Thursday, July 11, 2013

Our Gatherings...

We wanted to tell you about a most wonderful change happening with the members of StoneHouse Fellowship. It is the evolution in our Gathering of praise and worship. The change has been from stoic to startling, from emotional to spiritual. 

For over four straight years my wife and I tried unsuccessfully to help Kenyans see how incredible a spiritual gathering of praise and worship could be if people came to give and not just receive. The opposition was formidable and quite discouraging.

But this year, in less than four months… the people of StoneHouse Fellowship have seen all things become new... and alive! Every meeting is filled with spontaneous sharing and joy. It just gets better and better. Here is a short pictorial description of our typical Sunday Gatherings.

First on the list is getting everyone at our house up and in the car. We take the kids while Patrick, Christine take a piki piki (motorcycle) to the Gathering. There’s not enough room in our small car for the whole family… so we make do. We are hoping to get a van sometime soon so all of us can ride together.

As we round the corner and drive up into our little church compound…the  first thing we see is a smiling single sister called Wangoe with her two children Ann (10) and Sara (8). Wangoe and her two daughters live in a room that’s part of the church building and serves as the caretaker. We gave her that job because she had no other place to live in Nakuru and wanted her children to be able to go to school. The church takes care of Wangoe and Wangoe and her two sweet daughters take care of the church. It’s a sweet deal that works out great for everyone and we love them a lot.

The next people we encounter are the other leaders, who always arrive early enough to greet everyone else. These men from left to right are James who serves as a shepherd preacher and evangelist, Vincent who serves as an administrator and conference coordinator, preacher, record keeper, deacon etc. and Thomas who also serves as a preacher, shepherd and home group overseer. We currently have seven home groups with ninety percent of the church attending throughout the week.

As soon as the youth (teens and twenties) begin arriving they go into the kids room and practice the music they want to bring us that day.

When our people begin to arrive we encourage them to spend the first half hour fellowshipping and telling each other what God has been doing in each other’s lives. 

Then everyone comes together and begins sharing some of the things they heard from one another. This can go on from thirty to sixty minutes.

When we are good and full of hearing the wonderful things our Father has been doing we begin to praise and worship Him. This our favorite part. As the youth begin to sing… all the children flood into our main room, led by Sara (our incarnation of Miriam sister of Moses) dancing up and down the isles. Sara leads the children in complete abandonment in praising God.

These are a few pictures of her and the children ‘kicking up their heels’ in joyful praise.

When we are done singing, the children head back to the kid’s room and are then taught by one of the sisters.

That’s when the drama’s, poems, special song arrangements, and children presentations begin.

This presentation of Job by two of our young men was awesome. Both these young men danced last week at the national fairgrounds for thousands of Kenyan spectators. And Abraham, the one kneeling, was chosen to represent Nakuru High school by reciting a poem in front of the newly elected president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta. Quite an honor for this very talented young man.

A side note … the three single sisters (you know who you are) that helped pay Abraham’s tuition fees through the L.E.A.R.N. program are largely responsible for making this happen. Thank you dear sisters.
As our time together rolls on you never know what you might see in the field next door. There are always herds of sheep, goats and cows in the field next door… two weeks ago, a camel dropped by for lunch.

After the presentations (if there’s still time) James and I or Thomas and Vincent will either teach or preach. One talks the other translates (except for me I only talk ;-) ).

Towards the end of our time together we sing a song and let people worship by bringing their offerings. This is usually preceded by a warning that we only allow certain people to give in our church. There are three requirements before you can participate in the worship of giving at our church.

The first is… There must be no un-confessed sin in your life.

The second… That you are right with your brothers and sisters.

And the third… That your heart rejoices when you drop it in the basket.  
All the visitor’s eyes always bug out when we share this. Although our offerings have increased since we began sharing these three rules of acceptable giving.

Lastly, through prayer we commit the coming week into the Lord’s hands and then hang around for some more fellowship. Well that’s about it… we hope you enjoyed hearing and seeing some of what happens with us on Sunday morning  … I know we sure do!

StoneHouse Ministries International