The day began with an eight hour journey to Kisii. Had I not witnessed it, I never would have believed that there were hundreds of speed bumps. Stopping at the “chemist,” their term for pharmacist, I retrieved some Dramamine type medicine. The journey was grueling, but I asked God to help me, and He delivered. I kept reminding myself of what Paul went through. He was persecuted, beaten, imprisoned, and nearly killed, while I was slightly inconvenienced. I asked someone if God made allowances for how soft we have become, especially in the U.S. We assume we’re being persecuted by the preacher if the message runs over by 10 minutes. “How dare someone chip into my lunch or start of a football game?”
Back to work in Kenya: I was able to ask many questions of pastor Douglas. He is the assistant pastor to Elijah. At least that was the way I was led to understand it. Come to find out Pastor Elijah leads the Bible study and Pastor Doug does the main preaching. In 2004 they started the church. They made a makeshift building of logs, branches, and leaves. Sometimes they would be standing in ankle-deep water during their services. After several years of trying to make a go of it, they ended up failing. Their call to succeed was strong from the Lord. In 2013 they tried again to resurrect the church. Doug sold his only cow to purchase materials for the building. This only gave them enough money to put steel on half the roof. Little by little, they would buy one sheet of steel at a time as God provided the funds.
The level of poverty in this area compared quite similar to what I had experienced in Malawi. When we finally arrived at the church we were met by 40 or 50 individuals. Many of them came up and hugged and greeted me with great joy. I must admit I feel the same undeserved praise from the people as I did in Malawi. This is a very important reminder to stay in the background and empower the leadership in Kenya churches. The transition from preacher to godlike status would seemingly occur quite easy. They offered me some property and asked if I would build a house and come and live with them. There is no question that their love and acceptance was genuine. They did give God most of the glory and praise, although they had demonstrated some towards me also. Repeatedly, I instructed them to give all the glory to God, but my efforts were largely ignored.
Meanwhile, back at the mission house, the training continued. Pastor Rick took the opportunity to share with the men. They enjoyed his teachings very much and felt the power of the Holy Spirit working through him, apparently so powerful, a 5.5 earthquake hit the region just before lunch. They could feel the house shaking. Somehow, I will twist this around and tell Rick it must have been God’s way to tell him he was talking too much. Of course, his rebuttal will be the presence of the Holy Spirit was so strong, it caused the earthquake. Either way, God is awesome and deserves all the praise.
My wife, Heidi, was able to go with Rhoda, Tony’s mother to a prayer meeting. Most of the attendees were women, probably over 300. They ended up meeting for nearly 6 hours. Heidi was able to teach a short message with the aid of an interpreter. I have not gotten all the details yet, but apparently there was quite a strong presence of the Holy Spirit. Heidi and Rhoda have become friends quickly. I am thankful that she is experiencing the same lovingkindness from our brothers and sisters in Malawi. The fact that I had to leave the area after only being there for one day made it difficult, but for whatever reason, our arrival was delayed. Consequently, it altered our trip, but I felt the need to go to Kenya was too strong to reschedule.
I have three more days in Kenya to learn whatever the Holy Spirit wills. The duration of time that I have spent here has not allowed me to have significant insight yet. I do feel as though I am not fully comprehending everything the Lord wants me to. I met a young man named Duke; 22 years old and a very gentle spirit. Apparently, he has quite a singing voice that I have not yet been able to enjoy. When I first saw him, I was drawn to his humble countenance. I asked Pastor Doug if he could come over and talk to me. Is Duke going to be the Tony of Kenya? Too early to tell, but there is something more there.
All of the church members that were awaiting our arrival were also waiting to eat. They had prepared quite a meal for us, and they insisted that I join them. I was not sure exactly what I was eating, but I knew some of it was similar to what was served in Malawi. They gave me huge portions, which I declined eating all of it. The interaction with the children was very good and they enjoyed learning about the high five for Jesus. They explained that people have been getting sick from typhoid. Just as in Malawi, water is a huge issue. The investigation process is still in the early stages. I will be diligently seeking the next steps directed by God and I will do my best to report what is going on at the two locations simultaneously. Now, I have more faces and names to add to our prayer list.