Kenya Mission Schedule

Many have asked me about the schedule for our Kenya mission trip, so I’ve written a rough outline of how we’ll spend our time. About five days will be spent travelling, three days on the mission field and two days resting or touring. There’s a reason the Tharaka are an unreached people group. It’s hard to reach them because of the terrain. See below a picture of the type of vehicle we’ll use to reach them.

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Thursday: Depart for Nashville Airport at 10:00 am.

Friday evening at 8:00 pm: Arrive Nairobi

Saturday: Orientation, shop for supplies and rest to recover from jet lag.

Sunday Morning: Depart at 7:00 A.M. and we hope to arrive at our campsite by early afternoon and set up camp. This is a picture of a typical camp site.

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Monday:  Door-to-Door visitation around the site where the missionaries and pastor hope to plant a new church.  We will visit homes and share “Creation to Christ,” the gospel, and invite neighbors to the activities of the next two days. We will form teams of a volunteer and national partner with translators.

Tuesday Morning: Vacation Bible School for the children; Afternoon: We’ll offer separate classes for the women and men.  Women’s topics:  women’s health classes and water purification. Men’s topics:  animal care and nutrition, and water purification. We’ll also share the gospel in these sessions in some way.

Wednesday Morning: Vacation Bible School for the children; Afternoon: Separate Classes for the Men and Women continued. Evening: We will show the Jesus film in the afternoon or evening and offer an invitation. At some point, we will have a celebration time with our Kenyan partners to thank each other and close our project of working together.  Depending on the schedule, it could be in the afternoon or early evening.

Thursday: Morning – Break Camp and travel to a lodge and national park. This is a picture of a room. Notice there are no walls.

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Friday: Morning – Photo Game Drive. Afternoon – Return to Nairobi.

Saturday: Tour Nairobi and visit elephant orphanage and depart for the airport in the evening.

Arrive Home: Sunday evening.

It may seem to some that it’s too expensive to travel so far and only be able to spend three days on the mission field. However, I know that three days of camping, and working in a brutal environment is about all my aged body can withstand. I pray I can meet the challenge, but I know I’ll be exhausted. I wish I could spend a larger portion of my time in Kenya on the mission field, but I’m not physically able. This is what it takes to reach an un-reached people group and the price we have to pay to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Romans: 10:14-15
“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believe? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “”How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’”

#notgoingtoAfrica #Africamission #Kenyamissions

Still Going to Kenya?

It’s not often I watch the news, so I was unaware of the attack on the students in Kenya when I entered church last Sunday morning. So the question, “Are you still going to Kenya?” caught me off guard.

“Of course,” I replied. “Why do you ask?”
“Have you seen the news?”
“No.”

My friend opened his phone and pulled up an article from USA Today telling me of the Al-Shabab gunmen killing 147 people at a University in Kenya on the previous Thursday.

I was stunned. The evil one had stolen my joy. I can tell you very little of what the minister said on Easter Sunday morning. My heart goes out to the Christian and Muslim families who lost loved ones. And I pray for the terrorist. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

I wish I could tell you that I didn’t consider cancelling our trip, but I did. After much prayer, I am happy to write that our team is holding fast to our plans because we know that many are living in darkness, and we have the light to share.

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I know many consider me crazy to travel to a terrorist hot spot, but I know there is no place safe place in the world in its present fallen, sinful state until the prince of this world is driven out. Let us never forget that Jesus triumphed over Satan in His death and resurrection and that Jesus will have the final triumph. And so, I plan to follow Jesus, wherever that path may lead.

Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become ‘fools’ so that you may become wise.” 1 Corinthians 3:18.

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Pack Light – Buy Local

If there’s one thing I’ve learned when planning a mission trip, it’s to pack light. On our first venture to Africa, we purchased everything we’d need for our Bible School in the U.S. This included: snacks, t-shirts to give away, crayons, coloring pages, etc. We used every ounce of the airline’s weight allowance (two – fifty lb. trunks per person.)

 

Pile of backpacks - backpacking concept isolated on white with clipping path

On the second trip, we visited purchased food for snacks, backpacks for orphans, and soccer jerseys in the local market. Purchasing items in Africa had seven benefits. 1) Less luggage to pack. 2) Less luggage to handle. 3) Less luggage to lose. 4) We boosted the local economy. 5) Prices were cheaper in Africa. 6) We gained a better understanding of the culture by visiting the local market. 7) The market gave us another venue to share the name of Jesus.

