January 4, 2013 – Arrival in Kenya

arrival in Eldoret

Arrival in Eldoret

We arrived in Kenya at about 6:30 AM.  After clearing customs we went to the domestic terminal at Jomo Kenyatta to check in for our 2:30 PM domestic flight.   We were told that that we would not be permitted to check in until 1 PM, so we sat in a waiting room until then.   None of us had slept more than an hour or two on the flight to Nairobi, so our weariness was beginning to catch up to us.

We finally departed Nairobi and flew to Eldoret on a turbo prop.  This flight included a screaming child who screamed almost 30 minutes of the 45 minute flight.   Fortunately we were all tired enough we slept through the majority of it.   We arrived in Eldoret around 3:20 PM, where we were greeted by Adams, Mary and Judah, who presented us with flowers.  We were also met there by Pastor Margaret Maheri and a small group accompanying her.  Finally we met up with John Juma, a great friend and pastor who is also in my opinion the best driver in all of Africa.

Once we departed the airport we went to Pastor Margaret’s house for tea and fellowship.  Pastor Margaret and her sister blessed us with their hospitality.  We also met several pastors while we there.   Once we had finished our tea we started on the road to Kitale.  About 20 minutes into the trip, Scott realized his passport was missing and we made a frantic search of the van and his baggage to find it.  Unfortunately his passport could not be found, so we returned to Eldoret airport to ask for assistance.  About 10 PM we headed towards Kitale once again.  All of us were now so tired that our bodies were beginning to hurt.

When we arrived in Kitale we stopped for a quick meal and made our way to the African Theological Seminary where we were staying.   Each of us was thrilled to be going to bed, we had only slept 3-4 hours out of 52 hours of travel.

Update from Kenya

The past few days Pastor Adams and I have remained in Kitale. We have used our time to talk about his ministry, the needs of some of the pastors we have been working with and to record some promotional videos. We have also been planning two pastor’s conferences for January of 2011. We will be conducting one of the conferences in Nairobi and the other conference will be hosted by Rev. Peter Ngaina here in Kitale.

This has been a good time for me to be refreshed and prepared for weekend. Tomorrow we will be overseeing the graduation of our certificate class in Kakamega. This extension of Redeemer Bible College is one of our newest. It is also our largest graduating class with a total of 38 approved to receive their certificate. This is a testament to God’s sustaining power, as this extension went through some hardships when an instructor was caught stealing money from the students. The Lord allowed this issue to be resolved in a manner that kept the college in tact.

Sunday I will be speaking in the church of John Juma. John was my driver in Uganda last year. He is a very humble man and displays a true servant’s heart. It is truly an honor for me to speak in his church. In the afternoon, we will be traveling to Eldoret, where I will meet once again with Pastor Margaret Maheri and newest class of Redeemer Bible College. This class is made up of influential professionals from the Eldoret area, and it shows great promise for bringing greater opportunity for Redeemer Bible College.

I will be spending the night in Eldoret on Sunday, so that I can catch a 10AM flight to Nairobi on Monday. I will then be flying back to the US at around 10PM Sunday night.

We have also had a great answer to prayer. The driver we have had most of the journey has been very unscrupulous, charging more money than agreed and making increased demands. This caused our in country travel budget to be spent early on. We have been having to seek God’s provision for every new leg of the journey. God has mad provisions through the hands of his children on two continents. Even greater though is our getting to know a seminary student who drivers a car here in Kitale. Adams and I both felt led to inquire if he could drive us our remaining trips. Not only could he drive us, but he has agreed to do it for half the price of the man who had been driving us up to this point.

November Recap

It has been several weeks since I have updated the blog. It seems as though life has been extremely hectic since returning from India. I guess we could best call this post a November recap.

Early this month a man entered our lives who was different from some of the others we had encountered on the streets. Although his story was similar and his circumstances were not uncommon, his level of confidence and his seeming determination set him apart. For 2 weeks we worked with him to find a solution for housing and employment. This man was so magnetic, that we were even meeting others, whom he was meeting in the shelters and out on the street.

