Mwisho wa sura

“The end of a chapter” – This letter has just gone out in the mail.

Dear family and friends,

We want to give our most sincere thanks to you for the financial and prayer support you have given us over the last three years. It has been a blessing to be serving the Lord here in East Africa, all the time knowing you were walking with us, sharing in God’s ministry. You have been an integral part of His work here, all for His glory.

God has done great things as we have experienced more of Him through the eyes of another culture. Living among Kenyans has given us a greater understanding of scripture and its application to life. It has been a wonderful gift from God to be able to share with many African churches, helping believers grow in knowledge and love. Many relationships have been built that will last for eternity. It has also been a privilege to use our gifts and skills to help missionaries as they serve Him in Africa.

We now find ourselves at the end of a chapter. We came out with a vision to further God’s kingdom through the use of computers. In the last three years we have built a team of four Kenyan professionals who are ready to take over what we are doing. Desiring to be good stewards of God’s resources, we feel ready to hand the work over to these men and move on to what God has next for us. They would appreciate your prayers, just as we have.

At this time, God’s long term plans for us have not been completely revealed. Leaving has been a difficult decision to work through, but we are confident in the Lord that this decision is the right one and at the right time.

We will be headed back to California in August and will no longer be supported missionaries in September. We trust that God will lead you in finding a new place for His resources to best glorify Him. We are looking forward to sharing with many of you in person.

Mungu ni mwema, wakati wote. God is good, all the time.

In Christ’s Fellowship,

Paul, Cammy, Petr and Andrej

Vijana vya Kenyatta Market

The youth of Kenyatta Market.  These are some of my friends.  They call me “Mister Paul.”  A photographer was passing at the same time I was, so they asked him to take a picture of us.  Most of these guys are fans of Santiago, and a couple of them actually play.  Most of the poses are telling.  Especially the empty bowl and spoon, and the guy smoking.  It is not tobacco.  He offered me some.  If you cannot find me in the photo, I am the oldest guy… oh, and the tallest.

I played another match yesterday.  We played well, but in the end lost 3-2.  The referee was quite partial.  They usually pay the ref 40 shillings (just about $0.50) to ref the match.  20 from each team.  I told him afterward that I thought the other team might have paid 50 shillings.

The other team “Laini Saba” had one really good player, Sele.  So I sat on him the whole match.  If he did not touch the ball, they did not score.  I obviously messed up 3 times, but I was also trying to score.  In the first half we were up 2-1.  In the second half he played as far away from me as possible.

Another friend from the market, Pablo (seriously that is his name), saw me there.  He calls me Pablito, so I knew immediately who was calling me.  After the match I asked him if he lived close to the field.  He said, “Just at this corner, will you come see?”  The match ended early, so I went with him to his place.  His neighbors were shocked, especially Sele, the guy who I had been defending the whole match.  He happened to live in the place right next to Pablo.  The woman across the way could not stop laughing.  The idea of an mzungu coming in to their place was apparently too much for her.  I met Pablo’s wife and son and they served me chai.

Cammy was a bit worried when I did not return until well after dark.  I do not carry a phone to the football matches.  Who knows who will go through your stuff when you are on the field. She said, “If I called someone to say you were missing, they would ask where you were… When I told them Kibera, there would be nothing anyone could do.”  Pablo walked me all the way home though.  He is one of those guys that everyone seems to know.

Good times.

Christ’s Harvest Revival Centre

image

We were back at our church home that is in Kawangware. My friend John Nakhumwa was sick but we had a great time with pastors Benson and Washington along with Valentino the worship leader. After church, I got to preach, we went to Pastor Washington’s house for lunch.
Kawangware is a slum, but it is quite a bit more spread out and has a much high percentage of stone buildings. Cammy mentioned how she felt a lot safer there.

