Monthly Archives: June 2017

Heathrow

It’s 8:00 AM in London’s Heathrow airport.  Most of my team is sacked out on benches after the warm, bumpy flight from Nairobi.  Some slept, some didn’t.  I guarantee you though they’re all ‘empty’.  After our day on Mt. Elgon Thursday we got up Friday morning and flew back to Nairobi.  We spent the afternoon with many of the members of

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Rachel and Dana share truth.

Pastor Harrison’s church from the Mathere slums of Nairobi.  This is always one of my most favorite moments of this trip.  Kenyans and Americans huddled together to discuss discipleship and business.  Our 83 year-old matriarch Frankie was surrounded by Kenyan women who soaked in her wisdom.  Dana and Rachel had some ‘all too real’ discussions with another group of young women.  Mike D, Josh and Emory spent time mentoring a couple of young men trying to get their small

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Josh explaining a business principle

businesses going enough to support their family.  It’s these kind of real-world, non-hypothetical conversations that will leave a lasting impression not only on the Kenyan men and women, but on our team as well.  Our team now knows specifically how to pray.  These men and women from the slums now know they have people praying for them.  Those prayers will now contain names and faces and concrete problems.

Saturday morning we began our ‘longest day’.  We got in the vans at 5:45 to head to the Nariobi National Park for our Safari.  God’s creativity is most on display on Safari.  God

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Protecting the pride!

showed us regal lionesses with 7 cubs!  We saw something called the ‘Secretary Bird’, which is probably one of the funniest looking creatures I’ve ever seen.  We saw Cape Buffalo and crocodiles, white and black rhinos and hundreds of zebra, gazelles and giraffes.   These game drives are always a reminder to me that the God who designed and created all the animals also designed and created us.  Nothing is a surprise to God, nothing is a

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Bad hair day?

mistake.  He has a plan and a purpose and when we follow his plan he meets our needs.

After the safari and dinner we headed to the airport for our 11:15 PM flight to Heathrow.  We have another 8-hour flight to Charlotte and then our last leg into Memphis arriving around 7:00 PM.  Thank you for your prayers for this trip.  Keep praying as we make these last flights and then as the team tries to process all they’ve heard and seen over the last week.  The mission trip may be ending, but the mission goes on.  To God be the Glory!

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Crossing the Rivers

“How many of you crossed 2 rivers to be here today? 3? 4!”  Four was the winner.  One pastor had crossed 4 different rivers as he walked to the Training Center on Mt. Elgon Thursday.  Pastor Richard has been teaching and training these men on this mountain for

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Josh teaching about the armor of God

several years now.  The Bellevue team trekked the rutted red roads up to the mountain to spend the day teaching these rural pastors about the Armor of God, discipleship, mentorship, knowing God’s voice and resting in Him.  Over 100 pastors and wives, all of which arrived on foot, soaked in the messages from our team.  One man was taking notes on a scrap piece of paper with a pencil no more than an inch long!  When I see the hardships they endure to come to learn about

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How does this look?

God I am ashamed when I complain about having to park away from the door on Sunday morning.  I’d probably stay home if I had to walk half a mile to church, but many of they walked 2 hours to be there.

It has always been our goal to come alongside indigenous ministries to help further their work.  Pastor Richard remarked that the teaching from the Bellevue team over the years has really helped them reinforce the curriculum they had been teaching.  For many of the Bellevue team, the time spent under Dr. Rogers and Bro. Steve along with their life group teachers has prepared them well to share what God has taught them.  The disciples learned at the

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Lily made some new friends!

feet of Jesus and then went out and changed the world with his message.  We can do the same by sharing what the Lord has taught us through these preachers and teachers.

Our team also brought reading glasses to distribute.  It is such a precious moment when someone puts on a pair of reading glasses for the first time and suddenly they can see their bibles again! While that moment was repeated over and over this afternoon, a

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Wisdom and Beauty and Strength

crowd of children gathered outside.  Several of our team members spent the afternoon playing soccer, singing songs and telling bible stories.  These children don’t get much attention, but just like children everywhere they love to play and sing!

We are nearing the end of our ministry trip, but not the end of our ministry.  Friday afternoon we will meet with church members from the slums of Nairobi.  On Saturday we’ll safari to the Nairobi National Park and then start the long journey back on Saturday night.  Don’t stop praying!

