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Archive for April, 2011


There are some people who are such a part of the landscape of your life that you scarcely notice them…till they are gone. I was surprised at the tears that came flooding to my eyes to discover that Dave Wilkerson died in a car crash in east Texas 6 hours ago—at the age of 79. Like many others, Dave Wilkerson was one of my earliest Christian heros. I remember watching “The Cross and the Switchblade” as a little kid in our church in Ajo, Arizona, and I recall how my mother tried to shield me from some of the more graphic scenes. My little sister’s earliest crush was on Erik Estrada, the guy who played Nicky Cruz.

Much later, I subscribed to his newsletter for a few years. I didn’t agree with everything he said, but I always respected him. He was TRUE to the core….TRUE to what knew. He wouldn’t budge on many cultural issues. When churches all over the country were bending over backwards to make themselves pleasing to the crowds; creating a cheap circus atmosphere of smokecreen entertainment and godliness-is-a-means-to-get-rich-quick schemes, David was one of the few who had the courage and the clout to boldly denounce it—as well as the heart to weep over it. Yes, he wept over it, and if there is one picture I have of him in my mind, it is a man walking through the streets of Times Square…and the streets of American Christianity…and weeping.

As I said on my Facebook post, in reference to Dave: “What did you go to Times Square to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet…”

Some say he saw and spoke too much of gloom and doom and perhaps he did. But at least he had the honesty to not sugar-coat the reality that he lived in and the things that he saw. Never one to paint white wash over a tomb, he called things as he saw them, even when it made him out of step with the many in the church world. There are many who would have gladly been a part of “Team Wilkerson,” that is, if he hadn’t refused to endorse or come to their charismatic parties. He was like the austere grandfather whose respect did not come easily, but when it came it was genuine.

Perhaps it is just because I am on another continent, where Christianity (or at least a multitude of aberrant forms of it) has been imposed upon the masses, that I am recognizing more than ever that there are so few people who really preach JESUS. (Referencing Jesus a few times in a few sermons while expounding on pet doctrines is NOT the same thing as being His witness). I see the sick results of American Christianity all over the place here—where it has, in some places, grown into something that is “twice the son of hell” as what it was on the other side of the ocean. But those who planted it bear much of the responsibility of it.

I suppose if there is one main thing I learned from Dave Wilkerson, it is that the call to Christ is a call to the cross and a call to holiness. It is a call to truth in the inward parts. It is a call to loyalty to the Son of Man. It is the simple and firm belief that Jesus is enough. In a world that is inundated with religious games and shenanigans, where people are drowning in the barrage of truthless words that spew from the mouth of the serpent, Dave Wilkerson stood as one full of fresh air. He stood upright as a sign and a wonder in the midst of a crooked and depraved generation. May God raise up many, many more with that same spirit.

This is an addendum, but I want to share a dream that I had about him in 2008. I had just moved to Richlands, NC and in my first month or two there I had several colorful and interesting dreams. In one of these dreams, I found myself in a large camp of army tents that were all clustered around a giant race track. I knew my tent….It was a tent that represented the present truth God had made real to me, and in my dream I was sitting and talking with Kelley Varner.

As I looked around this giant field, I saw that there were army tents everywhere, each representing a different truth or movement in the Body of Christ. I was soooo excited to be in this place, where I could mingle easily and freely with others in different tents, and so I took off walking. The racetrack was long and the army camped next to it seemed to go on forever….tents were stretched out far into the horizon.

I went into a tent that was not too far from the one I was in, and who should I meet there but Dave Wilkerson! (At this particular time in my life I had not thought about Dave in a long time, so it was strange that he should have showed up in my dream). As soon as I saw him in the dream, I felt an incredible love for him just wash through me. I cried out, “Oh Dave! How great to see you!” and I threw myself into his arms for a hug. He seemed happy to see me too, and we talked just like old friends—with twinkles of joy in our eyes. After a moment, I remembered the tent from which I had come and I began to compel him to come with me. “Come with me, Dave! I have something to show you! I want you to meet Kelley Varner!” That was pretty much the end of the dream, at least as much as I can recall.

