Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
We all have an opportunity to make an impact every day. As Christians we are all called to make an impact on the world around us. We are called to impact the people we work with, play with, fellowship with, serve.... The evangelistic outreaches and mission trips through the church are special opportunities to engage with God and make an impact in places and situations that are outside our normal every day experience. Whether working at Camp Daniel, going to Kenya for a couple of weeks or supporting the many brothers and sisters throughout the world we can use these opportunities to impact the world for Christ but how do we make an impact every day? If we pay attention God gives us opportunities to engage with him and make an impact all the time. The Bible exhorts us to be prepared to do the good works God has prepared for us. This tells me that God has a plan and we are all part of the plan. The choice is ours. Will we step up and fulfill our part in the plan or will we let someone else take our part in the plan?
I also think there are many times when we act on faith without realizing the impact we are having. Think of a beautiful tapestry. The tapestry is made of many threads. Some of the threads are long and others are short. Some are brightly colored and others are dark. Now imagine the threads are our lives. We can only see the threads that are closest to us. We can’t see the beginning of the tapestry or the end. We can’t see the pattern or how we fit into the pattern. If we are blessed we can sometimes glimpse how our lives interact with the lives of those around us but we never see the whole picture.
I’m sure we all have heard stories of Christians who acted on their faith and never saw the results of their part in the plan and years later their action changed the world. The Gideons International is a great example. The Gideons were founded by Samuel Hill and John Nicholson after a chance encounter at a Wisconsin hotel in 1899. Today the Gideons are active in 190 countries and you will find a Gideons Bible in almost every hotel on the planet. These two men acted in faith to fulfill their part in His plan. I don’t know but I doubt either of them dreamed that from their initial meeting in 1899 the Gideons International would be born. Whether you know it or not we have had an impact around the world as well. Through our church China, Turkey, Africa and many other countries have been impacted. Pastors, Music Pastors, Missionaries and church leaders of all types have been developed, nurtured and supported through our church. Members of our church have taken a love of Christ and the joy of having a relationship with the living God to Japan, Algeria, Columbia, Ecuador and Paraguay. We are making an impact here in our own little corner of the world and around the world.
One of the people from our church who is making an impact is teaching in Paraguay right now. If you would like to keep up on what Kristen is up to her blog is http://kbsadventuresabroad.blogspot.com/.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
I was just looking over the posts on the blog and I was struck by how much the team accomplished in such a short period of time. There is no way we could have gotten so much done without God being in the middle of it all and the prayers and support you provided. I am always amazed by what God can do through the lives of those who are willing. I was also thinking about being home for a week, returning to work and when things might return to “normal”. The reality is that our lives will never go back to the old “normal”. The trip has given all of us new experiences in our relationship with God and each other and I don’t think we will ever be the same. Hopefully, we will move forward from here and build on this experience and the milestone it has created in our lives. I am excited to see what new opportunities will come to continue the relationship we have with Agape Fellowship in Kenya and the relationships we started with the people of Northern Kenya. We serve a big God who will let us be part of His big plans if we let we are only willing. It is good to be home again but we are always where we are supposed to be when we are doing His will.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Tonight we had a farewell dinner at the Bishop Kabachia’s home. It was a time of great fellowship and blessings. Tracy and I had a chance to speak to Pastor Jonathon from Agape Church and upon reflection, it appears clear to us that the conversation was of Devine Appointment. At the present time Tracy and I are both experiencing a similar sense of confusion as a result of being at a crossroad in each of our lives. Both of us are unsure where God is calling us to take our next steps in life. As it so happens, Pastor Jonathon is undergoing a similar experience. In speaking with us, He revealed the story of Elijah, a story that has encouraged him to be at peace with the unknown himself. In 1 Kings, Elijah would go to the brook to receive food and direction from the Lord. One day when Elijah returned to the brook to seek further nourishment from God, the brook had dried up completely. However, Elijah was not deterred and he waited patiently for a period of time until he received direction from the Lord. He did not move until he received word from the Lord. Jonathan found comfort in knowing that even when the brook is dry, the Lord is faithful in giving direction. Sometimes it just takes a period of time waiting upon the Lord. The faith of Elijah in this story is the kind of faith Jonathan, Tracy, and I need to be reminded of. To have faith that God will give each of us direction. Sometimes God is just asking us to be obedient and wait beside the brook that seems dry, because God is never early and He is never late. Rather, He is ALWAYS on time, He is faithful and He is able. Your prayers have helped us in ways that can never be described. Thank you so much for being faithful and obedient to the Lord. May he bless you for blessing this team. Tracy and Jenny.