10 October 2019

Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventure; enjoying God's great out-of-doors [part 1]

Linet, like me, loves to be outside enjoying God's great out-of-doors

Sadly, many people never take the time to see the beauty in their own backyard. A mere 25% of Americans under the age of 35 spend more than an hour outside each day, and 30% of American adults do not spend any time outside on a daily basis. We have become risk-averse, and in doing so have dulled our experience of life. [source: US National Park and Recreation Association]

The average American spends 93% of their life indoors, including 87% in buildings, houses, etc and another 6% in vehicles. That means only 7% of your entire life is spent outdoors. [source: US Environmental Protection Agency, 1987]

And so... Linet and I headed out for a two-day adventure outside, looking for GeoCaches and exploring new vistas. We started with a stop at her son, Jeremy's school in Gilgil. He was happy to see both of us and also happy with the snacks we brought for him.

From there we found another matatu (public transportation vehicle) to Nyahururu, Kenya's highest town at 7,740 feet. It's name is derived from a Maasai word - e-naiwurruwurr - meaning waterfall, windy, or place of storms.

Linet was thrilled to see Thompson Falls (243' high) for her first time
(The waterfall was named by a Scottish explorer in 1883)

Chameleons are such cool creatures!

We watched hippos here, including one that opened its mouth big and roared - another first for Linet!

Then we got two boda bodas, and arrived at a viewpoint with a few curio shops.
I logged a GeoCache that was placed in this shop, and also bought a few items.
From here, we got on another matatu and headed to Nakuru in the dark and rain. We each got a cup of tea at a café and found a cheap room for overnight. Our first destination in the morning was Lake Elementaita, where we found and logged a GeoCache.

Linet was excited to see this lake up-close for her first time. Unfortunately, the flamingos were a bit far away.

We used two boda boda guys to take us to four different places, including this big hill where we found another GeoCache.

Joseph, the guide at Kariandusi Pre-Historic Site, is so knowledgeable! I'm holding a hand-axe dating thousands of years ago.
Besides learning about the history here, I was able to log two more GeoCaches. It was another place Linet was seeing for her first time.

"More of our population would be out in the countryside if they knew what was there waiting for them. Inside many of us beats the heart of Indiana Jones, craving the chance to have an authentic experience in the wild."   ~ Forest Fenn, art dealer, author, and adventurer

08 October 2019

18 years in Kenya (October 2001 - October 2019), Oswald Chambers' thoughts on being a missionary

I am created for God; he made me.
I must continually keep my soul open to the fact of his creative purpose
and never confuse it with my own intentions.

God wants me in a relationship where he is so easily my master and teacher
that I have no conscious awareness of it -
a relationship where all I know is that I am his to obey.

A missionary is someone in whom the Holy Spirit
has brought about this realization:
'You are not your own.'
We are called to be Jesus Christ’s own
and are not dictate to him what we intend to do.

The same things that happened to our Lord will happen to us on our way to our 'Jerusalem'.
There will be works of God exhibited through us, people will get blessed,
and one or two will show gratitude while the rest will show total ingratitude.
But nothing must divert us from going 'up to [our] Jerusalem.'

Nothing ever diverted our Lord on His way to Jerusalem.
He never hurried through certain villages where He was persecuted,
or lingered in others where He was blessed.

Neither gratitude nor ingratitude turned our Lord
even the slightest degree away from His purpose to go 'up to Jerusalem.'

The desire that comes into a disciple is not one of doing anything for Jesus,
but of being a perfect delight to Him.

The missionary’s secret is truly being able to say,
'I am His, and He is accomplishing His work and His purposes through me.'
Be entirely his!

The key to the missionary’s work is the authority of Jesus Christ,
not the needs of the lost.

He says, “Go on the basis of the revealed truth of My sovereignty,
teaching and preaching out of your living experience of Me.”

“None of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself,
so that I may finish my race with joy,
and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 20:24).

That is how to keep going until we are gone from this life.

The key to the missionary’s devotion is that he is
attached to nothing and to no one except our Lord Himself.
It does not mean simply being detached from the external things surrounding us.

Our Lord was amazingly in touch with the ordinary things of life,
but He had an inner detachment except toward God.

The duty of a faithful missionary is to concentrate on
keeping his soul completely and continually open to the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The men and women our Lord sends out on His endeavors are ordinary human people,
but people who are controlled by their devotion to Him,
which has been brought about through the work of the Holy Spirit.

God is at work bending, breaking, molding, and doing exactly as He chooses.
And why is He doing it?
He is doing it for only one purpose - that He may be able to say,
“This is My man, and this is My woman.”

Once God has placed His call upon you,
woe be to you if you 'turn aside to the right or the left.' (Deut. 28:14).
He will do with you what He is not doing with other people.
Let Him have His way.

All of God’s people are ordinary people
who have been made extraordinary by the purpose He has given them.

