Note: For a background on this and the previous mission, visit Kenya Calling.

Dear friends:                                                    

           In 2006 I traveled to Kenya, in eastern Africa. While there, the Lord prompted me to return. I am now planning on leading a return trip to Kenya August 9-26, 2009 as the Lord directs. There is much need in Kenya right now! We will be working mainly in the Maasai village, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

At that time of my previous visit, Kenya was the most peaceful and safe country in eastern Africa. After their presidential elections in Dec. 2007, was sparked tribal and religious genocide throughout the country. Over 1,500 were killed, over 600,000 were displaced, and in some instances, churches were burned to the ground while those seeking refuge hid inside. This lasted close to five months. Yet we know, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

 As I return this summer, the mission will consist of:

  • Preaching in the Maasai villages. We have a translator who will interpret the words into the Maasai language. Many of these people will be hearing the gospel for the first time ever!
  • Showing the Jesus film. We will show the film, dubbed in Maa, the language of the Maasai. This film will be instrumental in showing the ministry of Christ, and in leading to the salvation of the lost.
  • Clothing outreach. We have a lot of clothes in all sizes, but mostly kids. As children grow, both in the bush and in the slums, they do not have access or income for new clothing. Most children wear very old and tattered clothes. We would like to bless them with new items. We only have to get the clothes to them.
  • Construction. The main village in which we will be staying has outgrown the building used for the church. (Praise God!) They would like to build a bigger sanctuary out of stone brick (as opposed to corrugated metal). If enough funds are secured, we will purchase the materials to lay the foundation for this new sanctuary and begin its construction!
  • Vacation Bible School (VBS). While the children will be on a break from school, we will conduct a VBS series to teach them about Jesus, the Bible, and Godly characteristics.
  • Much more. We will have more opportunities that we don’t even know about yet, but one thing is for sure: We will follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and do the will of the Lord as He instructs.

 I am writing to you to ask for your help. We cannot do this alone. Between flights, lodging, food, materials for work and donation and immunizations, I am looking at a cost of no less than $6,500. If you can assist us, a tax-exempt donation can be made out to:

South Side Christian Church

c/o Kenya Missions

P.O. Box 20800 

Milwaukee, WI 53220 

 Please write “Kenya Missions” or my name, Justin Lessard, on the memo line. Thank you for any consideration.

‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me… Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

–Matthew 25: 35, 36, 40 

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” –Matthew 28:19

            God bless you and those who serve alongside you.

 

Your brother in Christ Jesus our Lord,

Justin Lessard

Servant of Christ

ferventservant1@hotmail.com

Below is a donations form, and below that are a number of facts and other info on Kenya. Please take the time to read it, and prayerfully consider sending a gift.

 
 

 

 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

 

Please print, cut out & send this along with your contribution. Thank you! (Ok to copy/paste this.)

 

 Thank you for supporting the 2009 Mission trip to KENYA 

 

 

 

I pledge to support _______Justin Lessard_______

 

Supporter name(s) __________________________________________________________

 

_________ with my/our prayers

________ with my/our financial gift of (check one) $50_____ $100_____ $150_____ $300_____ $500_____ $1,000_____ Other_____

       (Checks must be received by: March 31, 2009)

 

Send to:       South Side Christian Church

                     P.O.Box 20800

                        Milwaukee, WI 53220                

Attn.: Justin Lessard/ Kenya Mission

 

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  I wanted to post the most critical info on Kenya. You may notice that a few of the numbers don’t match (ie. population) I don’t know when each piece gathered the info posted (unless noted), but it varies depending on who’s doing the survey. I also imagine that its hard to get precise numbers because of all the Maasai and all the unaccounted for people in the slums. Either way, you get the main idea.

 

 

 The country 

Full name: The Republic of Kenya

Population: 32.8 million (UN, 2005)

Capital: Nairobi

Area: 582,646 sq km (224,961 sq miles)

Major languages: Swahili, English

Major religion: Christianity

Monetary unit: 1 Kenya shilling = 100 cents

Main exports: Tea, coffee, horticultural products, petroleum products

Gross National Income per capita: US $530 (World Bank, 2006)

Situated on the equator on Africa’s east coast, Kenya has been described as ‘the cradle of humanity’. In the Great Rift Valley paleontologists have discovered some of the earliest evidence of man’s ancestors.

