22 May 2016

Let them come...



Oh how precious they are to our good good Father's heart.  

Several weeks ago, we had the privilege of taking Jesus to children in a remote village in the Turkana region in northern Kenya.  Looking back at the week, one of my favourite parts of the camp was seeing the local church serve the children and us work as a team.  We were able to come alongside Kenyan friends to see the children come to know Jesus.  We weren't there to run our own show but to serve alongside our friends there that have laboured for years to disciple the people and advance God's Kingdom.   We saw children come to know Jesus.  Like really know Him.  Not just talk and hear about Him but for the first time, they encountered the living God and said yes.  Love was calling and many said yes.  We watched children equipped with the Word of God.  Children no longer wondering if God really loved them.  The simplest way I can sum it up is that love crashed in.  

Every morning, as the sun was rising, I'd wake up to pray for our day.  And everyday, it was as though the words God put in my heart were vibrating deep within.  I couldn't shake it.  It was a bold yet simple truth that He kept whispering to my heart -- Do not hinder the children, let them come to me.  

DO NOT hinder the children... 


LET them come.    

"People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them.  When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them."  Mark 10:13-17

And those that are hungry... 

Let them come.

To those feeling alone...

Let them come.

To those who feel used, abandoned, forgotten...

Let them come.

To those that have no clothes, those that are sick and hurting...

Let them come.

 Those that are tormented by evil and need deliverance...

Let them come.

Those that are left to die...

Let them come.

To those trapped inside of a slum, watching their grandmother prostitute herself out daily...

The ones needing the freedom to be a child again... to create and laugh just as children were created to do...

Let them come.

Jesus said it himself --- For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  

 So what is the kingdom of God consist of?  

"For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." 

‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give."  Matthew 10:8

"But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you." Luke 11:12

Jesus made it so simple for us, He demonstrated the Kingdom while on earth.  He is our perfect example.  He preached the gospel of the Kingdom and in doing so, He healed the sick, cast out demons and worked miracles.  He went to the lost, hurt and dying.  He loved the unlovable.  He comforted those that mourned.  He gave them JOY instead of sorrow.  He then commissioned the disciples to do the same and then another 70... then multiplication happened and eventually that mandate trickled down to us here and now. (Matthew 4:23-24, Matt 9:35, Matt 12:28, Luke 10:1,8,9, Mark 16:15-20)  

He also taught us how to pray, asking for His Kingdom  "... your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven..."  Children get this so quickly.  Whatever isn't in heaven, shouldn't be here.  It's simple.

I know, I know... I'm getting my preachy pants on but goodness gracious yall...  God knows when He rattles my bones with a word like this, I can't keep quiet.

When we are not obedient to the call of God on our lives.  Or to letting the gifting's of Holy Spirit flow through us.  Or the times when we shrink back to sharing His love -- His truth -- His light -- His abundant life.  Is it possible we are hindering the children from coming to Jesus?  Because how will they know unless they are told?  How will they know who this Jesus is unless they are shown? 

"... for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction"  1 Thess 1:5

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?"  Romans 10:14

And then I just love what Jesus did after He told them not to hinder the children and to let them come...

"... He took them in His arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them"

Because sometimes, we show them Jesus by simply giving a hug and blessing them.

22 April 2016

Day 5

Day 5. 

Day 5 of the kids camp was a beautiful end to the week. 

It involved children being fed. Children walking in freedom. A lot of excitement playing games. Lots of smiles and laughter. Girls getting to make bracelets. Praise and worship rising from the sand to the heavens. Candy. A lot of jumping and dancing. Full tummies. And bittersweet goodbyes.  

Our team gave it their all. We made it back to Lodwar and are crashed out tired. More updates to come as my talking words are a puddle on the floor right now :). 

Thank you all again that have been with us this week through prayers, encouragement and funds to make this happen. We are already talking about the next time we get to do this.  We sleep with a heart full of thanks tonight. 

Praise the Lord. 
Bwana Asifiwe. (Swahili)
Kiproi Yesu.  (Turkana)

21 April 2016

M4 Turkana Kids Camp: Day 4!

Day four was the absolute best yet. God miraculously keeps bringing much order and the flow of the day was easier. Nothing like this has ever been done here or anywhere nearby so it took a few days for the kids to understand the flow. Things such as why we divide into groups, the flags for each team (which I had to explain had no religious meaning -- some religions baptize with flags or use them to represent just weird stuff -- TIA). They also got the hang of making cheers for their tribe/team. We have six groups, each having a name from the 12 tribes of Israel. Our youth from Mattaw have really stepped up to lead and love on the kids in big ways!  

 We had a competition yesterday of whose cheer was best and the pastors voted for the winner. The winners were given candy so you can bet the next day theyre louder and more creative. Videos to come!  Speaking of videos. We are so very blessed to have S'ambrosia and Ray traveling with us. If you need to hire someone for video and pictures in Kenya, they're the ones to call!  While Ray has been busy taking the most stunning pictures and videos this week, Sam has helped serve by being a tribe leader. Yesterday she had the brilliant idea to paint fingernails in her group as they waited patiently for their teaching time.  Although the girls were a little too excited to do this for the first time and became super pushy, it was sweet to see how no matter the culture, girls will be girly girls if you give them a bottle of sparkly blue nail polish. 

