Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Nyoka! Nyoka!

“Nyoka, Nyoka,” the deadly words split the evening air like knives, as the bearer of the news ran helter-skelter up the path he had just peacefully gone down minutes before.

All was astir around the once calm compound, as the inhabitants grabbed for pangas (the African machete) and dashed down the hill after Emmanuel.

The air rushed through my hair and my skirt must have looked like a billowing torrent as I ran. And then suddenly there it was, the place of keen anticipation, it looked dead alright, and big, maybe about 6ft long.

Simba, our dog danced excitedly around my feet and barked with great delight each time the snake was poked. We wanted to watch the progress of the dyeing nerves. But then we realized something was not right.

Like a flash Collince our African helper, stooped and picked up a large stone. Quickly, and with much force, the stone landed squarely on the head of the black mamba, crushing the very life out of the ugly deceiver.

Just like that black mamba, we each have sin in our lives. And too many times we leave just a hint still alive, and play with it. But just like Collince, we must take hold of the rock on which we are builded, and claim the help of Jesus Christ who is mighty to save, to crush out the life of our pet sins, that will no doubt come back to bite us with their deadly venom and keep us from eternal life. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Last Three Weeks

It was my sincere and earnest desire to have posted something on this blog long before now, but I seem to be fighting, “not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places,” (Ephesians 6:12) for every time that I am almost finished with a blog post the computer I was using mysteriously quits working.  I have not given up though and almost have a post ready for posting.  But I have paused in my endeavors to finish that post and am writing this one for I feel that the events of the last three weeks need special attention before I move on with anything else.  For most people following this blog you already know what I am going to share, but for the sakes of those that I do not know are following I am posting a brief synopsis of the past three weeks.  It is my prayer that after reading this post you will never be the same.
March 9, 2014 dawned bright and beautiful here on our new property 12 kilometers out of Lolgorian Kenya.  Just a month and a week before we had made the move from our rentals in Lolgorian to the property.  It had been a big step forward in the progress of the work of Sutherland Bible Collage and a huge landmark for those of us who have worked so hard to get this project off the ground.  We moved into fairly slim accommodations, but we were willing to make it work just to be on the property.  We had planned that by the middle of March we could have classes started so as to be able to still fit our first term in before June.  As soon as these plans were laid however it became extremely evident that our enemy was not happy.   The four of us kids fell sick with respiratory infections making it impossible to be any help to the project and even forcing the other members of our team to do the work that we usually did out and above their own responsibilities.  As we struggled to regain our health, the project came to an almost dead standstill.  During the next few weeks every possible road block was thrown across our path and yet we moved on, though the progress was painful at times, we knew that it was just the enemy trying to discourage us and make us stop doing the Lord’s work.  Finally the last blow was given when on March 9 our father fell sick with Malaria.  Like I mentioned earlier it dawned a perfect day, full of plans of moving forward with the work so as to start school the next week, but before the day was over our father was bed ridden, never to regain full health again.  I do not have time here to go into all the details of his sickness and subsequent death, a week later on March 16, but what is of real importance is the fact that the enemy knows that his time is short and is trying to stop the work of God.  In light of this we as a family have decided that we are not leaving Kenya right now, for to do this would make the devil very happy, no we are staying and by God’s grace we are going to do the work that God gave our family to do- start Sutherland Bible Collage.  Though we do not have our earthly father with us any more, our heavenly father has promised, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Heb. 13:5)
Though the enemy planned our father’s death to be the end of the work here in Kenya it was just the beginning.  Since his death doors have been opened that has made it possible to do a work that we could have never done before.  Our work here has just started and though we will not start school until June, we praise God that there will still be a Sutherland Bible Collage to open!  We need much prayer as our team has gone from nine members, two of which were skilled workmen, to seven, inexperienced and amateur workmen, who may not know everything but are willing to learn, get their hands dirty and most of all want to do the Lord’s work and see this project succeed.   
I am planning to still continue with the blog posts as I had planned before.  They are a series of stories from our work and everyday life starting from the beginning of this mission trip and moving up until now.  I also plan to make a new page on this blog entitled “Loren” and put up the update that my mother wrote about our fathers sickness and death and more things about his life.  If you would like to get our updates and follow are mission here more closely send an email to godsmissionaryband@gmail.com and ask to be put on the Kenya mission update list.

