THREE JOHN SMITHS
Just as in Bible times - people in the Luo tribe (and other tribes in Kenya) believe that a child carries the attributes of its name. So if a child is named after someone it is because the parents believe that child will have the character and nature of the person after whom they were named. John has been given the great honour of having three babies named after him - one while we were there. It is our pleasure to introduce you to the three John Smiths.
VOLCANIC ASH - GOD ANSWERS A BOY'S PRAYERS
We were to have left for the UK on Tuesday the 20th. of April. We remain in the States until May 1. J.R. is a 10-year-old boy in the church we go to here in FL. He is a dancer and on Sat., the 24th of April was to be in a dance competition.(He wins prizes - he is that good.) He wanted us to come to his performance. I told him we couldn't because we were going to England. I told him there was this volcanic cloud and we were praying that God would blow it away so we could go home. He said he would pray that it would stay so that we could come to his competition. I asked him whose prayer did he think God would answer? He said, without hesitation, his. :-} Well - we are still here! The competition was really, really good. His group won first prize in their division.
ERECTING THE FENCE ON THE WIDOWS FARM BY FAITH
John was praying about the farm's infrastructure a few weeks ago and he strongly sensed the Lord telling him to go ahead and start erecting the fence and that He will provide the money. We need to put up the fence, and build a house/barn for the watchman and to keep the seed, fertilizer, equipment, harvest, etc. It is a major financial undertaking. We do not have the money for the fence, yet we believe we are to take a major step of faith and begin erecting it in obedience. So, the work has begun! We believe that all of the finances, and more, will be provided for everything that needs to be done to get this farm up and running.
HESBONE VISITS US IN FLORIDA - A MISSION IS CONFIRMED
The annual conference in Pennsylvania went very well. We thank you for your prayers on our behalf. We drove - this was the first long-haul driving that John did since his surgery and he did very well. Pastor Hesbone was able to come from Kadawa to the States for the conference; afterwards, he came down to Florida for a visit. He was here for Easter Sunday and after church we were invited to an Easter meal with a group from the church at the home of friends. He was treated to some real Southern hospitality and remarked on how the folks of the church demonstrated that being a Christian is a lot of fun - he was impressed by the way everyone related and were at ease kidding around with each other. The church held a reception for him on Easter Monday evening and he was able to share his heart and his testimony with a good number of people. We also were able to present the video of our work last year and tie our vision for the Widows Farm Project with Hesbone's vision. The church is planning on going to Kadawa on a mission in 2011 and many people cemented their plans that night. It looks like part of the mission will include a medical clinic - 4 ladies who will be coming are nurses/retired nurses. The mission is shaping up and we are really excited.
It is Pastor Hesbone's practice to look at any bad or negative situation and see what God is doing in it and join Him, to allow Him to put Kingdom Principles into action. This is what he and Restoration Community Church (RCC) did in the funeral and burial of Pastor Paul. They gave him a funeral such as would be given to a King!
We have mentioned before that death appears to have more importance or priority than life in the village culture. Funerals last for several days and nights and the customs involved are quite complex by our standards. The body lies in state at the persons home in the village. When anyone in the Luo tribe dies, wherever they are, they must be returned to their village to be buried. In the case where they have been embalmed they are transported from the mortuary a couple of days prior to the burial and there are all night wakes for two nights. In the case of RCC there is dancing and singing and preaching all night the night prior to the burial. Additionally, for church members, when they are brought from the mortuary they are taken directly to the church and a large memorial service is held there. This is a new practice for the village and have drawn much attention to RCC. In Pastor Paul's case there were 6 vehicles involved in transporting him from the mortuary. When a body is brought into the village, people line the roads where the entourage passes and they wave tree branches as it passes. In the convoy there are people singing and praising God all the way to the church. There are whistles blowing and much horn honking!
Violet, Hesbone's wife, saw to it that Pastor Paul's wife, Eunice, and his two girls got new clothes for the memorial service and for the burial. She took Eunice to the hair dresser as well. This was done to bless her and to see to it that she was able to have dignity as a widow. This also was a major witness to the community. Paul's casket was exceptional as well - great care was taken in choosing it. Special Black T-Shirts were printed for the pall bearers that said - " Servant of God Rest in Peace" on them and also had the church logo. The actual burial lasts from about 9 AM to dusk. There are many testimonies, much singing and dancing, a meal to feed many and finally words from the widow. There were about 2000 people at the burial. Many of our friends contributed toward Pastor Paul's medical expenses; however, he died before all of that money was expended, so we authorized the remainder to be used toward funeral expenses. Again, we thank all of you who had part in that. You made it possible for him to have a wonderful funeral; one that will be remembered by the community for many years, and one that brought glory to God.
Pastor Paul's Casket - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Eunice, Bianca & Angela
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - A Salvation Message is Always Given
We will be off to the UK on Saturday, May 1.
PLEASE PRAY FOR:
- Our flight on May 1;
- Our trip to the Czech Republic in mid-May to lead a prayer team to the NLI church-plant there;
- Our plans for returning to Kenya in July. There are a lot of date, and flight arrangements, and finding of accommodations.
- The working out of details for downloading the data from John's electronic heart device (ICD). We must get the data from the UK to the USA using a new device that works via satellite. (How amazing that this new method has become available just as we were in a dilemma about how to get this done - considering the time and distance and technology.)
- THE BUILDING OF AND FINANCES FOR THE FENCE AND WATCHMAN'S/STOREHOUSE ON THE WIDOWS FARM
SHOULD YOU WANT TO BE INVOLVED FINANCIALLY IN THE WIDOWS FARM PROJECT YOU CAN SEND CONTRIBUTIONS TO:
(In the USA)
DOVE CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP-LEBANON
P.O BOX 37
Lebanon, PA 17046-0037
(In the UK)
Emmanuel Christian Centre
Please note on the check, or in an enclosed note: 1) For John & Marty Smith; 2) The purpose for the check.
BLESSINGS & MUCH LOVE!!!
JOHN & MARTY