They Shall Know Us by Our Love

If there is one thing I will take away from this trip to Africa so far, no matter where you go, a man or woman who is desparately in love with Jesus Christ pervades the sweet smelling aroma of Christ. When I met Joeseph Mpute Murero and Daniel Manjo, I had no idea that these two men, one a housekeeper and another a waiter at our hotel, would touch my spirit in a way that only the body of Christ can. 

Daniel came up to me while I was sitting alone at breakfast reading my Bible. He was picking up the table after all of us had eaten and I could tell he was looking at me. I looked up, and he had this huge, broad smile and said to me as he pointed to my bible, “very good.” I would find out later that among the 40 people we met with at the hotel a couple nights later to talk about Sex, God and Me, Daniel was the only one who had a bible. The day after we spoke with all the staff at the hotel, Daniel came up to me and handed me a piece of paper with three verses:

 Micah 7:7 “Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.”

Luke 10:20 “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”

Acts 16:25 “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.”

The last verse struck me as a read the rest of the story in Acts 16. The joy, passion, and faith of these men we met in Africa had something so akin to the faith that you see in Paul, Silas, and the other Christians in Acts.

Joeseph, Meg’s housekeeper by the providence of God, was a man of Faith unlike any I’ve met. When Meg told us we were going to speak to a bunch of Masai people who worked at the hotel I was a little leary. When I found out we were not going to have Dr. Moses Pulei, our former Masai warrior turned seminary proffesor, to help translate, I was downright discouraged, but this man Joeseph knew what he was doing when he called us to the meeting with all the staff. The time ended up being one words can hardly describe, the Lord provided a wonderful translater, another housekeeper, Ferdinad, who had the smile as broad as any I have ever seen, and blessed us and hopefully the many Masai people who showed up to hear what we had to say. Joeseph had started the church gathererings with the staff with only three men, but after much prayer and fasting, he had grown the gathering to were nearly the entire hotel staff was attending. One of the most remarkable things about this was that Joeseph did not have a Bible. Maybe one of the greatest things I have gotten to do so far on this trip was to give Joeseph my New King James Bible. The night after we met with all of them, Joeseph came over to our room and shared with us the word and prayed with me and Alex. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to have a man of a God like Joeseph pray over us.

I have been humming to myself the last few days the song that goes: ‘We are one in the spirit, we are one in the blood. We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the blood. And you will know they are Christians by their love, by their love.’ Joeseph, Daniel, and many of the other Christian men and women we have met here in Keny have showed us this truth. Be praying for us as we go to teach a church here in Nairobi on tuesday before we leave. I can not tell you how thankful and grateful I am for the prayers of each brother and sister in Christ. They have cleared a path for us and have certainly strengthened each one of us in our time over here.

God bless you all,

Sam Turner

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Being Blessed in Kimana

The second day of teaching in Kimana was as exciting as the first.  After being wiped out tired and sun burnt  from the first day, somehow God gave us enough energy to keep teaching on the second day.  He gave us another beautiful day to be with the students and talk with them, and teach them, and of course learn from them.

It is unbelievable how so many people can tell you thanks for something, like the Sex, God, & Me course we taught,  but every time they say it, you feel like you should be thanking them for letting you spend time with them and become part of their life for a short period of time.  So after a couple good days of being with them we gave them some of the gifts we brought: cross necklaces (Thank you to Barbara Biel for the girls’ crosses!), and some booklets which recapped the material we went over with them.  So after a tough goodbye we headed off, being very thankful for this opportunity to work with the young men and women of Oloile School.

And after being exhausted physically and emotionally after leaving the school, we had one more unexpected opportunity to share the message we brought with us to Kenya.  The first morning we were in Kimana, Joseph, one of the room attendants, approached Meg and asked her if we would meet with the small Christian community that was living at the Kilimi Safari Lodge (all or at least most of the employees there lived on site).  And Meg being Meg, said yes.

Admittingly, we (us fellows) thought Meg was a little bit crazy (of course we thought she was crazy anyway ;] ) for committing us to speak with little info about the venue, and ready to pass out after teaching all day.  But God blessed us again.  We were taken to this large shack out near where the employees lived and walked into a room filled with about 30 people praising God, and they escourted us to the front.  These were a group of mostly Masai people (the native people of the Kimana region), and they mostly spoke their Masai language, which we had no translator of.  But God provided out of that room a translator from English to Masai.  And we all spoke from our hearts what we had been teaching the past couple days, and we were able to teach them more about how living by God’s standards can help them in their daily lives and help their community.

