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

  • IMG_0004.JPG
  • 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!

I don’t feel like it!!!

I don’t feel like it! IMG_2408 It started with a tickle in my throat. A few days later I have this heavy wheezing, awful cough, and basically feeling worse than bad.

I confess, I get a little panicked every time I have a respiratory thing. After all, just over one year ago, in a matter of seconds, I went from hearing to not. I held my nose and blew. I yawned. All in effort to pop my ear. Nothing. Then I was told that my hearing in that ear would not likely return. Gone. Completely.

So, after 4 bouts with something in as many months, I have allowed myself to get a little cranky. I curl up in bed, I doctor myself with every home remedy I can research, and I pray, “please, Father, don’t let me loose my other ear”. So… when time came for my Thursday night Bible Study, I snapped at Randy, “I don’t feel like it, tell them I am sick”. “You have to go, they are expecting you”.

With not an ounce of graciousness… completely void of any semblance of love… I dragged myself out of bed, threw on a wrapped and pouted out the house towards the church. I didn’t grab my Bible. I didn’t pray. I didn’t apologize to Randy. I didn’t feel like it.

Sure enough… Leah came in, then Mary. Just the three of us, good this should be short, I thought. The other 8 or so women didn’t come, my booklet of verses I had had printed and were to be delivered for them all hadn’t come… and… I didn’t feel like it. So I was totally expecting a quick prayer… a few back and forths… and… Kwaheri, tutaonan! Bye, see you!

First, Leah shared about a hyena that had been outside her house the night before. She shared about the fear that rose up because of the witchcraft that is thought to be associated with them. She told me of how she called Pastor Rueben and he had prayed with her and she sat there reading her Bible until she fell asleep.

I was quick to remind her – God says, be strong and of good courage, for the Lord your God is with you!!! He has NOT given us a spirit of fear – but of love, courage and a sound mind. We just submit to Jesus, resist the devil… and… HE WILL FLEE!!!

I had an answer for her. It was truth. And it came forth from my mouth with instinct. Heartless, loveless, but purposed truth none the less.

Then Mary, in Akeguisi, the mother tongue, began to share as she ruffled through the pages of her Bible. She was looking for something specifically. Then she started to read. Leah then read it in English. I Corinthians 13. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels… though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge and though I have all faith, so to move mountains… Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor… though I give my body to be burned… …and have not LOVE Sounding brass, clanging cymbals, I am nothing, and it all profits me… NOTHING!

Mary was feeling condemned. Mary was feeling loveless. This sweet precious woman who earlier in the day I had asked to fix lunch for 10 extra men with no thought of her time, no thought of the effort and work necessary, this woman who said to me, “no problem” in her heavy African accented English…. was feeling unloving.

BETWEEN the eyes… the entire message… straight between the eyes!

First… fear. Honestly, I have battled this fear for over a year. The last thing the doctor said to me after several attempts to glean some hope… “take care of that other ear and don’t let things go untreated.” I actually hear his voice in my head. Fear. Curled up in my bed, fear. Pleading with God, fear.

And here I am telling Leah, you don’t have to fear the witchcraft or hyenas. Just trust God!! Submit to God, resist the devil…

Then… love… I just spent 3 months back home studying 1 John. What manner of love has the Father lavished on us… that we should be called… CHILDREN OF GOD!!! He who does not love, does not know God, for God is love. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. In this the love of God was manifested towards ME…. That God sent Jesus, to die for me… that I might live through Him!!!

Based on His prayer in the garden… I’m pretty sure… Jesus didn’t feel like it.

One thing I have learned is that I can’t do it. I can’t even pretend to love… because lots of times… I just don’t feel like it.

But He has called me to love. He has set that as the highest command… love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind and the second is like it… Love your neighbor as yourself.

THIS is my measuring stick. This is how I must judge myself, 1 Corinthians 13.

Oh Jesus… Forgive me! I have been selfish and unbelieving. I have taken my eye off You! Forgive me! Fill me with YOU, YOUR Spirit, YOUR Love! May I be kind and gentle, may I suffer long, not envy, not be prideful, may I not behave rudely or seek my own need or purpose, may I not be provoked or think evil, may I not rejoice in iniquity but may I rejoice, may I dance and may I live in TRUTH… May I bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things!!!!

I need YOU! I need Your grace! I need Your love! I need Your Holy Spirit! May I be obedient to You, may I be quick to love You by loving others… Even when I don’t feel like it!

God at Work

This morning I woke up at – what is becoming normal – around 4:45 to the first crows of the rooster. I’m usually up for good – this might have to do with the “lights out” when the sun goes down. I’m okay with this – I’ve always been an early to bed, early to rise – albeit this is even early for me!


I have been using my early mornings to pray and intercede – usually for my family during this time. Then I get up just before dawn, and by candle light, I prepare some breakfast, usually a hard boiled egg and a banana.

