Monday, May 26, 2014

Two Amazing Things

‘Solid Rock Christian Community’
Nakuru, Kenya

Bwana asi fifwi! (Praise be the Lord’s name) Our Father is truly and forever… Waminifu na Kweli (Faithful and True)! Let us tell you two amazing things that took place this week. Last week we posted that after years of searching we had finally located a possible place to purchase. A place we could live together with the people we work with. A place with a guest house for visitors and a place to take care of people.

 Last Saturday we took our beloved South African missionary family we live with on a picnic to
the land we’re hoping to buy. It was so much fun. Lydia and the kids were as excited about the land as we are. After lunch and some great exploring it started to rain but none of us cared. We all got drenched but it was a real hoot. The children’s reaction to ‘Solid Rock’ was reflective of what all of us had been feeling. Lydia, their mother and our good friend, loved it too… even when we had to push her car in the rain to make it up the hill. It really was a lot of fun.

Returning home that evening, Cynthia and I decided to let all of our family and friends back home know about our desires and plans concerning this beautiful piece of land we now call Solid Rock Christian Community .

On  Tuesday the 20thit was with much fear and trembling that we posted our pictures and told our story. At the end of the post we asked everyone to speak to us if they had any questions or advice. We were still hoping and praying it was His blessed voice we were hearing and not just our excitement over the land. Yet we wanted to know for sure that it was Him leading us in starting a Christian community in Nakuru. With little visible means of buying any property, it would certainly require God’s amen and blessing.

The view from the top of Solid Rock ...

But on Thursday morning the 23rd of May we felt we could confidently say He had spoken to our hearts from heaven and given us His approval. Here’s what happened.
 Two Amazing Events…
First… As we previously stated we posted our story on Tuesday May 21.  That next day I had was talking to our leaders and several other Kenyan pastors about needing to 'shepherd the flock' out of concern for the well being of God's children and not for the want of money. I told them God provides where He guides. I then said to them... it is better to be surprised by the daily provision of God's love than to always have unlimited resources at your disposal.

Returning home, I wondered how our Father would demonstrate to them the reality of those bold words. I didn't have to wait long. The next morning we felt God place His exclamation point at the end of those bold words. Someone sent us an email saying they would be sending us a large donation towards purchasing the land! And again we were surprised by His phenomenal ever faithful love!

A small shamba (garden) at the foot of  'Solid Rock'...

The donation would be sufficient enough for a down payment and begin the extensive legal process required to safely buy land in Kenya.

Can you picture two old folks jumping up and down shouting Hallelujah?

We couldn't wait to tell James and his wife Beatrice the good news. They have labored with us this whole time trusting that if our Father wanted us to have ‘Solid Rock Christian Community’ … that He would provide a way.
These pictures my wife took that Thursday morning will show James and Beatrice’s startling reaction to such great news!

For maximum effect we very somberly said to them… we have something we must tell you about ‘Solid Rock’. They braced themselves for bad news.

Then we told them… the good news!

They… could not believe it! Truth is … neither could we.

Those are not staged pictures they are their actual reactions.

Now… for the second amazing thing that happened that day.
On the way to share the good news with James and Beatrice… the Lord spoke to my spirit and said, “The devil will try to destroy your joy”. I didn't understand what that meant, but I tucked it away in my heart.

Always remember the devil never sleeps, and will always try to ruin your joy over what God has blessed you with. But our God is always one step ahead of him.
Four days before that Thursday morning, someone one of the StoneHouse Academy staff informed me that the renewal of our school license hadn't been paid yet. It was supposed to have been paid in January. 

The small rock quarry at the top of 'Solid Rock' ...

Needless to say I was pretty upset that they hadn't informed us until five months later. This was serious, and became a major problem as you will see.

We immediately began to try and figure out how to come up with the money. We at least did go to the licensing office to fill out the necessary paper work. The next day, thank heaven, we remembered, my social security check was coming and we calculated that after paying the school rent there should be enough to pay the renewal fee. That would be on Thursday morning….We didn't make it.

Seconds after sharing with James and Beatrice and taking pictures of their wonderful reaction, seven governmental officials walked in the school office an arrested James!

