ENTER WEBUYE

Webuye is a country market town of about 50,000 people nestled in the mountains of extreme western Kenya. The center-point of the area is the huge Pan Paper complex of factories which is currently closed and in receivership. Unemployment is very high and the area is economically depressed because of the months-long loss of 2600 manufacturing jobs.

Bishop Albert Mulemi of Faith Chapel in Nairobi organized the Pastors Conference in Webuye. More than 130 leaders would attend from dozens of different church groups. This group of leaders would be the most vocal and interactive of any in our six years of leading such meetings. And very receptive.

 

We met in a center used for civic and religious meetings. The center also houses an orphanage.

 

 

The first day was similar to the other Pastors Conferences.

We taught on WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOD DOING? – THE MINISTRY OF JESUS – and EQUIPPING THE SAINTS TO DO THE MINISTRY OF JESUS.

 

 

 

 

We soon broke through the initial skepticism, and the first day ended on a positive note.

 

 

That night we stayed in the Pan Paper Guest House. The older structure reminded me of some accommodations in remote areas during the British Colonial days. My (Doug’s) bathtub was occupied by every possible African fungus, so even with shoes on I decided not to try it.

But the screens kept most of the mosquitoes out, and the dining hall prepared very good local dishes (not to mention excellent hot Kenya tea and coffee), so we were good.

The second day we heard testimonies. I had encouraged everyone to do business with Jesus over night– to repent of THEIR ministries in order to take up the ministry of JESUS.

PROTUS NZUNGU

He is a prayer coordinator in the area. He received Transforming Prayer as a wonderful ‘secret’—a blessing. “My prayer partners will soon see this new way of prayer,” he declared. The Holy Spirit convicted him that he needs to give immediate attention to his wife and five sons.

 

 

 

 

KIWA WANYAMA

He was delighted by the teachings which spoke to several of his life issues. “Your words were pure and edifying to me.” He also confessed the need to spend more time with his children. “God has ministered to me today. I am so grateful.”

 

 

 

 

RANDALL – This morning I was ministering to a couple in my church. I could only look at them and wonder how these people got married to each other! I will tell the husband he needs to love his wife.

Richard added that he felt the wife would respect her husband if he acted like Christ toward her.

 

MARTIN – He came asking for physical healing. The left side of his face was so swollen, his left eye was shut. He told us he had had this condition for seven years. He has been to multiple doctors and hospitals without getting a diagnosis or treatment. He continues active in his church in spite of his disfiguring handicap. He came to the meeting hoping for healing.

We prayed for Martin for several minutes but he persisted in saying that he was hearing nothing from God and nothing was happening to him physically.

I (Doug) stopped the prayer and gave Martin this assignment:  go home, do business with God tonight, find out what God wants to speak into your life, bring us a report tomorrow and we will pray again.

(To be continued)

We closed Tuesday’s meeting as Richard gave himself a surprise 61st birthday party. He handed out chunks of granola bars to everyone and we sang Happy Birthday to him. Yes, even in Kenya they do that!

 

The last time I saw Richard, he was running around with a plate of ughali African ‘corn mush’ calling it his birthday cake.

 

 

The altitude does affect some people….

 

 

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PIERCING THE DARKNESS IN MUMIAS

The foundational teachings having been put in place on days one and two, we conducted three Transforming Prayer ministry demonstrations in front of the assembled pastors on the final day.

Our goals were to (1) effect healing in as many leaders as possible, (2) demonstrate the reality of what we have been teaching, and most of all to (3) give God a venue to – well – be God!

Doug prayed first for a local PASTOR – The man reported he had had a very hard ministry in Mumias and had been hurt in many ways. He considered himself a failure. His former bishop had on three occasions done things to deeply wound him.

God had earlier told him to go and forgive the man face-to-face. He had in fact made two attempts, but the meetings did not happen. In prayer God tells him to make sure this gets done!

He agreed but expressed fear that the bishop will pressure him to submit once again to his authority. We prayed and the Holy Spirit released him from further obligation to his former bishop. God: “Stay with your current bishop.”

We asked him what will happen when he obeys God? He replied, “Things in my life and ministry will change.”

PASTOR RASTUS came next – He reported stomach problems on and off since 1994. He has failed to find permanent healing. Richard asked God to show him the source of this illness.

The pastor began to cry. He shared that in 1990 he performed poorly in school, so his father refused to pay for further education and sent him to his mother, saying, “She can pay for your school.” (Which she could not afford.)

