A joyful man…


God has blessed me with a number of godly men to speak into my life ever since I was a child. Pastors, Bible Teachers, Disciples of Christ, Men of God who’s lives reflected all they spoke of.
Today as I stepped into my husband’s discipleship class in a village in East Africa, my heart overflowed. To begin with, my husband is one of those men. His love for the Lord has exploded into every aspect of his life. And this man radiates Jesus.  
Today he was talking about rejoicing in the Lord. How our lives should be so filled with the joy of the Lord that all those who come in contact with us, see Jesus.  
He went on to describe a man I’ve known my entire life. His joy bubbles. Everyone of my lifelong friends will attest to the fact that his love is as sincere and infectious as it gets.  
My dad has considered this man his best friend for many years. He has always been there for my family. My first recollection is of the time my brother was run over and dragged by a school bus in a near fatal accident. I remember Pastor Don ministering to my entire family. He simply has always been that spiritual leader, always quick to be there. Weddings, funerals, hospitals…. there he is.
Last year I was home and my dad was in the hospital. I walked in to see him and there sat my childhood pastor. This tall towering man jumps to his feet (albeit a bit slower these days) and gives me a love filled, tight and hearty hug. I’ve always always loved those hugs. He always asks about my kids, who all know, love and respect him as much as me. There are a couple things he has said, that my kids will repeat and credit him to this day.
Well, this morning, as my husband was trying to define rejoicing, being joy filled to his 12 men he has disciples now for 3 years, he looked at me and with tears welling up, choking up a bit, he says, I told them the best example I know is Don Ralston.  How I use to look at him and wonder, “how can anyone be so happy?”  
Pastor Don, thank you!! Thank you for decades… for a lifetime… of living the joy of the Lord. Thank you for always singing a song of joy. Thank you for demonstrating the inexpressible and exceeding joy of Jesus. Thank you for being a steadfast example of one who loves, who trusts and who obeys the Most High God. Thank you for having an impact on my entire family, my grandmothers, my parents, my siblings, my husband, my children and 12 Kenyan pastors in East Africa. I love you so much!  

Passing the Baton

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  • This has been a day of retrospect… a day where God has my attention.

Randy has gone to Nairobi to pick up a new friend. So I usually try to use these times to sit quiet before the Lord. I’m reading some biographies of some men and women who represented the exchanged  and abundant life I daily desire. The team outside are all working so hard to accomplish all Randy left for them to do. So I decided to make them ‘popcorns’. Yes, plural. I decided to listen to some teaching while I popped 8 pots of corn for my 20+ hardworking friends.

I love these people. They have become like my kids. I love being a mom. I always have. And 35 years ago as I was anticipating my first baby at the young age of 20, I was filled with eager joy. I wasn’t walking with the Lord at the time. I had been raised in Truth. I knew Truth. And I believed Truth. But I was not walking in it. Even still, I knew even before my child was born, it wasn’t about me anymore, this child, any future children, they needed Truth.

And in my quest to see them get that, The Lord got me. Over time I became a lover of His Word and a believer in prayer. God used many people to disciple me as I was determined to teach my kids. And teaching them the Truth drove everything I did. I can say that honestly. I may not have had the purist motives some of the time, but I was very cognizant of the potential message in my actions, my words, my responses, my life.  Oh… I made so many blunders, and outbursts, and mess ups and mistakes… but I can absolutely say that my primary focus, my deepest desire, was that my kids knew Jesus, knew the power of His resurrection, that they knew His faithfulness and His love and that they grew up to walk and abide in Him. That was all I cared about, far over education, careers, even relationships, I wanted them to KNOW Jesus.

Again, you don’t need to ask them, I’ll admit… I made so many mistakes and dropped the baton regularly. But I do believe that God saw my desire and poured out grace beyond measure. Grace that covered my mistakes. Grace that covered my outbursts and my messes. And, day by day, month by month, year by year… I grew, they grew and together, ONLY through the grace of Jesus, we are all living for and diligently serving our Savior. We are all eagerly awaiting His return and we are all consciously spreading the gospel and making disciples.