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Jua Kali

(forgive the late posting.  we’ve had little to no wifi the last few days)

By Michael Weathers

As a rusty blue gate swings open two white vans pull into a beautiful compound. Men are working in the garden. Cows are chewing on the green grass, and baby chickens follow their mother, dodging their new visitors. Our team had just arrived at Jul Kali IMG_1127orphanage just outside of Eldoret. As we waited for the children to arrive for lunch we were greeted by Dan, the complex manager, Sara, and Lara. They graciously welcomed us and gave a tour of the facility. Each dorm had about 16 rooms with 4 to 6 bunks in each room. Some bunks had Barbie dolls resting on a pillow, some had mosquito nets, but they were all neatly made. A parent

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Greetings from Jua Kali

family lives in the middle of each dorm ant the restrooms are on each end. The office was a red storage container converted into a building and our team took fun pictures on a nearby tire swing. We were able to meet Joseph’s wife Lillian and their 4 children and visit their home.

As the children arrived, we all went to the dining hall. We introduced ourselves and the staff introduced themselves.  Katie prayed over and for the orphanage, and that God would bless them and, in His timing, provide for them. The children put on a dance for us and we began to play. The kids loved the balls, glow sticks, frisbees, and noisemakers.  But most of all, the smile on their faces and the glow of happiness seemed to show their overall appreciation for us just being there. Though their English was not as good and our Swahili is subpar it

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How are you?

did not stop our fellowship. I was able to play a good pickup game of soccer (football) with some older kids and a staff member named Patrick. As it started to rain we went inside to eat.  We blessed the food and began to dig in. The cooks were very gracious to us and provided a wonderful meal of beef, chicken, rice, and chipati.  After our meal we thanked them for their hospitality and said our goodbyes. We encouraged them to keep up the faith and to not grow weary in well-doing. I thank God for giving the opportunity for our team to visit and pray we were an encouragement to them. I know they were to us.

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Refreshing and Recharging

Pastoring a church is a 24/7 whirlwind.  People are tugging at your time, problems come out of the woodwork, and outgo always seems to exceed the income.  A friend of mine told me that when you’re a pastor you are constantly living on faith, and that though God always comes through, it can be exhausting.  You know God will

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New skirts for the Pastor’s wives!

provide, but you never know how or when.  On Monday night we began 2 ½ days of teaching and fellowship with the 12 Overseer affiliated with Light Ministries.  These men and women have an extremely difficult job leading churches in some of the most desperate slums in Kenya.  The primary focus of this trip is to bring them into Kitale for a rare time of fellowship and rest.  For the next 2 ½ days they will be treated to a nice hotel with hot meals

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Try this pair!

they didn’t have to cook.  They will sleep in rooms they did not have to pay for.  Your generosity and giving to the budget at Bellevue allows us to spend these days ministering to these precious men and women of God and helping them refresh and recharge!

On Monday night, I spoke on marriage using the ‘Love and Respect’ material as my base.  Satan loves to attack the family and he’s especially diligent in targeting pastors’ families.  We talked about God’s design for marriage as a picture of the gospel and we laughed at the differences between men and women!  We talked about how to safeguard their marriages and how to serve each other.  Please keep them and their families covered and pray that God blesses their

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“I’ve got your back!” Teaching how husbands and wives work together.

marriages.

On Tuesday, many of the Bellevue team got to teach lessons on leadership, discipleship and doctrine.  We met together for the first session and then broke out into men’s and women’s sessions.  We had sessions on making and multiplying disciples and on Jethro’s advice to Moses to surround himself with wise men to help him lead.  The ladies also had several sessions and ended up with a rich time with Jeanne Newberry talking to them about the unique challenges of being a pastor’s wife.  In fact, the ladies asked Jeanne to hold a second session on Wednesday!

Tuesday night we were able to treat the pastors to a Barbecue at the Karibuni Guest

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Barbecue & Fellowship!

Lodge.  No church problems, no theological discussions, no landlords demanding rent; just a night to relax and enjoy each other’s fellowship and the fellowship of the other believers from Bellevue.  It was a small slice of heaven on earth!

On Wednesday several of the team will travel to the JuaKali orphanage just outside of Eldoret.  The Pastors will continue meeting to discuss internal needs and plans.

We’ve had a few tummy aches, but nothing too serious.  Please keep praying for the team.  There is much left to do!

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Dream Big Dreams!

