Kenyan Safari Reflections: Traveling Deeper and Further than I Knew I Needed to Go

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

There are various levels of reflecting and of reporting about a trip. I wrote up detailed reports on the trip but I did not report on my own personal experiene of the trip. This letter is to share with you my more personal experiences and reflections.

I heard some great testimonies on the trip.  I’ll share one from Bishop Joseph. Joseph had two cars: one was not working well and was in the garage for repairs; the other was a small Toyota Corolla. Neither was very satisfactory or reliable for the extensive amount of driving which Joseph does in a year.

On December 28, 2010 a pastor contacted Joseph. This brother had been one of Joseph’s members years ago and now he had become a pastor in his own right. The pastor told Joseph that the Lord had told him to give Joseph a car. He came to Joseph’s house to gave him a very nice Toyota Imsum which was clearly superior to any of Joseph’s other cars. Joseph was greatly blessed by this gift.

The man told the following story of how he came to give Joseph this gift.

This pastor and father of two children was not a wealthy man. However he was able to save money and over a year ago he ordered a used car from another country. He expected it to be  shipped into Kenya in January 2010.  As he was praying, God spoke to him. God said, ‘I want you to give a gift that costs you something. After you have used the car for a year, I want you to give the car to Bishop Joseph Kamau for all that he had deposited into your life.’  The pastor wrote down this conversation with God in his journal so that he would not forget what God had directed him to do.

As this man shared his story, Joseph felt led to ask him, ‘If you give me this car, will you have another car to drive?’

The man responded, “No I do not have another car.”

Joseph said, ‘Let me think about this situation and let us meet again tomorrow.’

On the following day the pastor delivered the car to Joseph’s house, all newly washed and polished.

Joseph had struggled with what to do. He did not want to insult the pastor by refusing the gift but  he did not feel right taking the pastor’s only car. He and Jane decided they would receive the car with gratitude and then give it back to the pastor as a gift from them.

Very reluctantly the pastor received the car back. However several days later he called and stated that he had no peace about the situation. He said God had clearly spoken to him and he had written the message down and he must obey.

Joseph said, “Okay, I will receive the car as mine but I will loan it back to you for a period so you and your family are not without a car.”

The pastor firmly resisted this counter offer. He said, “No, I want you to have the car.”

Finally Joseph said, “All right, brother, I will receive it.”

The pastor responded, “You need not come for it. I will have it delivered to your house.” This involved further expense to the pastor in that the pastor lived several hours from Joseph’s home.

Joseph concluded, “The car has been a blessing ever since. It has been such a blessing.”

This story moved me in several ways. I was impressed with this pastor’s sacrificial obedience. It is one thing to give out of abundance; it is another thing to give out of poverty. This pastor gave out of poverty.  Secondly God knows our needs. Joseph had committed his transportation needs to the Lord and the Lord put it in this pastor’s heart to meet the need. The Lord is very efficient. He does several things at one time. He taught the pastor about faithful obedience and he taught Joseph about humbe receiving.  And both men praised God for his goodness: the pastor that God had spoken and used him to meet a need and Joseph that God had met his need.

Now, let me share more personally about some things I experienced. I came on this trip with no time to prepare for the five talks I needed to give this week. My prayer was  ‘Lord, when I open my mouth, fill it with words so that I may clearly and fearlessly speak the Gospel.’ God did give me words but He did more than this, He spoke first to my own heart.

I spoke on Friday at a conference in Eldoret. I used a passion week passage about Jesus praying in the garden and saying, ‘ The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak; therefore watch and pray that you do not enter into temptation.’  Jesus said that ‘my flesh is weak so why should I try to demonstrate that ‘my flesh’ is strong. It is better to assume that ‘my flesh’ really is weak and that I need to avail myself of all the help from heaven and earth to help me. I need to say, ‘Brother, Would you watch with me?’ and to God I say, ‘Send me help from heaven that I may do your will and not mine.’ I need to take the position that because I am the weakest link I need to spend more time in watching and praying than others.

With about a one-half hour notice I learned that I was to give a second presentation on Friday. I spoke on our need for a baptism of love and used another passion week account of Jesus with his disciples at the last supper. Among other things I discussed the question of why Jesus openly expressed his favoritism toward John. I said that we need to ask, ‘Is Jesus enough for me?’   If  Jesus is truly enough for me then I do not need to be preoccupied with how what he does for you compares with what he does for me. On the other hand sometimes what I am delighting in is not really in Jesus , rather it is in perceiving that I am the best and that I am more special or favored than you and that my sense of well being has nothing to do with my joy in Jesus.

