Friday, October 8, 2010

It's getting misty out there...

So I've been working on a book idea--thanks to my colleagues in my Doctorate program and my Wednesday night small group at church. And its all about the mist.

In fact, its probably more about walking a journey of faith in the midst of everyday life. So many people want faith to be so cut and dry, clear and to the point. For example, many different brands of Christians not only want to know "who's in and who's out", but they want to be the ones to determine so.

In the midst and mist of things like suffering (when bad things happen) we want to make snap judgments to help us deal with them. Like: "It was God's time to take your little child." or "God has a reason for making you go through this difficulty". I know I can be honest here because I don't know many reading this blog, but I don't believe everything happens for a reason. I think its a cop out. I do believe God can make good situations come out of something bad, but I don't believe that God causes the bad things to happen. This is part of our living in a sinful, fallen, and disease-ridden world. God is the creator, not the destroyer of life. How many artists do you know that create a masterpiece and then burn it? Would an inventor choose to throw away his invention? I don't think so.

So these are just a couple of thoughts on living in the misty world of a faith journey. What are your thoughts? What other misty/midsty elements in faith do you see coming to light? Be aware...good suggestions may come to a book-store near you!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Africa wrap-up

So it's hard to believe it, but it has been a month since we've returned from our trip to Kenya. We had wonderful experiences with our old friends: The Browns & The Haspels, and our many new friends from AIM-OFM, Rosslyn Academy, and Olepishet, Kenya.

The trip was not only an adventure, but an eye-opening reaffirmation of the call God put on me. Now, I'm not saying that I am called to pack up the family and move to Africa. That call is for some, but not for us...right now anyway. Rather, the call to help our Christian brothers and sisters connect with others across the world. Sometimes it just has to happen in the most simplistic ways. We don't have to go through an organization or anything like that. Rather we just need to make connections, beginning in prayer, and follow the Lord's bidding.

With that said, we are on the "move" and developing a vehicle fund for the community in Olepishet. If you've read the last post, I explained the dire need for transportation to and from the medical services locations. The nearest health center is a 45 minute drive and the nearest hospital, over 2.5 hours. Imagine trying to walk 2 hours after getting a snake bite. You wouldn't make it far once you get the blood pumping in your body. Imagine being attacked by an elephant in the bush and not being able to receive medical attention other than Tylenol. (This happened just 2 weekends ago to a man I met in Olepishet.) For three days he suffered in the community after being attacked by an elephant before transportation was secured to get him to the hospital.

Obviously, the need is great, and we are set up to help our brothers and sisters across the globe. If you would like to contribute to this cause (the Olepishet Vehicle Fund), you may contact me directly at Serious inquiries, only please.

Thank you for your prayers for the safe journey and let us lift up the entire community of Olepishet.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Weekend Warrior

This weekend we (Andy, Avery, Will & I) traveled to Olepishet, Kenya which is a tiny village in the heart of Masai Land, southeast of Masai Mara--the great animal preserve. We were about 20 km from the Tanzanian border, 45 minutes from the nearest town, and 2.5 hours from electricity.

The community of Olepishet has about 400 people in it, but there are about 4,000 in the surrounding communities--other small villages in the area. The church compound that we stayed on is the only church for 45 minutes (that's by car--2 hours by foot). the Pastor, Patrick (the tall one in the middle of the picture) is 34, has had some training through YWAM, can speak English, Swahili, and Maa (their native language). There were about 3-4 others that could speak English as well, but translation was needed for communication to the majority of the people.

We were welcomed very warmly: always treated like part of the family. Time and again they hoped that we felt like part of their family. We through questions back and forth to each other the first night around the fire (something that is a regular part of their world). As we learned of each other it was easy to see that the Lord had been at work in this land and on the hearts of these amazing men and women. they have great hopes for developing their community and reaching them through the love of Jesus. One of the first ways they would like to reach the people is through the area of medical care.

Since it is a 45 min drive (2 hr walk) to the nearest health clinic it is difficult to get basic health care. Cuts and wounds turn into infections which don't have to. Headaches and pains go untreated and fester more problems. To help, we brought a Rubbermaid tub full of basic medical supplies: bandages, antibiotic ointment, sterile gauze, antiseptic, Panadol (tylenol), etc. We taught the elders of the church how to use them and administer care. We had begun to see people use the services even before we left! I was able to purchase these basic medical supplies thanks to some generous donations from people in the church community in Galesburg.

Worship was a little long (even by their standards) as it was 3 hours. (no, I didn't preach that long) They had some special visitors (not us), some Kenyans who spoke Boran came from the Northern region of Kenya (on the Ethiopian border) to help do some evangelism in the area. So we had Boran, Masai, Americans and American missionaries in Nairobi all present for worship--truly multicultural!

the villages are very small and made out of the most rudimentary elements. sticks, mud, cow dung and love make up the homes, grass thatch roofs, sticks and animal hides made up their beds. Goats lived in the homes with them while cattle lived in pens made of sticks. (see pic)

I hope and pray for a long relationship with this community and we have some specific things that we are looking to do for them. If you're interested, let me know and I can help get you involved.

tomorrow we are taking off for southern Kenya to see Elephants, Mt. Kilamanjaro, etc. Really excited! Thanks for your love and prayers...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ups and Downs in the beginning...

