December 24, 2019
Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ,
The first thing I need to do this month is to apologize for not writing an update for last month. I would offer you a great excuse but I don’t have one. I simply forgot last month to write an update and by the time I remembered it was too late. It must be because since my last update I celebrated my 50th birthday and my brain cells are diminishing.
Twenty years ago this month I was still working as a software engineer in Ohio and we were frantically preparing for the Y2K bug that was going to shut down the world. Do you all remember that time? All the computers in the world were supposed to shut down and we were about to be catapulted back into the dark ages. Everyone was a bit nervous about what was going to happen and some were even predicting the end of the world or the return of Jesus. Here we are twenty years later. The computers didn’t shut down (in fact, they didn’t have any problems whatsoever). The world didn’t end. And Jesus didn’t return. I am hoping, though, that we haven’t remained static in these last twenty years. Our world is so unpredictable and unstable. Yes, Jesus might return this year (that isn’t a prediction) and we need to be working for and enlarging His Kingdom.
Working for and enlarging the Kingdom of Jesus is exactly what we are trying to do here in our own small way in Kenya. Back in October of this year we celebrated our 1-year anniversary for the starting of Upper Room Baptist Chapel. We were in the midst of a lot of changes at the Chapel at that time because we were being forced out of our gathering place and having to move to a new location. Julie and I and the family were also in a lot of flux because at the same time we were having to move out of the house we had been living in for the past nine years. But things have stabilized since that time and the work is ongoing. We have a good group of people attending the Chapel and I believe their desire is truly to live for Jesus. I enjoy teaching them from the Bible but I also enjoy what they have to teach me about following the Lord and learning to love Him more. I never come away from talking with them but that I am blessed or challenged in multiple ways. Case in point, I was talking with one of our Chapel members over chai (tea) last week and he blessed my heart and challenged me at the same time. He is the most generous (concerning financial giving) person I think I have ever met. He will pick up a street boy who is sick and take him to the hospital and pay for his treatment. He contributes to funerals when he doesn’t have any money. He takes care of his friends and neighbors when they have needs. He gave all his spare money to a widow of a friend of his last week. All of this is a common practice for him. And what makes this all so amazing is that he is dirt poor. He, his wife, his two daughters and all of his possessions live in a 10×10 foot mud house. I try to convince him that he needs to keep some for himself but he refuses to listen to me in this matter. He tells me that those other people need his help and that God will bless him and take care of all his needs. He even insists on paying for the chai and chapati we eat (but this I cannot allow and I get the blessing of paying for chai and chapati). Do you see why I walk away blessed and challenged?
As we enter into the new year of 2020, I want to lead the people of the Chapel to begin thinking more outside our four walls. I want to see them sharing their faith more with other people. I want to see them thinking about how they will live out their faith by ministering to others in the community. I want to see them showing the love of Jesus to the community by ministering to the poor, the sick, the widows and orphans, the outcasts. I pray that in 2020 they will themselves become missionaries to their communities and even to the world.
In closing, the picture I have provided is of an illustration I used in my sermon last week at the Chapel. It was entitled “How to Ensure Your Failure”. It was about trusting in your own righteousness instead of trusting in the work of Jesus. In it are me, Josiah (who I am making sure will fail the race we are about to have) and Victor. Victor is helping me ensure Josiah fails and I win!
Blessings to you all,
Roger, Julie, Amy, Josiah & Chloe
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