14 November 2018

"Finish going out strong and faithful", words of the late Charles Wesco, missionary to Cameroon

Charles Wesco (age 44, a missionary at Bamenda, Cameroon) was on his way to an outdoor market October 30th, when he was caught in crossfire and died. Charles' memorial service was held in Indiana on November 12th. The family had arrived in the country just 12 days prior, ready to start their ministry. God put it on their heart a few years ago, and for the past two years they intensely prepared for their move. Please pray for his widow, Stephanie, and their eight children. 

Currently there is ongoing political unrest and conflict in Cameroon. For a year and a half, the Cameroonian military has been accused of beating and arresting people suspected of being separatists, torching homes and killing unarmed protesters. Armed separatists have called for a boycott of local schools, contending that the French-language schools discriminate against English-speaking students. The fighting may lead to a civil war.

The United Nations rights chief has expressed 'deep alarm' at spiraling Cameroon violence, blaming the government and armed groups for a litany of abuses in anglophone regions during the unrest. It has displaced more than 180,000 people.
“We see the situation degenerating from a crisis to a conflict,” said Gaby Ambo, executive director of the Finders Group Initiative, a human rights group in Cameroon. “And if nothing is done soon, it will turn into a civil war with grave consequences.”

Quote by a fellow missionary in Cameroon

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Psalm 37:23). God is never taken by surprise. While we may not understand God’s providences, we must rest in His Providence. We live in time; God lives in eternity. Endowed by God with a brilliant mind, Charles desired to do God’s will. One thing is certain. God is powerful enough to use the life and death of Charles Wesco for His glory, and He will. May the God of all comfort bring peace and His all-sufficiency to Stephanie and the family as they go forward, and may the Lord of the harvest use this perplexing turn of events to further His cause and kingdom." ~ John Van Gelderen (https://revivalfocus.org)

Paul, 2 Corinthians 11:23-27

A martyr is someone who is killed because of their religious beliefs. Down through the ages there have been many, many Christians killed for their faith. Most of Jesus' twelve disciples were martyred. And certainly the apostle Paul suffered a long list of dangers, trials, and challenges as a missionary. He wrote about these difficulties in 2 Corinthians, chapter 11.

Of course, many of us remember the four missionaries: Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, and Pete Fleming, all of whom who were murdered in Ecuador in 1956. I wrote two blog posts about their story on the 60th anniversary of their martyrdom. You can read them here and here.

"Finish going out strong and faithful in His power and grace, and you will never regret it." 
~ Charles Wesco (1974-2018), missionary to Cameroon  

13 November 2018

Discovering a challenging new place to explore with Robai

Having recently heard about Samich Resort, this was our first time to check it out

Just like Kerio View Hotel, Samich also sits on top of the escarpment overlooking the stunning Great Rift Valley

Both of us love to be out in nature enjoying the warmth of the sun, and the beauty all around us

Ai, yi, yi! It was a hard climb going what seemed like straight up, with the air getting thinner with each step!

Somehow I managed it, with Robai's encouragement, and we enjoyed a lovely lunch at the restaurant

12 November 2018

Visiting Agnes' family and meeting Duane "Junior"!

Agnes plus four of her five sons, along with her first grand-child, Duane "Junior", his mother Lydia, and also Robai

When Duane (left) was born on Thanksgiving Day 2004, he was named for my father.
Now Agnes' first grand-child is also named Duane. How very exciting!

All of us ladies are excited about another Duane in Kenya: Robai, Agnes, myself, and Lydia.

Zachary Caleb was named for my two sons when he was born

Duane "Junior", Adu (Anderson), and Robai

Pope mended the trousers of his school uniform, as Zach watched 

The young people with Duane

The boys all say 'hello'. Duane Junior's father, Tony, was in Nairobi but I hope to meet him again soon.

11 November 2018

Another visit with Nathan's family, plus Deb at school

Lunch time at Fountain Grammar School, plus a cute sign :)

One of Deb's teachers gave her extra coaching as she prepared to take the KCPE exam, the culmination of eight years of primary school.

Yum! Roasted maize is one of my favorite snacks in Kenya!

Nathan is building two pit latrines and a washroom for his family. 

He's also trying out a new venture of keeping pigs

A couple of the boys, happy to see me again but a bit shy


I took this top video while on Nathan's motorbike, somewhere between Farfaral and Matunda. The second video was also filmed while on Nathan's motorbike, as we drove along the highway at Matunda market, a place I frequented for 8 years when I had my mud hut at Mtoni.

[By the way, just ignore the other video thumbnails that pop up at the end of these videos, as those aren't mine. Also, you can view all of my videos on my YouTube channel. Just click here to see more.]