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Yesterday was a hectic day travelling back to Nairobi and settling in at Cross Currents guest house. It was a blessing to be back in the cooler weather but we are already missing the people we connected with up-country. We are all getting homesick and wondering how our experience here will impact us as we return home at the same time. Today we did some shopping which was a new experience for many on the team. We went to a Masai market to purchase gifts and mementos to help us remember our trip. The market is an open air shopping market with many vendors and stalls. The prices for everything are negotiable and negotiating is an art unto itself. Haggling over the price of a wooden carving while trying to form a relationship with someone and act as an extension of Living Hope and our Savior is a little challenging but it is also a lot of fun. After we completed our shopping some of us went to an Ethiopian restaurant for dinner. Ethiopia and Kenya share a common border but couldn’t be more different. Ethiopian food is very different from Kenyan food. It is spicy and eaten with bread. The only utensils used are your hands. In some ways today was like a snapshot of the entire trip; new experiences culturally, relationally and in ministering to the people around us. We actually found out that goat can not only be edible but taste good. We had our first debriefing meeting tonight. From the thoughts and experiences people shared it is obvious that you have been with us every step of the way on this trip through the prayers and support you have provided. We have established relationships with people who did not want to know us. We have made an impact on a building project that will impact the lives of many people for years to come. We have made and impact on the health of people who do not have access to even the most basic of health care and we have done it all together. We love you all and want to express our appreciation for the support you have provided and for being with us all along the way.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Today is our last day in Northern Kenya. We will return to Nairobi tomorrow. We attended the church service at the local Agape Fellowship. The service included a Bible focus hour, praise and worship and the main service. Tim M. led the Bible Focus. He did a great study on the transforming power of God’s love and how this love led us to this place and the work that is going on here. The youth performed the drama “The Redeemer” before the main service. Tony P. preached at the main service and spoke on John chapter 9. Tony used all our experiences here as examples of the word and encouraged the people here to continue in the work that is being done. After the church service we returned to the guest house for a few hours to rest and prepare to move back to Nairobi. I would never have thought a plastic tote would make a good washing machine but as it turns out it works pretty well. We spent the evening at the Witt’s house. Jason made dinner for the team. He is a great man of God and he can cook! What a combination. We spent the rest of the time fellowshipping with each other, the Bethany interns and the Witt family. Please pray for the Witt family. They are serving in an area that is difficult in so many ways and they do it with joy and love. They were great hosts for the team and provided an example to the team of the practical application of the love of Christ all week. They are an awesome family serving an awesome God.
So much has happened here it is hard to believe it has only been here a week. We have made relationships that will last the rest of our lives and memories that will be the next set of spiritual markers in our journey with Jesus. Everyone seems a little excited to be heading back to Nairobi and cooler weather. I don’t think anyone will miss the heat and dust but some part of all of us will remain here.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Another day in paradise; anytime we are where God is we are in paradise no matter where we are physically. Today was our last day of formal ministry here. The men wound things up at the construction site. The youth and men moved 70 tons of rock, 40 tons of dirt and 30 tons of hard pack fill into the foundation of the school over the last week. We made over 1000 shims for leveling the form for the second floor slab and cut the timber (in Kenya wood is timber not wood) for the form. We also cut hundreds of mathange poles to support the second floor slab. We said goodbye to Dr. John who had to return to the states today. The medical clinics saw over 500 patients in three days. The clinics will help the local church continue building a relationship with their Somali neighbors along with helping the patients with their health. The youth attended revival meetings every night, conducted sports clinics, conducted services at local schools and services at local colleges. The services conducted by the youth provided encouragement to the local church and started relationships with the young Somalis in the area. As a team we have been very, very busy and the work has been hard but satisfying. We will attend church at the local Agape Fellowship tomorrow and return to Nairobi on Monday. Our time here has provided us with memories and friendships that will last a life time but I think we will all be happy to leave the heat behind (remember I told you how it was hot here, I wasn’t kidding). Please continue to pray for us as we move back to Nairobi and the remainder of our trip. We love you all and pray that God is blessing all those at we have waiting for us at home.
