Saturday, December 19, 2009

Safari Story

Here's a great story about the safari Dustin & I just went on. We arrived at the Tsavo East Park at around 11am. The plan was to drive around looking for animals to see (Elephants, Gazelle, Impala, Zebra, etc.) until about 1pm when we'd arrive at the lodge where we would have lunch. We saw a few animals, it rained a little, and as I was standing up with my hands up in the back of the safari van with the raised rooftop getting wet from the cool raindrops and the cool breeze lacking the humidity of the coast, I realized how draining the Mombasa humidity can be and how refreshing this was.

We came to the road for our lodge, but there was a river running through it so we went the long way. Our driver was in a hurry as we were late for lunch so he sped on through the bumpy road. We were going much too fast to see anything so I continued reading my book. The nice young German couple were standing up in the front, their hair and faces becoming redder and redder with the African dust kicked up by other vans in front of us. Suddenly I hear a scream and see a small yellow thing flash in front of me and I feel a little splatter on my face. I looked to my right to see a beautiful, yet headless, yellow bird on top of my small, black N. Texas dufflebag. A small pool of blood gathering next to its missing head.

"Ahhh!" I said.

I picked up the bird's body and hung it over the side of the van. I was going to drop it, but then decided it would be best to document, thus the pictures. One of us finally said what everyone was thinking, "Where's the head?" The young German woman looked down to her feet and screamed, "Ahhh!" We all laughed a little more, took a few pictures and had a good story.

Brown-Outs: Reflections on the Universal Church in Kenya

All of Kenya electricity operates out of one company: Kenya Power & Lighting. It is run by the government and is very unreliable, so much so that many have called it, Kenya Power & Darkness. Black outs are frequent, candles and flashlights always ready. You never know when it will go, and once it goes you never know when it will come back, anywhere between 20 seconds and 12 hours. But the strangest kind are what Dennis Omondi calls, 'brown-outs'. The fan makes one revolution every 5 seconds, the lights are dim and pulsating, and it confuses appliances so much that it is better to turn it off.

Brown-outs. Somehow, it describes the state of the Church in Kenya. "You are the light of the world...let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven" (Mt. 5:14,16). It's a bit dim here. Some pastors, some churches, and some 'Christians' are like those confused appliances - it would be better to just turn them off because they are doing more damage than good. Some have no light to shine and therefore no good works to give God glory. If you take the church in Kenya as a whole, it's average is a brown-out. But if you start digging deep, looking for a few good churches, a few good men and women that shine with the brilliant light of Jesus Christ in all they do, there is hope for both Lighting and Power in Kenya.

Some have told us,
"You mean that the pastor of your church isn't all about money and offerings? He's not greedy for power, riches, and fame? That's weird."

"I've never been to a church that preaches God's Word for what it actually says!"

People from our church, helped raise over $2500 and some traveled 1000 km across the country to be present for Evan's burial (for the full story of this faithful man's death, click here) in Busia. They left with 14 people and returned with 4 or 5 people. Why? Because the family turned on them in anger looking for someone to blame and judge for such a tragic and awful event. The light of Christ shined bright by the few into the brown out of the many.

Pray for the church in Kenya, that it might truly be a city set on a hill. Pray for our local church, Word of Life Fellowship. Our church is maturing but is not lacking in its own occasional brown-outs.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Something terrible has happened that will be used for God's good purposes

November 24, 2009.
Yesterday morning one of the most faithful young men of our church was killed. Evans, brother to Archie, best friend to Alfred. Evans was 23 years old and his days were numbered until this one. We were expecting many more, but God knew from the day Evans was born that this would be his last day.