Nationality: noun: Kenyan(s) adjective: Kenyan

Ethnic groups: Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 12%, Kamba 11%, Kisii 6%, Meru 6%, other African 15%, non-African (Asian, European, and Arab) 1%

Religions: Protestant 45%, Roman Catholic 33%, Muslim 10%, indigenous beliefs 10%, other 2%
note: a large majority of Kenyans are Christian, but estimates for the percentage of the population that adheres to Islam or indigenous beliefs vary widely

Languages: English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages

Literacy: Definition: age 15 and over can read and write Total population: 85.1% Male: 90.6%
Female: 79.7% (2003 est.)

Independence: 12 December 1963 (from UK)

Unemployment rate: 40%

Source: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/print/ke.html

 

• 52% of Kenya’s 32 million people live below the poverty line of $1 per day.

• A long-running regional drought has affected the food security of three and half million Kenyans .

• Life expectancy is 45 years.1

• More than one in 10 children die before their fifth birthday.1

• More than 400 in every 100,000 women die in childbirth.1

• Access to better water and sanitation is improving; six in 10 Kenyans have access to water from an improved  source.2

• Following the introduction of free primary education, 86%2 of children are enrolled in primary schools (compared to 62% in 1992). Gender equality in primary schools is now at 98%.

• Transition to secondary education has risen from 27% in 1999 to 30% in 2004, with a 2008 target of 70%.

1 2003 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey.

2 2004 Kenya Bureau of Statistics.

  

The people

Population:

37,953,840
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 42.2% (male 8,065,789/female 7,953,077)
15-64 years: 55.2% (male 10,498,468/female 10,434,764)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 457,886/female 543,854) (2008 est.)

Median age:

total: 18.6 years
male: 18.5 years
female: 18.8 years (2008 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.758% (2008 est.)

Birth rate:

37.89 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Death rate:

10.3 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
total population: 0.965 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 56.01 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 58.95 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 53.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 56.64 years
male: 56.42 years
female: 56.87 years (2008 est.)

Total fertility rate:

4.7 children born/woman (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate:

6.7% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS:

1.2 million (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS – deaths:

150,000 (2003 est.)

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2008 )

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opportunity for blessing

April 11, 2009

Recently, I’ve embarked on a very new and unique kind of ministry for myself. Most of my readers know that I have been planning a second missionary trip to a Maasai village in Kenya, Africa. I have been working and stressing over raising funds, planning what activities will go on, researching flights, costs, guest houses, etc. I have been trying to get myself there and get accomplished the supplying of needs, as far as possible on my part. I realize that I cannot do it all, that I won’t be able to once-and-forever solve the need for food, water, education, biblical teaching, etc. I just want to do all that I can, but nothing less.  I don’t want to face the Lord one day and hear Him say, “Good, but you missed this and this and that, and didn’t want to do these.”  I don’t want to hear about what I didn’t do; I don’t want to miss out on the blessing.

 

So when this new need arose, I was at a loss. Having a picture in my mind of doing this work, I had to come to realize that I can’t do it all, even if I wanted to and tried to. There is a worldwide food crisis. I’ve heard about it on the radio, seen an article or two, and here in the U.S., a few food items have gone up in price a couple dimes. In parts of Asia, South America, and especially Africa, the crisis is much more real. People are literally dying. Not just a few small colonies on some sappy “Support the people” infomercial at 3 a.m.; these are real people, working hard 40, 50, or more hours every day. There simply is no food. A large part of this is from lack of rain.

 

When I heard that my friends in Kenya were affected- the ones whose village I’m going to- I was taken off guard. I must admit that I felt ashamed. I never thought hard enough about the need. I just knew it was “out there” and was glad it wasn’t me. Immediately, I decided to do something, but what could I do? This could not wait for my mission trip. I didn’t have enough money on my own to make a difference. I came to the conclusion that the best thing I could do was ask the church. I called my Pastor and explained the situation, asking if I could speak for a few minutes on Sunday about the need. I was advised by another brother that it might be wise to extend the offering for two Sundays, giving people a chance to plan ahead for the next week.

 

So that’s what we did. I printed up a request sheet sent by my friend in Kenya. Sunday, I put a copy in every family’s possession, stood up during the announcements, and shared my heart. We left a basket out until everyone had left. The take- $40, not counting what I put in myself. I wondered if this was a mistake. Did anyone really care about a bunch of starving tribes on the other side of the world? The next Sunday came and went, but I didn’t see what was in the basket. When I picked up the check that week, my heart was heavy. Then I opened the envelope- $1,000.00. I was in awe. I once again had faith in the compassion of the American church. Keep in mind, the congregation is only about 40-50 members.  

