Friday, January 31, 2020

Jan. 31

WooWho!!!! I arrived home today about 12:30, safe and sound. Thanks Karin for picking me up at the airport.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Jan. 30

Jan. 29 & 30

Today is flight day and I have such mixed feelings. I will miss sharing the gospel every day and being with people who are making such good choices for their lives that their lives will never be the same. I will miss being with my Ugandan and Kenyan team and not having to drive or fix my own meals. Of course, I will miss the delicious pineapple here which costs about $.50 each according to Aaron.

 I will also miss seeing the darling children and seeing just how much the ladies can carry on their heads. 

Last night we had dinner with the Commissioner of Prisons, Elizabeth, and the Deputy Commissioner of Prisons, Apollo. It was great to see Elizabeth as I did not see her at the beginning of the trip like I did Apollo. It is wonderful to have found such favor with both of them and she says we are family. She is going to retire perhaps in Sept and raise chickens. We have been blessed to work every year with them since we started in Uganda, six years ago.

IRM blessed Elizabeth, Apollo, Pastor Aaron and Pastor Peace with small gifts before we ended our time together.

But I will not miss the traffic here. A 15 min. drive to the restaurant took us an hour and our drive back to the hotel took us more than 2 hours! At one point while we were stopped in a "jam" for over 20 min. an 18 wheeler truck, hauling a container, pushed it's way through, hitting the back corner of a transport van. He never stopped but just kept going as the van drive took a look at the damage. With the traffic almost bumper to bumper motor bikes just do what they want.

They make a lane of their own going with traffic or going against traffic or going cross wise of traffic in a 20" wide space.

Thank you for your prayers concerning my health. I am feeling better and still taking the meds.

I have packed 3 old broken down suitcases to leave at Alfred's home as well as putting the speaker in its box ant taping it up to keep the dust out. After dropping me at the airport Aaron will take the things to Alfred's.

Thank you so much for following this 2019-2020 ministry trip, I hope you have enjoyed the journey.

That none would be lost,

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Jan. 27 & 28

Ministry Partners,

Jan. 27 -
I awoke feeling better today, but every time I eat anything I feel worse. Not sure what the issue is but I'm still taking the meds from the Dr. that I saw and taking the Cipro so I'm hopeful I will have this behind me when I leave for home Thursday evening.

Although they are having a large conference here they did not rent out "my" room but saved it for my return. That was a special gift to me for sure, to be close to the reception area and the restaurant as well as being on the ground floor so I do not have to climb stairs is a special blessing.  Aaron was not so lucky, his room has always been in the second floor right above me but he now has a room across the property but we are thankful that they kept a room for him.

After breakfast Aaron left for town to see about getting a new battery for our sound system and take the van for servicing while I am sorting supplies to leave at Alfred's home and do some paperwork as and there is lots to get done.  

I am going to miss these common sights

Jan. 28 -  
It was a rainy day morning here in Kampala and we had errands to do in town.  Pastor Peace arrived and will go with us to have the IRM Report printed that we will turn in to Commissioner Elizabeth and Deputy Commissioner Apollo tomorrow evening at dinner. I needed to go to the bank and run other errands to finalize the trip.

The rain had stopped as we headed home from town but I was disappointed as I could not find the small things I needed to purchase as well as the small bags of coffee beans that I usually give as Christmas gifts. I will have to think of something else to give at Christmas.

Tried to pack up most of the things to be stored and the two suitcases I will bring home this afternoon. Thankful that the suitcases that will be stored at Alfred's can be over 50 lbs like my flight bags have to be. The scale I have used for years bit the dust so purchased a new scale before coming. I don't want to be surprised when I get to the airport and have to pay extra for overweight bags.

Technology is great when it works and frustration when it doesn't. Trying to get posts done and posted when the internet isn't usable is common and when I can get on line it's so weak certain programs just don't work. My personal Wifi finished when I went to Kenya and purchasing a weeks worth here for only a couple of days did not seem cost effective. I am trying to use the one here at the hotel but with only 1 "bar" it's strength is weak. I will be more thankful for the Wifi at my Oregon home when I get there.

I appreciate your continuing prayers for:
  • Health
  • Travel safety
That none would be lost,

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Jan. 26

Ministry Partners,

Sorry this post is a day late.

Jan. 26

It is so hard to believe that I will preach my last crusade of this trip today. It has been a busy 6 weeks and although I am a bit tired it makes me excited and energized as I watch the Holy Spirit work.
2005 was my first trip to the Great Lakes Region of Africa and I never would have guessed then that the trip to Rwanda would change my life forever. God has given me the courage to take each step that has brought me to where I am today having made a total of 238 entrances into prisons since 2006. John 4:35b NIV is so true, "Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest."

I was still feeling poorly so only had regular tea, toast and some pineapple for breakfast and then it was a short drive to the prison of 400+ men. The prison chaplain and Deputy O.C. welcomed us and after a short time we were ushered into the area where the prisoners were, an open area adjacent to some buildings. I was again thankful that the Lord provided a bit of cloud cover from the sun.

The distrust and curiosity I see in their faces is always so evident but as Aaron is setting up the equipment I walk up to many of them extending my hand and saying, "Jambo (an African greeting), good morning", it seems to be just the right icebreaker they need to see and hear. But their walls start to come down when we get to the first object lesson concerning receiving God's free gift of salvation using Romans 6:23 and Eph. 2:8-9. At one point the O.C. came and sat through the remainder of the crusade. I think it is a powerful thing for the inmates to watch those in authority over them also make decisions for their lives.

