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January 2007
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March 2007

Entries from February 2007

"A plane!"

Butterfly is 3. Her thoughts are smart and yet simple. In her mind, she knows that airplanes are the only way to get from the United States to Kenya. (Ok, don't get all technical on me and say, "By ship, too." 'cause I know that, but airplanes are the most common way to get here, and it's the ONLY way as far as Butterfly is concerned.) Butterfly also knows that Mommy and Daddy talk about her grandparents a lot, and they live in the United States.

This morning we heard an airplane zooming through the air, and Butterfly ran outside and started shouting, "I see Grandpa! I see Grandpa!" Then Butterfly came running into the house to tell me, "I saw Grandpa, Mommy, but he didn't see me!"


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Outrageous Nonsense

Yesterday after Johnny and I did our 'mission of mercy,' we came home and started thinking about the money we spent on blessing that family and how perhaps it could've been spent on what some would call 'real ministry' like preaching or doing an outdoor street meeting or crusade.

And then we started asking ourselves what is more meaningful? Preaching the love of Christ, or demonstrating it?

So we started wondering if we could remember a time when a sermon or some type of preaching really impacted us and changed our lives. I mean, could we actually remember ONE particular message.

The answer was no. Although, we feel we have been blessed by various messages and sermons through our past, the most impactful, life changing moments in our recollection are ones where someone demonstrated God's love with an action of some kind.

This doesn't mean that Johnny and I don't believe in doing conferences and such because we still have a message we want to spread across Africa, but we feel that James 2:14-17 can teach us a lot:

"...Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, "Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!" and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup-- where does that get you? Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?" The Message Bible


Mission of Mercy

Never in my life have I seen such huge smiles, such excited sparkle in the eyes and joyful sounds of laughter.

Yesterday I felt like Santa Clause.

A lady whom we know came by the house yesterday as we were leaving for town. After I asked her how her five children were, she confessed that there was no food in their house. Her husband is not around and she does not have a job.

At first I was going to just give her my 'extra' from my food in my house, but instead Johnny and I decided to do things 'Jesus style'.

We went to the super market in town. We didn't just buy her food; we bought her everything from laundry detergent and toothpaste, to meat and potatoes. See, when we do things in the name of our Father, we need to do them how He would do them. God gave us His best. So we gave our best.

I can not tell you how much fun it was when we went to their house and surprised them with all these things:  fruit, meat, potatoes, rice, flour, feminine pads, tooth paste, body lotion, soap, and much more... One of the kids was so overwhelmed she couldn't help but just laugh with joy!

Yesterday was a great day.

Spreading His love!


The Story We Find Ourselves In

Some years back, about 6, I read a book by Brian D. McLaren called A New Kind of Christian. I had been struggling with my faith, or so I thought I was struggling with my faith. Turns out I was just asking questions that the leaders of my church did not want me to ask. I was viewing the world and even our mission as believers in the world with different eyes. Those days I knew nothing of modernity, post-modernity, emerging, emergent, or conversations. I only knew Pentecostalism and a charismatic way of life. When those world views began to crumble for me I got lost and lonely. A New Kind of Christian showed me that I was not the only one out there. There are others who are not afraid to ask questions, and there are many of them. Naturally when I was browsing a book store here in Kenya, which is one of my favorite pastimes, and came across McLaren's sequel to A New Kind of Christian, The Story We Find Ourselves In, I grabbed it.

I have to admit that the first couple of chapters were hard for me. It was a lot of information about the characters, but what I was interested in was issues. I wanted the characters to be dealing with hard subjects. After a few chapters they do start to tackle issues, well actually I should say issue. The book is very concerned with evolution, which I have no problem with, it has just never been an issue with me. Chapters 27 and 28 were my favorite in the whole book. Here Mclaren puts forward an idea about time, past present and future, that I just found so fascinating. I do not want to repeat it all here but this is it basically: Instead of history being driven by the past, what if history is constantly being invited to receive the gift of the future?" God is at the beginning and at the same time is at the end calling you to walk across time. If that doesn't make any sense go buy the book and read those chapters.

The Gap

I have read a great deal about the gap that exists between the rich and the poor of this world. I have also read many proposed solutions to the problem, and an even greater number of reports and proposals on eradicating poverty. When I lived in America the gap was not so evident to me. Even though I was not rich I lived a rich life without knowing it. Here in Kenya the gap is so much more evident.  I can in the same afternoon go to a restaurant and spend 20 U.S. dollars on a meal and right around the corner spend .50 cents on a full meal. The gap is there, and it seems to get wider and wider everyday. All this reading and observation on my part usually feels nice and safe, because I am still eating the good food and staying in the good house. However every now and then something happens to bring me to the reality of just how poor some people are, and just how rich I am.