 

Everything is different when you know the people helplessly starving. Suddenly, breakfast isn’t so important; you don’t really care what you eat for lunch; and when you throw out what you can’t eat, you feel glad that they aren’t there to see. Suddenly, you notice the running water when you brush your teeth, the cooler with water bottles by the checkout, and the extra five buck in your pocket feels like guilt money. When you know people dying because they don’t have these luxuries, everything changes. This should not be. We should have always cared.

 

I researched a few banks to see who would send for less, and only had to pay a $30 fee in the end. This is part of the email I just received from my contact in Kenya:

 

Dear Brother Justin,
 
The money came through and we were shopping for food here in the city and will be headng to the village tomorrow with a pick-up full of food! This next two weeks, the villages at Oloilalei will be different. The people will be able to work, without having to worry what the children will eat come evening. Please thank all the brethren for their kindness and expression of Christian love. The rains are suppose to be here but and not! We continue to pray and trust God for the rains.

Thank you again for your love and care.
 
Warmly in Christ,
 
Josiah

 

Anyone truly can change a life, make a difference, and save children’s lives. I am so glad that this isn’t about me; its about the goodness of God and His faithfulness, and because of that I truly feel good. Until the next opportunity-

Justin

 

“Every challenge is an opportunity for blessing”

 

Kenya Calling

December 28, 2008

A LOT of people wonder why I’m so spirited about being a missionary in Kenya. I want to tell the story of how this all began, because I honestly didn’t want to go to Africa in the first place. That often surprises people who’ve seen and heard me as I prepare to return.

 It all started in 2005. I was having a crummy year, to put it politely. I had moved out of a neighborhood where I managed an apartment building that I lived in. In that building not only did I have to deal with the constant sounds of abusive boyfriends, the pains of evictions, drug dealings, prostitutes, etc., but my own vehicle was shot. To top it off, I was shot at, and my head missed by mere inches, after I angered a guy for calling the cops while he beat his live-in girlfriend senseless in the presence of her children. So you can see while I moved out.

 

The place I moved to was much better, or so I thought. Don’t get me wrong, the apartment was great; the landlords very kind and responsible. The problem was that I had moved to a fancier bad neighborhood. I transferred my job to the store that was only two blocks away. I went from a store whose main consumer flow was at-home moms and the elderly with a dab of middle-upper class families to a store that was considered by American city standards as “ghetto”. There were homeless sleeping in the bathroom, widespread vandalism, people stealing daily, and they never gave up without a fight. One time, a rent-a-guard, who was hired as “unarmed”, shot and killed a guy stealing sunglasses.

The work thing I could deal with, but one day things took a dramatic turn for the worse. It was the night of July 2nd. I heard fireworks and went to the window to see if I could spot them. I didn’t see anything up, but there was movement in the street. Then there were a few more bangs. Those weren’t fireworks, they were gunshots. Suddenly, one more shot rang out and one of the guys went down hard. I called 911, and then rushed outside to see if there was anything I could do. (Not the brightest idea in hindsight.) The one guy was down and breathing, but there was a dark pool of blood growing by the moment. There was something else in the blood, which I would later realize was brain matter. He was shot completely through his head (I couldn’t tell because he had a hoody over his face) and his body was basically shutting down. I could hear the gurgle of blood in his throat. He didn’t make it.

His buddy, who had been on hands and knees the whole time, was groaning. I gave words of comfort, assuring him that help would arrive soon. He just grunted. He, too, was wearing a hoody over his head, so when he spit blood, I was quite surprised. I asked myself where it came from (it was already a very confusing situation). I bent down to see a bloody hole in the side of his face; he’d been shot through the cheek. All the while, I assumed that these guys were the victims. As it would turn out, they were attempting to rob another guy, who fought back. He had also been shot; grazed in the head, but not too badly. He had gone home to his wife, then came out when the police arrived to tell them what had happened.

A few weeks later, I took my sister shopping downtown. As we walked back to the car, my sister said, “What’s that guy doing by your van?” I said, “Probably nothing.” I was wrong. I watched as he punched out my window, opened my van and stole my bicycle, camera, and a CD case with about 70 Christian CDs in it.