“How did that make you feel?”

“I felt bitter. I felt unloved.”

In spite of his father’s rejection, he managed to eventually finish school and even made it to university. Over the years he made an attempt to forgive his father, but his father repeatedly rejected him. So he eventually separated permanently from his father (and from his father’s extended family of other wives and children).

Richard invited God to speak to Rastus about his life situation. The Holy Spirit told him not to fear going to his father one more time. He assured him that his father has had a change of heart and will receive him. In fact, he should expect the entire family to accept him.

Rastus confessed he would need a change of mind to prepare for reconciliation. After more prayer, he agreed to that and reported that he now felt peaceful regarding his family. The long-term bitterness was gone.

Richard returned to the presenting issue of physical illness. Rastus said that he was named after his grandfather who had similar stomach problems. “I feel a curse on me from my grandfather.”

The Holy Spirit prompted him to verbalize forgiveness toward his father (which he did). Then the Spirit told him there was no curse on his life. Rastus was obviously relieved.

Pastor Peter (who was translating) prayed for physical healing for Rastus. The pastor reported that he felt ‘light’.

Richard prayed for God to give the man a ‘parting gift’.  Rastus said, “I now know that God will be with me when I visit my family and I will have an opportunity to share the Gospel with all of them.” None are believers.

JOSEPH OMONDI conducted the third session with HARRIETT – she reported having stomach problems for two years. The doctors were unable to give her a diagnosis. She reported ‘movement’ in her chest and abdomen as the session progressed.

How did she feel about her health problem? “I feel that God has not healed me and I have despaired of life.” She feels unworthy, unloved and lonely. “I have failed.”

Joseph asked God to speak to Harriett about her illness. He brought to mind three things:

Her bitterness toward her husband (who had been unfaithful with several women) which had driven him away from her and from Christ.

A false accusation from a relative that she is a witch. She suddenly remembered that the physical illness had begun with that hurt and additional bitterness.

And, she recalled her hurt and bitterness when her father preferred all his sons (who received education) and none of his daughters (who were basically married off).

Joseph led her through prayers of forgiveness in each area. At the conclusion she said, “God is telling me that my life will change for the better when I make peace with my husband and my family” — which she committed to do.

One by one, little by little, the light of heaven is piercing the darkness in Mumias.

So, on to Webuye….

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THE LIGHT SHINES IN MUMIAS

Before we enter a new area, we ask God for his instructions. Regarding Mumias, the word was, “You are about to enter The Heart of Darkness.”  Our prayers deepened.

God’s reply:   “Nothing special is required. Go in the authority and power of Jesus. Preach the message I have given you. Pay attention. I will be with you. I will break the spirit of witchcraft assaulting the pastors. And through them, I will eventually break the power of Islam and witchcraft over the area.”

After the second day of the Pastors Conference, a group of long-time Mumias church planters and pastors shared their experiences of battling this thick darkness.  

They spoke of a culture saturated with illiteracy, witchcraft, occult practices, greed, corruption, polygamy, division, violence, oppression, lust, indolence, poverty, hunger, incest and theft—not to mention an epidemic of madness.

     So, we went back to prayer.

Should we continue to teach and minister as we had begun? Or did this situation call for some modification? For something different?  For something only God could know?

God’s answer:  “Do what you are doing. The Life (of my kingdom) which you are releasing into these leaders cannot be prevented by darkness from growing and extending. Even (as early as) one year from now, Mumias will not be as dark as today, and Satan’s long-term grip on this area will begin to slip/loosen.

“This will come to pass NOT through human strength and effort, but through the life of the Gospel and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Tell the pastors to be diligent in their duties, but to always ‘be at rest’ in the ministry of Jesus.” (Hebrews 4:1-13 came to mind)

So, on Day Three we continued teaching and welcoming testimonies of what Jesus was doing in the lives of the participants.

 

Here are a few excepts from the testimonies:

 

 

PASTOR WILLIAM OMONDI – I am thankful for these teachings which have moved me somewhere.  I have been a pastor, but my life has been filled with great bitterness. Early this morning the Holy Spirit had me write down the names of everyone who has wounded me. Then I knelt down and prayed to forgive each one – living and dead – I told each one, “I forgive you.” Now I am totally transformed and free. Continue to teach on these great secrets. (i.e. the great ‘secret’ of forgiveness)

 

 

DANIEL MUSOMBA – All we pastors need something:  NO color barrier! I am being lifted up by God’s word. I see that we should all be lifted up from one level to another (in Christ) — putting an end to meanness and greed — so that we become a generous people. Tell the people in America (who are praying for us) that the pastors in Africa are praying for you.