Decisions were made by so many and there were testimonies:
  •  "I thank God for today's message. My mother and brother brought me to prison and I did not think I would ever forgive them but when I listened to God's word today I decided to forgive."
  • "I thank God for the message of forgiveness which touched my heart today. My Sister-in-law brought me to prison and I was sentenced to life in prison. I pleaded to the High Court to have another hearing which they approved for me. But I have been strongly thinking that if they let me out that I go after at least one of them to kill them in order to avenge my wasted years in prison. But today, in the message of forgiveness God spoke to me and I have let go and forgiven in order to secure my soul."
I forgot to post this testimony from yesterday:
  • I was brought to jail by my wife and my mother and they sentenced me for creating a disturbance. I failed to understand how people dear to me could do that to me. I decided to divorce my wife, sell me land and move away from where my mother stays but today, after this message on forgiveness which I thought was sent here specifically for me, I chose to forgive them. I will seek to reconcile again with my wife and mother. Thank you, I feel happy and peaceful in my mind and heart."
 After we finished the crusade the O.C. invited us to his office for lunch along with the chaplains and a staff person. 
The Kenyan team
Bishop Moses, Bishop Arlene, Pastor Aaron, Chaplain Edward

After lunch we said our goodbys and Bishop Moses and Chaplain Edward caught public transportation to go different directions to their homes while Aaron and I headed to the Kenya/Uganda boarder which took us about an hour. Then it was on to our hotel in Kampala which took us about 6 more hours.

My stomach was still having issues so Aaron had the restaurant make me some soup and after eating I must say I can't express how nice it was to lay my head down on the pillow. 

Continue to pray:
  • Health and strength for Aaron & myself 
  • Wisdom in finishing details
  • Safety on my travel & return flight to Oregon
That none would be lost,
Sorry, the internet is weak here and Aaron has not had time to get our personal WiFi set up so posting this late.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Jan. 25

Ministry Partners,

Well, today turned out quite different than I expected. I had a difficult night with my stomach bloating and having intestinal issues, thinking perhaps it was caused from the rancid smell from the kitchen. Although I was not hungry, I knew I need to eat something so I had some pineapple, 1/2 piece of wheat toast and 1/2 cup of regular tea but my stomach was not happy with that.

After making 5 trips back to my room before I could get in the van I had concerns as to how I was going to preach today at the prison. When I was finally ready to get in the van my team was waiting and they agreed that I needed to go to the clinic. I wanted to get to the prison since we needed to finish there as early as possible so we could get on the road to travel to the next town for tomorrow's prison crusade. But the discomfort I was in helped me to make the decision to agree with them and off to the hospital clinic we went.

I did not have to wait but was seen by a young woman doctor. My blood pressure and other vitals were taken and she ordered a blood draw and then told me to wait. I kept looking at my watch, watching the minutes tick by and wanting to get to the prison. Finally, she called me into her office again. It was not another bout with malaria as the team and I had feared but she said someone with filthy hands had prepared food for me and I had an intestinal bug. She prescribed two kinds of medications and told me to also take the Cipro I had brought with me. I am so careful about what I eat that I am not sure how it happened but I'm so happy I took the teams advise and went to the hospital. Meds and visit about $35.

Then we were off to the prison where we entered the Med. Security section with long term inmates but no murderers there. Some were older but oh so many young men, I glad I did not know what their crimes were.
Chaplain Edward and Arlene sharing the Gospel to 400 inmates

Again the Lord was gracious as was the Holy Spirit, they made decisions to receive Christ's free gift of salvation/eternal life and prayed the forgiveness prayer. They were a bit slow in responding to the encouragement to apologize invitation.

At first they were hesitant to give testimonies but some did:
  • "I was with friends drinking alcohol when I met a girl and we became friends. Later her parents bribed the police and I was arrested and charged. My parents refused to hire a lawyer and help me but said I needed to pay for my mistake since they said I did it knowingly. I have hated the girl, her parents and my parents for causing me to loose my youthfulness in prison. After this message by Bishop Arlene, today I choose to forgive all of them and I ask for forgiveness from anyone whom I have wronged in any way."
  • "I am in prison because of someone who alleged that I broke into his shop and stole electronics. Truth is, I am not aware of it because we were cousins. I had decided that when I go back I will make sure and get revenge but today I chose to forgive and also ask for forgiveness of anyone whom I have wronged. Thank you for speaking into my life"
 When we finished, I quickly made our PB&J sandwiches before we started the long 5 hour drive. I was not much help in the way of company for Aaron as he drove because I put my seat back and slept some. It will be good to have the prison close for tomorrow mornings crusade and then the team will say our goodbys. Moses and Edward Moses will go their separate directions and we will head to Kampala, Uganda.

Tonight, I gave Moses and Edward their "Thank You's" as well as a small gift for their wives. They both did a lot of work to make the Kenya section of the ministry trip a success.

My heart is thankful for each prison I have been blessed to go to but my heart is also sad that tomorrow will be my final prison crusade for this trip.

Your continuing prayers are appreciated.

That none would be lost,

Friday, January 24, 2020

Jan. 24

Ministry Partners,

Hello from Kisii,  Kenya.

It was nice this morning having the prisons so close. We met with the O.C. of the men's area and I really liked him. He, like the one O.C. in Uganda has a good vision for helping the inmates improve their lives. He said he could not be with us as he needed to attend a funeral.
He has a program called "Therapeutic Community" for 40 select men and he asked me to speak to them for just 10 min. or so before the crusade as he felt my program/thoughts would just fit in to what they are studying and learning. Those kind of impromptu speaking times are a bit difficult for me as I like time to study, get scripture and pray over what I  will say. But the Holy spirit was good to me and gave me a bit to say to them.

Then we went into the main part of the men's section of about 900. This was a max. security prison so there were murders and lifers there. I am so drawn to the hopelessness on their faces and yet there is that spark they they hare expecting something that will speak especially to them. I was thankful that there was a nice cover where they were and where I would speak from.

There was one women staff there and she was taking video of me. I must say I am not comfortable with that, I would not care if they took 4,000 photos but taking the videos makes me uncomfortable. I spoke with Edward about it, I will have to see what can be done in the future.

