Friday, February 25, 2011

Report 5: The Golden Rule, Saturday, February 12

Surprisingly, the rain had soaked in or run off by morning so that things weren't muddy like you would expect.

We had a late start with activities because of the duties entailed with the extra ministers staying at the orphanage.

Today our children's meeting was with mainly the 80 orphans from the school. This was not a school day so we did not have all the additional students that had been there on Friday. Ranelle led the lesson on The Golden Rule using the story of the Good Samaritan. 

Since breakfast had not yet been served, Michael went ahead and started teaching. Topics covered today were: Walking worthy of the vocation, Church Government and Ministries, and Ordination.

They paused for a break and were served the traditional tea along with a fried bread that resembled fritter and tasted like an unglazed doughnut. They were quite tasty.

Teaching continued until lunch time when we were served beans and rice.
They were very tasty and filling and probably were the closest thing to 'normal' for us as far as their cooking went.
In the afternoon, we brought out the literature that the Print Shop had donated. We were able to give Bible Readings, Secret of the Singing Heart, The Church of God (translated into Swahili) and also the new book Biblical Nuggets for Godly Women.

There were also $2000 worth of Swahili Bibles purchased in Nairobi.
It is always a joy to put the Word of God into their hands.

 The men and women separated for the afternoon. One of the women teachers translated for me as I shared some thoughts with the women on Self Worth. I also had the privilege to introduce them to the book Biblical Nuggets. I was especially overjoyed to have this resource to give them because the women do minister to one another there and have asked repeatedly for us to put together some literature for them to use. We discussed the chapter on How to Have a Happy Home.

Questions were also asked about outward adornments. It was a good time of sharing. I wish we could have had more opportunity. Life is hard for the women of Africa. As Bro. Peter has shared, women do the largest share of the work many times. I have a great desire to see them flourish in their own personal walk with Jesus.

After this session, we gathered for a preaching service. Michael got up to preach on God's Amazing Grace. The glory came down! Later Michael referred to it as almost being an out of the body experience. The anointing was so heavy that translation became seamless. There was no stopping and starting, only a continual flow of preaching.

A minister was first to come forward before the preaching even ended. The front of the chapel filled with seekers of God's grace. We had a beautiful season of prayer with the seekers. It was a service that we hated to see come to an end.

It reminded us of our dependence on God and His Spirit. You can make your lists and pack all the things you think you'll need away from home, but this is the one thing you can't pack, you can't force, you can't replicate. We covered this trip with prayer and begged God to witness the Word by His Spirit and we were so humbled to be in the presence of Almighty God when He did.

Another reason this is so vital is that these meetings are touching ministers from various backgrounds that have Babel stones to leave behind. It is imperative that the Spirit be present to make alive the Word and to witness that even the areas where they need to change are not a white man's words, but they are Eternal Truth from God's Infallible Word.

After the service, we brought out some of the board and card games and introduced the children to them. They enjoyed playing Candyland and Memory and Uno.

Tonight I made Chicken Noodle Soup with a combination of soup mixes we had brought. Sis. Roda made us Plantain with tomatoes and Chipati. Sis. Pacificah had joined us. She had been suffering from stomach trouble all day so we anointed her and had a special season of prayer. The next day she testified that the Lord had healed her.

We sat around and sang songs for a long time. It was such a sweet time of fellowship. After prayer, I took my flashlight and went into our bedroom to prepare for the night. I leaned over our luggage and my light illuminated two beady eyes then the bumpy skin of a fat toad. I gasped loudly and stumbled out of the room. Everyone was immediately alarmed from the sound I'd made, but Bro. Peter laughed out loud when he heard me say what it was. Nicole came in ready to take it out for me, but Bro. Peter grabbed it first and threw it out the back door. We were becoming more and more a family.

Report 4: Living Water, Friday, February 11th

Before morning breaks, Sis. Roda rises and begins her fire in the lean-to kitchen on the back of the house. The roosters crow and birds make their songs in the trees. Cows moo and you can hear sounds of the early risers. Smoke begins curling under the eaves into our room again. It's a new day.
This is Bro. Peter's father. He is 93 years old and still cares for his own cow and even goes to the field to dig. This morning I found him milking into a little tin cup. I wondered if it were for the morning tea Sis. Roda makes daily. It tastes like a mild Chai, very sweet and milky.

