Sunday, September 8, 2013

StoneHouse Ladies Fellowship

In our Ladies Fellowship we take time to get to know each other. We meet in each other's houses after gatherings on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month. This is a time to develope relationships through fellowship and teachings. 

This video is some of our ladies doing an interpretive dance to the song "Shout to the Lord". We had a lot of fun learning together and then doing the dance for the church. We hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Blog Location!

From now on we will be using a new location for all our post. The new location can be visited by clicking...... Please visit and become a follower to stay updated with what's happening with StoneHouse Gospel Ministries International. Thanks from the Nakuru Gang

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Back in Kenya

You may have already read the first part of this post as a newsletter I sent. Just scroll down to the 'January 8, 2013' line about halfway down and you'll get to the newest update.

Dear Family and Friends,
We’re back in Kenya now ready to do the Lord’s bidding. The journey was sweet but not without challenges. We left our home in Tennessee on Saturday morning, December 29th, at about 7 am. Frank and Simchah took us to the airport in Nashville in our little Passat, or should I say their little Passat, since we sold it to them. The sale of most of our possessions and the help of friends and family enabled us to come to Kenya free of debt. For that we are grateful.

So the ride to the airport was nice and relaxing, chatting with friends, reminiscing of days gone by and looking forward to our future. Our only concern at this point was that our luggage would be under the weight limit and our extra bag wouldn't cost too much. We usually don’t need extra bags but since we plan a long term stay we brought more household and personal items. We were expecting to pay $150 - $200 for the 5th bag but were only required to pay $100. That was a happy experience.
We got through security just fine, had some lunch, and waited for boarding…and waited …. and waited… and waited. It turned out that we had a 2 hour delay because of weather conditions. The plane we were to fly required weatherizing for the trip to Washington D. C. where ice and snow storms were expected. This put us arriving in Washington D.C. at the exact time our connecting flight was taking off for Brussels. So we missed our flight. We weren't the only ones. We were told to go stand in a line 50-60 people to reschedule our flight. While I waited in line Noah went to ask for help. He found a nice young man and asked if there was any other customer service desk we could go to. The man said he was sorry but that was our only choice.

A few minutes later the same man came to where we were standing in line and called us to follow him. He took us to another desk at one of the gates and began to search for us another flight. We chatted a bit while he worked. We found out he is a Christian from Ethiopia and his wife has an adoption agency there. He was interested in what we are doing in Kenya. He was able to get us the same flights as before, just 24 hours later. Because we were not at fault for missing our flight he gave us vouchers to help with expenses for a hotel room and meals for the time we were delayed. We caught a shuttle to the Comfort Inn and got a good nights sleep.
All went well as we traveled to Brussels, Belgium then onto our final destination to Nairobi. The plane wasn't full so we got 4 seats all to ourselves. That was nice. We had a quick one hour stop in Rwanda to let off and pick up passengers. Just like a bus stop.J Then on to Nairobi.
We arrived at the airport and began the process of entry. As we waited at the customs shouts went up all over welcoming in the New Year. Thus we began a New Year in the service of our Master. We didn’t plan for the extra $100 it takes to buy the visas. No problem. We can just get money from our debit card ATM. That always worked before but we forgot to tell the bank we were going to Kenya so the bank would not issue the money. We didn't have enough cash so I looked pitiful and asked our taxi driver to loan us the money. I knew Jon from a previous trip to Nairobi with Kate. I couldn't believe I was asking him for money when he was there to take us to the mission home we were going to spend the night at. He didn't have to help us but he did. We found a way to get the money we needed and were able to pay him back the next morning. God has given us so many good people to help us along the way in our journey. We got the visas and welcomed in the new year at the customs desk.
Now to get our luggage. The airport was almost completely empty when we went down to the baggage claim area. We looked in the off loaded bags and finally found ours grouped together. Only problem is one was missing. Noah went to the desk and as he approached they asked if he was David Taylor. The airlines had already informed them of the bag left behind. After filling out paperwork we were told the bag would be delivered to Nakuru and we could get it on Friday. It was a misc. bag and didn't have essential in it, thankfully.
As we went outside to load up Jon’s car we realized it was pouring down rain. Jon brought the car around and we packed them in with just barely enough room. I don’t think that 5th bag would've fit anyway. He drove us to the Mission home in Nairobi where we got some much needed sleep.
Sammy and Irene picked us up at around 9 am the next morning. We went to have breakfast at the Java house and started the 3 hour drive to our house in Nakuru where good friends greeted us and gave us a wonderful meal. 