Day 2

It’s been a long and windy day today filled with many ups and downs along the way. The Brown’s children all started their first day of school today, which was exciting (for the 5-yr old) and kinda scary (for the new middle-schooler). And this is pretty much how the day went. I woke up early due to the whole jet lag thing, but Will slept for 12 hours--solid. Our morning was very relaxing, I read, journaled, prayed and read some more. The kids and Lesa came home from school about 12:30, then we fixed lunch, let the kids play and Lesa and I hung out until Andy came home from a meeting at AIM.

Then it was off the great adventure of the day--visiting RVA--Rift Valley Academy. It is a boarding school for many missionary kids, and the home of some of the Brown’s friends. There I was able to meet with and interview a cool guy, Mike Saum, who has taught missions at Kenya Bible College. Mike and I chatted about lots of things related to my DMin, and missions in general in Kenya.

During our visit, the Brown’s oldest boy fell and broke his arm (their 11th break of the family--10th between Andy and the boys). Fortunately, the hospital was just down the road--literally 2 min. away. UNFORTUNATELY, it took four hours to get seen and have 2 sets of x-rays taken, but FORTUNATELY it only cost $20 (US). So while Andy, Lesa and Robbie were at the hospital, the Saum’s, myself, and the kids just hung out and had dinner. It was a very typical missionary day in the life of learning to be flexible and roll with the ups and downs (the literal road we took to the Rift Valley area.

Tomorrow we look forward to preparing to go to Olepishet, the small village in Masailand. We will purchase our supplies and stock up some groceries. Life here is much more simple, but there are times it still feels like home--not when the Ibis’ are cackling at each other, or looking out over 9,000 ft. mountains, but in relating to some of the missionaries, their call from God on their lives, and how they serve in their own unique contexts. It’s humbling to know that God has brought so many different people together to serve such a large world from so many separate places. God truly is sovereign and Lord of all. It is easy to see why that could be a message fitting for the people in this land.

thanks for the prayers and love. I do not know when I will be able to write again, as Masailand will be without power (and internet connectivity), but hopefully by Monday I can post some things from our time there.

Grace, peace and love to all...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Arrival in Kenya! Mission: Stay Awake!

We arrived safely in Nairobi at about 7:30 a.m. local time. There was some excitement on the flight as we began though, which made for a very interesting dynamic. While boarding a Kenyan man in the back of the plane (about 4 rows behind us) was screaming and yelling for help. Three large Caucasian men were holding him down and trying to quiet him. Long story short, he was being deported and was trying to make a scene to get the other passengers to band together to get him removed. He nearly succeeded but as soon as we starting taxiing on the runway he calmed down and we never heard another peep from him. Needless to say, Will was pretty freaked out at first, but he ended up okay.
Today our mission has been to stay awake. With jet lag firmly settling into our bodies the urge to sleep has come on hard and fast. Even though we took naps on the plane through the two over-night flights the desire to sleep more has been nearly impossible to hold back. After TWO double cappuccinos and a strong cup of coffee at friend, John Haspel’s home, I still wanted to sleep while touring around Rosslyn Academy (the school of the Brown’s children, and Lesa’s work place).

We got to tour the AIM offices, meet many missionaries and administrative personnel, visit the Karen Giraffe Center, ate lunch in a Muslim-owned compound (which meant no pork products), visited the Haspels, Rosslyn Academy, and finally back to the Brown’s home. Will has had a blast playing with Robbie, Avery & Sydney—on playgrounds, rocks, a concrete “ear”, and everywhere in between. Now they’re taking over the world with Lego spaceships and relaxing.

While the experiences so far are too overwhelming to mention, it is amazing to be with our friends in the home in a new and foreign land. There will be much more to come and to write about, but we want you to know that we are here safe and sound.
Prayers go out to all missionaries who serve in this land—no matter the organization, denomination, or nationality.
Salama (Peace in Swahili)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

In (and out) of London

So we made it to London and had a great time looking around. We can't believe the types of transportation we used today! Arrived on a plane, hopped on a train, got on a bus (red double decker), and rode it to the Tower of London. From there we hopped on a boat, rode down the River Thames to the London Eye and then back on the two buses, a train, and finally waiting for a plane. so hard to believe all that we've seen today.

By far, the best was the London Eye, riding high atop the world (see pics). thanks for all the prayers. We're looking forward to touching down in  Nairobi in about 12 hours. (yikes!)
Peace and love to you all...

David & Will

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The night before...

So tomorrow's the big day. We will be driving to Chicago tomorrow afternoon to fly out at 6 p.m. for London, England. This is our first stop on the journey as we have an 11-hr layover before heading to our final destination: Nairobi, Kenya.

Will is most excited about being able to meet and live with the Masai tribe this weekend. We will be camping out in a tent in their village, worshiping with them at their church, and playing, eating, and fellowshiping with them. Will is looking forward to learning the trade of "shepherding" from the other Masai children.

We will be meeting up with our good friends, Andy & Lesa Brown and their children, as well as other missionaries, like John & Joy Haspels & their children. There are so many new and exciting things for us to experience that we hardly know what to look forward to the most. What we do know for certain is that God will be with us throughout the journey. Our good friend, and next door neighbor, Rick Welty, just stopped by to offer a prayer of blessing for us on this journey. We feel well-blessed as we were commissioned in both worship services this morning, complete with prayers and laying on of hands by our beloved congregation.

While we're excited, we are also a little tired as we just said goodbye to the last visitors of our 20/40 cookout/BBQ. Over 55 people came to our home to just eat, play and get to know each other. What another blessing!

Lord, please be with us on this trip and help us to see the world you have created with new and receiving eyes and hearts. May we celebrate your goodness and show your love to all the others we encounter. In Jesus' name we pray...

Will & David