About two months after the shooting, I was walking to my van at night. Some kid came up and stuck a gun in my back and demanded my wallet. As God had planned, I lost my wallet the day before. It was recovered four months later, at a Christian store, with everything in it. That day, however, I thought I was dead. Not only did I have nothing for the thief, I was standing about five feet from where I watched the guy die two months prior.

You might be asking, “Gee, that sucks, but what has that got to do with Kenya?” I’m getting there. This is all connected. You see, in every instance I’ve given you, the people were black. The wife-beaters, the van shooter, drug dealers, prostitutes, the thieves and the fights at the store, the guard who killed a guy over sunglasses, the guy taking the sunglasses, the vandals, the robbers, shooters, van burglar, and not to mention the kids at the detention center I volunteered at. All of them were black. In my mind, I was beginning to stereotype, and my faith was being tested.

One night, as I drove home from the coffee shop, I sensed the Lord tugging at me to go to the church building and pray. (I have a set of keys.) I was tired and it was late. I really didn’t feel like doing it, but the urge was so strongly felt, I knew I had better be obedient. I went in and turned on a few low lights, set some quiet music on the speakers and said to myself, “I’ll give it about ten minutes, then home to bed.” Nope. I got down on my knees and I felt the Lord so strongly that I dropped to my face. I began to call out to the Lord. “What do you want me to do?” I asked. In my mind, I was asking about that night. Did He want me to go evangelize downtown? Did He want me to pay a visit to the homeless? Was there something or someone I should specifically intercede for? What did He call me there for?

Suddenly, as clear as day, I heard His voice. “I want you to go to Africa,” He said. Africa. Yeah, right. God wouldn’t tell me that. I took Japanese. I thought if anything, He’d call me to Asia, or maybe South America, but never in a million years did I think I’d be going to Africa. I began to rationalize immediately, telling myself that I was imagining it. God’s voice continued and I dared not raise my eyes. It was a sort of humbling respect, as if His direct and personal presence there kept me in check, prompting me to remain bowed at all times. There came a list of instructions and conditions, and in my mind I saw the eastern region of Africa, just under the Horn of Africa.

I don’t usually tell people the list of things God gave me, but I will say this: Among the directives, I was told not to seek out a group or church going to Africa. The trip would be presented to me, and I would have to respond at once. I wouldn’t be able to consider it for a day; I had to be faithful or I would miss the chance, and thereby miss out on my blessing. There were a few other qualifiers, but since I was supposed to just wait for it to happen, I began to put it in the back of my mind.

Fast forward to 2006. I had begun dating the woman who would become my wife. I just didn’t know it at the time. I was excited about our relationship and I wanted to introduce her to some friends who attended a certain college ministry, including the pastor of that ministry. We couldn’t be there for the whole thing, but we made it for the worship at the end. My girlfriend walked in as the music faded and the announcements began. I lingered to greet a few more people I hadn’t seen in a while. When I finally went in to join my girlfriend, I was stopped dead in my tracks. There, on the huge overhead projection screen, was a picture of Kenya. The announcement followed with the warning that it was the final night to sign up. As the collegiate intern spoke that they said it deep and directly into the microphone for dramatic effect. And there I was, standing alone dead center and mid-aisle at the back of the room. It was almost scripted (or maybe it was).

All of a sudden, every memory of the night God spoke to me came into my mind, as clear and fresh as though it had just happened. I knew with certainty that this was the trip, this was the presentation, and this was the sense of now-or-never urgency of which God had told me. I grabbed a pen and began to sign up as soon as the table was attended. My girlfriend looked at me in disbelief, understandably. Here I was, without so much as a word to her, signing up to fly to an African nation. She was slightly displeased, but I knew what God had said. Later on I was able to explain it to her in greater detail and I’m happy to say that she was much more understanding.

Once I had signed up, the waiting began. I had to wait for funds to come in, and I had to wait about four months till take-off. I began to wonder if I was cut out for the job. I mean, after all I had been through, did I really have what it takes to be compassionate enough to Africans without a hint of prejudice or racism to get in the way? Could I really love blacks as much as Jesus wanted me to? I mean, look what they had done to me here! I prayed about this over and over. Each time, I got the sensation that God just wanted me to be obedient. It was as though He was sharing His heart, just a little bit. He didn’t speak audibly again, but gave me more of an affecting response. But still, the thought bothered me; the fear that I might fail in the compassion department because of the experiences I’d had with blacks in the recent months.

