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Kenya 2015

Construction Missions Trip to Kenya
Missionary: Andy and Stacey Whitman; June 19–29, 2015

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The Potomac District Team

The team was organized by Bobby Basham, Men’s Director of the Assemblies of God Potomac District. We worked in the city of Kitengela (south of Nairobi) on a building the primary use of which will be for Royal Rangers and related functions. The Kenya Royal Rangers includes boys and girls. The Kenya Assemblies of God (KAG) also reaches out to homeless, abandoned children – even two babies were rescued. This program is called Kenya’s Kids. Our team was comprised of nine men from various churches in the Potomac District. Two of these were 18-year old Royal Rangers that had the highest level known as the Gold Medal of Achievement.

Summary of Work

Our work assignment was to assist the local craftsmen in plastering walls, using grinders to cut the basic steel components used to weld the door and window frames, various painting tasks, carpentry and corrugated metal roofing work. Our work was hard and our bodies took a beating; but it was part of building the infrastructure of the Kingdom of God.

Royal Rangers, the Royal Bridging Centre and Kenya’s Kids

In Kenya young people do not have the opportunities to participate in activities that ours do. So, Royal Rangers is a big deal. The building we worked will be used for An example is a story that Missionary Andy told. A 12-year old boy ran into a burning building to rescue his baby brother while adults stood around not knowing what to do because of the intense flames. The boy quickly found a blanket, soaked it in water, wrapped himself in it and ran in to accomplish the rescue. He was asked how he knew what to do. His answer was that he had learned it in Royal Rangers. Missionary Andy heard of it four years later and took steps to award him the Royal Ranger Medal of Valor.

The Royal Bridging Center reaches out to boys who, at about 13 years of age, are expected to transition from being boys to manhood – the rite of passage to manhood. If left to tribal customs, the boys will be ingrained in pagan rituals and consequently fall away from any Christian upbringing they may have had. Those who had not church experience prior to this event will find it almost impossible to accept the Gospel. The KAG men’s director, Patrick Kawe, who also serves as the head of Royal Rangers, had an idea seven years ago to formulate a plan to offer a Christian version of transitioning to manhood. This is known as the Royal Bridging Center.

Patrick’s analogy goes like this: Bringing up the boys in the Church is like leading them to the river that needs to be crossed to become a man. The we abandon them by telling them go ride a crocodile across the river (the pagan rite of passage). Of course the crocodile will either eat them or severely maim them. This is what the pagan rite does. Patrick started the Christian version seven years ago and so far 92 boys have gone through it. Another church in a district with more boys followed this example, starting a Royal Bridging Center. So far they have brought about 220 boys through the program.

John Kimiri heads up the Kenya’s Kids Centre. About 50 kids receive care. One milk cow provides a small cup of milk daily for each child. Four years ago we worked on a Kenya’s Kids home in northern Kenya. The children have separate dorms for boys and girls. They are assigned chores to help out.

Devotions and Church Services

We started each each work day with a devotion led by one of the men. My turn was on Tuesday June 23. I spoke on the story of the lost (or prodigal) son as seen in Luke 15. Emphasizing Repentance, Grace, and Celebration. When the younger son had sunk to the bottom, he repented and hoped his father would extend enough grace to him to be a servant. What he hadn’t counted on was his father’s heart. Although his father had brought him up in the “right way” he didn’t force him to stay but let him go. Yet the father’s heart did not let him go but kept yearning for his return. The abundant grace extended to his son was a full status of a son. And there was a great celebration. A lesson from the older brother’s attitude was that we should never begrudge God’s great grace to the “vilest” of sinners that repents. Jesus point was that the angels in heaven celebrate over one sinner that repents.

Another note on God’s incredible grace is from Charles Spurgeon speaking of the Throne of Grace,who states that grace conquers justice. The one sitting on this throne requires justice but His grace met every requirement of that justice through Jesus Christ.

Two of our number are pastors, Bobby Basham and Todd Marple. Each preached at a church. I went with Bobby to Immanuel Church. This church was started four years ago with four families, now they have 100 adults and 80 children in the church. Their meeting place is not adequate to hold all the activities, such as Sunday School classes, so they meet out doors, weather permitting.

Bobby preached a great sermon on the danger of losing our first love, using the Ephesian church as an example.

On a Personal Note

I had taken 20 Gideon Personal Workers Testaments (PWTs) along for giving out as the opportunities were afforded. The PWTs consist of the New Testament along with Psalms and Proverbs. The also include help sections and a listing of the basic Scriptures leading to salvation. All were given out. Some en-route and most of them in Kenya. Most people received them with gratitude.

As I type the draft of this report I am sitting in the Zurich airport where we had a near-six hour layover. Each journey, going and coming home, took two days.

For the King and His Kingdom,

Henry Weigel
Missions Coordinator, Centerpointe Church

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Plastering

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Cutting Panels for Door

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Welding Panel in Door

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Hand-made Double Door

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Kenya’s Kids Centre

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Kenya’s Kids (KKs)

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KKs Girls’ Bunk Beds

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Kenya’s Wildlife

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Lonely Tree

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Thailand 2014

Construction Missions Trip to Thailand
Missionary: Dan and Gail Klepel; June 20—29, 2014

Building a Church Addition near Phuket, Thailand

Building a Church Addition near Phuket, Thailand

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The team was organized by Bobby Basham, Men’s Director of the Assemblies of God Potomac District. We will be working in the Southern Region, in an area called Phang Nga. There is a church that was born from the 2004 tsunami where there was no Assembly of God church anywhere in the area. This church has just recently been completed but is in great need of an educational area for Sunday school, an area for children’s activities a place to cook meals, and which is very important culturally and would greatly help this church to reach the many lost in Thailand. Thailand is .54% Christian (less than 1%) this is a vital mission field. Our mission was to complete the concrete floor and the block walls of this free standing structure while we were there for a total cost of $10,000. We accomplished this and the local craftsmen will do the finish work. Each team member paid another $2,800 for the cost of the flights, food and accommodations. John Spata and I, Henry Weigel, went from Centerpointe Church. Our journey took two days each way. We overnighted in a hotel in Doha, Qatar. We disembarked in Phuket and drove to to Phang Nga which is 11 hours ahead of Eastern daylight time. We were hosted by Missionaries Dan and Gail Klepel.

