Archive for the ‘Kakuma Refugee Camp’ Category

South Sudan flag

It is an incredible thing to witness the birth of a nation. For years I have prayed for Sudan, but I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to actually be in Africa with the people of Southern Sudan on the day of their independence. I am awestruck, overwhelmed and grateful.

Eldoret has a sizeable population of Sudanese refugees. Some have lived here since the 1980’s, while others arrived just in the past few years. Some were born here and have never even seen their homeland. Many of them have horrific survival stories and most of them have passed through Kaukuma, and other refugee camps.

On Saturday, they poured into the deeply rutted, mud-dirt streets of the Kapsoya neighborhood where they live, dancing and leaping sky-high while beating on drums and singing; the celebration punctuated frequently with that high African trill of exhilaration.

My friends Margaret and Abraham, as well as Joseph and Carol also live in Kapsoya. Knowing that there was going to be a big freedom celebration in the yard of the Sudanese Catholic church, I hurried over there on Saturday morning to celebrate with them. After a cup of chai at Margaret’s house, she and I walked over to the church, where every Sudanese person in Eldoret was gathered. Margaret was one of the few Kenyans there and I was definitely the only mzungu.

At first, we were given some of the more coveted seats under a white tent, while various groups performed with song and dance. I felt confined and frustrated there though, because I could not get good pictures from that location, and finally we left to just mingle in the crowd.

Dinka lady

Most all of the people are Dinka or sub-groups within the Dinka tribe. The Dinka people are tall and slim and elegant-looking, all cheekbones and teeth, with very dark skin. Apparently, some of the tallest people in Africa can be found amongst the Dinka. Needless to say, I felt as at-home with them as I did in the Amsterdam airport, with the unusual feeling being able to look everyone directly in the eye!

The ceremony was very Christian, with many people carrying and waving small crosses, along with the South Sudan flags. While most of the singing was in Dinka, I could recognize the words, “Jehovah Jirah” which came up frequently. Many of the performing groups also had scriptures on the back of their t-shirts: “The trap is broken and we are free. Psalm 124:7.” “Let My people go. Exodus 5:1.” “You have turned my mourning into dancing. Psalm 30:11.” Margaret and I purchased commemorative paper visors which declared “God loves us.”

While watching the people leap with such joy and abandon, I was overcome with emotion several times during the day. Knowing a little of what these people have experienced, I literally had to use all the self-control and concentration within me to restrain myself from weeping. I don’t know if it was intercession or sympathy or both. How I wish I could have had the opportunity to hear the personal stories of every person there, especially the older ones who remember all too well what life was like in Sudan, and what hells they had to go through just to survive and make it to Kenya.


Leaping into the air is a huge part of the way they express joy. When the old ladies began to leap in the air, I saw some of the old men bow their heads to hide their tears. I saw it all myself, through my own tears.


While the older folks were dressed very simply, the young Sudanese were all dressed to the nines; ladies in sequin gowns and men in stylish blue jeans, as well as many in traditional African clothing, looking like queens. I was surprised at the fashion savvy of some the younger ones who were dressed (and looked) like fashion models. There were a lot of bling-encrusted sunglasses, and men with brightly colored shoes to match their brightly colored satin shirts.

As refugees, they have not been able to work for a living since their arrival in Kenya, and have relied on the support of family and friends who have made a life in the US or elsewhere, as well as the aid of the international community. Apparently some of them are supported quite well! Margaret said that the young Sudanese are typically dressed much better than the average Kenyan. The younger refugees who were born in Kenya have never held a regular job or seen their parents work. This is not their fault, but I can’t help but wonder how they will adjust to life when they return to their homeland! It is going to be a tough transition for some of them, I fear. As the globe’s newest nation, South Sudan is starting at the bottom–ranked as the poorest country in the world, with the highest infant mortality rate and the lowest education levels. They are going to have to be willing to get into the dirt and dust and work hard to build their nation from the ground up. I am praying for them.

Almost every person that Margaret and I talked to made a point of thanking Kenya and the United States, who, along with Uganda have provided the most support for the southern Sudanese during their long and painful sojurn to freedom. Kenya has gracefully taken in hundreds of thousands of refugees, not only from Sudan but also Somalia, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and others African nations. It is one of her greatest qualities and redemptive gifts–to be a haven of relative stability in the midst of a very unstable region. God bless Kenya.

