My Day in Nairobi

31 08 2012

Today I had many errands to run and much to do.  Cell phone issues to resolve, literature shipping issues to address and printing contacts to meet.  Even a bible resource to greet and confirm.   All that aside, that is not what I want to take note of.  My Western mind was again surprised today with the low esteem that women has in the African society and indeed in almost every non Western country.

When I wake women are bent over in the fields chopping weeds and many times with a small child strapped on their backs.  The men stand in the road and visit.  A dowry is paid for a wife and it has been explained to me that this is when a man “buys” his wife from her parents.  If the husband dies the parents of the husband want the children but not the widow.  There is one local situation where a widow has had the children taken by the deceased husband’s parents and they can’t afford them.  But they won’t give them back to the widowed mother.  Tradition allows them to hold them from their mother but demand that she gives them money for food for them.  Since they took the children far away she now had to leave where she was living and try to stay near the children and provide for them as well as she can in a place she does not normally live.  She is not allowed to stay with the grandparents but her money is welcome.  Legally she can get them returned but that will take time.

I expected to see something different in Nairobi.  I thought that since they are so materialistically motivated and thus follow the lead of the West that perhaps they had learned to value all human beings with honor.  So I saw a very well dressed woman with a very pretty little girl dressed like she was much loved.   A father walked up and sweetly kissed the little girl on the head.  There was a very heavy wicker container with a long strap sitting on it next to the mother.  The father and mother saw me looking at them admiring their wonderful family.  They smiled back and waved and nodded.  Then the father lifted the heavy container and I could really tell that this thing weighted at least 40 or 50lbs.  He strained as he lifted it.  Then to my surprise he turned and put the heavy strap around his wife’s head and positioned it on her back so that she carried the bundle with the strap across her forehead like a bridle in a horse’s mouth.  He then lovingly took his little girls hand and they walked away and the wife followed.

Did not see that one coming.  Nor did I foresee the next sight.  I have seen little boys begging money while carrying bottles of glue for sniffing, filthy dirty and covered in glue stains.  I had heard of people eating and foraging in garbage dumps.  But I thought that happened in ghettos and slums and away from the site of the average person.  What I saw instead today was vendors throwing their culled, rotted and ruined vegetables unsuitable for sale into a ditch and then the women scrambling to pick out the good leaves and stalks they could make a soup stock with or perhaps a vegetable dish for their children.  The stench of the ditch was overwhelming.  It was a ditch filled with tons of rotting vegetables.  Deep and disgusting.

Pray for me, as I discern God’s plan for the miserably poor and the plight of women here in Africa.  I am not foolish enough to think that I need to go on a crusade for the women here.  I do believe I need to understand how to communicate to men who come to the Lord and those that already love the Lord that  we are all equal in Christ.  That if the slave the Scythian and barbarians were all with us as one in Christ then certainly our wives, mothers and daughters need to be loved and respected with the same love of Christ.  With dignity and compassion.  As the biblically weaker vessel.  I have no idea what this will look like.  Pray that I learn to effectively and biblically address this and the myriad of other cultural issues I will face.  I do NOT want to westernize the Church here.  I believe that God has a wonderful unique plan for African’s to glorify God in a way only they can do.  But I am convinced that can be done while honoring what God honors.  The least of these.  You know like you and me.

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Starting in Kenya

29 08 2012

Day 1.  My first day in Kenya started at 2:25 as I landed in Nairobi.  The flight was good and I slept most of the way on the plane on both long legs.  Spoke to very few as I flew with Germans and Turks.  Turkish Airlines was NOT a very English language friendly airlines.  I landed and was met by at brother named David and took a very bumpy ride to his home to “rest” for a few hours before my 6 hour bus ride to Kitale.

