A joyful man…

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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

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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!

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!

 

 

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!

BECAUSE HE LIVES…

First – I must thank everyone for your prayers!!! What a weekend of celebration!

After our Narok class on Saturday we drove to Kisumu. About a four hour drive. We took Kennedy from Narok to his home in Kisumu. Do you remember him? He was the young man I had the privilege of praying with last month as he asked for and received salvation!

It worked out great that he was heading to Kisumu and needed a ride, we were heading to Kisumu and needed a guide! So the blessings began!

We were pushing to get to the guesthouse before dark. We didn’t quite make it. But, we had a lovely room with AIR CONDITIONING and a hot shower! I felt a bit indulgent. We got up Easter morning and went to pick up our friends Dave & Amy. We lived with them when we were in Language School last year and they are serving in Turkana in the north central of Kenya. Together we all were blessed and refreshed as we worshipped and fellowshipped with the wonderful people from Calvary Chapel Lakeside.

I am not sure, unless you have been in a strange land, if anyone can comprehend how MUCH this blessed us. Please, don’t misunderstand, I love listening to the beautiful praising voices of Africa, but when the familiar songs, with familiar language and voices began to sing out praise and worship to the KING who died for me… I was moved to unstoppable tears as I considered the work of the cross.

I miss my church family more than words can say and my Lord, Who died for me, He loves me so much that He knew how blessed we would be to worship Him there, in that place, with those people on that very special day!

After service, the blessing continued as we joined “family” for fellowship and lunch. The two missionary families from Kisumu, the Pottinger and the Harris families… , were armed with 6 excited children. As the kids ran around with Easter activities, squealed and laughed and shared the Easter story, my heart was conflicted with emotion. I was thrilled with these little sweet children, their parents teaching them wonderful Truth… and yet, I dreadfully missed my babies. What a sweet time of fellowship that was needed more than I knew.

We took Dave and Amy back to Kisii with us and they stayed until just this morning. They were a huge help with our village celebration!

Monday we woke early and began all the preparations. As the morning went on, more and more were coming in to help set up. We had the kitchen set up and the mamas all started cooking. Randy was working on the Nyama Chomo ya Mbusi na Ngombe – the goat and the beef to be grilled. The men set up the tent and the screen for the movie. They brought chairs and even a couch. People would come in the gate with arm and head loads.

The children were busy playing with the football and the soccer ball, having a great time.

Dinner was fantastic and we probably fed well over 100 people. As dark was approaching, Randy and Dave worked on the system to show the movie. It was a challenge, with discs we had burned not able to be played on the DVD player, plugs missing or not working, sound interrupted… the challenges just continued. Finally, Dave & Amy brought out the new disc they had burned and we sat down as the story of Jesus began to play out. The movie was in their mother tongue – Ekegusii.

Amy and Dave had popped pop corn for hours and we had bags made up that we distributed and little lollipops. When the movie began they were captivated. Oh I wish you could have seen it. They watched as Jesus was born, as He grew, as He was baptized and then just as He was setting out on the fishing boat — the film froze. YIKES – after realizing the download we had burned only went that far we were scrambling. I was so disappointed and feeling so defeated. Even though all day long the Lord had shown Himself. The people, the food and even the rain He had held off. Now – the movie won’t show. I honestly felt attacked. We had a Joseph movie we ended up showing, in English, and Amy could tell my disappointment. She said, “they’ve had a taste and will tell all their friends and then next time perhaps there will be more that will need to see it.”

Yes, Lord, You knew this situation before it occurred and I must continue to trust You!

While many could not understand, only a couple people left while the others watched intently for the next THREE HOURS!!! (Joseph was a very long movie)

At the end of the day – I believe they were blessed and had seen more of the love of Christ. I believe that God’s Word does not return void and I know that even in the short portion of the STORY – they heard ‘WHY’ Jesus died.

So – again – I thank you for your prayers, for your support, for your contributions and for being a part of this team. I pray, indeed, that God will credit your account with the fruit that WILL come forth! He is risen, He is risen indeed… and… because HE LIVES…

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check out our Village Celebration album on facebook for more pictures!!

Weariness creeps in…

~ Be still and know that I am God!
~ He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it!
~ Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart!

Three verses The Lord is working in my heart. It’s easy to be restless, to be weary, to loose heart and forget Who is doing the work. Forget the certainty of that.

We received a call from a Maasai friend that is in one of Randy’s classes. ” I am coming to greet you.” He arrived right after church and while he and his friend sat in the hut, talking with Randy, I prepared lunch.

Sitting around the table I knew I had missed something and I was told how “our Maasai” has been leading a church as a Mormon pastor. {Ahhhh, okay….?} He went on to say that through his studies that Randy is leading through the Word of God, he realizes that this is false teaching, false doctrine! “How do I get out of it?”

After my heart beat slowed down closer to normal I hear Randy tell him how he “needs to repent before God. Humble yourself and repent.” I look across the table and this tall, Maasai warrior has eyes filling up. “God will take care of the rest. He will give you the words and He will use this for His glory!”

We sat around, encouraging and sharing scriptures and then fervently praying together. First I prayed, then the friend, then the “Maasai” prayed with such passion…. In Kiswahili. I looked at my husband and saw an emotion I have come to admire and respect and praise God for.

Randy closed in prayer and our friend is off to confess to his congregation and begin teaching ONLY Truth. Please pray for him!

The encouragement continued as after they left, I grab my Bible and rushed off… hopping a thorn bush, slipping by the cow, cutting through a tea field and then a corn field to arrive at Leah’s. We are studying the Bible together with a few of the women in the village.

As we open The Word and they began taking turns reading the scriptures, in English, in Gusii, in Swahili…. I sat and watch the discussion.

Sometimes I could make out what was being said, sometimes they would turn to me and repeat it in English… But what I knew…. God was revealing, The Spirit was teaching and Jesus was giving understanding!! I did not know the all the words spoken but I knew the body language, I knew the expressions and I completely recognizes the AHHHH moments!!!

We’ve been weary. But God in His graciousness, took us away to refresh as we retreated with many others at the CC East Africa Missionary conference. Through the teaching and encouragement He reminded us to stay the course, to NOT loose heart and grow weary… But to press on!

Then we returned to the village and our God reveals He is indeed at work in Kisii and I am blessed and honored to be a part!