Friday, January 29, 2010
Right now our main focus is raising funds for the missionary house and seeing that it is built. At this point the Taylors have a little over half the funds raised, so we need to raise about $20,000 more. Once the house is built, and we raise our family monthly support, then we can move to Kenya. The next part is to raise funds for the technical school. Aaron has already begun the process of writing grant proposals to non-profit organizations that are willing to help fund educational projects in Africa. Along with those grants, we will raise funds for the school as well.
You may be asking why is it so important to build a technical school. Well, in Kenya the government does not provide free education after 8th grade. So many of the children are left without an education and are not able to find adequate work to support themselves. Penuel Technical School would provide Bible center education to this population of children along with teaching trade skills in various areas. Skills such as masonry, carpentry, plumbing, welding, auto mechanics, tailoring/dressmaking, computer courses, and hairdressing will be offered. However, along with teaching these trades, the educators will share the Gospel and teach about Jesus Christ. There is no such facility within the locality of Kakuyuni, hence the need for this there is great.
Right now we are looking for churches who would be willing to have us come speak and share this vision. The more prayer and financial support we can find among churches, the more our brothers and sisters in Christ can work alongside us to help educate and support those less fortunate in Africa. As Psalm 19:17 says, "He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward him for what he has done." The need is so great everywhere, but God has called our family to be the hands and feet to those in Kakuyuni, Kenya and the surrounding areas. Please pray that doors would open and for workers to come alongside us. This is going to be exciting to be a part in what God does in Kakuyuni.
Till the school is completed, Aaron and I will be acquainting ourselves with the people, culture, and language once we get there. My full-time job will be to help our four children to adjust to all their new surroundings. Aaron has already connected well with the leaders at Kakuyuni Redeemed Gospel Church and will be working closely with them. He has a calling to teach local pastors, so they in turn can go and teach many others in their congregation. There is also a medical clinic and school close by the property that I hope to volunteer my time at. Since I am a nurse, there will be ample opportunity to help those within the community. Also there is a local pastor who travels to various villages teaching orphans about Jesus Christ every Saturday. I hope that our family can help him in doing this. Needless to say, I don't think it will be hard to find opportunities to be Jesus's hands and feet.
In closing, I've been thinking a lot on obedience. At times I have trouble being obedient to God because of fears and sometimes I want to do it my own way. As James 1:22-27 says, "Obey God's message! Don't fool yourselves by just listening to it. If you hear the message and don't obey it, you are like people who stare at themselves in a mirror and forget what they look like as soon as they leave. But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don't just hear and forget. If you think you are being religious, but can't control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and everything you do is useless. Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil." How easy is it to fool yourself into thinking that I'm doing the right things. I read my Bible, pray, go to church, and do good things. Those are all wonderful things to be about but ultimately each one of our calls is to glorify God in all that we do by being witnesses for Him. He just so happened called us to Kenya to be His witnesses and testify to all the great, awesome, and amazing things He has done in our lives. The first of many was to accept us as the sinners we are and cover us with the shed blood of Jesus Christ. All I can say to that is "Yes Father, send me and use me how You see best." Sometimes that obedience thing is tough but I go back to the cross. I want to share what Christ has done for my family and so we can help the "orphans and widows" of Kakuyuni, Kenya. God Bless to all.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
The first few days we spent in Nairobi, the capitol of Kenya. We spent much of our time pricing items so that we could come up with a cost of living amount. Most people were out of the city for the Christmas/New Year holiday so getting around the city was easier than usual. Still the traffic was crazy. They drive on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right. Everything is backwards, including going up and down stairs. Talk about being confused and not even wanting to attempt to drive there :) We really didn't get a chance to meet many people until the latter part of our first week there.
In addition to Nairobi, we also visited many areas in the bush. We went to see the medical clinic compound Ric and Jane Taylor, the missionary couple that we are working with, built and ran for many years. It was hard for them to be back there in some ways, but neat to see how so many people showed up quickly to see them. They helped and ministered to so many people there during those years. God used them mightily to meet the health needs and feed the children of that area.
