect it to always work.

No…in my mind I was sure. We’d need to tear these airports completely down to the concrete, redesign every single part of it, and then start over. I remember thinking how unlikely it would be to get everyone to agree to do that, to agree to stop or re-route all flights long enough to rebuild them but also aware of how much it might really be necessary.

Hey, it’s only a dream and I’m not thinking it’s a prophetic prompting to redo our airports worldwide. I don’t think that’s the message here.  The real message has more to do with old wine in new wine skins. Sometimes we need to throw the old way completely out and have a whole new wine skin in order for things to work.  Sometimes we have to be willing to face the anxiety of doing it a new way and also be willing to make the sacrifices needed to make changes and to start over a new way.

James Matthews


Picture of the Week

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Meet Jane (I cannot remember her Luo name right now.)She struggled to hold her head up for this photo. She is 21 years of age and lives in Ponda Mali, Nakuru. She was a single mother, but her child died of AIDS. Jane is HIV positive and when we visited her this past Thursday very sick. She is bedridden, well actually she has no bed so I suppose you have to say she is floor ridden. In fact I will be given her one of Babu Lonnie's beds, yes I asked permission (though if I am honest I asked permission after I had already made the decision.) We also took her to hospital and she was prescribed some medicine, which we purchased for her. The doctors were optimistic that she could recover, and Jane's spirits were picking up. She is looking forward to walking around by herself and testifying of God's goodness.

 

johnny's-head Johnny Brooks

Missionary to Nakuru, Kenya. Co-founder of A Future and a Hope, a home for girls.


Easter

Ok, I know it is a bit late, but we had a wonderful celebration this Easter. Not only did I (Kate) get to meet Mike and his mom and brother and friend for the first time, but we also had a blast playing games with them, our team and our family. Below you can see a picture of James wearing a shirt (sorry Lonnie, I stole your shirt) with over 200 or so sweets sewn on to it. The kids had a blast ripping them off as he ran around the yard.

Good times! I must say I'm so grateful the grown-ups all played the games, too. Everyone had a blast!

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kate's-head ~Kate Brooks

Missionary to Nakuru, Kenya, Co-founder of A Future and a Hope


The Gaze

Something happened to me a few weeks back that I think I can say was the most profound spiritual happening ever in my life.

There is a part of the Bible where Moses is talking to God and God decides to pass by Moses. Not as simple as it sounds, as to gaze upon Yahweh was to gaze upon death. Turns out we cannot look on perfection without it burning out our eyes or something. So God puts Moses in a cleft to protect him and only allows him to see his backside.

I was wondering what that was like. Not the hiding in rocks and seeing God's rear end, but the fact that all of God's attention was at that moment on Moses. That had never occurred in my life, till recently.

I have been in some meetings where God was supposed to show up. I have been taught so many steps to getting into the presence of God that I should be able to close my eyes and presto whamo be at the Almighty's side. Alas those meetings and steps have never taken me to God's presence, I am not even sure they got me into the right neighborhood.

Most of my life I have looked for God in cathedrals. I have searched for him in the beautiful places hanging out with the attractive people. I have judged people's closeness to God on how much Bible they know or how long they can pray. I have looked to the preachers who can command the attention of thousands. I have read all the glossy magazines and books, all in vain. God is not found in temples built with hands. God is not found with the wealthy, healthy, and otherwise a o.k. people. He is found with the ugly, poor, sick, and otherwise not o.k. people.

Let me get back to this awesome spiritual experience I had a while back. I was with some friends visiting a family that is, well there is no pretty way to say it, they are dying of AIDS. Mother, nine year old son, and six month old baby all HIV positive. They had no hope. They have no clout in this world. No one listens to them. No one cares about them.

We were bringing them some food, mattresses, toys, and a bit of love because we believe that in the Kingdom of God they matter more than anyone else.

One of the ways I try to bring a little dignity to people is to have them pray for our team or something going on in my life. Well one of our team was going on a long trip and I asked Ann, sick mom, to pray for his trip.

When she prayed something happened that has never happened in my life, at least that I know of. I lacked words till this evening to describe it, and these words I am sure will fall short. When she bowed her head and opened her mouth; God listened.

It was not business as usual in this listening. When I pray I know my God hears my prayers, but I also know that he hears yours, and his, and hers all at the same time. If you have seen Bruce Almighty then you get the idea. God can process all our prayers all at the same time. It was different when Ann prayed.