The first work day, Monday, June 23 we mixed concrete in big vats with hand tools. This was poured our to form the floor. The next day we could start laying block for the walls. The blocks were of a special lightweight material but the challenge was to lay them into a straight wall. The blocks were 8” high, 20” long, but only 3” wide. Monday evening we enjoyed a musical presentation by the children of the church. The we had opportunity to share our faith. On Tuesday we had opportunity to minister at a market by handing out tracts. We learned to say ,”Good News” in Thai and the word FREE, which all understood in English. It was very interesting to do one-on-one witnessing without knowing the language. The tracts were full sized-pages with stories of people having accepted Christ. On Wednesday we visited house churches to support the pastors and especially to encourage more men to participate in the church there.

Before each workday, we held team devotions by the seaside, various team members taking turns. It was a privilege to share with the team and the local church people. Some members of the team went to a public school for illustrated Bible-story time. The two lady pastors of the church went along as did Missionary Dan, who interpreted when needed.

By Friday early afternoon we had completed the building. Not all was work, however. In addition to the ministry opportunities we had fun times: riding on elephants , boating to “James Bond” island, and snorkeling.

On a personal note, I noticed a number of people in “service” positions spoke English. I was able to give out 20 Gideon New Testaments (in modern English, with Psalms and Proverbs). Most were gratefully accepted. One was offered to an avowed atheist who at first declined with respect; then I asked him to give the Bible another try. He accepted. Now we pray Isaiah 55:11 that the Word will accomplish that which the Lord pleases and achieve the purpose for which He sent it.

The parting words from Missionary Dan were that they plan to build a church avery two years. This means the land costs about $30,000 and the building an additional $30,000. On Saturday June 28 we embarked on the two-day journey home. We trust there will be much fruit from our work and witness.

Henry Weigel
Missions Coordinator, Centerpointe Church

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Ecuador 2014

Construction Missions Trip to Ecuador

Missionary: Jerry & Janice Smith; January 11—19, 2014

Guayaquil-Team

The CenterpointeTeam

On January 11-19, 2014, Centerpointe Church sponsored a team of 12 to go to Guayaquil, Ecuador to do construction work on a school facility, the athletic building. It will house offices, locker rooms, shower facilities, etc. Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador of about 3.5 million people. There are about 500,000 children that do not attend school. The mentioned facility is a part of the education and church ministries headed by Missionaries Jerry and Janice Smith. The team included three from out of town.

Team Activities

Our first full day was a Sunday where we joined the congregation in their third service from 12:00 noon until 1:45 PM. I brought a word of greeting from Pastor Keith and the Centerpointe Church Family and gave a brief personal testimony. After the service we had lunch with Pastor Jerry and Janice. They mentioned, as had another missionary several years ago, that in our coming they felt that they were not forgotten. The afternoon was spent shopping and sight seeing.

The work consisted of completing the foundation which meant moving large amounts of dirt, tamping the dirt, putting large stones in place, putting forms in place, mixing and pouring concrete. Also, preparation of rebars was a big task. This involved bending rebars into desired shapes and wiring rebar sets together. Finally, we laid blocks for one wall. This was hard work in light of the high humidity and temperatures. Some of the team assisted with Sunday School handwork preparation for approximately 1,500 children attending during the three Sunday services. Much effort is invested by several staff members, and volunteers. The quality of their work and their love and passion for the children is impressive.

Our communication with the local Ecuadorian workers was aided by team members who spoke spanish. We had a 13-year boy on the team (along with his parents). He was a good representative of our youth group, working hard with a fine attitude!

At the end of the week Pastor Jerry guided us through a tour of the educational facilities. His son Kirk took us to the Isla de la Plata, an Island off the coast of Ecuador, Puerto Lopez, about an hour by boat. We hiked the rugged island and observed its wild life. Some folks also gave snorkeling a try.

The Guayaquil Ministry

The work of our team needs to be put in the context of the work of the missionaries. Their ministry started about 25 years ago with a congregation of 50 people. Following the leading of the Lord and the vision given to Pastor Jerry, they established a thriving church and education facilities to reach the adults, the youth, and young children, even newborns. Their approach included prayer, preaching, teaching, establishment of cell groups, and athletics. At first, the use of athletics as a ministry may seem out of place. But Pastor Jerry gave examples of testimonies of people won to the Lord by means of athletics.

The education provided ranges from kindergarden to 12th grade. They have 4350 students on two campuses. Over the years over 7000 have graduated from High School. The schooling relies on the Assemblies of God Latin American Child Care (LACC) to provide scholarships through child sponsorship. About 1000 students receive scholarships from LACC. We were shown a class of young students that needed sponsorship. Several of the team members stepped up and signed up for the sponsorship program.

The director of the school is a man of integrity and principle. Many of the students have parents that are not married. He communicated to them that their lifestyle contradicts the moral values they teach at the school. As a result they have had several mass weddings. The parents are responding by changing their lifestyles to be consistent with the teaching the children receive. He noted that in recent years approximately 125 couples have responded annually to this ministry.

Janice Smith has a heart for children’s ministry. She has about 500 volunteers ministering to 1500 children each Sunday ages 0-12. Pastor Smith says that during the year 3500-5000 people respond for salvation following the Sunday services, 25% to 30% are baptized. Baptizing over 1000 each year, having baptized over 12,000 so far. They also make use of cell groups. They have about 1000 cell groups on discipleship and evangelism.

