Archive for August, 2009

From Geoffrey to you; sometimes you just can’t hold back the tears!

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Friday August 28,2009
Sometimes you can’t hold back the tears
On Tuesday a group of friends from my old church arrived here in Masii and the time I have been able to spend with them these past few days has been incredible. I can’t think of a better way to end my six month journey than with serving side by side with this compassionate people that I am fortunate enough to call my friends.
This morning we set out for another day of house visitations. We have been visiting the homes of the children that they or members of their church sponsor and delivering food packages to them. The first home that we visited was the home of an HIV positive widow her four children and mother. Only one of the boys was sponsored by Tumaini, the three others were on the waiting list. One of the boys was anemic, his frail and thin figure along with his fatigued appearance opened our eyes to the suffering that this family is facing. This drought has taken this family as a causality, with the lack of rainfall killing off a majority of their cattle and their farmland being a dry wasteland this family was truly struggling financially. School fees, food, water, medical attention, trying to attain any of these things is a constant upward battle for anyone who finds themselves being a sick widow in a financially starved situation like this woman was in. As this family’s story and constant struggles were revealed to us our hearts shattered. By the end of our visitation each child got a new sponsor. The children weren’t looked at with pity but with compassion. Those children were so loved by our team that they couldn’t bear to see them suffer anymore. Pity would mean that we walked away while saying, “that sucks,” and maybe tossing up a prayer. The compassion that these individuals were consumed tugged on their hearts to the point of stepping up to the plate and making the commitment to support these children.
I was overwhelmed with emotion and couldn’t hold back the tears. How long had this family been suffering? How many times did they cry out to God? How many times have they gone without food? How many times did they feel like throwing in the towel and giving up? Here and now God wiped away the tears from their eyes, took away the pain and sting of poverty and heard their cries and pleas and used a few individuals to answer their prayers.
Once again my eyes have been opened to how God uses us as individuals to answer prayers and to meet the needs of his children.


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From Genesis to you; Just a bit of fun!

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

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From Geoffrey to you; Goat Brains

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Sunday August 23, 2009
Goat Brains
My fellow pastor and I were sitting at a table at a local restaurant as we waited for our waiter to take our order. He was rushing back and forth and we couldn’t capture his attention. He would rush past us and then disappear for ten minutes. A loud sizzling sound hastened past us as we caught a glimpse of our server carrying a steaming, hissing and sputtering plate of hot food. A moment later he hurried past us again with yet another dish taking it to a table of about ten older men. One of the mzay (not sure if that is spelled right but that is Kiswahili for old man) gestured for us to join them. We prayed over these plates of meat. It was every man for himself as arms reached across each other. Hands were grabbing, snagging and snatching slab of meat after slab of meat and doused the meat in one of the many piles of salt on the side of the plate. It tasted a little bland but with a little salt it was okay, I don’t think I am going to get a hankering for more of it anytime soon though. When only fat and gristle remained they asked me if I liked the goat brains and tongue. The brains of a goat is a delicacy. Women and children aren’t allowed to eat it, it is only for the wise and elders of the community. To munch on goat brains with these men was a high honor that many people will never get the opportunity to do. It is nice to know that my reputation amongst the Kenyans has earned me a seat with the elders of Masii.
Every Saturday evening a group of the most elite, wisest and most financially successful men of Masii meet. Business men, magistrates and chairmen, pastors and city officials make up this group. Each week in their meetings they donate money and try to identify and help a specific person or situation that has arisen in Masii, all the while dining on the ever so delectable brain of a goat. They are involved with everything have to do with Masii and are the ones who are capable of really making things happen for the community here.
After the meeting the pastor and I were able to sit down and talk with one of the mzay’s over a regular meal (one without brains) and talked about our dreams. This man shared his dream of empowering Kenyans to help other Kenyans. Kenyans are gifted, intelligent, and have outstanding abilities but often the financial and environmental obstacles that are so numerous prevent men and women from becoming all that they are capable of. He shared his dreams of creating a special facility where they pour their resources and selves into the lives of the young people to help them reach their potential, instead of becoming another statistic. This man was filled with compassion for his fellow Kenyan.
We can spend a trillion dollars in relief food, but eventually that food runs out. We can improve the infrastructure and develop more roads, but roads deteriorate. We can donate medical supplies, but eventually they are going to reach for a bandage and find that they have run out. To invest in the futures of the people of Kenya is probably one of the best ways to make a lasting impression on this country and others like it. Relief food and aid is important but when you give a man a fish today to keep him from going hungry you are going to have to give him a fish the next day and the day after that too, in fact until you teach him how to fish for himself he is going to be completely dependent on you for provision. Micro-financing programs, education, after school programs, trade schools and hands on experience are what will make a difference here. Empowering Kenyans to help Kenyans is the best way to go. Seeing this mzay’s meet on such a regular basis to use what they have been entrusted with to help others and hearing the dreams of this man was really encouraging.
Be blessed,
I hope you are all free on September 12th. I am getting a welcome home party. You will probably be getting an email from Genesis soon with more details. But just so you know I am going to be asking everyone to donate $5. The wife of the founder of Tumaini is going to be there and they can REALLY use a new computer out here. So I figure that if everyone gave $5 whatever we were able to raise we can just hand over to her to send over here to buy a computer for their office.
I have been asked to speak a couple of different places when I get home. I have been working on the sermons and am STOKED. I can’t wait to share with you all or whoever attends!
Please keep my family in your prayers. My aunt passed away this past week.

