30 November 2008

December Prayer Letter

Worship time at my church retreat in October

“The Christian should never worry about tomorrow or give sparingly because of a possible future need. Only the present moment is ours to serve the Lord, and tomorrow may never come. Money is really worth no more than as it can be used to accomplish the Lord’s work. Life is worth as much as it is spent for the Lord’s service.”
- George Muller

Thank you for praying for my many friends here in Kenya!

  • Masudi just finished high school. Join me in praying that he might find a way to seek further education or to find employment.
  • Collins enters his final year of high school in January.
  • Mark Deng Deng finished high school this year. He has the opportunity to travel to his home area in Sudan for the 1st time since he fled as a young child ten years ago. Pray for his safety and emotional well-being. He expects to return to Kenya in three months.
  • Sammy Wefwafwa has one year remaining at the two-year college he’s been attending. He was recently invited to join the national 15-a-side rugby team. He very much desires to find a job.
  • Rose is happy to have received a sponsorship to attend a college business course.
  • Joe continues to improve health-wise.
  • George and Linet continue to trust the Lord to meet their family’s daily needs. Derrick and Jeremy are their sons.
  • Karo and Jeremiah still pastor their church and attend a Bible college. Please also remember their children, Jim and Joy.
  • Agnes is attending a tailoring and dress-making course and is also starting up a knitting business. Please pray for her health to improve. Charles continues to search for daily work to provide for their family. Tony, Pope, Adu, Duane, and Zach are their sons.
  • Robert is looking for a new job in Dar es Salaam.
  • William Deng Madit, Emmanuel Mawien, Mawien Mawien Dut, and William Madut Tier were recently chosen by the Rehema Team to be sponsored in school by my church. Please pray for them as they begin class in January. They all strongly desire to get their education.
  • There’s also Ben, Nathan, Masha, Ruth, Vera, Martin and his family, Bishop and Margaret, Liz and Stu… and the list goes on and on.
Please pray for me
· as I minister to and encourage the folks I’ve listed above
· as I head up the Rehema Team at my church
· as I open up my home for my homegroup – Sam, Mike, Kim, Moses, Justo, Emily, Annie
· that my health will stay steady and strong (I’ve been rather fatigued lately)
· that I will stay sensitive to the Lord’s voice and only engage in the activities He has for me
· safety on the roads
… and the list goes on and on.

Mt. Kenya "10 to 4" Mountain Bike Challenge

Dave Osborn (in the yellow shirt) was in our group.
He did well in the 30-km race.

If you look closely, you'll notice that the fellow in the red shirt only has one leg! He and another guy with one leg cycled the 70-km course. There was also a guy with only one arm that did the long course. My hat's off to them!

So Much Fun!

This is my tent and (borrowed) bike at the start-camp.
We camped the first night at 10,000 feet!
It was so cold!

This is how our route was marked

My tent at the finish-camp (4,500 feet)

A Rescue

The fellow in the next photo is Ali Ahmed. I was just a short distance behind him when I saw him crash. He was unconscious for a few seconds and had a slight concussion. I ran back a ways to summon these two KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service) guys. They radioed for help and he was eventually taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital. I found out later that he was okay, although quite banged up and minus one tooth.

Later on, I had a puncture on my tire. When I attempted to fix it, my pump broke! This gal stopped and tried to help me. But, to make a long story short, I ended up walking my bike the last 3 kilometers of the race. I didn't mind, though. I'd had an absolute blast!

Some Final Shots From the Exciting Ride

Dave Osborn

Tobias Muck was also in our group.
He did well in the 70-km ride.

Many folks from the surrounding villages came out to watch us and to cheer us on. It was fun to see them!

Mt. Kenya

These two photos above are of Mt. Kenya. It's the tallest mountain in Kenya and the 2nd tallest in Africa. It's jagged peaks are often covered by clouds and can be hard to see at times. However, we were able to catch this great view of them on our final morning.

We spent about three hours in the Mt. Kenya forest reserve after the bike races. We had an absolute blast!

My First Time to See Elephants in the Wild!

These two photos are of cape buffalo, one of the most dangerous animals in Kenya.

I have often whispered a request to God that He would allow me to one day see elephants in the wild. Finally I got to on this day. It was thrilling. We (perhaps foolishly) even got out of Joseph's truck and walked closer to them. How exciting!