Then I have my quiet time and I begin with a devotional given to me by a very sweet lady in our church, just before we left to come to Africa. Voices of the Faithful, a daily devotional written by missionaries from across the world. I even ordered a box and passed them out before I left. I will confess I’ve had to read a couple at a time recently but it is definitely the FIRST daily devotional I have actually STILL been reading in July!


So – today – the devotion was about a young girl in this missionary’s village who had brought a neighbor to church. After the service they were given time to introduce any guests and as this young girl was introducing hers, the neighbor leaned over to whisper in her ear. With a huge grin, the young girl announced that her neighbor wanted to receive Jesus. The church went silent as she walked to a prayer partner who led her in prayer. When he was finished he said “AMEN” just a bit louder. The church broke into spontaneous cheering, song, praise and celebration. The missionary pondered the celebration and rejoicing happening that very moment in heaven.

This devotional made me desire that celebration. I even posted the devotion this morning on FB, as I was praying for opportunity. As I read through Colossians again this morning, I continued thinking, God, reveal Yourself today!!!

So – we loaded up and took the 80 minute drive to Suneka, a village on the other side of Kisii Town. I was starting another class with the women there today! I was excited to have this chance again.

For three hours, 15 women crammed into this little room, with each wall covered in mismatched lace, flowers hanging from the rafters and the two tables covered with cloths that remind me of something my grandmother would have had.

We had a remarkable time in the WORD. We introduced Paul’s letter to the Colossians, listened to it read in Kiswahili by a great program I found and then, we began to look at the book inductively. I spent a good amount of time today, introducing and sharing about myself, my love for God’s Word and why I love this book. I shared about my family and my church back home. All this I can do in Kiswahili and the women love to hear me fumble through that. Then, we looked at how being IN CHRIST is all we need. We look at how the FULLNESS OF GOD is available to those who believe. We skirted over the book and God stirred in each of us an excitement of what He has in store for us over the next couple months.

As we were finishing, Randy came to the door. He peeked his head in and excused himself for interrupting and ushered two women in. “These ladies would like some prayer.” We welcomed them in. Karibu sana!

One of these women wanted prayer for a husband. She wants to be married. The other wanted prayer for her husband, stating he needed to know Jesus. Through my interpreter I shared a few things, and then my interpreter turns to them and asks – “are you saved? Have you ever repented of your sins and asked Jesus to be your Savior?” To my surprise both of them said no.

Without thinking, I asked, “why then do you want your husband to be saved? Why would you come here asking for prayer to a God you don’t know? You know your husband needs salvation, do you not realize you too need to be saved?” She began to cry.

What happened next is hard to explain, but the Holy Spirit filled that room as these two women literally fell to their knees. The prayers were in Kiswahili, the questions and answers were as well, but what I witnessed was salvation… salvation and celebration and rejoicing and singing.



Just this morning, I asked God to reveal HIMSELF, to let me see Him at work… and… in HIS A-MA-ZING faithfulness – He totally answered my prayer! What’s more, I watched the women I had just sat with for 3 hours, sharing the very scriptures from their notes that we had gone over in our study. Telling these ladies they were new creations in Christ. Then, they were given a piece of paper, with references to my favorite prayers in all of scripture – the four of Paul’s in Ephesians, Philippians and in Colossians. The women were telling these two they needed to pray for their husbands… both the one that had one and the one that wanted one. THEN — they assigned the ladies a partner that will tend to them and make certain they are in church on Sunday and will be sure they join us next week!!!!!

This was my day today… a witness to the miracle of salvation… a part of the celebration with the angels… allowed to be a part of God at Work!!!!

He knows my name

So I’ve met many many people as we make a point to walk thru the village as often as we can. That’s life here, greeting, visiting and greeting some more. And Africans don’t just give you a nod and ask how you are, all while walking past so quickly that the question isn’t finished before you are headed in opposite directions… Let alone an answer. OH No, greetings are very important in African culture.

So the greeting… I love! I’ve always enjoyed that but I’ve always been bad with names. I confess I rarely get my kids’ names right. But I usually remember faces and details of conversations and of our lives we share. Back home, I get around the name thing… And as one of the youth wrote in a “going away” book, I know LOTS of people named “sweetie”.

When I got here, everyone looks the same to me. And before that tilts someone with gasps, ah, these beautiful black people say the same thing about mazungas (white people). And they say Asians are even harder to tell a difference. Hmmm, not sure on that, “my Asians” are easily distinguishable. ;))

Anyways, I was praying and asking God to help me to know the faces of my neighbors. Help me to remember the tidbits of their lives that they share. And Lord, help me remember my new friends’ names!!

As I prayed for this, I was reminded of a song…

I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands

I have a Father
He calls me His own
He’ll never leave me
No matter where I go

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And He hears me when I call

Does it bowl you over? It does me! I mean, the Creator of the Universe… He KNOWS me!!

Not only does He know me…

But He has forgiven my sins… Setting it as far as the East is from the West…. I want to forgive like that.

When I pray… He leans in, bends His ear… to hear me…. I want to listen like that!

He loves me with a Love unconditional! I want to love like that!