Today I think of Tor, the Sudanese “lost boy” who I sat next to on the plane ride from Amsterdam to Nairobi. He was stolen from his family when he was 4 years old and forced to become a soldier and learn the ways of war. As a teenager, he and some other boys escaped from the army and walked hundreds of miles through the desert, without shoes and eating and drinking whatever they could find to survive. They finally made it to the overcrowded Kaukuma refugee camp where they survived on meager UN donations of one cup of rice a day for several years.

Through a special program in the United States, Tor was taken to North Dakota, where he was given a job killing pigs and placed in a local high school, though he knew very little English and had never experienced cold weather, let alone a North Dakota winter. Little by little, he learned English, graduated from High School and worked his way up to a job at Wal-Mart, where he met his wife. (I think her American name was Michelle, but she changed it to Pennguan). Tor and Pennguan were on their way home. After all these years, he was returning to Sudan, not merely for a visit, but to help build his nation. His plans were to open a school around Wau, his home area. He had even managed to find his parents somehow, whom he had not seen since he was 4 years old.

Today, I salute Tor and his wife and all the other brave men and women who are returning to South Sudan. May God give them wisdom and grace for all the complex challenges they will face in the next few years.

And someday, God willing, I will also go to South Sudan and plant a few seeds myself in that dry soil…And I will join in the prayers of my Sudanese brothers and sisters for God to send the rain and bring in the harvest.  ~Mercy Aiken

A few more photos:

Margaret with two of her former students


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Before I start this blog, I feel like I owe a quick apology to some of you, in regard to the way I have presented some things. I don’t want anyone to worry about my safety here. I have definitely been on a huge learning curve since I have been here and several of you have told me that you are glad that I have decided not to take that trip up to Kakuma.

The thing with Kakuma, is that many muzungus do go there all the time, (ie international aid agencies, etc.). You just have to go with the right group. Of course, even then, nothing is guaranteed. Diane wanted me to go with a group that she knew would be safe, and David and the SILA group are as safe as they come.  However, it might be that if I was with them, they could be at a greater risk.

Even so, as I said earlier, I don’t think I am going to do it (this time at least) because God has given me a different assignment—to focus on the children and SILA. Every time I go out to the home, I have the greatest measure of joy and peace that I have experienced since being here. I know that is where I am supposed to be, and where the greatest blessing is.

Part of my adventurous spirit comes from living in Mexico as a kid, and while in college. During that time, our family, and later myself, did many things off the beaten track. Even as a child, I found myself embarrassed by the other Americans travelling there—their loud voices, their clueless attitude, their fear to touch anything on the street. I suppose a resolve was born in my heart way back then to never be like that. I enjoyed the “real Mexico,” or at least as much of it as I could get my hands on. I travelled by myself down there when I was in college, stayed in many homes with Mexican people, and though I had a few scrapes (a few of which were genuinely frightening), I felt mostly very safe.

I was entering Kenya with the same frame of mind, but have since been awakened to the fact that the culture here is totally different than Mexico…I cannot think just in terms of Kenya alone, but the whole region. So anyway, please rest assured that I will be focused on what I was sent here to do and will not do any side trips at all, unless I really know that the Lord is leading me to do so.  Thanks sooo much for your prayers!!

After hearing many stories about the sadder side of life here, the violence, the shams and corruption, etc., I went to bed the other night feeling really stupid about the title of my blog, “ordinary daisy.” I felt like the quintessential naieve little…daisy…and I felt I should have chosen a stronger, more appropriate sounding title or theme…Something like “God’s glory manifested in Africa” or “flaming sword” (spiritually speaking of course!), or something that had a little more muscle to it!

Honestly, what good is a daisy in a region of the world where it is not uncommon for emaciated babies to be discarded into pit latrines by their own mothers? (One of Moira’s sons, and many of the orphans at Testimony Homes were found that way). So, I was feeling stupid and telling the Lord about it. And then, He reminded me (again) that HE had called me daisy—it was not something that I had chosen for myself. And He reminded me (again) that to just be who He made me to be is the most powerful thing I can do…And that it is through the seemingly “weak and foolish” things of this world that He displays His glory.

