ONE thing is needed…

After a couple weeks of clearly being taught my need to submit to the Lord in so many areas of my life… I’m afraid last night – “I” won the battle. My flesh – totally won the battle.

It started as I lay on the couch with my computer in my lap trying to find a cheap room in Nairobi for our trip next week. After a long weekend, I had managed to drag out the rug the day before, scrub it clean, wash down all the walls, clean the floors, everything was clean and I had just taught my only class this week due to the funeral of our neighbor. I was a bit wiped.  I laid there looking around at my clean rug, my clean floors and my clean bare walls.

Our walls are solid bricks with a very hard concrete like material plastered over it. There is no hanging of pictures or such. So, I had a friend make some boards that he would drill into the wall on which I can hang things. I asked for them two months ago. Last night – THEY CAME!!! Yeah, so excited!

Sweet, gentle Jeff, came in with his son, having walked over in the rain, just before dark. Ooohhh – I had just cleaned the floors. Well – I can sweep again, mop if I have to. Then he began to use his handsaw and hand-drill to complete his work. Not in one spot, but in every room he had something to hang. Oh there was no leveling, so on one of the boards, it is 6 inches higher on one end than on the other. Many things not done as I requested but he would say, “Mum, let it be this way, it is good”.

Mean while, Derrick came in. So happy to see us he didn’t even take his shoes off, which he has become accustomed to doing. By now it’s pouring outside and it’s very dark. Despite the fact that we had EVERY lantern, flashlight and candle lit, every board is bowed and crocked and now sweet Derrick has just tracked in more mud than I thought possible and anxious to greet me as I sat on the couch, which sits on my rug… ughhh — you get the picture right?

All this – I could literally feel the battle inside my heart. I had just cleaned house, I had just scrubbed the rug that morning, pulling it in after it had dried in the sun, I had just wiped down all the walls… and… now… It was all I could do to try NOT to show my attitude.

I’m guessing that Derrick’s hightailing it out of there when Jeff left – was an indication I hadn’t been successful.

DEATH TO SELF — IT’S ALL GONNA BURN! Two phrases I have heard taught and repeated so often it is a “slogan” of such among my Home Fellowship Family of over 20 years. I kept hearing that, but… but… LOOK AT THIS!!!!

I said to Randy as I walked all over the house with my arm stretched up to measure the height of the boards… yep each one of them drastically un-leveled. And LOOK at my rug!!!!

I had to vent somewhere – so – I chose my text group with my kids. Blah blah blah, babble, babble babble. Pushing send so fast, filling the next text even faster, slamming out all that gripping and complaining… concluding I clearly am not cut out for this missionary thing.

“You need to take those thoughts captive” one of my daughters shoots back. I wanted to tell her to put her face right here (((( X ))))). But I knew she was right. Corrected and humbled by the mother of my grandchildren. Just great!

Now in bed, I start to cry. God, I am so sorry. I am SO sorry. Will I ever learn to submit to YOU? Will I ever learn to lay down this ridiculous self? In this place so far from home. You are working in my heart. You are constantly reminding me… “Kari, Kari, you are worried and troubled about many things… BUT One thing is needed, chose that good part, which will not be taken away!”

A weekend to remember!

We arrived at the church on Friday around 9:00am.  We were the first ones there for this event that began…. At 9:00.  “Okay Lord, I submit to You my schedule, my time, may I remember it is only Your time I must keep”.  Shortly the youth began setting up their sound system and key board.  I prayed the power would go out.  I love the pure voices of Africa.  However, the crackling static of massive blown hand me down speakers, the use of every out of tune function on the keyboard, played by someone who has as no idea how the instrument was actually intended to sound…. Not so much.  “Okay Lord, I submit the worship to YOU, it is only YOUR ears it must please, only to Your heart it must offered”.


One by one the women arrive on African time.  The schedule was being shifted and I would now begin teaching at 10 instead of 11. The first speaker had been canceled.  I slipped out the side door and found Randy, “I need you to pray for me”. He lifted every need from my heart to our Lord without me even needing to explain!  And I slipped back in as worship continued.

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I had been preparing something on “being a servant of God” as that was the theme.  But as I stood in worship, fully submitted to HIM…. I knew they needed to hear something else.  I knew God was redirecting.

I pulled out my Colossians study.  I said, “okay Lord, you need to do this one too!”  And, I got up before nearly 75 women by this time, and asked them….  “Who is your president?  Is he married?  Her name?  Children? Where does he live?  What tribe is he from?”  I asked a few other questions and as with each one, nearly the entire room answered in unison.  “Ahhh, you really know him…. Tell me, last time you spoke with him on the simu (phone), where was he headed?  What did he do last night for dinner?  Did his family get him something special for his birthday?  Oh, I want to buy him a shirt, what’s his favorite color? ”  they all laughed, “we do not know”.  Ohhh, you don’t KNOW him…. You only know OF him.

