29 June 2007

Hiking in Red Rock Canyon with Zach

July Prayer Letter

I had a good time in the Las Vegas area with Zach. We went to a Las Vegas Gladiators arena football game and ate at Joe's Crab Shack with two of his friends on my birthday. Yum! It was delicious! We also strolled around the strip for several hours. We saw the massive Hoover Dam, as well as the amazing Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge that's still under construction. WOW! The vision and ingenuity of man are readily apparent at these two sites! We did some hiking at beautiful Red Rock Canyon. We waited until evening hours so it would only be 100 degrees outside! Hahaha!

Lake Mead is the result of damming the Colorado River

I leave to return to Kenya on the 16th. Please pray with me about the following items:

  1. That I will accomplish all I need to in these last few days
  2. That my flights will go well
  3. That I’ll find appropriate housing in Nairobi
  4. That I will be sensitive to the Lord's leading as I get re-established in my Kenya routine

A Tale of One of the Least of These

Having just arrived from Nairobi at the ever-bustling Matunda market, my first stop was to see Zadok. I like to greet him and get an update on how his family is doing. I left my bag with him at his tiny “jua kali” (under the hot sun) business, where he repairs bicycles. I then went to the little Cherangani View cafĂ© for some “githeri” (a simple lunch of corn and beans).

As always, I wanted to get some produce and staples before I headed to my house. I walked over to the area where several crudely constructed kiosks are clustered together. A very disheveled older man approached me. His hand was extended in the universal begging gesture. The woman selling me avocados offered her unsolicited advice, “Don’t give him anything”. I silently agreed with her, as it’s very much my rule of thumb to not give to beggars.

The gentleman followed me as I looked for carrots and ripe mangoes at another kiosk. As I bought my carrots, the man enthusiastically volunteered (as if we were now acquainted), “Kenyan carrots are good”. His comment made me chuckle out loud. Both he and the produce vendor joined with me in my laughter. I found it amusing because, as he followed me around, he continually offered up non-stop unintelligible chatter. However, that particular sentence came out very clear and distinct.

Sharing that moment of laughter had perhaps caused me to take a second glance at him. Initially I saw him only as a destitute and homeless vagabond. To be sure, he was dirty and unkempt. He wore four layers of raggedy shirts and coats. His hands were filthy. Who could know when he’d last bathed. One shoe didn’t match the other and one of them was severely coming apart at the sole.

He next followed me to George and Jen’s shop. People always stare at me in the bustling Matunda market, but today they really had a reason with my tag-along friend. George and Jen politely requested him to leave, using the reverent title, “Mzee” (old man). He seemed to have rather selective hearing and remained at my side. Out of his non-stop ramblings I managed to hear him ask me to buy him bread. I told him, “No”. George, a kind young man, was tempted to give him something but didn’t want to encourage him stopping by for handouts again in the future.

The man’s eyes almost had a sparkle to them, in spite of his apparent ill health. So many passersby stopped to observe us. I wondered when the gentleman might have had a decent meal. In spite of this observation, I just wasn’t comfortable giving him anything.

As I headed back to Zadok’s, he was right there at my side again, still constantly mumbling and rambling. He always returned my smiles. His face was wrinkled face, his eyes kind.

I wondered what bad luck had befallen him to create his current circumstances. He was obviously educated to some level, because when he spoke coherently, his English was good. I imagined that his rather serious cleft lip had possibly caused him ridicule throughout his life.

I had “booked” Wycliffe to cycle me to my house at 2:00; it was now 1:45 and I couldn’t find him anywhere. I waited with Zadok as my new-found friend continued his non-stop chatter.

The man thanked me because it was “wazungu” (whites) who first brought the gospel to Kenya. “Otherwise we wouldn’t have known ‘Mungu’ (God),” he proclaimed, like a well-practiced preacher. He went on to talk about God appearing to Moses in the flaming bush and how Elisha wasn’t allowed to see God’s face – only his backside. At this point he used many gestures, bringing his hand down across his face and turning around to illustrate his backside.