Most of all, He reminded me of the necessity of keeping my Eye (the eyes of my heart) focused on the sun (on Him) at all times, like the daisy. More than ever, I needed to be reminded that He wants my eyes to be continually filled with light, and to focus on the light, even as I behold works that were wrought in darkness. He reminded that those who keep their heart open to Him and their eyes on Him at all times, are the ones through whom He will change the world…And in fact, the only way that the world will ever be changed. Jesus demonstrated this perfectly, leaning on the Father and doing only what He SAW the Father doing and speaking only what He HEARD the Father saying.

I think of Jesus beginning His public ministry at a time in Israel’s history that was filled with religious confusion, corruption, and violence simmering just under the surface. He could have started out with so many more “powerful sounding” messages, but instead He delivered the most powerful message of all; one that still sounds strange to our ears today: “blessed are the poor in spirit…blessed are the meek…blessed are the peacemakers…don’t worry about tomorrow…rejoice when you are persecuted….turn the other cheek…forgive everyone…don’t fear man, but fear God alone…you are worth more than many sparrows….don’t do things for the outward show or praise of man…seek first the Kingdom of Heaven…be TRUE in the secret place of your heart…”

Jesus knew that this is what we needed to hear. Either this message is true everywhere and anywhere, at any time, or it is not true at all. But if it is true, then it is what Kenya needs, the United States needs, and I need.

I have been drawn deeply into prayer the past few days; in fact it seems like I cannot stop praying and singing. I am probably going to wear a circle in the grass of Diane’s front yard! (It is quite nice to pray out in the sunshine).

Once again, I’ll just say that I am sooooooo glad to have my guitar. I learned a few Swahili worship songs yesterday, which I have already sung with the children. (This was after my first lesson in Swahili yesterday morning…Jina langu ni Mercy! Jina lako ni nani? Mimi nina upendo Yesu).  (My name is Mercy!  What is your name?  I love Jesus).

We spent some time at Dominion Orphanage and school yesterday. I went into all the classes and met all the kids (many more in the surrounding community attend the school). The rooms are tiny cement rooms without doors—still under construction. Big clouds of dust blow in sometimes. The kids are all dusty, in dusty little blue school uniforms. The “school house” is actually on loan from Kweli, and in the future it will be a dormitory. But for right now, it functions as a school house.

The classes are “Baby Class—3 and 4 year olds)” “Top Class—5 year olds” and Standard 1st through Standard 3rd, with the oldest kids being 10. (There are only three kids in standard 3rd; Standard 1st is probably the biggest). I had fun just getting to know them all. They were so polite and all took turns shaking my hand and introducing themselves. I practiced my Swahili with them and we counted to 100 in Swahili and sang the ABCs in English, and played many other games. The teachers were also very polite and warm. I am really going to enjoy working with them. Afterwards we went back to the Home and helped the kids with their homework and hung out and played.

 Today, I am going to meet all of Moira’s orphans. She is bringing them into town (she has about 11 kids living in an orphanage outside of town, and several more living in the house here in Eldoret). We are going to have a fun day of songs, games, lessons, and so on. Diane and I are making a big batch of chocolate chip cookies for them–an unusual treat in Kenya!

I can see that part of the reason I am here is for the Word to go a deeper place in my heart.  Now is the time to see the reality and truth about all the things we talk about behind the cozy walls of our churches in the sheltered United States.  Here is the place of the touchstone for me; for God to test, refine and approve me.  Back home, I threw myself into prayer and worship, believing with all my heart in the power of “sowing to the heavens” and letting the Lord sow back into the earth through the vapor (prayers and worship) that we release from our mouths.  One of my friends had a dream of me playing my guitar and just singing and singing and singing…singing the word of the Lord over this whole region and over the children…Declaring the answer, and not the problem.

And so, I am keeping my single eye on the Light of Life—on HIM—and singing for the grain, new wine, and oil to spring up from this land. Like Elijah, praying until the cloud comes, and the heavens open and the rain comes down.  For He has fashioned us in Christ to be like a cloud, dropping down water from the midst of the bottomless well of Himself within us, moving in heavenly places by the winds of His Spirit; even the quickening breath of His mouth. 

“You who bring good tidings, get up into the HIGH MOUNTAIN…You who bring good tidings, LIFT UP YOUR VOICE WITH STRENGTH!  Lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, “BEHOLD YOUR GOD!”

I have been rather stuck in Isaiah 40 for the past few days. I recently discovered that there are only three places in the Bible where the phrase “the mouth of the Lord has spoken” is used following a prophecy, and they are all in Isaiah. 

“Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:4-5).

