Kenya Day 6

Before I describe yesterday, let me describe a bit from last night.

Our team is doing an amazing job of staying positive and keeping their eye on the prize of helping the kids. Even in the face of difficult circumstances. I have already shared some of the stories of long and very emotional days but then when we get home there are still challenges in our living quarters. The power and water that works some days but not others, we all have bugs in our room and Anne has awoken to frogs and a gecko.

The biggest challenge however is our beds. The mattresses have flattened out over the years of use and provide little protection from the boards of the bed frames. I actually feel bruised on both hips and along my back from sleeping on the boards and sleep is becoming even painful. The whole team is fighting to be comfortable and I am beginning to long for a good night sleep.

But last night was a bit of a sleepless for me for other reasons. I found myself thinking, and praying, and seeking the Lord’s wisdom as we are observing and learning about the way of life here in Kiminini. There is great need here in Kenya and that has created a difficult spirit of competition. Over the last couple of days, we are becoming aware of a divisive sprit within the people who are trying to help the kids. They all are working hard and making sacrifices but they tend to have disagreements about things like priorities, policies, and procedures. There are different ideas about what and how thing should be done.

It’s not an unknown phenomenon in our own culture. We have the same problems and divisiveness in our churches in America. There can be similar divisions, gossip, and personal agendas among the people of the church or church groups. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus while avoiding the distractions of those divisions, personal agendas and preferences and so on. But that is a never ending job.

So after a pretty restless night, dealing with my bed and sorting out my thoughts with God, the day would be spent going to church at SHIM and visiting with the people of the church.

Well actually our team split into two groups so the Pastor Mark and Mark Murphy drove into Bonguma to visit the church that Michael’s father pastors. I know that they got to sit in velvet thrones in the front of the church but beyond that I will let them tell the story.

The other half of the team, Cameron, Jessica, Anne and myself went into Kiminini to be at SHIM and experience their worship service style. I think in a previous blog that pastor Rogers is trying to incorporate more structure and organization in the things they do. So it was interesting to see that they had a chalk board in the front of the church with an order of service written on it; include the instructions to “Put off your cell phone.” We found that quite entertaining.

When we arrived they had already begun the service and another visiting pastor was sharing what they called the 1st teaching. When he finished they did some more worship and dancing and then took up an offering. There where the obvious difference like a mud floor, rural building and few decorative trimmings, there are also a lot of similarities in the church work and service to what we do in Spokane.

They invited me up to greet the crowd and I was instructed that as soon as that happened I was free to take over the service and bring any program that I had in mind. This gave me a chance to share with the church that we actually had a good portion of our worship team here as wanted to do a song for them. So Jessica and Anne lead them in “Trading our Sorrows” while Cameron and I sang and danced along. Soon the SHIM worship team joined us along with a few other children and we were all dancing together. It was rather exhilarating.

After that, Cameron, Jessica and Anne took the kids outside and did some ministry with them. They read them a book about Jesus, they helped the kids make friendship bracelets with some materials we brought and then they did some more singing. They also had the privilege of presenting a soccer ball to one of the sponsored kids who was at church that day. The kids where all very excited and got to play with it for a while before the church service inside ended.

Meanwhile, I remained inside and was asked to share a message. It was a very spiritual experience for me but it was rather different from I would normally do. My sermons at home are almost a manuscript that I write and stick pretty close to. I didn’t write out a sermon but I did plan an idea and simple outline to help me. However, this morning during my devotional time and prayer I was seeking God’s guidance and I had a strong impression to go a different direction. So instead of my plan I read from Matthew 28 and shared a message I call “Jesus has the Power but we do the work.” It was akin to a message I shared a few weeks earlier in my church but with a distinctly different feel.

As I preached, a translator would interpret and that takes a bit of getting use to fall into a rhythm. But also there is some struggle in getting the translation correct. I was trying to make a point that we ask God to bless our work, that we have to do the work of building the Kingdom of God. We seem to be experiencing some beliefs that are ingrained in the culture here that you just pray and God will give you what you want. I shared from Matthew 28 that we to the work of the Kingdom and seek Jesus’ help and blessing. As an example I said “Do you pray that God will bless you with money and then you go sit under the tree waiting for Him to bring it? No…you go to the job and you work hard.” Apparently the translator said “Do you pray that God gives you money and then you take it and sit under the tree?” Well that statement did not make much sense nor make a point. But then he realized what I meant and he re-explained my point.

But there is so much work to be done for the Kingdom of God. Evangelism, discipleship, serving the needs of our neighbors, all because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord can change a heart and He can change a life. Because He is so good to us, how can we do anything but tell of His goodness as we live for Him.

Share Jesus with someone today.

Posted by Cary Peden

Leave a Reply