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From Geoffrey to you; Thumping

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Tuesday August 18, 2009
Christianity is sometimes frowned down upon for good reasons. I have friends who have been condemned and hated by Christians, why on earth would they believe in a faith that looked down on them with abhorrence? I have been caught in the midst of a church split in which everyone was left hurt with no one being the victor. No one likes being talked down to and when believers stand on a corner shouting their superiority and the ill-fated future of weeping and gnashing of teeth for those who refuse to submit seems to do both the Christian faith and the unbelievers a disservice. The point is that time and time again we, as Christians, do a horrible job representing God. I think that most of those who look down on Christianity have been left with a bitter taste in their mouth because of our misrepresentation of the entirety of it all, they don’t have a problem with God they have a problem with our misrepresentation of God.
The Pharisees and the Sadducees were the religious guru’s back in the day. They dedicated their entire lives towards their faith in God and by their young adulthood they would have the entire Old Testament memorized. They knew the laws and commands of God better than any other and yet they were the ones who pushed people further away from God because of the way their representation; they had a pretty foul way of handling the business of God. If you sinned you can expect public humiliation and punishment. Favoritism was shown to males and superior ethnicities. They polluted the word of God by coming up with their own policies and customs. They used their faith as a weapon to thump people over their head. Instead of pulling the destitute out of the hole of despair they were trapped in, the Pharisees and Sadducees would further drive them into this pit of penury. These religious leaders drove a wedge between God and his people by their crude and condemning ways in the same way that we misrepresent God at times.
Sometimes we slap a fat label on people’s foreheads depending on the sins they have committed. If you have fallen too far in our eyes then you get the “UNCLEAN” label. We look at someone’s situation and instead of seeing that person as a child of God we take out our best thumping bible to smack them over the head with the word of God. We look at someone’s sin and throw them off to the side because we can never use them and if we can’t use them than God probably wouldn’t want them either. .. when we find ourselves thinking like this we have seriously missed something when it comes to our faith.
1 Timothy 1:15-16 “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believer on him and receive eternal life.”
I think this helps us to see the heart of God. Here Paul is talking about how messed up and flawed he is as a person and for that very reason God loved him so that God to display His greatness. You look at the type of people that Christ associated with and they are the very ones we pray don’t irritate us with their presence or bring down our reputation by sitting near us. God would take those that no one else wanted, the unclean, and use them to do great and mighty things. Our problem is that when we look at people we fall into the Pharisee and Sadducee category and look down upon them instead of viewing them the way Christ does and doing what we can to help better their situation. I thought we were supposed to hate the sin and love the sinner, but we as a culture we have drawn near and clung onto sin and hated the sinner.
There is a single mother who lives here in Masii and her story is the epitome of why we need to walk away from looking down on others and embrace them. She works as a bar maid. This career choice comes with little pay and unfortunately prostitution to offset the bills that serving alcohol doesn’t cover. This woman is one of the many mothers that struggles to provide food each meal and her and her daughter struggle for food and rent. She has all of the symptoms of being HIV positive but refuses to gives into the fear of being positive and refuses to be tested. With little hope of bettering her situation and lacking uplifting and empowering words of positive friends, this woman was lured in by suicide. No churches reach out to this type of person. No Christians want to associate with this type of person. No respectable person would let their reputation be tainted by the association of such a low life.
Her story was brought to our attention by her sister and, I know it sounds crazy but call us rebels, we decided to go talk with her. The fact that Christians were in her home loving her and praying for her instead of condemning or judging her BLEW HER MIND! After a few visitations she made the decision to live her life for Christ and suicide no longer held her captive. We have visited her last week with two of the Americans that had come to Masii and one of them gave the pastor some money to help this woman. We are looking into helping her start her own business. A business that will wipe away the shame from her face and that she can be proud of. Instead of pushing this woman into a pit of despair we want to pull her out and we want to show her the love of God not the misrepresentation she believed the Christian faith revolved around. She has a huge smile on her face each time I see her and I know that she is filled with that inexpressible and glorious joy that can only come from God.
I feel like if Christ were here he would do the same thing and treat her as a princess instead of dirt, the problem is that her situation is known and she gets teased and mocked instead of embraced and loved. Have we missed something?
In Him,