The mouth of the Lord has spoken—and all flesh shall see it together….This is His word, and has become mine as well.  The grass withers and the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.  Blessed be His name!

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Kweli/SILA/Dominion  Feb 25

This has been an amazing day.  Diane and I went out to visit the SILA headquarters in Eldoret.  They have – acres, housing a primary school, several large greenhouses, two huge gardens, a home for 1,000 chickens, and several cows, as well as a large kitchen for the school, play area for the kids, cafeteria, and a processing station which converts cow manure into biogas and fertilizer.  The whole operation runs on bio gas and is completely self-sustaining.  Everything is organic.  They also have dry toilets which converts human waste into fuel and fertilizer.  Nothing is wasted anywhere. Even the kitchen uses fuel-efficient wood burning stoves. There are about 40 employees, from farm workers to teachers.  All of the produce from the farm is used either to feed the kids and workers, or to sell.  Among the plants they grow are native Kenyan vegetables and greens, tomatoes and onions in the greenhouse, and passion fruit, which they are just starting. (They are grafting two versions of the fruit into a new version of the fruit which should be sweeter and more fruitful than other versions). In addition to all of this, SILA also drills new wells, advocates and sells dry toilet systems such as they use, and many other projects that are focused on demonstrating the heart of God in practical ways and serving the people of Kenya.  Their goal is to “take church outside of church” and make it real and practical in everyday life. 

As part of their desire to bring the kingdom of God to every facet and area of life, they have many discipleship meetings (about 15 to 20 a week) for the staff.  Some are just for the teachers, and some are for the employees and some are special meetings for the kids. I have been invited to speak and minister at as many of these meetings as I want to…and I will start next Tuesday by sharing with the School teachers in their devotional meeting early in the morning before school begins.  I think I will probably teach a series based on the Sermon on the Mount. I told God I wanted to be stretched, so here we go!!!

I am also thrilled that I have been invited to join David and some of the others as they venture up to the Kakama refugee camp on the Sudan border next month. I had been wanting to go there and praying much for that place but had decided to drop my push to go there since I heard that it was dangerous (bandits, thieves and murderers around there) with treacherous roads. Missionaries have been murdered while driving there.  I told the Lord I would not bring it up again and that if He wanted me to go, someone would invite me.  Well, that has already happened!  SILA received a ton of clothing, medicine, vitamins, shoes, etc from a ministry in South Korea that he is friends with.  I mean a whole room full of boxes of stuff to be distributed.  I saw it today at the SILA property.  They are going up to distribute it and I get to tag along! 

SILA is run by a team of talented Kenyans with a BIG vision.  It was started by David Kipyego, who is a close spiritual son of Diane and Jesse Grey.  He is a nation changer who thinks outside the box, as well as an anointed minister and apostolic in mindset and calling.  To boot, he has a total servant heart and is really humble.  They are all a great team of people. Several of them were over for dinner last night and I played my guitar and we all sang and worshipped together in the evening.  The presence of the Lord was sweet. 

(God bless Joann Varner, by the way, who told me on Sunday that she wanted to pay for me to bring my guitar with me.  I can see that I will get tremendous use out of it while I am here).

 After visiting SILA, we went to the Dominion Children’s home and school, started by my friend Ann Fyall from Greenville, SC.  SILA also helps to oversee Dominion, and together with Kweli they all work as a team.  Really, you could say the whole thing is one ministry with three different aspects to it. 

I had seen pictures of the Dominion kids, but I was totally unprepared for how much it would impact me to see them in person.  They are all soooo cute, with amazing smiles.  I made it a game to learn their names and ages.  There are two 9 year olds (Naomi and Solomon) and the rest are younger, with the majority of them being 6 years old.  The newest addition is Titus (6) who joined the home in Dec.  He was found dying in a maize field but today he is a bright and smiling, affectionate little boy.  Before long they were climbing on me and letting me tickle them and play games with them.  We came inside the house and all ate lunch together—cooked cabbage (with tomatoes, onions and cream.  It was dee-lish) and ugali, which is basically cornmeal porridge cooked until you can pick it up and eat it with your fingers which is how all the kids ate it.  They love ugali.  It was basically a cross between masa (used for tortillas and tamales) and polenta. We hung out with the kids for several hours. 