 

 

PASTOR ABLE ETORI – I have worked hard in the ministry, but my motivation was to earn the approval of my Bishop. I married, but the bishop has never done anything to assist or support us. I became bitter and my zeal for ministry reduced. Then my wife miscarried twice. Yet the doctors said there was nothing medically wrong with her.

“What is happening?” I asked myself.

A Servant of God came to visit and told me, “What is happening is a result of your disobedience. Don’t hold anger in your heart for your superior.” So I let that go. Then my wife had a child. In this conference I have come to understand that I must always forgive and never walk in any kind of grudge.

 PASTOR WILBERFORCE – I have listened to your teaching on Transforming Prayer. In that prayer you have summarized the entire Bible! This prayer can be a great weapon for evangelism. I have also learned that all of God’s people are priests, (so) I have learned we can delegate ministry and therefore have time to rest. I now see that we can do the ministry of JESUS without a struggle.

 

HARRIETT MKOYA – God has visited me in a very great way (during this conference). Richard taught that the greatest hindrance to healing is unforgiveness. In my heart I have been angry and bitter toward many people, so I have not done well in ministry. In the evening I prayed about this and a great burden lifted. I began to see the glory of God. I have forgiven everyone. Now I feel peaceful. I hope they will forgive me so they may have the joy of the Lord.

 

After these testimonies, we conducted three Transforming Prayer sessions in front of the assembled pastors.

More on that tomorrow…

 

 

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THE DARKNESS OVER MUMIAS BEGINS TO LIFT

MUMIAS PASTORS CONFERENCE – TESTIMONIES – JULY 20-21, 2012

WILBERFORCE A. OKELO – Thank God for these servants. The meeting yesterday blessed me. I realized I should not fear death because God will take me to be at home with Jesus.

 

SAMSON AMAKOVI – I was blessed yesterday.  I realized the reason my ministry is not going (up) might be because of me. And, I now understand that I am called to properly represent Jesus (as an ambassador of Christ – 2 COR 5:20) in every situation. I have committed myself to do that.

 

RASTUS MUSEVE – for two months I have been sickly, but the doctor has no diagnosis. I have been very busy in ministry. I have been so tired I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, or do anything.  ”Kicking out so many devils has been hard work.” My wife is also so tired, she couldn’t finish teaching a Sunday School class last week.

But Richard taught that I should rest one day each week and not be available to my church members 24/7. Doug encouraged me to go home and repent of MY ministry so I can take up the ministry of JESUS. These teachings have helped and blessed me today.

PASTOR KONA – I was so blessed yesterday. I have been ministering 24/7 with no time for my wife and kids. After the meeting yesterday I rested with my family. I turned off my cell phone during dinner and when I went to bed. I didn’t turn it back on until 9 a.m. [The time Richard starts to return calls each morning!]

Douglas taught me that I am an ambassador of Christ’s kingdom, not my own kingdom. There is much enmity between pastors in our area because there is great competition between our personal kingdoms. I am an ambassador for Christ as are all the other pastors in our area.

PASTOR ROBERT MAMAI – Doug started by saying that when the team prayed about Mumias, God showed him this is a place of great darkness. And this is true: much occult activity, magic, many people going mad. Most pastors are struggling under the weight of this darkness. Thank God we have learned a new way to deal with the demons.

Also, Richard told us we are pastoring like we are running a 24/7 petrol station! I have been working full-time with no time for my family. And the devil has taken advantage of that.

Please pray with us that God will break the polygamous pattern over this area [established by King Mumia wh0 had 100 wives]. Many people are polygamists and many people are suffering because of this. Even some pastors are polygamists.

FRED NYONGESA – Thanks for the meeting. God has changed my life—my future—my ministry. What you have taught is God speaking into my life. I have been praying so much to God about MY ministry. Now I am committed to working under the ministry of JESUS. I know now there is a better way to deal with darkness. I am changed. I will have more impact. “This meeting was designed for me personally, if for no one else.”

PASTOR JACOB – We have all been ‘chasing’ demons. Several of us went to pray for a madman recently. We all could see the demon. We found ourselves “battling and quarreling” with the demon. We were all shouting at the demon.

But I was thinking, “Is this the right way to do this? It seems we are shouting at the demon to prove we are anointed. Shouldn’t we be talking to the person and finding out why they have this demon?”