Yes, I know what a privilege and amazing blessing this is. I do not take it for granted. And my husband and I praise our God daily for having revealed Himself to them. It is this faithfulness of God, having seen it proven through my kids and so many other ways that gave me the courage to trust and obey God when He called us to Africa. Out of the blue, never a dream, at a season where it made NO sense, He called us to Kenya and again, He has blown me away.

Well, today, as I was listening to some teaching, I found myself before the Lord. I was being clearly taught something that I think God has been trying to show me for some time. But somehow, this message, this pastor, this time… God’s anointing, God’s desire for me to ‘get it’ spoke deep down in the innermost center of my heart. This pastor spoke boldly of God’s Truth, of His call for holiness and righteousness, he taught of the utmost importance of the furtherance of the gospel and how my motives to serve MUST BE for His glory. I want to want to!!! Oh God may my conduct be worthy of the Gospel and may I stand fast.

  • What moved me to share this today… was after years of praying that God would speak and reveal Himself to my children THROUGH me, desiring to pass them a baton of faith… today… He spoke and revealed Himself to me…. THROUGH my son. The Baton of Faith has most assuredly been passed and I simply praise the Name of my Jesus!!!!
    Hey, if you want to hear some sound and spurring teaching… check out Pastor Ryan Saul at CalvaryWT.com. He lives and he teaches…. TRUTH!

His perfect time


I am American.”Time is money”

Raised by the clock-punctuality is key!
I am in Kenya

“African time” – slower than island time

And likely my biggest cultural struggle. It brings out the worst in me for sure!
Today, I left a few minutes late. Ugh

Stopped to pick up the mandazi, they were not ready.

Went to pick up Levi – he was late.

Had a bit of trouble with the car, delaying us several minutes.

Went to pick up Dennis – he was late.

Feeling that flesh rising up… “Oh Lord please help me!”

As we sat on the side of the road awaiting Dennis, a woman came to the car – she wanted “something to eat”. So I reached around to the back seat and came out with some warm mandazi for her. “No! Ninataka pesa”. I want money. I responded with a forced and fake smile, “pole, hakuna pesa”. ( I’m sorry, I have no money.)

Watching from across the street, a young man began laughing. As the woman walked away, he came over. He wanted a job in my compound.

We were still waiting on Dennis, so we started a conversation. He asked what I do, where I lived. I asked, “do you know Jesus?” “No one knows Jesus”, he responded.

I have NEVER before gotten this response and my heart sank. “He is history”, he said.

I ALWAYS hear the answer yes, I know Jesus! Even if they don’t.

I told him that Jesus wants him to know HIM. He died so you can know Him!

“You cannot know someone you can’t talk to”. “Oh, but you CAN talk to Him, I talked with Him just this morning!!” With that he nervously stepped back, somewhat chuckling, “you must have a devil, saying you spoke to Jesus”. “Oh NO!” I proclaimed, “He is real, He is! And He desires a relationship with you!!!”

I invited him to church. He told me it is too far. Both Dennis and Levi spoke to him in Kiswahili a bit. I sat and prayed as they did. I then handed him a Kiswhaili tract.

He would not allow me to pray with him. But as we drove away, the guys and I prayed for Jonathan, asking that it might please The Lord to reveal Himself! Oh please, use this meeting which I KNOW you ordained, use the seeds of TRUTH that were spoken, use that tract and Your Holy Spirit, make Yourself known… That Jonathan might know that You are God and that You love him!!

Lord, help me, please, to rest in You and to trust Your clock. Your clock that keeps perfect time!


  • …the act of being hospitable. The friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers. The quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests.

This weekend I went to visit my sweet friend Loise. Loise is 109 years old. This week she will bury her 19th child or grandchild. When I walked up to her chair, sitting outside beneath a tree, she was sipping on her tea. She looked up at me with eyes that have seen more grief, more history book stories, more mistreatment and abuse, more changes in culture than I will ever know. With tear filled eyes she looked at me and smiled brightly as she extended her hand to greet me. We hugged and shared hello’s


my sweet friend Loise

and made our way to another tree where benches were.
As we sat, her daughter walked over to the jikoni (her kitchen). Loise, Leah and I sat and talked. With a slow and unbelieving shake of her head, she moaned, “why? It’s just not right. I am an old woman, it should be me.” I found myself gasp with an emotion that swelled up from out of nowhere.

