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Archive for the ‘prayer and worship’ Category

daisy-in-a-field-of-lavenderI am currently recovering from a terrible bout with the flu and pneumonia and ensuing dehydration that laid me out for a few weeks and from which I am still recovering. During that time, it felt like I was on a journey to some distant, dark region of my soul; at times it felt like my very bed was hell. But the Lord was in the midst of it all with me in such wonderful ways that I would be remiss if I did not give Him glory and public praise for what He did in my heart during this time!

I’ve been sick before, but I’ve never experienced anything like what I went through these past weeks. Maybe it is because I’d never been this sick and all alone before. In the past, there was always someone in the house with me to help me think, check up on me, give me water to drink, get me medicine. This time, there was no one, and I was too weak to figure anything out or think clearly, which is why I ended up so dehydrated. (I did have friends calling from time to time and later in the sickness people began bringing me all kinds of things–but I am talking about the first days of it in which I was still very much unaware of how sick I really was and trying to be tough and telling people I would be fine).

Anyway, the point of this blog is not to talk about how sick I was or get people to feel sorry for me, but instead to share the wonderful ways God met me in my sickness! There was so much more than I can share here, and some of it very personal, but there are a few stories that I think are worth sharing and I hope will encourage you. I can honestly say, He ministered to me so much during these past few weeks, that I wouldn’t trade that time of being sick for anything!

The Stench

Early in my sickness, I went through a period of time in which I was sweating intensely. (Later, I must have been too dehydrated to continue sweating). For days I was in the same clothes, sweating and then drying out and then sweating again. After about 4 days of this, I stunk so bad, I could hardly stand myself, but I was too weak to change clothes or take a shower. What I really wanted was to soak in a hot bath, but my house has no tub. As I lay alone in my bed, in all my stench, feeling like a shell of a human being, I began to think about and pray for all the other people on earth who were also suffering physically, and all alone–even more alone than I was. People who literally had no one to call to help them in time of need. People who were as sick as I was and didn’t even have a bed to lie in, but were out on the hard street. As I considered this, I had a visionary experience I will never forget.

homelessIn my vision, I found myself laying on a piece of cardboard on a filthy sidewalk somewhere in a 3rd world city. I was dressed in my same stinky, damp clothes and was engulfed in the same stench. I was exactly myself. I was not another person…and yet, I was one of them-—those people we all know are out there but somehow can never relate to. The people who haven’t bathed in months or years. The ones who chronically stink, the ones with matted hair and sunken eyes. The ones who dig through dumpsters and city dumps for food and clothing. The ones that somehow get relegated to a sub-human status in the perceptions of the affluent Western World. And in my vision, I was one of them—but only I knew that I was a human being worthy of dignity and respect. I was me–Mercy! And yet, I wasn’t. At least no one else seemed to think so, for people were coming and going on the busy sidewalk but no one seemed to notice me. I was only a stinky, ugly, sick person laying on cardboard on the dirty sidewalk; bones and body aching, thirsty and in pain and liable to infect anyone who came too near.

I could see the feet of people as they passed by–all kinds of feet. High heels, tennis shoes, business shoes, flip flops. Occasionally a cold coin would land on my body or the cardboard–but I never saw the ones who casually flipped the coins my way and nor did I have any use for them because I was too weak to get up and buy anything with them. In this vision, I felt incredible loneliness and began to accept the fact that I must be less a human being than those who walked by me with such strength and purpose. Only a complete loser in life would end up where I was, and yet here I was–a forgotten, overlooked, uncared for, suffering shell of a human being without the tiniest bit of hope.

And then…I felt a cool hand on my burning forehead. Someone was reaching down to me! Someone was touching me, not in fear or revulsion, but in love. I felt strong arms draw me up off my cardboard bed, and hold me close. Gentle hands were smoothing my hair and a sweet old voice began to tell me that everything was going to be OK. And when I opened my eyes, I was looking at Mother Teresa.

mother-theresaShe was looking into my eyes with genuine love and humility. I didn’t feel one trace of condescension in her gaze or her tone, not a trace of pride in her kindness to me. In fact, everything about her demeanor told me that she wasn’t thinking about herself at all, but her thoughts were totally centered on me! Her thoughts were all about my recovery; about bestowing dignity on me and recognizing that I was person worthy of love and care.

