Monday, August 30, 2010
On a frustrating note, I lost the hard drive (not even 2 years old) on my computer and though we tried so hard to recover the data and get a new hard drive here, we finally had to resort to sending it back by a friend to US for repairs. We waited 2 months for a volunteer coming this way to bring it back. It was not under warranty and I had not backed up my files (woe is me) so I basically lost all the data; except some Danny had saved a few years back. Also, the computer, KBC had let Danny have when we came to Uganda, died. It was nearly 8 years old and had served him well. His PC Tablet, which he had for several years, also gave up the ghost. So 3 computer issues were not fun and really hampered our work process.
We want to express our gratefulness for your giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. The receipts exceeded what was given in 2009, and for that we are grateful. However, the overall shortfall through past years has made the amount needed for immediate work to still be critical. The Offering is such a major part of funding the mission endeavors around the world. Many strategies, opportunities and appointing of new personnel have been put on hold. Many folks who have been approved for appointment and have sold their homes and businesses to go abroad have been put in a holding pattern because of the lack of funds. Therefore the work is hampered and new appointees are held in limbo. We need to understand and believe that 4.5 billion people are living without Christ and over 1 billion have never even heard of Christ. (I did not say million, but billion). You and I have a mandate to share Christ with them that all may have the opportunity to hear.
As you begin to think of Christmas and the gifts you will bestow on those you love, remember the One Whose birthday we celebrate and let’s give our biggest gift to Him that His love may be shared with those dying who have never heard of the Hope of Christ for them. Please PRAY about what you and your family could give this year to enhance the sharing of the Gospel around the world.
The VBS at Danny’s first pastorate, Progress BC, in the McComb, MS, sent us their offering and we have used some of it for the care of some precious needy children ages 4-8 at the small Kenyan church, Rungiri BC, where we attend. Some adults at Rungiri are burdened for some very needy children nearby and some of this money has provided food, clothes and school supplies. One Saturday a month the children come together to play games, receive love, food and learn Bible stories and songs. Many more have the same needs but these 6 the adults felt led to minister to first. PRAY for the children with too many needs to describe. Below are bits of the story, shared by a fellow worker, Blake Welch, of another child we have come to know and help. Mwangi’s short life is so sad but through several months of love and care, his life is being changed week by week by the love of Christ.
Mwangi (mwon-ghee) is a young boy who has developmental disabilities and barely looks more than 7 or 8 years old, although he is 13. Due to no one caring for him or showing him any affection his disabilities progressed quickly. Mwangi's mother tried to poison him when he was younger, abandoned him and no other family member wanted him. He was often left alone outside in pouring rain and was so hungry he ate his own waste. His mother died and his neighbors, David and Mama Serah, took him in, with nine children of their own. Mwangi has been suffering from a condition called "pallegra" that causes a severe skin rash and comes from malnutrition. These past months, the Lord has blessed us with the means to help him and the Lord continues to heal him. As part of his disabilities, Mwangi doesn't talk but just recently, I heard him speak for the first time when he mimicked words Mama Serah was speaking.
Stories like Mwangi’s are multiplied by thousands….homeless children; beaten, lost, sick, living on the streets, eating out of garbage dumps, no knowledge of love and too few people who care. PRAY that Blake and others will know ways we can reach out in the name of Christ to share Christ’s love with these children.
September 20 will be a special day for Danny’s mother, Margie, as she celebrates her 87th birthday. In February she fell and broke her pelvis in 2 places. Her recovery was a painful journey but God gave healing, stamina and many encouragers and she is doing well. She just made a trip to Myrtle Beach to see Charles’ family and seems to have handled the trip well. HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY…..MOM!
I won’t try to write everything that has been going on…but continue to PRAY for our work in the Horn of Africa with our personnel and various issues of life they encounter. PRAY also for visas to be issued into one of our countries where we really need to go and have not been successful over a period of months to get visas.
We love hearing from you and wait for the day our paths will cross with many of you. Thank you for your love, prayers, gifts and encouragement. We love you,
Danny and Claudia
MAGIC JACK US PHONE: 804-859-0867 (Give us a call…works through computer)
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
September/October, 2009 - Nairobi, Kenya
WE are back in Kenya after a wonderful month in the US seeing our family and participating in a Global Impact Celebration at Eastside Baptist Church, Stockbridge, GA. We cannot believe how quickly the time went by but we were so blessed to have had wonderful days with the babies and helping Timothy and Janet with some odd jobs in a new (older) home they moved into the night before we arrived. We tried to help them in many ways and also spent a lot of time outside with the children...they love outside and we enjoyed the swing on the patio and being with them as they played. They both seemed to not miss a beat with us and it felt as though we had always been there with them. Timothy’s new address is 2707 Scarsborough Dr., Richmond, VA 23235. So that will be our US address also for the time we are in Africa. We also had a week of seeing Danny’s mom while we were at the conference. We continue to praise the Lord for the good adjustment she has made in the assisted living apartment. They love her and take good care of her. We were able to reach her house the night of her 86th birthday. She is a real trooper and we admire her fortitude so much. God has blessed her in so many ways and she is very resilient. Jason came to Richmond for 5 days so it was wonderful to be with him and to have our family together. The children loved being with him and he was truly a great “Uncle Jace” to them.
