Thursday, March 28, 2013

Support Progress 3.28.13

There is only one word and one word alone that can explain the amazing progress with my one-time support needs, God. There are moments when I question whether moving to Kenya is really God's will. And then I see how He has provided and all doubts are swept away. Take a look at what I have experienced over the last four months...

By the end of December I had received 17% of my one-time needs.

By the end of January... 63%

By the end of February... 80%

And it's not even March 31st yet... and I've hit 100% of my one-time needs.

God is so faithful. Am I suppose to go to Kenya? Oh yes and I am so very much looking forward to it more and more everyday! I've noticed lately that my whole demeanor changes when anyone brings up Kenya. I love talking about it, sharing how God is providing, talking about my living situation and teaching responsibilities that I will soon have. I'm ready to just be there!

And yet I have to wait. My focus (and prayers) are now directed toward completing my monthly support team. Seeing how God has provided my one-time needs in such a Godly way, I have no doubt He will do the same with this part of my finances too. But Godly doesn't necessarily mean quickly. There are many miracles in the Bible where God works immediately, but there are many other times where time passes before He performs the miracle. (Lazarus and Jarius' daughter for example) He has provided my one-time needs quickly and I don't doubt that He can do the same for my monthly, but I also want to remind myself that He doesn't always work quickly. I look forward to seeing how God has decided to bring in my monthly needs in the coming weeks!

And before I hit publish, I want to journal out my realities as of now so that I can remember back to this time in the future and praise God for how He is working, even though I don't always see it now.  

Even though God has shown up in amazing ways through finances and my support team, these last few weeks have been very difficult. My calendar is so overwhelming at times that I just want to curl into a ball and do nothing. Don't get me wrong, I so very much enjoy all the time I get to spend with my family and friends and church family, and know in just under 4 months it will all end, but at the same time, rest is not a word in my life these days. Balance has become difficult to do. My heart wants to focus 100% on my ministry in Kenya. Everything within me gets excited when I even think about it and yet there is still things that I have to do here before I leave.

It's hard. But thank God He understands. As the Easter weekend is quickly approaching, I was thinking about what Jesus went through this week before He went to the Cross. He knew the plan. He knew God's purpose in what was about to happen. He also knew the timing and what was to come. And yet everyone around Him didn't. He knew that what He was about to do was for God's glory and honor, but that didn't stop Him from crying out in the Garden, "Father take this cup from me, yet not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42)

He was the only one who could fully understand and live out God's plan. I am the only one who can fully understand and live out God's calling for me to go to Kenya. He gets it. As this weekend approaches, I am seeing it from a new perspective, from His. My prayer time has been focused on trying to emphasize with Jesus. What a Savior I have that has conquered all the fears, doubts, let-downs, and pain I will ever face because He loves me more than I will ever know.

My Savior died for me, for all the things I do that separate me from His Father, my Father, and yet He was willing to take the pain of the Cross, die, and rise again to life 3 days later to show His power over death and ultimately create a way for me (and you!) to spend eternity with God our Father. That's what Easter is all about! That's what my life is all about! I pray it is for you as well!

Here's to a wonderful celebration of our Savior's triumph over death to life to show how much He loves you and me!
"He is not there, he has risen, just as he said." -Matthew 28:6

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

the life and death of sam

Sam has been my companion for the last few weeks, and this last weekend he saw more of me than I would have liked to see him.

Sam had made his home in the corner of my bathroom ceiling and since I am moving to Kenya in less than 4 months I have decided that Sam and his family really can't hurt me, but rather we should become friends. So I agreed... on my terms.

1. He was to remain in the corner, no wall time allowed while I was in there.
2. He was to remain motionless while I was present, any sudden movement may freak me out.
3. He was free to leave whenever he so desired and did not need to ask my permission.

We had bonded because he had agreed and abided by my terms for the last few weeks.

This last weekend, I ate pizza, and one of the main ingredients on pizza is cheese, (which is my second favorite food after the spice cinnamon) however my body did not seem to agree. Beginning early Sunday night, all day Sunday and all day Monday, the thing I saw the most, other than my bed, was Sam. I definitely did not enjoy our meetings but had decided that since I was moving to Kenya and was probably going to face a few of these bouts of "sickness" and was probably going to have to share space with larger more freakishly creepy insects in 4 months that I could manage our time together. We made it through.

