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Entries from September 2010

Diversity

If there is one thing our family has in abundance it is diversity. Just for this blog posting I’m sticking with the people who actually live with us.

There are 20 of us altogether. That’s 20 different pairs of shoes. That’s 20 different tastes in music. That’s 20 different people all wanting to speak at the same time. That’s 20 different personalities all vying for attention.

It can be a bit overwhelming at times. Hair yanking crazy at other times.

Yet we function. Meals are planned and carried out. We watch t.v. together. We all have shoes to wear. Eventually each of us gets to speak our mind.

So what makes us work when we are all so obviously different? How come we can get along but different ethnic groups living in the same town can’t seem to even manage a weak hello when passing in the street? How is it that we have several tribes living under the same roof here in Nakuru, yet we did not start hacking each other to death after the last presidential election?

Family.

We are a family. White, black, skinny, fat, it don’t matter when you’re family.

Perhaps what the world needs is more and bigger families.

Our Kids 

These thoughts inspired by the folks over at http://www.blogcatalog.com/


Enoch Bande Osoro

I’m trying to finish up our Meet the Family series. Here’s another of the boy’s. Remember that we have a girl’s home, our home, and a boy’s home that we call Christopher’s House. The house parents at the boy’s home are a Kenyan couple with two children. Ali and Virginia are a blessing to us and those boys. So here is some of Enoch’s story in Ali’s own words. Keep in mind English is his third language, and as always feel free to leave an questions or comments for us to answer.  ~Johnny Brooks

Enoch Bande Osoro He is 10 years old. He is been with us for a period of one year now, he is from one of the slums here in Nakuru called Rhonda.

Ben is one of our team member who works in the slum, and after a long period of assessment decided that it was good that we assist Bande.

Bande’s father pass away when Bande was younger, and left behind a wife and three children to take care of. He died of malaria. Bande’s mother could not take care of his children, so he asked Ben to find a way or a place his son will be able to get a good education and that how Bande ended up in Christopher’s House.

Bande is one of the most respectful boys in our home. His performance in school is very good, and we appreciate that we are able to give him what her mother wished he will get, access to a good education and a place to mold his future. It’s our hope and prayer that all the boys in Christopher’s House will take good use of this opportunity God has given them.

Abdi Ali Abdi


A little house among the trees

On Sept. 12, I had found an adorable house our huge family could squeeze into. I felt at home there. I talked with the landlord, and even liked his personality. Then the bomb hit: the landlord said he wanted 4 months deposit. My heart sank. I thought it impossible to come up with that much money let alone ONE month plus first month's rent. I mean, we were moving because we were struggling to pay our current rent so money is an issue... I kept hoping he'd change his mind and let me give him the 'normal' one month deposit and first month's rent... I hoped and hoped. THEN, a few days later, I got a call and the landlord said the house was taken. I was actually heart broken. I felt a connection with the place for some reason. After the shock, I started searching.

We searched and searched house after house and found nothing that would work, nothing that would suit our family's needs... then I decided to give that little house one more try... I sent a message to the landlord asking if there was ANY chance I could get the house. The landlord said the lady had only paid half of the deposit. THANKFULLY, my friends out there, LOTS of you, you know who you are, had donated towards our move... We GOT the money for THREE months deposit plus the first month's rent! I told him I had cash in hand <thank you friends>. Sooo, he gave the first lady 3 days chance to pay in full... I've been anxious as I waited. It's silly, I know. Like a kid in a contest whose fate lies in the hands of a judge.
Finally, this evening, the landlord called saying, "I have some good news. Let's meet at the house tomorrow at 11 to discuss the details of the lease agreement."
<clapping>

So, it looks like we'll be moving to the little house I found and set my heart in a few weeks ago. Thank you to everyone who donated money, prayed, hoped, etc... with us. 
I will give you a virtual tour at some point! :)
FYI, Johnny Brooks hasn't even seen it yet. It's not fancy. I think that's why it suits me. I hope my man likes it. He says he wouldn't say... Humph. Well, I'm hoping all goes well tomorrow.

 

Kate


Teri Gets It

God knows what I need and when I need. Just when I was feeling so down, due to the lack of understanding by others of what is needed in life, He sends Teri.

She acted on the prompting of the Spirit to rescue a child. Was it easy? Nope. Convenient? Not at all. Does it make the most financial sense? It doesn’t. Was it the right thing to do? Yes. Was it what Jesus wanted? Yes. Is it the Kingdom of God in action right now right here? You betcha.

Teri is one of my new heroes.

