Archive for the ‘Kabarnet’ Category

I am sitting here listening to one of my favorite songs that randomly popped up on my iTunes: “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and the Pips…it feels especially nice–and a little strange—to be singing it while looking out my bedroom window in Africa! There was a time when it seemed that my life was divided into so many separate segments; each with their own beauty that felt isolated from the others. I longed to somehow unite everything I loved, so that in my heart, they could all be one and my heart could be one undivided unit.

Some of the sweet kids at Dominion Home

I have discovered that the closer I am to God, the more united and whole every part of my life becomes…no longer any orphaned areas of my heart, or aching nostalgia for things that I can’t even articulate—but every part of me brought under the shelter of His wings. It has been wonderful to discover that it really is true–everything that I love is in God. Every good and perfect gift is from Him.

 “Unite my heart to fear Your name” said David….Unite my heart to see You in everything, to love You in everything, to thank You in everything….to walk with You in every area of my life, every moment of the day and night….to give everything to You, and receive a kingdom in return!

Descending into the Kerio Valley through thick clouds

In the Kerio Valley on a rainy day

Diane and I had a great time in Kabarnet. We drove up high into the mountains to 9,000 feet (through thick fog and clouds) and down into the Kerio valley, which was full of Acacia trees and giant termite mounds. It was hot down there, with termites buzzing around like flies because of the rain.

Then we drove back up to 9,000 feet again, to the little town of Kabarnet (“Kab” – “place of”, “Barnet” – the name of the Scottish man who settled that area…from a European standpoint, at least). The best way that I can describe Kabarnet is a high altitude jungle!

I had the eeriest feeling of déjà vu as we drove into the town. Everything looked familiar…I recognized it! The way the road curved, the big building at the corner and then going up the hill into the town. It pulled up a dream from deep in my memory; a real dream, which I could not totally recall, but in which I remembered going up and down streets that seemed just like what I was seeing out of the car window. It was very strange.

Neema and her mother behind their house

The town is home to John and Sharon–friends of Jesse and Diane’s. John is somewhere in his 30’s and originally from Montana. He has been in and out of Kenya for over ten years and is married to the lovely Sharon, from Nairobi area. They have the cutest little daughter, Neema, (pronounced Nay-ma), who is 5. John lived with Diane and Jesse for 6 months when he first came to Kenya, and he is like another one of their “sons.” Neema calls Diane “grandma.” John and Neema immediately felt like old friends; and they have been in and out of some of the same places I have. They lived in Kansas City for a year and were a part of IHOP, and John also knew of Kelley Varner. I look forward to getting to know them more while I am here.


Neema and Betty

I had a lot of fun with Neema and her “sister,” Betty, a 7 year old Turkana girl who is living with them so that she can attend school. (We only got to meet Betty at the very end of the day, since she was in class—a very gentle hearted and shy girl with a beautiful smile).

I loved their little house, halfway down a steep hill, and nestled amongst the tropical pines. While we were there, several other friends came over to visit; namely Chepsat, a local pastor and man of integrity. He was counselor to the former president of Kenya, and is very humble and kind.

Typical scene in one of the high altitude villages we drove through

After spending the day with them, Diane and I drove back down into the valley, where we spent the night at an AIC (Africa Inland Church) guesthouse. It was started by some friends of Diane’s who are from the UK. (He is Scottish and she is Irish…but alas, they have since moved back to England). The beautiful place was now being managed by a very capable Kenyan couple, Edward and Sally, and their little adopted boy, Emmanuel. (Ok, Emmanuel is not necessarily helping to manage the place, but his cuteness adds a lot to the whole ambience!)

There was a group of Turkana people visiting on a special tour they were taking with World Vision to view agricultural areas all over Kenya. The Turkana people are very traditional and colorful in their dress and lifestyle. They mostly live on the border of Lake Victoria. The ladies all shave the sides of their head to create a Mohawk, which they style with braids and in other ways. They are very stoic until they start singing…Then they really let loose! Some came and ate at our table–not out of preference, but simply because the dining hall was full. I could tell they were very shy to sit with us, and most of them cannot even speak Swahili. They do not like to be photographed or gawked at any more than the rest of us. I was surprised to see them make the sign of the cross before they ate their meal.

The Turkana people worshipping God in the tent

I was glad that I was able to get a short video of them the next morning, as they sang and worshipped God. Being the only Mzungu in the crowd, I was asked to briefly address them and introduce myself. I thanked them for their worship and talked about how we are all brothers and sisters worshipping the same Father.

We spent a few hours out at SILA yesterday and I helped feed lunch to the younger kids and played with them during their recess. They were climbing all over me and hanging on to my legs and touching my hair. I made a point to personally smile at and look at as many of them right in the eyes as I could, and every time I did, that kid would laugh hysterically. I told them to touch my hair as much as they wanted and sat down so they could easily reach it. I had to laugh as they touched my hair and whispered “Oooooh….smart!” I am sure my hair looked anything but smart, being disheveled by 50 dirty little hands! (When I pulled out the nail polish at Dominion Home, they also said the same thing, with the same touch of awe in their voice… ”Oooooooh… smart!” as I painted on coats of glitter, pink and purple on their little finger and toenails).

This morning we went back to SILA to continue the One Thing lesson with the teachers. We prayed for Japan and had a sweet time of worship after the lesson….I thank God every day that I have my guitar here with me, and most of all for His presence! Afterwards, we led Children’s Fellowship. We decided to continue our lesson on David, and this time we acted out the story of Samuel coming to anoint the new king of Israel. We had a bunch of volunteers from the students and I played Samuel. (I had flashbacks to our Christmas play at KLF. All I had to do was picture Jim Hose playing Samuel and I knew just how to do it! Ha ha!) The little boy who played David was amazing. He actually went out and found a stick to use as a staff, as if he had just been out in the field with the sheep. He bowed respectfully before “Samuel “ and later demonstrated killing the lion and the bear. I could see Diane with tears in her eyes looking at him. Our lesson was, “Man looks at the outside, but God looks at the heart.”

It seems that has really been one of my main messages the whole time I have been here, whether talking to kids or adults. Anyone can be great before God by being true to Him in the secret place of their heart…it does not require a great education or money or talent. Things that impress men do not impress God. He wants relationship. He wants reality. He is after our heart. In a nation that has been ravaged by religious games of all kinds, and where many of the wrong things have been emphasized, this message is so important. I thank God for the relationship that He is building with the teachers. SILA truly is a unique and fresh expression of the Kingdom of God and I consider it a privilege to work with them.

Viona creating a masterpiece in the dirt

Tomorrow, I will head out to Dominion Home to spend the night again. I am looking forward to all that Father will do in our midst. I am taking them art supplies this time. The kids draw in the dirt with sticks, or on a rough cement wall with charcoal. Diane and I splurged on getting each kid their own pad of paper and lots of crayons, colored pencils and markers for them to share. I can’t wait for them to see it all. I’m sure many of them have never used some of these things before.

After I get some good photos of each kid and learn more about them, I will put up some special posts and introduce you to each of them in a more thorough manner.

Morning Glories

Rainy season is gorgeous—and a LOT cooler. Here are some vibrant Morning Glories climbing over a fence.

Thanks again for your continued prayers and encouraging comments. It is hard to believe that it has almost been a month since I arrived here. At this rate, my time here will be finished before I know it….and I already feel like there is just no way to give all that I want to give. I can only trust God to multiply it and continue to multiply it. I truly appreciate your prayers!!


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