Monday, December 12, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Thanks again for all your prayers and support during our trip. We wouldn't be able to do these trips without all of you.
Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: “The man who does these things will live by them.”But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:5-15
Dan and Nancy, Jason and Bekkah, Stephen and Jennifer Kibachia, the Bethany interns, Agape Fellowship,all are committed to sharing the Good News by showing the unreached people in Kenya the love of Christ through everything they say and do. We are blessed to be able to work alongside them to share the Good News. May we all have beautiful feet!
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
I'm a little behind on the blog. A lack of electricity, stima in swahili, can make it tough to get on the internet. The power system here in Kenya is interesting. The homes use 240 VAC, 50 Hz, single phase power. Homes in the US are primarily 120 VAC, 60 Hz, single phase with some appliances, like and electric dryer, running on 240 VAC, 60 Hz, two phase. Because of the higher voltage the transformers and power lines are a little larger.
The transformers and power lines are only six to seven feet off the ground in most places. I believe most of the electrical system was built by the British in the 1960's and hasn't been upgraded, or maintained well, since. There are trees growing through the power lines, poles that are on the verge of falling and cables running all over the place. Kenya Power seems to working on upgrading the system and catching up on maintenance but with a city of 5 million and years of neglect there is a lot of work to do.
Some of the work that is needed, like clearing tree limbs from the power lines, requires shutting down parts of the system. Some of the work uncovers other problems which result in unexpected outages. The condition of the system also lends itself to unexpected outages. It is easy to see why the power is out as much as it is. Sometimes I am surprised there is any power at all.
Picking up on Jerry's comment on my earlier post - the power system here is a good object lesson of our reliance on the Holy Spirit and our relationship with the Father. The relationship has to be maintained, like any good relationship, to have meaning and impact in our lives. If we don't work on our relationship with God we can become disconnected and lose sight of the blessings and opportunities He provides. The longer we neglect our relationship with the Father the more disconnected we become and we may require more work in our lives to get back to where we need to be. One of the many things I love about going on short term missions is the daily reminder of how much I rely on God. These trips create milestones in my life and when I think back on them I am reminded of how I am reliant on God and how the Father, the Son and the Spirit care and provide for all my needs.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
We arrived around midnight local time Sunday night. Tim and I spent our first night in Nairobi in a Mennonite missionary guest house because it was so late when we arrived. The guest house was nice although by the time we arrived anything that didn't resemble the inside of an airplane would have looked pretty nice to us. To be honest as much as I love being in Kenya the travel to get here never gets any easier.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
It was a great week. Shelley and I had a lot of fun and appreciated the opportunity to take part in camp this year. We both commented on the enthusiasm and freedom of the campers. There were a couple of campers, Tom and Craig, which really stood out to me. Both Craig and Tom are in wheel chairs. Neither one of them can communicate in the same way most of us can. They need help with all the everyday things that we take for granted. Getting out of bed, dressing, eating, they need help with all of it.
Monday, July 25, 2011
I have been reading an interesting book this past week. I don’t agree with all the points the author is making but a couple of things have really stood out for me. Our relationship with God is dependent on how we respond to Jesus. Through Jesus, God wants to retell the stories of our lives. We just have to believe. There are many times when I think I don’t have anything to offer or I have messed up so many times God will never be able to use me. God’s story is we are all loved, worthy and valued. We all have something to offer. We can all do something to make the world a better place, more like the place God intended, every day. So, the real question is “Will I believe the story God is telling about my life?” And if I do believe that story, “Will I live according to the story God is telling?” I have written a lot about getting involved in Camp Daniel, missions, going on a short-term missions trips and many other ways we can be involved in what God is doing. These are all great things to be involved in and I encourage everyone to jump in wherever you can. But, we can also live the story God is telling in our everyday lives, in our workplaces, in our schools, even at Wal-Mart while shopping. Anytime we put the people around us and their needs before ourselves and our needs, we are making the world a better place. It could be as simple as holding the door open for someone, saying Hello, or asking someone how their day is going and being genuinely interested in the answer.
As summer continues on please remember to pray for the Germos, the Witts, Camp Daniel, our pastors, our church and the people we interact with day in and day out. If you get a chance spend a day or week helping out at Camp Daniel. Get involved in Family Camp. Above all else ask God what story He would tell about your life and then try to live that story. It won’t all be easy but it will be interesting and we can all make the world a little more of what God intended every day.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."
The poor in spirit, those who know God and understand how far they are from His standard of holiness, will inherit the kingdom of heaven. The word inheritance implies that the poor in spirit are heirs, children of the most high God. The first step in being a child of God is to understand who God is and who we are and how far we are from Him on our own. The second step is mourning our separation from the Father. If we understand who God is, who we are and grieve the distance between us the Father will comfort us. We are comforted by the family of fellow believers, the Holy Spirit, a relationship with the Father and His firstborn, Jesus Christ.