Unfortunately, his desire to change was not as strong as his desire to take the easy road. We were all devastated as his choices became apparent. God also showed me just how much further I need to come as well. When it comes to personality and temperament, I am high justice and low mercy. When the deceit of this man came to light, I did not allow my justice to be tempered with mercy…reflecting back, I realize that my reactions to his actions left few open doors to continue to influence his life. These lessons are painful.

During the month we have been joined by some new faces, who are stirred by our passion and philosophy of ministry. This has always been one of the directives that the Lord has given us…showing others how to cut out the distractions of “church life” and return to a strong focus on Jesus. Through these interactions, the Lord is raising up co-laborers, who I believe will journey beside us for some time to come.

We have also be visited by a great number of people from the street, past contacts and other acquaintances. God is obviously doing something special in us and through us. It will be exciting to see what the end product ends up looking like.

This has also been our most difficult month since starting Simplicity. Carol and I did not have the money to pay our rent this month, and were very blessed when one of our new co-laborers stepped in and met this need for us. For the first time in our lives we were also unable to pay either car payment, the home in PA went into foreclosure and we currently owe the IRS about $400. God has taken us to a place of complete lack and brokenness….a place that when we read stories like Job, we hope He never does to us. I don’t regret the journey, for I see how much God has been molding and shaping us, but it has taken an emotional and physical toll on both of us. The Lord continues to assure us that this time of intense testing is almost done. This has been echoed by several close to us who intercede regularly for our family and ministry.

The Lord continues to guide me in my business building efforts. I would liken this to farming. I am doing an awful lot of plowing and sowing….in God’s perfect timing these efforts will become all that they are meant to be. It will be very obvious that God’s hand was behind all that has transpired. My role has simply been to “cast my bread upon the water.”

Reflections, re-acclimation and renewal

I’ve been back from India for just over a week now.  My body is finally getting back to normal and the case of Delhi Belly that hit me upon my return home is finally gone.  I’m finally sleeping at normal hours and getting back into my normal routine.

As I’ve taken time to reflect on my time in India, there are a few things that stick out:

First of all, God used my absence to bring about some strengthening in those around me.

My first Friday out of the country, Mike and Kim learned that their brother-in-law had been killed in Afghanistan.   Mike and Kim were able to be a source of strength to their family, even though they did not have my presence to draw from.   Mike and Kim were forced to lean on the Lord in a way they had not had to draw on His strength before.  Carol also felt led to join some meetings that I normally attend, and also led out with our monthly overseer’s meeting.  This was a large growth step for Carol as well and she now sees her role as my ministry partner much more clearly.

I believe the second primary purpose of this trip was my influence on some key people:

My interactions with Tom and Santhosh, in particular were part of a molding, shaping and directional process that the Lord is taking them through.  In the case of both of these men, I watched God take them through some stretching of their comfort zones and standard modes of operation.  Additionally, in two of the cities where I led meetings, the pastors came under conviction about their need to work cooperatively towards the purposes of God’s kingdom.  In the wake of our meetings, these pastors have committed to working together towards the fulfillment of God’s plan for their individual communities.

The third key issue was the reminder of the completeness of God’s power and strength.

On two particular occasions, I was speaking with almost no physical or mental strength.   On both of those occasions, I spoke not with force or vigor, but the power of God was incredibly overwhelming.  On the first occasion a demon manifested in a man as I was speaking and threw this man into the adjacent river.  He was immediately delivered from the demon and received the life giving touch of Jesus that night.   The second time I gave the invitation after making a very simple gospel presentation and I watched as over 30 people came forward to give their lives to Jesus.

It was good to be back home on Sunday.  Sunday was the first anniversary of the launch of Simplicity – Corpus Christi and the Simplicity Church Network.  We all marveled at how quickly the year has gone, and how much God has molded, shaped and changed us in this first year.   We also decided to replace our big orange water cooler outside with some of the sack lunches we have put together.  Sunday we set out 6 lunch bags with Vienna Sausage, fruit cups,  and crackers.  By the time church was over, only one bag was left.