Their present large projects are the youth – children retreat area at the beach, Bible School facilities, and to double children´s ministries area.

Submitted on behalf of the Team and for the Glory of our Lord,

Henry Weigel

Missions Coordinator, Centerpointe Church at Fair Oaks

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Posted by on February 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Honduras 2013

Construction Missions Trip to Honduras

April 20—27, 2013
Missionary: Brad Foltz

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The Team and Travel Schedule

I had the privilege to arrange for a team of 18 to go on this construction missions trip to Honduras.  We flew into San Pedro Sula, Honduras and travelled by bus/van to Las Minas, Quimistan Province.  The hotel where we stayed is La Estancia Don Miguel. Missionary Brad Foltz was there with a bus and driver to pick us up. The driver was Vicente, a brother in the Lord with whom some of us were acquainted  having met him and worked with him on a similar trip a few years earlier.  This year’s trip was motivated in part by previously having been involved with the Assemblies of God (AG) project known as Honduras 100. The goal was to build 100 churches in Honduras.

The team consisted of 10 people from two AG churches from West Virginia: Falls AG Church, pastored by Vivan Watts, and Mountain View AG Church, pastored by Bill Fout. Eight people went from Centerpointe Church in Fairfax, Virginia. All three churches contributed to the construction funds required to purchase the necessary equipment and supplies.  Additionally, the team members paid their own way or benefited from sponsors.  The team was comprised of the following members:  Nathan Bruno, David Foote, John Olsen, Cathy Pilkinton, John Reynolds, John Spata,  Elizabeth Ward, and me, Henry Weigel. Falls AG Church sent Pastor Vivan Watts with two of his sons, Kent and  Lee, also, David Reel, George Ford and his son Clayton, and Scott Feaster. Mountain View Church sent Pastor Bill Fout, Jay Turner, and Mack Watts.

Pastor Keith Edwards sent the Centerpointe team off with a congregational prayer the Sunday before we left.  We departed from Dulles International Airport (IAD) on Saturday April 20, 2013, and transferred in Houston to a flight to San Pedro Sula, Honduras arriving late that evening.

The Local Pastor, the People, and Their Need

When new congregations are formed in Honduras, they often have services outside under trees, many times without protection from bad weather, or inside small dwellings with insufficient space. We had been told by the missionary, Brad Foltz, that the pastor was on fire for God. It turns out his congregation had been praying for a church building. One lady said she had been praying for 13 years.

Project Honduras100 is designed to change these circumstances by providing a simple, relatively inexpensive, easily built structural steel frame with concrete block walls that would allow a congregation to have a building to call their own.

Our Work Routine and Expected Accomplishment

We ate our breakfast and evening meals at the San Miguel Hotel. We travelled by bus to our work site, a trip of close to an hour over mostly bumpy roads. There the first order of business was to erect the steel structure on the foundation the local folks had laid using the construction funds our churches had sent in prior to our arrival. This structure is known as a tabernacle. It is of a standardized modular design.

Our Task

A tabernacle is 36′ wide and 48′ long.  Sections of the structural steel frame come with a 26 gauge galvanized sheet metal roof.  The team assembles and erects the steel structure, connecting the four truss sections with purlins and then affix the corrugated sheet metal roof. Concrete blocks are laid by the team to form the walls, allowing for door and window openings. The cost of the building materials paid for by the Team. The local church is then responsible for putting on the finishing touches and additional features that they can add as their financial circumstances allow.

 

Our Team was assigned the task of building church # 77 of the Honduras 100 church building project. Under the skillful direction of Missionary Brad Foltz we finished the our church building # 77 in three days. Because the next team scheduled to come had a significantly smaller team, Brad had us start setting up the steel structure for the church they would build to give them a head start. On our fourth day we put up three of the four trusses for the next team, also about three fifth of the corrugated sheet metal roof.

Dedication of the New Church Building

In the evening we had a dedication service of the church our team built – what a blessed and joyous event that was. After the dedication service our team members distributed the candy. Additionally, one of our church people not on the team had undertaken to sew dresses and dolls. These were graciously received and given to the pastor’s wife to distribute to the girls in the church.

Interview by a News Team

When we got back to the hotel, a news team was waiting to interview us. They wanted to publicize the church building project in Honduras because a church can keep people out of crime. What a testimony the AG churches of Honduras have established!

Some Fun Shopping

We took some time to visit a small waterfall. It cascaded into a pool of water that afforded a refreshing dip for us. We also took a trip to go visit some old ruins of early mayan Indians. Shopping opportunities were available.

A Personal Saga

While in Honduras I had a gall bladder attack the second day there. I did not know that that is what it was. I thought it was an over-acid condition in my stomach, a problem that I had experienced before. I was very weak the rest of the time there and could do no significant work. In fact my team made me rest and found a hammock for that purpose. Everyone was very solicitous of my welfare and helped me around whenever they thought I needed help – which was often. As I said, everyone was very concerned for me, but I must mention two people in particular. My roommate, David, was most helpful, especially the first night when my pain was most intense. I appreciate his care and prayers. Team member Lizzy took it upon herself to be my personal caregiver. At the work sites she would check up on me in the hammock, bring me water and gator aid, and she brought me things to eat – such as my system could tolerate. I must admit that it was humbling for me not to be able to work. But I had an understanding team.

 On returning home my physician sent me straight to the Emergency Room where they determined (what my doctor suspected) that I had an inflamed gall bladder. The attending surgeon said it had to be removed the next day. Major surgery was required because the condition was so advanced.

We all are so thankful to our Lord that he kept me weak so that I could not work thus possibly causing the gall bladder to rupture in Honduras. Various physicians have said that in their opinion I would not have survived such a situation.