The Holy Spirit was powerful among those men today for salvation, forgiveness and apologizing.
Testimonies were:
  •  "I was holding my relative in my heart for alleging that I chased him with a machete with intentions of slashing him. He took me to the police and I was brought to prison. What he alleged was not true and I had decided I must get revenge when I get out of prison, but after hearing the importance of forgiving I chose to forgive him and all those whom have wronged me in one way or another."
  • "I am in prison because I killed my friend, we quarreled after taking alcohol. I have been guilty. and very ashamed of what I did by killing my friend. Today, after hearing this message of forgiveness, I now had the courage and I chose to forgive myself. I now feel free in my heart."
We finished and walked over to a small prison church where the lady chaplain, tall and thin, had food prepared for us. Hard boiled eggs, deep fried yeast bread triangles, peanuts, bread sandwiches with butter or jelly, bananas and African tea. I was still eating carefully after being so sick last night and eating only bread and African tea for breakfast.

Finally, it was off to the women's side of the prison facility where there were 130 women. We met with the Deputy O.C. who I also really liked. It was so much fun to see the women singing and dancing a dance style I had never seen before and of course I could not help but get in line with then and dance. Some of the guards and the Deputy O.C. also danced with us.

I was so pleased that about 12 or so guards sat against a wall behind the women who were in front of me and others sat behind me. We were outside in a central courtyard with no cover but God provided a cloud cover for us. Bishop Moses said that some of the guards said they did not believe I was 75 to dance and stand and preach for the time I did.

Our crusade went well and many decisions were made of each kind and touching testimonies followed:
  • "I have been in pain and anger and was holding a grudge against the judge who sentenced me to 25 years, yet I am as old as his grandmother being 79 years old. I am asking myself if I were his mother could he sentenced her to all these years? I am so impressed by this message of forgiveness and today I chose to forgive that judge. I also chose to forgive myself for the awful act I did. Thank you, I now feel joy and peace in my heart."
  • "I think God for today's word that has come timely. Today, I have forgiven the person who brought me here and I forgive everyone who is offended me. God bless."
  • "I was brought here because I was caught with beer and it was not mine but today I chose to forgive because of the words of forgiving."
When we finished I had all the women with babies, 15 of them, come and sit in the front row and I gave them the darling hand crochet caps made by Canby Foursquare women and then I handed out to each lady a donated scarf. They put some scarves on, others inmates were waving them while some came forward and started dancing again while everyone sang. WHAT FUN!
What a precious baby!

We got back to our hotel and I started doing some book work when I discovered that I got so sick last night because of the rancid oil they were heating hot to cook with. I am next to the kitchen and I started to get sick again tonight and realized what it was, such a putrid smell. I am OK and we went to eat somewhere else for dinner tonight.

We have had a change of plans and will go to the Med. Security Prison here before leaving tomorrow It's hard to imagine that I only have 2 more crusades to do and our mission trip will be ending.

Just a fact that you probably don't care about, toilet in Swahili is Choo! 

Please pray for:
  • Open hearts for the gospel
  • A fresh anointing for the team
  • Favor with everyone we meet
  • Health and energy for the team
  • Travel safety as we travel later tomorrow
That none would be lost,

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Jan. 23

Ministry Partners,

We started the morning with a brief team meeting of sorts will we were having breakfast. I forgot to tell you yesterday, at the place where we stayed, served an interesting juice for breakfast, avocado! I just could not bring myself to try but I watched Edward try it by adding some sugar. Today I had African tea, sausage, and to pancakes(actually there are more like crepes)with a tiny bit of orange marmalade. 

Then we were off to a small men's prison with Bishop Moses's phone GPS saying we would be there in about an hour. Well, that would have been true if we been on a normal paved road but when you are traveling dirt roads that all of a sudden do not exist except for washed out gullies and potholes driving is can be quite slow. Little did we know that it was only the beginning of similar roads, only worse, later in the day as we traveled to Kisii, a town of about one half a million according to Moses.

The staff member and welcomed us at the prison stated that there were no women guards there as the only one had been transferred. I found that actually quite unusual as at even maximum-security men's prisons there are women.We were told that the O.C.s wife was ill and although he knew we were coming he was not able to be there. There were about five local chaplains there to meet us and within a few minutes we could hear the men singing. I did not realize until later, when Moses and I were talking, that the men there did not speak Swahili which is what Aaron and Edward were going to be translating into, they actually spoke their local language Luo.

The prisoners were seated against a very long building with a bit of overhang for shade. Moses for an opener and Aaron, Edward and I would be preaching from the edge of the field in the sun. I was thankful for a brief period that there was a bit of cloud cover in the beginning of the crusade. When the local chaplain was doing introductions he said that there were Catholics, Protestants and Muslims there and I observed a number of them scattered throughout the other inmates.

Moses had to leave for a bit for a meeting but the rest of us continued the crusade and the responses were the same as we have observed in other prisons as the Holy Spirit pierced the spirit of darkness with the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as most prayed to receive Christ as Savior, including many Muslims.
There were also responses for forgiving and apologizing and there were those who gave a testimony:
  •  "I think God for this message today. I had a quarrel with my fellow inmate this morning but today I chose to forgive him."
  • "What I learned today has taught me to forgive my complaint, so that he should not follow me here." 
  • "Today, I also chose to forgive the guards and other fellow inmates. This message has           gone deeper than I thought. Thank you for today's message, as human beings we can annoy each other. My friend, I am glad he has forgiven me but he is not said two things:
  1. We were eating together before, shall we continued to eat together?
  2. He kept my stuff shall he continue to keep my stuff?
 When we finished I talked about the few supplies we had brought, Bibles, Discipleship booklets and soap and toilet tissue. Imagine my surprise when I was told that there were NO bibles in that prison of 100+ men. OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!
Pastor inmates receive the first bibles to ever be in this prison.
As we finished the other chaplains brought sodas and cookie, what a nice gesture. As two inmates carried our speaker and other things to the van I tucked a package of cookies in each of their shirt pockets. And then I offered each of the chaplains to choose one of the donated ties for themselves.