Brothers and sisters time is short and we have work to do!  Is your life such a threat to Satan’s kingdom that he would like to put you to death?  If not something needs to change.  

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Getting to know Hardships

At no time today did a shower sound appealing, but at this moment it seems especially detestable.  Normally it is very warm here during the day, but not this day.  Today held mostly clouds and this evening cooled down even more by the aid of a drizzling rain.  I know that when I go to get my shower cold rain water off the roof and a little soap will be what awaits me.  My courage slightly fails.  I don’t mind a cold shower at all when it is warm outside, but when the air temperature is anything but hot I would rather do almost anything else.  Remembering Moriah’s saying about waiting for courage (“The longer you wait for courage the less courage you will have.”)I get up and gather my things.  Once in the bathroom I begin the chilling act of undressing.  Moriah is already showering and the splashes from her water hitting the floor bounces to my lags.  I wonder if I am ready to face this dreadfully cold water.  What makes it worse is the fact that I will be the one pouring this cold water on myself with the aid of a cup.
I start with my hair.  Upon the water touching my scalp an instantaneous shiver races down my spine.  Running my fingers through my hair to making sure it is wet, they run into a slimy blob.  With slight disgust I quickly pull my fingers away hoping that the slimy blob is not the worm that Jessica was unable to retrieve from the bath water.  Immediately I apply soap eager that maybe it will kill the worm if that is truly what is in my hair. Moriah seeing the repugnance written plainly on my face informs me that it was only my imagination, she too had thought that she felt a worm on her back. What comfort, for all I know there could have been two worms. Imagination or not I am ready to be done with this shower. I suddenly find a faster speed and start washing my body. I splash myself with water and the result is instant Goosebumps.  I begin rubbing soap over my body.  It would have been a quick process from there if it had not been for the goosebumps.  The goosebumps acted as bristles and the soap clung to them like mud on shoes. I soon realized that to get the soap off is going to be nothing short of torture.   Every time a drop of that water hits my skin, my breath finds a convenient reason to take a vacation. All I can do is slowly pour water on my arm and scrub it off with my other hand.  A short eternity elapses, or so it feels like, of pouring and rubbing.
Once finished I proceed with drying off which creates a challenge of its own.  I had burned the back of my neck on Wednesday from walking to town in the intense sun and now the towel only helps in the aggravation of the already painful.   With caution I finish drying off and get dressed. Well gathering my things I began realizing a very funny fact, “I was still alive, that cold shower had not been the death of me! And even if the water was cold I do feel better.” 

As I begin pondering my shower I remember something that Sister White wrote in her vision of the Narrow Way, We then thought of those who had not accustomed themselves to privations and hardships. Where were such now? They were not in the company. At every change, some were left behind, and those only remained who had accustomed themselves to endure hardships. The privations of the way only made these more eager to press on to the end.” {CET 181.1} Had my shower been either a privation or a hardship? No, not really! Did I want to be in the company who made it to the Celestial city? Yes, that was my fervent hope. Than a little cold water was a blessing from the Lord to prepare me for a greater hardship.  With heart overflowing with gratitude I Praise God for the cold water, the worm, and even my sunburn.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Airport Encounters