Three weeks after the surgery I was recovering nicely but then contracted pneumonia in my left lung. Yes, I had my pneumonia shot. After all this my physician  ruled out travel for International work trips for six months – including the Cuba Construction Missions Trip for which I was scheduled to participate in June 28—July 6.

I am delighted to report that I am scheduled to take a team to Ecuador in January 2014 to work on a school for underprivileged children.

I am very thankful for the many Saints of God who upheld me before the Throne of Grace, and who also kept my wife in their prayers. Especially, I am thankful to my daughter Chris who kept the Church Family apprised of my situation. In closing, on behalf of the team I would like to say that we are thankful for our God’s protection. We are thankful that another church building was constructed and is being put to good use.

For our King and His Kingdom and for the Honor and Glory of our God,

Respectfully submitted,

Henry Weigel, Missions Coordinator

Centerpointe Church at Fair Oaks

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Argentina Trip 2012

Construction Missions Trip to Argentina

November 23 – December 3, 2012
Missionaries: Rocky and Sherry Grams

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The Team and Travel Schedule

I had the privilege to arrange for a team of 12 to go on this construction missions trip to the Instituto Biblico Rio de la Plata (IBRP) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In English it is River Plate Bible Institute. Missionaries Rocky and Sherry Grams head it up. This year’s trip was motivated in part by last year’s trip when team members came back all enthused about missions trips because of the great experience they had had. For sake of completeness, some of the information from last year’s report will be repeated in this one. This was my fourth time there and the third team I have taken from Centerpointe Church at Fair Oaks (Centerpointe).

Centerpointe sponsored this year’s team by sending in $5,000 ahead for construction funds. Additionally, the team members paid their own way or benefited from sponsors. The team was comprised of the following members: Pablo and Gina Alvarez, Mike Blaine, Nathan Bruno, Art Coffing, Pastor Keith Edwards, John Holmes, Pete LeVasseur, John Spata, Dennis Vance, Christine Walsh, and me, Henry Weigel.

Pastor Keith Edwards sent us off with a congregational prayer the Sunday before we left. We departed from Dulles International Airport (IAD) the day after Thanksgiving, November 23, and transferred in Houston to a flight to Buenos Aires arriving there early Saturday morning.

We were picked up by Rocky and Sherry Grams. Saturday was spent resting and getting acclimated. We enjoyed a fabulous steak dinner in Buenos Aires late that afternoon, followed by a brief time of shopping. Other times of sightseeing and shopping were afforded us also. Our last day at IBRP was Sunday December 2. We departed on an overnight UAL flight and arrived early Monday morning in Newark; from there to Washington Dulles arriving early afternoon, Monday December 3.

Our Work Routine

The daily practice here is to have breakfast 7:30 -8:30, work, break at 10:15, work, hot lunch at 12:15 PM, work, break at 3:15, cleanup at 5:00, dinner at 6:00.The breakfast is followed by a devotional brought by one of the team members. The devotional time gives volunteers an opportunity to share some faith-building moments in their lives, or a meaningful Scripture. Personally, I look forward to these opportunities.

Juan Pablo, the construction supervisor for IBRP, laid out the work for us and provided expert supervision. Dave Wagner of Action Now (an Assembly of God missions group) came for a few days and provided assistance in defining the tasks as well as with some heavy-duty work. An older brother, Wally from Wisconsin, came for the graduation as he is the sponsor of a couple of students. While there he worked with us on the construction project.

All our team members were engaged in one or more tasks. Initially most members were involved in moving sheets of plywood and particle board to the upper floors. Later we moved packages of ceramic tiles to the third and fourth floors using a home made, electrically-powered elevator. Hauling the heavy tiles was exhausting but our team pitched right in and did the job. We worked on preparing and installing shelving for the dorm rooms, installing conduits for electrical wiring, painting door frames, installing plywood sheets on the floors that would receive carpeting, and some ceramic tiling.

We met the goals of the work that was laid out for us.

Centerpointe team members came from a variety of work disciplines or retirement. Their normal work routines very likely were significantly different from what we encountered at IBRP. After the first work day our tired bodies let us know just how different this was from desk jobs or routine yard work. Our bodies were sore, yes, but it was satisfying kind of soreness. We were directly working on the infrastructure needed in the furtherance of the Gospel. As in previous years here, at times we are uplifted by the worship of services held in the student chapel. Even though the language is a barrier, the spirit of the students and of this place is not. We have definitely sensed a kindred spirit here that transcends the language barrier. The team members who are on their first missions trip are especially excited. The “old timers” also are excited because once this kind of ministry has been tasted, more is desired.

IBRP and the Grams

The Missionaries, Rocky and Sherry Grams had been our missions speakers in September and were a great blessing to our Church Family. Though still itinerating in the U.S., they made a special trip back to Buenos Aires to be with us and to be there for the graduation that took place during our stay there. They greatly appreciated the personal gifts as well as our team coming to work on the new building for the Bible Institute. It is known as the Living Learning Center. Also the students greatly appreciate our team coming because until the new building opens, the students are very crowded both in the dorms and the bathroom facilities.

The particulars on the Living Learning Center and IBRP can be found in reports for previous trips to Buenos Aires for the years 2008, 2010, and 2011 on this World Missions web site. Also, I refer you to the missionaries web site: http://rockysherry.net/ Click on the appropriate links in the top banner to find information on the Project for The Living Learning Center. Or, click on the “Testimonies” or the link for “A Day In IBRP”, etc.

One of the highlights on this trip was the evening at the Grams’ house for a pie night. They were wonderful hosts. Sherry bakes delicious pies. We dug in and relished them. The fun time and conversations were delightful. We beheld an unusual sight: they have two pet turtles that roam their townhouse-like backyard.