She told us how her daughter in law had come to visit just a month earlier. She had a tumor on her brain. She was a good daughter and “I love her so much and she loves me”. Then the tears resumed. This old old African woman, so sweetly holding my hand. It was a familiar feel. I used to hold my Nanny’s hand and her cool, soft and oh so loose skin reminded me of the loving grandma I miss so much.

Our contrasting hands caught her eye. She looked up at me and smiled, “this mzungu, you are my friend, my good friend.” She mentioned how her husband died long ago and God has given her a friend to hold her hand in this grief. My heart sank further.

As Leah would translate I would just look into Loise’s eyes. I began to ask her questions. When did she get married? Where was her home? What was it like? She went on to tell me how she came home from the river one day and there were many cows, more than a hundred. She knew instantly that her life was about to change. Those cows were the dowry, the bride price for her. She was given to this man she had never met, a bangle put on her ankle and she was taken away to a new home. She… was married.

She was not permitted to visit her parent’s home until after she had given birth. Someone would keep watch to ensure young brides did not flee. Once her new family felt confident she was settled, she was given more freedom.

She remembers when the British would come to the area; everyone would hide in fear of being captured. Sometimes I could tell her reminiscing was stirring some very deep emotion. As she would give in to it – we would come back to her grief.

I’ve been to several funerals these past two weeks. The grief is intense. Wailing, sobbing, a young girl collapsed into convulsions at the funeral in the village. I’ve wondered if the lack of emotion I see during everyday life, at least sad ones, and how very uncomfortable my friends here become if I show any anxiousness, sadness, or concern… if THIS has anything to do with the dramatic show of grief I see with funerals. Almost as though it’s acceptable then, but only then. So, all that ‘held in’ emotion pours out. I don’t know this but I’ve wondered.

As Loise continued to talk, sharing such book worthy history, I saw it over and over. Stories from decades ago taking her deep into thought and as if the flood gate of expression would threaten to crack… all was diverted to grief for her daughter.

Then, suddenly… “Jesus is coming soon”, she looked at me and said. “Yes, yes He is!” I replied in KiSwahili.

Just then Mariam came to welcome us to a sitting area outside the jikoni. “She hasn’t eaten”, she said, nodding to her grandma. Loise resisted but when I took her arm and she looked up at me, she complied. We walked over and Mariam helped her get into her seat. She spoke something in KiKisii and Mariam brought a chair right beside her. “She wants you to sit next to her”. I smiled and as Loise moved the chair so they were touching, I sat down beside this precious woman.

Now, I don’t eat much of the traditional foods. Actually, none of it. I am super cautious because of the preparation and the water and… well… I don’t much care for goat. But this meal began to be set before us. Goat, Ugali, Greens. Loise shook her head. I said, “You must eat with me”. And with that I filled her plate. I tried to make the 2 pieces of goat and the ugali stretch out over my plate but she wasn’t satisfied. She put more on my plate. As I encouraged her to eat she kept a close eye on my plate. She wanted to make sure her guest was fed well.

I always considered myself hospitable. I love to entertain. I’ve come to learn that I have LOTS to learn. I’m hospitable… on the outside AND… on a scheduled basis. If… I’ve invited you on a particular day at a specific time… I will roll out the red carpet. However, if you just show up unexpected… it just might throw me for a bit of a loop. Not in Africa. You just show up and they will have a meal before you in 30 minutes. Everything stops, work will cease, all will come to sit and visit and with the friendliest reception and the warmest of treatment… guests are made to feel like royalty and truly… hospitality is defined outside a mud hut with a wooden shack kitchen in a village in East Africa. 

Lord, ease the grief of my sweet old friend. May she know Your love and comfort this difficult week.

Lead me to the Rock!