We’re settling in thanks to all who prayed us through. God is so faithful to take care of our every need. I’m reminded of the scripture that tells us to go, take nothing with you, no money in your bag. [Luke 9:3]
In the midst of the challenges we had a safe journey and no lack. Sometimes we pray for everything to go without problems. … as for me… I love the problems. They’re teaching us to rely on God more than ever before. We welcome His intervention in our lives. We've met some wonderful people because of our need. God’s ways are not our ways and for that we are happy.
This is my version of the trip. I’m sure Noah will have more to say as soon as he recovers from sleepless nights and daysJ
We love you all and already miss you! Happy New Year! 

January 8, 2013

It’s been a good week. We’re making the time change of 9 hours adjustment with oh too familiar sensations. We wake up at about 2 am thinking it’s time to get out of bed. So we read and hope for sleep to return. It usually takes about 3 weeks to make the transition.
Our Kenya homecoming was sweet. Kind friends, James, Beatrice, Thomas and Pamela, Patrick and Christine, and their kids greeted us. We had a feast of chapati, stew, rice and potatoes and, of course, Chai. We sang praises and prayed for the New Year. It’s good to know we are not alone in the work here in Kenya.

The next day we went to Godfrey and Pricilla’s for dinner. We had a friendly visit. You will always be laughing when you visit with Pricilla. She has a light heart and joyful spirit.
The next day we went over to Johnny and Kate’s to roast marshmallows in the fireplace and have smores. Quite a treat! I brought the ingredients from the U.S. because it’s not possible to find them here. It’s nice to have missionary friends with children close by.

Patrick, Christine and their 5 children are the first family we have been able to ‘rescue’ out of the slums. They are grateful and doing well. The ‘shamba’ (garden) is full of tomatoes, spinach, skuma wiki (a type of greens), and carrots. Oh yes, and sunflowers! The chickens are thriving. Their eggs are the darkest golden yellow I have ever seen! You can see the nutrients and only have to eat one instead of the two you would eat of most eggs, to be satisfied. We have 6 hens and 1 rooster, including a ‘big fat hen’. She must weigh twenty pounds! We have 10 new chicks and more on the way. Patrick is an awesome farmer and grounds keeper. Not to mention security guard.

Christine and the girls help me with the housework and do the laundry. She told me how much less stress there is in the family now. God has healed their marriage and brought peace, where there was distress and conflict, due to the devastating stress of living in the slums now there is peace. Christine and I are becoming very good friends.