It was like God stopped everything and focused all of his godly powers on that little one room mud house in Nakuru. She had his full attention. He took note of all that she said and I believe all that she left unsaid. She matters so much to him that he could not even imagine lumping her prayers with anyone else's.

I think we have it backwards with our ideas of who God listens to. Sure he hears all of us, and yes he can and does devote his attention to us, but perhaps we are just not as important as Ann and her family. Hard to acknowledge, but if we are to be ranked she ranks above us. She has more clout with God than your pastor, she is a better choice for Pope than any man to hold the office, she is the one God pays attention to.

I almost forgot; the thing I felt the most when God was staring at us in that little room was how wrong I have been all my life. Anytime I needed prayer, wisdom, or advice I went to my pastor or one of the intercessors at our church. I actually was in the presence of almighty God and he was not looking at me, but instead was looking at a sick woman who has never even picked up a Bible. I still have a lot to learn about God's priorities. I was scared not because God wanted to whack me for messing up, but because I can so easily miss out on God's presence because of my ideas of who and what is important. God help me.

 

 

 

johnny's-headJohnny Brooks

Missionary to Nakuru, Kenya. Co-founder of A Future and a Hope, a home for girls.


Deluge of Aid Agencies

Seems like you cannot drive through town now without running into 3 or 4 huge luxury vehicles belonging to international aid agencies. I will refrain from naming them in this article, but I would not be surprised to learn that every aid agency in the world is in Nakuru right now.

At first you may be tempted to say "Great. They will help many people." Well you would be wrong. Certainly they are helping "some" people, and perhaps some of their employees are noble, but for the most part the opposite seems to be true.

Aid workers steal relief food and supplies to sell in the market. They get paid huge salaries to work with the displaced people. They have awesome fringe benefits, like big 4 wheel drive vehicles. In fact I am tempted to be jealous driving around in my little 1990 Toyota Camry. If I may toot my own horn a minute, and that of my fellow team members, we drive that car places no aid agency has ever driven one of their huge 4 wheel drive vehicles. I even read reports recently that aid workers are involved in the rape and defilement of women and children in refugee camps. Terrible.

It frustrates me to see so much money being wasted, when we struggle to feed, clothe, care for, and educate as many as we can.

I pray for reform in these aid agencies and for truly noble men and women to take over their leadership.

 

johnny's-head Johnny Brooks

Missionary to Nakuru, Kenya. Co-founder of A Future and a Hope, a home for girls.


New Kittens

When our friend Miriam and her son Erik came over and pierced the girls' ears, our 4-year-old Butterfly was the most traumatized by the experience. (See photo below taken after her FIRST ear was pierced, and we still had yet to do the second).

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Now Erik is so empathetic that he carried Butterfly's pain with him long after she had forgotten. In fact, two weeks later, he decided he would give Butterfly 2 kittens to make her feel better... er, I should say to make himself feel better 'cause now she's happily flashing her earrings at anyone who will take notice!

So now we have Puddles and Snuggles, brother and sister kittens, aptly named by Butterfly. Snuggles is just that, the snuggler. She'll curl up in your lap for hours, and Puddles has a gray circle on his back resembling a puddle of water.

Right now they are actually the size of the rats dwelling in and around our home (thanks to the chicken feed), so instead of wishing they'd stay cute, cuddly kittens forever, as most folks, I'm actually looking forward to their maturity. 15-03-2008 033

kate's-head ~Kate Brooks

Missionary to Nakuru, Kenya, Co-founder of A Future and a Hope


Blustery Day

Today was a blustery day. The rainy season is approaching. The winds have picked up and the weather has cooled a bit. It feels just as a day in March should. So I decided to teach the kids how to fly kites. Some, if not all except my bio-kids, have never even seen kite before! Since we don't have kites here, we first had to make them...

I hummed the tune, "With tuppence for paper and string, you can have your own set of wings..." as I built my kite much like the one I remember seeing on Mary Poppins.

However, much to my disappointment, my first attempt using sticks and newspapers was a failure (too heavy) so I decided to let the Internet be my guide! Thanks to www.aloha.net 20 Kids* 20 Kites* 20 minutes, we had a BLAST with our very simple, homemade paper kites!

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 kate

~Kate Brooks

Missionary to Nakuru, Kenya, Co-founder of A Future and a Hope