Alfred and Evans were driving to work as they usually do at around 7:00am in their truck for Darad Hardware. A minor accident occurred and their side mirror was broken. When an accident occurs here in Kenya, you pull over and discuss with the other person what happened, make negotiations, and then go to the police station. They decided to all drive to the police station. Evans rode with the other car, Alfred followed in the truck. The other car passed the police station and continued on, Alfred followed. They made it 10 minutes outside of Ukunda, Alfred overtook the other truck and blocked their path. As words were being exchanged between Alfred and the driver, Alfred heard THUMP, and Evans was lying on the ground. He was hit by some blunt object wielded by someone in the truck. Alfred picked his best friend off of the pavement and put him in the truck racing back to Ukunda, to the nearest hospital. When Alfred and Evans arrived at Palm Beach Hospital, only Alfred remained. Evans was pronounced dead on arrival. And the names which were always affixed together, "Alfred and Evans", are now separated.

Senseless greedy wickedness!

As family, friends, and church members grieved in the hospital, Alfred was giving a statement to the police and the police were tracking down the other vehicle. The car was found, then the driver, but not the man who hit Evans. The driver was locked up in the police station. And so was Alfred until all could be sorted out.

Alfred, Alfred, oh poor Alfred! His best friend is dead. He should be here with us finding some spiritual comfort in the presence of the redeemed! Not sharing a cell with people responsible for killing his best friend!

Corrupted wretchedness that takes righteous life!!

For what! FOR WHAT! A side mirror? 5,000 shillings ($65)? Is that how much life is worth now?

Alfred was finally released last night at around 7:00pm.

Something terrible has happened that will be used for God's good purposes. How? How can this be good? It cannot be good. Wicked man cannot be saved from indwelling wickedness...unless, unless he gets a new heart, unless, unless he is born again. But that's impossible. True. But God is not. God is not. This is God's specialty. He is Creator. He can speak to nothing and even nothing will obey the sound of his voice in fear and shape itself into something. He is Redeemer. Even when His creation is marred and corrupted by sin, He can buy it back out of its wickedness and pronounce it clean, pure, and innocent once again. Born again. Redeemed. This is what He does.

Redeem this wicked act Lord Jesus, I pray.

I was thinking about just how sad this day was. I was praying for Alfred, Cecilia, Archie & Tabitha, Fred & Tabitha, and Evan's family I don't know. All I could say was, "Lord listen to my spirit and intercede on my behalf," and this verse: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid" (John 14:27).

Evans is with Christ, and it is so much gain to him, so much better there than here. We live on, and for us to live is Christ as we live in Him and with His message of hope and salvation to the world. And as we live in a world of suffering, we will suffer, some with a greater pain than others. But God has spoken through His apostle Paul who suffered greater than all of us and considered it all as 'this light momentary affliction [that] is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison' (2 Cor 4:17).

Please pray with us for the family and friends of this great young man who loved Christ while he was here and now loves Him in the deep presence of God, greater than we can comprehend.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"smoke from a thousand villages"

(This is a long one but worth the read. Feel free to go to the bottom summary points)

When David Livingstone arrived at the missions station in S. Africa in the mid-1800s , there was one thought that drove him, compelled him, and stirred up a passion within his soul. He would look to the north. The land was unexplored, and thus unexposed to the truth of the gospel, that Jesus Christ came to redeem from sin all who would follow and believe in Him for salvation. In the morning sun, Livingstone would look to the vast plains of the north and see smoke rising, smoke from a thousand villages who had never heard.

Livingstone and many other missionaries contributed to the romantic understanding of Africa that I can only understand when I look out at the open plain. It is a feeling I only receive when in the villages. Quiet, beautiful, serene and simple. Sometimes I wonder if Africa as a continent would have been better off untouched by modern life. Sometimes I wonder if this world would have been better off untouched by modern life, the 'noise, hurry, and crowds' that our Adversary focuses on to keep us from a contemplative life.

There is something growing in my heart that both stirs an exciting passion in my soul and an uncomfortable fear in my flesh. It is a greater desire to be a witness for Jesus Christ among those who have not clearly heard, and more specifically among the Muslims of this area. I am finding that my desire to be a teacher of God's word in order to lead believers to maturity is not contradictory, but complementary to my desire to be a teacher of God's word in order to lead the lost to faith in Christ and maturity in that faith. That they are one in the same.