And in my vision, this strong lady picked me up as though I was a little child, and carried me back to her center where I was given a bed to lay in and lovingly tended to in such a way that I felt a sense of dignity returning to me. Dignity. Yes, real dignity; that quality that the devil works so hard to destroy in every human being. That quality that we must all be more conscious to give one another, by virtue of the simple fact that every single one of was made in the image of God and loved enough by Jesus that He was willing to lay down His life for us.

Through this experiential vision, the Lord powerfully reminded me of how much that sort of ministry means to Him–how close it is to His heart to care for the powerless, the sick, the forgotten, the rejected, the unlovely, the dying–in a way that doesn’t further strip their dignity, but bestows worth and honor on them. How His heart burned as bright as a city on a hill through His servant Mother Teresa, and shines as an undeniable testimony still. And how those who “are about their Father’s business” in such a manner, great or small, bring such joy to His heart, whether they are lovingly ministering to one or multitudes. For days after this vision, I felt the love and strength in it sustaining me as His lovingkindness washed all through me. (And I was able to get a bath at a friend’s house which also ministered to me much).

The Sweetness

Some days later, after pneumonia had settled into my lungs, I began to have trouble breathing at night and was plagued by coughing and bubbling and gurgling in my lungs that also prevented me from sleeping. Someone had brought me some cough syrup, but it didn’t have an expectorant in it and wasn’t helping at all. I’d tried Nyquil, Dayquil, aspirin, chloraseptic, and now this new cough syrup, and all I had experienced was hallucinations and other bad side effects. In desperation, I went to the internet to look up natural cough suppressant and expectorant remedies. Somehow I made myself a small jar of grated garlic in raw honey, which immediately began to help. And I also discovered the sweetness of lavender oil as a natural cough suppressant. (I was so glad I happened to have a bottle of lavender essential oil in the house with me). If you’ve never tried lavender oil for a cough remedy, let me tell you that it is a miracle worker!

I put on some soothing instrumental worship music and climbed in bed with a bunch of pillows behind my head –and holding the jar of essential oil under my nose, I experienced an amazing and intense time of healing that seemed to wash in and through me—body, soul and spirit. The lavender seemed to embody all the gentle kindness of the Lord as the aroma went deep into my lungs and soothed me from the inside out. I relaxed into what felt like the first true rest I’d had for days. I felt like I was floating in some heavenly place, just breathing in that healing fragrance which seemed so real and alive, compare to all the other so-called medications I had been taking—bottles of unnaturally colored syrups with poison warnings on their labels.

lavender_fieldsI began to think about how God made the lavender with such a wide variety of uses and purposes and how He did it deliberately, with great care and foresight. I saw all the thought He put into the lavender plant and I could feel His love through it as I breathed it deep inside of me. I could feel His delight in the lavender; His very joy as He fashioned it. I began to think of all the healing properties He put in so many plants and foods and how everything He made was good and how much all of it delighted Him. I saw clearly that He didn’t create one plant in an offhand way, but with great care and thought and love. He knew all the things we would need and He put everything right here for us. He put miracle-working properties in everything He made and He did it all for us.

I’ve always sought out and preferred a natural cure to a pharmaceutical drug, but during my “lavender moment” it hit me in a deeper place of my heart than ever before. I saw that to use the medicine He provided was a form of honoring Him and submitting to His wisdom. It was a way of loving Him back, of worshipping Him, of showing Him gratitude and thanksgiving. It was a way of acknowledging His love and wisdom. This all became crystal clear to me as I lay in bed, inhaling the sweet, clean, sun-soaked living scent of the lavender oil. And I saw all the more clearly, how running off to the doctor and taking some man-made drug, some chemical concoction, some dead syrupy slop made in a laboratory was like a slap in the face to God. I understand that sometimes drugs and antibiotics save lives, and I have no condemnation towards those who’ve used them to stay alive. But I also saw all the more clearly how these “medicines” almost always have negative side effects and how they are a poor substitute for the genuine healing power that He has put into the plants.

lavender_field_blur_sharpenAs I lay there, breathing the lavender and falling in love with God all over again, I thought to myself that I never wanted to even spray another chemical perfume on my body. Perfumes are known to contain toxic chemicals and yet I that was one area I never took seriously because I love a nice scent. But as the Lord ministered to me through the lavender oil, I began to feel revulsion in the core of my being at the thought of every spraying a toxic cloud of fragrance over myself again. Why should I, when there are perfectly natural ways to smell nice, through all the fragrant essential oils that people have used for centuries?