Tuesday was a great day of victories as well.  Carol and I were short on making our house rent.  Our rent is $1,000/month and we only had $179 to our name.   We asked some people who are close to us to pray with us over this need.  One of those individuals told Carol, “I’m praying that someone will show up at your doorstep with a check in hand.”  Not 10 minutes later this same individual called back and said she would be bringing a check by…she ended up being the answer to her own request.

Tuesday evening we were praying at the church when we heard a knock on the door.   A young man entered and said, “I believe God sent me here.”   We then told him how he got to us and he agreed…I told him we were praying for him to come, we just didn’t know it was him that we were specifically praying for.  This man has been in Corpus for 2 weeks.  In the past his life has included many pitfalls, and of course he found himself in the epicenter of those things here in Corpus Christi.  He knows he has a call on his life, but his frustration with his circumstances had led him back to some places he swore he would never go again.  After speaking into his life we offered to walk with him as he works to rebuild his life.  Over the past two days I have had the opportunity to help him find new housing arrangements and to begin looking for work.   While I was in India, the Lord spoke to me about someone he was raising up to become the leader of Simplicity – Corpus Christi…something in my spirit, says this man may eventually be the one God was speaking to me about.

India wrap up

After an all night train ride to Chennai, we arrived at 6AM yesterday. We went to our dorm room at teh campus of Emmanuel Methodist Church and I tok a 2 hour nap. After a shower, we were off to Church of the Living God in Chennai.

This was my second time to preach in this particular church. There are approximately 2000 people who attend each Sunday. This church was founded by Pastor Paul’s brother Paul Kiraburakan.

The service was very energized with fervent prayer and several pieces of music by a group of children. After I had finished preaching, I spent the next hour praying for several hundred people.

I was also privileged to have Pastor Sam who has a television ministry here in Chennai, come by to seee me. Pastor Sam and I have been communicating by phone and internet for over a year.

In the evening, I returned to Hebron Prayer Incense Church. This church is pastored by David Anand Kumar. The church meets on the top floor of his home, near the local medical university. Since my last visit, his congregation has grown and become somewhat international. He now has people from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania worshipping in his church. This has forced him to move his services to primarily English. Once I was done speaking, I prayed for about 30 minutes with those in attendance.

Yesterday I also discovered that the power cord to my laptop was no longer working. I think a power surge killed the power box on my cord. Unfortunately, I didn’t discover this until I needed to charge the battery.

Today, I packed my bags to get ready for the airport. After breakfast, Paul took me to a shoe store, because he felt my sandals were in poor condition and I needed better shoes. So I am now breaking in a nice new pair of Indian sandals.

We are having lunch today with Pastor Victor and his family. I led conferences in Pastor Victor’s church last year, but was unable to do that this year. It is good to see old friends again.

After lunch, I will be going to the airport. My first flight leaves at 6PM for Delhi. I will be in Delhi until 2AM when I leave for Frankfurt. Then on to Chicago and Houston. I will arrive in Houston Tuesday at 6PM. I am spending the night in Houston and will catch the 8AM flight to Corpus Christi.

I love India, but I am ready to be home. My mind is exhausted, it has been a great journey.

I will try to post pictures in the next few days…I have plenty, but an unpowered laptop is pretty uselsess.

Saturday update

Today we travelled to Dindigul and led a pastor’s conference. I was feeling a bit sluggish this morning as the pace of the past two weeks is starting to catch up to me. To help me compensate, I made the afternoon session a question and answer session. The pastors had great questions and kept mme on my toes.

This evening, I packed my bags will catch a train to Chennai with Paul at 8 PM. Tomorrow I will be preaching in his brother’s church in the morning and his brother in law’s church in the evening. This will be my second opportunity to speak in both churches.

Monday morning I will do one more conference and then I have to be at the airport around 3PM to catch my 6PM flight.

