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!  

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!

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!!



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!