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August 2010

Entries from July 2010

Worth It?

Jesus told us that before deciding to follow Him we should count the cost (Luke 14:25-34.) Calculate what it will take to do it, and then decide if He is worth it or not. Wondering what type of currency will be involved in this transaction? He gives a few examples.

"Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one's own self!—can't be my disciple. Anyone who won't shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can't be my disciple.”

In other words the price is high, astronomical even.

I once was a Christian. The typical kind. I said a prayer, started attending meetings, prayed every morning in tongues for at least an hour, gave my money and time, and read my Bible. Not once did I actually follow Jesus anywhere. Not once did I even touch my cross, let alone pick it up and carry it to the hill.

Thankfully our Father in Heaven loves me so much, that He pushed His way through my religion. He reached out and embraced me, even though I was dirty and did not want a loving God. I wanted to keep him behind the veil.

He extended Grace. I embraced it, then saw that grabbing His hand was only the beginning. He didn’t simply hold my hand and stare into my eyes. No. He pulled on me. He was leading, is leading, me somewhere.

Yet before I committed I had the opportunity to count the cost. I believe (haven’t really thought this one out theologically yet) that if I wanted to I could have refused. I could have deemed the cost too high, and sent an emissary to the king (click the link to the passage in Luke above for that example from Jesus.)

I knew that to do what God wanted me to do I would lose everything. My job. My house. My car. My family. My friends. My religion. My dream of a successful ministry.

To be honest with you I hesitated. In fact even after we moved to Kenya I still tried to hold on to some of those things. It’s not easy following Jesus when you have been following a facsimile of Him your whole life.

Again His Grace was is sufficient for me.

Now that I am on the other side of religion, was it worth it? Some days that is a hard question to answer.

As a missionary it is hard to live outside of organized religion. (Not talking about faith or rituals here, but instead obligation to a man made system designed to curry favor with a god.) Fundraising is difficult outside of the church system. Which means that usually there is less money available. Which leads to smaller scale projects.

Not that bigger is better, but sometimes I sure would like to be able to buy medicine for everyone. I would love to be able to care for more orphaned/abandoned children. I would even enjoy being able to go on vacation, or buy a new t.v.

Yet here we are. Having survived five and a half years so far, and in some regards we are actually thriving. Sure we could use more money, but life is more than cold hard cash. Our family has grown to be something I didn’t even think was possible.

I have craved community so long that I almost didn’t follow Jesus to Kenya because I did not want to lose the church community I was a part of in Texas. I knew it was faulty, and far from what God had in mind when He created the Church, but it was something. I was scared that I would not be able to recreate that or find that here in Kenya.

My fears were not unfounded. It is difficult to create deep meaningful relationships with Kenyans. Their friendships tend to be more shallow and focused on the surface of life.

Still I had hope. I felt or believed that Jesus was serious when he said “whoever leaves mothers, brothers, fathers, houses, etc. for my sake, will receive a hundredfold in this lifetime.”

He meant it. We have a family or community that is greater than anything I have ever experienced before. Everyday we sacrifice for each other. Everyday is a reminder of how Jesus saved us.

Was it worth it?

Yes it was.

Quote of the Week

“If you really want to understand the Raramuri, you should have been there when this ninety-five-year-old man came hiking twenty-five miles over the mountain. Know why he could do it? Because no one every told him he couldn’t. No one ever told him he oughta be off dying somewhere in an old age home. You live up to your own expectations, man. -Micah True, p. 50

From Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run

August 4th

As some of you may know Kenya will be voting on August the 4th in a constitutional referendum. Kenya has needed  a new constitution from, well from the beginning.

Now as you may remember the last time Kenya went to the polls, it was disastrous. Many people ended up losing their lives in the violence that followed. The economy was wrecked. Students missed out on school. Many people went hungry.

I don’t imagine things will go smoothly this coming Wednesday, but I am hoping they will go smoother than the last time. I hope and expect the violence will be more sporadic and not shut the entire country down.

As for us we have made some preparations. Having learned our lesson from the last time we are stocked up on basic food stuff. I will buy some air time for our phones today, and pay our internet bill. We should be able to remain in contact with everyone during the referendum.

Bear in mind that the media will blow out of proportion anything that does happen. Especially since this proposed constitution here in Kenya has become a political issue in the U.S.A. Don’t worry about us, until we tell you to worry.

Sarah Muthoni

Sarah Sarah just celebrated her 13th birthday! Happy birthday Sarah. I am glad you were able to eat cake, ice cream, and have fun on your birthday. You will have plenty more in the years to come.

I met Sarah when her Aunt came to my office with a story of 2 orphaned girls she could not care for. I requested that she come back the next day with the girls so we could meet them for ourselves. She did, and Sarah along with her sister Beatrice, stood in my office looking all bashful and wondering what was going on.

Turns out that there mother was alive and that their aunt simply did not want to care for the two of them anymore. Sarah’s mom has some kind of mental illness and is unable to care for her children.

At first I was inclined to say that we would not take the two in, as we were looking for orphans. After hearing more of their story and looking at them, we felt they should come and stay with us.