Prayer Request:
Rain… it is still dry.

I visited with Stacy yesterday and she is doing GREAT! Her wheelchair is working wonderfully and is helping so much. She has been enrolled in school and she is just now beginning to be able to start to mutter actual words. She has been going to physical therapy as well and she can wave her arm and with a little assistance can stand up! With physical therapy and the ability to go to school she may be able to speak clearly and move about with ease : )
I spent today with stomach issues : (
Thank you all for the birthday wishes : ) Sunday was a great day!!
Here is a picture of me with Stacy and her family. She was all dressed up and her little brother was picking his nose. ha ha I love this place!

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From Geoffrey to you; 30,000+

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Saturday August 15th 2009
30,000 +
Have you ever taken a step back to look at your life and where you are? I look at where I am, the man I am, the time and season I am here and what I am doing and know, without a doubt in my mind that here and now is where I am supposed to be. Every circumstance, whether good or bad, and situation I have ever found myself to be in, have worked together to prepare me specifically for the things that were to come. I may not have enjoyed every situation I stumbled into, but I know that it was the collection of both the good and the bad that made me into the man I am today and without the two I don’t know where I would be.
I can’t tell you how many times I found myself in an overwhelming situation and cried out to God saying, “Where are you?” Though the bible says “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you,” in different storms I found myself feeling abandoned by God. I realize that the bible doesn’t say, “Your life is going to be perfect and you will never face any storms.” God doesn’t promise that we won’t have pains, sorrows, regrets or face depression, what he promises is that through the storm and in the most overwhelming of situations he will remain with us. In Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” what God says is that not only will he stand with you as you are smothered by the sting of life, but he will use both your greatest moment in life and your darkest hour “for the good.” This is what I have seen in my life. When God’s hand is upon someone or something nothing can remove it, with that being said I can’t help but say that God’s hand is most definitely on Tumaini International.
The Israelites were God’s chosen people. He delivered them from the oppression and captivity of the Egyptians. The Red Sea was parted, plagues unleashed, pillars of smoke guided them by day and pillars of fire by night, God’s hand and provision was upon them. We come to a point in their story when they are in the middle of the desert and don’t have any water for themselves or their livestock. I had always overlooked that part and read over it, I now truly understand how detrimental the absence of water can be. When I look at the community of Masii I realize that each and every person is affected by it in one way or another. With no water there are no crops, with no crops there is no food, without food hunger creeps up. Without water neither herdsmen nor farmers have anything to sell, without anything to sell there is no money to spend and without money to spend the businesses within the community go down the drain. I realize how horrible of a situation it can be without water and here Gods “chosen people” are in a situation where they have none. This situation reeked of destitution, the people were arguing to Moses and saying, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord!” Can you imagine what was going through their minds as God was guiding them on where to God and they found themselves lacking the most basic of needs?
What I guess they failed to realize was that the same God that birthed hope in their lives by delivering them from the hands of the Egyptians, the same God that led the way to freedom by parting the Red Sea, the same God that crippled the hands of their oppressors by unleashing the plagues on their account was the same God that was going to provide for them in this situation. God’s hand was upon their lives and nothing could remove it. Whether God brought manna from the heavens or allowed their clothing to grow with them as they grew, he provided for their every need and this situation was no different. God commanded Moses to speak to a rock and told him that water would pour from it, Numbers 20, Moses did so and water didn’t trickle or drip out, it GUSHED out from the rock. To God’s chosen people he provides.
The river beds here are dry. Families are forced to ration water usage. Livestock is dying because they have neither water to drink nor food to eat. The farm houses that should be laden with luscious fruits and vegetables are bare. Bellies that should be full and bodies that should be well nourished around this time of the year are going empty and growing feeble. Businesses that should be thriving are going without business. In such great famine and drought, I can see how graciously God’s hand is upon Tumaini. We just installed four water tanks, three of which are ten-thousand liters and the other is about five thousand. My heart leaped for joy because not only were these four water tanks filled with thirty-thousand plus liters of water but they became so full that water GUSHED over the sides before they had to stop the water from being poured into it.
The same God the delivered and provided for the Israelites is doing so for this organization.
In Him,