Our morning over the separation between us and God should lead to meekness. The dictionary definition of meek is humbly patient, docile, submissive, compliant, gentle or kind. I think we only need to look to our Savior, Jesus, to see an example of meekness. I think many times we equate meekness with not standing up and avoiding confrontation but the example of meekness that Jesus set is somewhat different from this idea. Jesus was at times confrontational (interacting with the Pharisees, throwing the money changers out of the temple) and other times gentle and kind. Jesus was God made man. He had the ability to call down armies of angels and had all the power of the Father but throughout his time on earth he lived a life of sacrifice to others and submission to the Father’s will. He always acted in accordance with God’s will in whatever way was best for everyone involved. I think a better definition of biblical meekness is great power under control. The opposite of meek is stubborn, obstinate and regenerate. If we truly understand who we are and who God is how could we not submit to His will, how could we not be meek? It is also interesting that Jesus said the meek shall inherit the earth. This is so different from the message from the view of the world, particularly in America. The world tells us we have to fight for everything, stubbornly insist on getting what we want and the ends justify the means. As long as I get what I want anything goes, the very opposite of meek.
The next verse tells us “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” So…understanding who we are in light of who God us, mourning the separation, submitting to the will of the Father should lead us to hunger and thirst for righteousness – to close the separation between us and God. The language of this verse is interesting, the verse does not say those who would like to be righteous or those who want to be righteous but those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Hunger and thirst go beyond wanting; these are needs that must be filled for life to continue. The verse also says those who hunger and thirst will be filled. We can have a seat at the Father’s table. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
True contentment, being blessed, begins with knowing the Father. Our very life and the life of those around us depend on it. Christ set an example for all us. He came to us, became flesh, and all the temptations and trials that go along with it, and sins. He made the ultimate sacrifice that we might know the Father. I pray that all of us can, in some way, follow this example.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
The Sermon on the Mount starts with the beatitudes. The beatitudes describe the process of building a relationship with God and the characteristics of a person who is in a relationship with God. The beatitudes begin with –
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
In this context the word blessed means content or satisfied, Just as Paul said to the people of Philippi in Philippians 4:11 “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” So…being content in all circumstances starts with being poor in spirit but what does it mean to be poor in spirit? I think Isaiah gave us a great description of what it means to be poor in spirit, “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” (Isaiah 6:5) Isaiah had a vision of God and when he came face to face with the Father he also came face to face with who he was and the separation between himself as a man and the awesome holiness of God. So, Matthew 5:3 tells us we will begin to find commitment when we understand who we are in light of a holy, perfect, righteous, infinite God who created all things and holds all things.
The second beatitude “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” builds on the first. When we realize who we are in light of who God we should mourn just as Isaiah did. When Isaiah got a glimpse of himself from God’s perspective he responded by crying out “Woe to me! I am ruined!” The distance that Isaiah saw between himself and God caused Isaiah to grieve for himself and his people. Based on Matthew 5:3-4 the foundation for real contentment starts with understanding who we are, who God is and the separation between His holiness and our lives. This distance between our lives and the holiness of God should cause us to grieve for ourselves and those around us.
I think everyone is searching for contentment but for those who don’t know God and never get a glimpse of His perspective the search just goes on and on. This is one reason we are called into relationship with people. We should be reaching out to people in our community and across the world and giving them a glimpse of God. If we have found the contentment of knowing who our God is and who we are, if we are mourning for ourselves and those around us, shouldn’t we be about evangelism and missions – reaching out to those who may never find what contentment truly is? Someone, somewhere reached out to us, let us follow their example and the example of Jesus by reaching out.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
A group of youth and adults are heading over to Minneapolis the weekend of June 25th. They will be working with Michael Neterer and SALT to learn more about the Somali culture and how to reach out to this growing segment of our community in Green Bay. If you want to read more about SALT check out their website http://www.worldreliefmn.org/get-involved/somali-outreach-ministries/salt/.
On June 30th we will host another mission’s dinner at LHC. Jason Witt, one of the missionaries we worked with in Kenya, will be with us and it will be a great meal. Come out and support the missions program and spend an evening fellowshipping with friends and family.
Camp Daniel has work days scheduled for April 30th, May 14th and May 21st. Camp sessions will be held from July 10th through August 13th. For more details on the schedule at Camp Daniel check the website http://www.campdaniel.org/. You can take an afternoon, a day or a whole week to lend a hand and who knows – you might even have some fun at the same time. If you’ve never been to Camp Daniel you don’t know what you are missing. This is one of those places where you can be loved and appreciated just for being you.
As spring turns into summer remember to take time to be involved in what God is doing all around us. To have an opportunity to be part of His work is an awesome and humbling experience at the same time.