We had busy weeks before we left for the states and a wonderful time getting to know more of our folks in Sub Sahara Africa. We spent 8 days traveling in one of our countries to see their work and to understand more about the needs of those who serve in areas which are challenging. Continue to PRAY for the needs of those who serve faithfully in learning difficult languages to be prepared to better share the Good News of Christ. Please PRAY for us as the next 2 months will be heavily involved in a lot of travel for Member Care training and also to participate in a prayer retreat and other meetings with some of personnel. PRAY for wisdom and discernment as we seek to minister to personal needs they might have.
Pastor Moses was finally released from the hospital and was back at church on Sunday. He was not up to preaching but he did extend deep gratefulness and thanksgiving for the sparing of His life. We regret we did not hear his testimony of the wonderful ways God ministered to him through several near death experiences. Julius also has returned to church and moving along adjusting to his life without his left arm. WE have been challenged and amazed at their wonderful faith and encouraging hearts as they proclaim their love for the Lord. Please continue to PRAY for both of these men as they have a long road of recovery ahead. PRAY Pastor’s arm will continue to heal with several skin grafts. PRAY for both men not to have infections.
October 13 was our 36th anniversary. Our celebration was slim...McDonald’s on the way to dentist, Chick-fil-A on the way to another dentist and McDonald’s on the way home from the dentist....I had an abscessed tooth, for which I got no relief, even though I went to two dentists that day. We had to leave next day for Kenya so I traveled with heavy pain meds and antibiotics. We arrived late Thursday night and I was at the dentist’s office here at 8:30 a.m. Friday to wait for some help. By 12:00 noon he worked me in and the tooth was pulled and relief began. Though our celebration was not great....we are so grateful for each other and for these years the Lord has blessed us in marriage.
James O. Fraser, missionary in China 1886-1938, said,
“Ah, we do not think what it means that our (China) brothers and sisters, so easily accessible, are perfectly able to understand the messages of God’s redeeming LOVE, and so greatly need it; but are being left in millions to perish.”
NOW is the time to begin thinking of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for foreign missions and what amount God would have you give. IMB’s Treasurer, David Steverson, shared that the deficit in giving last year has really had a monumental effect on the opportunities to send more missionaries and also has hampered ministries on the field. None of this Offering goes toward administrative or promotional costs. The goal last year was $170 million and receipts were only $141 million. This is a huge hole in the monies for missions’ endeavors around the world. Many missionaries are approved and “in waiting” to carry the gospel to places around the world where the Gospel has not been shared. Many are called, gifted and ready but without sufficient funds they cannot be sent. The money simply is not there. We ask you to please consider this seriously. We are truly feeling the results of the lack of funds in our ministries here. PRAY about the amount you could give this year that others may go and that all may hear. May we ALL be faithful to the task God has given us.
We have requested prayer for rain for many months and God is blessing with great rains, as of the last week. Kenya is very dry and the need for water has become desperate. We praise Him for these blessed showers. PRAY that they will continue in a timely manner for the restoration of the land.
In closing, we wish that we could have seen many of you but our time was so limited on this trip. Also, we had hoped to make more phone calls but our time just melted away. But please know of our continued love and joy in having you partner together with us in what God has called us to do. We love getting your emails and your prayer requests. We want to be a part of your lives though 8,000 miles separate us.
We love you,
Danny and Claudia
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Danny enjoyed returning to Uganda to be the speaker for the graduation ceremony of the Uganda Baptist Seminary. He really loves being with the student pastors and to be a part of the commitment of their lives to service in the Kingdom. And he also loves getting to go back to Uganda anytime. PRAY for the seminary’s training of pastors.
Our new role as Member Care for SubSahara Africa officially started August 1 but we began dealing with various needs in July. We ask you to PRAY that we might have wisdom and be encouragers to some of the greatest folks in the world.