I remember sharing this dream with Joann Varner one day and she surprised me greatly by telling me that Dave Wilkerson and Kelley Varner had actually been friends in the 80’s and that Dave had treated them very kindly and flew them out to Texas so that he could talk to Papa V…Joann was pregnant at the time, and Dave generously paid for the birth of Joy Beth. (This may be a story that the Varners would prefer to tell and so please forgive me if I am intruding by sharing it). I only mention it to say that though very different in some ways, these two men also had much in common. Both operated in a holy boldness that completely transcended the fear of man. Neither were out to win popularity contests but both would have gladly laid down their life to bring the Body of Christ into maturity (and lay down their lives, they did). They revealed the Father’s love, the tough love, the ruthless love of God that unyieldingly wants the highest and best for all His children and will not settle for less. I am grateful for their influence in my life.

And so I say again, that there are far too few people in the earth who live like this—who love like this. May God raise up many more in the spirit of Dave Wilkerson and Kelley Varner!!!!! I am sure they are enjoying their time together in the new realm which they now occupy. 🙂

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Children in their coats of many colors

I am long overdue to continue introducing you to the precious kids at Dominion and I apologize for that. On Saturday, we had a wonderful time presenting each child with a soft, fuzzy, handmade blanket that a friend of Ann’s had created for each child. Each blanket had their own name on it and a special Bible verse just for them. We made big deal about presenting each child with their own blanket and reading them their verse and telling them what it meant. They were so happy and excited!

Learning to hula hoop

Blanca also bought them two hula hoops…a huge hit with the kids and adults.

Here are the next 3 awesome kids!

Purity

Purity: Purity is about 7 or 8 and one of the quietest kids at the Home. She has an “alone-ness” about her that is almost tangible. At the beginning, she was always one of the last kids to greet me, usually with a stoic expression and downcast face. My heart went out to her and I began to constantly seek her out to hug her and talk to her. A few weeks ago, she got sick and had to go to local clinic. We went to pick her up and take her back to the home. I was so excited to have some alone time with her so I pulled her up on my lap and held her hand. She sat there rather stiffly, answering my questions with the one-word answers so soft I couldn’t even hear them. After a few minutes I asked her if she wanted down and she said yes. I will admit that I was a little bummed.

However, the next time we arrived at the home I got the best present anyone could have given me. With all the kids swarming around me, I felt a little hand slip into mine. I looked down to see Purity looking up at me with a smile on her face! Now, she comes up to me consistently with her shy little smile. Every time I see her, she seems a little more open and relaxed and free.

Beautiful girl

After inquiring around, I discovered more of her story. Her mother died of AIDS shortly after she was born. No one, including the mother knew who the baby’s biological father was and there was no one there to take the baby. She was a baby without a home (passed around) until finally some neighbors in the community took pity on her and brought her into their home. They were older and did not have any other kids but from what I can tell, they took good care of her—at least her outer needs. Even so, it is obvious that the lonliness has been in Purity’s heart since she was a baby. I doubt that she has ever felt that she truly belonged to anyone. Being ALONE is what she knows best. I should say, knew best, because I believe that God is healing her heart.

I think often of her mother, and the name that she chose for her baby girl: Purity….as if to give her daughter what she felt that she had lost or maybe never possessed. Beautiful Purity is her legacy.

Pascal

Pascal: Like Purity, Pascal is one of the more serious kids. Before he came to the home, his habit had been to keep his head down. Smiles did not come easily to his face and still are more rare than they are on some of the other kids. Even so, he has come a long way. Ann said that when he first arrived, his face never cracked a smile. She said that he was so happy to get his first pair of shoes that he refused to take them off at night, but slept in them. As an orphan, he had been living with an uncle and many other relatives including many children. I don’t know much more about his past beyond that.

I am fascinated watching Pascal eat. He eats like someone who has known hunger. He focuses so seriously and methodically on his food; eating the beans first and then saving a big bite of corn for last—his favorite! No games or chitter-chatter for him during meal time!

Sweet Pascal

He is a short little guy of 6 years old, but he can hold his own with Maxwell and Solomon during a game of football (soccer). His great athleticism was proved even more on Saturday when he proved to be a natural at the hula hoop, surpassing ALL the other kids, even Maxwell. It was great to see him hula hooping with a big grin on his face, his tongue sticking out with concentration in the gap where his two front teeth used to be. He is so short the hula hoop barely swung above the dirt, but he could keep it going.