A missionary is someone sent by Jesus Christ just as He was sent by God.
The great controlling factor is not the needs of people,
but the command of Jesus.

The source of our inspiration in our service for God is behind us, not ahead of us.
The tendency today is to put the inspiration out in front -
to sweep everything together in front of us and make it conform to our definition of success.

In the New Testament the inspiration is put behind us,
and is the Lord Jesus Himself.
The goal is to be true to Him - to carry out His plans.

In missionary work the great danger is that God’s call
will be replaced by the needs of the people,
to the point that human sympathy for those needs
will absolutely overwhelm the meaning of being sent by Jesus.

The needs are so enormous, and the conditions so difficult,
but we must remember the command of Jesus Christ -
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” (Matthew 28:19).

A missionary is created for the purpose of being God's servant,
one in whom God is glorified.
Beware lest you forget God's purposes for your life.

To go simply means to live.

- - - - - - -

Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) was a Scottish Baptist evangelist and teacher, best known for the devotional My Utmost for His Highest.

His writings have greatly influenced me!

All quotes above are Chambers'.

Photos are a random selection, representing my God-ordained ministry relationships.

17 September 2019

Trip to Kenya's South Coast and Ukunda, Part Four: an amazing visit at Shimba Hills village, witnessing a miracle

I first met Katunge (seated in the wheelchair) at Shimba Hills in 2002. She was sitting on the ground on market day, making makuti (roof shingles) out of palm fronds. She called out to me, 'Mzungu, kaa hapa (white lady, sit here)", which I proceeded to do. We've been friends ever since then.

Ha, ha! The cat is also posing in this picture, as Katunge and I sit on her bed chatting.

During this recent visit, I found out that Katunge (now 90 years old), had recently suffered a stroke. She was at home alone when it happened and collapsed on the ground inside her mud house, her right leg and arm suffered from paralysis.

Katunge is now back at home after six months in a hospital. Her grandson (wearing a white t-shirt) helps her before he leaves for school and after he gets home, but mostly she's alone during the day. She told me (through translation) that she's not able to do much. She's been praying for a wheelchair and asked if I could provide her with one. I asked Stella (Masudi's mom, in the orange dress), if she knew of any organization that could provide Katunge with a wheelchair.

Just then, Mody (Masudi's nephew, in a blue shirt) heard a motorbike arrive and stood up to look out the door. He turned to us and stated very nonchalantly - "A wheelchair just arrived."

I jumped up saying, "What! Are you serious?"

The boda boda guy chats with Katunge briefly before leaving

Sure enough, a boda boda (motorbike taxi) had just arrived unannounced and dropped off a wheelchair for Katunge! He was there for less than five minutes and refused to say who had sent the 'miracle gift from heaven'.

After it was removed from the motorbike, Linet brought it over to Katunge

Mody and the grandson carried Katunge out of the house and put her in the wheelchair

The boda boda driver says farewell, and left as quietly as he arrived

A big pile of coconuts at Katunge's place, waiting to be sold

There was also more reason to celebrate, this time for Stella (Masudi's mom, who lives just a short distance from Katunge). My Mom had recently made it possible for her to have water piped directly to her house and stored in this large water tank. It has simplified her life in so many ways!

Linet translates as Stella says 'thank you' to my Mom.

A good looking rooster, at Stella's place

Before leaving Shimba Hills, we stopped by to see Emma (Masudi's sister) at her shop

12 September 2019

Trip to Kenya's South Coast and Ukunda, Part Three: camels, starfish, bush babies, coconuts, and tuktuks

I've been to Diani Beach many times when these camels are around, but had never ridden any of them.
On this trip, I decided it was finally time to do so! Linet was also eager to give it a try.

The owner charged us $5 each for our stroll down the beach. It was quite fun :)

That same day we joined a few other folks on a glass-bottom boat, going out to a nearby sandbar while the tide was low. It was another first for both of us! This short video shows what we could see through the glass-bottom of the boat.

One of the boat guys gathered a few starfish and sea urchins, so we could see and touch them briefly. Later, while snorkeling, I saw many of that same kind of starfish.

Such a stunning starfish!

Interesting sea urchin 

You heavens, praise God. Praise him, earth.
Also ocean and all things that swim in it.
~ Psalm 69:34, Message

I love snorkeling!

One evening, I took Linet to Stilts Tree Houses to see and feed the Bush Babies (also known as Galago). They're nocturnal animals, waking up around 7pm when it gets dark. They have very sensitive and large ears, plus quite large eyes to find their prey at night. They eat insects, lizards, eggs, birds, fruit, leaves, and flowers.

Linet was a natural at feeding them, with a few small pieces of banana

During our four days at the Coast, we consumed a LOT of coconut water and meat. So, so delicious!
We bought 10 from Mohammed; he opened some for us and we also tried our hand at it.

Godwill took us to our guesthouse with his motorbike, after a lovely evening with his family.

We used a lot of tuk-tuks to get around, and ended up having this polite young man drive us a few times.