Keep September 12 free!! It is my welcome home party
I haven’t been able to send many emails either because of electricity issues or no internet connection. It seems like whenever I am away from home we have electricity and on the days when I need to use electricity it has been rationed and turned off that day ha ha.
I spent the past two weeks with a group of Americans who completely touched my heart. I was encouraged, inspired and loved by them. They showed me about 50 card games. I pulled a BUNCH of pranks on them, especially about the culture here. Lots of jokes and laughs. Their hearts and stories are incredible. They were a breath of fresh air.
I spent this week at the youth camp for Tumaini. I was in charge of updating all of the information of each child and taking their photos. My fellow mzungu friends (white friends) REALLY helped a bunch with it.
I was given an opportunity to talk about sex again, I really enjoyed that. In this culture, especially in the rural areas, you aren’t supposed to talk about it. Your parents don’t talk to you about it, the only thing you know is that you aren’t supposed to do it. Some of the information and rumors going around about pregnancy and AIDS isn’t accurate. I feel so blessed to be able to speak about it.
I am stoked because next week a few friends from my old church are coming out here!
I am going to hold off on going to Mombasa until another time.

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From Genesis to you; Understand them!

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Interested in the reality of homelessness, please take just a couple minutes to hear about it from the mouth of people that are living it. I can tell you what I lived and experienced on the street when I was homeless. I can tell you what the shelters are like from my point of view. Watch this video made up of pictures taken and words spoken by women living on the street! This is a great project that was put together by a group reaching out to help house the homeless!

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From Geoffrey to you; looking Back

