Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Africa: perspective

We have spent two days on the girls school worksite now and much has been accomplished. It is a joy to be serving among those from LHC, The group of men from The Agape Church in Nairobi, the Bethany College interns and the locals hired on as laborers. Men become brothers as they work together, serving Jesus. Everyone has worked hard and the heat has been intense as there is no escape from it aside from a 3 minute cold shower in the evening or a cold Coke Tim uses to keep us moving at a lunch of rice and boiled goat stew!

There is a joy that permeates everything that is happening. The vision was cast for us on day one and has been revisited each day, as to what this project will mean to this area in the future as someday so many will be saved here. Dr Kabachia expressed to us the first night that his passion was to reach those who have never heard the gospel. He said that if someday we go to Mars he would even like to share the gospel to those who live there. While this place is as different as Mars to Wisconsin, what remains the same is when God’s people serve Him there is a loving unity that happens like at no other times. My perspective has changed in that the world has shrunk as I realize that people have vision and joy all over the world. Not based in what they own, where they live or who they know, but based in a heavenly perspective of a God who loves us so.

One of the men that has quickly become a friend to me a man named Maina, he is the foreman of the school construction. He lives outside Nairobi but is working here where we are. We have worked together and have talked, and have found much in commen. In his very broken English we work to communicate and have found we are like souls in that we want to find better ways of doing what we do, growing through the investment of family and friends. I awoke this morning feeling some sadness as I missed my wife and kids, as Maina and I began working he told me about his wife and three kids. He got tearful as he expressed that he could not afford to go home to Nairobi to see them and has been gone for a month leading this job. He wondered if it was worth being away and expressed that he wanted so much more for his children than he has. He does not want them to live just “for their daily bread” as he put it. He wanted them to learn and grow and be free not to worry. My perspective quickly changed about the short week I have been without my family.

He lamented about some of the laborers, one that is 70 years old and has been a carpenter since he was a teenager, but has to continue to work just to eat each day. Maina is 41 years old just like me, he has kids the same age as mine. He has dreams and heartbreaks just like me. He feels sadness for those without a vision for more than survival, he feels many men here will not change and grow in order to have a different life. He told me how he has a passion to break the poverty cycle that traps people into not having a vision for something better. We talked a lot about the differences of building in the US verses here in Kenya. He told me he wants to do things better, but that the culture here does not like that kind of change. He finds it hard to lead, as others want to do things the same as they have always been done. He is a man who understands “the best is yet to come” and lives expecting to experience it.

My perspective has changed as God has introduced me to Maina, a man like myself who dreams big dreams, is thankful for his family and yet has little access to the tools I do to make a way for change to happen. What do I do in my own strength to make change? When do I rely totally on God for His change? Maina has no choice but to wait on God, he has no way of creating change other than that. I know I will come home with renewed strength to hear God and respond to His voice rather than my own. I ask for you to pray for Maina and for his family as they spend time apart while he manages the construction process of this school that will change life for so many. I ask for prayer also as God continues to change my perspective, that I would hear Him despite my own loud voice.

Little Tony

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Its 3:00 in the morning on Thursday June 10th. We finished packing the totes with our tools, gifts for the missionaries and other things needed for the trip. We await the rest of the teams arrival at 4 AM to load the bus at and leave to Chicago to catch our plane to Washington DC, then to Amsterdam and on to Nairobi. As I sit I sit in the quiet of the church, I am thankful for all that has led up to this trip. The last 2 months have been a whirlwind of activity, getting much done in a little time in order to make this trip happen.
As I sit here I don't feel anxiety for the trip, as I know this is what I am supposed to be doing. What I am feeling though is incredibly blessed, it is overwhelming right now. God has given me more than I deserve, I am rich in knowing his love. I am so grateful for the love that comes from my wife, children, family and friends. I have been given every earthly gift there could be. God has been so good and I know He loves me and made me for a purpose. There are few things more fulfilling than that knowledge.
So I head off around the world more 8,000 miles away from home knowing God cares enough to break my heart once again in order that I might move closer to Him. I have stopped wondering what God will do on this trip and have accepted that it is yet another moment to kill off some of my flesh and be reborn more like Him. I look forward to all He will do and to how this will change us as individuals and as a group.
I ask for your prayer while we are gone, for courage to follow where God leads and to grow as He stretches us. I ask for prayer for my family, at home who will worry about me and work hard in my absence, getting ready for camp. I ask you to follow the link to the Living Hope Missions Blog that will give updates while we are on the trip. I look forward to blogging here when I get back, but with a new outlook on serving God through traveling this path he has taken us on.