Wanda_Market

 

If you are planning a mission trip, check with your local contact and determine what is available to buy in the area market. I’ll never forget the look on the face of the young man who sold us the soccer jerseys in the Niamey market. His hands shook as we counted the money. We also gave him a $20.00 tip because he ran to different vendors to find the exact jersey’s we wanted. When we made the final transaction, the crowd around us applauded.

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I pray that each of us who are physically able will answer the call to share the name of Jesus. Blessings are awaiting you.

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#Africanmission #nigermissions #niameymarket

Will the Need for Pure Water Lead Others to Living Water?

The blessing of clean, pure water is something most Americans take for granted. What if you had to walk 10K (over six miles) each day to gather water for your family? This is the reality for many mothers and children in Kenya.

fresh water pouring into glass

Our missionary friends in Kenya have explained that women in the region we’ll be visiting, often walk over 10K each day (over six miles) to gather all the water they can carry. The more scarce the water, the more contaminated. Water filters cost about $25.00 which is outside the reach of most people. I have the ability to buy some water filters, but how can I decide to whom to distribute this precious item when the need is so overwhelming?

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I am exploring the feasibility of carrying Jonathan Ogelsby’s work from Niger to Kenya. See fofohari.org. Jonathan has developed artwork to teach women about good sanitation habits and about solar disinfection. Solar disinfection requires clear plastic bottles and sunlight to sanitize water. See: http://www.cdc.gov/safewater/solardisinfection.html. The artwork is key because many of the people in the region are illiterate. McDonald’s uses pictographs to train workers around the globe in food safety and hygiene. So we know this technique works.

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Please pray for God to provide me with the knowledge and tools to save lives and souls in Kenya. Please pray that God will use this need for pure water as an avenue to open discussions to receiving His living water.

#africanmissions  #fofohari #kenyacleanwater #Kenyamissions

Pray First – Then Travel

The first activity when planning any mission trip, whether you are walking across the street or flying across the ocean, is prayer. We must call on the Holy Spirit for guidance.

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When planning an overseas mission trip, the thought of missing a flight is worrisome. If our team misses one connection, we could be stranded for days, and this has happened. All of our tedious planning of the 10-day schedule unraveled. I’ve learned that I must trust God to direct every step, and take care of every small detail. He will ensure that I arrive at the proper destination at the proper time.

Connections sign in airport

On our first mission trip to Africa, our flight to Atlanta was delayed, we were re-routed to Detroit, and missed our connection in Paris. Nothing went as planned and the team was stranded in Paris on New Year’s Eve in 2011. I’ll never forget our surprise when we noticed the name of my sister’s hotel room in Paris was called The African Suite.  From the moment I read the name of her suite, I knew we were in the right place.

Africa_Suite_door

Because of our delays, our schedule was thrown out and we arrived at village A on a different day than planned. A businessman named Baashear accepted Chris that day. He was visiting relatives who invited him to hear our message. If we had been able to maintain our original schedule, he would have missed hearing about God’s plan for salvation.

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Village A is close to the Mali border and because of civil unrest, it has not been possible for American missionaries to return since our visit. But a small clutch of national believers continues to meet and to share the gospel with their neighbors. The national believers can travel to our missionaries for Bible study and discipleship training. Christianity is spreading in village A, and I pray that Baashear is growing in his faith.

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Prayer is the key to mission work, and it is the key to our daily lives. We can do nothing without God. I hope prayer is the first and the last thing you do each day. I pray that Christians in America are sharing the name of Jesus with others. There are about 13,000 people in my community that don’t attend a church on Sunday mornings. I don’t have to travel to Africa to find people who need to hear about Jesus, I can walk down my country road to my neighbor, but first, I need to pray.

Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:16.

#africanmissions

How To Afford a Mission Trip to Africa

I’ve been blessed to travel on mission trips to Africa, and I’m planning my fourth trip in August. You may wonder how a small-town librarian affords such a venture. And so, I’ve put pencil to paper to demonstrate how small behavior changes grew my mission fund.

businesswoman with a note-book

I stopped grabbing breakfast at my favorite drive-through restaurant. The average cost was $3.27 per day. Multiply that figure times five days per week = $10.60 and you’ll discover that I save $850.00 annually by eating breakfast at home.

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I decided to pack my lunch. If I buy lunch at a cheap fast-food restaurant, the expense is about $6.00 per day. The lunch I prepare from home is estimated to cost about $2.00. There are many days, I eat left-overs, so $20 savings per week is a conservative estimate that yields and annual saving of $1040.