Flora is almost 18 years old now and still has those big brown eyes and that beautiful smile. Sunday morning she came to my room short of breath and wheezing. I listened to her lungs with my stethoscope and was concerned with the wheezing and tightness I heard. She had been to the hospital two weeks ago and was given medication which she had stopped taking. I gave her some Resco (herbal combination for respiratory problems) and one of her pills (bronchodilator). She was better, so we went to church. We talked to her parents and we decided to help them get her to a doctor so we can manage her asthma without always coming to a crisis.
So Monday we found a good health clinic with Godfrey’s help. Noah had meetings planned for the day so he dropped us off at the doctor’s office in town. We went into the building only to find out the office had moved to Nakumat. So we, Godfrey, Christine, Flora and I, walked to a couple of miles Nakumat. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the walk. We found the new office but there were 10 people in line ahead of us. That meant about an hour and a half wait. We asked what the doctor’s fee was and the receptionist told us 2,000 kenya shillings (ksh). I about choked. We decided to try to find a different clinic. Godfrey took us about 2 blocks back to another place. I liked it much better and the doctor’s fee was only 500 ksh. The medicine he prescribed will cost about 1,600 ksh every two months but it will control the asthma and help prevent a crisis. I liked the doctor and the clinic. It’s nice to know there’s someone we can trust with our medical needs. We also got a note from the doctor to her school principle to help them understand the seriousness of her asthma. She has had problems in the past with being made to sweep the school room, even when the dust caused her respiratory distress. The teacher thought she was faking. That won’t happen again.
‘Delightful Dianna’ is sweet and quiet as always. She is a lovely young lady, 15 years old now, almost 16. She’s always willing to lend a helping hand and her smile will turn anyone’s frown upside down.
Lewis is 12 years old and growing up fast. He still loves to take things apart and put them back together again. He’s our main ‘gate keeper’, which means he opens the gate for us and lets visitors in. Kuja loves him and plays with him. He takes care of Kuja. He helps his dad in the ‘shamba’ and also teaches us KiSwahili.
Lynn is 11 years old. She’s doing very well in school and is helpful with household chores. She’s growing up to be a beautiful young lady, very sweet and tender hearted.
Faith, also known as ‘Toto’, is the baby of the family. She’s 8 years old and loves the doll we brought her. She carries her on her back in the back pack Yashana made. She’ll be a good momma one day. She transformed my dirty shoes into almost new looking when she scrubbed them clean.

All the children love to play Temple Run on our Kindle firesJ Overall the family is very happy. They are all hard workers and it’s noticeable that their new life has brought joy and gladness to them and us as well.

The Moniki family also came to visit, Elizabeth, Zippy, Rose, and Joshua and the kids. They walked 20 miles from their home and back just to say ‘welcome’. That meant so much to us. They could have waited for Sunday to see us but they wanted to give us a special welcome as only the Monikis can. They are always cheerful and bring excitement to our home. They love to sing and dance and praise God.
Saturday morning Noah, James, and Thomas taught the employees Christian Fellowship at Nakumat. They are very receptive and now some are asking where our church meets and how they can become a part. This has become a growing ministry of StoneHouse Ministries.
After the teaching Noah and James drove back to the house to pick me up and take me to the Ladies’ meeting. I made them some breakfast – eggs, fried rice and chai – then we went.

At our ladies self help group the ladies shared the difficulties they have been through in the past year - Sickness, death of loved ones and times with no food on their tables. But through all this they are praising God for life and looking forward to the coming year and the things God will bring. They have grateful hearts and bless God for bringing them through adversities. Their faith is strong. They were grateful for the income we brought them for their crafts. They are working hard to teach each other skills and already have an inventory of crafts ready to sell. We really want to find a market here in Nakuru as well as in the U.S. They are committed to the work and to each other. It was very encouraging to be with them. The gifts of their hearts far outweigh the material things we give to them. Thank you all for contributing to this ministry.
I’ll end this post for now. There’s more to tell of the following days. 
Thank you always for your prayers and financial support. It means so much to us.
To be continued…..

Friday, August 24, 2012

Jump starting for the next leg of the journey.

August 23, 2012

We’ve been looking at the situation here in Nakuru and asking God to redirect our steps. I believe He is doing just that. We’ve met some wonderful people with like minds and hearts who say to us in so many words, “I quit my life”. (as Katie in the book Kisses from Katie says). They have and are daily denying themselves to be disciples of Christ in all aspects of their lives. We want to join with them as God leads to further the gospel of the Kingdom of God in all the earth.

We’re learning many things. No matter how hard we try to know what we are doing and to formulate hard and fast plans we always come back to the point of doing what we’ve always done. Following Christ who rarely tells us where we’re going or what we’re doing.