Worship on day four was so sweet again. At the end it turned into a dance party for Jesus. Turkanans love to jump so it gets the dirt rising and ground shaking. Too much fun!  

Yesterday I shared of how we were able to equip these littles on how to pray and defeat darkness by simply speaking the name of Jesus. I mentioned a little girl who shared about a witch dr that comes in her dreams. Today in class she testified that she dreamed the night before that her mom sent her to fetch water and the witch dr came but she rebuked it in Jesus' name and she was kept safe. PRAISES TO JESUS!!  How rockin awesome is that?!  What a gift Jesus is even to the littlest. 

In the 8-12 yr old girls class, they were a bit stand off, rude or shy at the beginning of the week. Today they listened intently to the lesson and when offered to be prayed for, almost all came to the front of the class. Many were battling sickness or asked for prayer that no one would fight in their homes. They left feelin loved and with big smiles. In the oldest boys class, they shared how most don't have a bible and know very little. They were taught about the old and testament and books in the bible.  Powerful to see the young boys hunger for the word. 

We ended the day again with everyone getting a massive plate of beans and rice. We are so thankful for the mamas from the church who have worked day and night to make sure food is prepared and cooked well.  So thankful for the prayers covering this week!  They are oh so felt.  And thankful God gifted us with our own three littles that can also push through challenges and love the children here. They really do add so much joy and laughter to the ministry we do here. Missions as a family can come with loads of challenges and testing of our faith but Jesus is just so stinkin faithful.  

20 April 2016

M4 Turkana Kids Camp: Day Three

It's a good morning here in the desert.  Our team is sleeping well, sickness is staying out of our camp and God is so gracious to give us strength in our weakness. 

Day three. 

Day three started again with rain. It cleared out earlier this time. We were thankful for hot ugii (porridge) to warm us. 

And can you guess who was happy about having puddles to jump in...

Our ugii is made of sourgum, millet, peanuts and maize. And let's not forget the sugar!  Tamu sana (so sweet). Everyone keeps commenting how good it is. It's the little things to bring smiles. 

On day three we saw Jesus continue to love on His kids big. So many of them do not know the most simple things about Gods kingdom. The oldest boys were out on the field playing soccer, then Ian gathered them up to teach them how to pray. It was the first time most of them had ever prayed. They went around in their circle and prayed out loud to Jesus. One said "thank you Jesus that we made it a cross the river this morning and it didn't wash me away". Because when it rains here, it tends to flood. In our little girls class, they opened up to share how many have bad dreams and are so fearful at night. One shared a witch dr visits her in her sleep. It was incredible to see them understand the power of the name of Jesus as we equipped them on how to pray when this happens.  In their language they all practiced saying "leave in Jesus' name and Holy Spirit fill me and my house". We watched them gain confidence in being children of God that are sooooo loved. We continued to speak Gods heart and love for them and watched fear leave. Not even the best ugii or chai is sweeter than that! 

Our team continues to love and serve beautifully.  Yesterday during the opening assembly, our youth boldly worshipped like we've never seen. Sophia stood to share her testimony and we couldn't be more proud of her. She came to Mattaw years ago as a shy and fearful child. It's only Jesus that could have brought such a huge transformation in her life. The first night here she shared in our team meeting that this is a dream come true for her.  Pray for them as the last two days can be a challenge to give it your all. 

19 April 2016

Day Two

Day two of the kids camp was full of our Abba's goodness. The morning of, it rained non stop from 4am-10am. We counted it a blessing and we're thankful this dry land had a big drink from the sky. The rains delayed the start of our day but it sure didn't hinder any work Jesus wanted to do. We showed up at the camp grounds around 11 and found maybe 20 children. In our American mindsets, it could have caused some stress but thankfully we are in Turkana where it's not just Kenyan time but even slower. Hakuna matatu --- it means no worries. So we sat up the sound system under a beautiful tree while the children were fed their breakfast. By 12:30 we started with a couple hundred children.  The youth from the local church led worship, then our team led. It was beautiful to watch hearts turn to God and lift up praises to His name. The atmosphere shifted and peace was felt. We had several mamas come as well who danced like no one was watching. They sure know how to dance!  The gospel was shared again as well as what the Father and Jesus is like according to the Word. We watched Jesus harvest souls again for His Kingdom and rejoice with the angels over names written in heaven. The two nights before, I was physically just done.  Let's be real, the struggle was real. Our flesh gets weak when the conditions aren't comfortable. Bucket baths, the heat, being surrounded by people non-stop, oily food, kids crying... I mean I could go on and on but if you can catch where discomfort and complaining are trying to come into your camp and make a choice to rise above it and put your focus where is should be, it gives Holy Spirit opportunity to move in our midst. And then you realize how absolutely blessed we are to GET to do this. We saw little bellies fed, faces with big smiles and Gods Kingdom advanced. The teams had fun in the field playing games and laughing. Beans and rice was eaten with joy and we finished up around 4pm.   

Thank you for praying and journeying with us here this week. On our way to kick off day three and it looks like the heavens want to dump buckets of water on the land again!  

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