I am really looking forward to going back to visit and work with them when class is in session, as well as coming over in the evenings to read them stories.  Some of them don’t even know their ABC’s, and none of them speak English too well, so we will be starting from the beginning.  Can I just say again that I am soooooooo glad I brought my guitar?  It is going to be a ton of fun to sing with the kiddos. SILA had just dug a new well on their property and everyone is so impressed with how clear and clean the water is.  The well will service not only the home and school but also the surrounding community.

The foods here are delicious.  My kind of food—heavy on the vegetables and flavorful.  My favorite dish so far might be katumbara—a mix of grated beets, chopped tomatoes, onions, and chilies.  I never really liked beets much, but I could eat katumbara all day.  Diane is on a major health kick and losing weight, so we eat lots of “spinach” (it is actually another leafy green that is similar to spinach, but everyone calls it spinach), lentils, salads, fruit (mangoes, papaya and pineapple mostly), butternut squash soup, etc.  I feel great and am eating better than I did in the states! They make lots of homemade yogurt here, from fresh cow milk.  I can’t wait to try it. Kenya would be a perfect place to open the Healing Center that I have dreamed about…land and labor is cheap, etc.

A common means of public transportation here is the “tuk tuk” (pronounced “took took”).  It is a piece of “technology” as one Kenyan explained that is created from the parts of a motorcycle.  A tuk tuk hauls 6 people around, including the driver, in a tiny carriage with three wheels that is started like a lawnmower—with a pulley to crank the engine! It putzes along and wheezes and seems to be on the verge of breaking down constantly, but nevertheless manages to get people where they need to be going.  Imagine how fast a motorcycle would go if it was hauling 6 people (uphill), and you get the idea.  Imagine being squeezed in so tight, you might as well as be on the lap of the person next to you…Now add in the smells of B.O. and diesel fuel and you have a pretty good feeling of what it is like to ride in a tuk tuk. I rode one downtown yesterday with Anna, Diane’s helper.  It was an experience…so was the glue sniffing gang boy who tried to con me with a smile so that his friends could steal my camera from behind.  I am glad Anna was with me, who explained to me how the street kids work and what to watch out for.

Kenya reminds me much more of Mexico than Niger. Niger was far more rustic, isolated-feeling, and quieter.  Diane told me today that Kenya is roughly 80% African, 12% Asian (mostly people from India) and 8% white (mostly from the UK).

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Feb 23

I am finally here in Eldoret, after 24 hours in airplanes and airports, a night in Nairobi, and a 6 hour drive over the equator up into the mountains, where we are nestled at 7,000 feet, amongst tropical pines, frangipani flowers, and cactus trees.

My plane ride from Amsterdam to Nairobi yesterday was very interesting.  I was nestled in the middle aisle between a Kenyan man and a Sudanese man and his American wife.  We all had wonderful conversation the whole way and the 8 hour plane ride literally “flew” by!  Heh heh….

The Kenyan man (Jessi) works in the US and was on his annual trip home to visit his wife and two daughters.  Apparently it is an arrangement that works for them and is not too uncommon!  The Sudanese man (Tok) had an amazing survival story.  Growing up in war torn southern Sudan, he was taken from his family at the age of 4 and trained for war, along with many other young boys.  By the time he was 10, he was a full-blown soldier.  When he was 15, almost his entire group was killed in a horrific battle that he did not want to talk about.  He and a few other boys escaped and lived on whatever food they could find to eat and water they could find to drink.  They made their way to Kenya, where they were placed in the Kakuma refugee camp.  (This was the camp that I had earlier talked to Diane about possibly visiting but she assured me that it was very dangerous up there).  Tok lived in the camp for the next four years, where he basically survived on UN rations of one meal of rice a day.  They were always hungry and it was just enough food to keep everyone from dying. 

When he was 19, he got a special offer to come to the US with some of the other “lost boys.”  He was placed in Fargo, North Dakota, speaking very little English, and given a job as a butcher, killing pigs.  He tried to join some local high schools but they would not take him.  He studied on his own and focused on learning English.  Finally a school in Minnesota allowed him to attend…and for the next few years he focused on his butcher job and getting an education.  Little by little, he worked his way up, eventually getting a job at Walmart, where he met his wife.  She is also from Fargo and her accent was so strong I initially thought she was from another country.  Both of them were very soft spoken.  After she married an African, her parents stopped speaking to her.  They were moving back to Sudan to open a school.  He had somehow found his parents after being separated from them since he was four years old and this was his first time to see them again, as well as his first time back to Sudan since he escaped into Kenya.  I got their contact info and plan to keep in touch with them.  I was so moved by the whole story, I asked him if I could pray for him and he said yes. He believes in God but had not been raised up in any religion particularly since he had been in the army and in survival mode for so long. His family had been animist.  So I layed hands on him right there in the plane and prayed for him in the name of Jesus and spoke life and the will of God over him….and he openly recieved it with a big smile on his face. 