IBRP – Its Function and Impact

The revival in Argentina has been in progress over the last several decades. It is documented by Rocky in his book, “In Awe In Argentina.” The Bible Institute, IBRP, has had a prominent role in this revival. Today, it is still very much involved in the training of pastors, teachers. Evangelist, and missionaries. This is not the only thing that gets accomplished at the school. The students are immersed in a spiritual atmosphere that causes them to seek the Lord and hear His voice. A key feature of the school is the Prayer Room. I went there a few times to pray and was aware of the peace from the Lord that rules there. Pastor Keith, on a visit to the Prayer Room, noticed a poster on the bulletin board about praying for the United States – what a blessing!

It has been the norm for Assembly of God missionaries to (1) win souls, (2) start churches, and (3) develop Bible Schools. When the Bible Schools produce missionaries that travel to foreign countries, as IBRP does, then one knows the Holy Spirit is moving in that school.

While we were at IBRP they had a graduation and one evening they had international night where various countries were highlighted as potential mission fields. The students have been blessed to have the vision for the lost not only in their home country but also abroad. We heard a testimony from a couple with small children. They are preparing to go overseas to minister to Muslims. Another couple is itinerating to go to an Asian country to minister. One student, during a chapel service, told of having gone home on a school break to minister to his family and he won many of them ( the number 50 sticks in my mind) to the Lord.

The students have phenomenal testimonies. The Grams made it a point to have one or two share their testimonies during our meal times – what a blessing these were to the team.

Testimonies

We heard several testimonies. I want to summarize two of them.

      Two Opposites and the Grace of God

Deissy, belonged to a gang. (Her story has been told before in previous report and on the IBRP web site). Here is a summary. As her life became overwhelmed with addiction and immorality as a drug user and seller, the lifestyle of a gang member, she cried out to God to give her life back. Somehow she went to a church and heard the Gospel and felt the love of God as the Pastor put his arms around her and told her, “If God is for us, who can be against us.” She told the gang leader she was leaving the gang. He said that it meant she was as good as dead – the consequence of leaving the gang. She repeated the quote the Pastor told her. The gang leader was outraged that she said that, but screamed at her to start running. And run she did. The Lord protected her and brought her to IBRP. Not long after that, the gang was apprehended and put in jail. Deissy went to visit them and won them to the Lord. As she had not much money, she took the bus from her country (in Northern South America) to IBRP. It took about three weeks. Enroute the Lord opened the door to witness to the people on the bus and she won a number to the Lord (16 sticks in my mind).

At IBRP she met Diego. In contrast to her, he came from a wealthy family but was a drug user before he came to the Lord. When he decided that he needed to go to IBRP, his mother offered him a new car if he would not go to the Bible School. He declined and went to the school. She disowned him. He and Deissy married and the Lord called them to be missionaries to Asia.

      Natalia and Her Faithful Friend

After a tragic accident that took her mother’s life, Natalia – a single mom, barred herself and her son in her house with curtains drawn. She never changed her clothes or bathed. Her son became ill. Her brother and sister brought her food and slipped it under the door, which she kept locked. Her room had a window that faced the street. A friend came by daily and knocked on the window to tell her about Jesus. Natalia’s response was one of cursing and threatening violence. Her friend persisted and continued to come every day with the same message of Jesus’ love. After 13 months, in order to get rid of her friend she told her that she would go with her to church one time if after that the friend would leave her alone. She and her son went without bathing or changing clothes. She was a mess even having urinated in her pants. At the church her son remembered that he had been there before with his grandmother (Natalia’s mom). She was incredulous. But to prove it, he said that the heater had a wad of gum stuck to it. They looked and there was the stain from the gum. With that she stayed for the whole service but said she never heard the sermon or music. But at the end of the service a woman came and gave her a firm, loving hug – one like a mother would give. The woman didn’t care how Natalia looked or smelled. This woman had a fragrance that was the same as Natalia’s mother’s perfume. The woman told her that Jesus loved her. Natalia wept and stayed at the church until 4:00 AM. She went home and was experiencing God’s love and continued to go to church. The Lord healed her son of his sickness and her of depression.

Now she is at the Bible school and ministering on the side. Recently she went to a church in a slum area that was going to be closed. A pastor had been shot in the leg and another pastor had his house set on fire for starting a church. She and some friends did evangelizing and by God’s grace 32 – 35 families are going to the church. This past year she started to teach tae kwon do in a ghetto area. “Tae” means defend and fight with the feet, “kwon” with the hands, and “do” means the way. She uses this to show the kids the Way to God through Jesus. She teaches about 30 kids.

The Greatness of God’s Grace is Astounding!

Ministry Opportunities

Rocky Grams afforded Pastor Keith opportunities to minister. He spoke at a Chapel service about not giving up in ministry. If one approach does not work, try again or something else. This was akin to digging wells as Isaac did when the opposition filled them, he just kept digging new ones. He also told of a personal experience where a brother from the church gave him a prophetic word that he should never think that he is too young – citing the young Christians involved in the revival in Argentina. And now he was in Argentina.

Pastor Keith also was asked to speak to first-year students. He asked me to accompany him. He conveyed to them the essence of leadership. I was asked to tell of what qualifications I would look for in a pastor. We both touched on the subjects of how to deal with various issues that may occur in the church body.

Several of the team members had interactions with the students that were very rewarding. Those that spoke Spanish were helpful in communicating between us and the local folks. Christine went with the students on an evangelization meeting and saw a number of young folks come to the Lord. Nathan and Pablo especially were useful in facilitating work site communication. To my surprise, there were four Korean students at the School. Gina entered into meaningful relationships with them and provided encouragement.

Mike Blaine and I are Gideons. We had opportunities to give out quite a few Gideon New Testaments – many in English. Both English and Spanish copies almost always were gratefully received.