Why use anything fake or toxic, when there is something real and healing that could be used in its place? I mean really–WHY? There is no logical sense for it! Sometimes the obvious is just too plain in sight to be seen.

After a night of non-stop breathing the lavender oil and putting it directly on my chest and throat, I noticed that my chest didn’t feel quite as heavy, and that which I was coughing up was lighter in color. The lavender oil was a turning point in my sickness and stopped my fits of coughing better than any other medicine I tried.

Healers versus Drug Pushers

In closing, I’ll say that I had the opportunity to go to a local clinic towards the end of my sickness, in which I waited for 40 minutes past my appointment time, was ushered into a cold room and left alone for another 10 minutes as the lady who performed my initial check-up was called out of the room. Then I was taken to the doctor’s room where I waited another 40 minutes. The slippery, paper covered “bed” was set in such a way that I could not lay down on it and the room was freezing cold to me. There is no way I could have handled it if I had gone in when I was at the height of my sickness. I would have had to lie on the floor while waiting for the doctor.

Anyway, this whole experience has left me more passionate to see real hospitals and real houses of healing being raised up in our country. As a culture, we are in desperate need to connect with the natural healing methods given to us by GOD HIMSELF, and we are in dire need of people who are skilled in such healing methods and can minister them to the sick (body, soul and spirit) with love and dignity and faith and prayer. We are in desperate need to return to eating real foods and drinking real water and getting real sleep…and of course, we are in desperate need, most of all, to connect with GOD and to honor and respect Him by receiving of His ministry and His love in every way that He offers it.

I urge you to educate yourself on how to eat and live healthy according to the healing principles that God has put into creation itself. If you haven’t been to mercola.com, naturalnews.com (and many others), I encourage you to read the sites and sign up for their newsletters. The Internet is FULL of helpful information to help us live healthier lives, just on a natural, physical level. There is no reason for anyone to be ignorant of these matters and to suffer unnecessarily.

Here’s to healing and the restoration of true dignity to each and every one of us.

Here’s to the lovingkindness and thoughtfulness of our God who is past wonder, and worthy of all praise and love and honor; who is worthy of respect and thanksgiving; who is worthy of worship in ALL of our actions!

Yes, here’s to the God who can take a selfish, indifferent person and transform her into someone who walks the dirty streets and is not afraid to hold a leper to her breast or minister grace to a dying man covered in his own stench.

Here’s to fields of lavender, alive in the breeze and sun, sending out a healing fragrance into the world.

Here’s to the coming of the kingdom of heaven; the beautiful principles and precepts and laws of God which always lead to life, which are real and lasting and eternal and can never be overtaken or erased or disregarded or exchanged for something better–because there IS nothing better or higher or truer or purer. Nothing else works. His ways alone lead to life.

Yes, here’s to the kingdom coming to earth from the inside out!   ~Mercy Aiken

mother teresa lonliness

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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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Hello friends! It has been another great day in Eldoret, thought admittedly much sadder for the world at large with the devastating earthquake that happened in Japan. Diane and I have been following the footage on TV via international news stations…and we have been praying, as I know many of you have as well.

I am really starting to settle into life here. We went to SILA again this morning for our ongoing Bible study with the teachers. After the study, I taught them a new song—“The More I Seek You” by Kari Jobe. Last week I taught them a Misty Edwards medley. I plan on teaching them many of my favorite intimate worship songs (as long as they are in a basic chord progression that I can play! ha) especially while we are studying the concept of “One Thing” and dwelling in His presence. At the end of every study, we just take some time to worship the Lord and turn our eyes fully upon Him. Like me, they are excited to learn new songs. I want to learn from them, and they from me, so it works out well!

After the teacher’s study, Diane and I led “children’s fellowship.” The entire school was there…little tiny chubby 3 year olds up to 12 year olds! I taught them a new song that I had just learned from Moira, that has a lot of fun interaction with their neighbors. The lesson took on a totally unplanned twist, when I realized that we still had about 20 min left for the class. So we enacted David and Goliath. I played Goliath and died a horrible death in front of them, while one of the boys played David. The whole class was laughing. I don’t think I am normally that funny, but when a bunch of kids are laughing, it is easy to turn into a ham!

