It's rainy season here which means everything is green and lush, a lot of red mud to deal with whether that's in clothes or having vehicles stuck in it, power outages and what feels like fall weather. And as always, one of our kids discovers the mud puddles outside our back door....
(photo props goes to the dad who, instead of frantically throwing him in the bath upon finding him, he instead grabs the camera to capture this mud baby)
We're so humbled by the amount of goodness and mercy we've seen in our midst because of Jesus' massive love. I feel I always have so much to share and so little internet time to do it. I still have stories to share about the trip to Congo I took a few months back. It's hard to hear or see the word Congo without so much emotion coming up of joy and intercession for the people we met. So much hope for a beautiful nation that's been at war for years. But more on this later :).
A few weeks ago we took a trip up into the Turkana desert. It was a nice break from the rain as it's super hot and dusty there. It was one of the best trips so far. This trip we had our first mission team from Mattaw. Yes, FROM Mattaw. Not a team that went TO Mattaw. It was beautiful! We took three of our house dads, three of our older girls that are leaders, our three sons (originally from Turkana), our three white kiddos and then us three white adults, Bud, Rebecca and myself. Three was quite the theme! And not to mention, the Father, Jesus and Holy spirit went before us, was with us and was our rear guard. We loaded up two of our Land Cruisers and a trailer and traveled on one of the craziest roads for hours into the desert. About 3/4 of the way there and we had a massive breakdown on one of the vehicles. It was clearly a way to keep us from getting to our destination and fulfilling all God had put in our hearts to do. At that point, nothing was stopping this group of radical world changers. They were on a mission! So we looked around as it looked like we were stranded in the middle of nowhere, and instead of getting discouraged and going back, we circled up and sought out direction on what to do from God. God is so faithful and gave us the next step. We had already crossed the border into Turkana and felt we were to not leave the region. While our awesome driver and mechanic worked to get the vehicle fixed and back to Kitale and our Land Rover came to switch out, we all went and set up camp in a nearby national park. We wouldn't of made it to our final destination in time before it turns dark and gets a bit more sketchy safety wise. The guys built the tents and the girls helped make dinner over the fire. We spent time in worship and prayer that night in great expectation of what we would do the next day. The next day we traveled about 3 or more hours to get to the village we felt we were to go love on.
We got there and after greeting the family that was our main contact, a crowd quickly formed and we started sharing life and encouragement with them. It was a beautiful site to see our dads, sons and girls share and minister. No greater joy. The response was beautiful as many accepted the gospel, many were in need of prayer for various things and so many hearts touched. It was the most fruit we had seen being there just one day. One of the most powerful stories was seeing a woman that had a curse on her and her land and she was completely set free. At one point all three of our girls labored over her in prayer and this women was so sick, our girls thought she was dying. Within about an hour, the woman was able to walk again and we were laughing together over God's goodness.
It's one of my favorite places in the world. As we worshipped in the land, my heart was overwhelmed with looking across the place and getting a glance at how much Jesus so loves this people group.
Back in January, one of our dearest family friends and co-laborer in this, Lauren, came for a week visit. We took her to Turkana for her first time and during that time also had seen many hearts turn to God and many lives touched. While there, I snapped a picture of her that I haven't gotten out of my mind because it goes with so much of what God keeps speaking.
It's so common here that children will come running at you with no fear at all, asking "give me sweetie! give me sweetie!". (They call candy a sweetie) A sweetie to me in this picture represents us lifting up the name of Jesus and if we will give the undiluted gospel of His Kingdom, then people will jump up to grab it unashamedly just as a child in the desert pushes and shoves to do what they can to get candy.
In everything we do, we must lift Him higher. In every area of life, He must be lifted up. How incredible is it that He would choose us to be His messengers on this earth to tell and show people who He is?! And His word promises us that when we lift Him up, He will draw people to Him. And we've seen it over it and over.
And that's what we saw this last trip. When it came time for prayer, all wanted it and they got a little pushy wanting to be prayed on next. When the fire of God falls and hearts are open, there's a passion that rises up that wants nothing else but His presence, they want nothing else but a touch from Jesus. And what an honor it is to witness people ask for Jesus and for Him to meet them where they are.
So often, there's a song that'll go right with what He is speaking. Enjoy :).....
(and P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Lauren from all of us here! and thank you for teaching us this revelation above. you've taught it more in action than word, although you've done both, but your actions speak loud. Love you!)