Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

 Happy New Year!
We hope all of you and your families had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s celebration. Ours was wonderful. Even our fellow missionaries were saying how much they enjoyed our time together and how the Christmas Celebration helped them with their feeling of being so far away from home.

It was a very good time.

Although, sometimes we wonder if people look at our posts and think that everything is just fine here. We do so love showing the happy times. Yet, to be truthful, things are not always the way they appear. In the midst of our fun and celebrations there is a lot of hidden suffering going on. This celebration was a new thing to most of our Kenyan brothers and sisters.

The truth is... most of the Kenyan's you see at our Christmas Celebration, with the exception of the white missionaries, have never been to a Christmas gathering… ever.

There are no Christmas presents, trees, lights, decorations, stockings for the poor here in Kenya. And for some, not even time off from their work during the ‘holidays’. Many of the clothes you see our members wearing are the only good ones they own and many live in houses that we would not feel safe to even store our presents in overnight.  

Past Christmases for the poor here in Nakuru have meant sitting home and resting from the usual exhausting seven day work week. Many of the children don't even know the full story of the birth of Christ. Many have never tasted a 'store bought' cake in their lives, nor tasted such a sumptuous meal throughout their entire year.

Perhaps… we should tell more of the other side of things. Like how apart from the daily stress of just putting food on their tables... there are things like sickness and death that are the constant companions of most of our people.

Just during the month of December alone, our church members suffered the death of five of their family and friends. None of our immediate church family died, but they did lose family and friends. In fact, many of our families were not even present for the festivities Christmas day because of attending the various funerals.
Death is an ever present fact of daily life here in Kenya. A death in the family also means helping them travel to the funeral and then helping them with expenses while they’re there. And most of the time, beloved readers, that is a very difficult thing to do.

We don't have a lot of resources, but somehow we always manage to find something to help each other by combining our resources together. For those living and working in the city far away from their tribal homes, funerals are the only time families come back together again. So… if you miss the funeral of a close friend or family member you are looked upon as a social outcast. 

Our desire has been and always will be, to bring our people together as a family and to teach them how to live as the spiritual family of God. It is in this demonstrating of His Life of loving oneness, that the gospel of Jesus Christ can really testifies to men that the Christ is truly God’s answer to the world’s problems and that we are truly His followers.

…that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. (John 17:21)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35)

And we think much of the StoneHouse family is beginning to get it. The StoneHouse family is becoming actively involved in each other’s daily lives and working hard at trying to assist one another with their meager incomes. They’re really doing it.

Christ's gospel is being glorified, marriages are being healed, children are finding 'safe' friends to be with, and fathers and mothers are beginning to take their rightful place of responsibility at home. Orphaned, homeless, and impoverished children are getting an education they would not otherwise get. And the people living on our side of town have begun to take notice.

Cynthia and I primarily live on my social security check, the sacrificial gifts from our immediate family, the sacrificial generosity of the brothers and sisters of Rose Creek and others who know what we are doing. We are living as simply and prudently as we possibly can. Our bank account goes to zero at the end of each week and sometimes below zero.

Recently we have been praying for ways to stretch our resources so we can put more money in the ministry.  Therefore… we feel the need to leave our beautiful house in Milimani. Because of the cost of living in our present location we have decided to move into a small two room guest house behind the house of one of our dear missionary friends. Its ten minutes further away than we presently are from the church and just outside of Nakuru proper.

Yet this move will create a little more money for the ministry. And at this point every cent matters. There is so much more needed to keep things going and progressing forward.

This New Year’s request of ours is a cry for intense prayer and more involved friends to help us and show us what we need to do. Should you know of any businesses, individual Christians or Christian Churches wanting to help fulfill Christ’s desires to find and disciple His people here in Kenya, please tell them about what we are doing and to send us their email. 

Finally, with regards to our giving… we have discovered that what impresses heaven concerning giving is not about our giving out of what we have extra, but rather giving out of what comprises our life. This is what impressed Christ concerning the widow’s small amount placed in the treasury.

Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood." (Mar 12:41-44)

For us, this moving into a smaller place is the only area that we can see that will be giving out of our livelihood. Darkness is growing! Times are growing more critical each day. May our God give us grace to see the urgency of the times we live in and help us to buy up every opportunity to advance His Kingdom.

These are some of the things we feel God leading us to do this year:
o   StoneHouse Fellowship –
o   Helping members with daily needs;
o   Completing our meeting hall;
o   Helping StoneHouse Guardians – our young people – with the Coffee Shop outreach for youth in Nakuru
o   Engasura – Is our newest church family. We have the land and we want to build a place for them to meet in.
o   L.E.A.R.N – Educational adoption for children desiring an education by sponsoring their school fees.
o   StoneHouse Academy – our school needs:
o   Desks and chairs for students and teachers
o   Textbooks and school supplies
o   Work on the facility – painting the building inside and out; building a playground for the children; repairing the fence for security.
o   Helping our teachers continue their education
o   StoneHouse Sewing Center
o   We need a facility for the center. We will start by renting a space and hope to build our center at StoneHouse Fellowship
o   Sewing Machines
o   Tables and chairs
o   Shelving
o   Sewing supplies – scissors, pins, thread etc
o   Establishing new industries for the employment of our members.

Happy New Year from your Kenyan Missionaries …David, Cynthia, James, Beatrice, Thomas and Pamela and the entire StoneHouse family.

“It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” ― Mother Teresa

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