20 November 2008

Update on John and Eloise Bergen

Two missionaries who were brutally attacked while in Kenya, Africa say they will return to the country in January. 66 year-old Eloise Bergen and her husband, 70-year-old John Bergen, are missionaries for "Hope for the Nations," an international charity focused on building orphanages, developing poor communities, and feeding children. The Bergens were attacked at a farm house in the town of Kitale, Kenya last July. Five men broke into the house and brutally beat them with machetes and clubs.

Despite the horrific pain of that night, the couple says they don’t hold bitter feelings towards their attackers, who are now in custody in Kenya. “I didn’t have to forgive my attackers because there was never a moment I was angry at them, or bitter towards them,” John Bergen said.

The couple is on a speaking tour, raising money for six orphanages in Kenya aided by "Hope for the Nations." They talk about their traumatic experience in a matter-of-fact tone. The couple also keeps a sense of humor, because they say “we’re just so happy to be alive and have all our arms and legs and our minds.”

In January, the Bergens return to Kenya to coincide with a court hearing. The Bergens will testify in court.

"We will go back in January to meet our attackers again and tell them how much we love them," John Bergen said.

The Bergens will stay for several weeks to continue the missionary work they started. "Drilling wells and growing food so that these kids have a normal life is so important. It's imperative that we go back and do that," John Bergen said.

Doing a news interview

Along the same lines (sort of), here's a quote that may interest you. Some of you may know Dick Bransford, the author of the comments:

Let me warn you people who are my age, a cruise in the Caribbean will NEVER compare to a week in Goma, Mogadishu, the Horn of Africa, or the variety of other hurting spots in the world. Maybe I will write you in a week suggesting that some of you put away your golf clubs and go to Goma. Maybe some of you will hold a hurting or dying child in your lap for just a few hours. Maybe He wants to invigorate your heart again with the woes of a hurting world, and maybe he wants to mightily use you in the lives of some.

- 68-year old Dick Bransford (director of Bethany Kids Hospital in Kijabe, Kenya), upon being asked by Samaritans Purse to go to Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo (a very dangerous place right now) to help injured people (November 2008)

A Trip to Matunda

Joe accompanied me last week to Matunda. He'd never been to that part of Kenya, so he really enjoyed it. Here he is in front of my house. He and I did some work on my fence and gate. They were starting to really lean over badly. I also trimmed some branches on my trees. An exciting new development in the area is the arrival of motorbikes for taxis. I've been eagerly awaiting them to show up at Matunda, as I see them in other parts of Kenya. It makes getting to and from my house so, so much easier and quicker. I was especially happy to see my favorite boda boda driver - Wycliff - with one!

We also visited Charles, Agnes, and family. Here's Pope, Duane, and Adu with a sunflower they planted.

Zach and Duane

Walking to a Graduation Ceremony

The main thing that took me to Matunda this time was a graduation ceremony that Nathan had organized. He had a vision to train some of the people at his church and to break the cycle of poverty that has such a grip on so many. So, he arranged for a teacher to conduct a six-month tailoring and dress-making course. I was invited to be the "guest of honor" at the ceremony.

It's about an hour walk from Mtoni (where my house is) to Soy Sambu (where his church is located). These photos are some of the sights along the way. How would you like to cross this fancy bridge? :)

This lady is gleaning anything she can find from this recently-harvested maize field.

The Assistant Chief

The local assistant chief and an elder were in attendance. Such dignitaries always lend a special aura to any occasion.

Nathan's church

Some worship time at the beginning of the 3-hour ceremony

As "mwalimu" (the teacher) called each name, both the assistant chief and myself gave out the certificates. This is Nathan's wife, Alice. Such formality and ceremony is very important in the Kenyan culture.

The ladies were two of the students. The one on the left was presented with her tinsel necklace by her very proud mother. Then the teacher and Nathan were very ceremoniously given theirs.

The Ceremony

These blackboard instructions were obviously left over from the classes.

I was presented with this (very heavy) "pumpkin", what we would call a squash. I gave it to Charles and Agnes... shhhh!

By the way, I gave a "speech" as part of the ceremony.

There's actually lots more I could say about this event, but I'll keep it brief.

I was also presented with these two "flowers" that these ladies had made. They brought them down the aisle with much pomp and ceremony. Dancing slowly to make the moment last even longer. Isn't the photo above this one a trip!? The guys took the initiative to hold up the cloth for a nice background, but then there was no time taken to position us appropriately. ha!