A few words from Jon Jarosinski:
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Today was similar to yesterday for the youth team. We started off this morning helping the construction team again. It’s very rewarding to do this kind of service work. I love seeing how the young guys work until their faces turn red, and without complaint. It blesses me every day. After that, we went to another school to perform dramas and share testimonies; you know, the typical mission thing. This was another place we were able to share a gospel message. There is only one disappointing thing about this ministry. We go places and share with the people, but we have to leave to go to the next place while in the middle of making connections with them. It can be frustrating at times, but you learn to give it to God because He’s ultimately in control. And for tonight, revival service again. Tonight, some of the medical team came to the service. It was nice to be able to do things with them. When you prepare as a team and split when you enter your line of service, you learn to treasure the times when you can serve together. They end up being the most memorable. - Andy
Yesterday, the medical clinic was set up in the middle of a small village, a 20 minute drive from town, and we saw a group of 200 people change from being afraid of us to, at the end of the day, being open and playing and laughing with us. Today was a different. The medical clinic was at the fairgrounds in town, and the people had to walk farther to reach us. We didn’t have lines of mothers and their children waiting to receive care, which had given us a chance to spend time with them. Today I had what I felt was a less important job than yesterday, and I didn’t get much of a chance to converse with any of the patients. However, God still taught me a lot today. My favorite moment was when our first patient after lunch showed up—a Muslim woman with 4 children. She spoke very little English, and I speak very little Swahili, but in a half hour, I felt as if we had become close friends. She even honored me with letting me take her picture with two of her sons, something almost unheard of in their culture. God showed me today that although we think of miracles being things like healing the sick and feeding five thousand people, they can also be as small as the connection between a Somali mother and a young American girl. - Hannah
Today was similar to yesterday for the youth team. We started off this morning helping the construction team again. It’s very rewarding to do this kind of service work. I love seeing how the young guys work until their faces turn red, and without complaint. It blesses me every day. After that, we went to another school to perform dramas and share testimonies; you know, the typical mission thing. This was another place we were able to share a gospel message. There is only one disappointing thing about this ministry. We go places and share with the people, but we have to leave to go to the next place while in the middle of making connections with them. It can be frustrating at times, but you learn to give it to God because He’s ultimately in control. And for tonight, revival service again. Tonight, some of the medical team came to the service. It was nice to be able to do things with them. When you prepare as a team and split when you enter your line of service, you learn to treasure the times when you can serve together. They end up being the most memorable. Andy Deckert
Yesterday, the medical clinic was set up in the middle of a small village, a 20 minute drive from town, and we saw a group of 200 people change from being afraid of us to, at the end of the day, being open and playing and laughing with us. Today was a different. The medical clinic was at the fairgrounds in town, and the people had to walk farther to reach us. We didn’t have lines of mothers and their children waiting to receive care, which had given us a chance to spend time with them. Today I had what I felt was a less important job than yesterday, and I didn’t get much of a chance to converse with any of the patients. However, God still taught me a lot today. My favorite moment was when our first patient after lunch showed up—a Muslim woman with 4 children. She spoke very little English, and I speak very little Swahili, but in a half hour, I felt as if we had become close friends. She even honored me with letting me take her picture with two of her sons, something almost unheard of in their culture. God showed me today that although we think of miracles being things like healing the sick and feeding five thousand people, they can also be as small as the connection between a Somali mother and a young American girl. Hannah Smith
Today was the second day of business for the Living Hope Garissa Dirt and Stone Company. You dig it we’ll move it – or we’ll dig it and move it – or we’ll dig it, crush it and then move it – or whatever. The youth came and worked on the construction site for the morning. The big jobs today were backfilling the foundation with dirt and hard core. Hard core is a weird type of rock. It looks like really hard mud. When you backfill with hard core it has to be compacted. That is a fancy word for broken with a sledge hammer so the smaller pieces will pack together. The male teens came and moved dirt and broke hard core all morning. Those guys worked as hard as anyone on the site and made me feel every one of my years. All the parents should be proud because those guys really know how to get it done. Guys, my hat’s off to you. God has certainly blessed us by putting you with us on this trip.