Then the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “Jacob, don’t continue to pray like this. Wait for some days and I will tell you how to properly deal with the demons. So I have been troubled wondering what I am waiting for?”

This meeting has been the answer to my prayers. I have learned we can deal with the demons in a quiet environment. “The issue is not style – the issue is to listen to the Holy Spirit and receive (instruction) from the Lord.” So in the future, I will pray without shouting, I will listen to the Spirit of God and I will pray as the Holy Spirit leads me.”

The darkness over Mumias is beginning to lift….

 

 

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MORE SWEET ‘PUDDING’ FROM KAMBIRI

TESTIMONIES FROM THE KAMBIRI PASTOS CONFERENCE — TUESDAY

GEOFFREY JUMO UKEE

I am comparing the message of equipping the saints to the story of Moses and Jethro. Moses was trying to do everything. Jethro counseled Moses to delegate duties to qualified men so that he might succeed.  I am a strong leader. There are two issues in my ministry: things go well (only) when I am present and I am overwhelmed by my responsibilities. I see how I must delegate responsibilities.

PASTOR CHRISTOPHER

I was blessed by the message yesterday. We have a problem in Kenya. We do not love each other. I see that the will of God is for us is to love each other. We have failed even in the church. Pastors won’t even sit with one another. That is a prison. “I will do my best to do what Jesus said. We have [the beginnings of] a fellowship of leaders here.  Let’s follow the instructions of Jesus to love one another.”

TROFANA OUCHI

I was so blessed yesterday. The teaching touched my heart. I have been a leader, but I am weak and unable to continue. Doug taught the “5-Minute Bible” (“What in the World is God Doing?”). I was so encouraged to build on a right foundation: to rightly preach the truth of the Word. My faith is revived. If we know Christ, we must teach Christ. I accept that as my responsibility.

BONEDA HAVESA

I was also so blessed yesterday as the teacher spoke of the Holy Spirit. It touched my heart. He told us to go home overnight and pray and repent of “my ministry” so that I can take up “the ministry of Jesus”.  I did exactly that.

During the night I dreamed I saw a company of people writing their names in a certain book on the side of a river. The river was flowing (but clogged) with grass. Doug was swinging a two-edged sword, clearing out the grass. When the grass was cleared, I saw many people being baptized in the clean water. Their names were being called by one whose name was in the book. I now know my calling.

Joseph interpreted: the teaching yesterday was clearing the way for true Jesus-ministry.

JANE OSIDE

The meeting has encouraged me. I left yesterday thinking of the dedicated people who are committed to help me (in ministry). Our people are trained to wait for the primary leader (who is the expert) to pray. (With these teachings) I can build my team to go and pray with confidence. Every leader needs people who will help and who will trust the Word. I think my service will now be much easier. This meeting should have been for a week!

PASTOR ALFANSO

I brought several of my leaders. After hearing the message yesterday, they told me, “We won’t just sit in church any longer!” I personally learned that we must be baptized with the Holy Spirit as well as water.

GERALD SOGORRO SONTITT

I was in the sister meeting in Khayega in January where Doug taught. Doug taught us a way to pray so that God can heal broken hearts. I had a man in my church who harbored great bitterness toward his parents. I remembered two things Doug said:  “God can heal a broken heart” and “Let’s pray….”

So I prayed with the man and asked him, “What is the Holy Spirit saying to you?” The man reported that his spirit was settled as far as his parents were concerned and that he was supposed to go make peace with his parents.

I went with him to reconcile with his parents. Today his mother and father are members of my church. Listen to what is being taught here. It will help you.

DIANA AVETI

Since we don’t presently have a pastor for our church, I came to this meeting to represent our church. I was touched yesterday by Richard saying that he is here teaching as a ‘saint’ even though he has no formal position in his church. As he spoke, I realized I am also a ‘saint’ – also called by God.  I can act for God wherever I stand. Maybe God will eventually use me as a pastor…

WEDNESDAY – The Testimonies Continue

PASTOR JULIUS

The conference has been very inspiring. The Holy Spirit started ministering to me even before I came. I have learned that we are all called to be ministers. There are many in our villages in great need and we can all pray. We need to listen to the Holy Spirit to know how to minister. I now know I don’t have to yell and shout at the enemy, but I can pray quietly and the person can make their choice.

HELEN

Since we began the meeting I have been experiencing God. I was blessed with the word about unity in our families. Also that we can witness for Jesus through our family. I can see that my church and other churches will become stronger as our families become stronger.