By all rights, Fiona should not have even been alive by her 9th grade year, much less thriving in a brand new high school and dreaming of being a doctor.  Fiona’s mother

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Fiona is a survivor!

died while giving birth to her in the Kipsongo slums just outside of Kitale.  Her father raised her alone until he died several years later.  Living as an orphan is difficult under any circumstances, much less living as an orphan in the rat and parasite infested slum where a mud lined hut is a luxury.  Most slum children die from malnutrition or malaria before they’re 12 years old.  However, today Fiona welcomed us as one of the first students of the brand new high school that is still being constructed in Kitale.  Two years ago, Pastor Richard and his wife Hellen stood with me, Mike Curry and a team from Bellevue as we all stood on a 5.6 acre plot of land and prayed some mighty big prayers!  We prayed that God would give us the land to build a high school to complement Seeds Academy that Richard and Hellen began years ago.  He did!  Then last year we stood on a slab and asked God to provide the funds to build the 1st phase of the school.  He did!  Today, we saw that our God is a God who is not afraid of Big Prayers and Big Dreams!  Fiona was rescued from the slums a few years ago

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Praying on the foundation

and now lives in the Seeds orphanage and is one of 28 children who started class three months ago in Seeds High School!  The Class of 2020!

Seeds Academy started with Richard and Hellen first walked through the slum and heard the voice of God telling them to care for these children.  What was at first just feeding a few children once a week is now a full blown elementary school that ranks as one of the top schools in the whole county.  If you’ve been following our trips you know about Seeds and the great work being done there.  We spent the morning visiting the school and working alongside the teachers, cooks, nurse and librarian.  We served lunch, told stories, shelved workbooks, sang songs and encouraged the teachers.  Then we left for the high school.  I wish I had words to adequately express the feelings in my heart as we turned down the dirt road and rounded the corner to reveal the two-story, eight classroom school!  Understand, there’s no Bill Gates type foundation supporting this school.  This is truly a house built by prayer!  Each time we stood together and prayed all the existing funds had been exhausted.  Each time we stood and prayed, God provided!

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This is a Prayer of Dedication!

And once again we stood and prayed for the rest of the school’s construction.  And once again God will provide.  Maybe you’re one of those through whom he will provide?

The Overseers have begun arriving and we will soon start the pastor’s conference.  The team is doing well other than a few upset stomachs.  Keep praying for us as we continue this journey.  We have brought your love, prayers and greetings wherever we’ve been!

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Mightier than the wind

How do you plant a church?  What’s your plan?  How do you attract people?  There’s a big emphasis on church planting in the US these days.  There are probably a thousand

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Frankie and Dana teach in the tent church

different methods and a thousand different opinions on how to do so.  I doubt very many of them would include pitching a tent down by the railroad tracks.  But in Kitale, Kenya that’s where all the people walk every day.  Just on the border of town is a strip of land that is owned by the railroad and its of little commercial value.  The trains don’t run by there anymore, but if you go to town, chances are you will have to pass by the tracks.  When you do you will see an old, dust covered tent from which the loudspeakers are flowing the words of the gospel.  Pastor Richard started his church here 15 years ago and today they are still meeting

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Preach Colin!

inside that tent and under makeshift classrooms under the trees next to it.  The years have been hard on the tent fabric and last year a big storm blew through town and decimated the roof of the tent.  While some people may have despaired, Richard and Hellen addressed the problem the same way they always do, the prayed!

On Sunday morning part of our team led worship services and taught bible studies in that very same tent church, only this time it was under a tin roof and inside stucco covered walls!  God not only restored their place of worship, he improved it!  Michael led the children in Bible Study and Frankie and Dana taught the adults.  Pastor Mike preached the Word.  This was repeated in 4 more churches on Sunday morning as our team broke up into 5 different places.  Most of the churches were stucco lined brick with tin roofs and dirt floors.  I don’t believe I heard anyone complain about the air conditioning because there wasn’t any!  All I heard were followers of Christ praying and singing and dancing together in love for OUR God!  The same Jesus we sing to they sing to.  The same Jesus who came to seek and to save the lost in Memphis is doing the same in the bush in Turbo, Kenya.  Someone once famously said, “You have more in common with a follower in Christ in third world Africa than you have with the unbeliever who lives next door to you”.  I am a firsthand witness to that!

On Sunday afternoon we returned to Seeds orphanage to participate in the children’s evening devotion.  After kicking around some soccer balls with the children and crowding around digital cameras with them to see pictures we took, we were treated to more of their singing and prayers.  Each evening the Seeds staff holds a devotion with

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Photobombing in Kenya!

the children.  They are not just interested in the physical condition of the children, but the spiritual side as well.  Many of the children are recovering from some kind of emotional trauma.  The staff works constantly to minister to broken hearts and broken spirits.  It is here that the healing hand of God is felt on a daily basis and here for this place of healing we ask you to pray.  It was hard for us to pull away from the children and leave, but we do so knowing that God’s hand is on this place and that these children have a hope and a future!