We were then off to Kisii a long hot drive over almost impassable roads at times. It took some time before any part of the journey was smooth enough for me to make everyone a PB&J or honey sandwich finished off with a package of cookies from the prison chaplains. 

Once we arrived in Kisii we waited for the local prison chaplain to meet us and take us to a hotel. We thought we had found one and took our suitcases inside only to find out they raised the prices from  what they quoted Aaron so we loaded up and drove a short distance to another hotel. Our funds are limited so "things" have to fit in our budget.

 The menus was quite brief so I chose fish and chips and Aaron was going to ask if they could make some pineapple coleslaw.It's 6:35 and dinner was ordered for 7, I hope it is ready then as I am so tired I just want to eat, shower and hit the sheets!

We have two prison crusade scheduled for tomorrow. Please continue to pray, you know the list. Your prayers ARE being answered in a powerful way, THANK YOU.

That none would be lost,

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Jan. 22

Ministry Partners,

Although today was not an early call I woke up a number of times and finally at about 5:30 I told myself I might as well get up. I noticed on WhatsApp that Alfred had left me a message and wanted to know if everything was going well as he had not heard from me in three days. I sent him a message and said with a busy schedule and the travel followed by writing the blog in the evening that I was just so tired I could not stay up to tell 11 PM to chat with him. When it is 11 PM here it is just 7 AM there when he is starting his day. And although it would be afternoon there I tried to call a number of times and he did not pick up. So, when I walked down for breakfast at 7:30 I sent him another brief message and said that if he got my text and he was free that the team was having breakfast and he could call us because we would be available.

Bishop Moses, Chaplain Edward and Pastor Aaron arrived for breakfast and I told them of my message to Alfred. It was the familiar breakfast today with African tea, Spanish omelette we choose, sausages and wheat toast. The pineapple I had hoped for has been promised for dinner, yea!!!! We were halfway through our breakfast when my phone rang, it was Alfred's so I put him on speakerphone so everyone could hear. So nice it was to start our morning with him.

Then it was off to the prison where we met with the O.C. of the men's side of the prison. I was surprised, and as it was a woman and not a man. I really liked her and she complied when I asked to have my photo taken with her. She told us that she had a meeting in the afternoon would probably be gone when we came back to her side of the prison for the men's crusade.We went back out to the parking area and waited for a bit while the inmates in the small women's prison made everything ready.

There is a huge tree in the parking area and I noticed the most darling little girl all dressed in pink, with pink shoes kind of wandering around. I went close to her and knelt down and extended my hand not wanting to frighten her with my "white" face. She was not sure she wanted me to come close so I went to the van and picked out a crocheted pink and white Before approaching her again and extending the gift. She allowed me to put it on her head and she looked ever so cute.

Then it was time to walk to the women's section and imagine my wonderful surprise to meet the woman O.C. as I had met her before three years ago when I first came here at another prison there she was the Deputy O.C.. So, although this woman's prison was much smaller it is a step up for her. She was pleased I remembered her and allowed me to take a new photo with her.

As we started the crusade I noticed that the O.C. had sent her guards to attend and then she also came. And then Chaplain Gilbert from Migori Prison, where we were yesterday, appeared, he had traveled from there to bring Aaron the shoes he had forgotten at the hotel there.
Salvation decisions were made and when it was time to pray forgiveness over someone else or yourself the O.C. and some of her guards stood and prayed. Then, when it was time to apologize to someone that you had an offense with it was wonderful to watch the staff apologizing to each other and the inmates not only apologized to each other but to the O.C. and the staff. Such evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit's work in their hearts.

Their testimonies: 
  •  "I have hated my father and decided never to forgive him because I was born with HIV/AIDS and he is the one who had infected my mother. I hated him although he died long ago. I still had that pain and I also hated everyone but after this teaching about forgiving I forgave everyone and I asked to be forgiven."
  • "Here in prison I am physically bound but my spirit today is free. I had anger towards three people, my father, husband and uncle. My husband mistreated me and we separated. He married five other women who left him and now he is pleading that we come back together again. Today, I have chosen to forgive him."
  • "I have held anger towards my elder sister who is in Berlin. She is not helping me to get out of this prison but more than that, she tells my children how bad I am and that I am a useless mother to them. But, today because of this message, I have chosen to forgive her." 
  • "My child and I have had conflict and so my in-laws brought me here. I decided to never forgive my child or my in-laws but today, after this message I have chosen to forgive all of them."
The mother's with babies received the donated crocheted caps and them I distributed donated scarves. Now, I told the women that the scarves were all different but the bag I held was all triangle scarves, the only bag of those I had and although I had another bag of square ones I prayed as I started handing them out that there would be enough for them to all get triangle ones. And God did the "loaves and fishes " thing, there was exactly the right amount. Another inmate arrived as we were leaving but no one noticed that the scarf she got was different.

I asked the O.C. if we could give the women each a bible of their own since the women were few and here were enough bibles and I was so happy she said yes. It was such a joy to place a copy of God's word into each ladies hands.

Then it was time to go to the men's section and I was ever so pleased they they had a huge metal topped, open sided meeting area, today I would not have to preach in the sun. There were men in uniforms, convicted prisoner and men in street wear, remand prisoners some of which I was told have committed murder. Just as I started, there was a disruption of prisoners leaving to eat, be counted and  ect. so we made the decision to wait until that was done then start again. But Satan knew many would receive Christ so from a room adjacent to where we were, a man came slithering or crawling, whatever you choose to call it, into the doorway making all "kinds of noises". For some moments the focus went to him then the local chaplain went to where he was and he disappeared back into the room.

Hearing those men pray to receive Christ, forgive and then watch them apologize to each other and to a guard that was there was proof that god had the victory there today.

