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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Family Visit

I can hardly believe it but it has been 6 long months since I visited mom. That is simply far too long. I have delayed and delayed my travel due to all the problems I was having with my foot and then my leg and then with a bad cold that lingered. The many highway closures over the long winter season  didn't help. But at last the weather is warming and I will be away for a quick visit  this week.

She really wants her room cleaned "properly" so I am taking my own cleaning supplies and will dust and clean all the surface nooks and crannies. Of course the cleaners sweep and wash her floor daily and take out her garbage, but resident's and their families are responsible for keeping their own things organized.  She also wants her closet and clothes organized so I will do that too. Finally, she wants a few more photos put up in her room.  I already know which photos she wants so I will look for a suitable large frame before I leave. You know that ones that have different cut out frames inside so you can put lots of photos in one frame? That kind.

I meant to pick one up yesterday but got carried away with looking at organizational containers and figuring out which snack foods she could eat or would like to eat. Last week I bought mom a bunch of food items that she can snack on when she hasn't eaten properly.  Things like canned sardines, mini wieners, crackers, cup of soup, cookies, and the V-8 juice which she loves so much.  I've been buying a little of this and that each day.  I thought some Rooibos tea and a thermos to keep hot water in for her tea would be a good idea too. They do have tea time twice a day where she lives.  But this way she can have tea whenever she wants as long as she has remembered to keep her thermos filled. It also means she can make tea for a visitor.  They do feed her where she lives but visitors are not catered for so you need to be organized.  Lately it seems the food quality where mom lives is hit and miss, and for whatever reason, she missed a meal or two. That meant she was very hungry at odd hours and she didn't have anything to eat.   When she told me that I decided to put a care package together and she loved the idea.  My brother took most of it to her over the weekend.  I didn't have quite the right container to keep the food in so I bought this plastic purple tub with handles to keep it accessible and easily movable.  Isn't it cute?

I also bought some more crackers and granola bars. That's what you see peeking out of the container.  I hope to add a few more cans of sardines , some dried fruit, and a few items of fresh fruit before I travel. She will of course have to eat the fresh fruit right away but the other stuff lasts longer.

I sent her new nightgowns by mail over a week ago so I don't have to take any clothes up with me. She does want me to organize her closet so that likely means bringing things back that she doesn't wear or doesn't need. They have such a small closet where she lives and a very tiny dresser also.

Possible organizational containers to keep on a table near her. I think the clear one will work best. I also have purchased two types of standing shelves  that I hope will work on her dresser to keep all the supplies organized that the care aides use every day.  They don't tend to keep things neat and tidy after using things but I can dream!  It causes mom anxiety when things are spread all over the place.

When I was younger my mother used to like to get dressed up and wear make up. As she got older, less mobile and always in pain, she only dressed up for rare occasions when she had to attend a meeting or a function.

Her new cosmetic bag.
I love that this bag has several pockets. Mom can keep all her facial products together. Ordinarily it wouldn't be so full but I don't want her to run out of facial creams or foundation.


Now that she has daily grooming help, I've bought her some make up.  She has been applying it herself and is enjoying the compliments and the pick me up she gets after having her hair done and her make up on.  She basically wears foundation and lipstick and sometimes a little eyebrow pencil and blush.








Of course, I bought some perfume for those occasions when she wants to go out. Just some light scent, Imari, from Avon. Later I will get some Diamonds by Liz Taylor. Mom loves Diamonds. I will probably get it for Mother's Day or her birthday.

Her make up and some lipstick.
I had to buy something for me too.  These beautiful notebooks are for me.  I will keep notes of things I want to remember and also keep a record of my prayer requests. That way I won't forget who to pray for and it will make it easier to keep a record of answered prayers.

Well I can't wait to say hello to mom in person and give her a big hug.
I think she will like her new cosmetic bag with all the goodies in it. What do you think?
I will be visiting her by the time you are reading this so I'll visit your blogs later.
Soon I hope to post more news of Mama Linet and Edwin
Please keep them in your prayers.
Thanks for visiting.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Has Arrived

Well it is that time of year again. Time to think of the garden. I wish I could say that I was a good gardener but I most definitely am not. I have yet to have a thriving garden and in those years when it seemed the garden was doing well, I had to travel so often or for too long without anyone who was able to keep the garden properly watered and thriving. I did have someone look after the garden but they didn't have any better green thumb than I do.