Two AIM (African Inland Mission) pilots, Frank Toews and Ryan Williams, lost their lives as their small aircraft plummeted to the ground in Nairobi. PRAY for their wives, Tiffany and Dawn, and their children. Also PRAY for the AIM mission family as they adjust to this loss of two of their own team. Tragedies like this affect many who are family to each other as they serve 8,000 miles from their USA famillies.
Pastor Moses is still in the hospital and his arm has not been set yet because of infection. He has a couple of breaks but continues to have a lot of bleeding and they can not set it until he has no infection. He has been in a lot of pain and can’t lift the arm at all. Julius, whose arm was amputated at his shoulder, returned to Nairobi and was at church for the first time today. His testimony blessed and challenged our hearts and a song burst forth twice from his heart and lips as he shared his story. The crash of the taxi van was such a traumatic, frightening and painful ordeal. Our prayer is that he does not get an infection. Please continue to PRAY for both of them. Medical care is not as we know it in the US. They continue to be hopeful of healing and have such a precious faith in the Lord and a great trust in God’s care. The church has bonded more strongly during this time. They have really grieved for these two men and have been faithful in attendance. PRAY for Pastor Moses as he faces a tremendous hospital debt. He gets no salary because the congregation has such a few shillings to give but he continues to pastor and preach with his whole heart and loves the Word of God.
We are US bound to Richmond September 16 to spend a few days with the babies (and their parents...ha) before traveling to Atlanta on 21st to be a part of a Global Impact Conference, Wednesday-Sunday, the 23- 27th, at Eastside Baptist Church, Stockbridge, GA. We will be about 20 miles from Danny’s mom so this will give us an opportunity to also see her. We look forward to sharing about our ministry in Kenya, Uganda and beyond. We return to Richmond on 28th until Oct. 13 to be with them and Jason is planning a visit also. Then back to Kenya. PRAY for our stateside time.
The 9th month of the Islamic Calendar (August 22-September 20, 2009), is a holy month for Muslims all over the world. They are more spiritually open and are expected to fast from all food and drink during daylight hours. It is also a time for inner reflection, devotion to God and self control. Ramadan is the 3rd of 5 pillars of Islam. The sad part is that even with all their spiritual rituals and fasting no one knows whether their good works will weigh more than their bad deeds when God determines their eternal destiny. PRAY for many Muslims to learn the true love of God and the way He forgives their sin if they will trust in the Way, the Truth and the Life, JESUS CHRIST.
Insufficient rainy seasons have developed a broad, harsh drought in Kenya. People and animals are dying for lack of water and crops are being seriously affected. Food prices are soaring and though we are affected it is really critical for the poor. And there are millions of poor people living in Kenya. Electricity is being rationed. We are without power every other day for 12 hours a day and the price of electricity continues to increase. Yes, we can live with this but it does become frustrating when work needs to be done and computer batteries are low and other issues of living are curtailed. Water shortage is seriously critical and we do ask you to PRAY for much needed rains.
Elizabeth “Betty” Stam who served as a missionary from 1906-1934 in China made a wonderful statement, “Nobody can force a single soul....to turn to Christ. All that [we]....can do, is to lift up Christ before the world, bring Him into dingy corners and dark places of the earth where He is unknown, introduce Him to strangers, talk about Him to everybody, and live so closely with and in Him that others may see that there really is such a Person as Jesus.....” May we all be sensitive to live that closely with Him that others may see and come to know Him is our prayer for you and for us.
A very special Happy 86th birthday to Danny’s mom, Margie, on September 20.
With our love and prayers for you, Danny and Claudia
Monday, July 27, 2009
Winter, or at least cooler weather, is in our part of the world and we continue to hear woes of the heat index in the US. I even bought a trusty hot water bottle, since we have no heat in our house and the windows do not close tightly...in fact some are an inch or two from closing. July/August are basically our winter months and it really can get cold.
It was a privilege to be a part of the baptism of 9 adults from Rungiri Baptist Church. On that Sunday, Danny preached a message about baptism and we look forward to celebrating communion with them the first Sunday in August. The pastor asked Danny to preach also that day and he will share all the promises communion represents in the life of the believer. Please PRAY for Pastor Moses and the church music leader, Julius, who were injured in a taxi van accident returning from the burial of a church member. Julius’s arm was crushed and had to be removed and he and Pastor Moses are in a small hospital several hours from Nairobi. The taxi hit and killed 2 young men on the road and lost control and turned over. Travel here is so dangerous.
We have been ministering to some of our missionaries these last weeks. One of our Uganda couples, Stephen and Kaye Carson, came to Nairobi for the birth of their son, Silas William. Several families have recently returned to the US for medical reasons, others are retiring and others have lost their parents. Challenging changes are always a part of our missionary families. Please PRAY for the many needs and challenges that face all of us living in another culture and dealing with issues of health, family, death, births, language learning, culture shock, safety in driving, aging parents in the US and missing children and grandchildren.