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

Saturday August 8, 2009
Looking Back
I was a pleasantly plump kid, the fat kid that loved cake. I remember over the summer break from school in high school I decided to go cold turkey with the soda and began the battle of the pudginess by exercising and I lost about 30 or 40 pounds. I never even realized I was losing weight, I remember I kept on looking in the mirror and in an exasperated way I would roll my eyes and sigh because I felt like all of this exercising wasn’t working. I looked in the mirror and I couldn’t see any difference. When I came back to school that fall it seemed like everyone noticed that I has lost weight and I looked at an old photo of myself and I realized they were right and I had. How can I lose so much weight and physically look so different and yet not even see a difference? Because change is the only constant and it is so gradual and subtle that you never realize that it is happening until what’s done is done.
This past week has been touching to say the least. I spent a lot of time delivering food to those with none. It is pretty easy to look at that last line and keep on going, I wish that these weren’t just words you were reading and that you were able to realize what it is like to be privileged enough to deliver food to those without and what that actually means. People are going hungry and are crying out to God and praying for an answer, a breakthrough or some sort of deliverance from this affliction and God allowed me to be a part in that. I was able to travel from home to home delivering gifts from God and speaking, encouraging and playing with the have not’s and the least of these. We brought in a team of eight American doctors, dentists and opticians and for the past few days have been treating HUNDREDS of people. Those people who have been bedridden for days, suffering from an infection in their gums or who have been blinded by cataracts and couldn’t afford treatment otherwise are walking away healed. As an aftereffect of my mother having cancer she developed cataracts and was practically blind, when she received her vision again he life was completely changed, we are so used to hearing about people having cataract surgery in the states, for someone here it is a Godsend and their lives will never be the same again. We hear about groups coming and doing things like this but we don’t understand the impact it actually makes on a life. Each day I have been able to play with the thirty or forty seven year old shadows, a lot of whom aren’t able to go to school. I imagine that streets kids probably don’t get treated the best, when I look at their situation, behavior and appearance I realize that they have gotten the short end of the stick and probably don’t receive the most attention. How incredible is it that a group of almost twenty Americans has traveled half way around the world and is completely focused on loving, playing with and throwing in the air these street children.
A young lady named Ann came to Masii about two months ago to live with her sister. Ann is VERY involved with our church and can never be seen without a smile from cheek to cheek. Every time I see Ann I feel like she breaks my heart, yet again, with another story of her sister. At times her sister would lash out at her or put her foot down and command Ann to not spend time with Janet or to be so involved with church and ministry. Other times her sister would verbally abuse her. The family, like many people, is suffering financially and doesn’t always receive adequate food. Recently she began to tell me about the suffering her family is enduring and how her sister is contemplating suicide. I took a young man with me a few days ago to just talk with Ann and her sister and to somehow try to reason with her. Tonight we ventured over to her home again and by the time we ended our “little discussion,” which ended up being over an hour of worship, prayer and us pouring out our hearts, this girl who was so tempted by suicide came to God and gave it all to him. Wow. God used a few messed up Americans and Kenyans to help a young woman turn all of her suicidal thoughts, depression and anger over to God. How does that happen?
I think that the change has been so gradual that I just didn’t realize it. I can’t believe that I am here, delivering food to those without any, being used to help someone turn from suicide to God, being involved with healing hundreds upon hundreds of people and to love on the people that no one else wants. I feel like I have been looking in the mirror for such a long time and haven’t realized where I have been taken. The things I have been fortunate enough to be allowed to do or be a part of I never would have thought I would be doing. When I look at the boy I was and the man I am I stand in awe and am dumbfounded.

FYI – I’m coming home in about a month, on September 11th, and on September the 12th we are having a big party and I would really enjoy it if all of you can attend. Keep the date open and I’ll give you more details soon.
Also they announced that they are rationing electricity so I wont have as much access to the internet as I have had.

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From Geoffrey to you; Hamster wheels make me nauseous

