Blogs From Africa


I have decided to archive all my blog posts from my mission trip to Africa summer 2013 here. The organization I went with was AIM (Adventures in Missions). My team was 12 people, 4 guys, 8 girls. We were in Musul (4 hours away from Nanyuki) Kenya with some people from the Masai tribe for 2 1/2 weeks. Then we went to Rukungiri, Uganda for 2 1/2 weeks. Lastly we were in Kigali, Rwanda for 2 weeks.

Musul

Last Thursday we arrived in Musul, where we will be ministering for the next two weeks. We are far out in the bush, the closest town is 50 km away over bumpy dirt roads. We are tenting in a small village with 7 houses, there are no showers, we walk everywhere we go, and we have a nice squatty potty. Elephants, zebras, and antelope are common here. It is exactly what I was hoping for.  The leader of this village is named Joseph, he is an elder in AIC Musul, the local Church that we are associated with. Almost all of the people in the community are of the Masai tribe. We have found that the Masai are a very friendly people and are excellent hosts who love visitors. It seems all you need to befriend them is to remember their names and greet them with “suppa (?)” which is Masai for hello.

 

On Sunday we went to our local church, AIC Musul, and it was very interesting. Their average church attendance is 30 people, so we added almost another half to the service. Like us they have a sermon, sing songs, take an offering, and even have an altar call. Their singing, though, is much more involved. For several songs they got up and started a conga line around the church. For others they all went to the front and started dancing in a circle. It was very cool to see how different cultures worship the same God.

 

On Monday we started doing our ministry. Our ministry here consists of walking to different families and either encourage them in their faith or share the gospel with them. Today three people accepted Christ! It was amazing to see God working so powerfully and so quickly. We also prayed for and encouraged two families who already knew Christ, and they were very happy and glad for the encouragement. We will return to each family in around 2 days to talk with them more.

Also we saw an elephant on Sunday! Africa is awesome!

 

God’s Power

First I want to talk about God’s power in our ministry. In the past two weeks we have shared the gospel with many people in Musul. Around nine people accepted Christ , mesesi Jesu (praise Jesus in Maasai). Last Monday we  went to a house where we prayed for a girl with an open wound on her ankle, and a small girl who was sick. We returned there this week to see how they were doing and to encourage them. When we got there we were told that the next day both of the girls had been healed. The doubting Thomas in me has now been silenced. A tree can be judged by its fruits, and the fruit of our ministry was good here in Kenya. It has changed my mind about door to door ministry and evangelism in general.

Now I want to reveal God’s power in my life. I chose this trip on a whim with little input from God, or so I thought. Back in training camp we were walking in to the dining hall when I had a flashback to a dream I had several months ago. I was walking into a dining hall with a group of people I had never seen before, but I felt very close to them.  It matched what was happening then exactly, so God has now given me at least one prophetic dream. AIM places a lot of emphasis on “living in the spirit.” This means actively seeking God’s will, instead of passively just hoping to see it. This is challenging for me, but it has helped me grow and I have already seen God do great things because I sought him out. One day I was discouraged about door to door ministry, so I prayed that God would tell me if he wanted me to continue with it. That night one of the Africans pulled me aside and out of the blue said, “Do the work God has given you, he will take care of the rest. God had spoken, and I was encouraged.

Now we are finished with our ministry in Kenya and our on ourway to Nairobi to catch a bus to Uganda (I’m actually typing this on a bus so forgive any errors. I’m excited to do some new kinds of ministry in Uganda, and I’m also very excited to live indoors again. I will miss Kenya a lot though. I found that I had a family waiting for me in Kenya, and now I will miss them. My grandparents, father, and extended family used to live in Kenya so I was also glad to continue my family legacy. We stayed with the Maasai tribe and I was given a new name, Merinyo, which means “forever forward.” I hope to do this name justice as we move forward in our trip. God is teaching me many new things and I can’t wait to see what he has for me. Thanks for your continued prayers and God bless.

– Daniel Myers

God’s Power in Prayer

Our team arrived in Rukungiri, Uganda about a week and a half ago. It has been awesome. We moved from tents to beds, from fetching water from a stream 20 minutes away to having showers and running water, and from being 3 and a half hours away from a small city to 3 minutes from a large town. Our ministry here is varied. Each morning we go to an all boys school to lead a devotion. Then we go to a clinic across town to pray for people there and help in any way we can. After that some of our team go teach at an elementary school, and others go back to the boys school to hang out and play sports. The best thing about Uganda, though, has been God’s direction in me.