Once I relaxed and waited for Wycliffe (secretly hoping he’d show up soon), I actually enjoyed the guy. He wasn’t in the least bit obnoxious (like so many similar people have been). I think he rather enjoyed the fact that I listened to him and made eye contact with him.

In fact, he’d long ago stopped begging. He simply wanted to share his stories and have someone listen to him.

A friend of Zadok’s sat down and joined us. He kept politely urging the man to leave, “Grandfather, you just go away now. Old man, go home.”

Again, the man gave absolutely no indication that he heard. By now, he was attracting a small crowd. I gave him 10-bob (14 cents), thinking he’d leave. But he didn’t seem at all interested in the money. I think he was simply enjoying my company.

He randomly rummaged through his pockets and pulled out stuff. He was completely oblivious to the fact that three one-bob coins fell to the ground.

Strangely, he had two small plastic bags filled with jumbled wads of trash. He turned one of these bags upside-down, allowing the treasured contents to fall to the ground. I couldn’t help wondering if the various items had any significance to him.

I picked up his three coins and handed them back to him. As he took them, I wondered if he was even cognizant of their actual value.

Eventually Wycliffe came. I helped the man collect his scattered items from the ground and put them back into his torn bag for him.

He seemed to understand that our encounter had come to an end and wandered off into the busy market crowd.

"'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me - you did it to me.' Matthew 25:37-40 (The Message)

A Bike Ride With Terran

Terran and I did a 25-mile bike ride on Keystone Trail (in Omaha).
We had a great time!


You may recall that I've been posting parts of my talk at Mt.Vernon Christian Center the last few weeks. This was the conclusion to my talk:

The American culture seems to be all about self!

  • self-fulfillment
  • self-sufficiency
  • self-dependence
  • self-will
  • self-indulgence
  • self-preservation

BUT... God has called us to self-denial! He has called us to surrender!

Mark 10:45 tells us why Jesus came. He came togive away his life.

Oswald Chambers said:

Our Lord’s teaching is always anti-self-realization. His purpose is not the development of a man; His purpose is to make a man exactly like Himself, and the characteristic of the Son of God is self-expenditure. If we believe in Jesus, it is not what we gain, but what He pours through us that counts. It is not that God makes us beautifully rounded grapes, but that He squeezes the sweetness out of us. Spiritually, we cannot measure our life by success, but only by what God pours through us, and we cannot measure that at all.

I John 3:16, 17 – (Message) This is how we've come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God's love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.

I find much encouragement in this verse:

Hebrews 6:10 – (Message) God doesn’t miss anything. He knows perfectly well all the love you’ve shown Him by helping needy Christians, and that you keep at it.

Each of you has a ministry. Your ministry won't look like mine. God may not send you to a foreign land.

Dinah Shitanda, a Kenyan friend of mine, said - "Deb, what a wonderful ministry you have! It’s high time we honored such. We’re all different – some of us are an arm, some of us are a leg, and some of us are hands. We shouldn’t try to duplicate one another."

If perhaps you don't have confidence you're spending your time being who God wants you to be, or doing what God wants you to do, may I encourage you to spend some time in self-discovery.

Turn off your TV! Read books like Don’t Waste Your Life. Get into the Word. Spend extended time in prayer. Do some fasting.

Be open to His leading!

Paul said in Acts 20:24, “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.”

Acts 13:36 (Message) says, “David completed the work God set out for him.”

At the end of my life, I want to hear, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant!'

John Piper, in Don’t Waste Your Life, says, “If we do not learn with Paul the Christ-exalting paradoxes of life, we will squander our days pursuing bubbles that burst.”

I personally do not want to squander my days!

I do not want to pursue bubbles that burst!

Only one life, ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.

Jim Elliot, the missionary to Ecuador who was martyred said, “Better to give up what you cannot keep, to gain what you cannot lose.”

Tony and Aaliyah (in Ohio)

My Mom and I had a great trip to Ohio to see Naomi and Todd and their kids. How fun it is to watch the grandkids!