Glorious Celebration Centre

imageWe were back in Mathare this Sunday, at the Glorious Celebration Centre.  We were there a few weeks back and Pastor Peter Kisia had wanted to have us back again. At least from my perspective, Mathare is a tougher place to live than Kibera.  The economics of the place are a lot tougher.  There is a lot less money in the immediate area to support the huge numbers of people living there.  The largest “industry” is the chang’aa production (which happens to be right below the church in the river valley).

I met Pastor Peter almost 3 1/2 years ago.  It was just after the post election violence.  His brother had been killed.  I think that would have been a reasonable time for him to decided God was calling him to ministry elsewhere.  But he is still there, still reaching out to a very difficult community.  As we looked around at the extremity of the place he commented on how it was getting better.  He said before there were basically only two options to make money in Mathare, chang’aa and prostitution.  Now there were other options.  He has offered free lunch to all those guys down there working in by the river and he had invited an evangelist to preach while they ate.  He pointed out three men in the church were former workers there.  He has a school for children.  We saw at least 100 standing around outside the church when we showed up.  “Wazungu!” “How ah-roo?” None of them are enrolled anywhere.  He also has started a sewing ministry for the women.  Most of the women in the church do laundry for people in Eastleigh.  Sometimes they get as little as 50 shillings for a days work with deductions if they take chai at the house where they are working.  He has a good heart.

The service was great, except they had lost their audio technician.  The power was out when we arrived and I was quite enjoying praise and worship.  Then the power came back and the keyboard and microphones came out.  There was a lot of buzzing and distortion (much more than normal).  Just about everyone tried to make it better with little to show for it.  So when it came time to preach, I asked if they could hear me in the back without the mic.

I preached on the need for a new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-14).

Sio “Je, unafanya nini?”, lakini “Je, unafanya kwa nini?”

Not, “What are you doing?” but “Why are you doing?”

After the service they did some child dedications.  True to the difficulties of the place, none of the fathers were present, just four mothers and babies. We also celebrated communion.  I was curious to see what would be in the cups.  It was orange Fanta.  At first I wondered why it was not blackcurrant Fanta, which is purple.  But then I thought what does it matter.  Once you move away from wine it is clearly only symbolic.  Also, they do not sell blackcurrant in 1L bottles, but they do sell orange in 1L.

Cammy and I talked about how unlike “up country” churches, the people here had to get to work.  A lot of the income for people living in the slums comes on the weekends when the more wealthy people are willing to hire them to wash clothes, cars, do yard work etc.

 

Choices

I mentioned before I would post my notes, here they are.

Who are you?  Not your name, not what you do, where you come from.
What makes you who you are? – You are the sum of choices, some made for you, but ultimately you are responsible for what you do with your life.

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;

Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

Your choices may seem mundane, meaningless.  What will you wear, what will you eat?

How do you make decisions?  An important question when you realize that it will define you.

Humanities: The study of what makes us human.  Specifically human, not an animal, not connected with race, gender etc.

What makes us different?  We were created in the image of God.

Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

How are we in God’s image?  What do we have that no other creature has?  No other creature has a free will.  How do we use that will?  We make choices based on values.

What is important to you?  That is how you make decisions, whether conscious or not.
Decision tree: Does it affect priority #1? Move to #2, and so on.

You can look at your life, your decisions and determine what your priorities are.

What is  most important decision you will ever make?  Is that reflected in the priorities of your life?

Ephesians 4:14-15 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ

Who is in control of your life?  Are you being blown about or are you taking charge of the responsibility that God has given you?  You are the pilot, are you following the orders of the Captain, or just going with the flow?

How do we set our priorities straight?
Matthew 6:25-34
If we have priority #1 set, we do not need to worry about #2-#99.

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

We set our minds straight by realizing we must give it all up to God who knows better.  We must seek His way regardless of the apparent cost.

Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

“He is no fool who parts with that which he cannot keep, when he is sure to be recompensed with that which he cannot lose.” Philip Henry (1631-1696)

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Scaffolding can be necessary, but it is temporary.  Do not invest in scaffolding.

Choose right.  Choose God’s Kingdom.  Tunajenga mfalme wa Mungu.

 

 

Who are you? Not your name, not what you do, where you come from.