Kenyan countryside.Another day, we attended a wedding north of Nairobi. The bride and groom were from two different tribes—which created a good deal of confusion—and somehow we ended up right in the middle of all the festivities. The most interesting part of this was where we were at the house of the bride's parents to pick her up. The groom's family walked up the hill singing in their tribal language (Kikamba) carrying gifts for the bride's family. Once we walked up the hill to the house, the bride's family were singing in their tribal language (Kikuyu). We spent some time outside the home waiting on the groom's family and friends to negotiate for the bride. This negotiation honors the tribal tradition of paying a bride price but was not a true and standing prerequisite for the marriage. All in all it was an amazing experience that neither Aaron nor I will ever forget.
When Sunday came, Aaron preached at Kakuyuni Redeemed Church in the village where we will be living. There are roughly 200-300 people that attend this church that has already planted some 30 other churches. It was a little overwhelming to have to speak in front of the whole congregation and sit at the front the entire time during the service. If you are mzungu (white person) then you are very important according to them. So they feed you first, make you sit in the choice places, and carry things for you. It was hard for me to adjust to that, but it is their way. The church was inviting, warm, and full of God's love. They accepted us with open arms. Many pastors, deacons, and elders from the other 30 churches came to meet us. We had a time of sharing, and so many of them said they would support and help us anyway they could. They finished by singing us a song in their language that was close to angelic singing. It was here that I felt God’s confirmation for our call to Kenya in general, and Kakuyuni specifically. There is such a need for teaching and for discipleship of these beautiful Christians. We then visited the property where we will be building our home and the technical school. There is a peace there that I have not found elsewhere. The property is set back off the main dirt road among trees and mountains. Above all else there is quiet; this is definitely a place where a person can experience the small still voice of God without the distractions all too common in the West. The pace there reminds me of my time growing up in Eastern Kentucky when I was a little girl. I always dreamed of living a simple, peaceful life among God's creation. The setting was enchanting and I could easily envision our house sitting on the land. However, through all this I also kept thinking of our four children. Even though this place is beautiful, it is filled with great and overwhelming hardship and problems. We will be bringing our children into a culture they don't understand, people they do not know, and language they cannot speak. I know it will be hard for us all, but God constantly kept telling me I am their Provider and I love them. I told God that I'm standing on His promises and know He has our best interests in mind, because He does love us.
Our last few days in Kenya were spent at the Massai Mara Game Reserve to see all the animals of Kenya. We wanted these days to provide us a time to hear clearly from God and each other before we firmly committed to living in Kenya. The trip there was a four hour ride from Nairobi through the Rift Valley. We knew very little about the Rift Valley but as soon as we saw it our breath was literally taken away. It is indescribable how beautiful it was, and we knew this was yet another gift and affirmation from God. Aaron and I both sat there with tears in our eyes knowing that we were so blessed to be seeing this. At the top of the Rift, we stopped at an overlook to take pictures. As Aaron was taking a picture of me with the valley behind, he stopped and pointed. He was speechless—which is rare for him :) It was the exact scripture that God had given him two weeks before leaving for Kenya. Isaiah 54:17 "No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me," declares the LORD. There it was on the wall. A declaration from the Lord and a prayer answered. Again no more than thirty minutes down the road, a truck comes toward us and above the cab is written, "God Is Love." By the time we arrived at our destination we knew we were to serve in Kenya. Our time with the Kenyan people was amazing. They are so hungry for God’s Truth. The needs are so many, but we pray that we can play a part in sharing Christ and loving those whom He puts around us. Please pray for our family and for us to Glorify God in all that we do. There will be so much going on this year but we pray to stay focused on Him. I thank all of you who have prayed, supported us, and given financially for the trip. We have definitely felt the prayers and God delivered big time (as He always does :).