Thursday, April 21, 2016

First 2016 Apostolic Journey- Part 2

We awoke at sunrise, took showers and prepared for breakfast at a brother’s house that would soon become our host for the entire three days we were in Wamba. His wife, Faith, turned out to be a great cook and fed us well the entire time we were there.

Njeroge (our brother driver) had wanted, throughout the entire journey, for the car to reflect the trip and get good and grimy before we returned. He wouldn’t submit to any of our request to wash the outside of the car, but four guys for three days, left the inside noticeably gross. So when we arrived at Wamba, he asked one of night watchman at our hotel to clean the inside of the car. Not the outside. 

When we awoke that morning, the car inside… and outside… was immaculate. Njeroge sighed. Then we decided to assess the damage done to the car while traveling over the rough road. It was somewhat extensive. There was a broken spring, lost battery cap which allowed acid to splash all over everything under the hood, several grommets missing in the suspension system and other minor problems. Yet, we thanked God that nothing was serious enough to stop us from continuing our journey or traveling home. So we all felt pretty blessed. And because our Father loves Njeroge, He let the car get good and grimy traveling through the mud on the way home.

As we walked to town for coffee, we enjoyed viewing the local inhabitants dressed in traditional garments. The young man with the spike hairdo is a Samburu Moran warrior and not a punk rocker. They have dressed like that for centuries. (Sorry, rockers there’s nothing new under the sun) 

We then made a bee line to visit our sister Sara who had moved from Nakuru to Wamba some months before. It was good to see her and hear what she had been doing.

Following our short visit with Sara, we continued straightaway to the house of Kennedy Lesowapir. Kennedy is a man that James mentored during the seven years he lived in Wamba as a missionary. Kennedy had spent some time with us in Nakuru and had expressed interest in being with StoneHouse Ministries, thus our visit to Wamba. 

Kennedy has two precious little girls. Though, it was hard to know which children were his, because of the many neighborhood children always in his house. His lovely wife was the ‘local neighborhood mom’ as well as being a very good cook. We took all our meals in Kennedy’s house and had great fellowship while doing so. 

Following breakfast, Kennedy took us to a ‘vacation bible school’ type of project he was overseeing. There were over four hundred children attending. 

It was awesome to see his interaction with the children.

Then we drove thirty to forty minutes into the desert to visit a group of Samburu women and children desiring to hear the Kingdom message. 

The short and bumpy trip involved crossing several dry riverbeds, one of which we got stuck in the middle of. Without our four wheel drive car, we would still be sitting in the middle of that riverbed. Thanks for all those who helped us purchase this great travel blessing. This trip would not have been possible without it. 

When we arrived some of the women and children were already waiting.

The young man in the green wrap is an up and coming Samburu Moran (warrior). 

It took a little time to get used to each other, but we soon became friends. 

Kennedy, who used to be a Samburu Moran (young warrior) himself, explained to them in their native tongue our desire to become a united family in Christ and to begin training them in spiritual issues. 

They seemed to love it. Like the Masai, the Samburu are a very interesting and happy people. We have for a while asked our Father for a way into their hearts. We feel now, He has begun providing it. 

As with several of our missionary trips over the previous years, the Lord gave us a beautiful rainbow to encourage us, to remind us He is still in the business of fulfilling His promises. 

That is a huge termite mound Doug is standing on.  On the way back to Nakuru we drove through several termite swarms. 

Driving home from the Samburu meeting was a beautiful and spiritual experience. We slept that night with very full hearts.

The next day was spent visiting people that James knew. The first was an old man who was happened to be an inventor. We were looking for parts to fix our car and came to him in hopes of finding them. Several of his projects were out in the open. 

One of his current projects was building a three wheel motorcycle for a cripple man in town. 

It was also in a small room in his house that James had a small bakery, from which he sold bread to support his ministry when living there as a missionary.

From there we visited a school James and two other guys began years ago. There was a dispute about legalities concerning the ownership, so we had a two hour, somewhat heated discussion, but were able to come to a peaceful settlement. 

Since James left to come to Nakuru some six years ago the school has gone downhill. When he was there the school was given an excellence award. 

When we returned to town we met with some wazee (Elderly men) and watched them play a neat game called 'Ndotoi' . This game can become very intense and everyone seemed to love playing. It reminded me of the days I used to watch elderly men gather in parks and grocery stores to play checkers. 

After lunch we visited an orphanage run by some very dedicated people. This young woman is the assistant manager. 

The Samburu people do not have any grace for pregnancies without marriage. Should a young girl become pregnant, the baby is usually put to death at birth. These are just a few of the sweeties that have been rescued. Many of the older ones were at the vacation bible school. Don't tell me that Christianity is not needed in primitive areas. 

This Christian orphanage was begun to give young women an alternative to the horror of infanticide. Now, in most cases, the baby is brought to this orphanage. 