However, I still feel conflicted. Longing with a deep desire to lock myself up in the office and study God's Word, study Islam, study Swahili, drink deep of knowledge and its useful purposes. And yet also longing for a deeper understanding of the people and engaging them with my whole heart.

Question: In one day, is eight hours of study, worth one hour of wise words finding their origin in God and given in a timely manner? (seriously, what do you think?)

In all this flood of impractical thinking, I remember that I've only been here two months. God is leading. God is growing my heart. God is working. God is my shepherd, and I am his sheep. My only responsibility is to hear the voice of my shepherd, and to follow him. The shepherd is the one who feeds, loves, and leads his sheep to the green pastures, the still waters, and even through the valley that we might trust Him in all seasons.

On a practical note, October has brought:
- an opportunity to preach at church on the meaning and significance of the Lord's Supper
- James & Jacinta our national teammates had their firstborn son, Daniel.
an outside bathroom at the Serve Center which will be used a lot once we officially open up to the public. It is our desire to use this place as a resource and training center for the pastors in this coastal region.
- Several teaching opportunities for myself. Worship team Bible study on Spiritual Disciplines, weekly devotionals with the Team, a study with college students in Mombasa over Galatians for all of November, an informal class on Ecclesiology for the church leadership team at Word of Life.
- An increased Swahili vocabulary
- I've been able to get to know some of the other missionaries here and talk with them about learning from them more about evangelism in this area.
- Many small opportunities from sharing Christ on the beach to having lunch with the caretaker of my apartments and his brothers.

Looking back over the month I can see that a lot is taking place. I need to learn not to measure my worth upon how much I accomplish in a day (or in a year or ever for that matter). No one can accomplish much in one day, but in 365 of them a lot can happen. Whether or not it is worth something or just chaff driven away by the wind, is up to God who breathes life into our work and causes the growth. We learned in church last week that we are farmers. A farmer is to work very hard, but ultimately what he does is plant a seed, bury it under ground, and wait for this magical thing called 'growth' to happen. God is that magic. Praise God! Because none of us have any ultimate control over the hearts of men. Growth is an impossible task for men, but farming is not.

Pray that I'd be a faithful and hard working farmer, planting seeds of faith in believers and unbelievers alike with the Word of God and the Gospel of Grace & Peace, today and for the next 20,000 days if my life remains and Jesus tarries.

In Summary:
- I have a greater desire to share Christ with those who do not believe.
- And yet a greater desire to study, study, study
- Right now I'm doing a lot of studying and teaching Bible studies
- I'd like to create a balance by spending some time learning how to share Christ in the villages and building stronger relationships in the church.

- Increased learning and adjustment to life here in Kenya
- God's leading and direction in my heart
- An increase in our team unity

- To be a faithful, hard-working farmer
- To walk closely and personally with God and be daily amazed by God's love
- To be patient throughout this first year of ministry and to not put too much pressure on myself

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Poem on Missions from a Friend

Go to the people,
Live among them,
Learn from them,
Start with what they know,
Build on what they have.

But of the best leaders, when their work is done, the people will all remark,

"we have done it ourselves."

That sounds great. Pray with me that I might actually know how to do this through God's grace and enabling in my life.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Excerpt on Edwards

The following excerpt is from Iain Murray's book, "Heroes".

"What Edwards Has Left Us"
#4. Edwards' great lesson is the call to cease looking to men and to live to honour God alone.

Ask Edwards what he considered is ever the first need of the church, and his answer is very definite. It is 'humility', for pride is the peril ever nearest to us. It was pride that brought down the Northampton church. It was pride that led the eighteenth century to glory in the delusion of its supposed 'Enlightenment'. And in the way it can turn even the best of things to its use, pride is the most subtle of temptations. Orthodox faith, good scholarship, able preachers, successful congregations - these are all desirable things, but pride can ruin them all.

We want revival, but revival where pride is not mortified will quench the Holy Spirit...

Pride is the cause of the idolatry that is hateful to God. Congregations can idolize preachers, preachers can idolize congregations. In Edwards' life we are taught not only by his words but by his history, that we are to 'cease from man'. The praise of man one day may turn to opposition the next. We are not to depend on human nature. 'Beware of man', is the injunction of Christ. And the warning is most needed when it seems least necessary.