The lesson had been on how God is seeking us and how happy it makes Him every time a sinner repents. We tied it all into the fact that David was so brave because he learned to repent quickly and keep his whole life in the light of God, rather than hiding from Him when he did something bad. Because of this, he had a living relationship with God, which gave him incredible courage. The kids already knew a song about David and Goliath, which they broke out singing. It was awesome. They are so well behaved and I am impressed how much scripture they have memorized.

We will be doing Children’s fellowship every Friday and I love it! We will then take the same Children’s lesson to Dominion home and share it with them on Sunday.

Some exciting news in our little corner of the neighborhood is that Moira’s sister, Marcie, is visiting from Belgium. She is a university professor, practicing psychiatrist and gourmet raw foods chef! Yes, a gourmet raw foods chef right here in Eldoret. She will be here for three weeks and I hope to learn everything I possibly can from her!

We have already been making one of her snacks for the past few weeks: lightly toasted kale or swiss chard leaves (the plant is called “sukuma” in Swahili) sprinkled with a teeny bit of salt or other seasoning. They are delicious—like a chip—and so healthy! It’s a great snack idea. Diane and I make them all the time. In fact, I just ate a whole tray of sukuma chips tonight! (They ARE addicting!)

I am excited to spend the next few days at Dominion Home. Diane and I splurged on a bunch of toys for them (toys are really overpriced here and not a good selection). We are going to take them the toys little by little and not every time we visit! We took them a soccer ball a few days ago and they were SO excited! Everyone immediately took off running outside, to play with it. I joined them in the game and had a blast. (Boys against girls—boys kicked our butt but none of the girls seemed to even notice…when they weren’t distracted by the small village they were creating in the dirt, they were just running around the yard happy if their foot kicked the ball at all—in their rubber flip flop or bare feet. And the same went for the little boys. The main reason the boys won was because of Maxwell and Solomon, the two oldest and most focused players.  From what I could tell, they were the only ones who actually knew how to play).

Anyway, tomorrow I am taking my guitar and some of the great kids books that my aunt and mom sent me for them… we are going to study together and play together and just have fun and get to know each other more. I am going to spend the night and see how it goes. Diane will come and join us on Sunday and we will have a special worship service and continue just “being family” together. We are taking them two organic chickens (to eat) from Moira’s farm…that will be quite a treat.

What an amazing privilege it is to be here. I so appreciate your comments, prayer, interest and support. Many of you have said that you feel like you are here with me…I feel the same way—and it gives me great delight whenever I see something here with me or within me that came from one of you. It is my joy to share all of you and the things I have gained from each of you along the way. Sometimes I think, “There, I just planted a little bit of so and so in the soil of Kenya” as I share something that I gained from one of my friends. One plants and another waters, but God gives the increase! What a joy to share in the harvest together!

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This has been a wonderful weekend.  SILA held a weekend-long “Workers Empowerment” meeting that went for most of the day on Saturday and until about 3 or 4 this afternoon (Sunday).  In addition to the weekly training and discipleship meetings, the “workers empowerment weekend” is designed for intensive study and to help bring everyone on to the same page.  The entire SILA staff comes, from farmers to teachers.  Others also come who are just hungry to learn more about God.  One man drove from a town several hours away to join us. There were probably about 60 or 70 people there, and many, many kids—including the staff and children from Dominion Home.

Yesterday, Joseph, David and I all spoke. Their desire is to help everyone understand that whatever they are doing is sacred–rather than secular– and that they are called into ministry in whatever they are doing.  David spoke for at least three hours straight!  The man can preach! I was so happy to hear how they are teaching a mature word of the Kingdom and I felt great freedom to share from my heart. I spoke on the “planting of the Lord.”  It was what the Lord specifically told me to teach on–the Seed of Christ being planted within us and our new nature in Him, as a Tree of Life. He said to tell them that they are His planting, the planting of the Lord.  I spoke last and all of our messages seemed to build upon one another…it was like one long message with many voices—which is how it should be! (I suppose my message was “short” since I only spoke about an hour).  

I also brought my guitar and was able to lead worship in my first Swahili song, as well as several others in English.  It was so exciting to be able to bless them by singing in their language, but I know that I was the most blessed!

I love how they worship in these meetings.  In between messages, everyone prays and someone might stand up and share what they got out of the message.  Someone else might break into prayer.  Another person will just spontaneously start singing, often in the traditional “call and response” style and then someone else in a different part of the congregation will launch out with a different song. Without making a big deal about it, the services are all directed by the Holy Spirit and everyone is free to participate and speak and lead in song. The songs are probably about half English and half Swahili. And what worshippers they are! I felt right at home with them and the presence of the Lord was very sweet in our midst. 