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Monday August 3, 2009
Hamster Wheels Make Me Nauseous
I apologize for not emailing much the last week and a half. I haven’t had constant access to a computer or the internet, but I have a computer to use for the next five weeks and shouldn’t have any more communication problems.
Ears danced to the beat of the bass drums and eyes were enticed by the unison movements of the young men dressed in freshly pressed dark green uniforms. The pride and strength of the marching band caught the eye of nearly every person in Masii, as they marched through Masii hundreds of children eagerly shadowed them and customers poured out of shops to catch of glimpse of this rarity. By the time the band reached the center of town hundreds upon hundreds of men, women and unfathomably wholesome children were piling on top of each other and standing on the tips of their toes. Taking into consideration the fact that Masii has a relatively small population, we had only rented 200 chairs… apparently we failed to take into consideration the sheer magnitude of the God we did all of this for because we needed around 600k for this three day evangelism.
Nothing of this scale or extent has ever been done here in Masii before. We may have grown numb to the idea of a marching band because so many of our conversations have been drowned out by them before and we see them every year on Thanksgiving Day as we recover from the tryptophan induced coma, but here in a third world country it is a captivating and rare opportunity that few are willing to let the talent and hours of practice of this team surpass them. We brought in the soothing angelic tunes of a well known and incredibly humble a cappella team that caught our hearts and whose comforting songs drove us to worship God at new heights. The scales on the eyes of those who have been blinded either by ignorance or pride of STD’s and AIDS crumbled away as the burden and words of those who have taken to heart the pandemic issue of the HIV virus reached their ears, many were tested and many eyes were opened to the reality and seriousness of this illness. Sometimes you have something so heavily weighing on your heart and you feel as though the very core of your being is pushing you and urging you to reveal those words that God himself has pressed onto your heart, we brought in incredibly talented speakers, preachers and pastors from around who all shared in the same heavily weighing burden on their heart that we do, which is to reach out to the unwanted.
The stereotypical judgmental and disassociation of the “unclean” seems to be intertwined with the DNA of the churches here (we aren’t much better back at home though). If you are HIV positive we don’t want you. If you have had a child out of wed lock, we don’t want you. If you become sick or give birth to a disabled child, we don’t want you. If you spend your days drinking away your sorrows, instead of reaching out and, Lord forbid, help you, we simply don’t want you. If your addicted to drugs, we don’t want you. If you are flawed, messed up, a sinner, or blemished in any way, we don’t want you. This seems to be the way that some of the churches here in Masii look into the city. Instead of seeing a great opportunity to transform lives or to shed light into a seemingly pitch black circumstance the religious cling to judgment, condemnation, denunciation and kick the weak when they are down. This evangelism campaign was specifically for those who no else wanted, for the drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes and sick. The world may not want them but with everything in my heart I know that God does, and that is the burden that these speakers, singers and performers all had in common and this unity in loving the unlovable caused lives to be transformed, hope to be found and Masii to never be the same again. I can type for days trying to describe how honored, mystified, humbled and blessed it feels to see the have-nots, nothings, and unwanteds feel loved, be embraced and be told about their worth, but not amount of words these feeble hands could ever type can express it. All I can say is that I feel blessed to be a part of something bigger than myself.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
This is one of those scriptures that gets put on bumper stickers and T-shirts. This is a scripture that a lot of youth camps use as a memory verse. It is one of those scriptures that pops into you head when someone is going through a tough time. I think this scripture is incredible but most people don’t finish it.
Jeremiah 29:12-13 “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”
This scripture is one of the many parts of the bible where I feel like God is writing to me. This scripture is directed at a group of captives in Babylon who are suffering and going through great tribulations. The words that God gave to Jeremiah was specifically for those people who had no hope and felt abandoned by God. If you were enslaved, persecuted, and hardly kept alive how would you look at life? Would you believe in God? Probably not, the shimmer of suicide and walking away from faith in a God would allure most people.
In their darkest hour and during the time where they felt most abandoned, God spoke to the no ones and the nothings and said I have a plan for you and not only that, but when you seek me you are actually going to find me, and I’ll bring you back from captivity.
Before I came here I felt trapped. I felt like I was confined to this never ending cycle I created for myself of feeding homeless people, leading a small group, and eating ice cream… it became monotonous. They were good things, in fact, great things, but I was missing something. I was serving, giving and loving because it was routine. Without even realizing it I had gone from serving, giving and worshipping with everything I had because I realized and acknowledged that all I had was my faith to being a hamster on a wheel. I’m not sure how it happened but I realized my stagnant faith and cried out to God and the craziest thing happened… He listened. Of all the places and times to be, I am here and the time is now. My personality, gifts and abilities seem more like a puzzle piece than anything else and they fit perfectly with where I am. God delivered me from the captivity of the Sunday to Sunday heartless cycle to joining a marching band dressed in freshly pressed dark green uniforms, an a cappella team, pastors and preachers from Nairobi and the no ones. I feel like I hopped off the hamster wheel and have fallen in love with God all over again.