“Is your husband a pastor?” The surprising words came from the lips of a Kenyan National that we had been flying with us ever since LA.  Now in the Amsterdam airport she had come up to mom with her earnest inquiry.  “No,” mom replied just a little bewildered at such a question, “He is a carpenter, but he sure loves the Word of God.” “Well I can tell that you are practical Christians,” the words fell from her lips with a note of respect, mingled with wonder and then she turned and left while we stood there in complete shock.  Our minds were still pondering over what had just happened when dad and Jonathan returned from the restroom. We eagerly shared with them the brief account which in turn left them nearly speechless.  Dad asked some question in regards to her thinking he was a pastor but we had just about as good an answer as he did. 
After recovering somewhat we went through security and sat down to wait for our flight. I was still contemplating what she had said about us being practical Christians when from the seat facing ours came this comment, “I can tell you are from Idaho.”  If the last observation was not shocking this was! Of all places, how could he tell we were from Idaho? I began checking myself for signs.  “How can you tell we are from Idaho?” Moriah asked in complete amazement.  “Of all the states I can tell that you are from Idaho,” he was dead serious.  This time I not only scanned myself but my family.  After a moment or two of watching us he said with a smile, “I read it on the tag on your bags.”  All we could do was laugh. 
He was obviously eager to talk to us because he kept asking us questions.  We learned a little about each other and that we were both going on mission trips, he was going with a fairly large group that was only staying three weeks, while we were going as a family and planning on staying for two years.  After talking a little about our reasons for going to Kenya he asked, “So what is your tradition?” Both Moriah and I, who he was sitting across from, looked at each other with blank expressions.  Finally it was understood that he was asking about our religion. “Oh,” Moriah and I said together, “We are Seventh-Day Adventists but they are not a tradition, they are Bible based.”  “So how did your church start?” his next question was one that we were ready and happy to answer.  “Have you ever heard of William Miller?” I asked.  “No,” he replied.  “You probably have,” I continued, “last year in the news there was a whole commotion about false prophets and William Miller was in that list.” “Yes, I vaguely remember something about that.” Since he had heard about William Miller it made it easy to present to him the history of our church.  We showed him why William Miller was classed in with the false prophets and yet how he was God’s messenger, using the prophecy of the 2300 days.  We explained to him why Christ did not come to earth as William Miller had predicted but moved to the Most Holy place. We then traced the pen of History through with the faithful believers who had held firm their confidence through the great disappointment and landed him where we became a denominated people in 1863.
“So what religion are you?” Moriah asked in a way that would make no one ashamed, whatever religion they were.  “I am a Presbyterian,” he said it as if it was nothing at all.  “How did your church start?” was her next question which brought from him a slight feeling of discomfort.   “Well,” pause, “I think we have our roots in…” It was clear to us that he did not know the history of his church or how it began. He was not a lackadaisical young person but a mature grandfather who was defiantly an educated individual.  Just about than they started calling people to board the plane and we did not get a chance to talk with him further. 
Upon boarding the aircraft I noticed that there was an empty seat next to where Jessica was supposed to sit.  With some quick thinking I took her seat not knowing who may sit there.  Once seated I immediately began pondering the many encounters that we had experienced over our journey.  It had really all started in Spokane.  Before even going through security, an airport employee had stopped mom and us girls to ask us what religion we were.  We simply told her that we were Seventh - day Adventist.  “Well I like the way you dress,” was her reply, “I wish more women would dress like you.” Just a few minutes later we were waiting in front of security for a technical difficulty to be resolved and we saw her again.  She stopped and asked, “So where are you flying?” “To Kenya,” was mom’s response.  “What are you going there for?”she asked as if she could not imagine us going as tourists. “We are going on a mission trip,” was mom’s honest answer. “Well I will be praying for you,” was her willing promise. 