Testimonies followed:
  •  "I am from Tanzania and my boss took us fishing but we found ourselves at the side of Kenya and Kenya police arrested us because we never had legal documents so I have hated my boss. This boss went and raised money and came and bailed out 14 other friends but I and my other brothers were left here. He further went and sold our property yet we are now orphans. I have had this hate for him in my heart but today, I chose to forgive everyone because of this message."
  • "Today, I chose to forgive my brothers who sold my land. I have hated them but because of this message I chose to forgive them."
  • "I have had a conflict with two of the other inmates to the extent that we could not talk to each other but today we have forgiven each other and I now feel total freedom because of this message."
Hugs began & smiles come out when inmates forgive each  other. 

Then the chaplain had lead pastors come forward and I was able to present each one with a bible. can you imaging being a pastor and not having a bible of your own!
As we were leaving we were told that the O.C., although she was gone to her meeting, had lunch prepared for us. What a treat these O.C.'s in Kenya have gifted us with. Following lunch we made our way back to our hotel and Gilbert caught transport back to his home in Migori, I sent a beautiful scarf with him for her.

Having arrived back at our hotel the guys are off chatting or visiting or perhaps they are even resting, I am not sure but I am thankful to Edward and Aaron for writing down all the testimonies for me so that I can add them to this blog. I also appreciate it that Edward now does some of the translating for me, it gives Aaron a break and it makes it so much better when doing the object lessons. All I have left to do is add a photo and then I will be finished before dinner which means after dinner I can shower and rest. YAY!!!

At dinner Aaron and Moses both commented on how very many men today were weeping during the presentation on forgiveness.

Tomorrow, we have one prison crusade and then it is a travel afternoon so this is our last night here.We so appreciate your prayers please continue to hold us up before the throne of grace.

That none would be lost,

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Jan. 21

Ministry Partners,

I am so pleased that the prisons we went to were close today. Breakfast for me was simple today as there was not much that sounded good. Spanish omelette w/ cheese, wheat toast, sausage and African Tea. I haven't had pineapple in a few days and I am about to go into withdrawal. I will have to have Aaron buy some along the road if none is available tomorrow.

We arrived at the prison to meet some of the chaplains, one I had met before, tall, good looking and with a huge broad smile which reminded me of my son, Alfred. And just like my son, he was dressed VERY smartly in a dark grey suit and a purple shirt, matching tie and pocket square. They took us to the women's section, separate from the men's prison but on the same property.

10 women had left yesterday so there were only about 36 women there plus other chaplains and guards totaling 9. They said there were 6 babies but there were only 4 there. I was so pleased that the O.C. sat through our entire program. The Holy Spirit's power was evident as when I gave the invitation the receive Christ as Savior, one of the chaplains and the O.C. also stood up and when we asked them to go to someone they had had an offense with and put out their hand to apologize and shake the other persons hand, the O.C. was the first to stand and go to one of the guards and apologize. I told her later that I was impressed with her leadership and courage to be humble and that she was a very good example to the prisoners.

I gave each of the women a donated headscarf and the children received the donated crochet caps as well as leaving a couple of the very small ones with the O.C. for the women who were pregnant. I felt ave a new darling cap for their baby when it was born would be a special gift.
A cap for this darling baby.

There were those who gave a testimony:
  • "I have been struggling with anger and unforgiveness to the extent that when a person offended me I hated that person to the extent that I did not want to associate with her. But today after hearing the message of forgiveness and reconciliation from Bishop Arlene I have decided to forgive anyone who has offended me. I am happy due to the choice I have made."
  • "When I came here I said I won't forgive the person who wanted to take my life (she was full of scars on her legs) but today I forgave that person and I have peace. Thank you for teaching me."
We said our goodbys and prayed a blessing over the O.C. and those who had made such good choices for themselves today.

Then it was a short walk to the men's prison where we once again say prisoners in striped uniforms and others who were in street cloths signifying that they were "remand prisoners", in total about 420. I was concerned for the prisoners as ti was noon time and ever so hot and the shade was limited under the narrow porch and eve overhang. That is where the prisoners were and the remand prisoners were in the sun, under a small tree and at the end of the porch. Once again prisoners were in a but of a !_! shape and I was going to need to stand in the middle of the !_! in the sun.

We had just finished the portion giving them the opportunity to accept Christ when they needed to do a shift change, count the prisoners and give the prisoners some food so we stopped for about half and hour and waited. It gave me a break from the sun but I was disappointed as most but not all the prisoners returned. One officer, I think he was the Deputy O.C. (another one I really liked) stayed with us the entire time as well as a guard who later identified himself as also being a pastor.

many of the men made three good choices for themselves today in salvation, forgiveness and apologizing. It is amazing to watch the transformation in their faces as they apologize to each other, the smiles come out and their eyes soften. One man said:
  1. "Someone brought me to prison and made me loose my job on allegations that were not true and that same person caused me to loose my property. I decided never to forgive him but today I confess forgiveness over him."
We said our goodbyes and were then off to drive 1 1/2 hours to the next town where we will be doing ministry but the drive actually took 2 1/2 hours, arriving at 5:30. You might guess we were all hot and tired. Chaplin Edward found us lodging at a place called "The Hippo Buck". I was so tired that when he asked me if it was OK I said, "As long as it ad a bed and toilet, it was fine." I am so glad we are staying here tomorrow and not traveling after we hold two crusades and the prisons here.

As I was sitting writing this blog a sweet old man appeared and wanted to know if I wanted some hot water for tea. He returned in a few minutes with the hot water and proceeded to draw my shades and put down my mosquito net. What a sweet old man! Not too happy that I saw a mosquito at my desk so on came the mosquito repellent......whew, that stinky stuff but I remember having malaria 3 years ago and I sure do not want a repeat of that.

They finally called us for dinner at 7:30 and I must say the red/green pepper with onions and vinaigrette was delicious and it was a perfect accompaniment to the spaghetti, which was not only delicious but enough for two people.

Then it was back to my room to finish this blog, bathe and go to bed. Tomorrow is another early day with wake up at 6:30.