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Welcome Dance!

Monday we will visit Seeds Academy and dedicate the new High School!  Then in the afternoon the Overseers will start arriving in Kitale for the Pastor’s Conference.  Please keep praying!  We need them and can feel them!

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Haraka Haraka Akuna Baraka

Quickly Quickly has no blessing!

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This is just one building of many!

We Americans are pretty impatient people.  We want fast food, 15-minute oil changes, overnight packages and instant oatmeal.  If we thought we’d have to wait 5 years to have our house built we’d immediately fire the contractor and hire someone else!  However, the Kenyans have a different approach to life.  They believe in taking life more slowly and they don’t get impatient.

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Gathering in the dining hall to greet us

We laugh when we get here and our hosts tell us to ‘throw away your watch’.  Then we experience a Kenyan worship service that has no schedule.  Sing till you’re through, pray like you’re not waiting on anyone, Preach until the message is complete.

Seeds Orphanage is a study in patience and a testimony to God’s faithfulness.  Many of you remember that 5 years ago we stood on 15 acres of land with a small footprint of a building foundation.  At that time the ministry had expended all their funds, but was nowhere near expending all their faith.  Richard Makani and I walked the land and I listened to the vision God had given him and

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Jeanne made some friends!

his wife Hellen for this land.  It was a vision of an orphanage that would minister to hundreds of children.  A vision of 4 tilapia ponds, a cattle barn, greenhouses, dorms, and dining halls.  Today we listened to the melodious sounds of 220 children in the newly completed dining hall, singing about the love of God!  We listened to the thundering sound of the rain on the tin roof, but we were dry because God had provided the roof.  We walked past the 100+ bed girls

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They love Frankie!

dorm, the smaller boys dorm, the houseparent’s quarters, the new kitchen, the woodshop and all the green growing crops!  God has provided!  It wasn’t overnight, but he provided and the children are happy and healthy.

Over 220 children will be well fed tonight.  They will sleep in warm, dry beds.  They won’t worry about anyone coming in the night.  Most importantly, they will know the Lord is our Provider, Jehovah Jireh!  Richard and Hellen are obedient and faithful and their faith doesn’t waver when God takes longer than we think it ought.  On Saturday evening we witnessed the results of their faith.  The bible tells us that it is true religion to care for

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Michael didn’t want to leave!

orphans and widows.  That is what we witnessed.  Every time you give to missions you also help.  Every time you pray for a missionary these children are the blessed recipients.  Always remember that God is not slow as some see slow.  Many times we want to ‘rush’ God asking Him to answer our prayer NOW!  Come spend some time with Richard and Hellen and you’ll see that rushing gives no blessing. “But they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Is. 40:31

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Feet Wet

When a fighter pilot crosses the coast line and starts flying over an ocean they radio their position as ‘feet wet’.  As I write this we are currently ‘feet wet’, 30,000 feet over the Tyrrhenian Sea just off the west coast of Italy.  We’ll fly over the toe of the boot and across the Ionian Sea, then make our way over the Sahara Desert south towards Nairobi.  So begins our latest adventure in Kenya.  Our team of 17 will meet Mike Curry in Nairobi tonight and then board our 4th flight in 36 hours towards Kitale, Kenya.  We have a busy week ahead of us, speaking in local churches, visiting two orphanages, several primary schools and a widows’ home and dedicating a brand new high school.  We’ll spend several days with a group of Overseers from all over Kenya and Tanzania.  These couples not only lead their own churches but are also responsible for scores of house churches from Lodwar in the north to the northern villages of Tanzania in the south. We are bringing them to Kitale for several days of rest and teaching and will minister to them with sessions focusing on their Marriages and their Ministries.

Please pray for our team of Theresa Brown, Josh Brown, Mike Deiter, Emory Hammonds, Ashleigh Maxwell, Jacquie Moffett, Susan Moser, Jeff Moser, Katie Moser, Jeanne Newberry, Colin Richmond, Elizabeth Simmons, Rachel Smith, Lilly Takona, Dana Taylor, Frankie Taylor and Michael Weathers.  Pray for Mike Curry as he meets not only with the overseers but with scores of pastors who will be bringing him all kinds of ‘problems’ for him to solve.  Pray that we do nothing but what the Father directs us to.  As always I will be keeping you updated on our week here on this blog from now until we’re ‘feet dry’ back in the US!

 

UPDATE – Saturday Morning

We arrived safe and sound last night and have had a short night’s sleep, shower and breakfast.  We are about to leave to fly to Kitale.  I’ll send an update tonight.  Thanks for your prayers!

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