May u find comfort in choosing to hlp us. Over many yrs I hve never seen such a great shopping, i am grateful. Atleast Mercys birthday, she will have something to bite. PAULINE

This was a sms sent to me by a grateful mother. I had taken her husband to the supermarket and bought some food for their house. I bought things that they normally would not buy like fruit. Fruit is expensive to many people here so consequently they typically do not eat it. Anyway I bought a good amount of things for them. Their daughter has been having some difficulty and needs good nutrition so I wanted to help her out.

Now what struck me most about her sms was this; "Over many yrs I hve never seen such a great shopping." I was stunned. I live here in Kenya but sometimes I forget the struggle that life is for many people. What I bought for them was not even a fourth of what I normally buy for my own family.

I have no solution to poverty, but I pray that God will continue to use me to ease the suffering where and when I can.

Quote of the Week

When I think of you a joy rises up in my soul. I feel my eyes twinkle with delight and my heart begins to beat a bit faster.

I love you. I enjoy you. I'm so glad to be your wife.

When I think of how you could've chosen someone else more like yourself, or someone who talks less and is more attractive or has more education than I do, I am always thankful you fell in love with me.

When I think of how 'private' and 'quiet' you were/are I'm so glad that I get to be the one you share your dreams with, your passions & even secrets with. I'm honored that I get to be the one who knows you.

Kate Brooks

Recent letter to her husband, Johnny Brooks on their 12th wedding anniversary.

Cool Enviromental Development

I saw this rural bio gas generator on another blog and wanted to share it with you guys. I want to study it a little more and learn how to build it. I know some folks who have cows and could benefit from this gas production method. Essentially it is a hole with a tank placed in it. You dump in cow manure and water which then produce methane gas. You can then pipe the gas to your house to use with cooking.

Please visit this link to see a picture and a better description.

Project Updates

Mercy Atieno, little girl with digestive problem, finally had to go the hospital. We just could not get adequate care for her situation here in Nakuru. So she went to a missionary hospital in Kijabe. They were able to help her, but we will not know if she needs surgery or not for a few weeks.

We have been able to feed 2 families this week with good food. Most time when families have financial problems they are forced to eat ugali, which is nothing more then corn and water. Not very nutritious. We were able to provide meat, vegetables, and fruits for these 2 families. We also bought items like toilet paper, toothpaste, and soaps. We are so thankful to be able to be here to do these types of things.

Today we will help another child with school fees. We asked the school if we could pay in installments which they agreed to. So today we will deposit the first installment.

Well there is more but I want to save some material for future posts. May God bless you all.

Driving in Kenya

I thought we might continue with our conversation about driving, only this is not a post about Jesus in the driver's seat, but instead is really about driving in Kenya.

I took driver's ed while I was attending high school at Port Neches-Groves High in Port Neches, TX. We learned about street signs, when and where to yield, common speed limits, and etc. Defensive driving is what was taught. I learned to drive defensively, courteously, and with common sense.

First rule about driving in Kenya is to throw away everything you learned in defensive driving class. Just go ahead and toss it because here it is every car for himself. You must drive offensively here in Kenya. Yielding? No one has ever heard of the term here. You rush and try to squeeze into what ever little space there might be.

Where I see a nice small road with barely enough space for 2 vehicles to pass by each other, Kenyans see a 4 or 5 lane highway. When I see small children walking along the road, which they do here in Kenya, I slow and try to move as far away from them as possible, not my Kenyan counterparts they will speed up and pass as close the children as possible. The same goes for any other pedestrians, of which there are a great number of on the roads here in Kenya.

Pedestrians are not the only thing us drivers are sharing the road with, we also have to tend with sheep, goats, cows, and donkeys. In addition to these sort of domesticated animals we have bicycles and guys pushing carts. However the worst of worst is the matatu.

Public transport vehicles, matatu, are a defensive driver's worst nightmare. I do not even know how to explain it expect to say this; Imagine you are sharing the road with a guy driving a van packed with passengers. Sometimes they are even hanging from the side of the van. This guy is racing every other van on the road. Pedal to the metal mentality. His vehicle is being held together by duck tape or wire. He has never been to driving school, he just learned by jumping in the vehicle and going. He frequently stops in the middle of the street to load and unload his passengers. He does all this while high on bhang or drunk on local brews. If you can imagine this scenario then you can imagine driving in Kenya.

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