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Sunday, December 23, 2018

More Kenya Comments and Candids

Week 2 saw us helping in a Camp that was within walking distance of the Osborne's home.  I was so glad!  I was struggling with car sickness the first week and then there were memories of a night drive through roads like this...
It's rainy season right now.  The corn shot up in the 3 weeks we were here and the people are knowing they are blessed. 

Josh got a private lesson in meal preparation, starting from Scratch, or with this scratcher.  He was a beauty, and he was delicious. 
 On to cheerier subjects. 

 The camp was in a Bible college, with the big meetings being in a huge teaching garage, complete with lube pit, covered over so none of us would fall in. 
 Then we had classes in smaller groups.  This is where we got to know some of the kids by name and learned more about them.  Tim's group had a nice meeting place. 

Josh's group met outside each day so he tanned up nicely.  He also braved the line to get biscuits (cookies).  
Week 3, Paul was off on a preaching trip to western Kenya, while the boys and I did a slot at a more local camp.  It was good!  But we sure know we have a long way to go to fill Paul's shoes. 

 I love the outdoor beauty here! 
 Now for a science lesson.  This is a worm.  It comes from the African Tumbu fly, also called the Mango Fly.  At least this is what we learned online.  I read about 11 different flies that can get under the human skin. This fly lays it's eggs on damp clothing, and then the egg burrows into the skin, and hatches into a worm.  Under the skin.  It's about the size of a piece of rice.  Guess who's skin this guy was, don't bother.  I'm not telling as I don't want to embarrass anyone, but sometimes this homeschooling science gets a little too real for me.  We're still hoping for healing without needing a trip to a doctor. 

 Finally, Merry Christmas!  This is Prudence, who is just launching out into a new little project with me, helping me teach Bible verses.  Stay tuned for more on that. 

Kenya Comments & Candids

  Heading north from Cape Town it's about 2551 miles to Nairobi, Kenya!  It feels like a short flight from Johannesburg, South Africa, if you're used to hopping "the pond" to America. 
 Josh gets credit for most of these pictures, and this one deserves the credit.  Moth on Christmas ornament enhances the moth and the ornament. 
 Off to camp, which met in a school.  Signs keep me interested all over Africa.  I took this one myself, but Josh gets credit for loaning me his camera. 
 Our campers were enthusiastic! 
 My favorite object lesson on Isaiah 43:2.  I love the drama of the fire, as well as the lessons it teaches.  That's the camp director in the background, looking ready to run for a fire extinguisher. 
 Good ol' Monkey and BL (zeebub) were resurrected for the camps, but with new voices of Tim and Josh. 
 Josh tried to catch a motorcycle with 4 or 5 on it, but 3 men will have to do.  I don't think he got the one he saw with 2 live sheep on it either, or any with goats.  Chickens were just too normal.
 Skygo motorcycles from Japan (I think) are everywhere. They've changed the face of transportation in Kenya. 
 Josh, 17, and Tim, 21, are 6'6" and 6'7" respectively.  Their ages caused a hubbub in the camps, when the kids found out they were so young.  They were guessing in their mid to late 20's. 
 Tim teaching the story of George Washington Carver wearing a borrowed shirt from Dad.  Someone forgot to pack more than 1 collared shirt.  That led to a story we'll refer to in the next blog post. 
 Paul teaching at Emmanuel Church, with Gideon translating.  This was a Wednesday afternoon meeting. 
 Cozy bunch crammed in there.  Notice my face turned toward the window.  I felt sick quite a bit.  Nothing ever came of it, just yucky queasiness. 
 Josh helping pick up the rocks that stuck up in the road, so we wouldn't scrape bottom.  This is before we got stuck. 
 Who knew!  There really is a flower that looks like Horton's, in Horton Hears a Who, though maybe that one was pink. 
 Josh was intrigued by this fruit.   He later bought a ripe one at the market. 
It tasted a bit like passion fruit, though not such a strong flavor. 

 My three guys with the leaders of the first camp we helped with.  Formal pictures are appreciated. 
 Presenting a goat to the church with the best Awana program.  Appropriately, it was named Victory.  The church not the goat.  That  goat is Christmas dinner on Tuesday. 

Here's a glimpse of Victory's Awana program which they do on Sunday mornings.   It was an enthusiastic group!

Kangundo, Kenya, Hoyt and Lois Osborne

Imagine adopting 26 boys!  Not babies, big ol' boys, teens and young men.  Hoyt and Lois Osborne did that.  They only had seven is the most they had at one time living with them, but 26 call them Mom and Dad. They also started a mission, planted churches, are involved in a children's home,  and many other ministries including Bible colleges.     