To the Bible's question, 'What is man?' Edwards knew the right answer: man is 'a leaf driven of the wind, poor dust, a shadow, a nothing'. And of himself he says that he was empty, 'a helpless creature', of small account, and needing 'God's help in everything'.

There is one text more than any other to which the life of Jonathan Edwards leads us back. It is at the heart of the Resolutions he wrote as a young Christian; he preached it in Boston at the age of twenty-seven when he said, 'the creature is nothing, and God is all'; and he delighted in it the longer he lived. The text is 1 Corinthians 10:31: 'Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.' To exalt man is to disown the purpose of God that 'no flesh should glory in his presence'. All good is given to believers - all grace, all revival, all redemption, all eternity - that we might be abased and find our all in God. Whatever the hardships, the persecution or the disappointments in things temporal, the churches brightest and happiest days are those in which she is learning to sing, 'Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory' (Psa. 115:1), for this is God's preparation for the world where all will say,
Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen (Rev. 7:12)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'm Two Years Old.

I'm sitting here in my living room in Kenya under a ceiling fan that was just installed thinking about how I can summarize my first 3 weeks here. As I adjust to life here in Kenya, stick out like a sore thumb, and learn all over again how to do basic tasks I've been doing for years, the theme of the 2 year old continues to come up again and again. Anjela, the Omondi's daughter, just turned 2 this week. She's had 2 years of experience now in Kenya. I've had a grand total of 3 months. So, I'm a two year old? Yep. Exactly. Other friends I have that are just entering the mission field have expressed the same kinds of feelings. One realized that his teammates' daughter knows the English alphabet better than he knows the Arabic alphabet! Hi, I'm Ben Warren. I may look 28 years old, but really I just turned 2.

Reminding myself of this is helpful. I think a large part of me expects to be able to jump right in to ministry here. I feel awkward when someone asks, "What do you do here?" I say, I'm working with Dennis and Serve. They say, "Well what do you do?" I say..."Figuring out what I will be doing" Remembering I'm a two year old takes some of the pressure off of myself that I need to have an established ministry already. Jerry Clark from Denton Bible came out last week. As we traveled around and spoke to many pastors and church leaders, he told me something he had heard from Mel Summrall: "When you come to a new place, you can't expect for the people to catch your vision or listen much to you. First they have to know you, then they have to like you. This has to happen before anyone is willing to follow you or hear what you say."

So this is what I'm doing. Getting to know people. Learning Swahili. Learning how to live in Kenya. I'm a student. I'm a 2 year old. I'm a missionary.

Here are some pictures of my home in Kenya

The Electric Shock of Culture.

On Thursday morning, an electrician from the church who also sells used furniture and fans, came to my house to install a ceiling fan that I purchased from him. Once it was up and running I was very happy to have some air moving in the main room. Dustin and I went out to meet with Dennis and came back ready to make some dinner. I grabbed the empty coffee mug on my table and went for the fan's metal regulator box on the wall to turn up the speed of the fan.

"What?", Dustin said.
"I just got shocked!", I said, in a loud voice one might consider a yelp.

When the electrician returned, he found that the metal box had pinched a wire against the wall, exposing the wire and running a current throughout the entire box. Looking back on it, the shock felt familiar to a shock I received one summer afternoon at one of my Dad's jobs when I grabbed a loose plug by its sides. Both my American and Kenyan shocks probably ended up around the same voltage. In Kenya all the electricity runs at 220 volts while in America it is 110 I believe. So I think I received an American shock by an indirect exposure through the box of my Kenyan fan switch.

The whole situation became a lesson in culture, as I began to question whether or not I was sold a bad fan and taken advantage of, as happens often to people in Kenya, especially mzungus (white people). I don't think I was taken advantage of with the ceiling fan but it brought some interesting thoughts and I'm glad I experienced this little 'shock' in culture.