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From Geoffrey to you; Stacy

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

I just wanted to let you all know that Stacy Got her wheelchair… it came about ten weeks late… but SHE GOT IT! I will send photos when I can. I’m without a computer for a week or so, so expect to get them in about a week.

I hope you are all doing well

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Something Beautiful

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

Monday July 20, 2009

Something Beautiful

When faced with trials and tribulations we can sometimes lose our once firmly planted foot on “hope” and slip in a pit of despair. We find ourselves in situations where there is no way out and the crushing presence of the ever-increasing darkness seems to be endless. However, even in the darkest of darkness, amidst the most devastating of misfortunes, and the through the most crippling of destitution the smallest shimmer of light, no matter how minute or brisk, can be the most awe inspiring. In the worst situations hope can prevail and the smallest flicker of light can negate the most immense and suffocating amount of darkness. Even though her world has been turn upside down and the wound inflicted by her mothers death is still raw and tender, something beautiful is so clearly present in Janet’s life.

I don’t think anything would ever allow me to fully communicate the weight of the burden and the intensity of the pain of being amongst those who sank Janet’s heart by telling her the news about her mother’s death. The room was filled with a solemn and grave silence with the painful whimpers, wails and sobs spilled by Janet being the only audible thing. Tears were gushing down every set of eyes in the room that night and though the death of a loved one is painful, every one of us fully understood how much more this hurt Janet and for that our hearts went out even further to her. Her small daughter is no fool and clung to her mothers side and just laid in Janet’s lap as Janet clenched a handkerchief in one hand and buried her face in the other. I broke the news with you all, my friends, family and some people I have yet to meet face to face, and through your reaction and the response of the community I realize the aesthetic reality of it all.

I asked you all to write a few words of encouragement to Janet and the response you gave was heartwarming. Today I sat down with Janet early in the morning and shared your letters with her. Within the first minute tears began to build up in her eyes and before long they began to gently cascade down her cheeks and a smile was ever present on her face as we took in all that you all had written. When I finished the last line of the last letter she asked me to read them again, and I did. How beautiful is this?

Of the billions of people alive today and of all places in the world I am here with Janet. Of all times to come to here of all places I come now, when times are the dreariest. Of all the people to be writing to Janet, it is you all the Americans, the culture and community the is looked up to and admired to an extent that most of us will never come to realize. I can’t tell you what your words and how your reaction touched Janet’s heart. I don’t think you understand how special and loved she feels knowing that people on the other side of the world are praying for her and taking the time to write to her. I can’t tell you how amazing and blessed I feel to be the one to read your words to her. A time like this is one of the darkest hours that Janet may ever face, which means that it is the time when the smallest amount of light can stand out the most. In response to Janet’s situation I was sent enough money to cover any financial burden for the burial and to ensure that Janet is provided for, I was sent more encouraging words and prayers than I can count and had peace in my heart because of you all sharing in this with me. The community here has wrapped their arms around Janet and this situation, food is being brought to the home, visitors are flooding her doorstep, and prayers are being cried out on her behalf by the multitudes. This situation has been so painful and grim which is why this response has strung a chord in my heart so warmly, just like the sunrise the day after a fierce storm seems to dance before your eyes and is stunningly gorgeous.

Isaiah 58:9 “Then you will call, and the Lord will answer, you will cry for help, and he will say: “Here am I.”

How many times in life do we feel alone? How many times are we crying out to God saying “where are you?” When I look at Janet’s situation I realize that though we may feel alone we never are and though we may feel as though God has abandoned us his hand is still upon on our lives. In our distress, in times of hardship and hopelessness, when we cry for help, when we feel as though it is us against the world God shows us that we aren’t here alone and that we shall overcome he says “Here am I.”

I realize now that in the most severe and crippling of situations, something so beautiful and touching can come from it.

Thank you,


Prayer Requests:
We have a HUGE three day evangelism for Masii in two weeks, I hear that nothing like this has ever been done before!
Stacy’s wheelchair (They say it will come next week… only about ten weeks late… I just hope we get it)
Rain… still as dry as can be here.

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