God has really been working through me with prayer here. One morning we had nothing to do at the clinic, so we decided to go into town and see where God directed us. The first people I prayer for were 3 boys who were not in school for some reason or another. One wanted prayer for “urges” which here often means addiction, one wanted a job, and the last straight up asked to accept Christ. It was amazing that God directed me straight to this boy. There was nothing I said to get him to accept Christ, but God had already prepared him and allowed me to reap the harvest. The same thing happened again that day with a boy at the school. I asked if I could pray for him and he said he wanted to change, he wanted to be saved. Praise the Lord. It has been clear to me that God has been directing me in prayer here. It seems every person I pray for, a bank guard, a worker at the internet café, and even our guide, have needed prayer and God brought me to them at the right time. So I have really been hearing God’s voice here and it has been very encouraging. Now, since I have been learning about the power of prayer, I ask that you pray for me. Pray for God to give me strength and for his will to be done in my life.
A little more about prayer. On Wednesday nights we do a fellowship thing at the boys school. At the last one we asked them to come to us with prayer requests, so we got a lot of prayer requests. Just so you know the power of prayer I want to share a list of prayer requests that our team has prayed for that have been answered. We’ve prayed for school fees for a lot of boys and I think most or all of them got their fees, including an orphan who was about to drop out because of fees. We prayed for a baby’s eyes to be healed and they were. We prayed for a boy’s parents to show up for parent’s day at the school and his father came. We’ve been praying against malaria and no one has gotten it here. We’ve prayed for headaches, wounds, and pains and they have been healed. It seems almost all of our prayers are being answered in the affirmative. So be confident in your prayer, it not only works here, it also works back home.
Thanks – Daniel Myers

 

Broader Horizons

Most people in the U.S. have heard the phrase “broadening horizons.” In the context I have heard it this often means exploring one’s sexuality or experimenting with drugs or alcohol. That is not what that phrase should stand for, and now I want to encourage you to broaden your horizons.

People like to be comfortable, they like to experience things that they already know, people like order and structure. This can mean going to church each Sunday and singing songs they know, knowing the correct handshake with which to greet someone, or even eating food that they know they like. Now, though, I want to challenge you in the things you are comfortable in, because I want to broaden your horizons. In high school many of my friends did not drink and took no part in that culture. I’m sure my parents were glad that I did not partake in any of that, but when I got to college and everyone around me was drinking I didn’t know how to react. I had what I now call a “narrow vision.” In my world no one drank alcohol, so when I encountered people who did I had no idea what to do, and sometimes I judged them or withdrew from them. Now that I have been in college for 3 years I am finally comfortable being around, and being friends with, people who drink and party and I can love them. Finally my vision has broadened. You might say, why was having that narrow vision bad, it kept you safe. True, but it did not prepare me to minister to or be friends with people I would encounter in the future. I had to be removed from my “comfort zone” to understand more about others and to be better able to love them.

On this trip I have seen people’s horizons broaden. One of my teammates, Jamie, helped teach at an elementary school called Little Angels in Uganda. She seemed to really love it, until she came home from it one day and looked like she was about to cry. She told me that in school that day the teachers slapped the children and hit them with canes when they didn’t get questions right. She said she had to leave she was so angry and sad, but I think it was a good experience for her. In the U.S. she never encountered anything like that, so she didn’t know how to react when she did encounter it, so she left. However, God does not call us to abandon situations that we find uncomfortable or scary. God called Hosea to marry a prostitute, so that he could show how Israel acted like a prostitute towards God. That situation was certainly extremely uncomfortable and confusing, but God did not just allow it to happen, he meant for it to happen. So, often God will call us into things we don’t want to do or things we don’t like, but we must endure. One way we can prepare for this is by broadening our horizons and experiencing many different things. Now the next time Jamie encounters “slashing” in schools she won’t have to run away, but maybe she can help minister to those children and teachers. She now knows what can happen in schools and other countries, and now that she knows about it she can help change it. Also, we talked to a man who said that without slashing he would not be very successful. Physical pain gave him the motivation to try hard in school. I don’t think physical pain is the best motivator, but it is does work to some extent.

Last night we watched a movie called Hotel Rwanda, about the genocide in Rwanda. In the genocide the Hutu tribe tried to exterminate the Tutsi tribe. Hundreds of thousands of Tutsis were not only killed, but hacked to death with machetes, a horrible death. Knowing this part of Rwanda’s history can help us minister to the people here. We can begin to understand their pain and help to heal it. If we chose to ignore this gruesome truth it might hinder our ministry.

