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August 2011

Entries from July 2011

Till We Meet Again

Just heard that John Stott passed away. His book Basic Christianity, had a profound impact on my life. In fact I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be here in Nakuru, Kenya without it.

I actually don’t know all that much about John Stott, but I would love to have had a chance to hang for a day or two with him.

R.I.P. John


The case of the missing eggs…

Brief history for those new here:

We, Johnny, Kate, Andrew, Makena, Butterfly, Emma, and Ewoyn live with 9 added daughters (who lost their parents or were abandoned by their parents) to our family. Most have lived with us for almost 4 full years.

Now our ‘orphans no more’ each have a painful past that lead them to us. A number of them, if not all of them, have gone through times when food was nonexistent. Each meal was not guaranteed…

With that said, they also have some remaining family members who cannot or will not take care of them. In most cases, it’s BOTH.

Now that the schools have closed, the orphans-no-more want to visit their relatives if they have any. Keep in mind there is a reason that these parentless girls are in OUR care.

So we have given them the money to travel to their rural homes. What does this have to do with missing eggs? I’m glad you asked.

As my day started, it came to our attention that a half dozen egg carton full of eggs is missing from our pantry as well as 2 large packets of spaghetti noodles. I noticed it because yesterday evening, I was trying to decide what to cook for this evening’s meal. The noodles and eggs were on the shelf in plain sight. Today, they are gone.

Now I sent one of our African daughters to her aunt’s house today…

My guess is, she took them—just in case she finds her auntie’s cupboard bare. This is not the first time things have gone missing just before a trip to an Aunt’s house.

I can’t be certain it is this particular child, but past and present evidence is pointing to this conclusion. I completely understand this child’s need to steal, and I am not angry.

It saddens me that these girls have had such horrible pasts and that their relatives even NOW don’t, won’t, or can’t provide enough food for them while they visit that this need to steal food from home would even cross their minds.


Imprisoned for Being Sick

I recently wrote about some friends of friends who helped us pay a hospital bill for a single mom and her baby. Rose is now free and better able to care for her other children.

Unfortunately hers was not an isolated case. We know so many people, many women who have given birth, now trapped in the hospital because they cannot pay the bill. Literally they are in prison for being sick or having given birth. The hospital has gone so far as to install security cameras to ensure they cannot sneak out.

I would like to help as many of these folks as we can. Especially the people that Ben is ministering to. The folks we know personally. We need to get them out of the hospital before they catch something else while there.

In the past couple of weeks we have managed to secure the release of 2 women. Hopefully we can at least double that number before the end of this week.


What’s Up?

Thanks for asking:

  • The girls are heading off to visit their biological families and or friends. (The boys will be also.) They should be gone for most of the month of August, back before school starts in September.
  • We will continue to be a part of the work in the community. There are so many who need food, medicines, hospital bills paid (so they can actually get out of the hospital,) and love.
  • Kate would like to build a chicken coop, as part of our attempt to “urban” farm.
  • You may have noticed that we have been blogging a theme lately, “How to Be a Missionary.” We have a couple more posts in store for that one.
  • We will continue to develop our 3rd home, which will be a temporary half/way type of house for pregnant teen girls. Our initial girl has given birth and we are helping her plan the next step in her life.

Quote of the Week

I was walking by the younger girls bedroom the other day and overheard a converstion about pastors and bishops. I was curious what they would say about those types, and popped my head in. I got something like this as a response from Butterfly (our 8 year old daughter:)

"We need the bishops. They heat the water for the bathtubs."

After a few minutes I still have no idea why she needed bishops to heat her bathwater.


How to Be a Missionary – Step Four

So you have gone somewhere, packed the necessary equipment, and feel called to the mission field. Now what?

What exactly is the mission? What will you be doing from day to day? Who will you be ministering to?

Questions that seem like they should be easy to answer, right? Surely you will answer them before setting off on your missionary journey. A plan will be made. It will be written out, presentations made, and donors convinced that this plan is the one that will make a difference.

Then you land in that foreign airport, and your plan crumbles before your very eyes.

We had a plan, it was detailed and good. It started to fall apart at the airport, literally. We landed and went through immigration and customs and met our Kenyan friends outside the airport. By the time we were in the van and driving to Nakuru our entire plan had changed.

Go ahead and make your plans, but be prepared to change every aspect of said plan.

Give yourself time to learn the culture, language, and make trustworthy contacts. If you are in a big hurry to enact your grand scheme for your host country, you might want to take a look at your motivation. When God wanted to radically change the entire world, he started in a tiny little manager in a little town, in a nation that couldn’t even govern itself. He took more than 30 years to begin attempting to bring about change.

I can’t answer what it is you should be doing on the mission field, but I can say that it is hard to figure that out without being in the field. You need to be with the people God wants you to love in order to love them. If you want to feed the hungry, you need to be in a place to put food in their hands. If you want to care for orphans, same thing you need to be there to do it. (Or at least know someone doing those things. Perhaps you’re not supposed to be here, but it could be that you are intended to help us stay here.)

Plan, plan, and plan some more, but just like back in step one, sometimes you just got to do it.


He Calls Us Friend

I'm no longer calling you servants because servants don't understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I've named you friends because I've let you in on everything I've heard from the Father. John 15 in the Message

 

Let that soak in for a sec.

He calls us friend.

Not servants. 

Not religious suplicants.

Not acolytes.

Friends. 


How to Be a Missionary – Step Three

Calling, forget about it.

If the only reason you are coming to the field is because you are obligated by some high calling you received from God up in Heaven, then just go ahead and stay home. We don’t need you.

Instead we need missionaries who are in love with the people they are going to live amongst. We need people to help feed the hungry, because they actually feel bad that those folks are starving. Not because it will get them a gold star in the next life.

Religious obligation has no place in a missionary’s life. Love is enough, or rather should be.

Back when I was a kid and my parents made me mow the lawn, I didn’t appreciate it. In fact I pretty much resented the fact that I wasn’t able to watch t.v. instead. Not that I had a problem with manual labor, I just hated that I had no choice.

Thankfully the Christian life does not have to be like that. Allow the Father to create a heart of love in you, and you will do all kinds of great stuff for the world. Not because He ordered you to, but because you love the world as he does.


Extended Family

Our philosophy on orphan-care is to create or provide what is missing, namely a family. Our two homes provide a loving family atmosphere for the girls and boys we take care of. Their own families have failed to provide this very thing for them after the death or failure of their parents.

Yet we have not abandoned the extended families. We attempt to have the children maintain contact with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, or whomever is left.

This is a mixed blessing. I’m sure in the long run it will be good for the children to have this connection with their birth families. There will come a day when he/she will want to know about grandma/pa. They will want to reconnect with cousins and even siblings. So I’m happy that they are a part of those extended families.

Sometimes though those “extensions” can be a pain.

They never visit. In the past almost 4 years, only 2 visits have occurred at our house. We have 9 girls here. Half of which are from the same town we live in.

The only time the extended families seem to communicate with us is to ask for money. Well that’s not true they do call to tell us about funerals. No birthday wishes, or greetings on other holidays.

We do try and make sure the children visit their relatives during the school holidays. School ends this week, and the girls will visit family for most of next month. Helps them not only stay in touch with their families, but their tribal cultures as well.

We do have a couple with no place to go. We do not know any members of Mercy’s family, or even if she has any left. Edith cannot visit her auntie as the last time she did so the aunt left 7 year old Edith alone all day. Edith wandered off and got lost somewhere in Nakuru. Not cool. Teresa's sister is sick, and not a pleasant gal anyway. Hopefully these girls will be able to visit friends for a few days, so they don’t feel left out.