BONEDA

I was excited to learn that we can pray for ministry needs even if God does not do exactly as we expect. (She has been discouraged after praying for someone who later died.) Yesterday I was revived and I prayed for someone who was healed.  I have learned I don’t have to shout when I pray for someone. If you shout, the person you are praying for may pass out because of your shouting!

 

PASTOR FRED

This meeting has been very helpful and encouraging. My ministry over the past 20 years has been very hard. I have even questioned whether I was called to be a pastor. Now I have learned to equip my people. Now I know how to become successful. I think my ministry will not be such a struggle.

 

 

The transforming work of Jesus and his Spirit continues in western Kenya….

 

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THE STORY OF JOAB

THE STORY OF JOAB

On Thursday we arrived at Mumias for the beginning of the second Pastors Conference. While we waited for the leaders to arrive an hour late (Africa on-time), we met and talked with Pastor Joab.

Pastor Joab is an elderly, semi-retired pastor. His retirement is not by choice but because of a limiting physical handicap. In the middle of his back a disk has totally deteriorated leaving him with bones painfully touching one another.

The pastor apologized for needing to be absent from the meeting the next day. He had a long-standing doctor’s appointment for a back x-ray and physical therapy.

At which point we offered to pray for Pastor Joab. He agreed, so Richard and I sat on either side of him and we each put a hand on his back.

Then I prayed, as we often do, “Father, is there anything you would like to speak to Pastor Joab about before we pray for his back?”

He was silent for a moment and then said softly, “The Lord reminds me to be humble.”

“Do you agree?”

“Yes.”

“Will you walk in humility?”

“Yes.”

We then felt released to pray for his back. Together we prayed briefly three times. After each prayer we asked him what was happening while we prayed? Each time he reported a sensation in the affected area. We were encouraged that the Holy Spirit seemed to be doing something.

The meeting began, so we concluded our prayer time and asked Pastor Joab to bring us a doctor’s report on Saturday. The Jesus-standard is that one’s healing should be confirmed before one publicly declares it done. True worshippers worship Jesus “in Spirit and in TRUTH”.

On Saturday, Pastor Joab returned to the meeting. He was smiling to break his face. After the session we asked for a doctor’s report. He had in fact seen the doctor who had taken an x-ray.

He said, “The disk has returned and is perfect. I have no pain in my back. I am able to move normally.”

Once again, Jesus has done what he does so well: attending first to a heart issue and then mercifully validating his Word with physical healing.

Many others this past week reported that God seemed to be healing them physically during prayer. I’m happy to report that at least in this case we can say for sure,

“One day as Jesus was teaching…the power of the Lord was present to heal the sick.” (Luke 5:17)

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JESUS VISITS KAMBIRI

TRANSFORMING PRAYER COMES TO KAMBIRI, KENYA

If you drive 20 minutes out of Kakamega, Kenya into the forest preserve and turn right down a nearly impassable dirt track used to haul sugar cane from the fields, you come to the two-block-long market village of Kambiri.

Perched on the side of a steep hill above the village is the GFE Spiritual Life Center. The metal building is surrounded by mooing cows and verdant fields of corn.

During the third day of the Pastors Conference, the Team explained the process of Transforming Prayer and then conducted three demonstration prayers in front of the 80 or so gathered church leaders from many different church groups.

Transforming Prayer is the practical application of the prayer principles developed by Dr. Ed Smith (Theophostic Prayer).  Within the context of training God’s People to ‘do the ministry of Jesus’, we show them how this simple Transforming Prayer model helps God’s People actually do the ministry of Jesus:

  • To GOOD NEWS the poor with the flash that the future kingdom of God is breaking into the present
  • To heal the emotionally wounded (to bind up crushed hearts)
  • To heal the physically sick (just as in the Gospel of Mark)
  • To peel the darkness off the oppressed and depressed (as Jesus did), and
  • To demonstrate that God’s grace, favor and mercy are “in season” and that all are invited to partake. (Luke 4:16ff)

When we pray, we basically facilitate a conversation between the person for whom we are praying and the resurrected Jesus. Jesus leads the person to the source of their presenting pain where a lie or lies are commonly found.

When the Holy Spirit speaks truth, the lies evaporate, and the negative symptoms fed by those particular lies began to dissipate.

There was not time this week to conduct a formal training, but the team was able to introduce the basic concepts and do three demonstration prayers which gave God a chance to show what he can do.