Carol and I are glad my return home is drawing near.

Final day in Madurai

I started my day with a visit to a local colony of lepers. I had preached in an adjacent village last year and had encountered of few of the lepers then. This colony houses about 200-300 lepers. Many are missing toes, fingers and various facial features. For many of them they have other serious mental and physical challenges as well.

Benjamin and Elishba have adopted this colony as their ministry focus. Benjamin brings food out weekly and shares songs and Bible stories with them. Many of the lepers believe in Jesus, but they doubt His power to heal them.

For the past two days, I had found myself praying for the miraculous healing of 7 lepers within this community. My understanding is that God is going to do some miraculous healings within this colony as building blocks of belief. There was one woman in particular that caught my attention and I found myself praying over her quite extensively. I believe she will be one of the 7.

After distributing food to the colony we headed back to town and I spent the afternoon resting. I am beginning to feel the physical drain from nearly two weeks of multiple speaking engagements and long hours of ministry.

Tonight I spoke in our final open air meeting in Madurai. I told the crowd that I wasn’t feeling very strong, so I knew it would be a great meeting. I emphasized that in our weakness, God’s strength is revealed.

Several testimonies were given during the service including a testimony of a man who was healed from being very sick after I had prayed for him on Wednesday. I used these testimonies to talk about why God heals in the first place. I explained that He wants us to see His power to save and deliver us from sin. The miracles are simply the building blocks of our faith. I told the crowd that ultimately we all must decide who Jesus truly is.

When I was finished approximately 30 people came and gave their lives to Jesus. I was also asked to pray for another 100 or so for healing, family problems, etc…

It was a great ending to another wonderful visit to Madurai.


Today I made my second visit to Tirchy. I visited Tirchy in 2006 on my first visit to India. Today, I spoke at a meeting for local pastors. I spent the morning speaking on personal discipleship.

As I was wrapping up, Pastor Paul began to get very weak due to the heat. I prayed for him and decided that I would make the afternoon session a question and answer time. The Q & A session was very good and the pastors had some challenging questions for me.

When the conference was over we went to the home of Pastor K (I can’t spell his last name) for lunch. I had been a guest in Pastor K’s home in 2006 and it was good renew my relationship with his family.

This evening I have the night off. I will be going to the leper colony tomorrow with Benjamin and Elishba.

Final Madurai Conference

Today, Tom and I led the final pastor’s conference in Madurai.  This series of conferences and open air meetings had been billed as an “End Times Crusade,” so we both spoke out of the book of Revelation.   Tom spoke on the letters to the 7 churches in Asia Minor, asking the question:  “How did Jesus end up on the outside of His church?”   I led the group through the holiness of God as described in Revelation 4 and the redemptive task of the church in our world.  I challenged them with the urgency of our mission to share the good news of grace to all mankind.

The worship in this meeting was powerful and many people were giving testimonies.  The most meaningful for me was a woman who had been blind when I prayed for 3 years ago.  She testified that she received sight in one eye immediately after I had prayed that night.  Her other eye was so touched that doctors were able to perform a sight restorative surgery, that before they had told her would be of no use.  She was able to look on me today for the first timeough both eyes.

Tonight we took Tom to the Madurai airport to begin the first leg of his journey back to Vancouver.   He will arrive home around 2AM Friday morning.   This time with Tom has been a good learning experience for both of us and we took time to speak into each others lives.   Tom and I both believe that we will work together in a similar capacity again at some point in the future.

Tomorrow I will travel to Tirchy where I will lead another pastor’s conference and speak in the evening.  On Friday I will be accompanying Elishba & Benjamin (pastor Jesudoss’ daughter and son-in-law) to a colony of about 300 lepers, where they minister weekly.   On Saturday, I will go to Dindigal and lead another pastor’s conference and speak in the evening.  From their pastor Paul and I will take a train to Chennai, where I will speak in his brother and brother-in-law’s churches, where I spoke last year.  On Monday I will lead a final pastor’s conference in the morning before heading to the airport for my flights home.