The team conducted the first medical clinic today. They saw over 200 people today at a small village outside of Garissa. The chief of the village had been asking for medical for some time and was very happy to have a doctor come see his people.The youth ministry group was very active today. They started off helping out the construction team in the morning, doing all the hard manual labor that was too much for the old guys (just kidding, but not really J). After being out in the hot sun and sweating so much you felt like you were swimming, the team traveled to do a sports clinic in a town just outside of Garissa. This sports ministry was very rewarding for us all. We were able to play soccer (football) and volleyball with the students there. We also had a great time socializing with some of the Muslim students. Coming to their level and doing things they enjoy doing really seemed to minister to them and to us in incredible ways. After spending a couple hours there, we still had more to accomplish for the day. We attended a revival service at a local church here in Garissa. It was amazing to be a part of this service. This church is located across the street from a mosque in a town where Muslim is the main religion and they frown upon Christians. These people have a boldness that I think we can all learn from. - Andy
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I just read Tony’s post and realized that we are on different days; pretty weird considering we are on the same trip. I am not counting the travel days so my day four really is day six. As I read Tony’s post I was smiling and holding back tears at the same time. It really was an amazing service and the Pastor, Peter Kaunda, is an awesome, humble man of God. When you meet Peter you are automatically drawn to him by the spirit pouring out through him.
And the bridge, it really was that bad. Tony, Mike L., Joel and I all rode over in a van. When Tony and I walked across it I felt it sag under my weight. Tony and I both could only laugh and thank God that the driver didn’t try driving across it again.
We spent our first day working in Garissa today. Part of the team was preparing for the medical clinics, the youth went to a school and ministered along with the youth from AFC
Madaraka and AFC Garissa. The rest of the men went to work on the school. We cut muthangi posts to use as supports for the roof. We built wooden forms for the concrete ring beam, and we moved dirt. Now don’t get me wrong, the Kenyans moved a lot more dirt than we did but we moved our fair share one wheelbarrow load at a time. Tony and I decided to shovel for a while to take a break from driving the wheelbarrows. Peter, a mzhee(elder man) from AFC Madaraka, came over so we could fill his wheelbarrow. Tony and I shoveled until we were both out of breath. We stopped and mzhee Peter frowned at us and waved his hand saying “more.” It is pretty humbling to be outworked by someone who is probably 15 – 20 years older than you and quite a bit smaller.
God continues to bless us. We made real progress on the construction project, have everything set for the first medical clinic tomorrow and the youth were able to share at a local school. When the youth were preparing to perform a drama at the school several Somali children left. A few minutes later they came back and were peeking into the room. Eventually several of the children came back in and watched the remaining dramas. This is what this trip is all about. We are here to make relationships with the people who live in this area and the youth were able to take the first step in making a new relationship today. When we were planning for the trip Dan told Tim and I that sometimes we harvest and sometimes we must till the soil. This trip is definitely about tilling the soil – and not just the dirt we moved on the building site today. Someday a great harvest will come in Northeastern Kenya from the soil we are preparing to plant now. I am thankful to the Father that we can come be part of what he is doing to further his kingdom.
Please continue to pray for us. It is hot here but we are doing well. God has blessed us in so many ways. We need to continue to receive the blessing and guidance of our Father. We love and miss you but we are also proud to be here serving as your hands and feet.
Monday, June 14, 2010
We are here in Africa, I am in a room filled with people from all over the world. There are 70 who have come together for this trip.
The joyfull love that I am so attracted to in those we serve is every bit as strong with the people of Nairobi. I had the privilege to go to church on Sunday with Mike Waldropp in a poor area. The ride to the church was an incredible adventure. We drove in a van where I wouldn't drive my 4 wheel drive truck. We crossed a bridge not fit to walk across. In fact the local driver would not come back and get us unless we hiked out to the main road as he was afraid of the bridge a second time. We jumped across a stream of sewage and garbage and entered a church so humble, in the US we would not enter for fear it would colapse. It was a wooden frame pieced together from 3 foot pieces of old, old lumber. It was covered in rusty pieces of steel filled with holes. The floor was dirt, rocks and gravel, with a pit in the corner where you could see out side.
As we entered the service worship was going on and I was pulled back to the first time entering a worship service at a camp for people with disabilities. It was such a genuine out pouring of joy and thanks to God, I was moved to tears. They allowed each visitor to come to the pulpit to greet the church, introduce themselves, tell of their family and what God is doing in their lives. The sound system crackled and popped but could not have sounded more beautiful. I was asked to greet the church and shared about how we minister to people with disabilities. Mike preached an amazing sermon about unity and how we aqre bothers and sisters in Christ. It ended with a Pastor Peter sharing a "coke and biscuits" with Mike and I and a dozen kids that he lovingly hugged and introduced to us to. We then walked back the half mile or so to the main road through the town. It was a gain amazing as kids ran up to us to see the "fat white guys"!