You see I'm excited for the new culture, different living conditions, interesting food choices (hopefully my body will agree with me on this one), amazing people, long walks, anything, anything but the insects. Sam had become a challenge to me. He remained in the corner of the ceiling of my bathroom and my fear was lessening... so I thought.

Until yesterday. Yesterday, Sam decided to break rule number one and two. I was showering, he in the corner of the ceiling looking peacefully asleep woke up as soon as the steamy water turned on. He began to move, still remaining close to the ceiling and wall but towards me, but then he stopped.

Sam has not only helped me curve my fear of spiders (partially), he has also helped me learn how to take speedy showers! Before Sam, showers were a relaxing time to wake up, 15-20 minute process...sometimes longer. But once Sam arrived, showers became more like 5 minutes, 10 minutes if he didn't move. A few times he helped me break my record, less than 3 minutes and completely clean I promise!

But today, after his breaking of rule numbers one and two yesterday decided to break number three as well. Which I would have been fine with if he would have only waited 1-2 more minutes, but no! I had completed all of my showering duties except the washing of my face, Sam had remained still so I turned, scrubbed the suds off my face and then freaked. I had this feeling Sam was no longer on the ceiling. I quickly turned around and my feeling was correct... I freaked! I looked up, no Sam, my body shook, he better not be in my hair! And then I looked down, and there he was, almost to my feet, dead in the water. Sam had died...

Sam taught me a lot...
1. how to make friends with insects and be able to shower in their presence.
2. he (may have) helped lessen my fear of spiders just a bit.
3. spiders are fully willing to commit suicide in order to make their new human friend completely freak.
4. it's okay to make friends with creepy insects, just watch your back (or feet in my case)!
5. spiders don't follow rules.
6. preparation for quick showers in Kenya.
7. company of an insect who can't ask questions or understand what's going on is not bad company to have while sick.
8. spiders are friends.
9. if you eat the wrong food, a spider may become your best friend.
10. the worse is more likely to come.

Sam- you were a good friend. I'm sorry you chose to die the way you did. The corner of my bathroom ceiling will miss you, I however, well maybe I will little. Rest in peace.

And yes, the hair was picked up with the spider, I couldn't reach down and get rid of the hair before the picture because that would put my hand too close to Sam which just in thinking about that right now makes me squirmish.

Monday, March 11, 2013

order my steps

Last week, Pastor Jeremiah preached on Jesus power over death and disease. I really appreciate all the hours of bible study he puts into preparing his sermons each week. He studies the Scripture like no other pastor I've heard and communicates it in a way that whether you are a new believer or one for over 50 years, you can get the application. As I re-watched the sermon and went through the passage of Scripture from Mark 5:21-43 again, I discovered an application to my life and wanted to share.

Before his sermon even got started, our choir sang a beautiful song with these lyrics...

Order my steps in Your word dear Lord,
lead me, guide me everyday,
send Your anointing, Father I pray;
order my steps in Your word,
please order my steps in Your word.

Humbly, I ask Thee to teach me Your will,
while You are working, help me be still,
Satan is busy, but my God is real;
order my steps in Your word,
please, order my steps in Your word.

Bridle my tongue let my words edify,
let the words of my mouth be acceptable in Thy sight,
take charge of my thoughts both day and night;
please order my steps in Your word,
please order my steps in Your word.

I want to walk worthy, my calling to fulfill. 
Please order my steps Lord, and I'll do your blessed plan.
Your world is every changing, but you are still the same. 
I'll praise your name

Order my steps in Your word.
Order my tongue in Your word.
Guide my feet in Your word.
Wash my heart in Your word.
Show me how to walk in Your word.
Show me how to talk in Your word.
When I need a brand new song to song, 
show me how to let your praises ring,
in your word.

Notes I took:
*flesh presses, faith touches. -St. Augustine

*Jairus' requests for healing is about to be upgraded to a request for resurrection. -Jeremiah

*Three miracles of people who Jesus resurrects from the dead in the Gospels.
-Jairus' daughter      little girl               just died
-widow's son           young man          carrying to be buried
-Lazarus                  adult                    died for 4 days
demonstrate the totality of Jesus' ability to overcome death. -Jeremiah

*If I have you by the hand, death is nothing but sleep.(words of Jesus) -Timothy Keller