Also, last year I didn't even clean the garden or plant it.  A friend of mine cleared all the dead leaves and plants and my brother planted the garden with various seeds and starter plants I bought. The birds unfortunately demolished and ate everything that did grow. It seemed they were rather more destructive last year than any other year. I'm not sure why.  Though I didn't get to eat anything from the garden, I am glad that at least the birds got what they need.  This year I will try again but I hope to eat the fruit of the labour.

I have my little kitchen compost ready so I can store vegetable and fruit scraps in there before it gets added to the larger compost bin on the patio.


The kitchen compost pail. I've used other pails, like old ice cream pails and coffee cans but they didn't keep the odours contained.

The patio composter.

I will have to buy a few perennial flowering plants.  Other than that I will primarily plant vegetables.  I will also have to use some kind of netting to protect the seeds and plants from being eaten before they have a chance to grow.

These are supposed to be some kind of spring flowers. I haven't actually "tidied up" the garden this Spring as it has been too cold but I hope to do it soon.

This is a poppy plant. The other one is a bit spindly. I love poppies. One year I planted a blue one. It didn't do well. I understand they are hard to grow.  Even the experts will tell you that but I tried to grow one anyway. I'm ever the OPTIMIST! The ones I have in the garden are red. I've only ever seen a blue one in the garden shop once. Maybe some day I will find one again. Hopefully by then I will have a more experienced "thumb".

 This past weekend of sunshine finally brought out the tree blossoms.
 
I always love tree blossoms. They are fleeting in their beauty. The moments of their bloom pass so quickly that if you waste time getting out to enjoy them, you may miss out altogether!

A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.
Song of Solomon 4:12

Please click here to join others for Our World Tuesday. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Glorious Clouds

I had fun looking at, and taking photos of, these clouds.







Aren't they fantastic?! I hope you have something nice in your sky to entertain you today. For more great sky photos from around the world, click here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I Bid You Goodnight


Music has the power to evoke strong emotions in us. I think most of us realize that the emotions can be good or they can be bad.  Today I want to share the music of a wonderful group from South Africa, the grammy award winning Soweto Gospel Choir.

This group is coming to my city on April 7th.  I  wanted to attend but hesitated spending the funds for a ticket.

Then I learned of someone selling a ticket to the event.  She can no longer attend the concert because her workplace suddenly approved her holiday and she only has a limited window of opportunity to travel to Europe.  Though she isn't selling her ticket at a reduced price she has one of the best seats in the venue where the concert will take place. Because of the circumstances of how I came to know about the ticket and where the seat is located, I really felt God saying it was okay for me to spend the funds to go listen and be uplifted by the inspired music of the choir and also to support them.  The choir members all come from churches in the South West Townships of Johannesburg.  I've made arrangements to pick up my ticket on Monday and I'm eagerly anticipating the concert.

In the meantime, I'm listening to this wonderful choir through youtube videos. They have many wonderful songs on video, but the one I've posted really touched my heart. The man who sings it has such a sweet voice and hearing him brought tears to my eyes.  Of course the acapella singers who join him in song just add to the intensity and beauty of the song.  I hope you like it too.

After you've listened to this song, please say a prayer for Edwin who is fighting leukemia.
You can learn more about his story by clicking on the highlighted words in the previous sentence.

The Soweto Gospel Choir is touring in North America up until the end of April. I encourage you to try and attend one of their concerts.  I know you will be so blessed by their wonderful harmonies.  If you hesitate like I do to spend money on yourself or on entertainment but you actually have means, please consider attending a concert by this choir. They will "blow your socks off" with their amazing harmonies and wonderful spirit. I've learned too that the Soweto Gospel Choir raises money for multiple charities and is doing stupendous work to better lives in many communities all around the GLOBE (see here for more information).

 I've done some research on the Soweto Gospel Choir's website and learned that the lead singer in this video is Shimmy Jiyane, Choreographer, Choir Master, Tenor, and Dancer.