Our last stop, on our second day in Wamba, was the local hospital. James knew people who worked in the hospital, so we visited the sick and prayed for them. 

This sweet little lady was our favorite person to visit. She was so grateful to us for paying her attention... but we won her heart when we gave her sweeties (candy). 

Then it was back to Kennedy’s for dinner and our four star hotel for a very needed sleep. 
Next up … speaking in churches and the exciting trip home.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

First  2016 Apostolic Journey - Part One

Many thanks for all who took the time to pray for our first 2016 apostolic journey to North and East Kenya. The trip took us to a Tanzania border town as well and our Father truly answered your prayers. 

The journey began with traveling from Nakuru to Nairobi for some small business issues and then making arrangements to drop my beloved wife at the Nairobi Kenyatta Airport at 3:00 a.m. in the morning. Doug, my friend from America, James, Njeroge and myself would be on the road for the next six days. 

Because I had been sick all of last week, I was encouraged to remain  sleeping in the hotel room while my dear brothers took Cynthia to catch her plane to America, for a month long visit with friends and family. (And yes, I am already counting the hours till she returns). Returning to the hotel and after a couple more hours of sleep we arose, scarfed down some coffee and donuts and hit the road. 

Our first destination was Namanga, located on the Tanzania border about 3 hours due south of Nairobi. There, we met with a wonderful man called Moses Olemukenga. James has known Moses for some years and could testify of his integrity in following Christ. Moses works for a Matatoo company coordinating their trips and scheduling departure times. 

He and his family live on a small farm just outside Namanga. Moses will be overseeing a church family in Namaga. He is the newest member of the StoneHouse team.

We also spent time and ate dinner at the house of a wonderful elderly lady named Jerusha Shani who was very instrumental during the early years of James's Christian walk. Jerusha also expressed a desire we begin a church in Namanga. She is the only other person I know that has the same name as my precious daughter in Alaska.

The following morning we headed back to Nairobi to visit an amazing man called Francis. Francis has been visiting with us for about a year and had become interested in joining the StoneHouse team. After a brief but stunning meeting, we all decided to combine forces under StoneHouse, to bring the Kingdom message and discipleship training to three other groups of people.

One of those groups is located in the interior of Uganda. We feel Francis will be among the first men sent out to establish our church families. He definitely has an apostolic gift. Sorry… we were so excited about all that transpired, we forgot to take any pictures.

After delicious lunch of nyama choma (goat meat), we traveled to Embu to visit James’s sister and husband who live in Embu, located at the foot of the beautiful Mt. Kenya. Some of you may have remembered our last visit to their amazing little 3/4 acre farm last year. On the way there we stopped to experience this beautiful ‘natural bridge’ found in that area.

After a good night’s sleep we awoke to a huge breakfast, thanks to the wonderful hospitality of Milkeh. Before we took off for Meru,  Milkeh took us on a tour of the slaughter house she works for. The business has been in James’s family for a long time. It was both interesting and educational but shocking enough for me to almost become a lifelong vegetarian. Almost.

James and Milkeh outside the slaughter house.

We arrived in Meru around lunch time and while waiting for our host, we were entertained by a self styled prophet. I must admit he was very colorful, but still only attracted little attention. 

When our dear sister Alice finally arrived, she took us to her farm and introduced us to neighbors, relatives and the chief of that area. 

Alice has to be the happiest person I have ever met and it must be contagious. Her whole family and even her neighbors were the same way. One dear neighbor, Isabeth, kept telling us we should eat and eat and eat and eat. She did a little dance to make her point, and you could tell she practiced what she preached. 

After lunch Alice took us to the back of her little five acre farm and showed us the land she had given us to begin a church gathering place. We were stoked! We are already planning our return visit. Alice is a very sweet sister and lover of our King.

Next we left for our main destination… Wamba, Samburu! This was our longest leg of the journey. Samburu is the home of the Samburu people. The Samburu are almost identical to the Masai in culture and looks… but don’t call them Masai… they are Samburu! (I found that out the embarrassing way). 

The trip was long and the last fifty kilometers could hardly be called a road. As soon as we turned off the highway … the land, the animals and the people became almost surreal. All along the road we observed the Morans. These are the young warriors and trust me they can be quite intimidating while brandishing their knives and spears. 

The longer we drove, the more we worried we wouldn’t make the small town of Wamba by dark. The road is full of washouts and you don’t dare travel much over 10 mph. It is not advisable to travel those roads in the dark. But, oh my goodness, was it beautiful.

The sun was setting and the colors were amazing.  This is my favorite rock formation. I dubbed  it…  'Crying Turtle Rock’. 

We made it to Wamba around dusky dark... 

....and then surprisingly... we located a four star hotel with kingsize beds and colorful bathrooms… which suited us just fine. 

After a quick dinner at the local barista we slept very soundly till sunup.

 Tomorrow … we meet our overseer for Wamba!