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Entries from August 2009

Caring for the Least of These

Here is a brief report of some recent ministry we carried out in the community. I should also note that this is not just a one time, throw some food, at the hungry event. We have cultivated relationships with these people, this week we had the resources to actually bring something to help out.

  • Martha M. (I’m leaving out her full name due to privacy issues. People living with H.I.V. are often stigmatized by their families, churches, and communities. Not all of our friends are open with their statuses.)
    • She is a 37 year old widow with four children. H.I.V. positive, and sickly.
    • We were able to bring her ugali (corn flour, a staple food here,) eggs, cooking fat, and matches (most people cook on either an open flame or charcoal, so means to start the fire is important.)
  • Joyce N.
    • She is a 36 year old widow with six children. H.I.V. positive, currently healthy but struggling with her health.
    • We were able to bring her: butter milk, mango juice, bread, sweets for the kids, hygiene related stuff, bar soap (used for dish washing, clothes, and general household cleaning,) and tea.
  • Benta D.
    • She is 40 years old and H.I.V. positive.
    • We were able to bring her: ugali flour, charcoal, paraffin (Kerosene, used in stoves and lights,) sugar, and vegetables.
  • Jared O.
    • We were able to bring him ugali flour.
  • Chris G.
    • H.I.V. positive Christian preacher that we have been working with for a couple of years now. He is open with his status, and speaks to people about H.I.V. Because he is a known preacher, he is able to speak into many folks lives.
    • We were able to purchase some underwear for him. (Sometimes I just love what God has us doing. Under garments are comfortable and need to be replaced every now and then. Yet they are not essential to life. I love just blessing folks this way, because he lives in poverty, replacing clothes is difficult if not impossible.)
  • Lilian A.
    • We were able to bring her: cooking fat, bar soap, matches, sweets for the kids, soap (this one for using on the body,) sugar, small mug, salt, and flour.
  • Mama Ruth
    • We were able to bring her: charcoal, paraffin, and ugali flour
  • Emma A.
    • We were able to purchase some medication for her.

There you have it. A glimpse of how we are living out the Gospel of the Kingdom of God here in Nakuru, Kenya.

Johnny Brooks


Content instead of Contempt

I'm alone in a hotel room, many states apart here in America from my family as I do some schooling.  I can tell you, I prepared to leave the hotel to get some food and felt a little overcome by loneliness and the fact that I can be a bit of a social misfit.  This is partly because I'm not content with superficial relationships. 

But anyway, as my heart ached over having to eat a meal alone, I praying that if it were His will, that God might send someone to eat with me.  I even took the longer route through the hotel and checked the lobby to see if anyone was around from my class. Well, I made it to the car and drove toward a restaurant but decided I was going to rent a movie and get a frozen pizza instead.  I had let go of the desire for companionship and decided I was content with whatever God wanted.

As I was searching a local movie rental, one of my classmates called me, a guy who happens to be Jewish and outspoken, called and asked if I'd like to have dinner with him.  It was unusual because He knows of my faith in Jesus and the like.  We had a nice meal and good conversation.  I am thankful to have spent the time tonight with a friend and thankful that what I needed was also what I wanted this time.

Now, I'm sitting here searching through Amazon.com's selection of 36 "free sampler" Mp3 albums.  I've got some cool music from India, some Celtic Summer 2009, and some stuff from Israel.  All modern music. You could give it a look..er, a listen.  :)  Prayer, I mean.  But the music too, of course.

-James Matthews


Seeing God

I must admit that for most of my life I have had a desire to see God face to face. I mean see him in the sense that I am seeing this laptop. In other words with my eyeballs. Or if He was unavailable an angel would have sufficed.

So far I have been disappointed. No God-sighting as of yet. Not because I haven’t tried, but it seems that The Almighty likes faith.

I did learn something in all these attempts to catch a glimpse of the Divine, He shows Himself all the time. You just have to adjust the lenses you are using to look for Him.

You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. *

Once I made this adjustment, I began to see God all over the place. We live with eight orphaned/abandoned girls, and I see God in them all the time.

Please don’t misunderstand me here. I’m not talking about religion or pious talk. These girls are kids, and they don’t really care much about those things. Nope, I see God in the changes that have come about in their lives. They went from having no one, to having a large family.

You see it seems that God cares about the neglected, lonely, lost, sick, and oppressed. If you want to find Him, avoid the temples and sanctuaries and head to a slum. That’s where He is, not just the knowledge of Him, but His very presence.

Changing our insides is not all that easy. We grow up with certain values, that just are not Godly in nature. I can tell you, having achieved some success and started to see God in my outside world, the work of changing my values was well worth it.

IMG_0117 Johnny Brooks

*Matthew 5:8 The Message


Shopping List for Christopher’s House

Here is the monthly shopping list Ali gave me for Christopher’s House. We also buy fresh vegetables and/or meat each day for them and 2 liters of milk.

· Charcoal                                 1 Bag

· Sugar                                     4 kgs

· Sunlight washing powder         4 kgs

· Geisha                                   4 pieces -------- soap

· Bar Soap                                2 bars

· Spaghetti                              4 packets

· Blue Band                              500 gms -------- margarine

· Zesta Jam                             500 gms

· Maize Flour                           10 kgs --------used to make the staple food ugali

· Wheat Flour                          4 packets

· Eggs                                     1 tray

· Cooking Oil                           3 kgs

· Toilet Paper                         12 pieces

· Beans

· Rice                                    10 kgs

· Royco                                 500 gms --------- seasoning used in stews

· Tooth Paste

· Valon                                 500 gms, 250 gms ------ lotion

· Always Pads

· Glycerin                                                  ----- not sure what they use this for

· Venus Hair Food                                     ------ for Virginia’s (mom) hair

· Drinking Chocolate


Hanging in There

As I was telling a co-worker or two on Thursday, my wife and I are going through a little "grouchy" or "gripey" season lately. To put it plainly, we've been bickering here and there and more than what is normal, as of late.

Today, we went over to the house of a friend of ours in order to celebrate their daughter's birthday today. (If you've seen me posting on Facebook then you realize this is the 6th birthday-related event we've taken part in this month. Good gravy!)

The husband and I are friends and we talked about bickering with our wives and, as it turns out, he's been clashing with his wife too and he often responds the wrong way and makes things worse. I had to laugh because I knew exactly what he was talking about. I know what I should say or do (to avoid offense and cool an argument down) but that thing I really want to say...well, I sometimes just blurt it out and it feels so good to say it, for a second anyway, but it's never worth it, in the end. He told me about a verse in the Bible that says a mature man can control his tongue. I must still not be mature then and laughingly said he must not be either.

He furthermore suggested that when someone says a hurtful thing, responding the right way and not retaliating is a part of suffering with Christ. During an argument, we can take in hurtful words and build up those dark thunderclouds of anger and finally decide we've had enough. We bring down a fury of backlash and stand up for ourselves. "I don't have to take this!"

But what about Christ? He was on the cross but He didn't have to take it either. He could have come down from hanging on those nails. He could have stood up for Himself and brought down an Army from Heaven to avenge His suffering. But He didn't. He hung there, suffering and in agony, and His only response to the abuse was "forgive them, Father. They don't realize what they are doing."

That's amazing. Suffering with Christ can include not retaliating when someone is hurtful. It's letting go of my right to defend myself. It's deciding to hang there on the cross and take it, and forgiving them with sympathy. "They don't really know what they are doing" instead of taking revenge.

James