We did find out later that a disgruntled school cook we had to let go for her treatment of the students had turned us in. But there was nothing to say as we had failed to obey the law. They promptly took James to jail and scheduled the court trial for that afternoon. Our hearts sank… but knowing that our Father had previously warned us, we maintained our joy. It was in His hands.

The officials arresting James initially told us the fine would be a mandatory 40,000 ksh ($450.00 dollars). And that it had to be paid before James could be released from jail. The 40,000 ksh fine was in access of paying the 24,000 ksh license renewal cost. That’s 64,000 shillings total ($720.00 American dollars). Ouch!

There is never even half of that kind of money just lying around. So as they stuffed James in the van and drove off, Cynthia and I began racking our brain how we could come up with the money.

We were scratching everywhere, trying to figure out how to raise the funds. We so much didn't want James to spend the night in a Kenyan jail cell (they aren't nice). Neither did our heavenly Father. Shortly before we left the school Cynthia told the teachers to start praying for God’s mercy … and God heard them.

The entrance to the gorge on the west side of 'Solid Rock CC'...

After we finally collected 35,000 shillings (about $400 dollars) and brought the money to one of our faithful brothers, Njeroge Kennedy. Njeroge ran to pay the license renewal fee and then took the receipt to the judge.

The Lord touched the heart of the judge who showed mercy to James by letting him off with only an 8,000 ksh ($90.00 dollars) late payment fee. We had enough to pay the fine and James went home that night praising a very merciful God.

This debacle will not happen again as we have told Lucy, our new school secretary, to always inform us of any late fees or other problems as soon as they happen.

We want all those who are praying and supporting us to continue traveling with us on this exciting adventure that will become known as ‘Solid Rock Christian Community’. We cannot believe that our Father is letting us come together as a Christian community AGAIN!  

We still have a long way to go… legal processes, building structures, getting the electric and so forth, but we know through the love of our Father and the prayers of His children we will prevail and possess that land. We are definitely on our way!

Mungu awa bariki sana! (May God bless you much)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Solid Rock Christian Community

For almost five years my wife and I have been working in the slums of Nakuru, Kenya and praying to find a place of refuge. A place where we and the people we work with could find a resting place from the terrible difficulties associated with life and ministry in the slums. A place where we could lift people out of the slum mindset and give them a glimpse of heaven.

 We think we may have found it.

Just about ten minutes from the slums of Ponda Mali and Rhonda where our primary school, sewing center and church are located, is the most amazing place we have yet seen in all Nakuru. We found it while looking for some land we could purchase, in an effort to stop throwing away our money on rent which continues to escalate.

We still cannot believe the place we found is only minutes away from the area our Father has called us to work in. For the next few minutes … journey with us through these pictures and let us take you there.

The road to what we are now calling 'Solid Rock Christian Community'  meanders through the midst of Nakuru’s rural farmland and dead ends at the west side of Lake Nakuru National Game Park.

The road stops at a seasonal river bed which is only a riverbed during the rainy season.

 Getting out of the car and glancing to the right, you will see a small rocky road leading up a very steep hillside.

When you reach the top of the 3.5 acres, you can see the many small flat rock plateaus for building houses… all of which would not need any further foundation or flooring.

The further up you climb this winding road the more the surrounding area comes into view. The first thing you’ll see is the city of Nakuru… then to the right of Nakuru, you can see Nakuru’s beautiful lake in the midst of the National Game Park. The vista will take your breath away.

The day these pictures were taken was clear and sunny. The hill side faces the east. Climbing up the hill there was nothing but blue skies and fluffy white clouds overhead. But upon turning around, we could see a huge rainstorm sweeping across Nakuru and the game park. It was absolutely stunning.

On the very top of the property is a small rock quarry. There is enough rock to build all our structures and more. It could possibly even generate some extra revenue for the lands improvement. When we build our simple houses we also want to build a guest house for visiting missionaries and our friends and family from home. There is access to clean community water and electric is very close.