I will never be the same after attending that service. I have learned so much about being doorkeepers and worshippers of our king in a just few hours on a Sunday morning here. I can
end only by simply saying I am thouroughly humbled and ask for your continued prayer as God lights our path each moment here. Also I ask for your prayer for Tim as he leads us, there much pressure and responsility on him and he has been up to the task at every turn. Leadership is hard, but the rewards are great so pray for him please
I know I promised more pictures but we have been very busy and didn't have time today. We will post some new pictures as soon as we can.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
We had another awesome day today. The team split into three groups and each group attended service at a different church. Mike L. and Joel went to church at Githurai. The Agape Fellowship Center Githurai church was the first church AFC planted outside the main church at Madaraka. The team from Living Hope that travelled to Kenya in 1999 helped plant the church and participated in the first service at Githurai. Mike W. and Tony went to AFC Kasarani to attend services. The Living Hope team that came to Kenya in 2005 helped plant the church at Kasarani. It was good to go back to the places we helped get off the ground to visit with our other families and renew our relationships. Attending services at Githurai and Kasarani also allowed us to see how the churches are doing and what we might be able to do on future trips to help our children along. I referred to the churches at Githurai and Kasarani as our children because when a church in Kenya plants another church they refer to the new church as their child. We helped with planting the churches so they are our children too. You probably didn’t know we had children in Kenya but now you do. The remainder of the team attended services at the main AFC church in Madaraka. A group from AFC Madaraka will be travelling with us for the remainder of the trip. Bishop Kabachia conducted a commissioning service for the combined team from Living Hope and AFC Madaraka. Everyone is excited to be travelling and working together. The Bible tells us we are called to be one body just as there is one God, one Spirit, on hope and one salvation. Working alongside Kenyans to build relationships and reach out to the unreached people of Kenya is an awesome example of how the unity in Christ can impact the world and our community at home. We are all excited for the remainder of the trip.
Following church services we all met at the guest house for lunch and some relaxation. Church services here in Kenya are three hours or more. The teams were very involved in the services in all three locations. We spoke, held Bible studies, met with the youth, men’s and women’s groups and performed the sermons at the main service. It felt good to rest in the presence of the Lord after such a busy morning. The team, our team and the Madaraka , had dinner and a time of fellowship at AFC Madaraka this evening. From the number and volume of conversations and laughing during and after the meal I would say the dinner was a great experience for everyone. This is a great opportunity to begin to form the friendships that will grow over the next week as we serve together.Everyone here is happy and healthy. We, along with the churches here, are praying for all of you. Please continue to pray for us. God has already done so much to bless us but there is still much work to do. With your prayers and God’s blessing I know we can accomplish what would seem impossible to us. We love you and pray that God will keep you and bless you until we are together again.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
We arrived in Kenya at 9:50 PM on Friday, that is 1:50 PM in Green Bay. Everyone made it safe and sound and so did all the luggage, a miracle in itself. Everyone made it through immigration, got their visa, collected all the luggage and made it through customs without incident. After loading the gear and the people on the vehicles we were off for the guest house. The staff at the guest housegreeted us and served us a meal. What a great way to start the trip! We made it to bed around 1:30 AM.
Tim and Mike got an early start by meeting with Dan and taking care of some last minute preparations for the rest of our time here in Kenya. Mike went with Major Maina to get the medical supplies we need for the clinics. The rest of the team got some much needed rest after the long trip and spent the morning at the guest house. Dan and Tim did a Kenya orientation for the team right before lunch and we all learned what some common cultural mistakes to avoid. For instance, in Kenya trousers are pants and pants are undergarments. Complimenting someone on the dress pants has a slightly different meaning in this culture.
We spent the afternoon doing some shopping here in Nairobi. After supper we had a brief team meeting to discuss the following days plans and then called it a night. Tomorrow we will be splitting up and attending church at three differenct locations – Githurai, Kasarani and Madaraka. Keep praying for us because the work really starts tomorrow and moves up from there as we travel up-country on Monday. God has blesses us in many ways already and with continued prayer we are sure He will continue to smile on us.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
In just a few short days we will be in Kenya! Just think, we get to fly 30 hours (give or take a few), pass through three airports, go through customs and spend two weeks in a strange land among a strange people (strange in that they are culturally different from us not strange as in weird). We will get to eat exotic delicacies like cabbage, githeri, mukimo, sukuma wiki, ugi, chapaties and everyone’s favorite ugali (if you’re wondering what ugali is remember Google is your friend). We will have chai tea for breakfast lunch and dinner (where kind I find a good cup of coffee??). We will learn new phrases like jambo, hodi, hbari yako, mzuri sana, kuribu and asante. And have you checked the weather? It is hot where we are going. Daytime highs are in the mid to upper 90’s and night time lows are in the mid 70’s (and it is winter??).