Today (Wednesday) the Holy Spirit instructed me to stay in the hotel where I fasted and prayed for the meeting while Joseph Omondi and Richard Cazzell did the teaching and conducted the prayer sessions.

The first session was with FLORA. She came asking for physical healing for an 18-year partial paralysis in her body. But as the team prayed, as is so often the case, God elected to deal with another issue first.

Flora had been separated from her husband for 20 years and forced to live with her children. She had long wondered if her marital failure was the result of a spell put on her by a witchdoctor? Or maybe it was just her own failure that had led to the breakup of her family?

The team prayed and asked Jesus to come and speak to the origin of these life issues.

After the Holy Spirit spoke truth to her questions, she felt God’s forgiveness. She was then able to genuinely forgive her husband. As for her paralysis, she felt that God was doing a healing work in that area as well. We hope so.

The second session was with Pastor JULIUS.  He also had a marriage problem. He had married early to escape a demoralizing family situation. His father married several women and the other wives rejected him as a boy.

He had a seasonal sickness that became worse anytime he was with his extended family. He had strong feelings against his father for marrying several women.

After the Holy Spirit spoke to Julius in prayer, he was able to forgive his father for what he had done, felt like he was physically getting stronger, heard an inner ‘voice’ telling him he should be faithful to his calling and experienced in-breaking joy! He broke into laughter as his prayer session concluded.

MOSES came next.

His presenting issues were physical sickness and personal troubles. His wife left with his son of 7 months and stayed with her parents for 2 years. Desperate for direction, Moses consulted a witch doctor regarding his wife.  The wife returned, but the son became an epileptic.

Moses has had disputes within his family. He once beat his parents badly and stabbed his brother several times. Moses thinks there is some kind of spell on him.

His lie-based thinking that emerged: he considers himself a failure when compared to other people.

When the Holy Spirit spoke truth in prayer, God told Moses that he should forgive himself and his family. This Moses did.

Then an inner ‘voice’ tells him to take his son to church and request prayer. If he does, the son will be healed.

The prayer session ends with Moses feeling the forgiveness, love and acceptance of God. He reports feeling physical healing flowing through his body.

In all three sessions, the presence of God was felt powerfully in the room and the congregation was deeply affected by the healing process occurring in their peers.

To conclude the conference, Richard did a brief, concentrated teaching on forgiveness. Then Joseph led the entire meeting in a group Transforming Prayer. During the extended prayer many confessed to God their unforgivenss, bitterness, resentments and desire for revenge.

As a result, many experienced God’s forgiveness, a fresh impartation of the Holy Spirit and God’s acceptance. The meeting ended as a spirit of joy filled the people.

Tonight there are billions of people lying on their beds in pain — spiritually, emotionally, physically, morally, relationally – crying out for relief, but not knowing for what they are crying.

We know for what they are crying:  the soft voice and the gentle touch of the Spirit of Jesus who brings salvation, healing, hope and life.

Knowing this, the challenge before us is to develop a simple, affordable, culturally adaptable, technologically accessable template for Transforming Prayer that can be used world-wide to deliver the ministry of Jesus into the hearts and lives of so many needy and waiting people.

Your prayers for this task are appreciated.

 

Posted in East Africa Ministry Jan 2012, East Africa Ministry July 2012 | Leave a comment

LYDIA’S BLOG — July 20, 2012

This week was a complete whirlwind—seven days of teaching, reuniting with friends, and obscene amounts of rice. My schedule looked a bit different to Pop and Doug’s schedule for the week. Monday was more of an open day. Pop and I were able to get our bearings, buy some tea from Nakumatt, and meet up with Doug for the Bible school’s afternoon session.

On Tuesday, my Kenyan brother, Dixon took me to Tumaini Children’s Home in Soy, where he and wife Patricia oversee the orphanage and school. Last year, I visited Tumaini (which in Kiswahili means “hope”) and fell in love with the place and the kids that call it home.

The grounds, which are enclosed behind the big blue gate, are stunning. Beautiful landscaping lines the main path that leads to each house, school room, and dining hall. Having only been open for 2 years, the painted colors on each building are still holding their brilliant luster.

I spent Tuesday and Thursday with the kids and teachers in Soy, teaching Bible stories, good hygiene habits, and how to construct sentences in English via games of Hangman…which just so happened to be a huge hit. (Without the hangman!)

To wrap up my time in Soy, I gathered all the teachers to give them a word of encouragement. These teachers are laying the foundations for the kids’ futures, with around 75% of them being orphans with no one to stand with them or believe in them.

