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Entries from March 2009

One Life I Have Seen God Change

Well it’s that time of month again; The Missionary Blog Carnival. A blog carnival, as I understand it anyway, is essentially a collection of posts about the same topic. This one is supposed to be about a life you have been used by God to change. Somewhat difficult for me, mostly because I see God changing lives not because of me but usually in spite of my efforts. I tend to mess things up, especially when it comes to relationships.

Yet I have seen many people changed, and mostly for good.

Take Mike for example. A young man, should be eleven years old now, and when I met him he was in dire need of help. He was literally dying. Mike is H.I.V. positive and when we found him he was very sick. His mother, Ann, could not afford to take him to the doctor.

Because we purposefully look for people that others ignore we found Mike, and took him to the doctor. He was given some medicines and we were advised to help him gain weight. So we plied him with food, and today he is more than skin and bones.

I saw him just a few weeks ago, and he looks and acts like a healthy eleven year old kid. He is a life that I have seen God change through me. God has used Mike and his mom to change me as well.

I used to look for God in cathedrals and in men/women who were “spiritual.” But I found Jesus hanging with a dying kid and his mother. Ann is not a holy woman, yet Jesus himself embraces her. In Ann’s house I felt a tangible presence of God, sounds crazy I know, but it happened. I will never be the same again. (Last year I wrote about it here.)

Well there it is my Missionary Blog Carnival post for the month. If you are looking for blogs written by missionaries, then www.missionary-blogs.com is the place for you. There are all kinds of missionaries listed there, and they all have blogs. Check it out.

johnny's head new

 

Johnny Brooks, missionary to the ‘least of these’ in Nakuru, Kenya


Church

Back in November of 2006 I wrote about the passage of scripture in Hebrews that mentions, “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together.” That was back when I was deciding that attending Christian religious meetings was not really necessary, and in fact in many ways hurtful to a relationship with Jesus.

Yesterday was Sunday, the day most Christians gather together for meetings. Now in my life I have attended many such gatherings, and well quite frankly I hardly ever enjoy them. Boring, irrelevant, uncomfortable, and costly are just some of the observations I have made about them.

Yet yesterday we gathered together as a community, and none of those words could be used to describe our meeting.

  • First it was not boring. We talked about a range of issues, and had several people interact. Ali, a team member, used a story about ants to explain the incarnation. He is a decent story teller.
  • Our meeting was relevant, at least to us. Perhaps if you were to attend you might find some of what we talked about irrelevant, but since there were no strangers there everything we did meant something to someone.
  • We were not sitting in some stuffy hall somewhere with religious art staring back at us. The volume was just right. The seating fine. We were comfortable talking with each other sitting in our living room.
  • Plus it did not cost us any money to conduct our meeting. No paid clergy member, though we had four preachers there. We did not have to pay for a special meeting place, since we simply used the space we already had.

I started these meeting mostly as a safe venue for the girls to explore faith and religion. Any question can be asked. Any opinion is valid. Each and every person is vital to the community and therefore vital to the meeting.

It is time we sit down and rethink how we interact with each other. Can we really say we have gathered together and fellowshipped if only a handful of people had any input in the gathering?

johnny's head new 

Johnny Brooks, glad to be a part of the Body of Christ.


Picture (s) of the Week

Ladies from Rose Creek VillageI thought that this week I would post up a few pictures instead of just one. We were visited by some folks from Rose Creek Village this past Sunday. They sampled my chili and we spent time encouraging each other. There was another visitor as well, but apparently no one thought to take a picture of him. Sorry Dade, but we promise to take at least one photo of you on your next visit.

 

 

 

 

Makena Brooks 

Here is a picture of Makena. I can’t remember the last time we posted her beautiful face on the blog.

 

 

 

 

 

Taj

This is Taj, or something like that. She was added to the family this week to replace Lightening, who we had inherited from our previous house. He died of old age a week or so ago. One of our neighbors had some puppies, and Kate selected the one she thought would best suit our large family.

So far so good on the puppy. She is potty training well and is friendly. Only complaint is that she insists on sleeping in our bed.

 

 

 

Abdi Ali Abdi and Virginia

 

Finally, Ali and Virginia posing at Christopher’s House. They are the new house parents for the boys home, and donated the land for the project.

Just yesterday the water was connected. Ali has running water in his house for the first time in his life!


Donations

Just a reminder:

Donations to our project can be sent a couple of ways. One is to write a check out to Kenya Fund and mail it to

713 West First Street

Beaver Dam, KY 42320

or you can use www.paypal.com and send the money to back2kenya@yahoo.com

Donations are tax-deductible and one hundred percent of the money comes to our projects here in Nakuru, Kenya.