After my second talk I thought of leaving the session to get some rest, but I felt the Lord wanted to  test me in the very area I had spoken on which had to do with comparisons.  In response  to my talk, people smiled and nodded and said ‘amen’ and occasionally clapped.  But in response to the one who followed me they stood to their feet and shouted and screamed and blew whistles.  Praise God, He gave me the grace to enjoy this message and to stand and clap with the rest.  I could freely pray that God would increase His blessing on this talented young man.  But most important I knew in my heart that, “my Jesus is truly sufficient for me; I do not need to be number one to know I am His and He is mine. What is it to me if He chooses to deal more favorably to my brother or sister.”

But a great part of this trip was something I had not known or expected would happen. It was a deeper level of reconciliation and healing for an old wound I had received years ago.

Years ago I had befriended a young man. I had blessed him and in many ways, in retrospect, I had treated him as a son. However in the course of time a misunderstanding developed between us and we became estranged. I felt betrayed but was not clear what had happened or what I could do to change the situation. I would take it to the Lord and find the grace to forgive and bless this brother. The grace would last about three hours and then the anger and hurt and even depression would return and I would need to pray through the situation again to a place of peace. Gradually over a year the pain was gone and I thought of the situation rarely.

Several years ago this brother called me. He clarified the source of the misunderstanding and at the end of our conversation he asked my forgiveness. We forgave one another and were reconciled. Periodically over the years  we would communicate by phone or email. He took more of the initiative. Just recently he contacted me and asked me for a ‘father’s blessing’ for a difficult situation he was facing.

I had learned in the recent communication with this brother that he would be in Kenya with his family at the same time I was here and that we might meet. What I had not expected, was my reaction when I met him and his family on Thursday morning at Bishop Joseph’s house.

The initial greeting was appropriately friendly and warm. This was the first we had met in 8-10 years. We caught up on the basics of how we were doing. Later in the morning it became clear that this brother wanted to talk with me alone. As we talked I became aware that I did need to talk about things at a deeper level. I did want to understand why things had suddenly turned ‘sour.’

As we talked I found myself moved at a very deep level. The memory of the pain of the break in the relationship was suddenly very immediate. I realized that I had distanced myself from this brother as a way of dealing with the pain. I had told myself that he was after all not so important to me; that I could get along just fine in life if I never needed to interact with him again; that it was a hopeless situation- I had done all one could ever be expected to do and that I needed to walk away from the relationship.

I became aware as we shared that even after the ‘reconciliation’ by phone, my responses to the brother had remained muted. I had responded to his initiatives but I had not taken any real initiative to re-establish the level of relationship we once had.

Suddenly it was no longer about the analysis of my feelings, it was a renewal of love for my brother. I wept as we embraced and reaffirmed our commitment to one another. I thanked God for this unexpected deepening of the reconciliation.

On our last day , Pastor Jane told me that this brother wanted to see me again before I left. There was the indication that he wanted his children to say goodbye and to receive a blessing from me. We met at Hotel Kunsta. I had a good time with his 4 year old daughter and his 3 year old son. I put them on my shoulders; I asked ‘who is the greatest little girl in the world?” Then I raised a number of names as possibilites. But after each name I would loudly proclaim that this was not the most special person. Then I would ask, “Is it  (the name of the child in question)? And with great gusto answer my own question, “Yes-s-s-s-ss, this is the most special little girl in the whole country.”  The children loved this and wanted me to repeat it and repeat it and repeat it . They wanted to change it a bit and say who was the greatest mommy in the world and who was the greatest daddy in the world.  This I did till I was exhausted and had to say firmly, ‘That is enough for now.’

I also had a very good conversation with the brother’s wife. She had been affected second hand by the situation and I had always sensed a bit of distance from her. But now all seemed healed; I blessed the children and the couple and prayed over them.

Then the brother said, “there is one more thing.’ Then he told me of a potential business deal that he was contemplating here in Kenya. As an accountant he had figured out the details and it appeared to be an attractive investment opportunity.  Then he said he wanted to invite me to go into the business as a partner, knowing that I was always looking for ways to raise money for the church in Kenya.

Suddenly I saw that God had brought things full circle. This person that I had blessed years ago was now in a position to bless me in a very significant way.  I can only say, “God is good; his mercies endure forever. He restores the years which the locusts have eaten.

Well I am almost home. I hope you are doing well. God is good! He is always taking us deeper in our relaionships with Him.

Your brother,

E. Daniel

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. miriam wanjiku
    Oct 31, 2013 @ 13:59:41

    thanx soo much for sharing the history of this church,am a member of Nakuru Happy church and i enjoy serving under Bishop Joseph Kamau and Pastor Jane.God bless and we love u too Bishop E.Daniel.

    Reply

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    Oct 10, 2014 @ 04:00:39

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