Date: May 10, 2008
Three Months Later
I know itís been awhile since
my last update, but Iíve been waiting on the Lord to help me
put things into perspective. I know God called me to
Kenya. I have no doubt about that. However, I thought I
was to be there for several years and was so surprised when
He told me leave after only a year and a half. Of course,
our God knows much more than we do and our job is only to
trust Him in all things.
There were some things I had
to omit in the last update because I couldnít reveal them at
the time. Now I can share more written information because
it has been published or reported on the news recently.
Television news has reported
that North Africa is covered with cells of terrorist groups
which are moving south on the African continent. Most of
you will remember that our embassy in Nairobi was bombed in
1998 by terrorists. Therefore, several weeks before I
arrived in Kenya in July 2006, my brother had already made
plans for my departure in case it became necessary. If a
plan hadnít already been in place, there would not have been
enough time to execute it safely. I knew nothing about what
he had done until the Thursday afternoon before I left on
On Monday of the week I left,
my brother was given the information about the threat on my
life and immediately activated the plan. He didnít tell me
about the threat at first because he wanted me to act as if
nothing was wrong. Within a few hours after the threat was
revealed, men were watching me and my house to ensure my
safety, and my brother began sending a barrage of emails
telling me I needed to leave Kenya immediately. I felt safe
where I was and God hadnít told me to leave, so thatís what
I emailed back to him. Then on Thursday morning he sent an
email in which he detailed what a terrorist group would do
to someone they captured and made even stronger statements
about the necessity for me to get out of there.
I began to pray more
earnestly. As I prayed I heard (not audibly), two voices:
one said, Stay, the other said, Go. I
immediately recognized spiritual warfare was taking place.
A good friend had sent me these Bible verses: One night
the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ďDo not be afraid; keep
on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you and no one
is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people
in this city.Ē (Acts 18:9-10) These verses helped get
me through some uncertain times while I was in Kenya and
they gave me peace that I was safe. But my friend also
included this verse: After spending some time in
Antioch, Paul set out from thereÖ. (Acts 18:23) When my
eyes fell on this verse, I felt the peace of God and knew
then that God was the One telling me to go. The enemy
(Satan) was using the other verses to keep me there.
I then emailed my brother
that the Lord had told me to leave. He immediately sent
back the message stating I was going to be kidnapped and
killed on Sunday morning, February 3, 2008, at 7:00 a.m. I
was shocked! I began sobbing and had to walk away from the
computer. I went back to my bedroom where I had been
praying and wept until I suddenly began rejoicing. I told
the Lord that I must have done something right for them to
want me dead.
My brother began sending me
detailed directions to follow that I shouldnít question,
just obey. I trusted him completely and had total peace
that God was controlling every aspect of the extraction,
which was intense and involved a lot of men my brother
trusted. I could use my cell phone and computer only for
the purpose of making flight arrangements. God miraculously
provided the means to travel to the airport in Eldoret to
fly to Nairobi to connect with the international flights
home. All of that was accomplished within 36 hours. The
details of that journey were told in the last update which I
sent after arriving in the US.
The kidnapping plan was
confirmed when four men arrived at my property on that
Sunday morning at the right time. I thank my great God and
Savior I wasnít there! I later thought about how the Lord
had already prepared for this event even before I left the
US and used my brother whose efforts saved my life. I call
It took several weeks after
arriving in the US for the shock and trauma of all that
happened to fade away. During those first few weeks, I was
afraid to go anywhere by myself since I had been warned not
to do so before I left Kenya. After the shock wore off, I
realized I was going through a grieving process for the
people who had become such good friends and were now
suffering so greatly, for the churches and all that still
needed to be done for them, and for a country that was once
a stable, prosperous model for other African countries but
is now at the mercy of terrorists. A few weeks ago I heard
from an evangelist friend who is working with one of the
many slums in Nairobi. He said food prices have tripled and
continue to rise weekly so that now he and his family can
afford only one meal a day. Eldoret was experiencing more
deadly violence last month. Henry said a few days ago that
food and other supplies are in very short supply, but
theyíre expecting some items to arrive by next month. Gas
is now $8.00 a gallon.
Iíve been able to communicate
with Henry via the internet and cell phone so I can keep up
with the progress of the churches and the welfare of the
people and send encouragement and information to them. Most
of the churches are still meeting regularly with good
attendance. Godís people are enduring their hardships and
going on with their lives even in the midst of great fear.