My question: Is an untrusting attitude just as bad as a deceitful one?

I've been pondering this and I'm not quite sure of the answer. I know that after a while I can easily grow a hard heart to all the people here in Kenya who will do whatever it takes to get your money - either through stealing or through deceit.

My conclusion for now: I would rather be generous and trusting (but not naive or gullible), then be stingy and untrusting. Which character qualities would you rather have? Exactly. I'm going with the former by the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

(Let me know what you think! Do you have any advice for me? Any thoughts. I'd love to hear from you!)

Sometimes we talk about how America's spirituality has declined due to the love of money and its prosperity. You would think that a less prosperous country might be able to have a greater spirituality without this distraction. Sadly, this place is FILLED with the 'love of money' especially in this area which has a high tourist population. Did you know that poor people can be just as obsessed with the love of money as the rich? Last week one pastor in Nakuru exclaimed, "I will not die poor!", as we discussed the validity of the prosperity gospel. The prosperity gospel is a different gospel, not the good news of Jesus Christ, because its central focus is not on salvation in Christ, but on physical possessions and money. As we continued to share the true gospel from the Scriptures with this group in Nakuru, the same pastor said, "But what about prosperity?" As if this was something that had to occur for all those who follow Christ. What do you think? Did Jesus Christ experience a 'prosperous' life? Did Paul? Did they die rich men or poor men? Respected by the world or persecuted by it?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Week 1 out of...oh wait, I live here now!

I wrote this last week and have just got to internet to post it. It's a bit outdated, but it'll do:

Well, I am here in Kenya now. I hope to send this off before we travel up country to Nakuru, north of Nairobi. Chris Cobble, Jerry & Linda Clark, and Janis Seville from Denton Bible Church came on the 11th so it has been busy and will be busy until the 19th. This is probably good for me because I have had a very difficult time since last Saturday when I left my family. Leaving them turned out to be SO much more emotional than I thought it would be. Having Dustin Moore travel with me helped a lot.
Once I arrived it was even more overwhelming. "Can I make my life here? What have I done? What has God done?" There has simply been way too many things happening at once and I've been extremely overwhelmed by everything that I suddenly own here. Some people describe it like you become a two year old again and you have no idea how to do anything anymore. Culture shock, plus jetlag, plus emotion of leaving = overwhelmed.

Friday was a very encouraging day. We went back to Ujamaa where I taught church history last summer. We spent the whole day there at a BTCP Alumni conference where there were about 20 alumni from the area that gathered for some teaching and fellowship. I got to see some of my old students and enjoy their greetings. When we began, we sang a couple of swahili songs - no instruments, just voices and clapping. Hearing the pastors sing praises to our God in Swahili reminded me of why I came. I did not come because I thought it was better to live my life in Kenya than America. I came for the people. I came for the believers who need teaching, encouragement, and discipleship.

Thank you for your prayers. I sent a few emails out describing how I was feeling on Thursday, and I believe God is answering many of them through this small encouraging moment on Friday and others. There are many months ahead of adjustment, culture shock, and emotional breakdowns. But I had a good day, and I am thankful for it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A story for my nephew

Here is a little comic I created for my nephew. I pray that he learns early what it means to be a disciple of Christ, one who follows after Him wherever He leads.

*You can click on the images to get a closer view.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

10 Days or "How Deep the Father's Love for Us"

  1. That I would have a greater knowledge and faith of God's overwhelming love for me.
  2. For goodbyes and transitions.
  3. For my family, especially my Mom, as I depart for Kenya.

With 10 days left before I depart for Kenya, I've been reflecting on one major thing. God's love for us, God's love for me. I was in a wedding last Saturday, and during the service they had a time of worship. A hymn they sung stayed with me for a couple days. "How Deep the Father's Love for Us" below are the words to this wonderful hymn.