After observing the amazing potential of this land, we spent the afternoon negotiating the price with the owner. We settled at approximately fifteen thousand U. S. dollars for the whole 3.5 acres, quarry and all. This is but a fraction of the cost of land everywhere else we had looked at. Because it has little farming potential the hillside is considered of no use. So the owner was completely apologetic for it’s lack of farming capabilities. We told him that would not be a problem with us.

Later that day we descended to the dry riverbed leading to the fantastic gorge located on the northwestern edge of the property. It is about twenty to thirty feet across and drops seventy feet straight down. We didn't have enough time to explore how far back it went.

This picture of my wife’s face expresses perfectly how Wangoe and Beatrice (James' wife) felt about the whole affair. We simply could not believe what our Father had put before us. There are at least seven other families that desire the opportunity to live together and advance the Kingdom through Christian community. All of which would help us develop the land and assist with StoneHouse Ministries.  

Now… we need your help.We want of make something to last here in Kenya. As you pray for us, consider how you can assist us to see this through. We have never been any good at fundraising or even soliciting help but we are going to try. It’s easy to donate through Pay Pal on our blogs… just click donate and designate ‘Solid Rock Christian Community’. 

If we can come up with seven thousand dollars to put down on this land, we believe we can pay the balance within one year, thanks to Cynthia’s social security starting in August of this year. We could also pay back the seven thousand in one additional year. Nakuru is growing fast… prices within Nakuru proper have doubled since last year. So… please… please consider helping us in this endeavor. Contact us with your ideas and support and keep us in prayer before our loving heavenly Father.

Should you have any related questions concerning the purchase and development of this land or suggestions  how you can help… please don’t hesitate to contact us at this email address… .

With all our love and sincere hope…
 Dave, Cynthia and the StoneHouse Family.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The StoneHouse Guardians Seminar

This weekend our youth, called The StoneHouse Guardians, put together a small seminar for themselves. It started on Friday with them choosing speakers from among their peers and then having discussion groups.

We didn’t attend on Friday, but my wife and I did happen by the church meeting place as their gathering was happening. Our purpose in being there was delivering a puppy to our caretaker Wangoe and her two young girls, Ann and Stella. It was fun bringing the pup and decreasing the surplus population of dogs where we live.

We were very encouraged to hear young people talking about what it will mean to follow Christ here in Nakuru.
The next day they invited the Shepherds of StoneHouse to come and speak to them. We arrived late due to normal Kenyan road chaos, but were surprised to find our dear brother Thomas pouring his heart out to listening young people.

What a blessed man this towering Kenyan disciple has become. He spoke on the importance of forgiveness and being sincere with each other and everyone seemed to be taking it in.

Later, I spoke to them about the importance of maintaining their self respect and sense of dignity. That age is so difficult… being no longer children and yet not quite adults. The transition is difficult and it can become so easy to fall prey to doing anything to be accepted.

It is a time of listening to new and strange voices other than those we previously trusted and loved. Social acceptance usually requires conformance to those voices.Earlier that week I had written up a document called ‘A Bill of Rights for Relationships’. It is based on a collection of thoughts from myself and others concerning our God given rights as disciples.

We so want these young people to attain to the freedom, prosperity  and powerful future we believe our Father has destined for them.

The talk was well received and (we were told) inspired good discussions afterward. So having decided it might be of benefit to others we are including our notes from the document. May God bless and protect His young people here in Kenya and throughout the world.

Here are those notes...

The StoneHouse Guardians Bill of Rights for Relationships

You have the God given the right …..
1.     To be in a healthy relationship
2.     To be treated with respect at all times
3.     To be treated as an equal
4.     To be allowed to communicate clearly and honestly
5.     To feel safe in any relationship
6.     To feel comfortable being who you are
7.     To not be taken advantage of physically or emotionally.
8.     To have friends and activities outside of the relationship
9.     To set your own limits and values                                                            
      To seek help from friends, family and trusted adults at anytime.

Do not give up or let anyone take these God given rights from you. The moment you do the relationship will begin to take an unhealthy turn. Let not fear of rejection, or desire for position enslave you.
Hold on to your Rights. Do not give them up or let them be taken from you, on peril of your relationship turning bad and or becoming abusive.

Your sent ones in Kenya…  Dave and Cynthia