Tuesday, 22 December 2009



Here is an update on Paul the Pastor. We have a photo of him in hospital, and are tossed between posting it so you can see the surroundings of a District hospital in Kenya. However, his face is so swollen out of proportion and deformed that we decided not to show you. This cancer is a brutal beast!!
He is diagnosed with Leukemia. At first they thought his kidneys and liver were also affected, but it turns out his kidneys are OK, and, although there is an infection in his liver that is being treated, it isn't cancer. He has been receiving chemotherapy and the doctor feels that it will be effective against the cancer in his face. Once the chemo is over hopes are that the face will be healed and may only require a bit of surgery. Having said that, he has been sent home for Christmas, and chemo will resume on the 30th. and we are informed that the swelling on his face has noticeably reduced. Praise God!
What wonderful response we have had to our plea for finances for him. We have received approximately $1000 (£625) toward Paul's medical expenses. We need an update on the costs so far and whether there are further estimates (as we expect there will be).
If you want to send him a get well card you can send it to Pastor Hesbone; he has a P.O. box in the city. Address it to Hesbone, and then in a bottom corner of the envelope write "For Paul the Pastor".
The address is: Hesbone Otieno Odindo
P.O. Box 4685-40103
It is very likely that this man has never received a card in his life!

Let us explain something to you about widows in the Luo tribe and the centuries-old culture. It doesn't matter if a woman is young or old, once a her husband dies she becomes "chained to the grave" as Hesbone puts it. It is inconceivable that a widow would re-marry. It is beyond thought - we mean, it would never even enter any man's mind, to marry a widow! She is left on her own to fend for herself and her family unless she has older sons who can take care of her and their siblings. Conversely, although we are certain that some widows would love to re-marry they would never think of it as a possibility or even think of it at all. CHAINED TO THE GRAVE!
Now, having said that, there are many young widows who have been widowed for several years , lets say 5, for example. Yet they might have a two-year-old child. The centuries-old practice of inheriting your dead brother's wife is still practiced amongst the Luos. However, in the old days that meant taking care of her and the whole family - all of their needs. Nowadays that no longer holds true. The oldest brother (or oldest living male relative of the husband if there is no brother) will drop by occasionally and be certain that the family name is carried on, but he doesn't take care of the woman or children. So she is not only a widow, but responsible for more lives to feed, shelter, clothe and educate. Of course, the young widow still has the normal desires of a young woman.
On the other hand, it would be perfectly normal for a widower to remarry if his wife, or one of them, died. But, of course, it would be to a single woman.

More news on the Widows Farm Project! The first acre has been plowed!! Yaaaay!!! The land is cleared of brush. Whereas we thought there were only two giant ant hills on the land, now that Ibraham (the man from whom we bought the land) has harvested his maize crop we are told there are two more hills where his maize had been growing. So, work is being done to remove the four of them.
You may have asked yourself how one goes about destroying a 6 to 8 foot ant hill! (Then again, you may not have asked yourself that.) We don't know how the person dresses, or what protection is used - must find that out - but we know that the aim is to find the queen. So the guy that tears down the ant hill invades it, locates Her Majesty, and removes her. Once she is gone the colony will automatically leave. The rest is relatively simple! It costs us between $15 & $20 per ant hill (£10-£13)

Marty had cataract surgery on December 22. If you can believe it - the actual surgical procedure took between 8 and 10 minutes! Seriously!! Painless, without fear. No needles in the eye - just a really awesome gel that numbs it completely; but one doesn't even feel that it is numb. She received what is known as "conscious sedation" - seems like an oxymoron - and was awake during the whole procedure. This was necessary since she was required to look through a little hole at a light, and also had to keep both eyes open. Now, although there was no sensation when she was given the sedation, and she didn't feel groggy at all, there was one point where she became so relaxed that she began to nod off and the doctor had to adjure her to focus on the light. The next morning when returning for a check up the doctor declared that Marty's vision was 20/20 vision in the eye that received the surgery. She was most pleased. It isn't usual that the vision tests 20/20 so soon, and not always possible for the doctor to achieve that result. The surgery was flawless. She told Marty that her vision would be blurred for awhile, but that eventually she would have to remove the right lens from her glasses. Thursday morning, when Marty got up her vision was totally clear in that eye and she had to remove the lens from her glasses in order to see properly. Because of the previous retina problem there was only one type of lens the doctor could use so Marty had to choose between seeing clearly at a distance or up close. She chose the former, so will need to wear reading glasses. Isn't God awesome? Isn't modern medicine awesome? An added bonus is that she can paint again. Trying to paint using one eye is impossible - no depth perception, so she kept missing what she was aiming at on the picture. Now with both eyes she hits the mark! Thank you again, so very much, for your prayers.