You see, what I've been thinking about is how central to our Christian lives it is to know and believe God's love for us. If I could grasp this love, its height, depth, breadth, and length, if I could know this love which surpasses knowledge, then I would be 'filled up to all the fullness of God' (Eph 3:17-19). This was Paul's prayer for the Ephesians. It was a request for the impossible - to know that which is beyond knowledge, to comprehend something that has no boundaries, measurements, or limits. Its height takes us to the very throne of God (Heb 4:16), its depth pierces through us even to the division of soul and spirit (Heb 4:12), its breadth is as far as the east is from the west (Ps 103:12), and the length of the steadfast love of God is everlasting, enduring forever (Ps 136).

If I would truly know and believe in God's overwhelming love for me, I would long to love him in return and please him in all that I do. My greatest struggles with sin would be countered by this love because I would choose God over any lesser thing. My joy would be found in Him, my acceptance would be found in Him. I would not fear man nor what man can do to me because I am accepted in the Beloved of God. I would not do my work to please man and gain praise, but to give all glory to the Father whom I love.

This is not something that just happens immediately, but I must daily meditate and believe that this is true asking God to increase my faith and knowledge of His love and to increase my love for Him. But as this increases, so will my joy, my holiness, my compassion for others, my desire to shout and sing and teach of His glorious majesty and steadfast love.

Pray for me. Pray for others. Pray for yourself, "that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith; and that we, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that we may be filled up to all the fullness of God."

"How Deep the Father's Love for Us"
How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Departure Date

My departure for Kenya is set:

Pray for my final preparations this next month. I'm very excited to start moving forward in these final steps to the field.

It's weird how all this preparation and work has been put in the front end...and now it is time to


Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Here's a little bit about the city I'm in right now. I just returned this evening from the mosque that they show in the video.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A dream of Jesus

"You know I've seen Jesus. He's beautiful. I was sleeping and in my dream he came to me in a beautiful white robe. He had leather sandals, a long beard, and a white hat. He looked just like the imam from the mosque."

"What did he say?"

"He told me to, 'Walk with me.' He took me to a beautiful, green hillside and we just stood there and looked at it."

He told us this after an hour and a half of Muslim / Christian apologetics and debate. Then they had to go. We have his number and hope to meet with him this week. God willing, we will have a chance to share some verses with this man, for example,
‘But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. - Rev 3:4-5.

Please pray that we might have the opportunity to share such things from the Scriptures with him. Many Muslims have dreams and visions of Jesus Christ, but they do not come to Christ until after a second experience with a Christian or the Bible. Pray that he will put his faith in Christ and that the Lord Jesus would lead him to "lie down in green pastures...beside quiet waters..." and restore his soul in the path of righteousness (Ps 23).
  • Pray for dreams and visions
  • Pray for the tired and weak who long to be freed from the burden of Law (Mt. 11:28-30)
  • Pray for the individuals we have talked to (they all need Jesus)

Monday, June 29, 2009


In two days I will be heading out to Dearborn, Michigan where I will be participating in a 3 week evangelism training course.

If you are interested in what type of evangelism, and why Dearborn, contact me and I'll let you know.

Please pray for my time there. I will be in classes from 8am-3pm and then in the evenings we will put to practice what we've learned by going out to the community and sharing the message of the Father and the redemption offered through His Son.

The program is from July 5 - 26, and I have heard it is very intense. As a good friend of mine who has done this program said, "Pray that you won't get in the way. Your most effective witness is to let the light of Christ shine through you." So I ask you to pray for this, the ministries up there and for the hearts of the people we will be speaking to.

I will try to be better at keeping you all informed during my time up there. Pray for safe travels. I'm driving alone to Memphis on July 1 and to Chicago on July 2 where I'll stay with a friend of mine for a few days before heading to Dearborn on the 5th.

  • Pray that I won't get in the way. My most effective witness is to let the light of Christ shine through me.
  • Pray for the hearts of the people I will be interacting with.
  • Pray for the ministries in Dearborn reaching out to these people.
  • Pray for my travels.
  • Pray that in many ways this training will prepare me to be a good witness to the people in the South Coast of Kenya; pray also that it will help me to train the believers in Kenya to engage these people who are spiritually perishing right next to them.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Graduation, 100%, & the Missions Conference

A lot of great things have been happening in the Benya world!