I BID YOU GOODNIGHT


Lay down my dear brother, lay down and take your rest
I want to lay your head upon your savior's breast
I love you, but Jesus loves you best
I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight
I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight

Lay down my dear brother, lay down and take your rest
I want to lay your head upon your savior's breast
I love you, but Jesus loves you best
I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight
I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight

One of these mornings bright and early and soon, goodnight
Now they're pickin' up the spirit to the shore beyond, goodnight
Go walking in the valley of the shadow of death, goodnight
He's riding a staff, gonna comfort me, goodnight
Join the wise, there's a soul to find, goodnight
Lord send a fire, not a flood next time, goodnight
To leave for the ark, that wonderful boat, goodnight
She really loaded down, getting water to float, goodnight
Now pray for the beast at the ending of the world, goodnight
He loved the children that would not be good, goodnight
I remember rather well, I remember right well, goodnight
I went walking to Jerusalem just like John
Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight

Lay down my dear brother, lay down and take your rest
I wanna lay your head upon your saviors breast
I love you, but Jesus loves you best
I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight
I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight


I end with some beautiful scenes of the English Bay area in downtown Vancouver. I was there on the weekend enjoying the company of many ladies over tea and scones.




I'm linking up today with On My Heart Tuesday and Our World Tuesday
Please pop by these sites and enjoy the posts.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Update on Edwin (Part 3)

Hello friends,

Since I posted last week's  update about young Edwin, both he and Jonah have made 3 more round trips to Nairobi and Tenwek hospitals, for treatment and testing.  Some of the test results have been
sent out of country for consultations to help the doctors know best how to treat Edwin's disease of
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.

Edwin sitting outside the family hut.

Baby in the family.

Edwin's father reading Edwin's medical report.
Edwin's brother standing in front of the hut where the entire family lives. He is newly married and trying hard to help his family and make sense out of his brother's medical challenges.

Edwin

Right  now Edwin is on a drug called Glivec or Imatinib. Based on what I've read this seems to be a very good drug and a newer treatment for this kind of cancer.


Edwin needs your prayerful and financial support to continue his treatment and also possible new living accommodations as space is rather crowded. He and Jonah have been travelling by overnight bus to save on costs.

  If you can help, donations can be made here.
Your help is worth more than you can realize.
God bless you for whatever you can do.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

One Child at a Time

My friend Charles put me on to this film. After seeing the trailer I remember hearing about this story on CNN news. It touched me then and it touches me now. I think you will agree.


If you haven't already considered child sponsorship please do. Compassion International is one organization I can recommend.  If you can't make a multi-year committment, please consider a donation to Missions of Hope which also does a lot of good in Kenyan villages to help children and their families.  Blessings to you and yours.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Precious Ones

Thank you to my new followers. There have been a number of you lately and I am very blessed by that!

I finally had the chance last week to organize the correspondence and little things I save for sending to my sponsored boys in East Africa.

These little ones, and one not so little one, are precious to me and I enjoy receiving their letters. Though it is hard to believe, I think they also enjoy receiving my letters and the little things I send to them. It lets them know that someone far away cares for them and is praying for them and their families.

My newest sponsored boy is actually now a young man. His name is Haile and he lives north of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. He has a father, mother and 5 siblings.  Haile is 20 years old and will continue to be sponsored until he is 22 years old. He writes to me in in his native language which I think is Amharic.  Someone translates his letters for me to read.  When I send him my letters in English, someone must translate them for him to read.

Haile has a different financial sponsor and I volunteered to be his correspondent sponsor because for whatever reason, his financial sponsor does not write him. I'm blessed to be able to write to this young man and encourage him in the faith.

Haile will soon be on his own and fending for himself in the world but for now he lives with his father and mother and 5 siblings.  He has been asking me to pray about a dam that is going to be built on the Nile. I think the young men along the dam route are hoping that they will be able to find work on the dam.

In this photo you can see Haile's letters in his language. At the top is a photo of the tall young man he is turning out to be. At the bottom is a post card of Canada's animal which I will send to him in a future letter.

Next is John. He lives in one of the slums of Nairobi Kenya with his mother and father and siblings.  John is 8 years old and  has a younger brother.  A baby brother was recently added to the family so there are 3 boys altogether.

John loves numbers.  So among other things, I bought him some number stickers. He will be able to practice counting and mathematical tables.  John is the second child I decided to sponsor with Compassion International Canada. I am his financial sponsor not just his correspondent and I am hoping that I can be a great encouragement to him over the years.