When you are desiring with all your heart to be obedient to God… Even desiring… to desire that…  

I so pray that what I want communicated here is heard and that you join us in prayer and thanksgiving!

“Hear my cry, oh Lord… And lead me to the Rock that is higher than I”

The week has been emotional for me.  

First….Our team members who have been serving here with us are about to leave.  I can’t help but wonder if I represented Christ well, if I was an encouragement to them while they were here in this far away land. Have I spurred them on?  

Being far from family, missing yet another grandbaby’s birthday this week, I can tell you it has not gotten one margin easier, but having these guys here has certainly been a blessing in that respect.  Having some family a bit closer.       

Second….I’ve been dealing with many ‘business’ tasks.  Shopping for and ordering feed, getting material printed, tweaking our Auto Insurance to lower the price, even trying to buy something in the super market, but refused at the check out counter because the price hadn’t been entered into the system.  Things are done MUCH differently here than in the States.  The business mindset and procedures of the two different countries couldn’t be further apart.  Basically, however, the result of this has been a very clear demonstration of the condition of my heart.  I… am a very self centered person and I basically want what I want…when I want it.

Third….This is the time of the year we have many large expenses.  We tried budgeting but found that difficult as we tried to meet all the needs and expenses that would arise. The Hen Project is an easy 8 months from being self sustaining.  The church is just beginning and Pastor Rueben is in the process of relocating his family to Kebabe.   There are discipleship needs, there are plans to be made for next term, there are 600 more hens to be purchased.  There are men we will need to assist as they begin teaching in their villages.  

When it gets where I cannot pay the guys, I get anxious.  I confess.  Our insurance is due, we have a trip to Nairobi this weekend, our car is inching to make it to her mechanic in Nairobi for, at the least, definite shocks and suspensions.  My permit needs renewing, our drivers license and AA membership need renewing. We have 600 hens ordered and being nursed for delivery in the next 4 weeks.  We have two more hen houses to build. And I have a beautiful young girl I feel strongly about helping into nursing school.  A 4 year program at a mission hospital that will cost in total… Just under $6000.  Despite our regular support and recent unexpected blessings that has helped us to continue, we are still way short. 

These are just some of the things that roll around. Then I begin thinking we need to scale back.  Cancel the hens.  Limit the classes. Hold Reuben off. Scratch Mary going to school.  I get nervous and find it very challenging to rest on that Rock. I begin to question The Lord… What do You want us to do?  Are YOU leading all this or is it our thoughts.. Our plans?  We seek You constantly… If You are leading… Won’t You provide?  Maybe…. Maybe none of this is You…  Maybe we pushed this?  Did we? 

If given half a moment… My thoughts become an out of control spin.

And then… BUT GOD…. Who is rich in mercy…. Leads me out to the office at the hen house.  As I walk up… I hear these men… They’re worshipping!!!!  They have music playing on Moses’ phone and they are singing along… “How excellent is your name Oh Lord… How marvelous is your name Oh Lord…”

They’ve decided they are going to go through a chapter in Proverbs each day, like they did at UTurn.  Moses is leading this.

I literally gasped.  I had to leave immediately.  I was overcome with emotion. God, YOU are at work.  You are showing me every day.  Why… WHY do I get so anxious???  Why can’t I rest in You?

You made these men new creations! You have set their feet on solid ground and YOU have given them this opportunity to glorify You in their work.  You have established this church and YOU will add to it! You have sent us here to speak YOUR Truth and You will accomplish Your purpose through that.  You are faithful to complete the work YOU have started!!

My friends… Please join us in prayer for His continued provision… Pray for us to trust Him more and for wisdom to follow His lead.  But… Even more.. So much more….Join us in praising God for the very obvious work He is doing.  May we rest as HE leads us to a rock that is higher than I!



A Trophy named Grace!

I went to visit Grace this morning. I passed Otara, her husband, along the way. He was headed to the guys’ Saturday discipleship group.

Grace is unable to attend our ladies Thursday study so we want to spend time together somehow. Her little English and my kidogo Kiswahili makes that a challenge.