In a world that refuses to see the God-potential within others, these children need to know that there is hope! There is someone who believes in them and will help them achieve their big, beautiful dreams. “For who in their right mind would despise the day of small beginnings?” (Zechariah 4: 10)

Wednesday was a typical Kenyan day…we were about 2 hours late for everything. I have found that when travelling within Kenya, you shouldn’t have a tight schedule. In fact, don’t really plan on being anywhere at any certain time—really, don’t even have a schedule.

Friday was a quite an experience. I was asked by Wycliffe, dean of students at the GFE Bible School, on Tuesday if I would consider speaking Friday morning to the students. Seeing as how he asked me on Tuesday, one would think that I would have been heaps prepared to speak come Friday morning.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. In fact, come breakfast, I asked my dad and Doug if they knew what I should talk about because I seriously had nothing. It wasn’t until I was at the church listening to Wycliffe introducing me as the morning speaker that I heard from the Holy Spirit—“Lydia, just finish the story.”

So, I got up and did just that. (The story to which God was referring was about tornadoes that I had begun telling the previous day to a couple of students) Well, 45 minutes later I wrapped up my message and turned it over to Doug.

When I sat down, I was still shocked that the Holy Spirit had just outright spoken straight through me for 45 minutes. Apparently what He had to say was good judging by the feedback I received from the students and staff. Amazing what happens when you step out of the way and let the Holy Spirit do what the Holy Spirit wants to do. The Spirit that is within you will minister to the same Spirit within others.

Throughout this week, I have been honored with invitations to come eat in our friends’ homes.

Tuesdays’ dinner was with Willie and Jernice, Thursday’s dinner was with the Omondi’s, Friday’s dinner was with the Bahati’s, Saturday’s lunch was with Moses and Esther, Saturday’s tea was with Jernice, and Saturday’s dinner was with Kevin and Monica.

I consider it a great privilege to eat with someone in their home. It is one thing to be in ministry together, but it’s another thing to actually enjoy the people you do ministry with. Those are the kind of people we do ministry with here. We genuinely want to be around each other. Hello…unity in the Spirit.

Saturday was the icing on our exquisitely-designed-cake-kind-of-week. Pop and I met the GFE team at the church to help pack lunches for the people in the nearby Kamkunji slum. Armed with buckets of brown paper bags containing rice, potatoes, and beans, we set off to literally feed the hungry, to help those who are unable to help themselves.

Walking through the slum, I wondered at who else in this outcast place would one day find salvation in Jesus, join Ben’s team, and become a great leader in the kingdom of God…because around here that is the common story line.

As I sat with the kids on the hillside overlooking the slum, talking to them about Jesus and passing out food, I realized that this is probably one of my favorite moments that I have ever had the privilege to experience.

There is more hope in that one slum than there is in an entire nation.

Sunday morning church was refreshing. I received the honor of preaching in the first service at Ben’s church. After the first service, the church began singing reverent hymn-like songs to God. Then, all of the sudden, the place erupted into a song of joyous, explosive praise. Needless to say, no one wanted it to end and everyone was sweaty.

Eldoret has a very special place in my heart. I am excited to see what else God has in store for this little Kenyan city.

 

 

 

After all, can anything good come out of Eldoret?  Or Arkansas?  Or Nazareth?

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ON TO MUMIAS

ON TO MUMIAS–July 19, 2012

Our second Pastors Conference began today in the town of Mumias, specifically in the market center of Shibali (rocky place).  Mumias is named after the Muslim King Mumia who ruled this area in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He became wealthy, powerful and famous by selling the local people to Arab slave traders.

Even today there is a recognizable ‘darkness’ over this area characterized by spirits of cruelty, lust, greed and witchcraft. God is telling us he intends to set the pastors free from these intimidating spiritual influences and then through them to set the area free from spiritual and religious bondage.

More than 50 church leaders welcomed us. The host church is buried in a ram shackled market area that reminds us of Dodge City, Kansas in the 1870s. (Just lots of motorcycles instead of horses.) The small church building is constructed of old metal sheets and canvas pieces semi-sheltering an uneven dirt floor.

The meeting began with celebrative worship. We were welcomed and I (Doug) taught first–our foundational material on WHAT IS GOD DOING IN THE WORLD? and UNDERSTANDING THE MINISTRY OFJESUS.