Sarah So Sarah moved in. We have endeavored to create a stable, loving, and safe environment for her. Being bounced around from place to place, can make it hard to feel safe.

It’s almost been 3 years since she first came, and we hope she will be here till she is grown.

Meet Our Family

Emma Caite

Emma Caite When the first orphaned girl moved in with us Emma Caite was just a few months old. Not yet one year old. Ever since then she has lived in a house made up of Africans and Americans. In fact there are no Africans or Americans in her mind, just people.

As white people living in a predominately black nation we stick out. Anywhere we go chants and taunts of “mzungu" will be heard. Along with “how are you?” Black children in Kenya are taught from birth that white people are special and deserve special attention. Their parents coax them to greet the white person and expect him or her to give them something. I have grown to understand. We are different. Most people here grow up in a community that is made up of one color or race, and so when something different comes around it’s only natural for them to admire that something different.

However Emma understands none of this. She has in her mind that a mzungu is someone she doesn’t know. I suppose since people she doesn’t know are always calling her mzungu, she just assumed that is what it meant. White, black, brown, whatever if she doesn’t know you then you’re a mzungu.

Emma Caite Emma first learned to speak Swahili. She now is learning more and more English, mostly so she can communicate with me. She is a loving girl, who can throw the best tantrums of anyone in the house. I think she really enjoys being a part of such a big family, but also enjoys hanging with dad by herself. (In fact she is the only child of ours who has bonded with me at such a young age.)

We love her and are glad God chose to bless us with her, even though from time to time we curse Him for that lovely little blessing. My wife tells me that is too harsh, and I agree. Must have been a tough Emma day when I wrote that.

Meet Our Family

Sarah Apiyo

Sarah Sarah’s story is one with almost unimaginable tragedy. She came to us from a rural area, in fact nearby the villages that Mary and Mercy came from. Sarah Apiyo and Mercy arrived on the same day, and had met before moving in with us. It must have been some comfort for the two of them, having each other, as they made the transition from rural living to living in town with white people.

Sarah’s mother was murdered by a man in her village. He was attempting to force her to marry him, as her husband had died. Wife inheritance is common amongst this tribe, and this man felt he had a right to Sarah’s mother, or at least a right to sleep with her. She refused, and paid the penalty with her life.

Sarah was the one who discovered the body.

As far as we know nothing happened to this man, and Sarah was sent to her grandmother.

Ben had gone back to the village to pick up Mercy. He was gone for a day or maybe a day and a half when he called me. He told me he had found Mercy, and another orphaned girl who needed a place to stay. Could he bring her to stay with us?

Tough decision. We knew nothing about this girl. No idea what type of personality she had, or if she was healthy, or even if she wanted to come.

SarahWe felt it was the right thing to do, take her in that is, and so Ben came with Sarah Apiyo and Mercy.

It took some time for Sarah’s story to come out, and I am sure there is more to come. She fit in nicely, and is a beautiful young woman.

I am happy to have been given the opportunity to rescue her. To give her a chance in life. If she had stayed in the village, life would have trodden her under it’s feet. Yet now Sarah has an opportunity to live a good life. She can see that God has not forgotten her. On the contrary he moved a mountain (me) to come and help her.

Meet Our Family


Mary Mary has only been with us for a few months. She is from a rural area, about 6 hours away. I was surprised by how easily she made the transition to our city lifestyle here in Nakuru. (It took Mercy a bit longer to adjust, she is from the same area.)

Mary’s parents passed away leaving her in the care of other relatives and people in the village. She was passed around until eventually it was decided she should be sold off as a maid to someone in Mombasa.

I had heard of Mary and knew she was an orphan, but I encouraged Ben to look for a home or solution that was closer to her village. Not that I had any problem with Mary, but I was thinking it would be easier for her if she was nearer to what she knew, i.e. village life.

However seems that God wanted her to be with us. When we heard she had been sold to someone in Mombasa I decided to act fast. Ben traveled to the village and made arrangements for Mary to come to our home in Nakuru. Essentially he went to the village elders and chief, thus going over the heads of the people Mary was staying with.

Mary Mary is now in school, in class 3. She is learning more and more English and is fitting in well with the family. Plus she is no longer in danger of being sold off as a slave to someone.

Meet our Family


Let’s hop over to our boy’s home, Christopher’s House, and meet one of them. (This is part of our Meet the Family series.)

Ali is the dad over at the boy’s home, and George is his nephew. Ali’s sister passed away shortly after George was born to an H.I.V. related illness. I officiated the funeral, and Ali, his wife Virginia, and Ali’s mother began taking care of George.

George When we opened the boy’s home I gave one of the beds to George, who actually still stays with his grandmother at this time. (She lives 2 houses over from Ali’s.) When he is ready he will move in with everyone else.

George is the only one of our children who is H.I.V. positive. We still have two to be tested, but so far he is the only one. He goes to the doctor for regular checkups and takes several medications and vitamins each day.

At this time his health is good, and we are working towards keeping it that way. I hope and pray that George will have a long life, and even will see a cure for this disease in his lifetime. Till then we will keep filling him with good food and lots of tender loving care.