Eventually, the trip came. I was quite excited and really looking forward to going to Kenya. I was about to embark on a journey that I had never dreamed of. I was going to go to Africa! It seemed surreal. As the flight left, I hid my fears and hesitations in a variety of ways. I read my Bible, and other books, listened to music, and talked to my teammates. I spoke about all the things I was doing well at; all the areas where I felt I could be proud of my spiritual growth. I suppose I was just trying to justify myself as a qualified member of the team. We flew from Milwaukee to Chicago; Chicago to London; and London to Nairobi, Kenya. As we arrived in Kenya, I couldn’t believe how long the travel was- about 30 hours. Yet, I wished I had a little more time to “prepare”.

We first met up with one of the members, Mark, of the local church, Nairobi Chapel. He was very nice and got us through as quickly as possible. It was quite different than any other airport I’d been to. The airport security guards wore camouflage and carried AK-47s and M-16s. We were also told to speak plainly and professionally; no sarcasm, as it would offend them if taken seriously. I thought that would be hard, because I tend to joke with sarcasm often. Mark brought us to a matatu, a type of van that works as a taxi.

Our first stop: dinner. I dreaded it already. Was I going to have to eat fried bugs? Raw meat from some weird animal or lizard? A freaky plant? Was there even a safety protocol for restaurants? I was freaking out- until we came to the place. Kenya, Africa; and what was I going to eat? Pizza. Maybe this won’t be so bad. One of my teammates and I decided to offer to buy a meal for Mark. When asked if he would like something, he replied, “I don’t eat. For three weeks.” The others and I looked at one another quizzically. He continued, “No more life.” I remembered that they aren’t sarcastic, and then he started laughing. I guess they can be sarcastic. He certainly had us for a minute!

We spent the night at a guest house in Nairobi, before heading out for the Maasai village. At the guest house, we were treated like royalty. Here we were, a bunch of white foreigners, and they kept an armed guard outside our building, took time to prepare a meal especially for us, and gave us the most respectful treatment I could ever ask for. I was definitely wrong about the people. My mistakenness was proved even greater as we arrived in the Maasai village.

It was beautiful to me. I’m sure they don’t think so; they see the same scenery every day. We were welcomed to one of the most stunning and exotic places on the earth by some of the kindest hearts I have ever encountered. The Maasai were astonishing. Not only in their hearts, but in their ways. There is no way to better describe the welcoming. They had a way of making a visitor feel like they were being received back home after a long time away. I truly felt as though I was supposed to be there.

Josiah is the man who allowed us to stay at his home. I suppose he could be considered the leader of the village. This group wasn’t quite as traditional as some. They had clothes like you’d find in America, and Josiah had a car. The first night, John, the only other guy on the team, and I slept inside Josiah’s home. It’s considered big for a Maasai house. The walls were made of corrugated sheet metal and there were two bedrooms. There was a large room with an area about five feet by three for a kitchen. The entire thing was probably the size of my typical American living room and bedroom. There was no bathroom, but a toilet in a roofless metal shack about 40 feet from his house.

There was another house next to Josiah’s, more typical of the traditional Maasai. It was made of sticks and held together with mud and manure. It isn’t as gross as it sounds. It actually makes sense. It doesn’t rain there much, so if there is no mud to build with they use manure. I was blown away at the simplicity with which they lived. There was everything they needed, and little else. A couple sets of clothes, a few dishes, basic tools like shovels and hammers, and other necessities were the only things they owned. The village had a herd of cows and a herd of sheep. They don’t have a currency between tribes, so cattle and children are the only ways of measuring wealth. It is such a beautiful way of living; so care free, that it made me wonder if I could do it, and what I would miss if I did.

The second night, and all the other nights we were in the village, we slept in tents. One for John and I, and one for the girls. The tent I was in had a mesh netted top. This was especially neat because we could see the stars as we lay in our sleeping bags. The stars looked like I was lying under a glass table on which someone had spilled a bottle of silver glitter. There was absolutely no light pollution from nearby cities- because there weren’t any. It was so dark that only the moon and stars bore any light. A truck driving down the mountain was clearly visible.

