Thursday, 12 July 2012



David in front of his old house
What, you may ask, is a gospel house?  Well, our team helped build one.  We have shown you house-building photos before, but this is a truly unique story.  To begin with, it was for a man - a first for us.  The leadership team of Restoration  Community Church (RCC) makes the decisions regarding who qualifies for a house; that relieves us of the responsibility.  The man they chose, David, is an older man who is a bachelor.  He lived in a tiny one-room mud house  with a very leaky straw roof, on a compound with some male relatives, but they didn't want him there.  He has been a social outcast for many years.  Why?  Because he was mentally unstable.  Through circumstances he began to come to RCC.  He heard and understood the Gospel Message of coming into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  He accepted that as the truth for his own life and not only did he experience a change of heart, but his mind was restored.  He became rational.  Because of his very poor living conditions,his age,  his social status,  and the radical change in his life, the decision was made to build him a house as a testimony to his neighbours and neighbourhood area, of the effect of his new life and relationships.  He was able to get a piece of land not too far from the compound where he stayed, and the team from Florida and his cell group (home group) went there to build his house.  It is a good sized two-room house and the view overlooks a great valley of beautiful bush and forestry.  It is so peaceful and beautiful there!  Of course the women cooked a couple of great meals so that the workers would be sustained and also, the last one - a chicken stew - being a closing celebration. At the end of the day, Pastor Rebecca of the team was asked to bless the house and David. Then he was asked if he had anything to say.  The man spoke so clearly and articulately!  He thanked everyone involved and praised God for His goodness to him.  One of the pastors told Marty that there would be women lining up at his door hoping the man would marry one of them just so they could have such a good house!  In the past no woman would have anything to do with him because of his mental state.
The male relatives from his compound sat in chairs the whole day watching the house-building from the beginning and were totally amazed that people would come together like that, build a habitable house in one day, and just give it to the man. That is what has  the whole community  amazed  as well.  You can see his relatives and other onlookers in the background of the above photo.   Also,the onlookers and the locals who had come together to build the house were  rather taken aback that the team - mzungu (white) foreigners - were hunting and carrying rocks to the site and were in the mud up to their ankles (and elbows) helping to fill in the walls.  One of the pastors said he overheard one of the local  women chastising other women there that if the wazungu (plural for mzungu) could haul rocks and fill the walls then they should be doing as much.  So there you have it - that is why people are saying "That house is the Gospel". 

Three of our team members went into two of the secondary (high) schools in the village to talk with the students about what they do back in the USA.  Josh is a policeman - the kids loved that and had many, many very good questions for him. Two interesting ones, that gave him pause to think,  were:  What type of legacy do you want to leave to your children, and how do you handle mob justice in the United States?   Don, is a senior, retired engineer from an electricity utility.  He is married to a woman from Thailand, spends much time there and does a lot of work with children in that country.  Theschool  kids were really interested in the photos he had of children and his family in Thailand, and stories about the culture.  Natalie is an airline pilot.  All three spoke so well, sharing their experiences and photos.  Although these are village schools, they are turning out university-level students.  We were impressed at the questions these youngsters asked; it made it clear that they are not just learning academics, but are being taught to think as well.  When Natalie got up to speak she had on a hooded sweater.  She took it off and revealed underneath, her pilot's uniform.  Well - the reaction, especially from the girls, was really great when she told them what she does for a living.  It is common for kids to have aspirations to be doctors, lawyers or even teachers.  But the very thought of being a female airline pilot was nowhere in their paradigm.  Now, you can be assured, there are many girls in that village whose desire for education has increased and who will aspire to become airline pilots.  Not only were the children challenged, but so, indeed, were the speakers.  It was a good day!

One infant that we sent to hospital directly from the clinic was in serious danger of perishing.  She was put on life support and, thankfully, responded.  The baby had to stay in hospital until a few days ago, but it is now home and well. 

The church in Florida that sent the team, Venetian Bay United Methodist Church (V-Bay UMC) was wholly involved in the mission, and many provided finances for the mission, and some, specific items.  Money was provided to make new dresses for 35 destitute widows.  Destitute is a relative term out here.  However, a widow qualifies as "destitute" if she is past child-bearing age, has no source of income, has no children who can take care of her, and is of good reputation in the community.  RCC has identified 35 - within the church,  and the general community with the help of the chief.  Marty and Sarah - a tayloress from RCC - went shopping in Kisumu, the nearest city, for fabric for 35 women.  Then Sarah took the fabric to her shop - El Shadai Enterprises - and with list of widows in hand, systematically called each lady in to her shop, took their individual measurements, showed them the fabric so that they could choose the one they wanted, and then showed them various styles/patterns to choose from to have their dresses custom made.  The really older ones chose conservative one-piece styles, whereas some of the ones not as old chose more contemporary two-piece dresses. There are no two dresses alike.  We weren't able to give them all out in one day, but we have photos of some of them holding their dresses up to themselves.  How sweet it was.

Blessings and Peace to Each of You.

John and Marty