We will also get to meet and work with an amazing group of people. People who will adopt us into their families, make us feel welcome and take us into their hearts. People who demonstrate the love of God in the way they reach out to us and everyone they encounter. We will have a chance to build relationships with people who desperately need to know God and feel the Father’s love. God will take us on this incredible journey and allow us to be part of the amazing work He is doing with and through our brothers and sisters in Christ. This truly is the opportunity of a lifetime. Whether you are going on the trip or supporting the team with your prayers know that you are in fact going to be in Kenya, doing the Father’s work and making a difference in the lives of people in ways we may never know or understand. We are all connected as one body. Some of us are the hands and feet while others are the heart and eyes. Wherever one part of the body goes, the entire body must also go because we are all connected. We will all have a connection to Kenya as a result of this trip just as we are all connected through our love of the King and our Living Hope Family.
Speaking of connected, did you know that the area of Kenya we will be working in is populated predominately by Somalis? Did you know the largest population of Somali people in the US is located in Minneapolis? Did you know that there are Somalis living right here in Green Bay? Many of the Somalis in our area come from, or have families in, the same area we will be working in. It is very possible that someone we meet in Kenya next week could turn up in our community in the future. As I thought about this possibility I was reminded that we are all connected through God the creator, and by serving and following Him we can make an impact on our community and the world no matter where we go. I am constantly amazed that God chooses to work out His plan through us (well me anyway, the rest of the team is very capable) in ways we could never have imagined. It truly is amazing what our God can do and he invites us be a part of it all.
We will be updating the blog while we are on the trip as often as we can. If you want to keep tabs on what “you” are up to in Kenya follow the blog. It will be an awesome story!
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Weekly deposits accounted for and submitted - check
Airfare final balance paid - check
Passports received and turned in - check
Passports copied - one to take with and one to keep here - check
International travel insurance ordered - check
Compiling important documents folder for Donna (passports copies, airfare info, insurance, and emergency contact numbers) - ongoing
Devotional books/journals ordered for the team - check
Budget reviewed and in order - check
Finalizing itinerary schedule and budget expenses - check
Shopping for last minute stuff - ongoing
Brat fry and booyah missions sale - Sunday
Final immunizations and vaccinations administered - Sunday
Communications with Dan - ongoing
Caregiver plans for children remaining - ongoing
Phone calls, emails, communication with parents/teens - ongoing
Rummage sale - next Saturday
Finalizing bus arrangements - ongoing
Preparing for Camp Daniel camps and organizing my responsiblities for the kitchen - ongoing
**(I need kitchen help wk 1 and 3 - any volunteers??!! ;)
Communication with additional team members - 2 from Canada, 1 from North Dakota
Shopping for items to bring for the Germos and coordinating other people's involvment in the process - Thanks Living Hope Church for your generous giving!!! - ongoing
Upkeep of the day to day stuff - like laundry, cleaning - definately ongoing!
Giving our dog multiple baths after he decided to befriend Pepe' Le Peux (aka Mr. Skunk who decided to reside in our backyard!!!) Definately NOT in my schedule to do! Dumb dog!
Taking time for my kids, hubby and going for walks - try to do!!
Shopping for totes - to do
Packing totes - to do
Purchasing supplies - to do
Raising building funds - to do
Celebrating son Tommy's birthday - June 1st
Pay bills in advance - to do
Whew....that list hopefuly is geting smaller....lots to do yet! I'm sure there will be more to add in the next 3 weeks! Just the way it works
One thing I realized earlier in the week that, if I don't take the time to stop and breathe and to continually keep in check the things that need to be a priority, I find out very quickly how easy it is to become overwhelmed by it all. Circumstances seem to get the best of me and very quickly worry, fear and anxiety can come in like a flood.
Last week, I received the news that my doctor wanted me to come back in to re-evalute my mamogram that had been that week. Needless to say, it was the last thing I wanted to hear....and I found myself becoming fearful. As the weekend progressed, I realized that I had the opportunity to reflect Christ in that situation and to respond in the way the God wanted me to.
Last fall, in the Bible study I was doing, the author was talking about how she deals with fear. She will say "So, if this is _______ then ________" . No matter how many negative scenariors she came up with, the end result was that, if that did happen....what remained at the end was that God would be there. God would be there from the beginning to the very end.
