30 January 2011

Building a foundation

Last week we were able to assist several nationals as they went into the schools to teach as part of the CRE (Christian Religious Education) program.  This week we actually started teaching the classes.  On Tuesday Jackie and Christina taught the two classes while I took photographs for a project I am doing for the church.  Jackie was teaching the older kids from the Gospel of John.  As she went verse-by-verse through the first chapter, she was explaining that Jesus is not only the Son of God, but He himself is God.  I enjoyed watching the kids listen so intently as Jackie simply and excitedly explained the deity of Christ to them.

Jackie teaches the students from the Gospel of John.

After Jackie was done teaching, I was curious to see what the kids retained from the lesson.  I found two young boys that had been in her class.  I asked them what they learned from the teaching.  I was fully expecting some short answer, but almost in perfect unison, they began retelling Jackie’s entire lesson.  They even reviewed with me what they had learned from the week before, and recited their memory verse. 

These two boys impressed me with their memories and desire to learn the Word of God.

I was humbled once again when I realized that we are a part of building the foundation of these children’s lives.  That thought spurs me on to take advantage of every opportunity to share the Gospel with these children.

25 January 2011

Taking advantage of every opportunity

One of the most unique things about the Bible study we have at the salon in Kibera is that the women continue their work as we teach.  This concept is unheard of in America, but here they cannot afford close down their business for an hour.

The first week I thought it was going to be hard to teach while they were still braiding.  However, God soon changed my perspective.  Now I am encouraging knowing that God is the One choosing people each week to come and have their hair done at the salon so that they may hear the Gospel.  It is as if we are teaching and doing evangelism at the same time!

This past Tuesday I was teaching again.  We discussed what the life of a Christian should look like according to the third chapter of Colossians.  The Gospel is repeated several times in this book. If it is repeated in the Bible, we repeat it as well. 

At the end of each study, we ask the women how we can be praying for them.  We also have the habit of asking the customers.  To our surprise, one of the customers told us her name and that she was a Muslim.  She even allowed us to pray for her.  Even though she did not pray to receive Christ that day, I was so encouraged to be reminded of God’s Sovereignty. 

He is so faithful to bring people to us that need to hear that Jesus Christ loves them and died for them.  At the same time, God reminded me of our part to take advantage of every opportunity to share about Jesus Christ because we never know who might be listening.

24 January 2011

Devotion for 24 January 2011

Nehemiah 4:16-17

16“So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah.”  17Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that one hand they worked with construction, and with the other held a weapon.”  

As I read through verses 16 & 17, scripture here shows us a great spiritual warfare that is taking place among the workers!  When reading chapter 4, one could look at this as just a mere story that happened around 464-423 B.C. When Nehemiah was tasked to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem, he and his people came across immediate physical and mental warfare.

It was so great that literally half the servants were working at constructing of the wall, while the other half held spears, shields, and bows for protection!  As one who works in Africa part time, I am well aware of this type of warfare.  If it were not for the believers praying and financially supporting this ministry, work could never be accomplished in Africa.  It should encourage those that can never go to Africa, or other parts of the world, that their support and prayers are as important as being actually serving there. 

In these two chapters we see there are the servants, the leaders, those who carried burdens and those who protected those that were building the wall.  We can never trivialize where God has called us in serving Him.  We are ALL part of the great commission, and no matter if we are leaders or servant, God is working through all of us for His glory!

21 January 2011

Outreach to Somali Refugee Ladies in Nairobi

     Last Friday, I had the opportunity to accompany Natasha to visit some Somali ladies who converted from their past Muslim faith to Christianity. It is on Natasha’s heart to reach out and minister to these ladies on a weekly basis.
     The two-room house is shared by four ladies and their combined six children. We brought them a bag of groceries and the word of God to encourage them to persevere through the trials they face ever since their conversion. Natasha shared with them scripture from 2 Corinthians 4:17 which says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory..”  
     We set out to encourage them, but hearing them tell us that “prayer is everything to us,” really challenged me in my faith to trust God more as these women do. After being abandoned by their husbands, these ladies are faced with the challenge of raising their children with no income and just trusting God for provision.
    We prayed for healing for one of the children who suffered brain injury after being sick from meningitis. We also prayed for God to provide money to pay school fees so that their children could go to school.
     In order to protect them from possible retaliation from Muslim family members who could find out about their conversions, I cannot post pictures. But please continue to pray for their needs, and for wisdom as Natasha continues to do house visits for all the ladies in the Somali Bible study.