The two pastors I have been sending to theological school
were able to continue their education last month.
Hopefully, they will earn their diplomas soon, and then they
can teach the other pastors.
The Lord has been giving me
many opportunities to share all that He did while I was in
Kenya and the miraculous story of my safe return. A friend
is helping to write a book about it. When I look back at
what Iíve been through, itís like watching a movie. It
doesnít seem real.
Only God knows if I will ever
return to Kenya. As long as the terrorists are there, it
isnít safe for me to return. Henry is still living on the
property and taking care of my house and car and so far
everything is still in good shape.
I wondered why the Lord let
me build a house when He knew it wouldnít be long before I
had to leave. Let me share what He has revealed about it.
In an earlier update I told about the property being in the
shape of a triangle representing the triune God: Father,
Son and Holy Spirit. Therefore, the property is a reminder
that God is there. The house is built on a solid rock
foundation and we know that Jesus is that Solid Rock. The
workers had to dig through the rock into the side of the
hill to make a level place to build, so itís built into the
cleft of the rock, the place where God keeps us safe. After
I returned home, the Lord brought to mind the Ebenezer stone
that Samuel set up (1 Samuel 7:12). Ebenezer means the
Lord is our help and the house is made of stone.
All of this means the house is a reminder to the people that
God loves them and He is there to help them and keep them
safe in Jesus Christ. Just this week the Lord told me to
let the people use the house for the Bible school/training
center which is sorely needed. A set of commentaries and
other books used in the theological school in Nairobi are
already there for the pastors and others to use. Many
details about the school must be worked out, but I know the
Lord will accomplish His perfect will
I told this story at a
missions conference recently where the Bible teacher shared
1 Corinthians 3:6: I [Paul] planted the seed, Apollos
watered it, but God made it grow. This verse brought
everything into perspective for me. Paul and Apollos shared
the gospel and discipled the people in the churches for a
certain length of time and then moved on to other places.
After they left, God used the people they discipled to
continue the work and grow His churches. I had to leave,
but God is still there working through the people. In fact
since I left they have started another church at Kipkoimet
Tea Estate. Mungu ni mwema! God is good!
By the way, you read above
the verses that helped me decide whether to go or stay.
After arriving home I was amazed to read that Acts 18:11
says: So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them
the word of God. Thatís exactly how long I was in
Please pray with me for the
people of Kenya as Paul did in Philippians 1:3-6: I
thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers
for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your
partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in
you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ
As always, thank you for your
prayers! God is still at work.
January 6, 2008
Hello from Kenya,
Things have quieted down somewhat, but more homes and
businesses were burned this morning in Kisumu, and more
trouble is expected on Tuesday. The opponent, Raila Odinga,
has called for more than 40 "rallies" around the country on
Tuesday, with about 10 of them in Nairobi. The three he
scheduled so far all failed to materialize because of the
police presence. However, with 40 such happenings, the
police will not be able to cover them all. The other option
is calling out the army.
This evening there was a special program shown
simultaneously on all the local TV channels where prayers,
music and speeches of encouragement were shared. It was a
beautiful program, well done, and included officials from
these groups: Anglican, Catholic, Pentecostal, Muslim, and
Hindu. One of the songs that were sung was composed by a rap
artist and contained the words "land of the free and home of
the brave." It was beautiful!
The voice of reason is being heard on all news programs and
I have been very impressed with the opinions and statements
from both men and women. Most of the people here are shocked
at what has happened and are calling on the leaders to bring
the country back to peace, truth and justice. Mothers are
banning together to help their children understand and to
discipline the youth who are taking part in the violence.
There was pretty good attendance in our churches this
morning; however, Kapchorua and Nandi Hills town didn't meet
because the people are still too afraid. I haven't heard
from all of the churches yet. Henry and Anna wouldn't let me
leave to go to church, so I spent the morning in Bible study
and prayer. Did you know that Shem, one of Noah's sons, was
still alive when Abraham arrived in Canaan?
Please keep praying and let's join the Kenyans in praying
for peace, truth and justice.
January 4, 2008
God Is in
Although it doesn't appear to be so at times, we know that
God is in control of all activity on earth. He allows the
enemy only so much room to do his dirty work, but always
sets limits on him. If this were not true, all of Kenya
would be in flames and tens of thousands of people would be
dead instead of only a few hundred. What we're seeing here
live and in color is the result of our sinful nature. If all
of these people knew Jesus personally as their Lord and
Savior, this wouldn't be happening. The elections would have
been totally honest and a godly man would be president with
no opposition. But then we would be talking about the New
Heaven and New Earth where no evil force will be present.
