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August 2008
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October 2008

Entries from September 2008

Politics

I figured I better get my post about politics in before my trip, I am sure that there will be little to no time for me to sit down and hash out a few thoughts on the presidential race. That would the the presidential race in the U.S.A.

Unfortunately I cannot endorse any particular candidate. They simply do not represent everything that I would represent, which of course is always the case. So we choose the lesser of two evils usually.

Now if there were only two candidates I would have to choose Obama, however fortunately there are other options. I will be voting for the Libertarian candidate, Bob Barr. Now he is also not my perfect candidate, but he is the only candidate proposing spending cuts. Which in the current state of affairs means much to me.

You will see a link on this blog to a group calling themselves Matthew25, and they have endorsed Senator Obama. I was in their camp for a little while, but I just cannot put my hopes in an earthly kingdom or it's rulers. Besides after the debate last Friday we see that Obama and McCain are really not that different. They both are playing the game of politics, and playing well.

My hope cannot reside in change or whatever McCain is trying to offer. My hope rests in the fact that Jesus gave us an alternative. He gave us access to a kingdom that is not of this world, and so we transcend local politics so to speak.

It is not the government's responsibility to take care of us, it is our responsibility. It is not the government's responsibility to bail out greedy corporations, it is the corporation's responsibility to practice good business. The government has no business legislating morality for us, we should know right and wrong. The government has no business telling a woman what to do with her reproductive system, and that woman has no business misusing her reproductive system. The government of the United States of America is not supposed to rescue the poor of this world, Christians are supposed to rescue the poor of this world.

What I am trying to say is my hope lies in another kingdom. We participate in this earthly kingdom, but we cannot trust in it.

There that is my political post of the year. So go vote for the Libertarian candidate, Bob Barr.

johnny's-head Johnny Brooks

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


Itinerary

In case you are curious about these kinds of things this is my itinerary for the upcoming USA trip.

I will board a Kenya Airways flight in Nairobi on October 1st at 11:50 p.m.

I will arrive in London on October the 2nd at 6:45 a.m.

Switching to United Airlines and leaving London at 12:20 p.m. on October the 2nd.

Landing in Chicago, IL at 3:22 p.m. on that same day.

After going through customs and immigration I will depart at  6:10 p.m.

Finally I should find myself in Louisville, KY at 8:26 p.m. on October the 2nd.

 

johnny's-head Johnny Brooks

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


The Wheat and the Weeds

     I was reading one of Jesus' parables about the wheat and the weeds.  A
farmer plants some wheat and then the enemy comes and plants some weeds
(tares) among them.  Eventually, the farmer's servants ask him if the farmer
wants them to pull up the tares out from growing amongst the wheat.  The
farmer says not to do so until harvest time because in pulling out the
tares, wheat would also be pulled out.  The farmer says they'll harvest
everything and then bundle up the tares to be burned after the harvest.


In reading some commentary, I discovered that the particular weed,
translated "tares" here, is a plant in that area that looks identical to
wheat until it reaches maturity and the head is produced.  The distinction
is in what is produced.  Here's some questions I've come up with.  What do
you think?


1.        Is this about believers in Christ surrounded by unbelievers in
this world?


2.       Is it about all those saying they believe in Christ as a whole, but
not all of them who say they believe really do?


3.       Does it mean that what identifies us as believers is the fruit we
produce?


4.       Maybe a believer sometimes looks like a tare but they are really
wheat that still needs to mature.  Fellow believers are quick to tear each
other out of the wheat field sometimes when they shouldn't.


5.       Whose the farmer here?  Are we to go around pulling weeds or is
someone else?


What do you see in this?


James


HIV Hope: for the Nations

It has been awhile since I reviewed a book on the blog. No I have not slackened in my reading, just been rereading Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. That story is too emotional for me to be able to properly put down in words.

However I have finally finished reading Duane Crumb's book, HIV Hope for the Nations. Duane came to Nakuru a few months back and conducted a seminar for us on HIV prevention. The seminar was great, one of our more successful meetings in my opinion, I came away with more knowledge and ideas about how to communicate the need to avoid infection with HIV.

While he was here Duane gave me his book to read, which was great since I love reading books. Having attended the seminar the book served as a great refresher course for me. Essentially it contains the same material he covered in the meeting. If you are looking for science, this book is not for you. Duane knows his stuff, but the book is more of an argument that we should teach HIV prevention from a positive standpoint, instead of negative or fear based point of view.

I agree with that assessment. I mean if you want me to change a behavior or avoid something then show me the benefits of change or avoidance. Don't just talk about how it will kill me, show me a better way to live. Good book for those in the field of HIV education, and those living in communities hard hit by this virus.

One complaint I have is that he does not provide references. Many studies, polls, and much science is mentioned or alluded to in the book without any reference back to those studies. Personally I suspect some, and it would do me good to see the references.