To quote T. A. Sparks,
…. the Apostles did not formulate in conference an enterprise, a mission, with all the related arrangements and organization. The new Life forced off the old leaves and dressed the new organism with a new vesture from within. The might, energy and urge of the Holy Spirit within produced a Way and an order, un-thought-of, unintended by them, and always to their own surprise. What was happening was really that Christ was taking form within them, individually and corporately, by new birth and growth. The believers and the companies were becoming an expression of Christ.

Some of the stories of just one week will help you see what we are experiencing here in Nakuru. This has been a full week.

Noah has been sick for a couple of weeks with a head cold. He’s doing ok but tires easily. This has been a very exhausting 4 months with a lot of stress and strain. We’re coming out of the adversity but it’s been a fight. We’ve had a lot of encouragement from family, friends and acquaintances here and at home.

Yesterday we met with Susan. She has a community church. That means they don’t have a building but meet on the streets where they live. The local Christian Churches won’t allow these kinds of people in their services so she goes to them. She takes care of street kids and families by educating them, feeding them, teaching and preaching. She was raised on the streets until she was saved by God. Her mother made illegal beer for a living and passed the trade on to her. Street people listen to her because they know she understands the desperation of their lives because she lived it. She knows what it’s like to jump over walls running from the police. She brings them hope and they love her.

In her ministry she’s worked with several different churches and missionaries to help these people. Their support has always been short lived and she’s been put out because of the type of ministry she has is not beneficial to their purpose of prosperity and individual success. She has no bitterness towards anyone. She says when they put her out it’s just God moving her on. She told us she’s not wanting our money but she needs someone to join with that will encourage her and help her hear God about what to do.
Her husband abandoned her and her 3 children when he got money from a church he was working at. After the money was gone he returned to sit in her house and do nothing. As she was telling us about this she kept saying, “I’ve never told anyone about all this.” Her heart felt safe and open with us.

A Story one of many - Dump man dies in her arms.

Susan went to visit the people that live in the dump. Yes, the place where all the garbage in the city is taken. People live there to get the leftover food and stuff discarded by more fortunate Kenyans. Many people are there, living in cardboard houses and caves without hope. One day she visited a very sick man who lived in one of those caves. She prayed for him but she knew if he didn’t get medical help soon he would surely die. So she went to one of the dump truck drivers and asked if he would take this man to the hospital. He agreed so she went back to the cave and put the man on her back to carry him to the truck. She got him into the truck and cradled him in her arms with his head resting on her chest for the bumpy ride to the hospital. When they got there as they put the man on a stretcher and took him to a hospital room they realized he had died in route.

 Susan didn’t know what to do. If someone is brought dead to the hospital it becomes a police investigation. She was afraid for the dump people that someone would be accused of causing his death. Even she might be accused but that was nothing to her. She would take the blame before she would have someone else accused. Just then a nurse came in. She said, “I know this woman, she is a good woman.” She defended Susan so the investigation was dropped and the man was taken to the mortuary. Susan believes she was sent there to ease the loneliness of that dear soul as he passed from this life and to save the people of the dump from investigations. Her love is strong for these people. She is to me another “mother Teresa”, going to the poorest of the poor with the love of Christ.

We finished our tea and punch Susan took us to the Railway station to show us where she feeds the boys that live there. We’re planning a time to get up early one day to take the love of Christ, in word and deed to these boys. She always feeds their spirits first then brings the food. The meager breakfast we’ll feed them consists of a cup tea and a slice or two of bread. They are grateful.

We went back into town to meet Thomas and James for lunch. Thomas raises and sells chickens at Top Market where we get our produce and organic fish and chicken. The first chicken he sold me turned out to be a sick one. Our cook Mary recognized this and refused to cook it. When I met Thomas later I asked him about it. He apologized profusely and insisted on giving me another chicken. Seeing his honesty I told him he didn’t have to do that. He still insisted and to this day sends us gifts of chickens and fruit from the market. He’s not a wealthy man, he lives in the slums but he knows no lack and his family is well cared for.

