Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Lord is My Shepherd I Shall Not Want....

A few thousand years ago a man named David wrote what is now the famous twenty-third Psalm. I feel as though I could have written it yesterday…. Let me explain.

We feel as though we have just begun our real ministry here in Kenya. When we return to our American home in two days, it will only be for a short time (probably no longer than a month or two) and then we must return to Kenya to tend to all the doors the Lord has opened for us here in Nakuru.

We now are sure God is calling us to Kenya. It would not be good to stay in America much longer than two months as everything is just now beginning. It is amazing all God has accomplished in the last 4 months.

To begin with we have taken in a precious Kenyan family to live with us and we are just beginning to find out how terrible their life was in the slums. It makes us eager to help other families escape inner city slum living (if you can call that existence living).

People take orphans in Orphanages but who will take the crippled families up? There are plenty of Orphanages but no 'Familiages' for them to go to.

This is why we desire to establish and support local churches with vision to practically help their impoverished members and improve both their spiritual and physical lives. A proven vision that will hopefully inspire local congregations to become more than just religious high schools consisting of teaching sessions and pep rallies; becoming more than just a place to visit, being transformed into a Spirit filled intimate family with Christ at it’s head.

People here need so much. Fathers need the encouragement to try and break their families out of the cycle of death and degradation that comes from living a slum existence. Mothers need help to on how to educate and take care of their children. Children need that education and care to escape the terrible cycle of poverty.

Yet... we cannot and must not … do this for them. We must empower them accomplish these things for themselves. We must not yield to the temptation to give them a fish for today, but rather teach them how to fish, thus insuring their future.

Our hope in accomplishing this will be as a result of preaching and demonstrating an ancient gospel that has been birthed in our heart and proven in our experience. If we, the church, will just do what we were commissioned by Christ to do; that of making disciples and teaching them to do (not just listen) all that He commanded …. it could change everything.

We do not feel our time has been wasted during the past four years with our short visits and troubled circumstances. It has primarily been for us to experience and learn about the spiritual problems within the Kenyan religious and cultural systems. 

 One wise and elderly shepherd here told us Kenya was fathered by evangelists, not apostles, so all they know to do is collect people… not build them up. It seems a fair assessment of much of what we have experienced during our time here.

It will take much patience and love to bring about the desired change. Yet during the past four years we have been able to accomplish much in the way of helping impoverished children attend school and helping people understand what the church is supposed to be.

Though these last few months have been extremely painful they have taught us much. Now we desire to use what the pain taught us to bring about the advancement of the Kingdom of God. As I have stated .... the opportunities here are simply amazing. It seems that we have experienced the proverb that when God closes one door… He opens seven more.

Here are some of the doors that have already opened for us...

First ... after arriving in Nakuru, we shared with two men at an impromptu breakfast our burden for the church to begin walking in first century Christian living. The next planned breakfast we were invited for breakfast there were sixteen new pastors asking to hear more.

Three weeks later, there are over 20 pastors asking for us to come to their church and share anything in our heart with their people. After a few months of meetings two of those pastors wanted to combine their churches and were asking us to lead them. That has since become a reality and the two pastors have become two of my best friends.

Some of those men attending were hoping for a free handout ...but others are now proving to be genuine men of God. Our Father is separating the precious from the worthless.

Originally we came to this city to help one church hear and see the things God has taught us, now there are scores of small churches wanting to learn.

A couple of months ago we were shopping at the largest store in Nakuru called Nakumat. My wife happened to meet one of the supervisors as he began to talk with her about Christ and His Church  she called me to come and meet him. It only took a few minutes of conversation to bind our hearts together. We found out he is head of a rather large Christian fellowship that meets in the Nakumat store on the weekends. He asked us to come and teach the 160 employees that gather for spiritual devotions on Saturday morning before work. Half one week half the other.

We did so and afterwards they were so excited they asked us to come every Saturday morning and teach. After the first teaching session we were told that the whole store was buzzing about the Word of God that came. This includes Muslims and one Hindu  that were there listening. The Muslim even came up later and thanked me for the teaching!

The word quickly began to circulate around town that we were teaching new and wonderful things and invitations began to speak began to pour in. High Schools began asking us to come and share with their students.... hundreds of students.

Cynthia, my wife, is being asked to teach women everything from spiritual truths to Healthcare. She has begun to teach in many small churches in the slum areas of Nakuru. Many of the ladies are beginning to call her ‘mum’.

All the while we have been getting invitations to visit worthy ministries and churches of men and women that are not just seeking money like so many here do, but honestly desire counsel and advice on how to progress in building up their people in Christ. These are the things that we have been experiencing over the last four months.

Now to believe that our enemy will remain inactive and let this just happen without putting up a tremendous fight is stupid. As a result we have been in some horrendous spiritual battles. We have been in spiritual battles before, but none this intense and coming from every side. Robbing us of sleep, dumping stomach acid, week after week those battles left us wondering what's coming next.

As the apostle Paul said ..... conflicts on the outside and fears on the inside. Sometimes people at home ask why do we always sound so tired? Why am I suffering from high blood pressure and my wife Adrenal Fatigue? It is because of the intensity of these spiritual battles resulting from these opportunities opening up. Why are we so shocked? Our gospel is no different than the apostle Paul’s; thus, neither will be our tribulations.

For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears.  (2Corinthians 7:5)

Some of our friends wondered why our emails sounded so perplexing  and uptight? It’s because this is what really happens when you bring spiritual truth to a city.

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.                                  (2Corinthians 4:8-11)

We now know a little of what it means to be burdened beyond our strength, beyond what we felt we could endure. Yet, at the same time we also knew why he burdened us so.

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, (2Corinthians 1:8-9)

Had we relied on our own understanding we would have surely ‘run for the hills’.  Yet, we also can honestly say with King David that what he wrote so many years ago has proven just as true for this David today.

A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.   (Psalm 23:1-6)

God bless ... David and Cynthia

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to see you all. I would like to ask you to pray for me as God has made a way for me to speak to all the homeless women living at the Dream Center in Jackson, TN this Monday night. I am going to tell them my "testimony" and I know God has the led the way in this. Please pray that God help me to prepare and that He will give these women hope that He really does love them.