See the organizer. It has several tabs so I am able to keep stickers, letters, writing paper and envelopes and correspondence from Compassion International Canada  organized and easy to find.

The third boy I sponsor is Peter.  Peter lives in a village located north of Nakuru, Kenya. He lived with his father, mother, 3 sisters and 1 brother but sadly his mother died recently and so there are now 5 young children with no mother.  I feel very badly for him and his siblings and pray that all will be well with them. I hope my letters can encourage him and show him motherly love and concern.

Peter also loves numbers and wants to be a pilot.  I bought him some plane stickers.

My letter last week to all the boys included some appropriately themed paper gift bags (I didn't take photos of them). The bags will be a good place for the boys to store their letters, stickers, post cards and other little paper gifts I send.  This might seem like such a small and insignificant thing.  But in a poor village, you will not find these kinds of "extras" in a humble home.  Small incomes have to be spent on top priorities like school and school clothing and food.

I hope you've enjoyed learning about my boys.  I hope to write about them here from time to time, and about the wonderful work of Compassion International.

A letter and drawing from Peter.

If you have ever though of sponsoring a child, I can tell you that Compassion International (CI) is a wonderful organization to consider doing it through.  CI really goes the extra mile to try and make it easy for you to correspond with your child. You can check them out at their website here. There you will also find links to Compassion International offices in many different countries around the globe.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Storms of Life

I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.
Louisa  May Alcott, author of Little Women

Northeast facing photo. The clouds today are heavy with the rain to come.

We've had yet another storm. The wind was rattling through my fireplace all evening and into the morning hours. I finally "conked out" at around 4 in the morning so I didn't hear any more after that.

The news said that the winds in Vancouver were 89 miles an hour while on Vancouver Island the winds were up to about 120 miles per hour. Lots of trees were uprooted, roofs of homes were destroyed or damaged as trees fell on them, parks were closed, ferry sailings were cancelled and power went out in many homes.  Many boats parked in marinas up and down the coast were destroyed and schools were damaged. Thankfully it is Spring break right now so schools are not in session.  There was lots of new snow on the mountain highways to the world famous Whistler Village, and going north on the Coquihalla Highway.  Truckers were once again required to put chains on their tires as they reached the highest point.

 I managed to keep my power.  I awoke this morning and was able to make coffee as usual and make breakfast. I was able to dry a load of laundry and access hot water to wash my floors.  Soon a chicken will go into the electric oven.  So you see, I wasn't affected by any of the bad effects of the storm, other than the wind rattling all night. I feel blessed.

North facing photo. The mountains are not visible today. You can see a raindrop hanging from one of the leaves in the foreground.

We've had a lot of storms this winter season. I see them as an analogy for life. We often go through storms in life. It is a natural thing.  Sometimes the storms blow through our lives leaving minimal after effect.  Sometimes they tear through our lives, leaving a lot of damage behind and a need to rebuild.  Some go through more storms than others, but in the end, we all need to learn to navigate them. I navigate them with the tremendous help of my faith in God and my heavenly Father. Even then, if the storm is particularly bad, I need to hang on for dear life. Storms are that way sometimes.

When we weather many storms and we come out unscathed enough times, or we come out the other side, bruised but not broken, we can learn that our trust in God is not in vain.
I hope you are passing safely through any storms coming your way. If you are not, don't forget, there is a Father in Heaven and he cares for you.

 …casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
 1 Peter 5:7

Blessings.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Meatless Dinner

This dish was inspired by a dish prepared by fellow blogger and artist extraordinaire, Kelly Clarkson at Umber Dove.

My dish is not as artfully created as it is what I call a "throw together" dish and it hit the spot for me today. I've been wanting to go meatless several times a week/month, or whenever the mood strikes.  This is to help health and my pocketbook.  I've been using more and more varieties of beans which I usually cook from scratch, and also a lot more variety of vegetables and fruits, for some time.  So the meatless meals is a progression in  my changing eating habits.

Kelly's dish inspired me to experiment with adzuki or red beans.  I promptly went out and bought a bag of dried adzuki beans after reading her post. I originally intended to make the rice and bean bowl as per her recipe, but instead today I used the beans in stir fry.  I intend to make Kelly's rice bowl another day.


