The brothers and sisters who have been praying for our upcoming trip.
Many of you know that over the past two years we have been corresponding with and sending relief money to some brothers and sisters in Kenya. Over the last two years we have been able to channel about $50,000.00 into the desperate need of that country that was overrun with violence following a disputed election. My engagements with the brothers and sisters in Kenya has truly been one of the highlights of the past couple of years. Not only have they been deeply grateful for the resources we have sent, but they have also expressed a real hunger to engage a more relational way of living as the church in Kenya. They have devoured some of my books and have invited me to come and share with them firsthand how to live loved and love others. This February I’ll be spending two weeks in Kenya visiting in the northwest part of the country around the city of Kitale. I will be accompanied by a good friend, Kent Burgess of St Louis, MO. We would appreciate your prayers for our trip and the people there.
Even though their need is ongoing, they wrote me today to let me know they were praying for the people of Haiti and their devastation as well. People who know incredible scarcity have great compassion for others who face it, too.
I first became aware of these Kenyan brothers and sisters when they wrote me a couple of years ago wanting to know if I’d come to visit them in Africa. That led to a lengthy email exchange to find out how they felt I could serve them in coming. I sent them copies of my books and was surprised that they were so taken with my view of Father’s love and biblical examination of the nature of the church. The teaching caught on like wildfire among their entire community of churches and pastors. They translated some of Authentic Relationships and passed it out freely. I was blessed at very simple changes I saw them making to be more responsive to a less hierarchical structure of their group.
And, as Father would arrange it, I had a couple of people I knew traveling through Kenya and asked them to stop in and visit them and find out what they were about. I was assured by independent verification that they were who they were presenting themselves to be and that the man I was communicating with had a heart of gold and I could trust him.
Then two years ago Kenya erupted in tribal violence after a disputed election. Homes were burned, people brutally murdered, and thousands of people displaced. I wrote my new-found friend and asked if he was OK and if they needed anything. He told me he had 25 families who’d been displaced camped at his home. When I asked about sending money, he said no one had ever sent money to them before. We made the need known on this blog and my podcast audience a few times through the spring and summer.
Money we have sent has provided food for the hungry, shelter for the displaced, school tuition for students and seed money to finance new business ventures. To our joy, they not only used it for themselves, but also shared with unbelievers in need, and believers in other corners of the country that needed help as well. One of the high points of this year for me is this connection and how God has used it to build up the body of Christ, there and here. So many of have sent checks both large and small to share with our brothers and sisters in this time of need.
The need in Kenya is ongoing—more food, tuition to attend school, and helping people establish new lives that were displaced by the violence. If you have any extra to send their way, you may do so through the “Make A Donation” button on our donation page. Just make sure you let us know it is for Kenya. Every dime we receive we send directly to these brother and sisters. They are always overwhelmingly grateful for whatever they receive in these desperate times.
I want to close with a recent email from one of the key brothers there. This one is about a translation of my article, “Why I Don’t Go to Church Anymore.” And this is from the head of a large denomination that encompasses a number of countries in eastern Africa:
I would like to thank you very much. Our translation team has completed the work we decided to take only parts of “Why I Don’t Go to Church Anymore”. The message is so touching and this message will benefit thousands of Saints across Kenya,Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and some parts of Uganda. I have already send it out to Rwanda and Burundi through email. There are nine pages and we are praying if God can open a way that we may get our own photocopy machine and spiral machine and this can give us easier work to save thousands of money for photocopy. Then we will only buy photocopying papers instead of using thousands of money for photocopy. We are having around 200,000 church leaders who are in need of this material and this material will help more in rural areas, interior places and even in urban where there is misinterpretation of the word ‘church’. This message has changed totally my life and the lives of our congregation so we are praying that God will provide us with the photocopy machine that we may start immediately distributing to church leaders. I have put some copies in our offices that some leaders may photocopy. May the Lord bless you so much for what you are doing. If you may want to publish in the internet you may do so because it is so needed worldwide. We have around 39 million people Swahili speaking across East and Central Africa who can be able to read.
Corn that we purchased being prepare for distribution.
Hungry people waiting for the food to be distributed.
A group of widows who lost their husbands in the tribal violence.
Some of the orphans who are needing financial gifts for their school fees.
It will be a joy to finally meet these people face to face and see what God might do in that exchange. We will learn from what God has been doing in them, and share freely what he wants to give them through us. After corresponding for so long, it will be wonderful to finally connect face to face.