Summary of the text:
*Jairus meets Jesus just as he has crossed by boat over to the other side of the lake.
*Jairus explains to Jesus the state his 12 yr old daughter is in, sick almost to death.
*Jesus agrees to go with him.
*Crowds begin to press against Jesus and a women who has been bleeding for 12 years touches Jesus.
*Immediately, power goes out from Jesus to this women and her faith heals her.
*The women, in fear, falls at Jesus feet and tells him the whole truth.
*Jesus explains that her faith has healed her and she may go knowing He knows her.
*Men from Jairus' house come to Jesus and Jairus and tell that his daughter has died and there is no need for the teacher.
*Jesus tells Jairus, "Don't be afraid, just believe."
*Jesus takes Jairus, the mother, and his 3 disciples that are with him into the house and tells the little girl, "honey, it's time to get up"
*The little girl gets up immediately, walks around and is offered some food

My application:
Just as Jairus goes to Jesus with a prayer request, we too do the same thing. And through the story of Jairus' journey, we can see just how close and personal our Jesus is to our needs. He hears us, and he has a plan for every request we make. For the woman, her request to Jesus was answered immediately. For Jairus, God tested his faith through the journey back to his home and ultimately answers his request greater than he had asked for. When we make requests to Jesus, more often than not, we go on our journey as Jairus did. Jesus is with us the entire time and sometimes along the way to answering our request He answers other people's requests. And I can fully admit that it frustrates me and I believe Jairus was probably frustrated too. We think our request is more urgent than everyone else's, we know God is with us, so why does he wait? Jairus faith grew during this period of time and I believe Jesus desires to grow our faith in Him as well. We don't see the answer to our requests right away because He has a plan, He's on a journey with us. And the best part of this story for me is how Jesus ultimately upgrades the answer to Jairus' request by resurrecting his daughter from the dead.

Jesus hears our prayers, and sometimes He answers them immediately, but other times, He takes us on a journey, where He never leaves our side, He demonstrates His power in others so that our faith can be grown, and almost always answers our prayers greater than what we have asked for.

Jesus orders my steps, and through His word I learn just who He is. I'm so glad I know Jesus, that He  hears my every prayer, and will answer them.

Lord Jesus,
I lift up to you right now those around me who do not know you as their personal Savior. Lord Jesus will you draw them to you. Will you show yourself to them just as you did to Jairus and his family as well as to the woman in this story. Jesus soften their hearts, and while you do so, may I be patient on the journey to their healing. Show me Lord where my faith must be strengthen and continue to use me as you so desire.
I also lift up to you the hearts of the children and their parents who I will one day be working alongside of in Kenya. May you Lord prepare the way, order there steps, and may they come to know you as their personal Savior.
I pray Lord for my obedience and faith. Strengthen me through your Word, may I seek you for every need, and have the faith to know you will always answer them, according to your will. Walk close beside me Lord and don't let me off the path you have me on. Order my steps in Your word.
I lift up to you specifically the team of people that you are orchestrating to be apart of your ministry to the families in Kenya. May you be working in their hearts to want to be apart, may they give cheerfully to You, and Lord will you bless them for their obedience.
I lift up to you the kids here in San Diego and around the country who you desire to show yourself to through this ministry. Guard their hearts Lord and may they desire to be faithful to you and the will you have for their lives.
You oh Lord are amazing. You love me so much and are always with me. Continue to order my steps each and every day.
                                   In your precious and powerful name I pray,

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Pray for Kenya Elections

This Monday, March 4th, 2013, the people of Kenya will be electing a new president. There last election in 2007 turned out violent and cost the lives of many people. Here is an article by the Huffington Post by Edmund Blair.

Will you join me in praying for this country, for peace during these next few days and God's will to be accepted.

NAIROBI, March 1 (Reuters) - Kenyans choose a new president on Monday in a closely fought election that has divided the east African nation and raised fears of a repeat of the bloodshed that followed the tightly contested race five years ago.

Rival tribe members wielding machetes, knives, and bows and arrows butchered more than 1,200 people after the disputed 2007 vote, shattering Kenya's reputation as one of the continent's most stable democracies and dealing a heavy blow to east Africa's biggest economy from which it is only now recovering.

The government has spent five years trying to rebuild confidence with a reformed judiciary and newly appointed police commanders. Church preachers and civil society groups have brought politicians and rival voters together in rallies in Nairobi's central park to appeal for a peaceful vote.