18 January 2011

Joshua 1 And The Heavenly Image

Our destination as believers is not a geographical location – ITS AN IMAGE! (Psalm 17:5) We are being transformed, from glory to glory, into the image of our Savior…God has to encourage us to move forward because we tend to be happy in neutral – we hate change – and Satan knows that neutral is the same as backsliding. As you sit today feeling defeat over your personal stronghold or giants in your life purpose to recognize God will lead you. You will overcome, not because of what you have earned or deserve BUT BY HIS UNFAILING PROMISES (1 Thessalonians 5:24). We have a “Joshua” to follow, His name is Jesus Christ…be strong therefore and courageous, He cannot fail you, victory is YOURS!        (Pastor Joe Focht, excerpts from Joshua 1)

17 January 2011

She Looks To The Sky

She Looks to the Sky, by Sherry Youngward has always been one of my favorite songs. I learned it was written after Sherry read an excerpt from Jonathon Edwards journals. Edwards wrote about Sarah Pierpoint, the woman who soon became his wife and the mother of their ten children. As I read what he had to say I was challenged in the deepest part of my soul. This type of intimacy comes only to those who devote all their heart, soul, mind, and strength to Jesus….and isn’t that what Jesus said was the most important command (Matthew 22:37-40)? I encourage you to linger over these words. Jesus will be back for us soon, will He find us faithful to that greatest command? Will He be able to look at our lives and say, “Well done my daughter, well done.” I am purposing to take His new mercy and recklessly abandon my heart to this kind of intimacy…want to join me?



They say there is a young lady in New Haven who is beloved of that Almighty Being, who made and rules the world, and that there are certain seasons in which this Great Being, in some way or other invisible, comes to her and fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight, and that she hardly cares for anything except to meditate on Him – that she expects after a while to be received up where He is, to be raised up out of the world and caught up into heaven; being assured He loves her too well to let her remain at a distance from Him always. There she is to dwell with Him, and to be ravished with His love and delight forever. Therefore, if you present all the world before her, with the richest of its treasures, she disregards it and cares not for it, and is unmindful of any pain or affliction. She has a strange sweetness in her mind, and singular purity in her affections; is most just and conscientious in all her actions; and you could not persuade her to do anything wrong or sinful, if you would give her all the world, lest she should offend this great Being. She is of a wonderful sweetness, calmness and universal benevolence of mind; especially after those seasons in which this Great God has manifested Himself to her mind. She will sometimes go about from place to place, singing sweetly; and seems to be always of joy and pleasure; and no one knows for what. She loves to be alone, and to wander in the fields and on the mountains, and seems to have Someone Invisible always conversing with her. (Works 16, 789-790)

She Looks to the Sky, Sherry Youngward

They say she is loved by the Greatest of all who have walked the world.

He lives far away still she spends all her days

Content with only His words

She often walks alone, but never is she lonely

You can offer her anything her affections are all for Him only.

She looks to the sky as if He is coming down through the clouds up above

Tho’ no one has seen Him you cannot deny she is drenched with His love

She often walks alone, but never is she lonely

You can offer her anything her affections are all for Him only.

All the daylong she sings sweetly

She says He speaks to her mind

She’s only rich with affliction

Yet a bitter word you won’t find

She lives with assurance He loves her too deeply to let this distance remain

She’s brimming with longing for Him to come calling and sweep her away

She often walks alone, but never is she lonely

You can offer her anything her affections are all for Him only.

All the daylong she sings sweetly

She says He speaks to her mind

She’s only rich with affliction

Yet a bitter word you won’t find

Technology is fun!

Internet here in Nimule always has been a big challenge here for our missionaries on the field since it very difficult to get a signal. Vicky and I walked down to the next compound and we sat outside on a log to check emails. Crazy huh! While Vicky and I were checking their emails, children would come one by one and then all of a sudden there be many children just laughing and pointing at the screen. They would ask in Arabic is that a picture or a video? Can you imagine they never seen a computer before in their life? What fun joy to see the kids face discovering something new! Enjoy looking at these fun photos!

-Alison Jalinski

15 January 2011

Bible Study open to women of Kibera, Nairobi

The Lord opened up the door for Jackie, Anna Marie and I to teach a women’s Bible Study in the slums of Kibera. The Bible study takes place at a hair salon, and the owner, Doreen, invited us to come and teach the ladies who work there.
We are all three taking turns teaching through the book of Colossians, which is good for these ladies because many of them are new believers who need encouragement in their faith. But some of them are customers who happen to be there getting their hair done and end up at a Bible study they did not plan on going to.
The first few weeks of the study, the women did not respond very much after the teaching to ask questions, or even give feedback about what they learned. Last week, I had the opportunity to teach about Paul warning the Colossians about false teaching in the church. After I was done teaching, some of the women starting talking with our Christian translator Mildred.
Mildred later told me they were asking her questions about different false teachings they have in their culture, to know if they are Biblical. I was excited that they were responding to the Word of God and relating it to their lives. I am hoping that as more weeks go by, we can continue to build relationships with these ladies so that they will grow more deeply in Christ.