That is coming soon when Jesus returns. Hallelujah!
However, we're not there yet, so we face the consequences of
sin daily. But God walks with us through the tough times and
our faith in Him grows.
Since the last update I've had to move out of my house and
am now back at Chemartin tea estate where I lived the first
year in Kenya. Security is much tighter here. The night
watchmen are carrying bows and arrows along with their night
club-quite a contrast to the automatic weapons on TV. In
Kenya only police and military are allowed to carry guns
legally. Anna's ten dogs roam the compound all night and
they were joined by Bush (my dog) today.
On January 2nd, Anna called and ordered me to go over there.
Those of you who know Anna know that her orders are to be
followed or else! The area where my house is was very safe
as long as it was all politically motivated. But things
changed quickly into unwarranted violence by gangs. Henry
and Dorcas stayed in their house to watch over the shamba.
Since my car battery was still dead, Saina came to get me in
his tiny, old Suzuki. What a ride on all the dirt, bumpy
I'm sure most of you have been keeping up with all the
happenings on the news, so I'll just share a little about
the affects on our people in Nandi Hills.
President Kibaki is a Kikuyu, the largest tribe in Kenya.
The opponent, Odinga, is a Luo. When Odinga didn't win, all
other tribes were incited against the Kikuyu. The Kikuyu
were originally found in the area around Nairobi, but since
independence they, and other tribes, have moved around the
country mingling and intermarrying. Many lived here in Nandi
Hills and worked on the tea estates until after the election
when they began to be attacked and their houses burned. The
tea estates rounded them up and took them to the police
station in Nandi Hills where they were held until
transportation, ground and air, could be arranged to take
them to Nairobi and to safety.
One of our pastors, Duncan Karinde of Lengut, was among
them. I received a text message from him from the Nandi
police station asking me to help him, his wife and little
son. He said they hadn't been fed. I talked to some of our
church people and determined there was nothing we could do.
It was not safe to go to Nandi because all the roads were
blocked with fallen trees and large rocks, and I had already
experienced the fires in the road last time I was there. He
and his family are now gone and we'll probably never see
them again. That is just one story of the approximately
500,000 people who have been displaced. Please pray for
The tea estate workers have been receiving text messages
from the opposition warning them not to work, so no tea has
been picked and processed since Monday this week, and last
week was one big government-ordained holiday because of
Christmas and the elections. The tea estates are suffering
economically, not to mention the workers who are paid
according to the amount of tea they pick. It has been very
quiet without the sounds of manufacturing from the tea
factories and the voices of the tea pluckers in the fields.
And the people are afraid.
Another problem we all face is no gas and no food because
roads are blocked all over the country. Kenya provides gas
and food for Uganda, Somalia, Sudan and Tanzania, so a very
wide area is beginning to suffer. Anna and I had stocked up
on food to get us through the elections, but never imagined
we would be in this situation now. We've pooled what we had
left and are sharing. We're good for another week. Our
bottled water is gone, so now we're boiling water to drink.
Today Andrew, one of Thomas' sons, took me back to my house
to get the rest of the food out of the fridge since there's
little gas left to run the one generator that's working. He
started my car with battery cables so I could drive it back
to Chemartin. It has a half tank of gas we'll probably need
at some point.
Eldoret, where the very tragic church fire took place, has
become quiet. As soon as the roads are cleared, we plan to
send Shikuku and Andrew to get provisions for us. The
situation in Kisumu has also gotten better, but over 600
businesses were destroyed plus countless homes. Those are
the two places we shop for food and anything else we need.
The rally that was supposed to happen today in Nairobi
didn't materialize, so that city was quiet for the most
part. We pray that's a good sign that things are gradually
getting back to normal and people are coming to their
The political problems will not be settled easily. Kibaki is
president under great protest. Odinga isn't any better as he
has been instrumental in inciting most of the violence. The
two of them do not get along at all, so there's still a long
road ahead to healing and normalcy. Please continue to pray
for peace in Kenya.
Thank you for your concern and prayers. I know God will take
care of me as He has so many, many times since I've been
here. I think His angels are getting overtime pay!