I found the peace began to flow as I "played out" the scenario in my mind. "So if this is cancer, then God will be there with me through it all." The thoughts never fully left me, but the peace of God was stronger than the fears and that was all I needed!
May the God of all Peace fill you through and through whatever circumstances you may be going through! Remember to "Be still and know that I AM God"!!!
Monday, May 3, 2010
I was convicted by that statement a year ago, because in the past, we often gave based on what we could afford to give to others. In essence, it was easy to give out of our abundance but not so easy when times were tough and the check book and income coming in was nto there. We justified our lack of giving as that we just couldn't afford too.
What we have come to realize is that we can't afford NOT to give. You see, it should cost us something. It should hurt our pocketbooks to give. Otherwise I think we loose a blessing that comes from sacrificial giving. What we gain from giving sacrificially goes beyond material blessings and dividends.......when we give out of what we "don't'" have....God multiplys uses it in great and might ways- much like those loaves and fishes! Besides, what we will one day see in heaven how our sacrificial giving has blessed others and furthered God's kingdom will go beyond our wildest imaginations! I know it will boggle our minds when we see what God did with our giving.
God gave his only Son for us. It cost Him the life of His son for our redemption. What greater sacrifice is there than that....and He gave what cost Him the most, He gave it up for us. So that we would benefit eternally from it.
This is not intended to produce guilt in anyways. However, we do have a need and want to give you an opportunity to be apart of the blessing that comes from giving. We as the LHC missions team have a need and our need is for your financial gifts towards what God has called us to do. There is a mighty work being done in NE Kenya. There are villages of people who do not know that God gave His Son for them so that they may have life.
The project that we are working on is to build a school for girls so that they can receive an education and learn to read and learn about God's love for them. In our culture, we face very little gender biases. Certainly education is one that is highly promoted and equality of learning is mandatory. This is not so in many third world cultures. Here in the area we are going to, girls will not receive an education because they are not seen as equal or seen as valuable.
We have partnered with Bethany Church and Agape Church in Kenya to become a three stranded cord that is not easy broken. Bethany team went to NE Kenya in February and they were able to begin building the foundation of the school for girls. They were also able to introduce literacy training and begin educating not only girls but families in learning how to read and write in their own language. What a God ordained opportunity!!!!! Agape Church is now raising funds and working on putting up the columns for future walls to be built upon and when we arrive, it should be ready for us to come and put the roof on.
What does a project like this cost? Well, more than what we have that's for sure. On top of raising $84,000 just for our team to get there and be there (airfare, lodging, transport, food ) we need to raise an additional $25,000 just to do our part and complete the building. That's a huge amount of money! Most of that expense is just to buy the tools and materials that we will be bringing with us....so that we won't have to purchase it in Kenya. The cost of tools and materials is 2-3 times more.
Why couldn't we just send the check and have some locals do it? Because in all reality....it wouldn't happen. This is such an awesome opportunity for you to be apart of what God is doing and to enable His servants to be willing vessels, to be God's hands and feet in showing Christ's love in a very practical way.
Our challenge is for you to pray, to commit and then to give and then wait with eager anticipation on how God will use and it to further His Kingdom and I guarantee your socks will be blessed off!!!!
Checks can be made out and sent to Living Hope Church 1840 W Mason St Green Bay WI 54303 Attn: Tim Kelly and labeled NE Kenya building funds.
Thank you for giving! We can't wait to see how God will pull this one off!!
Questions ranging from "what do I pack" to "HELP" my teenager is not telling me anything and I don't understand why we are not getting along!"........"Will we get water everyday???!!!" I never thought my developing micro managing skills that have been honed in the Camp Daniel kitchen would eventually begin to pay off. :) You just never know!!!
Some days, I can't seem to determine which end is up and keeping up with all the details and before I know it, very quickly my day becomes a twister in the process and I strive to keep the flow of continuity going in the intended direction.
After having planned and organized 8 trips over the last 14 years, one would think that it would get easier in planning and anticipating all the details and organization that each trip involves. Just as technology evolves over time, so does the details and valuable info that you work with changes too. Believe it or not, its not so textbook standard. As the world we live in and our own "worlds" change , we must strive to change our way of thinking and press forward to take on the context of the trip in that which we will be participating. Our goal is to press the team to strive and be ready ready for change and to change.