Above Ana Marie Teaching, and Mildred translating

Above Jackie, Ana Marie and Mildred and ladies
listening to Bible study.

12 January 2011

Back-to-School VBS

On Sunday afternoon, we had the pleasure of hosting a Back-to-School VBS for the children that live in the slums located directly behind the church. Christina and I have worked at vacation Bible schools before, but none of us had experience when it came to planning.
We didn’t have any money in our budget for a VBS, so we decided to do a car wash in our neighborhood to raise money for the event. 
Several of the youth from the church helped us with the VBS.  One of the youth named Chris was extremely helpful.  He started the VBS off with a time of singing.  Chris has an amount of energy that I find amazing.  I felt like I was taking an extreme aerobics class just trying to keep up with him and the kids. 

The kids singing and dancing
After a time of singing, the kids broke into groups to learn about what it means to love their neighbor.  We used the story about the Good Samaritan to help them understand that we are to love and help anyone in need, regardless of any differences.

Jackie, Wallace, Chris, and the puppet helping the kids memorize their verse
We had a craft for the kids, which turned out to be what I can only describe as a time of fun chaos for my group.  At one point, I was surrounded by 25 kids all begging for me to put glue on their projects.  One of the teachers walked by and saw that a kid was dropping glue into my hair.  As they were gluing little hearts onto their projects (or my hair),  the kids kept saying, “Teacher, I need a love to put on mine!” 

The kids answering questions about the Good Samaritan story
We ended the day with a snack, a skit and more singing.  We all agreed that the time spent singing and dancing with the kids was one of our favorite parts of the day.  Jackie helped lead the worship time by showing them the dance moves, so she had a perfect view of all the laughing faces.  Christina and I were down dancing alongside the kids.  

Christina and the kids enjoying a giant giant group hug
During one song, Chris would randomly yell a number and we would have to get that many people into a giant group hug. We learned a lot by evaluating the event to see what we can do better next time, but we were all blessed...possibly more than the children.  

08 January 2011

Raising up Men of God

Today we served at a men’s luncheon at the church. One of Arie's desires is to raise up strong Godly men in the church. Today’s message was geared towards fathers being the head of the household & raising their children in a Godly manner. To our surprise 22 men showed up & a couple of them even brought their sons with them. We ladies cooked & served them lunch after the teaching. We cooked sukuma wiki (which is like a spinach leaf) with beef & ugali (maize flour). We had a great time cooking with the ladies. We each took turns trying to make ugali while the ladies giggled at our efforts. You pour the ugali flour into a huge pot of water & almost immediately it turns into a play doh like substance. You have to stir it continuously & as you’re stirring it becomes tougher & tougher to stir. We had to put our entire bodies into it…the Kenyan's could stir it with one hand...they are some tough women! We were all so blessed to be able to serve the men & blessed to have a great turn out of man desiring to grow in God.

Christina stirring the ugali

 Pastor Arie teaching

04 January 2011

FIC Youth Christmas Party at Calvary Chapel Nairobi

    The Wednesday before Christmas, I had the opportunity to attend the Calvary Chapel Nairobi’s youth Christmas Party. The party took place in the sanctuary of the church and went from afternoon till evening. It started off with a time of fellowship and greeting one another. Jackie, Anna Marie and I are just starting to build relationships with the youth, as well as with the other members of the church, so we spent time mingling to get to know them better.
     After the time of meeting and greeting, we played some games to help break the ice for those who did not know everyone there. We played a name game, and Christmas Bible Trivia. Chris, one of the Kenyan youth group leaders, conducted the name game, and by the end of it we all knew each others name as well as what we like to do for fun.
Jackie, Anna Marie and I hosted a game that tested everyone’s knowledge of  the true Christmas story. We asked everyone questions, and eliminated the youth down to three main contestants who competed for the grand prize. The game was a lot of fun, while at the same time giving the opportunity to learn more about the word of God.
     After the games we had a time of more fellowship, eating baked items baked by Jamie, and dancing. Finally, the party ended with a time of testimonies and a recap of the youth mission trip to Garrison, and Katui, Kenya. Those who went on the trip shared their testimonies of  the trip and how God used them to reach some unreached parts of Kenya.