The neighbor is doing her laundry. Water is very limited and they wash and rinse with less than you would think when you just carried those three jugs on your head from the well.

One of the group was feeling sick this morning. The Lord had given Michael the promise from Matthew 18:19 "...that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven." We claimed that promise on more than one occasion and the Lord gave healing to different ones from stomach troubles to fever. God was very near and gracious.
Ministers meetings began this morning. Michael taught on many subjects essentially starting at ground level and working up. Some are new contacts and have heard little Bible Doctrine. 
This morning marked the beginning of our work with the orphans. We were so anxious and excited. Since it was Friday and school was still in session we had a large crowd of over 250 children. We filled the courtyard from side to side. Since Bro. Peter was translating for the ministers meeting, some of the teachers from the school assisted us. Nicole Elwell led the lesson was on Living Water. We learned the songs Fill Up My Cup. 

The children were very attentive and the Spirit payed us a special visit. When the invitation was given, about 100 came forward to be saved. We purchased plastic cups and passed around Sharpies for them to decorate them with the phrase, "Jesus gives living water to __________." They were delighted to have their very own cup and hated to put them down even for games.

They hung them on cornstalks and found special places for them all over.
Ranelle is helping teach them new games. The children loved playing and responded enthusiastically.
Relays were a big hit.

With so many children we had to make 6 teams.

We had a long lunch break today. In the afternoon everyone joined together in the courtyard for a general worship service.

In each new setting it was customary for introductions to be made.

Some of the children sang songs for us and introductions were made of all the staff of the school as well as visitors.

Michael got up to preach on Serving God out of Love. (I'm going to comment here as a personal note) It was so amazing to me to sit there and feel the Spirit moving. As I watched my husband preaching and interacting with the congregation I almost got chills. There is nothing like doing what God has put in your heart and soul to do. And that is why I could never say no when God calls him to yet another mission trip. It's not about the dangers. It's not about doing the 'safe' or 'reasonable' thing. It's about obedience. And what a joy there is in that obedience! This whole trip was like a special gift to me. Missions have been in my heart for years, yet my place is in the home right now. It was such a joy, though, to be able to travel with Michael on this trip and experience what he experiences firsthand. Okay, back to the report. :-)

Thirty-five souls responded to the invitation. Many of them were children. It touched my heart to see their tender spirits so open to the dealings of God. What an open door to touch their lives.

The day had been cooler, but as evening came on the air became heavy and the clouds began to lower. The mosquitoes began to swarm and Matthew and Michael hurried us home. We didn't even take the time for bathing as that would necessitate too great of a risk for the swarming pests. We did the best we could with wet wipes which wasn't really that good.

We draped plastic sheeting over our nets as we could see through small holes in the roof. This effectively cut off any breeze and it was unpleasantly warm, but better than getting wet if it rained. Sure enough, we had a downpour throughout the night. We were thankful for shelter and slept while the rain sounded a cadence on the tin roof.

Bro. Matthew's Building Projects

As has been mentioned, when we arrived, Bro. Matthew and Sis. LouCinda had already been there for a week. Bro. Matthew found plenty of work to be done. He spent time shoring up bunk beds that needed repairing, building the nice large table you see in some of the courtyard pictures, etc. However, his main burden was to improve the kitchen situation.

Presently they were cooking in the back of the orphanage both outside and also in a little mud lean-to shack.
The downside was that this is also where all the washing, bathing goes on also and it was not a very good situation. When we arrived they didn't even have a cooking pot large enough to feed everyone in one setting so meals had to be cooked in shifts. They were so happy with the two large pots we brought from Nairobi.

A foundation was laid along the side of the orphanage facing the road large enough for a new kitchen as well as a better office.

I know it had to be frustrating dealing with the lack of good lumber and supplies to putting together a work crew on the spur of the moment. I'm sure it was especially so every time he returned from a supply run in town to find them all sitting down waiting for his return instead of working.