Because it is so rare, Pascal’s smile means the world to me. He has no idea what he does to my heart when I see him spontaneously laughing and playing, and even moreso when he looks over at me and smiles. Just a small taste of the joy it brings to the heart of God when we look His direction and smile at Him!

Titus

Titus: Titus is one of the younger kids. He is about 5, and the newest member of the House. He joined the home in December after he was found dying in a maize field. An orphan, he and his siblings were being “cared” for by a grandfather who had lost the will and strength to nourish his many grandchildren. Several had already died. I get tears in my eyes thinking about how close Titus came to death and where he might be right now if he had not been rescued.

Titus with a home-made bow and arrow

You might think that his tragic beginnings would make for a sad and withdrawn child, but Titus is as happy as they come. He just lost a tooth and often has the biggest ear to ear grin on his face. He is soooo grateful to be in the home. Abraham said that when he first came, he thanked them for every meal, every piece of clothing given to him. He was in awe and overwhelmed at his newfound riches. He is still that way. He has been on a big learning curve, because he only spoke Kalingin rather than Swahili. But he has been learning fast and is always in the midst of all the fun with a big smile on his face. He is very affectionate.

He is the sweetest, gentlest little boy with a kind and unassuming nature and ready smile.

Concerning the kids, all I can say is that every single one of them is my favorite!

Titus in the midst of a rainbow!

...And another rainbow

L to R: Solomon, Titus and Purity

Pascal with his buddies

Ann Fyall with kids and Anne, the house mother

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Blanca Garcia and Ann Fyall

Ann Fyall and Blanca Garcia arrived from the Carolinas a few days ago. It has been great fun to have them here. Ann is the visionary behind the Dominion Children’s home, which she started a few years ago after successfully working with the state of South Carolina to open a home for troubled young girls in Spartanburg.

Ann with the cow that provides milk for the Home

[As a single mother herself, she is a walking testimony of overcoming difficult circumstances and allowing God to turn personal trials into a never-ending stream of blessings for others. So often, as I have spent time with the children at the home, I have thought of Ann and marveled at her vision to get something like this going. It is so much fun to finally be here together with her after talking about it for months back in the States!

the lovely Blanca

I am so glad that Blanca Garcia came with her. Blanca is from New York, but her parents were from Mexico and she is perfectly bilingual. Since I have been here, I have wanted to slip into Spanish so many times while attempting to speak Swahili! Now I have someone to talk to! Ha ha! Blanca and her family moved to Raleigh a few years ago and soon they will be joining Ann’s church (Dominion) in Greer, SC. She and I have been singing old Spanish songs together and having a great time! She even learned a few Swahili songs with me and we sang them together yesterday at church in Kabarnet. She is my new soul sista! Unfortunately, she will be leaving in a week, but Ann will stay here for about 3-4 more weeks.

Yesterday we drove back down into the Kerio Valley and up the other side of the mountain to Kabarnet. Diane wanted to visit Pastor Chepsat, whose brother died suddenly and unexpectedly while in the hospital for heart surgery. (Diane says that Kenyatta Hospital, the largest in the region, is very substandard). We wanted to encourage the church there. After heading out at 7:30, we arrived in Kabarnet at 9:30 or so, and went out for Chai with Pastor Chepsat before the service started.

these people handed us palm fronds as we drove slowly through the crowd

It was Palm Sunday, so on the way we drove through hordes of people walking down the street waving palm branches. Lots of people were out and about for church.

We drank chai in a little café while Pastor Chepsat shared all kinds of interesting stories with us. He had lived and studied in the US back in the late 80’s and came back to Kenya with strong “church success.” His hunger for more of God however, soon drove him out of the denominational church that he was pastoring. (The people had their way—put it that way). Jesse and Diane were a huge help and support to Chepsat during that time. Chepsat said that Jesse preached his farewell service in his church….as Jesse spoke on deeper things of the Lord and as Chepsat translated, he knew that he could never continue on the same way and that he needed to step out in faith. He also shared stories with us of all-night prayer meetings up in the mountains, during which they would be rained on and pray under large trees to keep from getting too wet.

