October 21, 2008

Medical Mission to Malava

How do I put into words what has happened in my life during the past 14 days? I think I will start at the beginning and let you walk with me through the journey.

The team: Our team was made up of a nurse and her husband, a radiology oncologist from Atlanta, a medical technician, a medical administrator and me.

The first 48 hours of our journey was spent traveling. We boarded our flight in Atlanta around 4:00 pm Friday, October 3rd and landed in Amsterdam the morning of the 4th. With only a 3 hour layover, we just had time to move through the airport, grab a bite to eat and by 10:30 am, we were on our way to Nairobi. We arrived in Nairobi at 7:40 pm and were met by our driver who took us to the Hilton in downtown Nairobi. Don't be fooled by the name, it was not quite the same as our Atlanta Hilton, but it was a great bed and hot shower.

Sunday morning at 5:45 am, we were joined by our driver again to take us back to the airport for our final flight. By 9:00 am we were in Kisumu awaiting our ride to Malava. And what a ride it was!!! Just picture this...there were 6 of us and 12 large Rubbermaid totes stuffed full of medical supplies. Each of us had 2 carry-on bags for our personal items and clothes. The van came with a driver, assistant driver and 3 people from the Tumaini center (where we were going to work) and it was a small van. Those guys were impressive! There was not one inch of unused space on the van and we were off to the Tumaini Center. Well we did make one stop to get a new back window put in the van, but just a minor detour.

After 2 hours of rocking and rolling along pot-holes with a little pavement between them, we arrived at our final destination, Malava Kenya.

September 30, 2008

About to go to Africa

Yeah, so, about to go to Africa. I can't begin to explain how exciting is to not only go to Africa, but I am taking 5 people who have never been. I want more than anything for them to have a great experience and see God move in His majesty in ways they have never seen.

God always seems to teach me a little more about His character every time I lead a project. This is a medical project to a remote village in western Kenya. There will be times when we will have no running water or electricity so it will be exciting.

I will do my best to journal so when I return you can share in some of my African adventures!

September 17, 2008

Looking for the loop holes.

As I have mentioned before, my dog is pretty special to me. He has been my companion through cancer, recovery and beyond. He is great. He is excited to see me every time I come in the door, no matter how long I have been away.

I think we can learn a lot from a dog like Jake. He is loyal to his master. We all know dogs that are not loyal. The "runners" who will bolt given even the smallest of gaps in the fence or door. The kind of dogs that will sniff out every inch of the perimeter fence just looking for a way out. Jake is not that dog. He is not looking for a way out, he is looking out the front window waiting on me. That's right, he may run around the house and out the dog door briefly, but for the most part, his day is spent looking for me. Patiently waiting on his master.

As a believer I think we all spend a little time looking for the loop holes or the short-cuts in the Christian walk. Instead of focusing on the master, we get sidetracked on issues that distract us. Where is your focus? Where is your loyalty?

September 10, 2008

Devour the instruction book.

So...I just got a new cell phone the other night. You know how it goes. You were all familiar and happy with your old one. Finding the buttons was no problem, even in the dark. If you are like me, you have even used the glow from your phone to make your way to the restroom in the night. I knew all the functions that my phone was capable of and could easily and quickly maneuver around its menu screen, set special rings for all my friend, use my calendar, set alarms and I knew just how long it would beep with a low battery till it died. Familiar.

Then I got a NEW phone. I can't even answer it without stressing over which button to push. There was no way I could figure out all the features on it flying blind...I had to READ THE BOOK. I didn't just read the book, I devoured it. I dug through to figure out how to send and receive texts and calls. I am still figuring out the camera and other cool features. I have put the book down now. I got what I needed and the book will be put away, unless I somehow lock it up and can't get the keypad to work again. Now that I have the basics down, I can ask others who have my same phone how do do some of the higher tech things.

After the big night at the phone store I pulled out my Bible to prepare for a lesson and thought about the previous hours. I "needed" information from the phone's instruction manual and I could not think about anything else until I figure out the basic functions. I thought about the analogy as I opened the ultimate life instruction manual and draped it across my lap to study.