At that moment my contemplating came to an abrupt halt with the words, “You’re missionaries aren’t you?” I looked up into the face of a man that appeared to be middle aged.  His face showed the signs of aging but more from lifestyle than age itself.  I immediately recognized that His seat was the one that was next to mine and then after taking all that in my mind began the process of comprehending what he had just said.   It only took a split second for my mind to grasp the fact that his question demanded an answer.  A little bewildered I answered, “Yes… we are.” It was just a little much for me to figure out how he knew we were missionaries so I left those thoughts alone.  “Where are you going?” came immediately from his lips.  Though this strange man was sitting next to me and asking questions that puzzled me I had a peace in my heart and felt the presence of the Holy Spirit.  “We are going to Kenya,” I said with a smile on my face that came from the pure joy that was filling my heart.  The overwhelming tiredness that had been with me ever since we left home was suddenly gone.  “Why are you going there?” his questions had no end and for the next hour and a half we talked about a wide variety of topics from me being homeschooled to what religion I was and so on.  I learned that he was a Catholic and that he was going to Kenya for work purposes.  He had a family and kids in their twenties.
Before getting very far in the conversation he asked, “So what is the difference between Seventh-day Adventist and Catholics?” My mind whirled slightly. What should I say? I knew that Seventh-day Adventists and Catholics were doctrinaly opposites. With a prayer in my heart I began touching on some of the things that I hoped would not be too offensive.  I told him about the Biblical truth of Baptism and how we do not baptize babies and why.  I also touched briefly on the Sabbath, but when I got to the state of the dead he said, “I never really believed in hell.  It did not seem to fit with the loving God of the Bible.” The light on his face showed the dawning of Truth in his heart and my own heart was warmed through to see a mind before so clouded by error come to the precious light of God’s word. 
As we continued talking somehow the Reformation was brought up and he wanted to know more about it.  Once again I was at a loss to know what to do. The Reformation was a call out of his church!  So with a silent prayer on my lips I began to tell him about Martin Luther and his reforms.  I told how Martin Luther was a Catholic monk that studied the Bible for himself and found that the Catholic church had adopted some errors along the way and how he was lead to the Bible truth about Righteousness by Faith.  Very gingerly I showed him that we cannot earn our own salvation by our works.  The conversation went on and on as I unfolded to his understanding, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, the grand truths of the Bible. At one point, with conviction in his heart, he said, “I don’t know anything about the Bible, you know so much more than me!” I so desired that he could have the same experience that I had been so privileged to enjoy in the Word of God, so I took him to Isaiah 28:10 and showed him how to study his Bible for himself. 
As I talked I began to be aware that I had a much bigger audience than just this gentleman that was sitting next to me.  People across the aisle, with ear buds in their ears, were turned in their seat to face me.  The row ahead of me had four heads twisted slightly towards my seat.  In fact the whole vicinity had ear bent to the words of truth that were being shared from the lips of a simple seventeen year old country girl from Idaho. 
As I consider all our airport experiences I am amazed at the fact that this poor mortal could possibly reveal Christ to anyone.  I recognize that it was nothing in me that was making them see Christ, all my righteousness is filthy rags, but somehow Christ was shining from my family and my heart and I praise him for this! At one point in the conversation with the gentleman on the aircraft he reverently told me, “I could tell that you were Christians because your faces glow with health, vitality, and the love of Christ.” 
My young friends are you looking for a purpose in life, something to live for and strive for?  Well as a fellow young person I will tell you that soul winning is that thing that you long for.  I know from personal experience that there is nothing so rewarding as reaching a soul for Christ! If you do not believe me, try it yourself.  If it had been an adult sitting by those two gentlemen I doubt that they would have been able to share as much as Moriah and I did with so little resistance and so much a ceptance.

