I seriously do not know what my future holds. And right now, I’m fine with that.
I have said I’ve wanted to live by faith… well, that means not being able to walk by sight but still walking courageously and boldly with the confidence no longer in myself, my gifts and work, but confident in HIM.
Many times earlier in my life I would have told you I was walking by faith, yet I almost always had my own plan and map to carry out that plan. I think I never quite ‘got it’ because I never had to do it before. But here I am today with NO plan and no map and not even any idea what tomorrow holds, yet I rest in Him.
I have been praying for over a year for His guidance in my life, having come to a conviction that He was calling me to more than I have been living. I have earnestly sought to hear His voice, feel His direction, and I still seek that. I know that this trip was a response to His call, but I don’t know yet what this trip was about in the bigger perspective. I know why I came and I know why I came earlier than the school to visit Gloryland in Mubende and to visit Stakwell in Kenya and I can honestly say these trips have provided for me a cultural immersion beyond anything I could have anticipated. I have had my eyes opened to many things that I am convinced will shape my future, but how, I don’t know.
Have I been exposed to the things I have in order to make me a better voice or spokesman for these needs back home? That is possible. Have I been connecting relationships, building a network to facilitate mutual benefits to several different ministries here? Or have I been getting my heart and eyes opened to a cry for our voices, our presence, our lives? And if the latter, what shape will that take? Would we be like Tony and Rebecca, spending a few months on ‘the field’ and having a reprieve for a few months at home? Would we be like (or with) Dolores, traveling about constantly to different places having brief powerful impacts upon leaders in each location? Or would we be leaving home, family, and life to move to a different part of the world?
“God will break you for a short time yet, then He has a plan for your life…” the prophet spoke to me. Well, I’ve been broken and He has offered healing in each instance drawing me constantly closer to Him and into His presence. Most of my roots in America have been severed with the loss of our home and the alteration of the country I loved—I’m not blaming Obama like Republicans do, he only stepped up the tempo on the exact same agenda Bush was implementing, perhaps with shades of Carter and Clinton thrown in there. But I, the “Voice of Democracy”, the ultimate patriot, the defender of “The American Way”, have become disenchanted and believe that it is unfixable and I don’t particularly care whether I sit around here to watch it come apart. We can’t change anything at home; can we make a difference here?
To me it’s funny… don’t know whether it will strike you the same way… one of the BIG things that has prevented me from thinking of leaving America is my love for shooting and hunting—though I haven’t hunted much in quite a while. And then, to be told that private gun ownership is banned in Kenya (and Uganda), but then to learn that everyone I met in north Kenya has a gun(s) and that I could take my guns there and hunt freely if I chose. And I just spent 6 days in semi-desert country that was chock full of game birds from dove, quail, partridge, grouse, guineas, ostrich and others and occupied by a people who don’t eat birds. The Samburu people keep chickens for eggs but feed the dead birds to their dogs. They don’t eat birds! Stakwell has eaten guineas and ostrich and likes both, and he eats chicken every time he is away from home, but in South Horr he doesn’t eat birds either… the cooks probably wouldn’t cook them. So, to me that was a funny thing for God to place in front of me as I closed out a week of the most peaceful spiritual transformation I’ve ever experienced.
There was also a surprising ministry opportunity at Stakwell’s that I had never considered until I found myself availing myself of it as it posed itself… travelers come through there, spending an evening and a morning easing about before and after they sleep. Each time I found myself engaged in spiritual conversations and watching people’s eyes opening. I had people express very strongly held convictions and watch them start to puzzle and then listen when they heard articulated well reasoned perspectives they had never considered. I do have a surprising ability to carry on conversations about many things so can engage people wherever they are most of the time. Just as I was writing this, I acknowledged I have always had a little bit of disdain for the idea that you could make an impact with a brief encounter and suddenly God told me to consider Philip in Acts 8:27-40 in his encounter with the Ethiopian. This brief encounter was very much in harmony with God’s will and absolutely had a permanent impact. So, that poses an entirely different door that I hadn’t considered.
I had told you that you would not be driving in there and related how when you go to ‘visit’ Stakwell it would be a fly-in trip… then yesterday my mind turned to what kind of vehicle I would want if I were living there and from that turned to the drive and realized that you would never quite comprehend WHERE you were if you didn’t drive in there at least once. But I would rather drive you in, would definitely not want your first trip in to be with LeMan’s Peter! And, I would NOT want you to ride in the back of one of those Land Cruisers like we were in yesterday! Stakwell’s yes, it would actually probably be my ideal because I would want to do as he does and carry people about helping them and that would require the additional space. I also like that the larger Land Cruisers in the dark green or a dark blue look like official or police vehicles and so don’t attract the same kind of notice that flashier vehicles do. An example of Stakwell’s practice: we are heading north from South Horr and see the two school girls who carried and sold the milk to the camp, he pulls over and calls to them, they jump in and ride the 3 km to their school and hop out calling cheerful thanks to him. That afternoon on the way back into South Horr, the teacher has just left the school and is heading for town, so we pull over and pick him up and take him on into town with us, just dropping him where we turned into the camp. Just little things like that I know are part of why people love Stakwell—and his crew, because they do the same thing, having been trained by him. And then it hits me humorously, I’m contemplating us living in South Horr! How funny. Could I live there and fulfill the calling for training pastors? Does AIM need more in-country pilots? But I know, I know for certain, if I were going to LIVE in Kenya I would prefer South Horr to Nairobi, Thika, or any of the other locations I’ve seen thus far that are far more densely populated and more in motion. And yesterday my mind turned to jobs that would be available as some of the ‘development’ that is soon to transform that country takes place… supervisory jobs such as Stakwell’s which provide income, resources and yet lots of free time.