If you want to know what it is I’m talking about check out this blog post by Teri:

http://asbury.posterous.com/because-of-anne


She Gets It

Yesterday I ranted about my need to get what I want every now and again. If anyone is still reading after that, I’ll let you know I feel a bit better this morning. Sometimes you just got to sit down and look at your life. The realization sank in that I really am a “Lucky Man.”

(I promise. I’m finished with classic rock for awhile.)

Johnny and Kate Brooks I truly believe that God gave me someone who understands me, my wife Kate. I’m also fairly convinced she was possessed by a devil when she agreed to marry me, but I can live with that. Certainly we are not the same. In fact we are pretty much the opposite. Come on just look at our picture!

When I tell her that to follow Jesus I need to go against the grain, she gets it. When I tell her that I need to use the money we have to pay the kids’ school fees to buy medicines for some sick people. She gets it. When I talk on and on about a horror movie I watched, she gets it (at least the part about me enjoying the movie.) She gets that I need to buy Pepsi Max just to make it through the day. She doesn’t always agree with me, but she gets me.

I get why she needs all you people to like her. I get why she agonizes over the wording of each email, Facebook status update, comment, and press of the like button. I know that she will be the parent that I can’t always be, I understand her as a mother.

I get her, she gets me.

So don’t worry about me too much, I at least have one woman, a beautiful one at that, who understands my eccentricities.

Ooops. This post was actually supposed to be about this blog, and it’s evolution over the past 5 years. I guess there’s always tomorrow, at least till there isn’t.


Sometimes You Get What You Need

No, you can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
And if you try sometimes you find
You get what you need

This songs runs through my head at least once a day. What would we do without the wisdom of the Rolling Stones?

I sing it to the kids, but more often than not I’m singing it to myself. “You can’t always get what you want.”

I have wanted many things in my life. I still want some things. One of the biggest things I want right now is a little understanding. It would be nice if more than 2 or 3 people understood what it is that is going on in my life. Sure would be fun to sit and chat with a friend who understands that my faith is not about religion. Not about prayers. Not about the Bible. Instead it’s simply about following Jesus.

As missionaries who shun organized religion, we tend to attract much advice on how we should be operating. How we should be fundraising. How we should be under the cover of an institution or a man/woman. How we should raise our children. How we should plan for the future. I get emails on just about everything I do, and how I could be doing it better.

Sigh.

I’m just following Jesus. I’m not claiming to have it figured out. I’m not even worried about figuring it out.

Sure would be nice to get what I want here. Still as Mick Jagger sang “And if you try sometimes you find you get what you need.”

I actually do listen to advice that comes our way. We have a group of people that we rely upon for counsel. Sometimes, just sometimes we get a little understanding even.

I could use some today.


Ramblings

Last Friday I mentioned that Ben and Pauline had found a place to rent and move out on their own. Expanding their ministry and ours at the same time. Well that particular place is no longer available, however they are still looking for the right house.

Our search for a new house continues as well. We need a big house, big yard, and to spend less money than we are now. Not an easy place to find. The places we have found so far have either been too small or the rent is too high.

We have a friend coming to visit for a few days. I’ll be picking her up on Wednesday morning. She’s actually a new friend from California, and we look forward to spending a few days together this week.

I’ll leave you with this passage that we discussed this past Sunday with the kids:

 5"And when you come before God, don't turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat? (Matthew 6:5, The Message)


Changes on the Horizon

 1 There's an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth: (Ecclesiastes 3:1, The Message)

Ben Msandu and Pauline Ben and Pauline have been with us for several years now. I remember Ben coming to me with this crazy ministry idea. This idea of visiting the sick and simply loving them. Feeding and caring where we could, but more than anything just being with them. I thought it was a great idea, and so we set off to do it.

It quickly became apparent that Ben was much better at it, and so he ran with the ministry. He hasn’t stopped since then.

When we started the orphan-care project Ben and Pauline moved in with us, giving up their own place. Let me tell you, I’m not the easiest guy to live with so it was a huge sacrifice. More than they could have imagined at the time. The blending of our different cultures was tough, but worth it.

Three years later they are ready to move on with their lives and take the next step. Ben and Pauline want to rent their own house and provide temporary care for orphaned or abandoned children. Give them good food to eat, clean them up, care for wounds, etc.

Ben has found a house on half an acre here in Nakuru. Once Pauline goes and sees it and gives her approval, I’m pretty sure they will rent the house. I hope they do. I believe it will be good for them as a family and ministry to stand on their own. Plus there would be enough space to start up a chicken project at the house. (Haven’t really talked to them about this yet, but I think it would be a great way to provide eggs and birds to all our families.)

I’m pretty excited about this opportunity for them and for us. It will help us expand our community and express the love of God to even more children and people in the larger community we live in.