I had their attention and I asked them… Wewe, kunajua Yesu?  Applause broke out. Hootin and clapping… Yes, we know Jesus!

I asked them, consider deeply…  Do you KNOW Jesus? Or do you just know ABOUT Him? I asked a series of questions hoping would stir them to look deeper.

It was very evident that God wanted them to consider WHO it was they wanted to serve.

I shared with them scripture after scripture, passages and stories, Truths of His Word, and it all flowed together as though it had been carefully prepared.  Truth is – it HAD been, just not by me.

I knew God spoke both Friday and Saturday, and I knew I had had the honor of being used by Him, as I continued to submit myself to Him.

The lesson of submission continued yesterday.  We walked to the school for Bible Study.  Again, Africa time.  It doesn’t help to go later; they just adjust and come even later.  But today I had plans!  I had invited 25 women in the village for tea!

Derrick told the story today and did a great job!  Randy continued to teach in John 2 AND in addition to our normal crew… We had 4 visitors including two Leaders from the Seventh Day Adventist church!  The Bible Study was good and Randy supported the answers to his questions with scripture that our visitors promptly looked up!  Praise God!  How exciting!

Oh, pray they return next week!  Randy will be coming to John 3:16!

I got home and set the table with cookies, mandazi, sweet bananas, pineapples and apples!  I served chocolate, jam, honey and powdered sugar for the mandazi.  Chai and Cocoa!  It looked great!  I kept praying, “Lord, take this day! Accomplish YOUR desire!”

That pre-party anxiety began to rise as loads of kids showed up, peering in the windows and putting their hands and noses all over the glass I had cleaned earlier.   I had an issue with the mandazi, Randy got into my food on the table and made a mess….   Uuuggghhh. “Lord, I submit this day to YOU, help me let go of my craziness!  Help me to not get caught, as my sister Martha, and miss that One Necessary THING!”

My neighbors began to arrive, but only the non English speaking ones!  I strained to keep conversation going with my limited Swahili, even though one thought took 5 minutes to explain, looking up words in my handy dandy pocket English-Swahili dictionary.

After most women had arrived, I prayed for the food and the women promptly moved everything to the coffee table…. Oh…. Oooookay.  Immediately I saw coffee spilling on my rug and a glob of strawberry jam.  “LORD, I submit this house, the rug, the now muddy floors… To YOU….  Fill this place with Your Spirit.”

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The afternoon was wonderful and my sweet new friends ASKED for a regular time together!!  So I suggest the Bible Study and then I was asked to “teach the men that they should NOT be drunkards”.  Well, many of these men come to our Sunday Study!  I asked them if they pray for them… “Lets get on our knees and ask God to move in their lives”.  I reminded them that God wants their husbands to KNOW HIM!!!!  So we prayed my favorite prayers… God, open the eyes of our understanding, of our husband’s understanding… Pour out YOUR wisdom and knowledge in the revelation of Your great love for us… For them!!!

God is working in this place!  HE wants to make lives NEW, fulfilled and reconciled to Himself!

Please… Keep praying with us.  Keep praying FOR us.  God is every bit as much at work IN us as He is THROUGH us!  Pray our hearts continue to submit to HIM.

The Sun Comes Up… There’s a new day dawning…



It’s 5:30am, in the village of Kebabe in the southwestern outskirts of the Kisii region in Kenya, East Africa….

…as the darkness of the night is squeezing every last blackness it can, the morning is slowly beginning to sound. The “early” roosters have sounded the first alarm, the birds are slowly waking in song, the sense of a new day is awakening and I sit with expectancy and watch for that moment… THAT moment when the darkness is overcome by the glimmer of light, peeking over the distant mountain giving way to a rapid lighting of the day.

It’s an amazing sight and an even more amazing message as I’m reminded how I’ve been rescued from the power of darkness and placed into His glorious LIGHT of Love!! No matter how dark the moment seems, His Light, His Powerful Light, overcomes that darkness! Not only has He delivered me from forever darkness… HE continues to deliver me from those moments when my eyes are closed to the LIGHT surrounding me.

As I am having my time with The Lord and pondering and awaiting that certain and sure sunrise…

Suddenly, I am hearing a deep, dreadful and painful cry that is ringing as the morning breaks… Somewhere, over the mountain, someone has died. The wailing brings a gasp in my heart. Never hearing it before – still, I know exactly what it means. The sounds are clearly coming from many who are grieving the loss of someone.