Within 15 minutes of the trip I realized that David lived in a very depressed area of Nairobi.  It was in the slums.  The roads between the stark buildings were almost impassable.  Huge ruts, extremely narrow roads, barely could get a car down the paths between the buildings.  It looked like Beirut after the war.  Like a bombed out war zone without the bodies strewn around the streets.  Since we were leaving in a few hours for the bus ride the “taxi” driver agreed to wait and sleep in the car outside the building David called home and guard my luggage.  The building David lived in had no electricity and stunk of urine and feces.  David’s apartment was clean and cozy.  His lovely wife greeted me and could not contain her joy over my staying with them.  She cooked me “Irish” potatoes, the best I ever had, and served me hot cocoa.  Every few seconds they told me welcome.  David shared that he was forced to leave his village and flee to the city after becoming a Christian.  He has since started 4 house churches and is a diligent disciple maker.  He is humble and determined.  Marc extended him a small micro loan to open a small stand or stall in a crowded part of town.  His wife runs it and he evangelizes almost every day.  He is Marc’s ideal or model disciple.  It seems that Marc frequently has a brother come to Lord, fully commits, Marc makes a small micro loan to provide them a meager income while the disciple dedicate their entire lives to making disciples that make disciples.  David, his wife and their three children sleep on the floor on mats in a three room apartment.  They are very content and constantly praise God for their good fortune.  Especially in being able to host me.  Imagine that.  It is humbling.  I am the one honored for being in the presence of a man that has truly laid It all down for Jesus.

Day 2, Mostly just rode the bus to Kitale and then to Marc’s home.  Got my phone.  Visited and enjoyed his lovely family and got caught up on the mission trip we would head out on the next day.  I will not even try to describe the life Marc leads with his wife and eight children.  They are a combination of The Swiss Family Robinson and  The book of Acts.

Day 3.  Arrived at the village where our mission would take place. Meeting to start at 10, but of course due to the prevailing time being African time, we started at 12:30.  Marc, ruthlessly castigates them with a smile on his face about Kenyans always lying about being somewhere at a certain time.  The Kenyans laugh nervously. By the last day NO ONE dared be late.  Marc taught with extreme boldness the Kingdom of God and the narrow way.  He belittled the African churches practices of starting churches and then simply hoping people would come and not going out to the lost.  He belittled their emphasis on singing and their lack of obedience to the Great Commission.  He was not gentle.  The Kenyans loved it and responded.  Marc is bold and blunt in every way.  Correcting and admonishing Bishops and Directors alike.  They love him.  They are inundated with the prosperity gospel and easy believism and KNOW this is not God’s way.  They yearn for the truth.

Day 4,   Big day we went out and going door to door shared the Kingdom Gospel one on one.  Let me explain the Kingdom Gospel.  Marc and I preach a gospel that makes the door narrow and the path narrower.  He emphasizes that it will cost the prospective Christian everything to come into the Kingdom.  No theology.  Just the commands of Jesus and those in Acts calling for believers to repent and be baptized to enter the Kingdom.  Marc teaches taking a person wanting to be saved through an exhaustive process of repentance including the renouncing of past sins,  the forgiving of those that have wronged the prospect and deliverance from any evil spirits in the case of occult activity.  The prospect is then immediately baptized and handed over to a qualified person to be discipled.    The person receiving the charge are sternly alerted to their responsibilities and the new believer to his responsibilities as well.  The new believer is NOT then invited to attend church or come to church.  Rather the person in charge of the disciple will instruct the new believer to invite the new convert to invite his friends and family over to hear the Kingdom Gospel and as they are saved a new house church is started.   I prayed with four young men to surrender to the Kingdom that day in house to house ministry. Obviously, not every believer results in a house church.  Those that do not have influence in the community and are not mature concerning age or mentality are not good candidates.   But you get the idea.  Every believer is charged with making disciples from day one.  Inviting friends and family to come and hear the gospel, with the help of the mentor and then leading them into genuine repentance and acceptance of Jesus and His Kingdom.  Then the teaching of obedience to all Jesus commanded.