10 November 2018

Challenging missionary quotes from the 18th / 19th centuries, plus one from the 21st century - part 2

"Civilization is not necessary before Christianity; do both together if you will, but you will find civilization follows Christianity more easily than Christianity follows civilization."

Samuel Marsden (1765-1838), English missionary to New Zealand

"Oh, that I had a thousand lives and a thousand bodies! All of them should be devoted to no other employment but to preach Christ. In the north I have seen in the morning sun, the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever been."

Robert Moffat (1795-1883), Scottish missionary in southern Africa

"Trials and hairbreadth escapes only strengthened my faith and nerved me for more to follow. Without that abiding consciousness of the presence and power of my Lord and Savior, nothing in the world could have preserved me from losing my reason and perishing miserably."

John Paton (1824-1907), Scottish missionary to South Pacific islands

"I have always said I have no idea how God has carried me over so many funny and hard places, except in answer to prayer made at home for me. It is all beyond my comprehension. The only way I can explain it is on the ground that I have been prayed for more than most. Pray on, dear one — the power lies that way."

Mary Slessor (1848-1915), British missionary in Nigeria

"I realized my life was to be one of simple, childlike faith, and that my part was to trust, not to do. I was to trust in Him and He would work in me to do His good pleasure. From that time my life was different. Christ wants not nibblers of the possible, but grabbers of the impossible, by faith in the omnipotence, fidelity, and wisdom of the Almighty Savior who gave the command."

C.T. Studds (1860-1931), missionary in China, India, Central Arica

"Let us see that we keep God before our eyes; that we walk in His ways and seek to please and glorify Him in everything, great and small. Depend upon it, God's work, done in God's way, will never lack God's supplies."

Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), British missionary in China

[above photos and quotes were taken from wholesomewords.org]

"My God-given assignment is a simple one, that of loving my neighbor, which is the second-greatest commandment. God orchestrated me becoming friends with a handful of single moms and their children. We do life together - blow bubbles and have picnics at the park; we share laughter and we share tears. These are intimate and close-up relationships, long-lasting and deep, difficult yet rewarding."

Deb Smith (1955- ), American missionary to Kenya 

19 September 2018

Challenging missionary quotes from the 18th / 19th centuries, plus one from the 21st century - part 1

"It is impossible for any rational creature to be happy without acting all for God. God Himself could not make him happy any other way... There is nothing in the world worth living for but doing good and finishing God's work, doing the work that Christ did. I see nothing else in the world that can yield any satisfaction besides living to God, pleasing Him, and doing his whole will."

David Brainerd (1718-1747), American missionary to Delaware Indians of New Jersey

Shortly before his death, Carey said to a friend:

"You have been saying much about Dr. Carey and his work. When I am gone, say nothing about Dr. Carey; speak about Dr. Carey's savior."

William Carey (1761-1834), British missionary to India

"The command - Go into all the world - seems to be strictly an injunction, and, as far as I can see, my going forth is a matter of obedience to a plain command. In place of seeking to assign a reason for going abroad, I would prefer to say that I have failed to discover any reason why I should stay at home."

James Gilmour (1843-1891), Scottish missionary to Mongolia

"I feel it is my duty to plod on, while daylight shall last. I am not tired of my work, neither am I tired of the world; yet, when Christ calls me home, I shall go with gladness."

Adoniram Judson (1788-1850), American missionary to Burma

"Remember us in your prayers that we grow not weary in well doing. It is hard to work for years with pure motives. Many look upon us as having some ulterior object in view; but He who died for us, and whom we ought to copy, did more for us than we can do for any one else. We should have grace to follow in His steps. I am a missionary, heart and soul. In this service I hope to live; in it I wish to die!"

David Livingstone (1813-1873), Scottish missionary in various parts of Africa

"Lord, enable us to search our hearts and humble ourselves before Thee. Oh, for a closer walk with God, more faith, more sincerity, more earnestness, and more love. I must study more the Word of God. 'If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you.' The Master said so, and His words are true."

Alexander M. Mackay (1849-1890), Scottish missionary to Uganda

[above photos and quotes were taken from wholesomewords.org]

"Becoming a missionary and living in a foreign land was never on my radar. However, during a period of intensely seeking the Lord, he literally stood me up on my feet and sent me in a new direction. The very next day I applied for a passport... all-the-while maintaining a responsive posture. I was ready, ready to follow wherever God led me. A mere five months later, in October 2001, I found myself in Kenya, East Africa. It's now been 17 years and I am still here walking in the footsteps my Lord lays out for me."

"Always be ready for God's surprise visits. It's possible he just might have a new assignment for you!"

Deb Smith (1955- ), American missionary to Kenya   

17 September 2018

The Lord's Prayer for Missionaries; Crossing Cultures in Scripture, by Marvin J. Newell

The Lord's Prayer was offered by Jesus as a pattern for all believers. It helps us identify and focus on aspects of our relationships with God, others, and self that are most important.