Many pastors here consider themselves above working a job. They feel like being “God’s man” excludes them of the responsibility of providing for their family. Their wives work to earn the living. Thomas is a pastor too and serves his church together with 4 other elders. He believes a godly man should work for his family’s needs. So he does. His wife has a little kiosk at her house to supplement the income but she doesn’t have to leave home.

James is another hard working man and an indigenous missionary. He has a school for underprivileged children. He has churches in nomadic Masai and Samburu villages. He has given himself to reach people in the cities and village. His wife also teaches at the school. They have over 75 children and only 4 teachers. They get volunteer teachers but since they aren’t committed their help is very sporadic. James and his wife, Beatrice, have been working together as missionaries planting churches and schools for many years and have accomplished a lot to further the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Some of the places they go are impassable by motor vehicles so they travel by camel. Their purpose is to equip others to continue to reach people.

So after we had lunch we offered to take Thomas and James home. We’re learning you don’t just drop someone off at their house. You must go in and eat something, meet the family, and pray a blessing on the house. This is their custom. Like I said we had just finished lunch so we weren’t hungry. James’ wife gave us some bananas to take home. She told us that Kenyans always share what food they have with visitors. If they don’t have any that’s ok too, but we must share what we have. It’s also a custom for visitors to bring a small gift of food such as fruit, milk, or bread. It’s easy to get a bag of oranges or mangos on the street on your way to someone’s house, for only about a dollar. We’re learning.

Now Thomas and James live close to each other but didn’t know it until today. They were brought together at the Pastor’s teaching Noah does on Wednesday mornings. So of course Thomas insisted we go to his house too. James also jumped in the car. He wanted to see where Thomas lives. We told Thomas we couldn’t stay longer than 5 minutes. His little compound consists of a chicken farm with about 1000 chickens being raised for the family business he shares with his brother, the little kiosk his wife runs, and a small three room house. We sat down in his living room and were served sodas they bought for us. We said we have to go now, but Thomas said his wife was cooking us a meal. We had to insist. We really needed to go. Noah has a head cold. He’s our driver which is a big job. So we wanted to get him home to rest. We thanked them for the sodas, took Thomas to his job at Top Market, and then went home.
Home is so peaceful and we find refuge from city life here. We’re only 12 minutes away from the busiest part of town. We enjoy flowers, trees, kids and a dog. We do our own cooking and cleaning and it really feels like we belong here.

Our ‘cottage family’, Patrick and Christine and their 5 kids are always there to greet us and help us in any way. We, in turn, have given them a way out of the slums. We assist them with educating the children, providing the bare necessities and food to eat, as they help us maintain the property. We wish we could do more but we will wait on God’s leading and provision. We do know that to bring them up too fast won’t give them time to learn how to manage their increased lifestyle. So we talk and train as best we know how. It would be easy for them to make us the head of their family. We don’t want that. We want to teach them how to take responsibility for their families’ needs as they grow together.

Mostly we enjoy family fellowship together. Their curiosity is fun to watch. Yesterday, Flora stood looking at my small, sparsely stocked (according to American standards) pantry. Finally she asked, “Do you use all that?” She’s never known more than a days’ worth of food in the house at a time. She’s 17 years old.

We had a slumber party with Kate and Christine's younger kids.

Noah and Zach fixed our leaning chair. 

I hope this gives you a picture of how things are going here now. Doug and Zach are going home next week. We’re really going to miss them. They’ve been so much help and we’ve leaned on both of them a lot. We love them and will miss them so much.

Nikki and Suzie will be with us a little longer. 

We really don’t know how long but we’ll enjoy them as long as we can.

Love to you all!!
Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.