Day #1: Real Missionaries Take Cold Water Bucket Baths

12 Sep

Day #1: Real Missionaries Take Cold Water Bucket Baths

Dear Friends,

Upon arrival at our guest house last night after a short ride from the Nairobi Airport, I completed my first assignment, which was the delivery of thirty-eight Sawyer water filters that I brought with me on behalf of Heaven’s Family International Director Chuck King. Chuck has discovered that the Sawyer water filters, which use a relatively new technology, are superior to the biosand filters that we have been manufacturing and distributing. So he is beginning to train all of our biosand manufacturing teams about the new filters we will be distributing to believers in various nations who suffer with unsafe water.

A Late-Night Buzz

After settling into our guest house, I was glad to see a mosquito net hanging from the ceiling over my bed. It kept the mosquitos from sucking my blood as I slept, but didn’t keep them from waking me throughout the night by their continual buzzing just beyond the net. They obviously knew there was a juicy meal on the other side. Although I found myself resenting their periodically waking me by their buzzing, I found myself smugly smiling as I drifted back to sleep, knowing that I was protected by a means their little brains could not comprehend, and they’d be fasting all night!

Early this morning our other two team members arrived—pastors Teryl Hebert and Danny Allen from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They are a joy to have with us. Teryl and Danny will be teaching at a two-day pastors’ conference on Monday and Tuesday.

Bucket Baths

One bucket of water is all it takes to get a bath if you know how to do it. Fortunately, I know how to do it because I have lots of experience. We have no running water in our guest house due to an acute water shortage in Kenya. Of the four members of our team staying here, two asked this morning for their bucket bath water to be heated by our hosts and two of us took our baths cold turkey. (I won’t mention the names of the two wimpy missionaries, but their initials are Teryl Hebert and John Carey.)

Some HF National Missionaries Visit Us

Speaking of the initials of John Carey, John was blessed to meet the national missionaries that he and his wife, Beth, support each month through Heaven’s Family’s National Missionary Fund. Their names are Erick and Margaret Situmah. They’re planting house churches in a slum outside of the Kenyan city of Kitale, about seven hours away by bus from Nairobi. Erick and Margaret traveled to Nairobi to visit with me for a short time today, having no idea that John would be with me. So they were very pleasantly surprised. Below is their photo together. Erick is also distributing hundreds of copies of the English and Swahili version of The Disciple-Making Minister to pastors in various Kenyan cities. He and Margaret are two people of whom the world is not worthy.

national missionaryMargaret and Erick Situmah with John Carey

A Christian Widow Whom We Must Help

This morning our team also visited a Christian widow whose pastor has requested that we assist with a small-business loan, something we have done for a few other Christian widows in Kenya. Her name is Suzanne, and after her husband died of diabetes, she and their three children were evicted from their small house because they could no longer pay the rent. A good Samaritan allowed them to move into an 8′ x 9′  “house” made of corrugated tin. It has room for little more than two beds. Suzanne and two of her children sleep in one bed, and her other child, plus a homeless woman whom they have taken in, sleep in the other bed.

There is no way to describe their living conditions to you, but it was heartbreaking. They have no toilet, water, or electricity. Their house must be like an oven, as it has no windows. I promised her that Heaven’s Family would provide a small-business grant as soon as she and her pastor provided a business plan. Suzanne also needs hip surgery because she was hit by a taxi and walks with difficulty. I also pledged to her that we would help her with that as well with money from our Critical Medical Needs Fund.

Suzanne and her three children sitting on the two beds that are inside their 8′ x 9′ “house” of corrugated tinChristian widow

Suzanne and her three children sitting on the two beds that are inside their 8′ x 9′ “house” of corrugated tin

A New Orphanage to be Helped by Orphan’s Tear

Our primary contact in Nairobi, pastor and house church planter, Peter Kingoro, has an orphanage for sixty-three children. Twenty-three live in three tiny rooms in an apartment that we visited this afternoon. It is, once again, indescribable by Western standards. An American inner-city slum would be quite nice by comparison. Everything is crumbling. Twelve boys sleep on a triple-decker bunk bed in a room that can fit nothing more than that bunk bed. Eleven girls sleep on a double-decker bunk bed and the floor of a room the same size. The other forty children have been taken in by Peter’s house church members, all of whom are incredibly poor by Western standards.

The orphanage has no support outside of the house churches that Peter oversees along with some profits he has made from selling biosand filters. Several of the children clearly needed immediate medical attention (one with running sores in his eyes), and Peter suspects that four of the children may be HIV- positive. There is, however, no money for medical attention. I told Peter to do what was needed and that we would pay for it. Peter showed me their meager food supplies. The children’s diets consists primarily of ground corn.

Peter explained that he has received an eviction notice since the landlord discovered that he is housing twenty-three orphans. Surely God must be planning to move these precious children to a better facility. The only good news in all of this is that a few months ago, I learned that the Christian orphanage we have been supporting in Kenya through Orphan’s Tear sponsors the past few years has received sufficient funding from at least two other ministries. So we are going to transfer our monthly support to Peter’s Orphanage. If you have been sponsoring a Kenyan orphan, you’ll soon receive notification that you are sponsoring a new child, and he or she will be at Peter’s orphanage.

african orphansA tight shot in a tight spot: the eleven orphan girls who all sleep in this tiny room

An Amazing Little Ministry

In a third little room of that apartment, Peter has allowed another small ministry to operate that runs a tiny business which employes only Christian widows and older orphans. They manufacture soaps and make and sell craft items and children’s school uniforms. I later personally visited the slum apartment where one of those employed widows lives with her two small children. (Their photo is below.) Again, most Western Christians would be absolutely stunned to see their living environment. It is beyond description. Right outside their bottom-floor apartment door are mounds of garbage and an open sewer.

The brother in Christ who has started the ministry to employ widows and older orphans estimated that if they had $1,000, they would be enabled to expand their operation to employee fifteen widows and orphans full-time. I didn’t make him any promises, but I hope we can make his godly dream come true.

widow business grant

The widow and her two children who are sustained by a ministry that provides her some employment

Christ is Proclaimed

From late in the afternoon until after dark, our team participated in an outdoor evangelistic crusade in a very poor Nairobi neighborhood with John Carey preaching the gospel. Kenyan Christians love to dance for the Lord, and they did it with great enthusiasm before the unsaved spectators during the praise and worship time. John Carey preached an excellent and convicting message, and people came forward at the end to give their lives to the Lord. By that time it was dark, and there were no street lights. We headed back to our guest house for dinner, after which I worked on this blog entry before hitting the sack. Another night to smile at the mosquitoes! — David

african worshipPraise and worship before the preaching

teachingJohn Carey (who took a hot-water bucket bath this morning) preaching the gospel

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