And then I thought about the faces… Then I thought about HIS FACE!!!! Then I thought about one day soon seeing HIM – face to face!!

This is my hope, not obscured hope but secured hope!! And I want that hope for my new friends I enjoy greeting so much… LORD JESUS… Reveal Yourself to me, in me, through me… May I be a Light that takes the hand of my new friend, Sweetie, and with haste, may I usher her to YOU!!!!!

It’s a ride….

Well the last couple weeks…. A roller coaster….


A week in Nairobi at the Compean Safe House was restful and refreshing.  A washing machine to do laundry among other amenities made our stay even better!  Top that with a great host, a new friend from Cali and an opportunity to meet several other seasoned missionaries.  It was really a blessing of a week on so many levels.  It was Ed, Tom, Randy and myself.  Please keep Kelli, Ed’s wife in prayer as she cares for her mama back in California who was diagnosed with progressive cancer.  I was sorry she was not there to just have some time with her but the guys were fun and we monitored things from more of a GI Joe/Boy Scout/super hero angle.  We had much time in prayer, some devotions and just time of hearing of God’s story in one another’s lives.

The wait was long and much like hurricanes in Florida that show Tampa in the cone of the projected path of a cat 4 or 5.  We had supplies of water, batteries, food and gas-filled cars.  We had the crackle of a transistor radio going much of the time.  At one point I could hear the crackle but knew the one in the living room was off… I looked out the window and Manasa, who works on the compound, was sweeping and watering plants with a small one sounding from his pant pocket.

All of Kenya was leaning in and the sense of uncertainty was strong.  So many praying for peace after the tragedy of the last election when tribal tensions rose to violence that took over 1000 lives and over 600,000 people displaced.

This violence is not who or what Kenya is.  I’ve sat with them.  I’ve sung praises with them.  I’ve gathered spinach in their shambas and chatted with them in their dukas as I select fruit for dinner.  I have ridden with them on matatus and I have refereed badminton games… And, I have sat together as we open the Word of God and cried out for His Spirit to fall and cover this nation, her people and the president-elect.  And yet – the same enemy that plagues us in America, plagues us here and the stir of evil is no different.

So far, so good, as the saying goes.  Aside of some isolated incidences that were quickly diffused by authorities… All has been calm.  Oh sure, armed solders on the bench outside the grocery store or walking down your street, or checking your car in every parking lot you enter is a bit unnerving, it has actually become routine in a very short time.  THAT in itself reveals just how quickly our senses can be numbed… huh? 

Please keep praying.  The election is being strongly challenged and the reports Randy reads each night stirs just a bit of anxiousness, which we are very very quick to make our requests know to God and indeed, HIS perfect peace guards our heart!

Now, on Some other notes…

We are filled with thanksgiving for our new car! 
Traffic Jam Wow wow wow what a blessing and a constant reminder of God’s provision!  But if I may ask you to keep this in prayer as you praise….  After all of maybe 2 hours on the roads Randy has announced he drives just like a Kenyan.  Just so you know… This is not good on two levels…. He now thinks he can drive like they drive…. AND…. Driving like Kenyans is not so good.  To help you understand, one evening as we walked into Pastor Ed’s home, I did request that we just go head and schedule marriage counseling.  

First Randy says I am to navigate and be his second pair of eyes keeping watch for the unmarked speed bumps on the highway, people, often children, darting across the roads, round abouts, piki pikis, roaming herds, 

 pot holes that would alert sink hole monitors back home, all while watching the map and giving directions. 
Now, understand, there are ZERO traffic lights which means ZERO composure opportunities….  You know, I’ve said enough, you get the picture, right?

When we came back Sunday I saw my new friend Elizabeth down the lane.  She waved with both hands and came running.  “God is good” she told me!  She explained how she had read the verses I had written down on a card I had left for her.  I had left it with another woman the day we left, disappointed I had missed her.  She told me she had read all the verses and honestly, talked so fast and excited that I missed lots of it.  We are meeting Saturday to study the “Word of God”.  She is the most excited I’ve ever seen anyone and I walked away after a big hug from her filled with such joy and yet convicted for taking the idea of sitting with His Word for granted.  Oh God, deepen my love for You and Your Word!

OH OH OH…. We’ve been approved for our Work Permits!  This is huge and nothing short of God!  We have school mates that are still waiting after four, six and eight months!  Keep praying as we wait “to receive instruction on the collection” but do join us as we thank Jesus!

God is teaching much!  We become more aware each day of our increasing need for Him.  We are so aware of the need to be in His Word and on our knees.  And over the last couple of weeks we have heard more and more of the darkness in the Kisii region with witchcraft and tribal traditions that I definitely am sensing God both preparing us as well as emphasizing our need for prayer.  PLEASE KEEP us, Kenya and the people of Kisii in prayer!

Ah, yea, keep the language in prayer… Nuff said there!

That’s about it for now.  Please know we love, appreciate and pray for you all constantly.  Be blessed and press in, our Lord is Great!