Well, since I wrote my last blog, so much has happened! I have preached a sermon that got some strong amen’s and hands in the air in obunga. I have felt like I was in a movie as we rushed out of obunga carrying an unconscious girl to the hospital and prayed for the Lord to give her life, and in that same breath watched a girl a few years younger lose her life. I have wept for my neighbors back home who lost their wife and mom this week. I have struggled internally with spiritual warfare, laughed till I almost peed my pants, cried silently on the phone with my best friend as she spoke straight to my heart without knowing it, sang a popular African song with a 5 year old who knew every word, trekked through Obunga in the mud without falling, made people mad, made people happy, failed and succeeded. I have done so many things across so many spectrums in the last week. I just have to pause this morning to remember that the Lord is God and asking me to be still.
As I got up to preach on Sunday, the Lord moved. the Lord impressed on my heart, Acts 3:1-10 which is a story about the healing of the lame beggar at the gate called Beautiful. This story has greatly impacted my life and the Lord kept drawing me back to it as they asked me to preach. I had a general idea of what I would say, but then the Lord just took over and said what He wanted to say! Amen! I talked about the power of God, and asked the question, which I now pose to you…are we like the lame beggar, only begging for money and enough to get by for the day, or are we begging the living God to come transform our hearts and heal our diseases?! If the same power that rose Christ, Jesus from the dead, lives in you…expect Him to show up and expect that there is no problem or disease or struggle to big and too deep that He can’t change it. The other side of that story is the way we respond when he shows up. When the lame beggar was healed, he went jumping, leaping, shouting and praising God through the temple! Everyone saw him and were in a amazement and awe. I wonder how many times the Lord does something crazy awesome in our lives and we keep it to ourselves and don’t run and shout and jump and praise God in such a way that people look at our lives and see that Jesus has shown up. When we give Him the glory, and not doctors, and not people, then others will see what He’s done and glorify Him in heaven. Amen? The other thing I thought about in this passage, is how in the world did Peter and John know that the Lord wanted to heal this man? How were they so in tune with the holy spirit that they knew to command him to get up and walk?! I wonder how many of us could be agents of restoration and transformation in bigger ways than we can imagine, but we aren’t confident in the spirit’s leading, so we miss opportunities. I wanna walk in confidence knowing that if the Lord told me to pray for someone and proclaim them healed, or speak directly in their life about something, that I would do it without hesitation. All that to say, Obunga is a community in Kisumu that is labeled with the title “nothing good comes from that place”. I believe and see that God is changing that label and is doing mighty things, and if the people of Obunga will walk and leap and jump and praise God for what He is doing, the people of Kisumu will see the power of God because they know the way people in Obunga used to be, and they will see the transformation and bow before Jesus. That particular picture got some people in the congregation pumped up and I didn’t even think about that before. God stirred in their hearts to believe Him more, and believe and trust that God will make a way where there is no way, just like He did for the lame beggar at the beautiful gate.
Later in the day, a girl walked in to the church compound, and my heart just sank. She was so so sick and just helpless. We felt of her and she was so incredible hot. I imagined maybe 104 temperature. About 30 minutes later, as we were telling the mom to take her to the hospital, she started convulsing. Allison went in to get it done mode, and the next thing I knew, we were on our way to the hospital. Upon arrival, we learned that her fever was 107!!! We were praying over her, and barely waiting patiently. I can say that the hospital situation has greatly improved over the last several years, since Obama came and built a children’s ward at one of the hospitals in town. It is the one we were at, and I know that some people may not like him as a president, but for his gracious work in Kisumu, Kenya…I am grateful. It’s saving more lives, I believe. After praying and praying and going to the chemist to get the medicine and going back, I was overwhelmed by the day. She was screaming as they hooked her up to oxygen and an IV, and in the process of making sure she was going to be okay, a girl next to her on the next bed, lost her life. My heart broke as I watched this dad hold his little girl and sit in shock that use was gone. As the mom returned from wherever she had been, she just sat in disbelief that her little girl wasn’t going to wake up. I was praying so earnestly that the Lord would revive her, give her life back, and wake her up…and He said gently to my heart “I have mercy on whom I choose and I do know best, and the brokenness of this world, I will, one day, restore completely. For now, love my people well and press in to know me.” The preciousness of life had already been heavy on my heart as I heard news of my next door neighbors at home. The mom and 6yr old daughter got in a car accident and the mother didn’t make it. I hate seeing people suffer and grieve, and I just want to take their pain, but I know that’s not my job. So, what I could do was focus on the little girl we had brought. I could focus on helping to save her life, praying for her, helping the doctors…and that is what I did.
I am happy to report that after a scary day, the next morning, she was doing TREMENDOUSLY better!!! Praise God! He worked fast in bringing her fever down and restoring her! We went to see her again two days later, taking her brother and some friends to the hospital, and before we could get to her bed, she came running!!!! Hallelujah! God has protected and preserved this little life, and I am believing He is changing her mom’s heart to give her more care and compassion for her children. In the midst of tragedy surrounding us, He is still good, He is still God, and He has not forgotten us.
The rest of the week was filled with intense laughter, wonderfully edifying conversations, dreaming and planning….and construction on a girls dorm in the church! It’s amazing to me how fast they work to get buildings done here! God is pouring out blessing in Obunga, blessings upon blessings on Ndoto, and I am beyond blessed to be seeing it with my own two eyes! We will soon have a safe place for some of our orphaned girls to live, and the second story of this church, which has remained unfinished for so many years, is now half finished…in one year! Praise God! I am confident that the rest of it will be finished before long, and I am convinced that as God continues to work, the stories of what He is doing will draw people to himself. My job gives me great joy and the people I work with, even greater joy! God is alive and well in this place, though darkness tries to rise. It’s been a hard week, a long week, but at the end of it, I know the God I serve and I am confident in Him.
Thanks for your prayers, encouragement and support! I am beyond blessed by all of you!