Last Saturday, on May 9th, I had my official commencement ceremony from the Missionary Training Institute. It was a wonderful and encouraging time that I got to share with my family and some friends. The last two years have been challenging but very rewarding from class to my internship with DCC to the support raising process.

And Praise God, I have finished support raising! I am at 100% of my monthly needs and about 58% of my one time needs. However, the remaining 42% should be taken care of through the monthly donations rolling over through August (my estimated departure). Our team, however, is still support raising for a project in Ukunda. Ask me about it if you are interested.

Thank you for going on this journey with me. If you have been praying, know that you are a part of this and I'm extremely grateful. Rejoice with me because God has answered your prayers.

Missions Conference:

For those of you in the Denton / DFW area, I'd like you to come celebrate with me all the great things God has done and is doing at the Denton Bible Missions Conference: Love Your Neighbor. You don't have to be a part of DBC to come and I'm positive it will be worth your while. Details are below. Click on this link to REGISTER.

The conference will be a great event to . . .

  1. Get to know our missionaries: DBC has 73 missionary families sent out from our body serving around the world in a variety of ministries. We hope to have over 50 of these missionaries here at the conference. You will have the opportunity to hear them share with the conference, attend one of their break-out sessions, or visit one on one.
  2. Learn about DBC missions: The conference will highlight several of our field ministries and offer break out sessions for in depth discussion of each of our key ministries.
  3. Be challenged with solid teaching: Mark Young (Executive Pastor of Missions at StoneBriar Church, Professor at DTS and President Elect of Denver Seminary) and Tommy Nelson will be challenge us on loving our neighbor
  4. Get involved: Opportunities for local and international involvement will be highlighted throughout the conference
  5. Bring the whole family: there will be a childrens program on both days that will take the kids to far away places like China and Kenya while having them back in time to be picked up. Kids last year loved the event and it motivated whole families to begin praying and participating in outreach.

Conference Details:
  1. The conference is on Friday night May 29th from 6 – 9 PM (doors open at 5) and Saturday May 30th from 9 AM to 2 PM (doors open at 8AM).
  2. The cost is free but we are asking everyone to register. Lunch on Saturday is $5 per adult and $2 per child and requires a ticket purchased prior to the event.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Reflections on Disparity


I've been thinking about this word a lot lately. I promise I'll make this reasonably short.

This last month I was able to spend a week in Memphis with 140 college students from the college ministry of Denton Bible Church. It was a great time of service, learning, and reflection on the need for Christians to infiltrate culture and be a witness in all areas of life which include rich and poor, black and white, not allowing our cultural biases or inner prejudices keep us from engaging in cross cultural ministry here in our own country.

Sadly I only took 3 pictures. The one above is at the Civil Rights Museum that is built around the motel where Martin Luther King Jr was killed.

I also have been able to teach a lot this last month and I am continuing on with my Church History class on Monday nights for two more weeks. But on to the word at hand.

Martin Luther King rose up to fight, but not to kill. He rose up to challenge, but not injure. And they killed him. He recognized the disparity between white Americans and black Americans, all citizens of the same nation but one being treated as less than human.

Why does a group of men and women get to come to a church on a Monday night and learn about Church History, when some PASTORS elsewhere in the world have never even heard that Christ is returning...yet still have faith in Him and follow Him?

Why do some people live in incredible luxury and wastefulness, while others simply long for the basic needs of a human being? Water. Bread.

Why are we able to gather in some places with thousands of Christians while some entire nations do not have the same amount of believers as our typical SMALL GROUP?

Why do we have multiple choices of English translations when many people groups have no Scripture in their language to guide them to the truth of Christ?

Perhaps why is too philosophical, theological, impractical of a question? Maybe the question for all of these is WHAT can we do about this massive gulf of difference between our world...and the rest of the world.

Yes, Christians are missionaries and disciples of Christ wherever we are and there IS need everywhere. But what should be done about the disparity? This word just keeps staying in my head. Disparity.