Please continue to pray for:
  • Open hearts for the Gospel
  • Favor with everyone we meet
  • A powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit 
  • A fresh anointing on the team
  • Health and energy for the team
That none would be lost,

Monday, January 20, 2020

Jan. 20

Ministry Partners,

It was a beautiful morning here and they told us breakfast was open at 6 but I arrived at 7 and the "omelette lady" did not set up in the restaurant until almost 7:30. They make the individually as you watch. Not a big deal but on days when we must drive far we would need to leave by that time. I could not find much that took my fancy to eat as all the hot items were local foods most of which don't meet my morning, appetite like peas mixed with ? in a tomato mixture, ect., plain spaghetti, hard boiled eggs, beet juice and papaya juice. Corn flakes with HOT milk only (only hot milk is offered with cereal) and fruit today was watermelon (flavorless) and papaya. I poured a cup of spiced African tea and asked for bacon (unusual to be offered) and a Spanish omelette made with cheese (they don't add cheese to their omelettes) as soon as the lady got ready and they brought the cheese but she made about 6 omelettes for other people here and it appeared she forgot mine so after about 20 min. I ordered again. All that to say, I had a nice breakfast with my tea, an omelette, bacon and wheat toast.

Last night I met three American ladies that are here with 7 electric sewing machines and lots of fabric for cloth backpacks, ect.. They said they are going to be teaching a group in sewing school uniforms and other things.

We were scheduled to do two prison crusades today but it got changed to only one so Aaron and Moses went into town to exchange more IRM money into shillings. I can tell that our ministry in Africa will be over soon as our funds are dwindling. In the absence of heading out to a prison and the guys gone to town I did something this morning I have never done, I took a nap.

The drive to the small prison of 77 was not long but when we arrived the O.C. said we were late and were to have arrived in the morning and the Chaplin said we were to be at a women's prison the afternoon but we could go there tomorrow. The O.C. said because they were so out of the way that they are often forgotten and they were blessed that we came there. He was a very tall man and every bit in authority.

The inmates were clustered around and under a tree for shade and Aaron and I had a bit of shade to preach from. The responses were evidence of the Holy Spirit's work and all the testimonies centered on receiving the free gift of salvation and on what they learned about the importance of forgiveness. I was very pleased so many of the guards stayed and listened and responded.

Then we were taken to the O.C.'s office for lunch, a special treat as most times that does not happen.

I gave the lady that fixed our lunch a donated scarf which made her very happy.

We talked about driving the few miles to the boarder of Tanzania but decided it was too late in the day. So we drove back to our hotel dropping off the chaplain who had ridden with us. Chaplin Edward had arrived from off-loading the bibles, booklets and supplies.

Last night I read this powerful poem by Cosette Marie Conaway, it speaks to the journey Jesus has me on :

So send I you-by grace made strong to triumph
O'er hosts of hell, o'er darkness, death, and sin,
My name to bear, and in that name to conquer-
So send I you, my victory to win.

So send I you-to take to souls in bondage
The word of truth that sets the captive free,
To break the bonds of sin, to loose death's fetters-
So send I you, to bring the lost to me.

So send I you-my strength to know in weakness,
My joy in grief, my perfect peace in pain,
To prove My power, My grace, My promised presence-
So send I you, eternal fruit to gain.

So send I you-to bear My cross with patience,
And then one day with joy to lay it down,
To hear My voice, "well done, My faithful servant-
Come, share My throne, My kingdom, and My crown!"
"As the Father hath sent Me, so send I you."

Please continue to pray for us.
That none would be lost,

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Jan. 19

Ministry Partners,

This morning 6:30 was the wake up time as we needed to be packed up, had breakfast and be on our way to the women's prison, arriving there at 8:30.

Breakfast fro me was oatmeal, sausage, fried bread, yogurt, pineapple and tea. The very nice chef also made me some samosas, which I took for Aaron and I to eat later, although they were not on the buffet table.

Bishop Moses arrived a few minutes after we did at 8:25 at the prison. Aaron and I were both surprised that they let us through without Moses but I am sure they remembered us with him from yesterday. We drove just a little way on the prison property to the women's section. As we waited for the women chaplain to arrive i watched some of the women outside the walled area as they picked up leaves and debris and swept the dirt.

The chaplain arrived and Aaron entered with her to set up our sound system. Since they told me there were 5 children there I chose the remaining socks and a variety of caps for them to choose from.

I wish you could hear those 200 women sing. I thought the men could powerfully sing but the women today were just as powerful as they celebrated praising the Savior. I could have listened to them for hours.

The women were seated in an V shape, each under a shaded cover and they had me speaking in one of the sections with just a couple of feet space. I had one group turn their chairs and I walked out into the center of the V in the sun. There was a bit of cloud cover for a while then full sun. I was glad I had put some VERY light sunscreen on my arms and face but wore a short sleeved coverup so the back of my neck was covered. I wear it every day although it makes it hotter for me but I did not want to take a chance on getting my back and neck blistered again.

The Holy Spirit never changes and the demonstration of his power is the same yet different at each prison. Bishop Moses said today was the most powerful and that I was definitely a morning person and that we need to do every prison crusade in the morning. He witnessed guards leaving the gate to come and listen, they too had tears as many of the inmates did.

It is thrilling to watch them make good choices for themselves, choices that will change their lives forever. Powerful testimonies followed:
  • She said, "I really thank God for todays message on forgiveness. I have lived all this time not feeling worthy because of the choices I made when I was 14/15. I married a man who had a second wife and it was the beginning of ruining my own life.
After having two children the man left and I thought I have nothing
left and no one will ever love me with these children. I began drinking
and doing many negative things. But today I realize how much value
I have." 
  • She said, "Within this prison I have had trouble with my own inmates. With today's message of forgiveness I have decided to forgive my fellow inmates and myself.
  • She said," It has been very hard for me since I entered this prison. When I came here I found the woman who went after my husband was also here. I forgave her but I have lived with unforgiveness  towards my husband for two things: 1. He wasted my life. 2. He left me contracted with HIV/AIDS. He died without me forgiving him but today I choose to forgive him."
As each women cried as she shared, others were crying. As I mama hugged each one some just held me so tightly. As I sat down one women came and wanted me to pray for her. She wept as I held her in my arms and as I prayed for her she held on to me ever so tightly.