On the left side of my plate (in the photo) is a stir fry made up of chopped onions and fresh chopped garlic sauteed in a bit of oil.  I added the following spices to taste: curry powder, paprika powder, salt and pepper. I then added sliced green cabbage, sliced carrots, chunks of zucchini and the cooked adzuki beans which I prepared the night before.

Cook the beans and veggies until the vegetables are to your taste. I like my veggies on the crunchy side but I do like my cabbage a little more tender so I cook that for awhile before adding the other veggies.  I added some boiled yams as a side dish. I like them plain with a little salt.

Later, I will have some Greek yogurt and fresh fruit for dessert.  If I get with the program I may even try to bake some dessert squares, called Oatmeal Scotchies. These you can find over at my blogging friend, Katy's blog.  I can probably freeze these to have on hand and to take to an outing I am going to on the weekend.

If you missed the update on Edwin, please click here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Missions of Hope: Edwin Goes to Nairobi (Update 2)


I am happy to be able to give you Jonah's update on Edwin's treatment for leukemia. You can read it by clicking on the Missions of Hope title.  If you missed the first part of this story, you can catch up by reading the original posts here and here.


Missions of Hope: Edwin Goes to Nairobi (Update 2): Sorry for not updating sooner about Edwin. Since I last wrote about Edwin we have been doing a lot of travels back and forth to Nairobi. ...


If you can help Edwin directly with your finances, please let us know or simply send your gift to kerichojoy[at]gmail[com] via Pay Pal. We need to raise at least another $100 Canadian ($100 US, $95 Australian dollars, 8100 Kenyan Shillings, 77 Euros, 381 New Israel Shekels, 126 Singapore dollars, 64 British pounds) by Saturday, March 10, 2012 for the next trip to Nairobi.

What ever you can contribute will be gratefully received. Anything extra will be used for another trip and treatment costs for Edwin as he continues with the cancer treatment.
Thank you so much!



On My Heart Today (Part 2)

Read Part 1 here.

Besides having to learn about finances the hard way, I am also the type that has to learn how to relinquish control to God.  God has gifted me with the ability to plan and execute my plans so it is often difficult for me to know when to let God do the work. I'm always trying to steer things to a certain conclusion; a conclusion that I feel is a good conclusion!  It is difficult to simply let go and understand that God who is all knowing and who creates perfection can do far better than I can.   I suspect my issues stem from having a lack of security in childhood and having to be financially reliant on myself for so  long. But God in his loving kindness and mercy has often let me have my way. Then when all unfolds, I sometimes have to conclude that my plan was not really so great after all. It is at those times, that have had to humbly say "Okay God, I made a terrible  mess of things.  What is your plan for me?"

A related issue is that often I've not known exactly what God wants me to do in the longer term. I  pray and ask for guidance and leading in all things, and I keep putting one foot in front of the other in the meantime.  I have learned and am continuing to learn, to have faith and trust in God, each step of the way, and, as the song says "one day at a time".

A young mother lights her new jiko stove.

One of the scriptures that has meant a lot to me over the years is this one:

  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 
 Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)


His plan for me and for you may include worldly success, and it may not, but whatever it is, it is good, and he will be right there beside us.  Even though we may go through trials and tribulations and not understand it all now, some day we will know, what God meant for us to learn and why we had to go through what we did.  He promises us that "all things work together for good to them that love God, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Rom. 8:28).  When times get rough, as they sometimes do, I often say out loud, "ALL" things work together for good and then I keep reminding myself of that.

Sometimes I've asked myself what is our purpose here on earth? What are we to be doing here on this earth? I've concluded that once we are saved and as we go through the sanctification process we are also to do our part of reaching the lost for Christ.  That part is the simple part in some ways. We all know whether we are doing it or not.
The harder part for most of us is what do we do the rest of the time?
I believe that all we have belongs to God and all that I do should be with thoughts of his Kingdom.  If we keep our mind on these thoughts it becomes so much easier to fill the rest of our time, ministering to the needs of the hurting world, in tangible and practical ways; especially to those that are of the family of God that really need our help. We also can minister to those that are not yet saved. I also believe that ministering to others doesn't require us to give a gospel message before we administer the helps. God gives men and women a free will to accept him or reject him. If we only administer helps after giving a gospel message we create resentment on the part of the receiver. They learn to think of the "game" they must play in order to receive helps. On the other hand, if we simply minister to others because they have a need and because we love them as God loves us, I believe the Holy Spirit draws them and shows them that we are Christians because of our love.