Lois Osborne is now a widow, who is in her 30th year in Kenya.  She and her husband Hoyt came when they were 43, as tent maker missionaries to start with.  They taught in private schools in Nairobi for three years, before they were ready to venture out to begin church planting.  Hoyt was not timid about picking up needy boys to bring home.  He took in alcoholics too.  He was brave and bold and felt compassion on these needy boys! 

The fruit of their generosity is sweet!  The youngest of those boys is now 23.  The oldest is about 50.  Several of them are pastors.  One runs the children's home.  Lois is grandmother or "Susu" to  dozens of her boys' kids.  While we've been here I've see Pastor Gideon help with driving and maintaining the mission van.  Shadrach is another wonderful help.  He came to the rescue when Lois' house had a plumbing problem while we were here, and he traveled with Paul.  Fitzpatrick  is a pastor, but he also helps with driving.  He took the boys and me to our last week of camp, and was a fun driver.  We discovered we have a mutual wish for a donkey.   Robert was Hoyt's last care-giver before he died.  He was gone to take a job, but came home when that hotel closed,  until he gets another outside job. Nathan is a dynamic worship leader in his church, and engaged to be married in August .  David lives further away with a wife who is a magistrate, but he came home for a sweet visit while we were here.  He was the youngest they ever took in.  Oscar helped dig a grave-sized hole to find a clogged pipe.  Yesterday our Josh help and photographed as Oscar killed and dressed a rooster.    Robert, Nathan, and Oscar have been Josh's game playing buddies in the evenings while we've been here. 

Jackson is now head of Grace Children's Home, and he teases me by telling me how lucky I am to see him, each time I see him.  His wife Evelyn translated for us at the children's home.  She's a gracious, hospitable help to him, leading that children's home.  

Hoyt and Lois Osborne with some of their "boys", and a wife and grandchild. 

That's a sharp looking bunch of guys!  Most of them are pastors now.
Lois and Hoyt after he was sick. 
Lois shared her testimony with us, telling how as a little, little girl, she prayed to be saved.  Her mother told her repeatedly that she was already saved, and it bothered her that she didn't remember it.  She wanted to get saved, but people kept telling her she already was saved.  In second grade, an evangelist came, and she prayed with her Dad to be saved.  In 7th grade, she submitted to the Lord to go into missions. 

Everything I've heard about Hoyt has been good!  He was bold, patient, calm, fervent, focused.  He took in many people, and was generous in what he gave out too.  Some of the pastors paid Paul a big compliment when they told Lois, "He just like Osborne, Mom."  She was pleased to tears that they were remembering Hoyt, and I was pleased that they were admiring my beloved. 

Through them, and the mission they started, there are now 30 churches planted, and growing!  Other churches are planned to be planted.  There's also Bible schools, and the children's home.  Camps meet in the summer (that's where we came in!  We're invited to help with the camps.) 

Isn't that amazing what can be done in 30 years, starting at 43 years old, and going at it heartily?  I'm thankful we got to be a little part of it.   I know they would appreciate your prayers as they go forward, expanding into Uganda, as well as western Kenya.

O taste and see that the Lord is good!  Blessed is the man who trusts in Him. 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Kenya, update on accident

Tim and I doing an object lesson on Isaiah 43:2, with Evelyn translating, at the children's home.  I had pictures of the cute little ones, but it's not appropriate to put them online. 

Rush hour traffic  :- )  
 This is the van later involved in the accident, when it was stuck in the mud the first week we were here. 

Wednesday of week three in Kenya was a unique day for the boys and me.  We were scheduled to go with Lois Osborne to the Grace Children's Home, to teach them, help with a craft, and help with decorating the three homes of the children's home, for Christmas.  We also "helped" with eating lunch.  :- )   (Other days we had a teaching slot at a camp.)

Lois was sick that day, but Pastor Fitzpatrick drove Timothy, Josh, and me, with Robert who is one of Lois' boys, out to the home.  

"Before" picture of a tree we were to help decorate at the children's home.
In the midst of the hub-bub, I got a call from Paul. He was traveling with some of the pastors to do two pastor's seminars further west.  They had hit a small boy with the van!

This kind of thing is scary, and I don't just mean for the boy.  There can be mob violence against the driver, or the police can impound the car indefinitely.

I felt overwhelmed.  Happily, I had gone off by myself so I could hear, and so had a place for some quick, desperate praying.  I was in an accident in 1989 in Peru where a friend hit a man on the Pan American highway.  The man did not live, and Paul had thought this boy might not live.

The kids' party went on,  while I was on pins and needles.  Every chance I got, I slipped off to ask prayer from friends on my phone.  People responded on Whatsapp and Facebook.