Have you ever pondered the Lord's Prayer in light of the missionary's cross-cultural task? There are eleven core issues: three relating to God's person, three to his program, and five to God's cross-cultural messenger.

When we step back from the throes of ministry immersion and reflect on our involvement in his missional program, we gain a reassurance of purposefulness in our cross-cultural engagements.

- - - - -

Our Father
You are the transcendent, omnipotent God, the one and only true God. Yet, you have sent me out as your ambassador to proclaim you as a loving, caring Father. You are worthy of all praise.

In heaven
You are totally other than your creation. You exist outside and above all that you have made. I declare to the all around me the paradox that you reside in unapproachable light, yet make yourself approachable to the lowest of people through your son, Jesus Christ.

Hallowed by your name
The ultimate end of every person, and certainly my labor as your messenger, is to bring unadulterated worship to you. This is the core message I proclaim to people who ignore your majesty and violate the standards of your holiness.

Your Kingdom come
You have sent me to other kingdoms of this world, where wrongs won't be righted and justice won't be served until you come and establish your eternal kingdom. You are the king of all, and yours in the dominion forever and ever.

Your will be done
As your servant, I have enfolded my will into yours. In following your will for my life, you sent me to this far and distant land, to a people much different from me. This has been good, and the longer I'm here, the longer I see the goodness of your will being done through my life. My presence here is part of your purposeful design. I value your will for my life.

On earth as it is in heaven
I am learning more and more about your plan for those living across the span of this vast earth. You aren't willing that any should perish. Use me to help make your will become a reality in this corner of the earth, where you have sent me.

Give me this day my daily bread
Lord, my daily bread is supplied through the generosity of your people. You have blessed them so they can be a blessing to me, as well as to the people to whom you have connected me. I never seem to have a lot, but I always have enough. My supporters are generous and I thank you for supplying my daily needs.

Forgive our debts
A lot of people make my ministry possible. Help all of us to continue going forward together in harmony and oneness of spirit.

As we also have forgiven our debtors
I have learned to forgive people here who have opposed or offended me: government officials, local pastors who jockey for position, jealous or hostile locals, etc. Help me to continually forgive, for tension with others will always be my lot as long as I'm on a mission with you.

Lead me not into temptation
Even as a missionary, I am tempted to sin on a daily basis. The same temptations that vied for my heart and mind at home in the States, are also here... albeit more accentuated. There's no such thing as sanctification by aviation; my old nature flew over here with me! Help me be a champion over besetting sins and ongoing temptation.

Deliver me from evil
Peter wasn't exaggerating when he said, "Satan prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." The prince of this world hates me and my work, but I am engaged in spiritual warfare against him. Thanks be to you, Lord, for you have given me - your frail yet willing ambassador - the victory!


- - - - -

"Christ's prayer stands as a model not only for our personal prayer, but for our ministries as well. It's only when my heart is captured by the awe of God that I will view my identity rightly. And it's only when I view my identity rightly that I will have a proper sense of need and a willingness to abandon my plan for the greater and more glorious plan of God."

  ~ Paul David Tripp, pastor and author

11 September 2018

2018 Home-stay - New York City: building a bench, GeoCaching, hanging out, and a leadership summit

New York City is so fascinating, and I always enjoy exploring it! What better way to do that than with GeoCaching.

Yum! I could smell the wonderful aroma from all this fruit as I walked past. Buying goods on the sidewalk reminds me of Kenya!

I headed out on my own to do some GeoCaching on two days. So much fun!

I enjoyed building this bench over the course of several days, with the kids helping me.

Heading to the kids' track meet with scooters, like true New Yorkers.

I was fortunate to attend the 2-day Global Leadership Summit.

There were so many fantastic speakers, but I especially enjoyed Erwin McManus. These are a few excerpts from his talk -

We need to ask ourselves - How can I become the person I was created to be? In 2 Kings, when King Jehoash is about to be destroyed by an army, he knows the only way to win is if God is on his side. Elisha tells him to take arrows and strike them on the ground and he will have victory. So the king strikes the ground three times and stops. Elisha asks him why he stopped, because now he will only have partial victory.

How many of us have confused those moments in our life when we thought we failed, but we really quit.
We settled for much less than the life we are supposed to live.

Most of us live our lives as if we are going to live forever. We are all dying; we don’t get any of our days back. We must treat each day like it's sacred. Some of you are living your life in fear. Freedom is on the other side of your fear! If you don’t deal with the paralyzing power of fear in your life, you will never live the life you were created to live. Your faith is the fuel you need to step into your pain and into your fear and into your failures. Take the arrow and strike and strike and strike and strike and strike.

When you take your last breath, let your quiver be empty... 
and let your last arrow be in your hand.