  Day 5, Went straight out into the field and walked over a mile before we found a home with the principles home to share with.   Lead a young man named Albert to surrender and then repentance.  This is the first time I lead a person to confess their sins radically and openly and then lead them to renounce them verbally.  An alcoholic has not repented until you go home with him and he pours out the alcohol  and renounces it boldly.  The same with other sins.  One who lust and looks at pornography would be followed home and helped to burn the items.  The same is true with idol worship etc.  We  baptized him that after noon.  Walked a mile to the nearest river to baptize.  Marc had to do it since I am only licensed in Tanzania and they are VERY strict about this in Kenya.  Albert  struggled at first only wanting to admit being a sinner but after I shared my many sins individually he became bold in confessing his.  He confessed and renounced many sins and did so publically.  I passed him over to a strong believer to disciple.  We then went to a local Bishops home to be honored to a ridiculous extent by the local church leader ship.  Now to understand the relevance of this you must understand that Marc told them to abandon their unbiblical buildings, sell them if they could and give the money to the poor and widow and advance the Kingdom.  He told them their buildings were hindering the church.  He told them to give up the hierarchy and titles and join work to spread of the gospel and stop babysitting believers.

Baptizing my first believer in Africa

After the meeting we walked a mile back to the motorcycles, we had traveled  sometimes three to a motor bike.  It began to pour raining.  This made the rutted dirt roads treacherous to even one rider so I volunteered to walk out in the rain.  I had already walked two miles that day and now had a 4 mile walk with a back pack full of gear to get to a paved road to then mount the motor bike behind a rider who would be waiting.  It rained the whole way.   All I did was praise God for such a glorious day.  To be walking in the rainy season in Africa between the huts and villages  as the local yelled out Mazungu! Was a dream come true.  I am a Mazungu, a white man and they are seldom seen here at all and especially in the these small villages hours from a major city.  I praised God for the opportunity to lead these people to Christ and bear fruit so soon my first few days in country.  I can’t wait to get to Tanzania.

Day 6, Our day “off”.  We went to a house church meeting this morning into the house of a former Muslim that Marc had lead to Christ and was a teacher in the Mosque.  He immediately lost his Mosque employment and Marc set him up a small loan to start a roadside market and restaurant.  This man gave up much to come to Jesus. We got some food and delivered it to some poor people living in appalling poverty.  An 8×10 foot one room quadplex with a husband wife and 8 children.  New and excited believers.  We returned home and fixed a pump broken in the well, restoring running water to Marc’s home with wife and eight children.  Then we had another house church meeting.  It rained so hard on the time roof we could not really hold a group meeting so the 15 people there just shared together in groups of two or three until evening.   Went home ate a great meal of spinach and pumpkin with some boiled eggs.  Marc’s family can only afford meat once a week.  So for now I am a vegetarian.

Day 7, Got up early and ran for an hour.  Pretty cool to think I am running in the Kenyan hillside on the famed red dirt roads at high altitude in Africa.  Kenya, the home of some of the greatest distance runners in the world.

Went to Kitale and ran errands for the home, visited the sick in a hospital where I am told there are monkeys wandering but did not see any.  The father of the child had some needs so we ran some errands for him.  I can’t begin to convey to you the madness of riding a motor bike in Africa.  Until you are use to it, you would swear you are on a suicide mission with a death wish.  Perhaps I will video a little trip some time.  It is the only way you will understand.   Something special about sharing a road with cows, goats, donkeys, motor bikes, pedestrians, bike riders, farm tractors, semi’s and cars.  All running as fast as they can and passing inches from each other.  Ate an American style fish dinner and then RACED home.

I sleep off and on during the night still not use to the drastic time change.  But it is great to simply open the Word and read till I am tired.  There is so much to pray for I hardly feel I can adequately attend to it.  I feel I am stumbling around jumping from hope to request to need.  Mainly, I remind the Lord and myself I am His and His alone in worship and praise.

Till next time,

Your brother in Africa,

Glenn





I Need a Diet Coke

6 08 2012

Is Glenn That Thirsty!

My plane leaves on August the 20th for Tanzania.  So I have a last request.  I wondered if you would be so kind as to buy me a Coke.  They are 1.69 at the corner store in the individual bottle section.  I know you, so I know that you would gladly get me one if we were together and I asked.  But actually I “don’t” want you to buy me a Coke, a Sprite, a Diet Coke or a Dr. Pepper.  But since you would buy me a Coke would you do something better?  Would you save that money that you would spend to buy me a Coke, actually I drink Diet Coke, and help me to buy bibles and supplies for the new believers instead.