I distributed the socks and caps to the children, two of the little girls were so cute and dressed in the same pink dresses.

It was hard to leave but we had a long 4 hour drive ahead of us. We followed Moses into town where he left his car, he will be riding with us for the rest of this trip as will Chaplain Edward, who arrives tomorrow.

Ever so tired tonight, just ate dinner and I need to shower and go to bed. It is another 6:30 wake up call tomorrow.

Take my word for it, your prayers are being answered in the most powerful way and we appreciate your partnership with us and what God has called us together to do here.

That none would be lost,

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Jan. 18

Ministry Partners,

Today after breakfast we mad the short drive out by the airport to the prison where we met Bishop Moses and three local chaplains. It is evident the the officers recognize Bishop Moses and it is nice to know that when Aaron is occupied setting up that I am very safe with him. This was a maximum security prison  so for the second time since I have doing prison ministry a woman guard frisked me and thoroughly checked my object lesson bag. 

When we got inside I was surprised to see all the prisoners assembled under a very large metal roofed open sided building. I could see there were prisoners in striped uniforms and then there were remand prisoners in grey uniforms and some in street cloths. The choir welcomed us with such wonderful singing and one prisoner played the keyboard the one of the chaplains brought.

The responses were many and the 4 testimonies were pretty much all the same: 
  • He said he was thankful to God that today’s message as he received Jesus as his Savior and the message of forgiveness has set him free from the long pains of unforgiving. He was planning to get out and do something terrible to the person who put him in jail but today he forgave him.

As each each one finished their testimony I gave them a "Mama" hug and spoke a blessing over them. The other inmates laughed at first and then applauded.

Then it was time to leave and go to another area on the same grounds for a Med. security prison there. We had to wait for over an hour so we parked in the shade and had our PB&J sandwiches and bananas.

I must tell you that when we entered that prison and they took us to the building where we were to hold the crusade I was very disappointed. The building was so small and only a few 100 of the inmates could get in to hear me. But Aaron and I agree later that even though the group was small there was a tremendous outpouring of the Holy Spirit as so many men wept. And the responses to each invitation showed His work in their hearts and so did the testimonies: 
  • He said how much, in the entire of his life, he had never heard such a message as today and he believed that today was the day God made just for him. He cannot wait any longer but to forgive immediately the person who brought him to jail and to forgive himself and be free.
  • He wept so he could hardly share his testimony as he said after listening and watching the object lessons he realized how much he hurt his wife and children. He made them suffer and lack for things that would have helped them survive because he neglected them and married another woman. A few months later, he was arrested and put in jail. It is amazing that his first wife, the one he abandoned, came and visited him in prison but the second wife has never appeared to this day. It is his prayer that his first wife and children will forgive him and from today, he declares and pledges to live a changed life for his family.
 Again I "Mama" hugged each one and blessed them. The reaction of the inmates makes me wonder when the last time was they were hugged by a parent.

On the way home we asked Bishop Moses, who was in his car, to show us where the supermarket was and I must say, you will have to asked me in person about that journey. But we arrived at the supermarket and purchased water, bread and more jelly. With all the traffic we were very happy to find that the supermarket was just around the corner from our hotel.

We ate dinner and I wrote this blog before packing up everything as tomorrow, after holding a crusade at a local women's prison, we will be traveling. I will miss my room and air-conditioning.
It is so very hard to believe that we only have one more week of prison ministry. My time here has gone far to quickly.

We value your continuing prayers, THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to keep us before the "Throne of Grace".

That none would be lost,

Friday, January 17, 2020

Jan. 17

Ministry Partners,

A lot of planning went into today and I can tell you I was excited about my first day of prison ministry here in Kenya. And of course that excitement affected my sleep as I was up a number of times during the night and finally at 5 o'clock that was the end of my sleeping.

The people here were we are staying are so very nice. I met Gladys, whose husband is a pastor, and she tried to do all she could to get me on the Internet last night by even supplying me with a modem. The lady that sold Aaron what he needed for my computer was actually only for a phone so I could not get my computer online with my own Wi-Fi. Because of my hip injury and the disc that is out in my back we chose to take some rooms at the far side of the complex instead of taking rooms where I had to walk upstairs. But I have a feeling that the rooms we chose are not used often as a light in the bathroom was so faint it was nonexistent, and at one point, n the middle of the night, there was no water in to flush the toilet. Then I got so cold that I got up and put some cloths on and went to bed dressed. Aaron had an issue in his room too so I spoke to the Receptionist before we left for the prison and I hoped some issues could be resolved before we returned from the prisons.

We had breakfast and then waited for Bishop Moses to arrive to show us the way to the prison. It actually was not too far out of town and when we arrived we met with four of the pastors who work at the prison, godly men with big broad smiles welcomed me. We were invited to their office to have breakfast with them as they provided hard-boiled eggs, hot chocolate and bread and jelly. According to Bishop Moses is a part of the culture to eat before starting ministry. I felt bad because Aaron and I had eaten a big breakfast so I explained and just had a cup of hot chocolate. I told them if I ate another breakfast I would not be able to preach I would be sleepy and want to take a nap to which they all laughed.
I must must admit I really like some of the O.C.'s that I have met and so it was with both of the ones I met today. After taking photos we were off to where the prisoners had gathered. While the men were getting everything set up I went out and begin to shake hands with the prisoners and tell them, "Good morning," or when I could remember, "Jombo (?)" meaning how are you. It seems to break the ice with the prisoners when I do that.

 At one point during the crusade the staff person for the O.C. appeared with an iPad and begin videoing me. Of course the focus then of the prisoners went to her instead of what the Holy Spirit was doing their hearts. So I stopped and let her finish before I continued. Very often the O.C.'s will send someone to take photos but videos are a very different thing. I certainly would not want them appearing on YouTube or anywhere else on the Internet.