How many times do we truly devour the scripture to find the answers in life. Do we just get our basics of "salvation" and then chat it up with our friends over coffee to get the higher tech issues resolved?

Our church is gong through 50 days of focus on God's Glory and through it my passion for devouring the instruction manual has been renewed. I want to have my facts straight before my next cup of coffee. the new enV2.

September 6, 2008

Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.

So...I saw this on a piece of flair recently and it really resonated with me. I have been in leadership nearly all my life and it has never been easy for me to speak my mind. I seem to always be worried about everyone's feelings and hold back when I should probably speak the truth.

Does it make me a bad leader if I hold back? I think it does on some level. There is a fine line between when we should speak and when we should be silent, but it must be the Holy Spirit and not our fear that drives us to silence or to speak for that matter. A good leader will set aside fear to speak the hard words that people do not want to hear.

So, to all you shaky voices out there; take a deep breath and speak your mind if you truly believe it is necessary for the situation. Trust the Holy Spirit and let the chips fall where they may.

August 26, 2008


What does it mean to be redeemed?

A few years ago I was asked to speak at a middle-school lock-in for about 400 students. As I began to pray about what the Lord would have me share with them I thought about my dog. I think about my dog a lot, but you know, that day I thought about him in a “spiritual lesson” kind of way. His name is Jake and he is truly a “wonder dog” you just wonder what trouble he will get into next, or what he will eat off the counter when no one is looking.

When Jake was born, his first family was not good to him. Each day he was tossed out into the garage of a small apartment. The floor was covered in his filth and he was clearly malnourished. There were no windows to the garage and he was a pitiful site. By the way he cowed down at any sudden movements, I felt for sure that he had been abused.

Backing up a little, I had recently lost my Dalmatian of 11 years, Dottie, to a sudden aneurism and was brokenhearted, not really looking yet for another dog. I was in the process of moving to Atlanta and thought it best to wait on a new pet until I was settled in my next house.

Then my phone rang. My friend Schoonie, also a dog lover, started out with “just hear me out before you say no.” She proceeded to explain that her friend lived in an apartment complex and her neighbors had a dog they were mistreating and he needed a new home. She went on to explain that he was half Labrador Retriever and half Australian Cow Dog (Blue Heeler). So, in my mind I had this full sized dog that may possibly be extremely ugly…ever seen a Blue Heeler? I was not interested, and besides I needed to wait till I moved. She pressed the issue as she said, “shut up, I am in the drive way, you are going with me to look at this dog.”

So, I got in the car. We pulled up and the ugliest two little yappy dogs ran out to greet us, they were some sort of terrier mixed with some other little breed combining to make up two very ugly dogs. In the back of my mind I thought, if he is one of them, I’m out. Then I looked up to see the most beautiful black and white puppy all stretched out in the grass resting in the sunshine still panting from his hard work of playing. As soon as our eyes met, I knew he was my dog. I played it cool and said, “well I guess I could take him for a day or so and see how it goes.” The family had actually just had a baby and didn’t want a baby and a dog and it was clear the dog was getting the short end of the stick.

I picked him up and handed Schoonie the keys and said, “I guess we should run him by the vet to check him out.” Of course I had already fallen in love with him and we had bonded before we even pulled out of the complex. When we got to the vet, I laid my credit card on the counter and said, “whatever it takes, please check him out and do whatever you need to in order to make him healthy and caught up on all his shots.” And, as simple as that, Jake became my dog. I had redeemed him. I got him out of a situation that he could not get out of on his own. I paid a bill that he could not pay. I gave him what he needed. He weighed eight pounds the day I got him and 13 a week later. He had hit the jackpot and it is still paying out!

Now, back to the spiritual lesson…I took Jake with me that night to the lock-in and shared my heart with the students. Using Jake’s life as an analogy, I explained that as all of us have the opportunity to be redeemed by God. He has already paid a price we could never afford. He has provided us a way out of our fallen and sinful situation that we cannot get out of on our own. God put his unlimited “platinum super gold” credit card on the counter and did whatever it would take to redeem His creation. It cost Him His only son.

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ His son. Romans 6:23

We have earned death but redeemed to life through Christ.