Notice I've put another video link on the upper right-hand column. Just click it for a fun video of a jeep ride with Tony and Aaliyah. Guaranteed to make you smile!

Did you see Donut in the corner? He's the latest addition to the Hattaway family.

Mia is one year old!

Pioneer, Pioneer

I recently heard a song by Nancy Honeytree on her newest CD called "Call of the Harvest". While the song is actually sung in Urdu (the language of Pakistan), the English words are also provided. The song really touched me and ministered to me. I include it here for your own enjoyment and enlightenment. Perhaps it will assist you in praying for me, as I've often considered myself to be a pioneer in many areas.


Pioneer, pioneer
Keep pressing onward
Beyond your fear
Only the Father
Goes before you
To your own frontier
You are a pioneer

Unchartered wilderness
Stretches before you
And you thrive on going
Where no one has gone
Still it gets lonely
When darkness deepens
So sing by the fire
Until the dawn

You travel light
You travel alone
And when you arrive
Nobody knows
But the Father in heaven
He's glad you can go
For those who come after you
Will need the road

01 June 2007

One of My Recent Biking Adventures

I love being on the seat of a bicycle. What a natural high it gives me!
I feel like I could conquer the world!

Can you see the word "HI" in these trees?

For those of you in Omaha, it's just north of the Mormon Bridge.

June Prayer Letter

Please join me in praying for the following items:

  1. Safety while on the road - My mom and I will be on the road from the 4-13th. We'll spend some time in Ohio with Naomi and her family. We're taking Aaliyah with us and returning with Terran. We'll also stop along the way to see two of my aunts.
  2. I will be flying to Las Vegas on the 25th to spend a few days with my son, Zach.
  3. I only have 6 weeks remaining in the States before I head back to Kenya. While I'm very eager to return to my "2nd home", I do struggle at times to reconcile living in two different parts of the world. Just as I long to see my Kenyan friends, simultaneously I experience tension as I start to emotionally separate from friends and family members here.
  4. Pray that I'll accomplish all God has in mind for me in these last few weeks.

Thank you so much for joining me in prayer about these issues! I appreciate it greatly!

Focused Leaders

Focused leaders:

  • Are intentional about their personal growth and development
  • Live in alignment with God’s calling on their life
  • Have the courage to live before an audience of One rather than seek the approval of many
  • Are committed to expanding the Kingdom

Statistics show that only 30% of leaders finish their lives well. Leaders who finish well are:

  • Still in love with the Lord
  • Still in love with Scripture
  • Still growing and learning
  • Increasing in ministry effectiveness
  • Their legacy is still intact

It's my desire to be a focused leader and to finish well!

Paul said in Acts 20:24, “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.”

Acts 13:36 (Message) says, “David completed the work God set out for him.”

At the end of my life, I want to hear, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant!'

Kakuma Refugee Camp

Kim and I both know several refugees that have lived at Kakuma Refugee Camp. They've come from Sudan, Rwanda, and other countries. Because we've heard their stories, we really wanted to see it with our own eyes.

The camp is run by the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees). At the peak of the exodus from south Sudan, 90,000 people called this informal settlement "home". The population has since decreased somewhat, as some of the refugees from south Sudan are returning home. The current influx of refugees are from the Darfur area of Sudan.

Kim and I spent 3 days there, and stayed right in the camp (at the compound for US FilmAid, an agency of the UNHCR). We learned so much!

More at the Refugee Camp

This is a "video hall".
It looks like they're advertising a soccer match for the next showing.

Sudanese kids

We ate at Franco's (considered the best place to eat in the entire camp). They serve Ethiopian food.

We had injera (fermented rice) with beef and vegetables. It was delicious.

Samuel served as our guide on a walking tour through the camp. It was most fascinating!

Food Distribution at the Refugee Camp

These large tents are where the food is stored. The Lutheran church handles all of the food distribution.

The residents are given non-perishable staple food items. We were privileged to get a rare tour of the distribution area. Again, very fascinating!