I think the answer is found in the heart of God who crossed the ultimate gulf of difference, the ultimate disparity and came to redeem the world in Jesus the Christ.

Pray with me for more laborers for the harvest, 'for the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few' (Mt 9:35-38).

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Quick, someone join the Benya support team!

So, the other day I was looking at how much more monthly support needs to come in for me to be at 100%. I had just registered a new support team member and so I took my total and minused what I have coming in right now.

(Suspenseful moment)

I have exactly $666 a month needed! Isn't that a little crazy? Someone needs to join quick! I don't want to stay at that number for too long :).

I'm sure it's fine......

Monday, March 9, 2009

Alright, who's been praying?

Alright, who's been praying? Come on. Fess up. Because surely someone has! Missionaries don't have 23% jumps in their monthly supporters in one month. This just doesn't happen! And yet it has. God has been knocking my socks off with people who are interested in joining the Benya team and being a part of the work in Kenya. For example, last week I had 9 appointments. Out of those, 7 of them wanted to join the team. Out of those, four of them already have turned in the paperwork and are already starting to give! Unbelievable! But shouldn't it be believable oh me of little faith?

Things are getting quite busy as everything I am doing this semester is hitting at once: Spring Break Mission trip to Memphis with College Life (March 15-21), teaching 3 sessions of OT Survey (starting 3/23), teaching 6 sessions of Church History (starting 3/23), along with continued support meetings. I'm starting to wonder if God is going to bring in my support early just so I can rest for a while before leaving!

Will you leave as soon as your support is raised?
On this side of August, no. I'm still planning on being in Denton early June for the Denton Bible Missions Conference and going to Dearborn, Michigan in July for 3 1/2 weeks of training on how to share Christ with Muslims. I am becoming more and more convinced of the necessity of this training in Michigan so that in my ministry with Word of Life Fellowship Church and in pastoral training I can encourage them to local outreach and evangelism of the Muslim people in the South Coast of Kenya.

Please pray:
- For more people to join my support team and for my one time support to be raised.
- Pray for my teaching this next month - Old Testament Survey / Church History
- Pray for the Spring Break trip to Memphis - for hearts to be conformed to Christ.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Immediate Fruit?

The hardest part about support raising in my opinion is the waiting. We are typically not very patient people, humans that is but especially Americans. But a lot of support raising is simply waiting on God to move in the hearts of the people you meet with to sit down, pray, look at the budgets, decide whether or not they can support you, and then fill the forms out. It takes a long time to get all that done when life is hectic and kids get sick and jobs get demanding. I think God really uses this whole process to develop missionaries before he sends them out to the field.

How would missionaries react if 100% of their support came in the first month they started support raising? I'd probably be pretty overwhelmed and simply not ready to leave yet! Also I might go to the field expecting the same kind of immediate fruit in the ministry. "Immediate Fruit" - well there is an oxymoron if I've ever heard one. There is absolutely nothing immediate about fruit if we are involved in the planting, watering, cultivating, and waiting process. It's the same with ministry, and the same with support raising.

Praise God, I have been making significant progress and it has been very encouraging. I was at 40% in December and now I have 55% of my monthly support covered. Praise God for His provision!

Please pray:
1) For my patience and faithfulness in the support raising process.
2) For God's provision in God's timing.
3) For the many other things I am attempting to juggle at the same time: Class on Islam, Discipleship, teaching a Church History class and 3 weeks of OT Survey in MTI after Spring Break, Personal Reading, etc.
4) Most importantly pray for my own faithfulness in prayer. "Lord place in Ben and place in me daily a stronger heart of prayer and desire to pray which is our great and wonderful privilege as redeemed children of God."

Thursday, January 8, 2009


That's what my Spring semester will be full of: FUN-draising. What is 'draising'? Don't you worry about that...because it is FUN.

The chart above describes my financial needs for moving to Mombasa, Kenya by August. The pictures are of pastors that I met in Kenya and signify how many givers I need at varying amounts per month.

If it comes to mind, please pray that God would provide and allow me to discover who He has given to be a part of the Benya team!