Comments from Team Members

      Gina Alvarez

Before going to Argentina I was feeling a bit skeptical about our world and all the things going on that are clearly against God’s word but now I have hope. My first impression was that everyone at the IBRP institute was so pleasant. At all time I felt the presence of God around people and the environment. I was touched when I heard about God’s amazing grace through our Missionaries, Rocky and Sherry Grams, and through young people’s testimonies where they shared their lives and passion for spreading the Gospel. I felt that during this trip God showed me the big picture and he gave me new eyes and a new heart. I am thankful to the Lord for allowing me to go to Argentina with such a wonderful team and seeing first hand his amazing work.

      Pablo Alvarez

I always wanted to visit Argentina to see the country and interact with its people but I never expected to do so as part of a MAP team. What I treasured most from the trip was the opportunity I had to interact at the IBRP institute with many of the students, including some from other Latin American countries, and staff. The testimonies I heard from the students and former students about how Jesus changed their lives were inspiring but what impacted me the most was their willingness to serve where God calls them to go, even to far away places, and how they live their lives by faith. I am thankful to the Lord for both allowing me to go on this trip to see that Jesus is very much alive in Latin America and the privilege of travelling with such a wonderful group of fellow Christians.

      John Holmes

My trip to the Instituto Biblico in Rio de la Plata, Argentina 23 Nov to 3 Dec 2012 was an experience I will not soon forget. I was blessed even before leaving the USA when I unexpectedly received a 40 hour time off performance award at work about 3 weeks before the trip that provided enough leave for me a go on the trip. Until that happened, I was not sure how I was going to be able to go without sufficient leave available to me. The day we arrived (Saturday, 24 Nov) we were treated to a wonderful dinner of Argentine beef and trimmings that we all enjoyed after the long flight from the USA. On Sunday, we were blessed to attend, not one but two church services at two different churches. Although the music was in Spanish, the melodies of some of the songs were familiar. We were all blessed by the outpouring of love toward us. We started working on Monday 26th. The work was hard, but exhilarating and I knew at the end of each day that I was tired for the right reasons. The team of 12 Saints from Centerpointe seemed to have been handpicked for this trip and the work we had to do. I got to know a couple of the guys on the team much better than I had known them before and this was worth the trip by itself. The support from Missionaries Rocky and Sherry Grams was simply wonderful. They honored us in some fashion every time we turned around and they always seemed to make time to talk to us and answer our questions. Rocky, Sherry and the staff ensured that our work and excellent food were not the only blessings we received during our stay. At least once a day, we were blessed by the testimony of one or more students at the Bible Institute. Some of their stories of God’s amazing work in their lives were truly moving. I have to admit that I was glad there were plenty of napkins at the table as the students poured out their hearts about the amazing miracles God performed on their behalf. And finally, I was truly in awe of the students’ resourcefulness and their ability to make something out of nothing. During the International Festival that the Institute hosts each year, students were divided into 10 groups and each given a country to portray. Each group had to design a booth or display that portrayed the country they were assigned. This included using whatever materials were available in the area to represent the people, music, culture, colors, scenery and food of that country. My goodness were these students clever and creative in setting up their displays!! Much work went into the preparation for this event that was attended by about 800 local residents. In the end, one thing stands out for me as significant above all else, and that is the love the students have for Jesus. They know they need Him and His provision for their very existence. That is something I feel many of us here in the USA cannot appreciate fully. We have many of the resources they do not have. We rely on these resources, while they rely totally on God. Something for us to ponder.

On behalf of the team and, for the King and His Kingdom, I submit this report.

Henry Weigel, Missions Coordinator
Centerpointe Church at Fair Oaks
Fairfax, VA

 
 

Okinawa Trip 2012

Okinawa Neighborhood Church Renovation

Missionaries: Wes and Carol Mathis – February 29—March 15, 2012

Trip Arrangements and Purpose

During the closing days in theHaiticonstruction missions trip Bobby Basham, the Men’s Ministries Director of the Potomac District of the Assemblies of God, announced that Marty Jesski fromIllinoishad organized a similar trip toOkinawa,Japanand that he was looking for people that might be interested in going.  I responded to Marty and he extended an invitation to me to be a part of the team.  The total trip was from February 7 –March 22, 2012.  Marty accepted me for the period of February 29 – March 15.

The purpose of the trip was to renovate theNeighborhoodChurchlocated inOkinawa.  The Church is an Assembly of God church pastored by Wes and Carol Mathis.  It has a dual function in ministering toUSforces stationed inOkinawaas well as to the local population.  The services are in English with ear-phone translation into Japanese.

From time to time, the Church faces a unique problem of losing a significant portion of their Church Family because of troop rotation.  They may lose as many as 75 people when a given unit is rotated out ofOkinawa.  Then they start over to build up their attendance from the incoming units as well as from the resident units.

The Team and Work

The team was organized by Marty Jesski.  He and his wife, Liz, stayed for the whole term of the trip, somewhat over six weeks.  Another couple came the first couple of weeks.  Two pastors, Mark and Paul who were skilled craftsmen, came from upstateNew York, also for the whole term.

The work consisted of painting, caulking, carpentry, some masonry work, electrical wiring installations, sanctuary and fellowship hall configuration restructuring, carpet laying, cabinets and countertops installations, suspended ceiling installation, and installation of appliances.  I was able to contribute on a number of the tasks.  The work is pretty taxing because we use muscles that we normally don’t use (speaking for myself), but I did OK.  The first couple of days I did mostly painting and caulking/puttying — an integral part of the church renovation process.  Subsequently, I assisted with carpet laying, did tiling and plastering, and assisted with cabinet and appliance installations.

Some of the church people would pitch in with the work from time to time as their work schedules allowed.  They brought us hot lunches and dinners.  Any thoughts of losing weight on this missions trip went out the window on the second day.