After the meeting we had beans, rice, ugali, and goat stew as well as nyama chuma: roasted goat.  They slaughtered a goat just for the meeting, so it was fresh!  And delicious!  We also had “chai,” which is the basic word for tea..…with milk and sugar, just the way I like it. (Chai Masala is what we think of in the US, with the spices in it).

I discovered last night that I would be speaking again this morning, so when we came home, I got together my next message.  Again, the Lord told me specifically what to share:  His desire for relationship with us, and His desire for the 1st commandment to be in the first place, leading into the second. It is all about love. This is our highest call, and this is what brings us to maturity in Him. It is open to everyone. I knew that He really wanted to touch their hearts and let them know how valuable their love is to Him. He wanted to set them free from living before the eyes of man, and live in confidence and joy before the eyes of God.

When we got there this morning, everyone was so ready, and so hungry in the spirit. All the early birds broke into spontaneous worship and we sang and sang until everyone else arrived.   Diane spoke first this morning–on faith.  She shared a lot of her testimony with Jesse and their walk of faith.  It was very encouraging to us all.   The Lord’s presence was so strong and sweet all day.  At the end of my message He gave me a prophetic song from His heart to sing to them.  I could see the Holy Spirit ministering to many.  It was so beautiful to see some wiping away tears of joy. Afterwards, we all ate again.  It was a wonderful time and I am glad that I am starting to get to know everyone.

I just want to thank you all for your prayers for me, because God is really showing up in a wonderful way here.  He has taken me past so many fears—and given me such joy and confidence in what I am doing here.

I drank fresh boiled organic milk today with my meal—from one of the cows on the property.  It was good!  There were loads of kids at the meetings.  They would always come in for part of the service and then be released early so they could run and play in the big school yard.  I got tears in my eyes each morning when the orphans from Dominion Home came walking in all properly and took their little seats in our midst, some glancing over at me with shy, excited little smiles.  I spent time playing with them outside between meetings.  There were four little girls named Mercy in the big group of kids.  It is a VERY common name here.  They were all surprised to discover that my name is very unusual in the United States.  There were also several kids named “Praiser,” (I love that) as well as many names like, Faith, Hope, Joy, Patience, etc.  I held a little baby named Joy, and everyone joked that Joy and I looked just alike, except our hair was different! Ha!

Tomorrow afternoon, one of my new friends, Ruth–who is a teacher at SILA– is going to take me to buy African fabric and then over to a seamstress, so I can have some traditional dresses made.  I hope I look very “smart” in them.  (If you are told your hair looks “smart” or your outfit is “smart,” that is a big compliment around here.  Everyone wants to look “smart” including myself.)

There is so much more I want to share with you; about the elegant Blue Gum trees that are a type of Sycamore, with pale trunks and peeling bark…the orange and fuschia bougainvilla, the roses—of every color—that are imported to Europe (you can get a dozen delivered to your house for just a little over $3), the huge sisal agave cacti and cactus trees all mixed in with the pines, palms, and perpetually flowering trees (pink, purple and orange/red).  There are plant nurseries all over the place, and this is a great part of Kenya to grow coffee; one of SILA’s next projects. 

In climate, this is a city of eternal springtime and it is hard to believe that Eldoret is the site of such a horrendous massacre that took place just a few years ago during the last presidential election.  (Eldoret is accented on the first syllable by the way—for those who like to know how to pronounce the words they are reading, even if only in their mind!)  In those days, they created a makeshift refugee camp out on the fairgrounds…and on Friday, those fairgrounds were used for a huge agricultural show; clogging up traffic in town so badly that all we could do was inch along to the “roundabout” where a muzungu and about 100 Kenyans were arguing over a fender bender.  I think the roundabout (a big circle with 4 or 5 roads leading out of it like spokes on a wheel) is a rather horrid chaos-breeding British import. I suppose they work OK if people follow the rules, but here it is nothing but a free for all.  Kudos again to Diane for her amazing driving skills!  She can hold her own with the best of them!

After almost 2 weeks here, I am amazed at the resiliency of the Kenyan people; all the African people, really.  They have endured things that would send many Americans into a therapy cycle for the next 20 years, but somehow they just keep going—and they do it with a smile on their face.

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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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