The sounds continue for over an hour… A groan and an outcry that can be heard for miles.

Who has died? Was this person sick? Was it sudden? Was this an mzee, an old man, who had lived a long life, most likely working harder throughout his life than most in my country has ever known. Was it a mama, a woman who would wake with those first roosters, work in the shamba, sell her goods at the market, prepare ugali for her family, not stopping her day until well after dark? Was this death a child, perhaps from hunger, or any one of several diseases that plague this country?

Who had died? And more importantly, where were they now? Did they know Hope? Did they have a Rescuer Who had redeemed them, reconciled them for eternity from the dreadful, painful darkness? The sounds this morning were indeed raw grief, but there was more… or was it… less… it just felt empty. Empty.. of any HOPE, any Light.

I found out later that the people hire mourners… those wailing… crying out in pain… many were paid by the family to attempt to express the depth of their own pain. This fact only made my questions more pressing.

Oh Lord, I don’t know why you have chosen me… I don’t know how to do this… But Father in heaven, Lord Jesus, fill me with Your Spirit so I might be used as You bring these beautiful people from the darkness of this world, alienated and enemies of You, separated from Your Love… into the glorious presence of Your redeeming, reconciling, rescuing grace! May they come to know the Hope of glory… Christ in us!!



If this is the only reason…

(Saturday’s Story)  Yesterday evening, our young friend Derrick asked if we could take him to town with us today so he could visit his sister.  He was at the front door at 7:10 this morning with a bag of avocados for me and ready to go!

He helped me load up the car. He then waited patiently while we got ready, reading his Bible notebook that he keeps at our house and diligently takes notes every time he sits with Randy when he studies.

Derrick is 10 years old, lives in a mud house with his sister and his mama.  He has older siblings that live in Kisii Towne.  His father died years ago and he loves spending time at our house.

40 minutes into our trip and he says his sister is at school and he will just go to class with us.  I kind of thought that was what he wanted anyways.  I looked over at Randy and just smiled.

With great attention and a sense of ownership, he assists Randy with every piece we lug into the venue.  He sets up the white board and places the story clothe out.  He watches me set all Randy’s books out, I set his Bible out and his glasses on top, the stack of homework and his lesson book.  I’ve had Derrick intently observe things before… he not only wants to help with these set ups… he intends to do precisely as I do.

Saturdays are in a boardroom on the second floor of an office building in KisiiTown.  With wood lined walls and a conference table that is easy 40 feet long, seating for about 35 people, the room can feel just a bit intimidating.

Derrick sat at the front of the room right next to Randy.  The first segment is the chronological Bible Storying.  The man who had the assignment today stood and basically read it right from the sheet, and what he didn’t read he was adding, often inaccurately.  When he was done, Randy pointed out some things and then asked if anyone wanted to repeat the story of Cain and Abel.

With just a little hesitation, Derrick stood, Randy smiled real big and said go ahead.  Derrick then told the story absolutely perfectly and with much emotion. He paused at just the right time for the interpreter, so as NOT to break the thought. When he finished… “And that’s the end of my story”… He sat down. WOW!  Each of the men, most pastors, simply applauded when he was done.  Impressive and exactly what the whole concept is all about!!  I felt such a sense of mama pride.

Derrick answered questions and followed the entire class intently.  I think he wrote down the entire Overview of 1&2 Samuel and 1&2 Kings.  The Inductive Study portion in the afternoon even kept his attention.

God has plans for this boy!  Derrick wants to know Jesus more.  And if Derrick is the only reason we are here…  It is worth seeing this young boy develop a love and passion for God’s Word that is just what Kenya needs!



My study in Colossians this past week spent much time on the phrase “grace and peace be unto you”. I had to really push to get beyond that phrase as the LORD kept opening my eyes.

My excitement in sharing with the women could not be contained…

The grace of Jesus Christ… Grace for salvation, grace for forgiveness, grace for living, grace for obeying, grace for persevering, grace to forgive, grace to love, grace for faith, grace to walk in a manner worthy… Grace that is freely and abundantly given! I have marveled this week as God has taught me about grace… So so much more, so much deeper, so much richer than I’ve known before.

I know… Elementary, right? Maybe so… But I tasted a richness that was as new as His daily mercies… And today… He sealed it with a reminder of HIS PROMISE!!!!

Beginning with a daily devotional by Bob Hoekstra… a man I honestly and sincerely look forward to meeting…

More on God’s promises!

and…. stretched out beyond ‘the wall’, shining out over the mountain tops across a region that God has promised me… HE IS AT WORK…