Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Man Named Samuel

A few weeks ago, Adrienne and I took the boys up to Brackenhurst for a snack and to let the boys run around a bit. We had our usual fun, and then began the walk back home. (I thoroughly enjoy the walk home from Brackenhurst more than the walk there, as coming home is all downhill!) On our way home, we stopped to buy some bread at a duka (small shop) by the road. An older man was sitting outside the shop, and asked us something in Swahili that we were not able to understand. He repeated himself, and as we were about to simply say "Pole sana" (very sorry!), A younger man came by and translated for us. After answering the question, we began talking with our new translator.

His name was Samuel, and he looked no older than I do. He was walking with his son, who was named Isaac. We walked down the road as we talked, and I asked him where he was from. He said that he was from Western Provence, and that he was in Limuru looking for work to support his son and himself. He asked us what we were doing in Kenya. I answered that we were missionaries, and had come to share the message of the cross. His face immediately lit up, and shared that he was a believer as well. He said that he had already found a great church in the community, and loved going every Sunday. I thought, here is this guy who came looking for work, but even before he found a job, he made sure he found his church. I knew then there was something special about Samuel.

As we walked toward our home, Samuel began talking about how it was wonderful that we were following God, even when he called us away from our home. He reminded me about Abraham, and how he was called apart from his family as well. He encouraged me to stay strong in the Lord, to remember that if we tried to do the work using our own power, we would fail. It would only be in relying on the power of Christ that we would succeed. Here I was, in Kenya to encourage the Body of Christ, and I was being ministered to myself. I thought to myself, and then said it aloud, God is good.

One of the best parts for me was that, as we went our separate ways, Samuel did not ask for help. He had just been talking about how God will provide for our every need, and it appeared that he wasn't just talking the talk, but was actively living what he shared. We are often asked for money, simply because of the color of our skin. But here was a man that has not been able to find work, who was simply trusting God to provide for him and his son. I later thought about his son Isaac, and the example that he has in his father of what it means to be a Christian man.

I was deeply encouraged by our short conversation we had, walking down the road from Brackenhurst. I was stirred up in my spirit from seeing this man's faith, and from seeing the way his son looked up at him as we walked. His son looked like he was proud that Samuel was his father. I looked down at Christopher, whom I was pushing in his stroller. I hope that one day, Christopher and Josiah will be able to look up to me with that same pride.

Neema na Amani,
Jonathan, for the Ferg4

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Trials and Tests...

Language School: As I mentioned before, we took our first Kiswahili test last Friday and we got the results back. All glory to the Lord, Jonathan and I both aced our tests! What a relief. We celebrated by taking the kids to Brackenhurst to play on the playground and we just relaxed the rest of the day. This week the school has added a new part of our instruction. The school hires “conversants” to spend about an hour with us everyday speaking in Kiswahili only. The first day was miserable from stumbling over grammatical errors and constantly asking for the “word for this or that”. It was frustrating. The second day with our conversant was amazing. Jonathan and I were able to have a normal (closer to normal than the day before) conversation in Kiswahili. Wow! We are actually believing we are going to speak Kiswahili well at the end of the six month school. Incredible, huh? Oh! And every Monday, we sing praise songs in Kiswahili and we get a devotion from one of the instructors. The devotion is always in Kiswahili only, no translations. It’s always exciting when we catch a word or two or three more than we had the previous week.

Living Water Christian Fellowship, the church we are attending and will eventually serve after language school, is thriving and doing well. The fellowship is a small group of people but they are getting grounded in the Word of God. The people are so wonderful and very friendly. Please pray with us as Jonathan and I are praying about taking over Children’s Ministry as soon as school is over.

God has been so faithful to meet us right where we are at. The last week for me, Adrienne, has proved to be a bit better in terms of homesickness. It’s very easy for me to let my mind drift into the happenings of life in So. California and to be honest, get resentful of this calling to Kenya. I start thinking about missing out on major family events like birthdays, holidays or my mom’s up and coming wedding. I’m not going to lie, it gets hard. About a week ago, I admit, that I was praying and asking God why He would ask this if us. Why he would take us away from everyone whom we love so much. The Lord told me, “I know, I’ve been there too.” And it hit me, Jesus had to leave his mom, his brothers, friends, everything. The Lord above all other people knows what it feels like to be in a foreign place without the comforts of home to do soley what He came to do. Not to equate what we do out here with the work Jesus did for us on the cross. But He knows. It’s hard but worth it. I thanked the Lord for meeting me at that place and at that moment. The following Sunday, we were unable to attend church because of the high cost to hire a driver to take us an hour away to Living Water Christian. So we resolved to attend Living Water every other week until we move closer or get a car. So, last Sunday we walked to Brackenhurst to download some Sunday studies from Refuge and a few Wednesday nights. Sunday night, as I was making dinner, I listened to Peyton Jones’ Wednesday night teaching at Refuge. Man, was that teaching an answer to prayer. Peyton and his wife, Andrea, missionaries to Wales, were in town and Peyton gave a study that really ministered to Jonathan and I. We were nearly in tears till the end. Peyton’s message talked about how the Lord not only knows how it feels to leave family and friends behind as Jesus did on the cross, but he gave us to each other to be the body of Christ. Jesus told Mary, (John 19:26) “Dear woman, here is your son” and then Jesus told John, “Here is your mother.” Jesus knew how hard it would be for Mary to lose her first born son and how hard it would be to for John, Jesus’ disciple, to lose such a close friend, a Rabbi (teacher). So Jesus gave them one to another to fill that gap. That’s what the Lord is doing with us here in Kenya, he has given us friends and other members of the body of Christ when we need our family and friends that are so far away. The church here is Jesus to us when we want to see Him so desperately. God is so faithful!

Prayer Requests:

Josiah to get over this bad fever he got yesterday and that it wouldn’t infect the rest of us.

For Jonathan and I would be diligent in studying Kiswahili and that the language would continue to “click”

For a car!

Financial provision

Wisdom in dealing with street children/beggers

For our family to be in the Word daily and to seek God as our sole provider

For the Lord to be our strength when we feel homesick.

Robbie and Elizabeth and their daughter, Abigail (Senior Pastor of LWCF and family)

Thanks so much for your love, prayers and support. We miss all of you terribly but just know that God is working in us and stretching us in ways that we never thought

The Ferg4