" Even though pastors, evangelists, and teachers should neglect the seeking of the lost, let not the children and youth neglect to be doers of the word.”  The Youth’s Instructor, August 9, 1894 par. 3

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kenya Mission Report 2

             The sudden roar of the engines coupled with the rapid burst of energy that it brought threw me back in my seat. Within moments we were far above the ground and soaring to heights far above. Somewhere down below, nestled in the forest of North Idaho, was my home.  Somewhere down there my cat was catching a mouse or waiting for her breakfast that I would never bring.  Somewhere down there our two dogs where sitting in a crate wondering when we would come home to let them out.  Somewhere down there were the trails that I had loved to hike and explore.  Somewhere down there where the family and friends I loved so much.  Would I ever get to see all these things again?  I glance over and see that my little sister is wiping tears from a red face that is presently peering out the window and realize that she is wondering the same thing.  Will there be a next time?
It feels as if a part of my heart stayed with the treasure of my family and friends and an achy feeling steels over my being.  I am forced to ask the question,” Is this too great a sacrifice?” Without a moment’s hesitation I reply, “No, not at all!”  What I am leaving behind pales in comparison with what stands before me.  Ahead of me awaits a work commissioned me by the God of heaven, a work that holds eternal reward.  How could I ever feel that the sacrifice is too great when the Lord of glory left all the splendors of heaven to come to this sin-sick world to live the life that I should live and died the death that I should die? 
Suddenly these words come to mind, “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” Matthew 19:29 A tear steels to my eye as I meditate upon these words.  All that I have given up will be repaid an hundredfold?  I am reminded of the words of a song and it is as if I could hear the melodious chorus even then.  “Be still my soul, Thy Jesus can repay from His own fullness all He takes away!”
  Praise God! I have been called to be a partaker of the self-sacrifice of Christ, oh unworthy I am for this high calling and mission that He has called me to.  It is only by His grace that I can fulfill His plan for my life. In reverence I bow my head and silently send up a prayer to God. 
“Dear Father in Heaven, I am humbled by Thy calling on my family and my life.  I ask that You will help us to fulfill the mission that You are sending us on.  Thank You for the Sacrifice that You gave in Jesus. What I have given up is nothing in comparison with Christ.  I ask that the same spirit of unselfish love that, Christ lived, will be the motivating factor in everything I do, say, and think. You have blessed me so abundantly and I praise you for everything.  In Your dear and precious name, Amen. ”
“Jesus is today in heaven preparing mansions for those who love Him; yes, more than mansions, a kingdom which is to be ours. But all who shall inherit these blessings must be partakers of the self-denial and self-sacrifice of Christ for the good of others.”  God’s Amazing Grace p.62 par.2 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Kenya Mission Report 1