We gave two 30 minute programs for the kids.  Tim and Josh experienced the difference between a puppet show, and a TRANSLATED puppet show.  Translating more than doubled the length of it, and the boys' faces were twisted in agony at the strain of the longer time in an awkward position, but they were laughing too. We did stories, and the liquor bottle lesson.  We did a lesson on how Christians are to stay salty, and be a light in the world.

We helped with crafts and decorating.  We glittered their cat.  We ate lunch, with one ear on the phone.  We cut the cakes Lois Osborne had sent and distributed that.

The phone buzzed, and Paul said it looked like the boy would be OK!!!  He had stitches in his head, but no broken bones.  However, that first clinic sent him to another hospital for x-rays. That took hours.  Then the 2nd hospital sent them to a third to get a scan of some kind.  What rejoicing when we finally heard he was fine!

We left the children's home around 4 PM, but the saga continued for the guys.  They had to go back to the police station and arrived there around 10:30 PM.  The police were going to keep them all overnight at the station.  Misery!  Just before midnight, Paul got out his chalk talk and preached to the whole batch of people there.  He was preaching at midnight (like his namesake singing in a prison in prison at midnight, in Acts 16:25)!  After that, one of the Policemen said he was a believer, and said they could go find a hotel to sleep in, because of the Word of God.

So they left, and went to drop off the family of the boy who was hit.  From there, they hunted for an hour for a hotel.  Paul said he got to bed at 1:55 AM.

In the morning, it was back to the police station, wait, wait, wait some more, and then the longed for clearance!  Paul's height gave some rapport with the police chief, a man who thought he himself was tall, before he met Paul.

They left around 10 for an 11 o'clock appointment, three hours away.  They arrived 22 hours later than expected and 2 hours late for their appointment.  Happily, this is Kenya, so 2 hours late is not a panic.  Paul preached about 4 times at that seminar.  He sounds tired, very tired.
But he has no more preaching until Sunday, so he just has to get through the long drive tomorrow, and he can rest.
I'm thankful God keeps His promises!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Five Fires

Paul had FIVE pastors' seminars scheduled.  Yesterday was the last one.  In each one, I would take the ladies for about an hour to teach them.  

Each day I included an object lesson on Isaiah 43:2, "When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fires, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee."

Now, I don't try to be a comedian, exactly, but I do enjoy it when people laugh, and we enjoy the humor of a situation together.  That fire object lesson was a good opportunity for some shared laughter. 

The first time I did it, I was standing on a little hump on the edge of  a corn field, while the ladies sat on benches on the flat path.  I was feeling sick when we started, scared to need a bathroom in the middle of my program, and scared I wouldn't arrive on time.  

The wonderful promises in this verse are for God's people, so I talk about how it's easy to believe the first part, that we can go through water and it will be OK, God will be with us.  After all, we wash ourselves, do laundry in the river, swim, or things like that, but to go through fire?!?!?  I want to give a lesson that will help people believe that part too. 

 I have a handkerchief that  represents the child of God.  I put it through water (mixed with Isopropyl Alcohol, rubbing alcohol, from the pharmacy) and then hold it up to show it is OK, even after its dunking.  Then I say I'm going to catch it on fire, and it's still going to be OK.  

Well now, that is what is supposed to happen.  That day in the corn field, I couldn't get a match lit long enough to light the handkerchief!  I went though about 8 matches, and I could see the ladies wincing at the waste of it.  Finally, one could stand it no more.  She came up and started a proper fire, out of corn husks, in seconds.  We dipped the handkerchief into that fire, and it burned!  It burned too much!  One corner of it was completely gone!  Oops.  

We put the fire out.  I think as I was holding it up and talking in that windy field, and waiting for the translator to talk, the hankie dried up, and thus it burned.  

I talked about how we go through hard times and trials.  I showed 'em my scar from breaking my arm in 5 pieces, when I fell off a horse when I was 30, and how God was with me through that, and how my mom came to help with the baby.  I said this was like going through the waters.

I told  them about losing our daughter in 2006, and how that was like going through the fire.  I said God brought us through that.  Later we went inside, and I re-dunked the hankie, and set it on fire.  This time the pastors could see it too, and it worked, and they clapped and laughed.  I stuffed the missing corner into a pipe I was using to hold the hankie, so no one could see, but I had mentioned we don't always come through our trial unscarred.

Yesterday, again the hankie didn't want to light.  I added more alcohol, dipped it again, and it lit.  Right about then about a bazillion kids invaded our classes.    They were intrigued, so they stayed, quietly at the back, until there was laughter and clapping from Paul's class next door, and they quick scuttled out to go find out what they were missing over there.  Coolness when people are drawn into a church by the laughter and joy coming out the door, eh? 

