Friday, November 20, 2009

African Update # 8 2009

               Who is like our God?

What a week! It has been like a whirlwind, starting from the day that Daniel arrived, and continues to this hour. It is winding down now that I passed out, literally, but I’ll tell you all about that later in this blog. Daniel was such a blessing and so very helpful with great advise and counsel concerning the work here. Our Father has been watching over every detail, revealing to us why we should always trust Him and never get caught up in worrying. Even Daniel's trip back to India became a tremendous testimony to God's protective oversight. Here's the letter I received from Daniel last night....

“Dear Abba and Amma
Greetings from India. Thank you so much for having me with you. Thank you for all the hospitality and love.
This was a great time. I love it sooooooo much. Reached home safely. God's hand was with me while I was coming back to India. First I had an upgrade to first class with no extra charge. Praise the Lord. Secondly, I was supposed to have a vaccination for Yellow fever. I never knew about this. Still they were kind enough to board me. They said they usually never do it.

Thirdly when I reached Bombay they asked for the vaccination certificate. They asked me to be admitted in the Hospital for 10 days for observation. I said I did not know it .So the immigration officer took me to the Medical doctor in the air port. I explained that I am a missionary and world traveller. Any way he was so sympathetic to me and took me out of his office and said to go. The Immigration officer said that in his service He had never seen anyone being sent like that. Usually he admits everyone in the hospital for observation.

Praise the Lord I am at Home and doing fine. Thank you for your hospitality and love. I love to come back. I would like to get a feed back of the ministry to share in the church.
With love Pastor Daniel"

Who is like our God and what can be compared to His love. If I had a thousand lifetimes, I would spend them all just as I am doing right now. I cannot think of a more adventurous, satisfying, or rewarding existence. Getting to tell our Father’s children how much He loves them. That He cares for them and desires to teach them of His marvelous, life giving ways; is the greatest job ever!

I mentioned in the last update that we were working on a Micro-loan program for our people here. The program will be called “Financing Indigenous Self Help” or Fish. The program reminds us of the Lord taking the fish and loaves and multiplying it to feed the 5000. The saying; “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teache a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” is so very true. We feel the program is completely within the range of what we can do, and it will serve two ends. First; it will bring a practical way for the people involved to practice what we have been teaching. It will require of them, entering into an official agreement to pay back the loans within a certain time period, and to begin giving 10% of the profits back to the church. That will serve to begin allowing some of these dear people to feel they are a contributing part of Lakeview Village Community Church. It will also bring accountability and responsibility to their lives. Secondly, although the loans are small, it will provide them a chance to increase what they make, and in some cases double their income. We would like to see needs of the church reduced here, and allow them to be the ones reducing it. As they are found faithful to repay and give to the church, more consideration for help will be given.

Let me introduce you to a prime example… The man standing in the blue coat is Patrick. He is the father of one of my favorite families in this church. His wife Christine, is who we have called “the warrior queen”. I dearly love his family and have been coming here for almost 3 years without ever once meeting Patrick. Now that is not too odd here, because many fathers and husbands have either died of Aids, been forced to work in other towns, or just abandoned their families. Yet none of these reasons apply to why I never got to meet Patrick, until this visit.

Patrick works seven days a week hawking; (walking around town selling) belts and pad locks from sun up till sun down. When I asked him why he hasn’t come to church, he said,… “I have a big family with 5 children and if I don’t work; they can’t eat. I only make between 150 and 300 shillings a day” (about 2 to 4 American dollars). That hit me like a ton of bricks; especially after I had just spent fifteen dollars on lunch for 5 of us that day. Patrick is a hard worker and does not complain about his situation. Now if Patrick could get 100 dollars, he could set up a little retail shop, increase the diversity of his stock and begin to make two to three times as much as he currently makes. Patrick is just one of examples of the kind of people we want to help. We want to start with 10 or so people this trip, and give them till we come back, the opportunity to prove themselves and become faithful. We are developing the paperwork and setting up a bank account for this purpose. Two days ago I met with a prominent business man who is one of George’s good friends. We told him of our plans and he almost cried. He loves what we are trying to do and has vowed to help us in every way possible. He has already written up a 12 page document for us to take to whatever government agency we need to see. It is written in the language that they will understand. God is sending us all we need to do His will.

Now about me passing out. Well, all of my family in Rose Creek know how dedicated our Father is, to making absolutely sure that there is not the remotest possibility of me, …. Being cool. Today was no exception. Not being able to exercise here in Kenya is difficult, considering how much time is spent at the computer. So when George mentioned that there was a Gym downtown, that only charges a dollar to get a work out, I jumped at the chance. Almost immediately, pictures of me, an older man with white hair, curling ponderous weights and impressing the masses, flooded my poor white head. So bright and early this  morning, we jumped in the van and proceeded to the gym.
When we got there, I was somewhat surprised to find a workout room almost identical to the weight room in Selmer’s Community Center. Although, I must say there were some striking differences. First all; the not –so-nautilus machines were obviously homemade. Secondly, not ever seeing, in all of Nakuru, anyone who was not ….shall we say lean, I mistakenly thought there weren’t any other kind. Wrong. There in workout room, was one very large prototype of an improved version of Arnold Swartz-what-ever and several other very beefy guys. That’s ok, I said to myself, I’m old and their not, so let’s show them what us old guys can do. The instructor (yes, a free personal trainer to get you going) started me on the Alpine machine, for a 15 minute workout. Now the Alpine machine is designed to work everything at once ….looks like you have snow skis and poles on, and are trekking up the slopes for a downhill ride. After a very long 5 minutes, I realized something was terribly wrong. I had forgotten to take in consideration that we are almost 3500 feet higher in Nakuru than in Selmer; so the air (or lack of it) is much thinner. I managed 5 more agonizing minutes, and when no one was looking, I got off. When the instructor returned, he put me through 3 more machines and it seemed everyone was smiling at me with their approval, or at least that’s the last thing I remember before the stars came out. When I climbed off the 4th machine, I completely blacked out! It only lasted a couple of seconds but I spent the rest of my time lying in the middle of the floor with my feet up trying to recover. It took 35 minutes for me to be able to leave the gym. At one point the very friendly instructor came and said …that’s probably all for today. No duh. After 10 different attempts to get up, amid the "poor old guy!" stares, and make it to the car, I finally succeeded.

Barely making it home without passing out again, I stumbled into my room and collapsed on my bed. The last thing I saw was Amma’s smiling face saying, without a word …."When will you ever learn?"

Joel's recovering and Amma sends her love.

Much love from one of your exhausted and humbled sent ones

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