If we love God as he loves us, we will want to do good works because he has called us to do good works. In fact, he has prepared in advance what it is he wants us to do.

  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. ... For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 
Ephesians 1: 3, 4, 5, 9,10

If you don't know yet what it is God has called you to do, just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Ask God to open doors for you and begin to follow up on those areas where you may feel a special calling or leading.

That is how I came to work with widows and orphans in Africa, now expanded to help others like people in need of medical help and farmers in need of seeds. Until I started working with widows and orphans, I didn't know that God says that pure and undefiled religion is to visit widows and orphans and to care for them in their distress. (James1:27)  Perhaps I had heard the verses before but never really paid attention to them because I didn't have a point of reference.
Ministering to medical needs in rural areas of Kenya.

I believe that God called me to a work with widows and the orphans when I was still a child in Sunday School.  I had actually forgotten about this childhood dream but God did not.  He made a way for it to happen without my planning or thinking about  it.  It has meant all the difference in the world to me.

I can't express in words how grateful I've been to be able to play a  part in God's plan in a hurting world.  I have been blessed to be a blessing and know the meaning of the verse "it is more blessed to give, than to receive" (Acts 20:35).  I truly would want to do so much more but can only do what I am able at any point in time. If and when, God sees fit, I know he can change this in a heart beat but I have to leave all that to him. It isn't in my nature to be patient about such things. I weekly, and sometimes even daily, need to seek his help in being patient.

Helping a woman from the slums start her own business.

If you too feel a call to Africa and are looking for a way to help would you consider joining with me?
I would ask you to consider supporting Missions of Hope.
You can find out more here 
 Or you can write me.

We are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works.
Ephesians 2:10

Monday, March 5, 2012

On My Heart Today

I heard a good sermon on Sunday. I won't repeat it all but I was captured by the message because the preacher compared God's Word to a mirror which God he has left for us. He said it isn't a  mirror for God to look into and see himself reflected but that God left his Word so that we can look into it and see ourselves reflected as believers.

Of course, the Word is much more than a mirror. It is God himself

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
1 John 1:1

But I like the idea that when I read, and learn from the Word of God, the attributes and characteristics of how God wants me to be, will be reflected back to me. I can then have a yardstick by which to know how my spiritual development is coming along as I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus. (Phillipians 3:14).

The pastor also talked about the value of a soul.  He said the value of a thing is known by the price we pay for it. At least that is how westerners tend to value things in our mostly materialistic world.  Looking at human beings and human souls from this perspective, God shows us just how much value he places on us; in that, he was willing to send his only begotten Son to die for us so that we might live. What a thought! What a saviour! Sometimes, when I think these things it just really blows my mind (in a good way).


 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 
1 John 3:1 (KJV)

Children being ministered to in evangelistic outreach in a village in Kenya. Photo credit: Jonah, MOH

I accepted Christ at around the age of ten. I do not remember the exact date and time.  I didn't have anyone suggest I make a note of when it was I made the decision.  It was just a natural progression in my spiritual development.  My family were not church goers and I was one of the first Christians in my extended family who were mostly staunch Catholics.  They were Catholics but there was no real spiritual understanding and lifestyle to go along with it, save for a very, very few people.  People like my mother's mother, who died when my mother was just a toddler.  My own mother rejected Catholicism because she felt her mother died because of it (that's another story). For my Catholic friends and readers, please do not be offended. I am not bashing Catholicism here but only relating my family story.

Mom says that I always believed in God and spoke of God as if it was a natural thing and that I always wanted to go to church.  She did try to send me to church at a younger age but for various reasons I never did go that consistently.  Mostly due to lack of a ride.  But when I was around 9 I started going on a regular basis because someone came several times a week to take me to Sunday School, evening service and mid-week service, as well as for special services at holidays.   I can still remember how moved I would be by the Holy Spirit in those early days. How real God was to me as a child,and how close I felt his presence on so many occasions.