I assume since you would buy me a Coke today you might not mind buying me a couple a week.  I think that is not an unreasonable request.  Especially if I really wanted and needed one.  But what I really want and what the Kingdom of God really benefits from is you to simply pledge a very small amount each month.  How about 10.00 a month for the next two years.  It is a ridiculously low amount I know.  And though it will make little difference to you I wanted you, to know that it will make a huge difference in the lives of new believers.  They are hungry for God’s Kingdom in Tanzania and Kenya . My friend Marc Carrier is seeing dozens come to Christ, be baptized and enter into active discipleship each week.  He has urged me to get funding for bibles.  Though you may own a few there is scarcely a bible to be found sometimes for many, many miles in Africa.

Would you please click on the link below and make a monthly pledge or automatic donation to help new believers to grow in Christ.  Many of the Muslim peoples that are coming to Christ in Africa are battling persecution and hanging on to our Savior without a bible in sight to feed and comfort them.   Any donation will help and I need you to join me in this work.  I can’t do it without God and His Church.  You have meant to give to many causes, if you are like me and the opportunity was lost.  Lost when we took a phone call, that plea went off of the TV set before we got a pen or some distraction kept us from our best intentions in our busy lives.  Now before you get busy, click on the link below and say yes to serving the least of these.  Great is your reward in Heaven.

http://kingdomdriven.org/glenn-roseberry

Click on the link and go to the bottom of the page.  Quick before the phone rings or your little ones come looking for mommy or daddy or your next bing on your cell phone telling you of yet another text.  Before you get distracted and move on missing another opportunity to join in Kingdom work.

Your brother,

 

Glenn





Jesus, the Lady and the Lime Green Purse

3 08 2012

 

I was walking across the room at Impact Ministries Food Bank, when I noticed a lady in her 40’s with her young daughter talking to a middle aged black women.  I was on my way to share the gospel with a pair of men who had come for the free groceries that our ministry offers to the poor in the Frasier area of Memphis.    We get to share a few moments with these people as they wait for their groceries to be prepared for loading into their cars.

After my time with these young men I walked again past the lady and her daughter in time to witness the ladies in prayer with the black lady as they held hands together.   I had never seen this lady nor her daughter at the ministry before.  It must have been their first time.  A local large church frequently gets volunteers to come from time to time to share.

As I returned to my seat I noticed that the three women were in tears as, apparently, the visitor had prayed to receive Christ.  There is nothing quite like praying with the lost to come to Jesus.  This is the first time I noticed the lime green purse on the floor next to the ladies.

Later in the morning, I was standing outside the room where we shared; a man came into the hallway to get his “ticket” to receive his free groceries.  He was carrying a beautiful lime green purse.  I stared at the purse and then at him.  He nervously volunteered that his aunt asked him to bring it to her.  As I continued to watch him he placed the purse on the floor and proceeded in line without it.  I picked it up and stood by it in a corner.  He left without it

A few minutes later the lady entered the hallway.  I had since alerted someone in authority that the purse was “at risk”.  The lady hugged the neck of the recent convert and I asked her if she was missing a purse.  She rushed into the counseling area and returned saying she had indeed lost her purse.  I pointed it out to her and she grabbed it quickly.    Her beautiful smile was gone now as she was aghast that someone had taken it.  I reminded her of the joy she had beaming on her face only moments before for the lost.  Her smile did not return.  She said her husband would be furious with her if she lost it.

I ask her if she were willing to come down here each week and reach the lost each week if the only cost to her was her lime green purse and its contents.  She looked at me in horror and exclaimed that her husband would never forgive her if she lost that purse and had to replace it along with her credit cards and her driver’s license.  But what if that were the only cost for having one soul spent eternity in heaven verses hell.  Would it be worth it, I ask?  She reiterated her husband would kill her if that happened.  I have never seen her back again to share with the poor and the lost.  What a shame.  “A man is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose”.  Jim Elliot.  Even a lime green purse.

Oh that we would all fling our lime green purses to the wind and reap the souls of the poor and hungry for all eternity.