One morning I woke up especially early. I had always thought it would be astonishing to witness an African sunrise, like in the movie “The Lion King”. Well, I didn’t get my sunrise, but it was still so beautiful. I walked out past the houses, toward the church, which about a ten minute walk. It was cloudy from the cool night air, and just a bit misty. The sun would dissipate the clouds as it rose in the sky. I walked out to an acacia tree near the entrance to the sheet metal building that was used as the local church and the school. This tree stood alone amid sheets of short golden grass. Just beyond the tree was a descending hill and a deep and long valley. Below I could small herds of what I assume were impala, dotting the landscape. No finer image have I ever seen painted. I believe God showed me that as a witness to His majesty.

Immediately, I began to praise the Lord. I complimented His work, thanking and exalting Him for His mighty wonders. I began this sentence: “Thank You, Lord, for this once in a lifetime…” Suddenly, He cut me off. I felt Him say, “This isn’t once in a lifetime. You will return.” You would think that by now, I knew better than to question God. Still, I wondered how it would ever come to be, but I supposed that if I made it there once, I can do it again by God’s grace and design. He continued, “You will return with your wife.”

Now I thought that I was imagining things. I wasn’t married. I had a girlfriend, but God knew what He had planned. God had also given Kim, my then-girlfriend, a prophetic vision. She foresaw things to do with my trip to Kenya, our relationship, finances, and even our eventual marriage. But before we had discussed a marriage, even before we were engaged, God told me on the gorgeous golden hills of Kenya that I would not only have a wife, but that she would at some point go to Kenya with me.

There was little else to what God spoke that day to me. I sat in complete awe, admiring God even more for all of His creation, wondering how mighty He must be to orchestrate every creature, every galaxy, and at the same time to know each of us intimately. I praised Him and thanked Him as I wept on that hill. I walked away, wondering how this could be, when one of the Maasai men, also showing up to the church building, approached me. The words that came out of his mouth were all the confirmation I needed. He asked, in English, “You will return with your wife?”

On a very hot July afternoon, on the seventh day of the seventh month of the year 2007, I became the husband to Kimberly, a more faithful, loving and compassionate wife than I had ever dared ask for. God truly has been there to deliver me out of every dark and seemingly hopeless situation in my life and bless me thoroughly. He has been my help in trouble, my companion, and the One who provokes me on to overcome every obstacle in my walk of faith. Kimberly is one of those blessings, one of which I know I have never been deserving.

December 27th, 2007, Kenya held a presidential election. The rival to the existing president lost the election. He called “election fraud” and there was an immediate reaction from his supporters. Rioting and violence ensued. Over 1500 were killed, 600,000 were displaced from their homes and hundreds of churches, homes and shops were burned to the ground. The violence was tribal, with a religious undertone. The losing candidate is Muslim, and the existing president is Christian, both from different tribes.

During this aggressive streak of brutality and bloodshed, I asked the Lord if He would still have me to plan a return to Kenya, or if this was not the time. He spoke to me once again, saying, “I Am giving you an Ananias calling. As Ananias went before Saul, so you are to go to Kenya without fear.” I’ll admit, I had never read much into Ananias. He was always the arbitrary character in Saul’s story. I had to re-read the verses about him over and over again. I quickly understood what the Lord meant.

Ananias was a prayerful man, faithful to God. Because of this, God told him to go to a certain house and pray for Saul (who would later be called Paul), who had been struck with blindness. Ananias was quite hesitant, because Saul was a powerful man who had gained a reputation for putting believers in Jesus into prison, or to death. I can imagine that any believer would be timid in approaching such a man, but to go to him and pray? To speak healing in the Name of Jesus? What would this man be likely to do as soon as he could see? No, most Christians would run the other way! But the Lord reassured Ananias, telling him that Saul would be used of God and would suffer for the gospel of Christ. Ananias went, letting no fear or potential for persecution hinder him. When he arrived, he found that Saul was expecting him, as God had told him to anticipate Ananias’ coming. So, with my reassurance from the Lord, I shall go to Kenya undaunted.

As I write this, we are expecting our first child together. I am planning on a short return trip to Kenya in August of 2009. Kim won’t be able to go this time, but will be returning with me at some time in the future.  I know the Lord has a great many things planned. I have no idea why He has chosen me to fulfill this mission, but I will gladly accept His desire as my grounding.

 
 

 

To be continued…

 

 

 
 The following information comes via Wycliffe. (http://www.wycliffe.org/About/Statistics.aspx) Wycliffe is a worldwide organization whose efforts to translate the Bible into every language are invaluable. Because of this organization, millions of people have heard and read the Bible for the first time ever. We are blessed to have the Bible, not just in English, but to a degree that we have multiple translations to choose from. Read these statistics. The information is shocking. When we realize how many people are desperate for what we have an abundance of, I pray that you appreciate the Word of God many times over.