Today, their church meets in an old movie theater. The chairs are shredded, with foam spilling out and huge holes in them. There is no overhead light, etc. But the presence of God is there! It was a service in which a variety of people shared, including us. It was especially moving for Diane to be there, as it was the last place that Jesse preached in Kenya. God gave Ann and I the exact same scripture to share from: the cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12:1. We had a wonderful time with them, and will be back. Pastor Chepsat invited me to go with them sometime out into the some of the more remote places in the area…I am very much looking forward to that!

Sharon, John and Diane

Afterwards, we had lunch with Sharon and then she came with us to meet John and Neema and Betty down in the Kerio Valley where we all met up with some friends of John’s from the States who are interested in possibly working with SILA on digging wells.

Neema and Betty playing at Cheptebo center in the Kerio Valley

Ann gave the girls (Neema and Betty) some balloons and I had a lot of fun playing with them. The whole family will be coming to Eldoret next weekend and staying with Diane and me. (Blanca’s room will be ready for them just in time!)

Kerio Valley reminds me a bit of Tucson area

I can’t believe how fast April is going by!

The moon was almost as bright as the sun

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A Little Sparrow

A little sparrow found her way
Into the palace of a king
A place where great eagles gather
A place where lions reign

Frightened, she knew she did not belong
In the midst of ones so grand
For she was small and powerless
Unable to defend

She softly sought a corner
Where she could hide her broken wing
Where her tiny chirp would not be heard
Amongst the mighty roars that sing

Her eyes widened at the majesty
And royal colors on display
And she wept because she did not belong
And her feathers were brown and grey

No one scarcely noticed
The sparrow in their midst
For they were busy with great plans
As they declared the Great King’s wish

Ms. Sparrow settled quietly
In her corner far away
And there she tended her young ones
And there she learned to pray

When one day to her surprise
One came to talk to her
A little lamb, small and meek
He was wounded, just like her

“Ms. Sparrow, why do you wait here
In this corner far away
Don’t you know that you are welcome?”

The lamb began to say

“But little lamb, I cannot fly
And my colors are dull and brown
It’s clear I don’t really belong here
Just take a look around!”

The lamb drew the sparrow to him
And said, “rest here on my back.
I will carry you up to the King Himself
For there you will have no lack”

“I know how you feel, Ms. Sparrow
For I am rejected too
And there are some here in this palace
Who don’t see me, like they don’t see you”

So the little lamb and sparrow
Made their way towards the Great Throne
And she nestled between his shoulders in peace
A friend to call her own!

As they came before the Throne
She saw it was empty of the King
And she wondered where He was
This One she feared and longed to see

The little lamb gently laid
Ms. Sparrow on the altar
He laid her nest and babies too
His touch could not have been softer

He said, “Here is your new home,
Sparrow dear, right before My Throne
For the altars of the Lord of Hosts
Are made especially for My Own”

She wondered why the little lamb
Would speak with such authority
When turning she saw that he was gone
And on the throne; there sat the King!

She gazed into His Lion Eyes
With a trembling but steady gaze
For though she saw the Lion there
His eyes were just the same

It was the little lamb looking back at her
Through the Lion’s Mane
It was his gentle voice inside the roar
That sounded just the same

Undone, the sparrow wept again
For what she had freely gained
For who was she, that she should dwell
In the Presence of the Great King?

“My gentleness has made you great” He said
“I’ll stoop down again and again
To gather the poor and lonely
And make the outcast into my friend”

And now Ms. Sparrow has found a home
In the presence of the King
And sometimes to her surprise when she opens her mouth
She hears an eagle scream!

And often she takes to flight beyond
What her broken wing once knew
Soaring in light and sound and joy
In which she freely moves

But her favorite place will always be
Following her Friend (who is her love)
Whether high or low, wherever He goes

For she knows her real name now: “Beloved”

“Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.” (Psalm 84:3).