He has the humble heart of a true king and I know God has preserved him for a reason.  I believe he will do great things for his nation and felt honored to sit by him.  I thanked God because I had had such an interest in the Kakama refugee camp.  Ever since I learned of it, I have been praying for it and asking God if I could visit it.  It was very special to me that out of everyone on the plane, God sat me right next to someone who had been in the Camp.

I also shared the Lord with Jessi, who had been downing one bottle of wine after another. I think he was nervous to see his family again for the first time in almost 2 years.   After he saw me pray for Tok, I could tell his heart was softened.  He is Presbyterian, he told me.  He knew his bible very well and we talked about the Holy Spirit.

When I got through customs and got my bags, Diane, David Kipyego and a few others were waiting for me with a bouquet of roses.  It was too dark to see anything of Nairobi.  We went straight to the guesthouse and went to bed.  (All the beds here have beautiful white mosquito netting around them.  I love it—for some reason, it makes me feel like a princess!)

Today, I ate uji, among other things for breakfast.  Uji is ground millet porridge and it is supposed to be the thing that all Americans hate because it is so tasteless.  I had it with milk and a bit of sugar and thought it was delicious!

Nairobi is full of matatus (public transportation vans and small busses) and huge clouds of diesel smoke…churches and mission schools on every corner…as a former British colony, they drive on the opposite side of the road.  I had a lot of fun writing down the funny names of the matatus.  (Apparently each is named by the driver or owner).  Standard names were, “Integrity,” “Diplomat,” “Leisure,” “God’s Blessing” and the like.  More amusing names included, “Hold Me Tight,” “Sweden Special,” “Boy Zone,” “Obama,” and my favorite, “Neo-Colonialism.”

As we drove from Nairobi to Eldoret, we drove passed groves of plum trees, peppercorn trees, lots of sycamore-willow looking trees, jacaranda trees with big purple flowers, tropical pines and huge cacti, and the awesome acacia trees, which are basically a smooth greenish trunk, with branches spreading wide and flat at the very top of the tree…Standard African looking trees that I have seen in photos.  When we passed through the equator we were at 9,000 feet. A man there demonstrated how water drained one way on one side of the equator and then drained the opposite way on the other side of the equator.  When we stood right on the equator the water just drained flat, with no whirlpool in either direction.  I videoed that and will upload it at some point.

We also passed wild baboons by the side of the road!

David Kipyego is such a great guy.  He is the one who drove us all around Nairobi and back up to Eldoret.  We had wonderful discussion talking about the kingdom of God and how it is meant to be part of everyday life and lived powerfully outside the walls of the church.  Most Kenyans, he said, have the idea that they can go to church on Sunday and live as corrupt as they want to all week long.  They think nothing of doing horrible things and then coming to church the next day, where the general idea is to sit and listen to “the minister” speak…no involvement beyond that. 

His way of discipling people at the moment is to train them in integrity in the marketplace.  He has started a Christian school and owns many businesses all under his Ministry, SILA (Serve In Love Africa).  His focus is on breaking down the walls between “church” and “regular life” and to break out of the walls of religion, denominationalism, and into true holisitic, Kingdom living.  He invited me to speak next weekend at some weekend meetings that he holds for all his employees.  He also invited me to come and speak to the teachers at his school.  They have a chapel/prayer meeting every morning for ½ hour before school starts, and he said I can take as many of those as Iwant to teach basic kingdom principles—for the next few months if I want to. Exciting! 

Diane has done so much to get my room ready for me and she is so easy to talk to and be with.  I feel like I have known her for much longer than I have.  She has a lovely home in a neighborhood where lots of other missionaries live.  I have my own room and bathroom. A lady named Anna comes in every day and helps with cooking, etc.  I have not met her yet, but I did meet several more of the KWELI/SILA crowd tonight.  Everyone is very warm and friendly and they all say that they have been anticipating my arrival for months.

I can’t believe I have only been here for 24 hours.  It seems like a week has gone by!

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