By the end of this service there was about 45 people.  Words can’t describe how this connection was made.  All we can say is “God provides.”

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Kimana tell you whats going on…

So yesterday we made it to the town of Kimana, which is near the border of Tanzania, within sight of Mt. Kilimanjaro . After a long drive, we arrived at the Kilimi Safari Lodge, where we are staying, and then headed out to have dinner with Tyson’s Family. Tyson works for the Oloile School, where we will be teaching, and is the brother of Moses, who has been traveling with us in Kenya. But this was no ordinary dinner. We were going to have an old fashioned goat roast, African style.

But for those of you who have had roasts this is slightly different than what you would see in the US. The main thing being that we got to see the goat killed there in front of us. Pretty bloody, but pretty awesome at the same time. Sam even coaxed Alex into eating a raw goat kidney, just like the natives usually do. All in all it was a great experience, the goat was great, and Alex turned out okay despite his strange decision.

And so today our group made our way over to the Oloile School to teach the first two sessions of Sex, God, & Me. And though at times the material was difficult, the kids at the school responded enthusiastically, and wanted to learn more and asked many questions. Sam and Alex ran out of the 200 note cards they had for questions, and Meg, Virginia, Stephanie, Emily, and Rachel had a similar experience with the girls working in small groups where they talked about a lot of the issues that they deal with in their lives. We are all extremely excited to go back tomorrow, even though we are very tired and ready for a good night’s rest.

On a side note. Stephanie got married to a Masai Warrior. Pictures to come soon.

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Karen, Going up the ladder, and the rest…

Jambo! (Howdy, Kenyan style). Man to sleep lying down was pretty amazing, after being upright  for 17 hours we all probably could have slept on a bed of nails (the beds were normal mattresses, so don’t worry mothers reading this :] ).  So that gave us a fresh start for our “adjustment” day, where we just saw some of the sites of Nairobi, and got used to the idea of being over 8700 miles away from our friends and family in Houston (over 7200 from my family in MA – this is Alex btw). 

So to start off the day, we went to the former home of Karen Blixen, famous author, who lived in Kenya, and inspired the film Out of Africa.  The house was beautiful, and what you see in the movie, is very close to the real thing.  But in all honesty, I felt like I got much more out of the drive to the actual location, getting to see a little bit of how the people of Kenya get to work, and how many of them make their living from day to day.  And our driver Agoi, helped bring us closer to the Kenyan people along the way.  His insite has been really great, and it should be a joy to travel 6+ hours out to Kimana with him tomorrow.

So after Karen Blixen’s estate, we travelled to the Giraffe Center in Nairobi, which was quite the experience.  This being our first giraffe siting of the trip, it was pretty special.  In fact it was “the best moment of [Emily’s] life!”  I don’t think she’ll be recanting that statement anytime soon, so if you think you’ve got something better for her, you better be gaming to beat this one.  We all were privileged enough to meet the lovely giraffe Laura.  But Emily got to really meet her.  By “really meet her” I mean she made it a few steps up “the ladder” (which those of you who’ve gone through Sex, God, & Me should be familiar with).  They quickly from hugging to kissing to “heavy necking” to well…we’ll let the pictures explain it all….

And so after all this excitement we went and visited a lovely bead factory, where they made the most beautiful little bead necklaces and pottery.  The place established in 1975 in order to give many Kenyan women a place to work and provide for their families.  Be sure to ask us about it when we return  and to order some of their jewelry online.  It’s supporting a great cause. http://www.kazuri.com/

This evening we met up with Rachel, who has been working in Rwanda, and had worked in Kimana where we will be travelling to and working the next few days. So tomorrow we’ll driving there, which like I said before should be about 6 hours away from Nairobi.  Be praying for us as we travel,  as well as for the school which we will be working with the next few days.

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we’re here!

We got into Nairobi @ 8pm after 17 hours in the air.. Stephanie and Virginia would like to give a shout out to the baby that was screaming “Hi” over and over and over and the man that felt the need to read with 2 lights on the entire trip.  I [emily] got to watch the sunset, and then rise again 5 hours later.. crazy! We had a 2 hour layover in Amsterdam and then were off to Nairobi. So far we haven’t seen any “live” giraffs but will be up bright and early to scope things out. For now, we are visiting with Moses Pulai at the Nairobi Safari Club, enjoying pizza and malaria meds (which the boys are enjoying with a nice cold tusker lager :P).  We’ll be off to bed shortly, and we’ll be enjoying our “adustment” day tomorrow, before getting to work. Usiku mwema! (good night!)

(note to reader: this was written on May 3rd at about 10:30 PM Kenya time)

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