After a leisurely 90 minute lunch of rice, boiled potatoes, and chewy beef (I think) chunks, Richard taught on EQUIPPING ALL OF GOD’S PEOPLE TO DO THE MINISTRY OF JESUS.

The first day of every conference begins with polite skepticism among the participants. You can see it on their faces:  Who are these strange white guys and what in the world could they possibly say to us that we would find meaningful?

But it isn’t long before the Holy Spirit breaks through and the people enthusiastically engage the message God has sent us to deliver.

At noon the host pastor said, “Most of the short-term missionaries we have met in the past are tourists visiting churches and trying to help out a bit. These guys are NOT tourists! They have come bringing a serious word from God for us.” Nice complement and true.

To cap the meeting, we sent them out with homework:  tonight, do business with Jesus—repent of YOUR ministry—so that you can full take up the ministry of JESUS.

The testimonies tomorrow will tell us what has happened in their conversations with Jesus during the night.

All in all, this was a very productive and positive first day. We are very curious to see what God has in store for us tomorrow (Friday).

 

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First Full Week (in Eldoret), or “I’m back at Sirikwa, again!”

(Richard)

The journey from Nairobi to Eldoret is 6 hours by car, or 40 minutes on Jetlink airline (Fare is $75 each way).  So let me think about this……………… yeah, we’re gonna fly.  We checked into the Sirikwa hotel which is stately-looking from the outside, and kinda “Super 8” quality inside (in that stuff in your room may or may not work).

The hotel has new ownership since last year and is truly being upgraded, although slowly.  ONE THING, however, overshadows any shortcomings.  This place has the best internet service of anywhere in Kenya.  It was awesome to have communication like never before in a previous trip!

As we plotted the week with Ben, guess what happened?  The agenda changed and instead of assisting Doug with his Bible school class of mostly pastors, I end up teaching a “Parenting/Marriage” class to the all the house parents of his 3 orphan homes, plus his evangelism team (Willie, Moses, Kevin).

The parent class was held in an upstairs room of the girl’s dorm at their orphan home just outside Eldoret (20 to 25 minute drive).  The village there is Jua Kali which is the name they reference for this home.

I must admit that I was awestruck by the responsibility before me when I first looked over this class of about 30 young kingdom “Jedi” I was about to teach.  These guys & gals are daily in the frontline of all- out kingdom warfare with an enemy who wants to kill them all. 

The house parent couples are not only raising their own kids, but also manage 15 to 20 other kids every day.  They also regularly participate in open air crusade events, feeding programs in the slums, teaching classes at church, and school evangelism meetings.

So what and how do you teach a group of thirty 20-somethings all of whom have 1 to 3 kids aging in range from 2 months to 8 years old?

In a sense it was no problem as my wife Kathy & I have “been there–done that”, and can back the scripture part of teaching with plenty of first-hand examples.

The first class day was Tuesday (July 10) and I decided to get in the face of all of the husbands with Ephesians 5:25 & 28.  The wives love this teaching, and love watching their guys get busted.

On day 2, Wednesday, I went into raising kids with Ephesians 6:1.

In all my years of doing any kind of parenting class, utilizing tons of scripture & subsequent lists, I’ve managed to boil it all down into 3 things parents have to accomplish as they raise their kids.  Ÿ  The kids to need to know their parents absolutely love them as they grow up.  Ÿ The kids must learn respect for authority, and  Ÿ The kids must learn they are accountable for their actions. 

Two funny things about today;  Lydia sat in and  “audited” the teaching to be sure I remained accurate on my stories. ‚ She later reported that I excessively used Joe in my discipline examples as compared to almost no mention about Jeff or Jesse, and absolutely nothing about Brittney!

Day 3 was fun as I talked about the husband being a “player-coach”, and how a healthy Christ-centered family can be a powerful witness in God’s kingdom.  I actually referenced Ephesians 4:12 which I don’t think I’ve ever heard used in a parenting class.  There were many great questions from the group at the end of this class starting with “Have you ever seen a perfect marriage?”

I almost forgot.  Mary Bahati sat in on the lessons each day.  She told Ben that having been in our home 3 different times, she wanted to hear all about how we had managed to raise our 5 kids to be like they are. (Proverbs 29:15 in action!)

The 3-day event concluded with my taking each couple’s picture as their “diploma” for their participation, and then presenting them an 8×10 print on Sunday.  What a combo “great blessing” and “honored experience” this was for me.  From the feedback, it appears that I’ve contributed some impacting stuff to these precious guys & gals.

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