What makes you who you are? – You are the sum of choices, some made for you, but ultimately you are responsible for what you do with your life.

 

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;

 

Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

 

Your choices may seem mundane, meaningless. What will you wear, what will you eat?

 

How do you make decisions? An important question when you realize that it will define you.

 

Humanities: The study of what makes us human. Specifically human, not an animal, not connected with race, gender etc.

 

What makes us different? We were created in the image of God.

 

Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

 

How are we in God’s image? What do we have that no other creature has? No other creature has a free will. How do we use that will? We make choices based on values.

 

What is important to you? That is how you make decisions, whether conscious or not.

Decision tree: Does it affect priority #1? Move to #2, and so on.

 

You can look at your life, your decisions and determine what your priorities are.

 

What is most important decision you will ever make? Is that reflected in the priorities of your life?

 

Ephesians 4:14-15 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ

 

Who is in control of your life? Are you being blown about or are you taking charge of the responsibility that God has given you? You are the pilot, are you following the orders of the Captain, or just going with the flow?

 

How do we set our priorities straight?

Matthew 6:25-34

If we have priority #1 set, we do not need to worry about #2-#99.

 

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

 

We set our minds straight by realizing we must give it all up to God who knows better. We must seek His way regardless of the apparent cost.

 

Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

 

He is no fool who parts with that which he cannot keep, when he is sure to be recompensed with that which he cannot lose.” Philip Henry (1631-1696)

 

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

 

Scaffolding can be necessary, but it is temporary. Do not invest in scaffolding.

 

Choose right. Choose God’s Kingdom. Tunajenga ufalme ya Mungu.

The Other Wall

Quite a few years ago I built a wall in the backyard of the house we had in La Mesa.  It was a really long project and I did all the work with my dad and brother.

In September of 2009 when my parents were visiting the perimeter wall at the back of our house fell down.  The Sunday morning it fell down I went to Mathare with my dad.  Last Sunday I asked who remembered the man from Jericho.

About a month ago I started moving dirt from near the road onto the lot across from our house.  The dirt was just piled up from construction left over and was wasted space.  You could not play on it, you could not park on it.  That lead to the need for a retaining wall to keep the dirt on the field.  This lead to the need for a fence to keep soccer balls on the field.  I had some 4″ steel pipes made into 8’x4′ soccer goals.  Then Cammy and I talked it over and decided to move the play structure from our back yard to the lot so all the kids could play on it.  Then I had the guys build a nice bench to sit on while you watch the kids play.  With some work from me (which was very awkward at times with strange looks from the neighbors), and the help of some skilled and unskilled labor we pretty much finished it all up last week.  There are still a few things to be worked out like reinforcing the swing set (it may be one of the busiest swings in Kenya!), but all told it cost about $3000.  That is just about what we got back from our federal tax returns.  Since we are supported by all of you, and that was all withheld from our “income,” it was all God’s money anyway.

This Saturday we had an awesome time as we opened the field with a bar-b-que and potluck for the whole neighborhood.  I was really impressed by how many people showed up.  It was amazing to see some of the ladies organize a game of musical chairs for the kids.  Andrej came in second, but he seemed to be the crowd favorite, and I think he got the benefit of the doubt more than once.  Then they got the women to compete, and even the men took a turn. They presented Cammy and me with some nicely carved gourds as a sign of appreciation.

Maybe because it is so fresh in my memory, but that day has to be one of the best days of all our time in Kenya.  I really feel like we made an impact on our neighbors.

Choices in Mathare

We went back to Pastor Peter Kisia’s church in Mathare on Sunday.  Mathare is the second largest slum in Nairobi.  The church is right next to the river/open sewer where you can see them making changaa (moonshine) with fires under 50 gallon steel drums. We had a really nice time, although Cammy admitted she had trouble with the smell most of the time.  This picture is actually from a while back when we visited there.  We forgot to take a camera.  I spoke again on choices, which I am also sharing this morning at chai time here at the hangar.  I really will post the notes soon.