Like I said, I cannot say exactly when I accepted Christ as my personal saviour.  For the longest time I said the sinner's prayer, again and again when I felt I did something "bad".  I did not know exactly how this Christianity thing worked.  No one thought to explain it to me either. I didn't know that after you accept Christ and you find yourself sinning, you should ask for God's forgiveness and he will forgive you for Christianity is a process of growing and learning, with God's help, to become the person that God intends you to be.  I was about 10 years old when I formally accepted Jesus into my heart for the first time, and Sunday School and Bible Camp  helped to enrich my Christian understanding and development.


Pokot children. Photo credit: Jonah, MOH


I was from a poor family and it was difficult for me to learn proper views about money or should I say societal norms about money because different cultures view money in different ways. In my culture, we were taught that you always help out your family when you have more than they do. What is yours, is theirs, and so in turn, when you need help, perhaps someone will help you too.  In olden days, this teaching was excellent and did work until there was too much of  a cultural breakdown.  In a time of cultural breakdown, there will always be those without money.  Consequently, if you are one with a bit of money, you will always be on the giving side and it is highly unlikely that takers will end up giving to a giver when they are used to taking from her.  This can cause imbalance and lead to other issues.

As  I grew up, got an education and a good job I found out that I was also a spender. I often spent more money than I should have due to long working hours and the need for conveniences, like eating out. I also spent on recreation to get a break from my "thinking jobs" which often left me depleted because of long hours.  I was more of a book worm than an activity person so I liked to spend on little luxuries like books and magazines, coffees at nice shops, little extras at the grocery store, comfortable (usually means leather and expensive) shoes for work, gifts and vacations. Of course, I also had to help family and extended family as well as those that I felt God put in my path.  There was never much else left over.

Having and spending money was important to me because I no longer felt deprived. I spent it easily and the thoughts of savings, retirement and housing when they came to me were put aside due to lack of time and the idea that these were still a long way off.  It was well into my earning life before I finally committed to a registered retirement savings plan and ultimately purchased a condominium. With my new responsibilities I had to be more circumspect in how I spent money and who I gave it to.  Early into this process it also meant I had to deal with unmet cultural expectations of me, but I continued to do my best.  When early retirement came, I was so glad I had made steps toward a little more financial security.  But  had to become even more circumspect and take on new and different strategies for spending far less money. It took me several years to try and organize everything so I wasn't "bleeding" money.  I had to do a lot of scrimping and pruning so that I could continue meeting my bills, cultural and family expectations, and giving to God.

One thing that I thank God for during these challenging years, is for his help in holding lightly the things in the world which would try to distract me from doing what he wants.  God tells us that we are not to love the things of the world. I believe he tells us that because if we love the things of the world, we will find it difficult to fully commit or give to God's world, or God's kingdom. 

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 
 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
1 John 2: 15,16 (KJV)

Now knowing this verse to be true, doesn't make it any easier for me to deal with money challenges, but it does give me a guide post by which I am to live my life.



To be continued

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Update on Edwin

A few days ago I brought to you a story about Edwin Bett, who has Chronic Myeloid Leukemia and made a plea for funds and prayer for healing for this young man. I very much appreciate those of you who responded.  We continue to need your support as things are moving quickly and we are stepping out in faith.

Today, Jonah of Missions of Hope, accompanied Edwin to the Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya.  They spent the entire day there and as you can see it was raining heavily.

Edwin and Jonah in Tenwek, Kenya.

Edwin is a tall young man. I hope both of them can stay dry enough to avoid a cold.

Edwin has been referred to Nairobi and so Jonah and he are on their way for further examination and possibly treatment.
Letter of referral to Nairobi.


Please continue to keep them in prayer and if you can help with the costs, there is a donate button at Missions of Hope, click here.


Give, and it will be given to you.
A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over,
will be poured into your lap.
For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Luke 6:38 NIV


I invite you to go to the bottom of this post where you will find share buttons. It is easy to share this story on Facebook, Twitter, through email with your friends or you can even blog about it yourself. The more people who see and read this story, the more likely Edwin can get the help he needs.

Thank you so much for reading and to those of you
who decide to hit the share button.


Giving




I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures exclude them.

 C.S. Lewis 



Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. 

Matthew 6:21

I was inspired to post these quotations on giving today after reading this beautiful post on radical giving by Ngina.

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