Duane's heart is to motivate people to avoid infection with HIV and do away with stigma associated with someone who is HIV positive. In my book that is a good heart.

johnny's-head Johnny Brooks

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

 

By the way this is the last book I have to read, no more sitting on my desk. There is an Amazon wish list in the column to the right, just incase you want to feed my habit.


Quote of the Week

What follows is a letter from Mercy, which she wrote in the van on the way home from school yesterday. Clearly she has a motive that is beyond just expressing love towards Kate and myself, but what I want you to see by looking at this note is how normal she is becoming. She was one of the most traumatized girls we have in our home, and for a long time did not interact with us hardly at all. Take a look at how much she has come in just one year:

please mommy forgive me what I done for you but I am thank full I live with you even if you will tell me something I will still love you but I thank you even I have to love every white person in my heart I love all white person in my heart I even love black person

thank you for all the clothes and other things you give me even tell daddy I am still loving her thank you my parent oh I forgot something you no why I am calling you mother because you help me when I was alone and my mother die


Control

Who knew I was such a control freak? Everyday as our community grows and we follow Jesus, I lose a bit of control. It drives me crazy.

Determining how my life and work was going gave me a sense of ownership, and I believe identity. Yet as that control is eroded I find that it was a false identity, and I really didn't own anything at all.

When it comes down to the nitty gritty, whoever controls our hearts is who we worship. Am I in control? Do I allow others to control me through fear, anger, love, or some other emotion?

Why is it that when we learn some life lesson from God it is so scary and difficult?

It is not easy to lose control over your life, over what you have worked for. Not easy, but very worthwhile.

So if you find yourself losing a bit of your iron grip today, no worries just go ahead and let go of the reigns. He really knows how to ride better than we do.

johnny's-head Johnny Brooks

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


Trying to Explain What We Do

I will be in the U.S.A. fundraising all next month and most of November, consequently I have been trying to think of ways to adequately explain what it is we are doing here in Kenya. Now if you have plenty of time I could sit down and talk and talk and talk and talk about what is going on here in Nakuru. Unfortunately most Americans I know barely have time for one talk let alone four. I have to be able to communicate our vision, work, and future in just a few minutes.

Jesus is my inspiration. He had to convey the Kingdom of God to his followers in a short amount of time and in a way that they could remember. So what did he do? He told stories. Parables is the word we are most familiar with, but essentially they were stories that his listeners could get involved with.

A good story can stick with you for life. I remember the first time I read the Lord of the Rings. In fact that book changed my life more than any other thing I have read. Tolkien showed me that truth can be relayed through a story, indeed it seems to be best communicated with prose.

Too bad for me that I am not as good as Tolkien in the story telling department, but I will do my best. So I will be telling stories whilst fund raising. It is my prayer that you will resonate with one or more of the stories, and decide to help us out.

What we are doing in Kenya is taking bad stories, hurting stories, horror stories, stories of oppression, and turning them into good stories. We take a twisted plot and untwist it. We find the Gollums in the story and turn them into Sams. (Reference to Lord of the Rings, and yes I know I am a nerd.)

I will be in the U.S. from October the 1st until November the 18th. If you would like to hear some of our stories drop me an email (back2kenya@yahoo.com) or comment. If you are not in the U.S. or we cannot work it out to visit you, then no worries we will share those stories right here on this blog.

With your help, his help, and her help we can create many "and they lived happily ever after's."

johnny's-head Johnny Brooks

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


Transitions

006 So many things are going on here with us at A Future and a Hope. Our home is full, and we are in the planning  stages of how we'll go about opening our second home for girls.

Every day, we find God shedding more and more light on the path we are taking. Some days a flood light comes on and other times, its just a flicker from a match.

God is confirming things in our hearts and minds. One of the things we feel we should do is focus the next home on young, pregnant teens/single mothers. Please be in prayer with us as we take steps towards helping these young ladies more than we are currently.

We also are searching for a new location for our current home due to the lack of water. We continue to feed and help those outside our home on a daily basis.

So lots of things are on our plate, and we are excited to be in the midst of what God is doing!

~Kate Brooks

Co-founder of A Future and a Hope Home for orphaned girls in Nakuru, Kenya East Africa


Picture of the Week

Ok, so I'm not the best cake decorator, but Irene has never had a birthday cake on  her birthday-- ever. Until now.

She celebrated her 13th birthday this month. We gave her some cash to go shopping (something she's NEVER done before either). She excitedly went to town and bought herself some shoes, chewing gum, nail polish, and a few other little items that I can't remember. Our other kids made birthday cards for her, too.

I have FOUR 13-year-olds now! Imagine! They are all amazing young women. I'm so grateful to be a part of their lives!

Happy Birthday, Irene!

2008-08-16 022

 

~Kate Brooks

Co-founder of A Future and a Hope home for girls in Nakuru, Kenya East Africa