Thursday, March 31, 2011

The march of visitors concludes

David Giles in the garden

one of our irrigated gardens


My month of visitors ended with a visit from David Giles.  He is the director of CMF's church catalyst ministries.  He came to Turkana to visit missionaries and see some of the work going on here.  It was wonderful to host David as he is a friend from before I became a missionary.  He stayed with me for a couple of nights and spent time visiting some gardens and working with the water crew one morning.  In these pictures, we went out to see a CHE teaching in one of our gardens.  We were able to talk with a couple of the trainers.  We also saw some teaching done by the men who had been trained.  They taught on the difference between relief and development.  We had a nice conversation with some of the people who have plots in this garden.

It is always so wonderful to see how God is providing food for these communities through these gardens.  It is even better to see how the people are also receiving spiritual food through the teachings taking place in the gardens each day.  I enjoyed getting to see some ladies taking advantage of the shade to make some Turkana hand brooms.  They make them out of dried palm leaves and are able to sell them in town.  I had never seen them made before, but I have used them and given them as gifts.  So, it was fun to see this part of the process.

This month was very full of visitors but it was a very good month.  My house seemed very quiet after they all left!  In some ways it was my own personal "March Madness."  :).  Even so, it was more fun than madness.  I am looking forward to a little time in April to get caught up with other things and to do some lesson planning for my next classes in May.  I will also be holding a two day literacy "tester" seminar the middle of April.  This is to help those who administer the literacy tests to have a better understanding of what they should be looking for in these oral and written tests.

I hope you had a great March and are looking forward to a good April.  Blessings my friends!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hill and Dale visitors

My Hill and Dale Christian church visitors

Hello!  Here is another post dated blog - sorry it took so long to get it done!!!

I had some more visitors in March.  They arrived Wednesday March 16th and stayed with me until the next Thursday.  This was a great group of folks.  We had a lot of fun getting to know each other, fellowshipping over meals, and singing praises together.  We even managed to get in a game of Euchre one evening :).  They came to encourage the Turkana people and the missionaries and to work on a well.  They hoped to complete one well while they were here and they were able to accomplish that goal!  They also had a good time with the children teaching some VBS type lessons in the area where they were working on the well.  

This group from the Lexington area was actually supposed to be visiting my fellow teammates, the Mordens.  Their plans changed because of Mordens unexpected need to return to the States to help with the repercussions of their daughter-in-law's stroke.  Instead they got to stay with me.  I enjoyed hosting them and hearing about their accomplishments (or lack thereof) each day at the well site.  It is good to view Turkana through other people's eyes when you have been here a while.  I was rooting for them to find the right place with no rocks that would allow the drilling to finally succeed.  They did so on the third hole and we were all so excited.

I particularly enjoyed the evenings when we were able to pray together and sing praises to the Lord.  They had brought some song sheets and I learned a few new songs too.  It was wonderful to be able to sing praise songs with a group in English!  We were even able to sing when the power went out one evening.  It sounded great to my ears and I am sure the Lord was very pleased!

If you want to know more about this group and see some videos of their trip (even driving in rain and through mud) then check out their facebook page called HND Water for Life 2011.  There are some good pictures and videos there.   I pray you are all having a good week!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March ESL Class - What are you afraid of?


I am a little behind in my blogging.  So, I am post dating this blog.  Sorry to those who have been patiently waiting for me to get this up!

My week of teaching ESL in March went pretty well.  I decided that since I had visitors arriving while my class was going on that I would delegate some of the teaching to a friend of mine.  Simon is a Turkana who almost finished high school here.  So, his English is very good and his understanding of English grammar is probably a bit better than mine since he had to learn it as a second language.  I learned it from my parents so I can't always tell you why you say something this way and not that way.  If I think about it long enough I can probably come up with the correct reason, but it doesn't always roll off the tip of my tongue.  So, I worked a little with Simon to make sure he understood the Past Perfect verb tense and gave him the worksheets that the students needed to work on.  It went very well and freed up a little time for me to greet my visitors and do the finishing touches on evening meals.

The class this week was about Abraham being called to move to Canaan and his sacrifice of Isaac.  It was a good lesson and we got some good discussion at the end.  We talked about what Abraham and Isaac might have feared as the time came for the sacrifice.  Then we talked about how God provided for them and how that might have helped to build their faith and trust in him.  Then we talked about the things they fear at this time in their lives and what worries them the most about their future.  I was again reminded how different their lives are and yet they are the same.  Here are some of their fears.
1) food - where is the next meal coming from, how do I provide for my family
2) school fees - so their children can go to school
3) keeping their animals well

They are concerned about their families and their work which is similar to our own lives.  Most of us though are not as concerned about food.  This was the number one concern for my students and it was repeated several times in different ways.  So, I remind you to pray for the Turkana!  Pray for the Lord to provide for their needs in abundant and life blessing ways.  Pray for rain for this dry land so that their animals can do well and provide new animals and milk for the babies and the Turkana children.  Pray that they would recognize the Lord's provision and so increase their faith and trust in Him!

I encourage you to think about that question for yourself.  In light of what you are concerned about, how are you seeing the Lord provide for you?  I hope it brings a blessing to you and that you in turn can bless others with your thoughts!  Have a good week!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Visits that encourage

This week I am hosting some visitors.  They are part of the CMF board.  It has been so encouraging having them in my home.  They have been able to see some of the things that our team is doing here together with the Turkana church leaders.  They have been impressed with the gardens.  They are out today helping to put a hand pump on a finished well and then to go to another place and help with the drilling.  They spent yesterday afternoon with my teammate, Chad Harris and were able to learn what is going on with our community health evangelism program as it is in its early stages.

Later today, they will get to do a little shopping to help the local economy.  I hope to also show them where I teach both ESL and our Bible classes.  They will get to meet some of our local church people as well.  They leave tomorrow, but I think they have had a good overview of how we are joining in the Lord's work here in Turkana.  They have been good visitors - they even like my cooking (or are just too polite to tell me they don't)  :}.  So, I am grateful for the opportunity to share my home and my heart with these fellow believers this week.  I am grateful to the Lord for allowing me to help in some small way to advance his kingdom here in Turkana.  I am grateful that he also allows us to occasionally see some of that advancing so we don't get discouraged.

I pray you are having a good week!  Pray for me as I finish up preparations for my English class next week.  We will be talking about Abraham's call to follow the Lord and his willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac.  It could generate some lively conversations - pray that it does.