Okinawa and the People

Okinawais an island in theSouth China Seathat is about 67 miles long and varies from 2-17 miles wide.  It is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight time.  It is somewhat tropical in climate, but is susceptible to high winds of typhoon strength during the summer.  Its population is 1.4 million people.  It also has the poisonous snake, habu, that is nocturnal.  Fortunately I did not encounter any.  The island accommodates a number ofUSmilitary bases that occupy about 10 percent of the land area.  The number of troops varies but may be in the vicinity of 35,000, perhaps up to 80,000 with dependents ( if memory serves me right).

On the Way There

I left Washington Dulles (IAD) about1:00 PMWednesday February 29 and I arrived inOkinawaa little after9:00 PMThursday, March 1.  When I left we had standard time andOkinawais 14 Hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.  My flight was good, although we had a delayed start.  The delay caused me a little concern as my connecting time inTokyo(Narita airport) for theOkinawaflight got a little tight.  But in Narita I was able to get through customs and then security in good time for theOkinawaflight.

On the flight from Dulles toTokyoI sat next to a Japanese young man who had been in the States with a tour group.  He noticed my Bible that I had put in the pocket in front of me.  So he asked almost in a state of wonder, “Is that a Bible?”  I acknowledged that it was.  That opened a conversation the led into a discussion with him about Jesus the Savior.  I talked from John 3:16, 17, and 18.  I noted the important role that verse 18 played in giving the hearer/reader the choice of accepting Jesus as the payment for sin, or rejecting Him.  The consequence of rejecting is self-condemnation.  I gave him a Personal Workers Testament (the Gideon modern English New Testament that included Help Sections, Psalms and Proverbs).  He seemed to understand and thanked me for the PWT and called it his treasure.  Join me in praying for him that the seed will be watered and that God will give the increase of eternal life for him.

On the way toOkinawaI sat next to a woman who is a Naval Officer stationed there.  I talked to her about God’s grace in my life recounting the story of God’s intervention when we fled fromHungaryduring WWII.  She also gladly accepted a PWT.

All told I gave out 8 or 9 PWTs on the way toOkinawa.  Japanese airline people seemed to appreciate them the most.

While waiting inDullesAirportfor the first flight I met a Gideon brother from Florida.who was on his way toTaiwan.  His connection inTokyowas tighter than mine, so with the incurred delay it was even worse.  He loaned me his phone and I called my wife Grace to ask for prayer help.  She in turn contacted our local Gideons and our Church Family.  InTokyo, I got to the gate for the flight toOkinawaan hour early.  I expect my Gideon brother reached his in time also. The Lord worked it all out.

Four and a half hours after arriving inOkinawaand getting settled in, I had to get up for work.  Thanks for the prayers of the Church family at home.

The Neighborhood Church

The missionary, Pastor Wes Mathis, has prayer meetings at the church on Mondays and Fridays at5:30 AM; and on Sundays at8:45 AM.  Each one lasts about 45 minutes.   I guess we aren’t the only ones emphasizing prayer.  That is encouraging.  Following the Sunday prayer meeting the various Sunday school classes begin.  Those are then followed by the morning worship service.

My first Sunday at the Church (March 4) we had a service in the sanctuary. It looked pretty good after having undergone some renovation work the previous several weeks including receiving a primer coat of paint on the walls, but Monday we gave it another coat of paint and did other minor things.

In the service the congregation prayed for our team. The prayers were in English. Then Pastor Wes asked someone to pray in the Japanese language.  A lady responded with a heartfelt prayer. I was reminded of the prayer offered atCenterpointeChurchthe Sunday before I departed forOkinawa. Pastor Keith led in prayer with the Church Family joining in.  I was commissioned to go. Then our sister Ayako came forward at the prompting of the Holy Spirit to offer prayer for me in the Japanese language. I shared this commissioning with the Okinawa congregation and how, as a result, the Lord opened the opportunities to share His Word with people I met on the way, especially the Japanese young man who sat next to me on the IAD to Tokyo flight with whom I shared the Gospel. The Okinawa Congregation was blessed and encouraged.

After the service we had lunch at a Japanese steak house. While there Wes told of a case of a Japanese man who accepted the Lord. Being the eldest son it was difficult for his father to accept his faith in Christ.  So the father disinherited him.  But the man stayed true to the Lord and paid the price of being disinherited.  Then the man’s young daughter took sick with some kind of virus. She became very ill with a high temperature and was bed-ridden.  In desperation the man called on Pastor Wes.  Wes came to the home where the sick girl lay in bed.  The father and his father were there. Wes held the girl’s hand and prayed that God should touch her spiritually and physically.  Momentarily, she sat up and the fever had broken and she was well.  The grandfather said to his son that he was back in the will. The man (the son) had paid the price of accepting Christ and the Lord Jesus restored it to him.

Also, in the restaurant, one of the waiters said in broken English that he was Assembly of God (AoG). He had been a drug addict and went to Teen Challenge (an AoG ministry to drug addicts.  He graduated from there and is serving the Lord in a Japanese AoG church.

Praise the Lord for his power to set the captive free!  It looks like the Gospel of Jesus is making inroads in the Japanese culture.

Wednesday Special Service

The climate inOkinawais very nice this time of year in spite of the rain.  It rains pretty hard some days but it didn’t matter since we worked indoors.  On Wednesday night we had a service at church where one of our team members, Mark, led the worship (singing and playing the piano) and gave his testimony how the Lord got his attention at the start of his senior year in High School.  He had had an accident and shattered his right knee cap.  This was devastating because he had received a baseball contract from the Kansas City Royals (as a junior) for over $1,000,000 per year.  After his accident his baseball career was over; but a new ministry resulted.  After the service he and I went with Wes and Carol Mathis to a Starbucks at a mall for a scone and latte.  Then we went through the mall – store complex. The store complex is a huge department-like store but instead of departments they are separate stores – no partitions, it looks like one huge department store.