Thanks,

johnny's head new 

Johnny Brooks, who says it is a humbling experience to survive off of the generosity of others.


Quote of the Week

Jerry Mander“People who celebrate technology say it has brought us an improved standard of living, which means greater speed, greater choice, greater leisure, and greater luxury. None of these benefits informs us about human satisfaction, happiness, security, or the ability to sustain life on earth.”

Jerry Mander


Divine Nobodies

Just a short thought today:

Since yesterday I have been thinking about Divine Nobodies, a book written by Jim Palmer. (I mentioned it here back in 2006.)Essentially he talks about finding God in ordinary everyday people. Really is a great book that everyone should read.

I spend most of my time on the bottom of societies rungs. Ministering to the homeless, loveless, orphans, widows, poor, and the sick. Day in and day out. Which has been great. I feel so complete doing this work, and I keep finding Jesus amongst the “least of these.”

Yet I have almost completely ignored the middle class or the working class folks here in Kenya. Not that they need our help with finances or healthcare, but I think we need their help.

We need the relationships. We need to be able to hang out with people without constantly being asked for something.

Anyway I have only been thinking about it for a day. Yet it seems that these opportunities are popping up everywhere.

Snapshot_20090324_3 

Johnny Brooks, who believes everyone is important and valuable.


Human

Sunday evening one of our new friends passed away. Her name was Night (at least that is the English translation of her name.) She had given birth just about four months ago, and never recovered from the laboring process. (I mentioned her here in this post.)

She was a young woman, around 23 or so years old. She was insecure, like so many young women, and found herself in a bad relationship. Feeling desperate she married the first man that was willing to accept her. Unfortunately many women here in Africa feel incomplete without a man and children, even when they prove to be unhealthy for them.

This guy, whom I have never met, did not tell her the truth about himself and his past. He was H.I.V. positive. He passed that virus to Night. She had no clue what was going on until she conceived a child.

Here in Kenya when you go for prenatal care one of the first things they do is an H.I.V. test. Night was shocked to learn she was positive. “What? How could this be possible?” She was married and faithful to her husband. Too bad he was not truthful with her.

hand made bedNight When we met Night she was bedridden, but without the bed. We helped her get to the doctor, bought food, and had a bed made  for her. Complete with a mattress. She came back to life. Was eating, talking, and being human once again.

That was a miracle.

She died. H.I.V. does not seem to care about miracles, instead it takes it’s toll on the ignorant. Night would still be with us, if not for the selfishness of her husband. Night would still be with us if not for her lack of education. Night would still be with us if not for her poverty.

I am thankful that we were able to make the last few weeks of Night’s life more pleasant. More human. She slept in a bed for the first time in her life. Her own bed.

 

johnny's head new

Johnny Brooks, we will be having another bed made this week


Skype me, Baby!

Recently, our internet connection has gotten quite efficient! I'm not complainin' either! It's awesome. So for the first time, we've been able to use Skype to talk to my Mom and Dad face to face!

For those of you who'd like to talk to us 'in person' without the hassle and expense of coming to Africa, download skype! It's free. The calls are free, too, for skype to skype users.

Go to www.skype.com and just click download skype. It's very easy. Then send me an email letting me know you are a 'skyper' so I can add you to my contacts.

Looking' forward to hearing from you!

~Kate and family

(Ps, my computer died and all of my photos with it. So no picture, folks. Sorry.)


The Police

I like the Police.  Yes.  I do like the police in our town but what I mean is The Police...the band!  More specifically, Sting who was once part of "The Police" and so is the singer formerly a part The Police but never changed his name to a symbol like another famous singer I know of.  Instead, he is now known as "Sting" which, thankfully, can be pronounced by a majority of the population.

Anyway, silliness aside...I was listening to a song he sings called "Be Still My Beating Heart" and he said the most profound line:

"I wriggle like a fish on dry land...struggling to avoid any helping hand"

I remember what that's like.  We guys especially have that problem.  We don't want help.  We'd often rather die, gasping and flopping, then to allow a helping hand to reach down, take hold, and put us back into safe water again.

Do you feel the hand of God wrapping around you and trying to take hold?  Stop fighting!  He's only trying to help and you may really, really need it! 

Don't be like the fish on the "Faith No More" band's video.  Remember that one where the piano plays and the fish just keeps gasping?  How interesting.  Call out for help and then let Him help you!

James head James Dan of Arizona