Manual labor took on a new meaning when I saw a man sitting out beside some boulders for two days straight. Matthew had ordered gravel. This man would break off chunks of rock with a sledge hammer, then sit down and painstakingly break them into uniform chunks of gravel with a smaller tool. The boulders were so hard that the sledge would simply bounce and bounce off it. They would build a fire underneath the rock to help it to break more readily.

The patience and hard labor began to pay off. The foundation was poured. Masons began to build the walls.

The rooms were taking shape.
The masonry was pretty rough by our standards, but once the walls are completed, they are covered with a layer of plaster and then resemble a solid cement wall.

Everyone was excited to watch the progress. At about any given time there would be a group of people stopped on the road to see the progress.
One day I slipped out of children's meeting to take a couple of pictures because I knew they were beginning to remove roof sheeting. The whole roofline was undergoing a makeover. I could not believe my eyes as I came around the corner. I guess that approach was not fast enough.

Matthew had that crew work the whole side of the roof off the building and carry it across the drive. You should have seen the grunting and heaving. I was astounded.

They settled it on the ground near the wellsite and continued working.

We ladies were talking about how nice it would be to have water in the kitchen. No sooner did we mention it then a crew was digging a water line and before days end there was a nice spigot in the new kitchen room!

This lumber was used to build trusses for the new roof.

When it was time to put them up, once again it was all done manually. We watched, holding our breath. Some pulled...

...Some pushed.

And they were up.

Matthew surprised them with his magnetic hammerhead when he stuck a nail on it and reach up and slammed a nail through the brace to support it. This is when Bro. Peter walked up and said, "Matthew is not a half carpenter, he is a FULL carpenter."

The work continued to the very last moment. We left on Thursday morning to return to Nairobi. Matthew stayed to work one last day. He had a flue constructed and installed it so that a fire could be build inside the kitchen and not fill the room with smoke. He then got on public transport and traveled through the night arriving at our hotel around 3 a.m. We so appreciate all the labor he accomplished.

Since our return home, the road side of the roof has been covered with iron sheeting. They are lacking about 15 iron sheets for the other side. They are also waiting for doors and windows to install in the openings so they can complete the plastering of the walls.

 We pray that this will be a blessing to the workers at the orphanage when completed..

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Report 3: Visiting Bro. Joseph, Thursday, February 10

Before we left the orphanage, we opened up the curriculum and library books we had purchased and brought so that the staff could organize and record them all.
It was a joy to watch them exclaim over the textbooks. They told me that many of these books they have done without for a long time.
Since Matthew was able to accompany us on our day trip and we were using the same car, Matthew took the drivers place today.
Bro Joseph keeps around 16 orphans in his home. He also runs a primary school.

 All of the students were brought into the chapel for children's meeting. Our lesson was about Jesus Calming the Storm. The memory verse was was in Swahili since the children are too young to speak English. "What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee." Bro. Peter did all of the translating for us.

After the lesson, we went out into the yard by the school and made several circles. We used paper boats on a sheet to reinforce the story. The children held the edges of the sheet and shook it reinacting the stormy ocean. Next, we brought children onto the sheet (boat) and had them to reinact the story as well.

Lastly, we created our own storm by making sounds in sequence: rubbing palms, snapping fingers, slapping thighs and stomping feet. We passed out suckers for treats.

We left a few school supplies and some children's bibles for the school.

The women prepared lunch in the cooking pit.

Chicken, I think?

Group picture of all the children after our special meeting together.

We brought 20 bibles which we gave to the young people in attendance.

We were served lunch and afterward had a general afternoon service together. Michael preached on Going Forward and experiencing the gift of the Holy Spirit. He expounded that our experience with God is more than a series of starts and restarts, but that the Lord has an experience of victory for us so that we can go forward and be a light to the world. He also brought out that the Holy Spirit will only come to a clean vessel that is free from sin. During the altar call, several came forward to pray for their sins to be forgiven. One sister came to receive the Holy Spirit. What a joy it was to lay hands on her and ask God to send her this gift.

The little babies worked their way into our hearts.

Nicole held this little one all through service.

After we returned to the orphanage, we prepared for the Children's meetings that would begin the next morning. Ministers were starting to arrive at the orphanage also to attend the ministers meetings that would begin.