We had a great time at our sectional meeting and then an additional 4 day meeting for Sub Cluster leaders. Our job is changing and we are becoming Member Care associates for Sub Sahara Africa. This job is a pastoral role working with our personnel in other countries but Nairobi will be our base for the present time. Please PRAY for this new aspect of ministry and for wisdom and sensitivity as we relate to the many needs in the lives of our missionaries; which I mentioned above.
“Business As Mission” is a new small leather crafting business started by some of our co-workers, Ron/Nancy and Erin Copeland. It has employed 15 young Kenyan men who have demonstrated a gifting in evangelism and a commitment to start new Baptist churches in unreached areas of Nairobi and beyond. They work 4 days a week crafting small leather products; for which they are paid a modest income. They spend 2 days a week evangelizing and disciplining in their neighborhoods; for which they are not paid. They have already formed several Bible storying groups in neighborhoods where there is no church. PRAY for this new opportunity for the men to learn a productive skill with the goal to share Christ with their family, friends and neighbors. PRAY for options/partnerships/buyers to help sell and market the items. PRAY also for the Copelands as they give administrative guidance to this project.
We were able to go to the Masai Mara, in Kenya, for 2 nights, which is the northern part of the vast Serengeti plain in Tanzania, to see the beginning of the wildebeest/zebra/Thompson’s gazelle migration. We saw too many different animals to describe but we had such a wonderful time on 4 game drives and saw thousands of animals in this beginning stage. A big blessing for us was to share about Jesus with our guide, whom we will call “AD.” God opened the perfect time, place and door to talk to him on our way back to the airstrip from where we would depart. Thankfully, I had a small Gideon New Testament with me and was able to leave that with him and he was most willing to accept it. Praise God for GIDEONS INT’L, whose ministry is to give Bibles away. He promised he would begin reading the Gospel of John. He has NO real knowledge of Christ and is part of another religion but more by association than commitment. We shared how even Michael Jackson, who had so much fame and fortune, left it all and had to face God and that we all will do the same as we entwined the Gospel story in our conversation. He was receptive and took our contact numbers and we are praying that someone will come along the way to water the seed we planted. Please PRAY for his understanding and desire to know Christ as his Savior. PRAY also that we might have more opportunity to follow up with him.
On a funny note....our small plane bringing us back from the Mara was taking off on a rocky runway bed when it was discovered that a tire burst upon landing. We then deplaned for the repair to be made. We were very happy to see a replacement tire....BUT...they had no jack. An old school bus had brought some school children on a field trip and was there so our ‘tire changer” went to the bus in search of a “jack.” Fortunately they had one. After raising the jack to its limit, hands dug busily trying to scrap away dirt to make room for the tire to be placed on the rim. It was finally accomplished and we just stood in amazement and fought back the question.... Why was there no “jack” on the plane for circumstances like this? We have learned that asking WHY is an effort in futility. It is better to stand amazed at the way they do make things happen. It just may not be on a quick timetable or with all our perks but they are very ingenious folks.
Our sweet Isaac celebrated a very special and happy 2nd birthday, July 25. He was in the Alabama with his other grandparents, 2 great grandmothers, aunts and uncles and cousins. He also stopped by to see Danny’s mom so he is blessed with lots of love. Lealla is now 7 months and trying to walk...too quickly.
We are coming to Richmond Sept. 16 and will be at a Global Focus Celebration at Eastside Baptist Church, Stockbridge, GA, Sept. 23-27. We will be in Richmond until Oct. 14 loving on our babies as much as possible. PRAY for our time at the conference that others may desire to respond to God’s call to missions.
Thank you for your perpetual love and encouragement. It means so much to have you partner with us in the ministry God has called us to in Kenya.
We Love You, Danny and Claudia
Friday, June 12, 2009
May/June, 2009 - Nairobi, Kenya, Africa
The past few weeks are almost a blur as we recount the things which have transpired but one thing for sure is that God has been faithful to us and has been so near and dear to our spirits.