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God” (Luke 2:6)

This was a little child’s poem that the Lord gave me last year right after I got back from Niger. In my mind’s eye, I saw a sparrow fly into a great room of royal people and I felt all the fears and insecurities in her heart as she looked around the room. I thought of many of the people who visit our churches for the first time and the feelings that rise up in their heart that make them feel shut out. From that small vision, this poem flowed out. I thought of this poem for the first time in a long time today as I was meditating again on one of the key scriptures that has been in my heart constantly in regard to this trip:

“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory.” 1 Sam 2:8

Oh kings and princes, be wise! A throne is not given to us to exalt in, but to use for the benefit of lifting others up into the same realm. Why else does a king exist but to be a servant? All over this world, across the ash heaps of the nations, He is raising up the poor and giving them a throne of glory. He is going to surprise everyone. I know that I know that many of these “sparrows” are destined for a higher place than some of the grandest “peacocks” that currently occupy the center of the attention of the church world. But even in that we must tread softly….so softly…..

There they sit, arguing about who is the greatest among them….One is an Apostle. One is a Prophet. One is a King/Priest. One is Sonship. One is the Bride. One is “Third Day.” One is “The Best Denomination.” One has moved beyond “denominations.” One is this company. One is that company. One is of Paul. One is of Apollos. And they are striving amongst themselves and comparing themselves amongst themselves. And they are all carnal.

And He sits there. And He waits…again…and again…for someone to “get it.” Yes, He longs for them to receive their proper identity–to “know who they are.” A true knowing that has no need of arguing over who is the greatest. It is the knowledge that all greatness is servanthood at its essence.

And in she comes.

A sparrow. She has not a title. She is not an apostle. She is not one of the 12. She has never heard of Sonship or being a Melchisidek priest. She is just a woman. A young woman, or an old one perhaps; with one thing to give. She enters like a child. She enters like a servant. She enters in righteous boldness. All she knows is that she loves Him and that there is a need in HIS HEART at this moment. And so she comes in the room for one reason only: to meet His need in the hour of His greatest trial. To minister to HIM.

Let the arguers argue. They can have their names and titles.

Here sits JESUS. He is lonely in the crowd. He is waiting for one thing….the one thing He has waited for from the beginning: LOVE! Immature love is still love….and it will grow into full and mature love. How patiently He waits!

She, the little sparrow, breaks open her innermost being for Him, holding nothing back. Who cares what they say or think? Who cares that they do not understand. Here sits JESUS!

Only let me pour it all out Lord, until the last drop is gone. Let me give it all to YOU, even as you gave it all for me! I know it is nothing compared to what You did, but please allow me to GIVE–in some measure–the same way that you gave! Forever ruin the outer shell of my life, it matters not! Just don’t let me hold anything back! Just let me be with You wherever You are! High or low, it matters not! Dusty streets in hidden alleys…or royal palaces—it matters not. Outside the gate; shut out with their scornful words—it matters not, but only that I am with with You where You are.  Only let me bring joy to YOU! ONLY LET ME LOVE YOU…as YOU HAVE LOVED ME!

Her hair falls out and mingles with her tears, the perfumed oil, and the dust of His feet….The feet that in just a few days will be nailed to the cross.

Do you hear them? The arguers? Do you hear their scorn, their indignation? Their embarrassment?

What do I see in His eye? A tear! What is going through His heart as she weeps at His feet and kisses them, and the fragrance waxes stronger and fills the room? His heart is moved….

He sees something! In her ministry to Him, He sees a reflection of His ministry to the world. He sees his own broken life and the Christ within Him (yes, that Holy Oil, that Anointing) being poured out over His Body, even as she pours it upon His head…Precious oil running down Aaron’s beard and garments, all the way down to His feet. And He smells the fragrance of His own life being poured out and the smell fills the entire room; a prophetic moment understood only by Him…and perhaps her. If she doesn’t understand now, she will someday. But what she does understand—right now—is profound. Because she is the only who sees….Him and HIS DESIRE.

Father, You allowed her to see…into Me! A miracle! Father, You opened her eyes!

And the Father speaks back to Him:

“My beloved Son, here is the day of the gladness of Your heart, here is Your sure and certain promise, forever settled from the foundation. They will see. They will hear. They will understand. They will stop the arguing. They will follow in Your steps and be girded and taken where they did not want to go. And they will do it for love even as you did it for love. The boys with information and inspiration will become men of revelation and manifestation. I will knit them together in One Body and they will dwell in unity, each part honoring the other members more than themselves, each part serving the others, each part existing for Your sake…

And then YOU (the one great HIM composed of many) will walk out as ONE into the world and they will SEE what has truly never been seen…a new man, a many membered man, a new creation born from

Him

And from…

Her.

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