Now, I’m not telling you that you have to go to other countries and immerse yourself in their culture so that you can broaden your horizons. What I’m telling you is to open your eyes, pay attention. When other people do things that you don’t agree with don’t just make an instant judgment, but put yourself in their shoes. Beating children for better grades is not right, but the teachers do it to help the children be successful. Your friend who goes out and gets wasted every weekend may be trying to drown some sorrow in their life. The children in Uganda who act out do it because the generation in front of them is dying or has died from AIDs and they have no one to lead them. So never turn a blind eye to something you don’t like. Parents, teach your children about sex and drugs, because these things exist and your children need to know about them so that they won’t be hurt by them. People, pay attention to other countries and what is happening there, because maybe hundreds of thousands of people are being murdered and you don’t even know that they existed to begin with. Even if it is hard, try to experience new things and meet new people. God wants to use you in places that are uncomfortable, will you let him? I am also guilty of this, but now God is opening my eyes and broadening my horizons. He is preparing me to understand other people and to know how to love them. This is also my prayer for you.

Eternal Perspective

Now that your vision has been broadened I want it to be extended. Though I don’t like assigning a single word to an experience, freedom has been a theme on this trip. In each place we stay our hosts say to us “be free.” What does this mean, how are we to be free? In Africa this is what freedom looks like to me. It means not having to take chai tea when it is offered. It means not having to eat the foot tall pile of rice on your plate. It means being able to pray for sick people and undesirables. Not drinking some tea might not seem like a big deal to you, but when the tea is half goat milk fresh from the goat and half water that may or may not have been boiled it matters a little more.

My goal in this blog is to free you. I think freedom is one of the most misunderstood things in Christianity. You might say that you’re an a citizen of the U.S.A. the most free country in the world, but I tell you that you might still be a slave. You are a slave to the lustful thoughts in your head that you can’t seem to control no matter how hard you try. You are a slave to your job that you cannot quit because it is how you provide for your family and it is what you define yourself as. You are a slave to other people’s expectations. You are a slave because every time you pray you must fold your hands and close your eyes and be silent. Let me tell you now that Christ already has, or is able to set you free.

The key to freedom is perspective. If you are a Christian Christ has already set you free, but your perspective might hinder you from experiencing this freedom. This is what I mean. Christ has already died for your sins, once and for all. This means every sin you have committed, are committing, and that you will commit. Christ has already paid for you, and he has finished his work. There is nothing you can do to make God love you more or less. There is nothing you can do to earn your salvation or God’s approval. You are weak and powerless, take comfort in this! God’s strength in your weakness is what brings you freedom. If there is nothing you can do to make God love you more, then there is no longer any point in subjecting yourself to the rules that people say God wants you to follow. If you cannot bring about your own salvation then you no longer need to strive so incredibly hard to bring about your friend’s salvation. Instead of looking at your own strength look at God’s! Don’t work yourself to death because you are afraid of your boss, in Luke 12 it says “do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more…fear him who, after your body has been killed, has the authority to throw you into hell.” These people you subject yourself to, they cannot even kill you and yet you fear them. Fear God instead, he holds your soul in the palm of your hand and he loves you more than anyone ever could. Subject yourself to God and his will, he wants you to succeed and he has the best planned for you. Be free in your mind. Don’t feel like you have to meet other people’s expectations, do not feel obligated to them. Christ Jesus died for you and he holds you under no obligation, so don’t feel obligated to other humans. God created the universe, he is powerful enough to take care of you here on Earth. His grace is enough to cover up any missteps you might make.

Also be free in your body. In Colossians 2 it says, “Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules? Do not handle, do not touch, do not taste!” Read the rest of it, it’s awesome, also Galatians 5. Drinking alcohol is not a sin! Opening your eyes during prayer is not a sin! Throwing your bible on the floor is not a sin! These kinds of rules require great physical restraint, but they do not bring about spiritual growth. So be free.

Now, freedom must be tempered with love. The bible says not to cause your brother to stumble. If your friend is an alcoholic, do not drink in front of them. Paul said that he was all things to all people. When he was with Jews he acted as a Jew, when he was with gentiles he acted as a gentile. Be free but be sensitive to other people’s perspectives, because theirs might not be as broad as yours. The title is eternal perspective so I guess I should explain what that means. It means look at things in terms of eternity. If you smoke a cigarette will it damn you to hell? No. If you make millions of dollars here can you take them with you to Heaven? No. Store up your treasures in heaven, for where your treasure is your heart will be also. Build other people up, follow the will of God and you will be storing your treasures in heaven.

So in line with my last blog, widen your vision and extend it. Try out your freedom in Christ. Stop beating yourself up for your sin, it is already forgiven. Show God’s love to the person that you are afraid might reject you. Do God’s will in spite of human regulations and expectations, but always be free in love. So please, brothers and sisters, be free. Remember that God is powerful enough to fix any mistakes you make. He can mend hurt feelings, repair broken relationships, and build other people up through your bungled attempts at encouragement. Find freedom and peace in God’s power and love.