Danny’s only sibling, a brother, Charles-65 years old, died the night of April 14th. We busily completed some important tasks Danny had to do on the 15th and worked arrangements for him to leave that night for Dulles airport so Timothy could pick him and bring him on to Richmond. Janet, Isaac and Lealla came with Timothy to airport and surprised Danny. He and Timothy drove the next day to Myrtle Beach to be with his mom and Charles’ wife and daughters. After the funeral he stayed in MB until Tuesday and then drove mom to Atlanta. He spent several days with her and flew back to Richmond for 4 days before returning to Nairobi. So in the midst of sorrow he was able to spend some quality time with the family and of course was so glad to have those last days with the grand babies. Jason came from NYC and sang at the funeral so he was able to be with him also. We miss Charles but we had seen him suffer for many years and his last three weeks had been very difficult; he even spent several days in ICU on a ventilator and had multiple medical issues that his body was just too tired to fight against. Thank you for your prayers for Danny and the family during this time of sorrow.
After Danny left for the states that Wednesday night, I flew on Sunday to J’burg, South Africa for knee surgery on Tuesday. I had good care and assistance from our medical coordinators there and did well through it all. I remained there 10 days after surgery and arrived home one night after Danny’s return. I have been in therapy and now after 6 weeks of healing I feel I am seeing results from the surgery. The pain I had previously been experiencing is almost gone and the incision pain is at a minimal now. Thank you for your prayers for me during this time. I am so grateful for the relief I am experiencing.
A couple of weeks ago we had the option to move to a house that is just one level. We could move immediately so we opted for that. I was not able to pull down and pack up and climb stairs and etc. but we were able to secure help of a great lady who did a good job working with me and we are set up for the most part. It is so good not to have the stairs anymore. We are sharing office space in one of the bedrooms and this set up works so much better. Praise the Lord with us for opening up this opportunity. It has an established yard with lots of trees, plants and birds so we are also enjoying it.
Today...I heard Danny yell with a bit of panic/shock as he called my name so I ran to see what the problem was and he was going toward the kitchen saying, “A monkey just came into the living room!!” Yes, it was true.. we have monkeys in the yard...but we did not want them to be a guest in our home. The monkey had come through the kitchen door and grabbed a banana and orange off the cabinet and we suppose he was coming into the dining room to eat them...ha. But Danny’s yell scared him as he had scared Danny with his entrance. We had been warned to keep our doors closed because this could happen...and so we have learned a lesson. He is a large monkey...I had seen him on some buildings here but I did not want to see him in our house. Anyway, he ran to the gate, sat on it and peeled his orange and ate it. Now I am looking around every corner. Well, I should say looking around every window because a smaller one came today and I really thought he was going to be able to squeeze through the burglar bars. In Africa you do not close windows because you need a breeze; so we might end up having a guest monkey come in during the night. PRAY that doesn’t happen or we both might be scared out of our wits.
Danny has been very busy with preparations for our big sectional meeting beginning June 8-14. Fellow workers from 7 countries will be coming together for a time of training, understanding of new organizational changes, encouragement, fellowship and times of worship and some relaxation. There have been many challenges in all of the logistical parts of this but we are looking forward to this time of being with many that we haven’t gotten to know and to see others we haven’t seen in a long time. He also just returned from a trip to take some volunteers to visit the seminary in Uganda. He always delights to return and see how the work is continuing there. We plan to return there for a few days in June for a strategy meeting. Our heart is still so tender for them. There are many personnel changes taking place in Kampala and our Ugandan leaders need to be very focused in continuing with the principles of leadership they have been taught in starting new house churches and training new believers. Having trained leaders is ever a challenge. PRAY for trained leaders to multiply both in Uganda and Kenya.
Because of the economic crisis the International Mission Board is having to reduce the number of missionaries appointed in the coming months. This is sad to hear because the number of applicants has been increasing and the laborers are so needed on the field. Please continue to PRAY about how you might still be a part of sacrificial missions’ giving. We know times are very challenging and we must PRAY that our churches will be able to remain committed to supporting the cause of sharing Christ around the world. So many still have NEVER heard of Jesus and His love for them.
I haven’t been as involved these past weeks in a lot of ministry due to the pain, surgery and recuperation of my knee. But I look forward to once again being active in reaching out to others in Nairobi. Continue to PRAY for Rungiri Baptist Church. We are blessed by the sound preaching of Pastor Moses and we enjoy being a part of that Kenyan fellowship.
And now for a sweet Happy, Happy 32nd birthday to Timothy on June 17.
Please hear our heart of love and thanksgiving for each of you and we love hearing from so many of you. You are a real blessing to our hearts and spirits.
WE LOVE YOU,
Danny and Claudia
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
When I visited the Uganda Baptist Seminary back in March and now again in May, I saw young men sleeping on the floor in classrooms because the dormitory is full. That's how committed they are to getting a theological education. They need another dormitory! Pray with me that this will be approved and pray for our students at the seminary. Today, we have an open door for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ... tomorrow???? Now is the time to train these willing men and women.