My God is a PROMISE KEEPER!

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…

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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.

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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….

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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, 

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 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!

Kari