She is reading in Luke so we picked up from there. Her children gathered as we read first from English then from Kiswahili.

I love the evidence of God’s transforming Grace in this home… proclaimed in the smiles and laughter and an understanding that can come just from God Himself.

We talked about knowing Jesus, how He told the story of how those invited to a great supper were too busy to attend, how we must be willing to leave everything to follow Jesus and THEN…. the kids… talking with their cousin who was there… began touching their head and then their heart and THEY were telling him the difference between knowing Jesus and knowing ABOUT Jesus!!!! I could hear ‘kujua Yesu’ and “kweli, kujua Yesu, Kweli! I know what that means!

Oh how I wish you were there!! Oh how I wish all you who love us, pray for us, support us… Oh I wish you could see the fruit of our labor…. Yours AND mine!!

To God be the glory and honor here in Kebabe. May His Name be high and lifted up!!

Please keep praying that this village would be adding to the church through the Holy Spirit. Pray that the people would believe in Him who was sent. Pray that as God transform them, that they would grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, that He would give to them a spirit of understanding, knowledge and wisdom. Pray they would be moved to share the gospel boldly!!



Worth it all….

I suspect I sound like an emotional roller coaster some times. And to confess… I feel like it most of the time.

I know God has placed us here for this time. I know this wholeheartedly. And I am blessed with the honor and privilege to be here and to be a part of the work HE is doing. Sometimes I am in complete awe of all He is doing!

It’s hard then to explain the constant grief in my spirit. It’s always there. It’s always threatening to pull me into some kind of dark hole of depression. I have really learned what “take every thought captive unto the obedience of Christ” means.

Sometimes I get Embassy reports or hear of news in Kenya, terror attracts, attacks diverted at places we frequent, or attacks on churches… and a fear can rise. But that fear is easy for me to release to a courage I have in Christ.

Sometimes I look at the finances and I get anxious, not knowing how we will do what we feel certain is His leading. But I can usually find myself casting that into His always faithful hands of provision.

But the grief that is always there… Simmering… Steaming… This is my biggest challenge. I miss my life back home. Not so much my life… But relationships… Which were my life!

God had blessed me so much! I thought I realized it… But it is true… You don’t really know what have… Until it’s gone!

I miss those I worked with every day, ministering to a group of people I so deeply love. I miss the weekly appointments for coffee and the Word… Where God blessed me with iron sharpening iron relationships. I miss my home fellowship and my weekly prayer groups. I miss sisters who could look at me and just know… Those who would immediately come in closer to offer love and comfort and prayer. I miss special friends who would marvel together with me as God would reveal Himself and teach and give understanding in His Word! I miss my two mamas and my daddy, I miss my family, I miss my children… Being a part of their lives as they walk through struggles and victories. I miss Saturday morning breakfasts! I miss my best girl friend in the whole world (my baby girl) lying on the bed just sharing, laughing, loving, talking of The Lord and praying together. And… Maybe worse of all…. I miss the children who are growing up without their Nanny.

These relationships are all so important to me and honestly… I grieve them daily.

I wonder if Adam felt it? Surely he grieved for the daily relationship he had with the Father! I wonder how he must have pondered that bite.

For me… My separation, my grief, is a result of obedience to my God. And as I pray over and over, asking God to take away the pain… I have so definitely and specifically heard… “My grace is sufficient for you.” And, indeed it is.

I think it’s in this grief that I have known and tasted His grace in a way I might never have. I am constantly reminded that my Lord and Savior is worth every ache, every tear, every lonely moment.

I don’t share this looking for pity or anything really. I am sharing this because we all need to know… To remember…. that this is not our home. Any “suffering” any “grief” cannot compare with the glory that is before us! We all have something in our lives that is simply the opportunity for the grace of Jesus Christ to abound in our heart and lives.

For me, it is my heart of missing the ones I love so dearly. Yet the comfort I am promised is wrapped in an assurance that as we share a faith in The One Who has redeemed my soul, faith in the One and True Living God, that one day soon, we will be reunited and the joy that will ensue… the fellowship that will occur… and the togetherness we will have will be worth it all!!!