But then, I ask, do I want to live where I must deal with Muslims on a regular basis? (even if they are essentially non-observant) Or could I communicate Christ effectively to these people? Certainly, they need the gospel. On my mind realizes the irony of that question when we are being faced with constant confrontation with Islam in America and I am so frustrated with the people who haven’t got a clue of the consequences of the course we are pursuing. Those who don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it. Rebecca spoke of feeling open hostility from Muslims I think in Nairobi; I can see that if you got in the predominantly Muslim areas. I ended up in a Muslim market yesterday, still in the truck thank goodness, but was still accosted by a man who spotted and targeted me. We drove off and my driver, Peter, commented, “Why do they have to be that way?” and I told him that Muslim markets are like that all over the world and we aren’t particularly welcome there… only our money.
By the way, my guard dog’s name was Bear. Fits him.
Ok, back to my question about Muslims; I received a shock in the conversation at Naftaly’s house when we were discussing Muslims. Edward, the principal/teacher, Stakwell’s cousin who rode with us, commented that there are NO Samburus who are Muslims, that they could NOT become Muslims and remain a part of their community. Naftaly said it was the same with his tribe, the Massai. Confused, I asked, “Where are all these Muslims I’ve seen in Samburu land and here in Thika coming from?” and all three, Edward, Naftaly and Christian instantly said, “Somalia, we’re being overrun!” So, even those Muslims I saw in South Horr are foreigners; they are NOT Kenyans, they have no rights to the land or the benefits coming with the development, they are just people who have come in and parked. We stopped this time in a Muslim community that we had just passed through going in; turns out one of our passengers was Muslim and from there so we had stopped as an accommodation to him. Then when we ended up in Isiolo (pronounced Isholo) where Naftaly met us, there is a huge Muslim market and that is where the man would have accosted me had Peter not simply driven away.
That makes educating the locals to the dangers of this “invasion” even more vital.
Christian related that 11 of the 16 homes in their compound are now occupied by Muslims and it has changed the neighborhood. But she said the reason is that when they come in they pay 7 months of rent in advance where most of the Kenyans have to work at making their rent each month, so who would the landlord prefer—the landlord, of course, not living there and not cognizant of what lies ahead. Christian related that all the women carry knives, the curved gilded kind, and when they come outside because the children are fighting and there is noise, they are drawing their knives as they come out the door. Then one day she went to talk to one of the other mothers because her children had taken Christian’s girls’ ball. The mother screamed at Christian and challenged her related to the ball and sharing and then about an hour later half the ball came over the wall into their yard. I related to them how they take over neighborhoods and others, not desiring conflict, or fearful for their lives, simply move out and yield it to them. I shared the mindset difference between teaching children not to explode in anger, that it is a negative emotional response and unacceptable, and them considering this honorable and encouraging it in their children… the light came on in Christian’s face because she has seen exactly that happening.
On Friday evening I had carried my computer bag into Naftaly’s house rather than leave it in his car and he ended up laughing at me saying, “This is our neighborhood, who would steal it?” Their neighborhood is walled and gated and guarded… however, a majority of the people are now Muslims. Saturday morning when we came out of the house after breakfast to head to Nairobi, Naftaly couldn’t unlock his car door. Ended up there was something stuck inside the lock, one of the other neighbors had witnessed several of the boys around his car, and when Naftaly turned and asked them, they were belligerent about trying to pick the lock. It took a number of minutes to get the broken off wire they were trying to pick the lock with out of the lock so we could get in the car and go. I had left my computer in it, though no one could see the bag for the dark tinting… but it was a car to break into. I had told Christian they should be thinking about where they are going to move because it will reach a tipping point for them in this neighborhood and with two young girls, they are going to end up moving. Naftaly had been a little incredulous, but then he couldn’t imagine the ball cut in half and half tossed over (to share it ostensibly?) but after the thing with his door locks, he was thinking awfully hard about it. He has a wife and two children to consider.
Jack was raised in a Christian home where he spent his youth preparing to preach God’s word. First published at thirteen, writing and speaking became Jack’s passions. Whether through newspaper columns, magazine articles, radio broadcasts or public speaking engagements, Jack continues to share his heart with his readers. His life’s motto: To Know God, and To Show Him To Others.