John leaves for the UK on January 11. He will spend time with the family - celebrate Christmas with them and Lorraine's birthday (prematurely) - and take care of some medical appointments.
Then he goes to Kenya on January 14 and will return to the States on February 2. It is necessary for him to go to Kadawa to oversee the Widows Farm Project and get the Operations Team organized and implemented. He is really blessed to have a companion while there. Jeremy Bell, an elder from Emmanuel Christian Centre (our church in England), will be traveling with John. We will have lots of photos of the farm to show you in the next episode.
The Lord takes care of many details way, way in advance of ever knowing that such details will arise. Two years ago, when in Kisumu, Marty met a missionary couple who were looking for a place to stay and we were showing them our apartment there in Kisumu. Actually John didn't meet them until this past summer when we were there. They have subsequently become full-time missionaries there and are renting a large house. We were able to spend time with them and get more acquainted while there this year. Well - they are here in the US on sabbatical for a couple of months and have offered their home and their car to John for the duration of his stay. Isn't that totally amazing? To think that the Lord arranged our relationship - amongst other reasons - knowing well ahead of time that we would have this Farm Project and John would need a short-term place to stay. Wow, oh wow!!
Please pray for his journey and pray for Marty while she is on her own.

Blessings & Love,

John & Marty

P.S. Apologies to our English friends for the American spelling! [;0)

Monday, 14 December 2009


Hello again! Here is more information about the Widows Farm Project!

But first, we want to tell you about Paul the Pastor! Whereas Hesbone is Senior pastor of the ministry in Kadawa and the surrounding area, he has under him three pastors; one of whom is Paul. He is a fine young man in his thirties; he has a wife, Eunice and two daughters, Bianca and Angela. Last week we found out that Pastor Paul has cancer of the mouth. We don't know how long he has had it, but it is extremely serious and aggressive. When we left there at the beginning of November there was no indication of it.

He is in great pain and has been admitted to the hospital in Kisumu. The plan is to give him chemotherapy. He must have a blood transfusion prior to being able to have the chemo. Dr. Amos, a godly doctor, who is a life-long friend of Hesbone, is the primary physician at the District Hospital and can monitor Paul closely. The costs will be APPROXIMATELY $8.50 (£5.25) per day. This is not including the cost of drugs, which, so far have cost ABOUT $92 (£56.50). These are totally prohibitive amounts for these people. We don't know where they are getting the money; however, there is no way they have money to keep paying for his treatment. At the moment, the total cost of the plan of management is approaching $900 (£552). We keep saying "approximately" and "about" because the price of the Kenya Shilling (KES), the dollar and the pound, fluctuate hour-by-hour. Additionally - these can only be estimates made by the doctors.

We are letting you know the situation and if you feel or believe that you are to help, that will be a really good thing. We just want to do something to help them and believe that by letting people know about it we may be able to contribute.

ABOVE ALL- please pray for this young man, his family, Hesbone and Violet and Doctor Amos. We can't begin to describe the conditions in the hospitals in Kenya. You can't imagine, in your wildest thoughts, what they are like. Unless, of course, you have been there and done that!

We will see that the money gets to them quickly. If we get some pledges of money to be sent we can tap into our savings and transfer the money almost instantly. If you want to go through DOVE-Lebanon so that you will get a tax-deductible receipt, that is fine. Just let us know. Either contact us by e-mail at: johnandmartys@aol.com, or phone us at: 386-788-8633 (land line) or 386-316-1594 (mobile).

Now - about the land. It has been cleared of the brush. The two great ant hills are being worked on. Now, we aren't quite sure what that means, but we do know that one of the first things to be done is to break into the ant hill and locate the queen of the colony. Once she has been removed the ants will scatter - abandoning the hill. Then the rest is relatively simple. But remember - these hills are about 8 feet tall.
GREAT NEWS! We found out today that the first acre will be plowed on Friday (DEC 18) Yaaay! A second plowing will take place in January or February and planting in March.

We have asked for estimates for the cost of the fence. That is next on the list along with hiring a caretaker/overseer/watchman (and building a house for him and his family).

We bought the land with retirement money (doesn't everyone want to retire to a village in Kenya?) You can't take it with you and it is an investment in The Kingdom of God!! We have challenged the villagers to invest in the farm. We have told them that we have done our part with the money and they can do their part with their time.

Fortunately Hesbone knows something about farming as he has been doing it on the church property for a couple of years. So he will know what kind of hybrid seed to buy for the maize and beans, and will know about the fertilizer, and when to plow and all of that stuff. John's talking about digging a well or piping water down from the church well. Oh my!

More news later!

John & Marty