The worldwide status of Bible translation (2007):

 

6,912

…the number of languages spoken in the world today

2,251

…the number of languages without any of the Bible, but with a possible need of a Bible translation to begin

193,000,000

…the number of people who speak the 2,251 languages where translation projects have not yet begun

1,953

…the number of translation programs currently in progress for languages without adequate Scripture

nearly 80%

…amount of the world’s remaining Bible translation needs that are located in the three areas of greatest need (below)

1,168

…the number of language communities which have access to the New Testament in their heart language

438

…the number of language communities which have access to the entire Bible in the language they understand best

6,500,000,000

…the population of the world

 Why Bible Translation is Important

 

 Today, more than 2,200 language groups do not have a single verse of Scripture available in their languages. Nearly 80 percent of them are located in three areas of the world:

Central
Africa
& Nigeria: 500+ 

Mainland
& Southeast
Asia: 500+  

Indonesia
& the
Pacific Islands:
750

Need:

What makes these areas especially difficult? A number of factors challenge work, including:

  • Political and religious roadblocks
  • Security
  • Dense populations
  • Large quantity of languages per capita
  • Difficult access to language locations

Literacy:

According to UNESCO, in the world today there are about 1 billion non-literate adults:

  • This 1 billion is approximately 26 percent of the world’s adult population.
  • Women make up two-thirds of all non-literates.
  • 98 percent of all non-literates live in developing countries.
  • In the least developed countries, the overall illiteracy rate is 49 percent.
  • 52 percent of all non-literates live in India and China.
  • Africa as a continent has a literacy rate of less than 60 percent.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa since 1980, primary school enrollment has declined, going from 58 percent to 50 percent.
  • In all developing countries, the percentage of children aged 6-11 not attending school is 15 percent. In the least developed countries, it is 45 percent. (UNESCO 1998 )

In the world today, the number of people speaking lesser-known languages is 1.25 billion—that is 20 percent of the world’s population:

  • The average adult literacy rate among that population is an estimated 31 percent.
  • The average adult literacy rate in their mother tongue among speakers of lesser-known languages is an estimated 12 percent.
  • 26 countries have more than 90 percent of the total national population speaking lesser-known languages. The average literacy rate in these countries is 63 percent.
  • 21 countries have less than 1 percent of the total national population speaking lesser-known languages. The average literacy rate in these countries is 93 percent.
  • Of the world’s non-literate population, an estimated 476 million are speakers of lesser-known languages. In other words, approximately 50 percent of all non-literates are minority language speakers.

There is a correlation between income and illiteracy:

  • Per capita income in countries with a literacy rate less than 55 percent averages about $600
  • Per capita income in countries with a literacy rate between 55 and 84 percent is $2,400
  • Per capita income in countries with a literacy rate between 85 and 95 percent is $3,700
  • Per capita income in countries with a literacy rate above 96 percent is $12,600

They are searching for life that can only be found in Jesus. God speaks through His Word to communicate His character, His promises, and His invitation to love and know and serve Him. How can people know Him when they can’t clearly understand the words they hear or read—or worse, when they have no Scriptures available to them at all?

IN THE RIGHT WORDS

More than 2,200 language communities still do not have true access to even one verse of Scripture. They need to experience God’s Word in their heart language.

It’s true that some minority language groups are bilingual, and they can read the Bible in their second or even third language, but it’s hard to connect with the message when it’s not in their mother tongue. It’s like trying to eat soup with a fork, or trying to read by moonlight. It might be possible, but not very effective, and certainly not very inviting. Bible translation in the heart language invites people to truly encounter God’s truth.

Some communities have never heard about Jesus at all. They have absolutely no access to God’s Word. For them, Bible translation can mean the difference between eternity with God and eternity without Him.

 

THE RIGHT MINISTRY

Bible translation is foundational to every part of Christian ministry. It leads to evangelism, discipleship and church planting. It leads to transformed lives as people learn to become passionate followers of Jesus Christ.

THE RIGHT MESSAGE

The people of the world are searching for

Truth, Love, Forgiveness, Purpose, Peace

 

Please Scroll down to view. It’s too big, and is covered by the text at the right.  à

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost there. Sorry about this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, wasn’t that worth Scrolling down here?