What I am coming to learn is that even though I tend to see change or stressful situations as hard and uncomfortable and disruptions to my life, its not the right "context" into how I should be seeing it. My way of "contextualizing" the difficulty is not the right way to go.
You see our nature is to go back to what is familiar , to what is comfortable for us or the context we know so well in order to handle our circumstances, situations, processes, however you want to word it.
Instead, we ARE to take on the mind of Christ in ALL things! Easy to say, hard to do! But the truth of it is, that when we take on the "context" of Christ and His ways, all the stresses of life, all the discomforts that forces us to look hard at what we must do to change our attitudes, our perspectives, our way of handling things.....is what frees us to be Christlike and to take on His nature and to operate in His strength, His leading and to see the world through His Eyes. We are filled with compassion for those who are lost and we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as He leads and directs us.
One of those contexts that we tend to try to bring with us in when we go on a trip is our way of thinking of how we should feel. Comfort is one such area that we see as a luxury that we assume is our right and our prerogative. Regardless of the environment, we see that is a necessity. Not always willing to forgo or let go of in order to fully submit to allow ourselves to crossover and flow in the context in which we are entering....we hang on to what we know best. What I fail to remember or recognize that when I chose to follow Christ, I lay down what is my rights, my prerogative, my comfort to take up the cross and follow Christ.
This past week, my son Tommy was preparing for a week long "field trip' he is taking with his class at school this week at a camp north of Crivitz. They will be spending 5 days and 4 nights at this campground. One of my son's comforts is a fan. He depends on that fan to cool him down, to provide a "white sound" soothing effect that helps him to fall asleep. He cannot sleep without it. And he cannot take it with him for the week. So needless to say, we've had many discussions on how he will have to try to get along without it. It was no easy task to work him through it. We prayed about it and talked about him turning to God at the times when he needs that "comfort" most of all. I pray that it will become something he learns to depend on the "God of all comfort" in those times he needs to be comforted.
Yesterday, Little Tony was discussing his desire to have enough toilet paper on this trip. He spent a few hrs researching which brand of toilet paper would provide the most TP and would weigh the least. In fact, he was willing to pay into the funds for the building, for anybody to carry an extra roll for him!!!!!
That, piece of necessity I am assuming is one of his areas of "comfort" that will mean much to him on this trip. I'm sure he will learn to live without that comfort if need be and maybe it will be an area that he will find that he can be very thrifty with what he is given or provided with and will learn to live within the context of each situation he steps into. Can you "spare a square" Tony???!!!!! :)
My husband just told me this morning that as long as I am snoring next to him in bed that is all he needs to fall asleep at nights- especially in new surrounding. Thanks Hon!!! Glad to help you out there! Fair warning to any female bunk mates I may have on this trip....bring ear plugs - I can snore with the best of them!!! :) I'm sure there must be some spiritual contextual significance to the latter two illustrations...just can't think of it any.
All that to say, Its okay to enjoy things that bring us comfort, but above all.....lets not forget who our greatest comforter is. Lets remember to keep a Christ centered context as we prepare and go out to share the "Comforter" with those who have not seen, nor ears have heard of the Love of Christ, and who has come that they might have life!! And most all lets let go of our contexts, comforts and step into this trip with open hearts and a readiness to serve!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who participated in the Great Commission Auction and Feast. Thanks to all of you who came to the dinner and bid on items in the auction. This is the single largest fund raiser for the mission trip. We couldn’t do what we do on the trip without the support we receive from all of you. I also want to thank all the people who worked behind the scenes to make the dinner and auction a success.The night wouldn’t be possible without all the people who give their time and talents. Cooking, serving and cleaning up after a meal for 18o people is no small task. I would like to thank all those who organized and set up for the auction. Thanks to Tim and Chris for overseeing the entire event and organizing all the work. I would like to say a special thanks to Richard, Nick and Brian for all their help in cleaning up all day, and all night. Those three guys work harder than anybody I know, doing things nobody else wants to do and they do it all without complaining. So, to all of you, the people who attended and bid at the auction, the people who helped with cooking and serving the meal, the folks who organized the items for auction and tracked the bids and payments to all who helped clean up after – THANK YOU!
The night was a great success. Everyone who is involved in the trip, from the supporters to the people who are going, come together to create a successful event. In many ways the night is a model of the entire trip. Everyone has a part to play, and when the parts come together completing something that none of us could do by ourselves. I hope that the excitement will continue to build for this trip because I believe God is going to do something amazing in our church and in our lives.