A school lunch with a deviled ham sandwich, apple, granola bar and textbooks

I gave up sodas in 2013. I did this for health reasons, but at three sodas per day at a cost of .58 cents each. ($1.74 x 7 days per week) $12.18 x 52 weeks = $633.36. Today, I drink water that costs next to nothing.

fresh water pouring into glass

I used to replenish my skin care products about once per quarter at my favorite department store.  The minimum cost was about $100.00 for a moisturizer and a bottle of makeup. I won’t include the extras such as eye-shadow, blush, and mascara. I decided to switch to drugstore brands and cut the cost in half. Instead of $400 per year. I spend $200 and save $200.00.

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I’ve had my hair highlighted for years every other month at the local hair salon. The cost was $80. To color my hair at home, it costs $9.00, saving me $71.00 six times a year which total to $426.00

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To summarize:

  • Breakfast & coffee at home: $850
  • Brown bagging lunch $1040
  • Giving up sodas: $633.36
  • Using drugstore brand skin care products $200.00
  • Home hair-color products $426

Grand Total: $3149.36 which is enough to pay for a mission trip to Africa.

I don’t consider any of the choices listed above to be a sacrifice. Today, I eat healthier and save money.

If you want to go on a mission trip, but don’t have the funds, I challenge you to look at your spending habits and open a saving account. The money will add up, and before you know it, you’ll be on your way.

2011-12-29 07.06.34

1000 Wins

Congratulations to Coach Mike Krzyzewski for his 1000th win. As a Kentucky Wildcat Basketball fan, it’s difficult for me to pat him on the back when some of those victories were losses for my favorite basketball team.

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Photo: Rob Kinnon, USA Today Sports

Few of us will make the headlines like Coach K, but we all have gifts and special work that God has prepared for us. Ephesians 2:10 For we were all his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared for us.

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This is a picture of Terrian Lakes, a security officer at Boston Children’s Hospital. He walked through a blizzard to get to his post. Countless healthcare workers put their health at risk every day. A few make the news, such as the Ebola fighters, but most go unnoticed, even by the patients they serve.

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Firemen and police officers put their lives at risk every day as do countless other first responders. You may be like me, and know that you don’t have what it takes to be that kind of hero, but there are many ways to make a ‘win’ for God.

I’ve recently learned of a program called, Room at the Inn. It all started in December 1986 when four churches in Nashville, TN opened their doors to the homeless. Their core values: Through the power of spirituality and the practice of love, we provide hospitality with a respect that offers hope in a community of non-violence.

Kitchen Serving Food In Homeless Shelter

Today there are over 180 congregations with over 6000 volunteers. I wonder how many thousands of homeless people have slept in a warm, safe environment, offered food and shown hospitality as a result of this program. One person saw a need, acted on an idea, and thousands have benefited.

Each of us has opportunities to make a “win” for the Lord every day. We can lift a prayer for a stranger, encourage someone who’s down, and offer a helping hand. We can do our unglamorous jobs to the best of our ability.

Someday, we will all be called to be accountable for our actions. 2 Corinthians, 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Consider the treasures you are storing up for yourself. Luke 12:15 “For one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

As impressive as Coach K’s 1000 wins are, the more important achievement is the number of young people he’s mentored. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to say Coach K brought thousands to Christ? And maybe he has… but only God knows.

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I want to live my life in such a way that there is rejoicing in heaven. Luke 15:10 “There is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” I want to win hearts for Jesus. That’s the ‘wins’ that count.

#1000winscoachk #roomattheinn

 

Persecution and Praise in Niger

This week has been a challenge for Christians in Niamey, Niger. According to BBC News Africa, over 70 churches have been burned by protestors angry about French Magazine Charlie Hebdo’s illustration. But the believers in Niger are proving that their joy is in the Lord.

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Look at these faces. Can you see the joy? The Christians in Niger’s know they already have everything they need. “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” 2 Corinthians 6:10

I’ve visited Niger three times in the past three years, and the violence caught me by surprise, but I should have been expecting persecution of Christians because the mission teams in Niger are reaping a harvest. The name of Jesus is spreading like water in a flood. All along the great Niger River, people are hearing the name of Jesus for the first time on the Road to Wanzerbe, the Road to Ayorou, the Road Between, the Road to Mehanna, the Road to Tera, The Road to Namaro, and The Road to Guya. We should expect to hear of more persecution in this country that is 99.9% Muslim.

