This day began at 6am we had time for prayer and a quick breakfast and then we were to be on our way to Burnt Forest by 8am. Unfortunately the van decided that it needed some TLC before making the 2.5 hr trip to the forest. The power steering belt fell off as we entered the compound the night before. The pounding of the roads had worked the set bolt loose and it fell out somewhere… PTL that it waited ’til we got back home but the trip to the fundi (mechanic) was arm strong steering only. No big deal right? Go back and look at the pictures of the roads around here! We are constantly dodging potholes otherwise this vehicle would have been torn apart. Power steering is not a luxury it’s a necessity! So after about an hour we were steering our way through traffic once again.
Along the way I was impressed by the Lord to revamp my sermon so I missed a lot of the scenery until the message was completed. More about that later. But look at the wonderful scenery that Gail managed to click from the rear of the van. It was a beautiful day again in Kenya. Forecast for Eldorate was afternoon clouds according to my cell phone as we went through. I thought, praise the Lord…no rain. The roads get impassable at times with the rains so it was good news.
As we arrived to the little church which was off the main highway about 200 meters down a mud road, the building was the first thing that catches one’s eyes.
The slat board with cardboard insulation structure had the usual steel roof. The compound has two main buildings and out houses. One building is used as a school and classrooms the other is multipurpose.
As we entered this little church about 40-50 people were seated on wooden benches. It was mostly young children and old women. (Widows and orphans?) This area was at the heart of the post election violence in 2007 – 2008…two tribes on opposite sides of the those elected reeked havoc. All but this church and one other were burned to the ground along with many houses with the people in them. The men and fathers were slaughtered, women were brutalized. This left the old ladies and children to fend for themselves. This little church was one of the few places where people from both tribes were beginning to come together though you could cut the tension with a knife as we went in.
As the service started the church began filling…and filling…and filling..people kept coming throughout the 4 hour service. I lost count but it didn’t matter as at every window and door more people stood peering in and listening intently.
Gail approached the subjects of healing and peace and finding rest as she had her message time. She was received very well.
The rains had just started as Gail was finishing. Did you view the clip in Bikeke?
As the thunder roared and rain pelted down I prayed out to the Lord, “stop the rains if you want them to hear the message”. Later after the service was over I went out and saw how the Lord answered that prayer! I videoed it because you wouldn’t likely believe it.
God smiled down with sunshine only on this little village. Everywhere you looked around the rains were strong and wild.
The message for this morning centered on John 19 and Matthew 6:14-15.
We have a Savior who knows injustice and pain intimately and while He was hanging on the cross He prayed “Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing”. I best leave it at that otherwise I’ll start preaching to you. As the message proceeded tears came and healing began. By the end of the service their songs changed from sorrowful laments about Sodom and cries for the parents to bless the children to shouts of joy and praises in each of the tongues represented there. Even the two that had been estranged since 2008. It was awesome to see God in action.
Jimmy spent some time leading them in worship and had his heart broken as he realized that there was no youth minister for the more than 50 youth present. PureLoveNow will come with a team and help the local church set up a youth ministry so that the next generation learns to work together and not be swept away by cunning and craftful men who are bent on violence.
After the four hour service we were all hungry. But as the service was winding down the grateful folks presented each person on the team with a gift…a hand made item. Gail likely has pictures? And they graciously fed us a hearty meal with beans and rice. We spent some time fellowshipping with the folks and then headed for home.
Remember those rains? Well we saw the evidence all the way home of how much rain they got. Some parts of the highway were flooded, as well as the fields and low lying areas and we did not have to go far to see it. Within five kilometers of Burnt Forest the ditches were full of water. But we traveled in Sonshine.
The rest of the day was spent driving and then we went out to one of my favourite places for dinner… Mid Africa Hotel.
There I skyped with Nolan and watched the service live from http://gracemb.ca/live/ with Mike sharing my headphones.