The most educational time for Paul and me is the question/answer time.  We've been teaching, not really knowing what the exact concerns of the people are, but that is where we learn a little.  It's exciting to see how God's Word has answers for them, just as it does for us.  When it's time for questions and answers, Paul likes to sit down to answer the questions.  By then, he's already preached several times.  These seminars are around 3 hours long, with Paul preaching withdrawing, doing object lessons, and using a translator.  It's tiring.  

My ladies group, being infiltrated by munchkins in the back.  It was a good problem to have.  
Isn't that cross cool?  It's just sun coming in holes in the bricks. 

The Pastor translated for me.  He tried out my little sock puppet and liked it. 

The ladies and I moved back in with Paul and the men for the final message.  
 My little Tic-tac buddy.   When the Bible says, "Make to yourselves friends of  mammon", I think Tic-tacs are mammon too.  

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1).
Then was our mouth fill with laughter... (Psalm 126:2).

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Stranded in a township

Two flat tires at once today!   In Khayelitsha, of all places!  I'll tell you what happened.

I was at home, having all the crises associated with a ladies' Bible study (We ran out of sugar for the tea and a ball the kids were playing with went over the wall into the neighbor's house.  Rather tame stuff.).  Our niece Gloria was going back to her house to get something, when she ran into her husband dashing out the door.  He said Uncle Paul had called for help, as he had two flat tires in Khayelitsha. if you'd like to know the history of Khayeltisha

The last time we mentioned Khayelitsha, it was when we went to a church there, and there were 13 taxi drivers killed that morning before we arrived.  It wouldn't be my number one choice as a place to be vulnerable, with a Jeep with TWO flat tires.

But it was good!  People stepped up to help!   A local couple helped by giving Paul a ride to a tire place.  A police man gave Paul a ride back to the Jeep, then he gave Paul and his sister Grace a ride to the school where they were to be speaking.  The school staff gave  them a ride back to the car.

Two of the people who helped refused pay.

All these helpful people were Black.  Racial tensions and horror stories are frequently in the news here, but the happy reality in this situation was kindness and helpfulness to vulnerable people.

We thank the Lord for His safety, and His people we meet along the way.  

 James went zipping over from home with that yellow coiled thing to inflate the tire. 

 It looks buried in the sand, but it's cement, not sand. 
Grace speaking in one school. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Translation Troubles

I know you're all on pins and needles to hear the latest on our current mission trip.

After Swaziland/eSwatini, we moved over to Queenstown for a week.  One memorable part was stopping in Kokstad for the night.  We chose a hotel called:

                                         NO FRILLS GUEST HOUSE

So now we have clearly defined what frills are.  Shower, rubbish receptacles, heat, name a few.  It was about $30 for the three of us (two rooms), or over $100 for a place only a little better.

WOW, was it cold!  It was below zero Celsius outside, and pretty nearly that cold inside.  It was rather fun warming each other up.  We went to bed by 8 PM, and didn't dare stick our toes out on the cold tiles til 7 AM when we jumped up and ran around packing in haste.

We continued on to Queenstown, where Paul had a full week of preaching to schools, a ministry, and a few churches.  
We enjoyed staying with Pastor Michael Watson and his family.  I love the following picture.  I poked my head in to Josh's room one morning, to see if he was awake yet, and he was not only awake but entertaining guests!  

I so enjoyed the three kids there, Caleb, 6, Alexandra, almost 3, and baby Joe.  Paul had great preaching opportunities, in very well behaved schools.  

On Saturday we moved on to East London where we are staying with Luaan and Suzanne Goosen who have a ministry to many, but particularly the Amazioni people.  So yesterday Luaan brought Paul to speak to a little tin church, where his sermon was translated to Xhosa.  From there, we went to a deaf, Xhosa church.  Luaan had to give a couple a ride to their home, so he dropped us off first, and there we were.  Three of us, with no Xhosa skills, and precious little sign language, "alone" with about 15 deaf people.  
Paul set up.  Then he decided to try draw a little.  I had heard of Google translate but had never tried it on my phone, and this seemed like the perfect time to try it.  The trouble is, my phone doesn't type very well, so I have to push about 3 times to get each letter. It was slow going, but the results were wonderful!  They were so excited about my little messages like:

ebusweni bakhe kukho ukuzaliseka kwenjabulo

which means:
In His presence there is fulness of joy

My phone got passed around from person to person, supplementing Paul's charades and drawings in the front.  

The people asked Luaan when he came back if I knew how to write in Xhosa.  :- )   I have a new respect for technology.  

What a sweet meeting.  Luaan translated into Xhosa, then a mostly deaf lady read his lips and signed for the rest of the people.  And the end, they ALL came forward to have special prayer.  Please pray for these vulnerable people.  Luaan says they get persecuted for their faith.  

Someday "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped."  Isaiah 35:5