Yet, this year's race is haunted by the past. One of the top two candidates, Uhuru Kenyatta, 51, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for instigating the violence after the 2007 race. And tribal loyalties will again largely determine who backs Kenyatta or his main rival Raila Odinga, 68.

The United States and other major Western donors are watching warily. Victory by an ICC suspect would make for tricky relations with a nation seen as vital to regional stability and a bulwark against militant Islam in neighbouring Somalia.

Other neighbouring countries fear another bout of violence will again choke the Kenyan trade corridor and send shockwaves through their economies. Landlocked Uganda has built up fuel reserves and its construction firms have stockpiled materials.

In Nairobi's Kibera slum, where a railway line was uprooted and shacks that were homes to thousands were torched after the last election, 32-year-old Esther Musemi said voters and politicians had learned the lesson and would accept the result.

"Last time, we were not aware but this time we know what is going on," she said. But she still put the chance of another flare-up at "fifty-fifty" and nearby store owners had depleted their stock to reduce potential losses if a new rampage erupts.


Both top contenders are way ahead of the other six rivals, but polls suggest the race is too close to call, raising the prospect of a bruising run-off in April unless one candidate can get more than 50 percent. A narrow victory, however, could well be challenged by the loser or his backers.

Provisional results could emerge hours after the vote because of a new electronic tallying system, but official results may not be announced for a day or two, or even longer.

"Many people are saying they don't think Kenyans are going to be suckered into another round of clashes led by the political elite," said Africa Confidential editor Patrick Smith.

"But at the end of the day this is a bare-knuckle, brutal contest in which the stakes have rarely been higher," he said.

For Deputy Prime Minister Kenyatta, son of the first president after Kenya became independent from Britain in 1963, losing means he would have an unsympathetic government at home while he faces charges of crimes against humanity in The Hague.

Prime Minister Odinga, on the other hand, may be facing his last shot at the top job after narrowly missing out in 2007. Failure would mark another defeat in the family's political ambitions after Odinga's father fell out with Kenyatta's father in a long-running rivalry during the early years of Kenyan independence, and failed to secure the top post.

There are however differences this time that may reduce the prospects of widespread violence that had its epicentre in the Rift Valley, the agricultural heartland in the west of Kenya.

"Now you can hear all the key players saying that in the case of any disputes they will revert to the legal process for the resolution of that dispute," said Adams Oloo, head of political science at the University of Nairobi.

The new committee overseeing the vote has won support across the political divide. The judiciary has been reformed to free it from executive interference and has a new, widely respected chief justice, Willy Mutunga.

Investors are betting on a calm vote. Share prices have rallied and the shilling is trading around its strongest levels against the dollar this year.


But worrying signs remain. Mutunga said this month he and other judges had received threats from a criminal gang that wanted to ensure no legal obstacles stopped Kenyatta running.

In Kibera, a shanty town where Odinga's Luo tribe loyalists live cheek-by-jowl with Kenyatta's Kikuyu, fears of a fresh flare-up are barely concealed.

"People are worried," said James Kamau, a Kenyatta supporter, as he sold some of the last planks of wood from a corrugated-iron shack, deliberately running down his stores. "At this time, I have no stock. It used to fill this whole place."

Signs of the violence in the slum are still visible. Some of the few cement block buildings in the area have never had their torched roofs repaired, and many residents have stories of homes or stores being demolished in the angry rampage.

Karen Adoyo, 36, wearing an orange Odinga supporter t-shirt, played down tensions but then warned of violence if Kenyatta was declared victor because "I know Raila is going to win."

To secure victory, both candidates have to reach out beyond their own ethnic groups. Kikuyu may be the biggest tribe but still only account for about a fifth of Kenyans. Odinga and Kenyatta both have picked running mates from other tribes.

The run-up has also been tense. Tribal violence fuelled by political rivalries killed almost 200 people late last year in the Tana region and scuffles marred primary races in the run-up to votes that will also include races for the governors of major cities and the upper and lower houses of parliament.

Leaflets have been distributed in some areas warning members of rival tribes to leave, a chilling reminder of the 2007 vote when about 350,000 people were forced to flee their homes.

Stephen Omondi, a maize seller in Kibera, said his friend in the port city of Mombasa had received one such threat and was leaving, while some residents of Kibera had packed up.

But the 42-year-old said he wouldn't leave the place where he was registered to cast his ballot. "I must vote. This is my country. This is my future and the future of all citizens." (Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by James Macharia and Giles Elgood) 
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