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The gospel is spreading because national believers continue to share their faith with their families, neighbors and community. It’s impossible for IMB missionaries to visit areas that where previously open, but local believers are spreading the “Good News.”

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Last week I read the book, The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken. This book includes countless examples of Christians being persecuted and the impact their persecution has on the spreading of the gospel. It’s by the believers’ faith and joy in the face of persecution that draws others to Christ. God uses what Satan means as evil to grow His kingdom. Consider Pastor Sani Nomoa’s words. “I call on every single believer in Niger to forgive and forget, to love Muslims with all their heart, to keep up the faith, to love Christ like never before.” See the entire article: (https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2015/01/3630042/#.VL6QYv7bcvA.facebook

Pastor Sani Nomoa is living according to God’s holy word. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32. The Christians in Niger are an incredible witness to their persecutors. I have to wonder how my faith would stand under similar circumstances. One of the reasons I’m drawn to Africa is because I learn so much from the believers who have a faith that I cannot fully comprehend – even when I see it.

A Good Samaritan Orphanage I visited in February 2013 was attacked because it is run by Christians. I’ve been told by my friends in Africa that the devastation at the orphanage was exaggerated, (Praise God). The protestors burned the children’s mattresses, but the buildings have not been destroyed.

This child is singing a praise song in the orphanage. You may feel pity, but these orphans are blessed. They are among the few in Niger who have heard about Jesus and His love.

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I was unable to organize a mission team to return to Niger this year and I’ve been frustrated, but I can still pray. Praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ, in Niger is the most important thing we can do for them. “You must also help us by prayer so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayer of many.” 2 Corinthians 1:11. Please pray for the Christians and the Muslims in Niger. Pray for the harvest.

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Giving money to organizations in Africa can be risky because it’s difficult to discern what organizations are trustworthy. That’s why I give to the International Mission Board (IMB) and to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. The IMB is a branch of the Southern Baptist Convention. To learn more about this organization, you can visit their website:

http://www.sbc.net/aboutus/entities/imb.asp

IBM, PO Box 6767, Richomond, VA 23230-0767

To learn more about the Lottie Moon Christmas offering, you can visit this website.

http://www.imb.org/main/lottie-moon/default.asp#.VMKIedN0y1s

To learn more about the missionaries I’ve visited in Niger, you can check out this website.

http://seekingthesonghai.blogspot.com/

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The Songhai are a beautiful people group, loved by God. Many are still waiting to hear the name of Jesus for the first time. If you can’t go or send funds, please pray. To sign up to be a prayer partner with the missionaries in Niger, you can subscribe to their newsletter: thephillips@pobox.com.

Hosea 14: 3 In you the orphan finds mercy.

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#Africamissions #seekingthesonghai #theinsanityofgod #persecution #niger #IMB #lottiemoon

Seasoned With Salt

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Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you know how to answer everyone.

This verse crossed my reading this week, and I keep pondering, ‘seasoned with salt?’

Salt is used as a preservative and also enhances the flavor of our food. Food without salt is bland, but if too much is used, the meal is ruined. Salt is a mineral our body needs. Too much or too little can leave us physically ill and can lead to death.

So if our words are full of grace and seasoned with salt, the words should be loving and pleasing to hear. We should choose our words carefully, enhancing the conversation. Just like salt can preserve food, words seasoned with salt can preserve our relationships. That doesn’t mean we have to agree with everyone, but we should always be kind, and respectful. Do you think people feel better or worse after speaking with you? How do you feel after hateful words have been exchanged? If a relationship is damaged, how long does it take mend? Can the relationship be restored?

Sometimes I don’t know what to say, especially if someone is hurting, or if I’m upset. During those times, I must choose each word with care. If only I could remember to stop and pray, particularly if I am angry. I believe it’s impossible to hold onto anger when we pray in the name of Jesus. He intercedes for us, grace shows up and I’m given the words I need.

The amount of salt in our conversation should be balanced. Too much and it may seem insincere – too little and we can come across as indifferent.

Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you know how to answer everyone.

#seasonedwithsalt #fullofgrace #Colossians4:6

What is Grace?

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2 Corinthians 12:19 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Grace is loving the unlovable. Grace is forgiving the unforgivable. Grace is mysterious. Grace is merciful. Grace is more important than being right and having my way. Grace does not hold a grudge. Grace leaves no room for bitterness.

What more do we need than God’s grace?