We were blessed to watch the Holy Spirit for the inmates as they responded each of the three invitations. Then there were those that gave a testimony, I chose this one to share:

  • He said he was thankful to God for the forgiveness message. He was in prison for being accused of abusing a 14 year old child and the woman who caught him was an elderly woman who could not forgive him even when he asked her. A few months later she died without ever forgiving him. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and for over 10 years he has lived with guilt but today, he saw that woman in Bishop Arlene and because I came with the forgiveness message he believed God was telling him to let go of the past. Now he declares he is free even though he is serving a life sentence.
When we finished I thought we were going to the next prison but I was informed that the pastors had arranged for us to have lunch. Goodness another treat, something special instead of our usual PB&J's sandwich. I was concerned as time is fleeting and we had to be finished by 4 o'clock but the pastors all assured me that they would eat quickly. We return to their office and two ladies appeared with a huge variety of delicious food. One very thick white food that I cannot remember the name of that reminds me visually a very thick mashed potatoes but really does not have a taste of its own, rice, goat stew, fish, a cooked cabbage and vegetable mixture and mangoes for dessert. What a feast.

Then it was off to the second prison in the same compound where we were introduced to the O.C. in that section. I cannot tell you how much fun I have pushing the, "I am 75 so I am mama to everyone," and that way I get to put my arm around these nice handsome men and give them a hug while we have our photo taken. Nothing foolish about me.

The most all of them had a chair to sit in which was unusual although a few were standing around the edges. Today they prove although they are known as men made wrong choices they could make good choices for their life in responding to the three invitations. Then there were those one to give their testimony:

  •  A lame inmate said that his body may be in jail but his spirit is out of jail as he received Jesus as his Savior and he forgave everyone who offended him.
  •  Today when he heard the message of forgiveness it had been over 10 years since he has been in prison and none of his family has come to visit him and because of the he has had too much pain and never thought he would ever forgive any of them. But because of today's message he chooses to forgive. 
I told him that no other family may have come to visit him but mama from America came to visit him.
We finished and when we all arrived at the van outside we formed a circle and thanked God for what we had just watched the Holy Spirit do in the hearts of the prisoners.

When we arrived back at the hotel Gladys greeted us and when she found out there had been a problem with our rooms she said she was moving us to the main building if I could handle some stairs. I said I could, so she took me up one flight of stairs and opened the door to a very spacious room. Yes, you got it, another suite, this time with a beautiful purple trimmed mosquito  and the room had a veranda that overlooks the street vendors outside. Now if I had time it would be a great place to have morning tea or in the evening, a cup of spiced African tea. Aaron and Moses's rooms are next-door.

After getting our rooms changed the guys headed into town to fix what needed to be fixed so that my Wi-Fi would work not just on my phone but also for my computer. Leaving me here to write this post. I told them that if they were not backed by seven I was gonna go down and eat without them. I needed to get this posted, eat, shower and get to bed early for I have two prison crusades to preach tomorrow.

Please continue to pray.

That none would be lost,

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Jan. 16

Ministry Partners,

Today was another early morning as the alarm went off at 5:30. Aaron said he wanted to leave Heart Lodge by 6:30, as it was a 6 to 7 hour drive.

Heart Lodge is a wonderful Christian place to stay, they always do all they can to make your stay comfortable, pleasant and refreshing. Everyone that works there has such a servants heart and the only thing that is a bit different is that at mealtime you are asked to please clean up after yourself, scrape off your plate and rinse it off then put it in the rack along with your rent step cup and silverware. It is nice to be able to do such a small thing to show them how thankful you are for the wonderful service.

The chef there was so sweet that when he found out we were leaving at 6 he wanted to know if we wanted breakfast at 5:30. I told him no, that I could not ask him to rise that early but if we could get some bananas and bread I could make us a PP&J sandwich.
I told him how much I enjoyed staying there and he said that he and his staff were always excited when they found out we were coming.

OH MY GOODNESS, these are the boxes he packed for each of us: bananas, juice carton, milk carton (he added later) & bowl that he wrapped with a spoon, box of cornflake, PP&J sandwich, chips, 2 hardboiled eggs and water. We not only ate breakfast out of those boxes but we also had lunch.

I was disappointed that my camera was not working for we drove through the same area and again I saw zebra, Giselle and a huge baboon. The zebras and baboon were too far to even capture with my phone but I did get to see them.

We arrived in Kisumu in 6 ½ hours and set about trying to find the camera shop I have found on the Internet when I google searched, “Is there a camera shop in Kisumu?” Sorry to say I was not able to get a new battery for my camera. While Aaron left me in the van and set about getting what I needed for my portable Wi-Fi. 

I noticed an older man sitting outside one of the shops who after some minutes he came up to my open van window and begin talking to me. He wanted to know what International Reconciliation Ministries was all about. We actually chatted for quite a bit and he told me that he was a Catholic and that was my opportunity to talk about having head knowledge, knowing some religious facts and doing good works is not enough according to Ephesians 2:8&9. We actually talked for quite a while and I ended up giving him a tract, which he went over and sat back down in his chair and kept reading. It was a great opportunity to share the gospel with him.

Then we called Bishop Moses and he gave us the address of the hotel where we would be staying. I am glad that it is also by a Christian organization. My room is small with two beds, a target, a shower, a mosquito net and an air conditioner.

Edward left yesterday with the bibles and booklets from Nairobi and from here today He also took the other supplies we purchased to start off-loading them at each prison we will visit. It will take him a few day before he returns.

There is a church right next to where our rooms are and I listened to them singing, “Majesty” in English. What a nice welcome to my room. Oh well, maybe I spoke too soon the very loud preaching has begun. 🌝🌝🌝

Tomorrow is the first two prisons of the 17 we have to do here. We appreciate your prayers.

That none would be lost,