I rested in my Aunt’s tight grasp and laid my head against her shoulder.  With a note of trembling in her voice she asked, “I don’t have to let you go now do I?”  Her cry was that of many others and Oh how my whole being wished that I could stay here in the arms of my family and friends and yet I knew that I must do my Father’s bidding over comfort and desire. I absolutely hate good-byes especially the ones that could be forever, and yet God has asked me to once again say Good-Bye.
It really all started in November of last year (2012) with a unique email from a returning missionary and a desire to serve our Master.  The email came as a reply to an email that my parents had sent about John Lello’s death.  The email told of the blessing that the Lord had given this returning missionary and how many Sunday pastors had accepted the Sabbath.  It also told of how God had lead in the raising of a Bible worker Training School with the purpose of training the natives to reach their own people and ended with this sentence, “and we are now looking for a family to come and direct this school.”  It became extremely evident, over the course of several emails, that this missionary was wanting our family to be that family.
This was not the first time that someone had thought our family was the perfect match for their need and like every other request for help we prayerfully considered the option, this time with some reservation.   First, this returning missionary was returning from Kenya, a place that none of our family had EVER thought of being missionaries, and second we did not have the resources to fly our family of six anywhere, especially to Africa!  We had done mission trips by faith before and recognized this inability on our part as God’s opportunity. But was He leading us here?
As we frankly talked these things over with the missionary he had one request, would dad at least come to Africa and meet the people and check out the school before we made our final decision.  As much as our family dislikes being separated, we realized, as we talked and prayed about it, that this needed to be done.  As a consequence, mom and us kids, found ourselves waving good-bye to our dear father on the second of April for a two week exploration trip to Kenya.  In those two weeks Dad met the people, saw the school, traveled and witnessed firsthand how much Satan hated the work that was being done for the Kenyan people.  
In the next few months we found ourselves vacillating  with the decision that must be made in regard to going to Africa or not.  Many factors weighed into this decision which made it no simple matter.  For months we wrestled with the Lord and pleaded with Him to release us from this calling.
One evening I remember being so very discouraged and far from God that I went into the woods and began to cry tears that had no real explanation.  When I returned to the house I found that I was not alone. Each of my family members was facing a valley of depression so deep and terrifying that it scared each of us.  As we shared with each other we began to recognize that this depression was clearly linked with our vacillation over our calling to Kenya.  Each of us saw clearly that we must make a decision about Kenya.  Dad asked each of us to write a paper clearly outlining how we felt God leading or how we did not feel God leading us to Kenya.  We chose to review our papers Thursday morning.
Immediately I began thinking about what I was going to write in my paper.  In all honesty I had no inclination to go to Kenya.  In the months of waiting, everything that would have attracted me to want to go had vanished like fog before the morning sun.  I had no feelings to base what I wrote off of, just fact and fact alone.  As I examined the evidence it became extremely plain to me that God was indeed guiding us to Kenya.  Why? I could not tell nor do I have a clear answer today, but I do know that when God asks something of us it is for a purpose. 
Thursday morning dawned bright and early with the cheery face of the mid June sun.  With excitement and nervous anticipation the family gathered for breakfast. This was the day, the day that held the destiny of our future in its hands.  What did the future hold in store?  What would be the decision of today?  No one knew but we each felt that today we needed Divine Guidance and for this we earnestly entreated the Lord to grant. 
After breakfast we cleared the table, did the dishes, got our papers and rejoined for our family sharing time.  Before reading we knelt together and said a word of prayer, once again asking for the Lord to guide, bless and direct in our meeting.  When we rose from our knees we waited eagerly to hear what everyone had written, for while writing our papers we had been careful not to share what we wrote or how we felt with one another because we did not want to bias any one’s mind one way or the other.  Starting with Jonathan and ending with dad we each read our papers.  All were written slightly differently with various points brought out in each one, but the message was the same.  Every member in our family felt that God was leading him or her to go to Africa. The evidence was clear and decisive.
 Each paper was simply from that persons experience and was written strait from the heart.  There was not a dry eye around the table that Thursday morning as we realized what this may cost us personally.  No, not time or things, we had learned that these were all counterfeit treasures.  What it could cost was our lives.   We recognized that by going to Africa we would become larger targets for the devil. Where we willing to give up even our lives?  Yes, we decided with trembling heart, we were.  Kneeling again we each committed ourselves to God and told Him that we were willing to go, willing no matter the cost, willing even if some of us never returned.  Rising again we hugged one another as if this was the last time we might have the opportunity.
We still needed plane tickets to be able to go and yet we had done all we were required to do.  Just as Abraham was required to lay Isaac on the altar we must lay our lives on the altar, the knife was symbolically raised and only God knew the outcome.
Nearly six weeks past and still we did not have enough donations to cover the cost of the plane tickets.  With the inquiries of our family and friends and our own anxious wonderings, the time had passed with snail’s pace.  Our prayer was ever, “Lord what wilt Thou have us to do? Is Africa the place? We have committed to go and yet we cannot unless you provide for our plane tickets.” In the waiting our feeble faith longed for the assurance of God’s will. 
It was Sabbath night and during worship, as our family shared our desire to know God’s will, I remember requesting to sing the song 316 in the SDA hymnal.  The words of that song fit so perfectly with what I and my family were feeling at that moment.  “…the body henceforth be Thy silent, gentle servant, moved only as by Thee. Its members every moment held subject to Thy call, Ready to have Thee use them or not be used at all; Held without restless longing or strain, or stress, or fret, or chafings at Thy dealings, or thoughts of vain regret….”  As we ended sundown worship with prayer we once again told the Lord that we were willing, to be used or not be used, according to His great plan for our lives.
Sunday morning came and went with no sign of an answer.  Lunch passed, over which we talked, once again, about Africa, our plane tickets and the work that must be done.  While we kids worked on our dish chores, mom went over to the computer and decided to just look at what plane tickets were costing to fly to Nairobi.  Within a couple minutes she came to the kitchen, face aglow.  “Kids, guess what I just found?” she asked knowing that we would not know and yet wanting to get our interest.  “What?” we all chorused eager to hear about mom’s latest find.  “I just found plane tickets that are under a thousand dollars apiece!” Mom’s excitement could not be contained.  “You did?” someone asked, not doubting her but simply surprised at the news. “I have never seen tickets to Kenya that cheap,” mom continued, wonder spreading across her face, “the lowest I have seen is over twelve hundred dollars and ranging all the way up to four thousand just for the economy class! I am going to check and see how much money we have in donations. But before I do, shall we pray that God’s will be accomplished?” Reverently kneeling we entreated the Lord that if these cheaper plane tickets were in His perfect plan that we would either have enough donations or they would hold at that price until we did have the money, but if we were not to go, would He please shut the door so that no man could open it!  Circumstance played out such that we could do nothing about the tickets that day.  With believing hearts we prayed over and over again that God’s will be done.    

The next morning as I was checking my emails I happened to see that mom and dad had a few new emails and one of them displayed a title that went something like this, “Conformation of your Expedia tickets.”  My heart stood still in my chest.  Were we really going to Kenya?  A few hours later dad informed us kids, “Our tickets are purchased for Kenya, we are leaving October first.” It was final, we were going.  The sacrifice had been made and it was yet to be seen just what that sacrifice would cost us.