2011 is gone and it has been such a wonderful year for Abby and myself (I’m still working on the year summary as it is challenging to fit everything that has happened in a reasonable length email). We thank God for all that we have experienced and learned these past 12 months. We appreciate everyone who been there with us through prayer, support, and encouragement, and we can’t begin to express how grateful we are to the Daniels for taking us under their wings.
Today is Sunday January 1, 2012, and it has been an interesting day.
We are in Nairobi and went to a church we have visited a number of times at a ministry that is very dear to my heart. My experience was very sad. The ministry has changed a lot from how I remember it on previous visits to Kenya.
Without getting into too much details, the worship was shallow, and a few minutes after the preacher got up to speak, Abby and I decided to leave. I had to leave because my spirit was feeling incredibly oppressed and I was getting a terrible pain in my head. I tried praying but the only relief was found as we left the church.
They were having a time of prayer, but instead of praying God’s Kingdom come and His will be done, they were praying God give me this and that and bless me. It broke my heart to hear this at a church I love so much. Many Kenyan churches (possibly even a majority) have been consumed by a selfish, “name it and claim it” and “sow and reap” type prosperity theology that takes the focus off of God and puts it on man. The need in much of Kenya is not for more churches, but ones that actually glorify Jesus and not man.
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” 2 Timothy 4:3
When we arrived home Abby and I decided to have a time of prayer and listen to a sermon on podcast from our sending church, Grace Fellowship in West Palm Beach. God had more to teach me.
Pastor David was sharing honestly about a recent trip overseas. He had been traveling like crazy visiting different countries and was harassed a couple different times by airport officials over visas. Then, a ”5 hour” trip to a neighboring country turned into 29 hours on one of the worst roads imaginable involving corrupt police checkpoints and precarious situations.
He was exhausted and at the point of wanting to give up, so he decided to text his son, the missions pastor. All he wanted was someone to pray for him, but his son wrote him back and said, “Dad, Jesus said my yoke is easy and my burden is light. You need to take off your own yoke and put on Jesus’s.” Not what he wanted to hear, but after a moment, he surrendered the situation to God. From that point on in the trip, his body was still exhausted but nothing could get his spirit down, even a yelling airport official.
Abby and I spent the holiday season in Tanzania. It was so relaxing and we can’t thank the Smiths enough for their hospitality and holiday cheer. The nicest part to me was forgetting about everything going on in the ministry in Nanyuki and just relaxing.
I have learned so much this past year and can look back at so many wonderful things that have been accomplished. I can also remember times where I was exhausted to the point where it took a couple days to recover and other times where my body was so worn out I got sick.
I have spent this last year fighting to fix everything. I have been dealing with some challenges in the Nanyuki ministry. I have taken it upon myself to speak out against the common, heretical prosperity gospel, and rid all of Kenya of it. I have tried to convince every Kenyan that all wazungu (white people) are not filthy rich and it is wrong for them to try to rip them off and con them for a handout. I have been worried crazy trying to avoid such conmen and have been frustrated immensely at the impossible magnitude of it all.
Pastor David paid me a very high compliment earlier this year by saying I was one of the most natural and talented missionaries he had ever met. This is a HUGE compliment from someone with his experience and I thank God for all the ability He has blessed me with. But I remember thinking the rest of the car ride that we were on that I would give up all my natural ability for a heart that longs for God and breaks for the lost like Pastor David’s.
If you pray for me for just one thing, pray that God would break my heart and open my eyes to see the world the way He does.
As 2012 begins, I commit that this year and every year to follow that I will take off my own yoke and put on the teachings of Christ. I want to be like Jesus and love the way He loved. I want to stop trying to fix everything and look to God to do it, because if I don’t, I will spend the rest of my life tired and overwhelmed by the impossible task of reaching the lost and building the church of Kenya.