Lost and Found

That Wednesday and the next day I had been working with Marty on counter tops and installing cabinets — including electrical work.  When I got to the Mathis’ home where I stayed, I was taking my things out of my pocket and, guess what, no wallet. I looked all around the room and through my things, but mo wallet.  Marty and his wife Liz took me back to the church to look for it and then to Starbucks.  I was put to the test about praising the Lord in tribulation (Romans 5).  I had been tested on that Scripture before after I had taught so passionately about “Rejoicing in Tribulation.”  It was difficult, but I did come to realize that in this inconvenience, the Lord was still my Lord and I belonged to Him – no matter the lost wallet. By-the-way, it contained a significant amount of money as well as credit cards and other cards of value.

It occurred to me that maybe at Starbucks I need to give a PWT to some one (I happened to have one in my pocket).  At Starbucks one of the servers, a young fellow, knew a little English and we explained to him what my problem was. He took us to the lost and found department of the store complex where they looked in their record book but found that nothing had been reported. So they took my descriptive information of what I had lost and logged it in their book.  I then offered the young fellow a PWT.  He did not understand right away that it was a gift to him. Marty said to him that I was giving it to him.  I then affirmed it. He was pleasantly surprised and was greatly pleased.

So, when I got back to the house I went into the bathroom and on the floor, not readily visible, was my wallet.  Praise the Lord for His goodness – and for the opportunity to give out a New Testament!

My Japanese Friend Jim

Around 1970 we had a young Japanese man living with us in the States.  When he came to us we gave an American name, Jim – which he liked.  We were his American family and Jim was his American name.  He had come to the States to live with an American family so that he could learn to speak English properly, having studied it in the university.  He came to church with us and felt the peace of the Lord there.  We talked about becoming a Christian but he was counting the cost of how it would hinder his personal goals of becoming rich and advancing in society.  We stayed in touch Over the years.  So, when I had the opportunity to go toOkinawa, I e-mailed him that I was coming.  He immediately replied and wanted me to come early and stay a day in his home.  I had already made my reservations, so he said he would come toOkinawa– about 1,000 miles south of where he lives (just north ofTokyo).  His oldest daughter’s father-in-law, Morio, lives inNaha, the chief city inOkinawa.

He and Morio came to see me at the Church on Sunday afternoon of March 11.  I had Brian, a brother from the Church, with me.  We talked at length of God’s plan of salvation, the importance of accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord.  Jim is open to these things but is so steeped in his philosophy that his doing good (he is a very generous person) will be reckoned to him and he will benefit, in this life.  He does not believe in heaven or hell nor in life after death.

Jim is appreciative of my concern for his spiritual welfare but his mind is made up that there is no life after death.  The next evening, Monday, we went to a very Japanese restaurant sitting on cushions on the floor by low tables.  Morio and his wife Sachiko were hosting us.  The food was delicious: sashimi, sushi, fried chicken, Japanese noodles and other things. And lots of green tea.

My friends Brian and his Japanese wife Rumi were good company at the dinner.  Rumi is an Okinawan and became a Christina in her early twenties.  Jim was very interested to hear how she became a Christian.  In addition to Brian and me talking about Jesus, Rumi was the main speaker.  She gave her testimony in Japanese, of course, it was well received especially by Morio and Sachiko  who did not know much English.  They had not heard much about Christianity before and had not had dinner with Americans either.  They were pleased with this occasion.

At the end I told Jim I would continue to pray for him that the Lord would reveal Himself to him. He said OK. He appreciates that we care about him.  But his mind is firm that he is OK the way things are now.  Before I met with them I was under a heavy load but afterwards the weight lifted because I had “delivered my soul.” Ezekiel3:19(KJV).  We made the effort and sowed the seed and now we ask the Lord to send others to water the seed and then give the increase of his salvation.  We continue to nurture the friendship.

 On the Way Home

TheNeighborhoodChurchgave me a generous send-off.  There were heartfelt goodbyes from the Church people.  Shortly after I had arrived a young girl, Toni, (maybe age 5) had taken a liking to me.  I would swing her around and she would hug me.  On my last day at the Church she came with a sad face to say goodbye.  She said, “Mr. Henry, you are the best old man.”  I was warmly touched by that.

My trip home was somewhat eventful as it took 29 hours fromNeighborhoodChurchdoor to my door.  It was comprised of three legs:Okinawato Tokyo (NRT),Tokyoto Los Angels (LAX), LAX to Washington Dulles (IAD).  From NRT to LAX I was able to share the Gospel with my seatmate, a Korean woman who was returning home toLos Angeles.  I basically explained John 3:16-18 — v.16 God’s love demonstrated through the giving of His Son Jesus;  v.17 Jesus did not come to condemn, but to save;  v.18 the choice is ours, He does not condemn us but we condemn ourselves by not accepting the gift of His Son.  Also John 14:6  Jesus is the only way to God.  She accepted the PWT and stated she believed in Jesus.

The last leg of my trip was from LAX to IAD.  The airline had an airplane change in LAX.  The new plane also was a Boeing 767 but was configured for overseas travel with many more first and business class seats; thus, reducing the number of economy class seats.  The result was that 40 people did not have a place to sit.  Fortunately, I did.  But the replacement plane was late in arriving and then had an electrical problem that grounded it until it was fixed.  Instead of departing LAX at1:00 PM, we departed at about5:30.  I arrived at IAD about1:00 AMand home2:00 AMFriday.  While waiting in LAX I met an Australian family with three young girls.  One of the little girls (about age 4) started to tease with me.  So we formed a casual friendship.

As we were waiting for about four hours, it occurred to me that I should stretch out my hands toward the plane and pray for it.  I walked over to the window overlooking the plane, reached my hands up and then lowered them to a horizontal position and said a short prayer.  No sooner had I ended when the gate agent announced that the plane was fixed.  How could this be?  There wasn’t enough time for my prayer to have any effect, I thought.  Then I was reminded of the Scripture, “Before they call I will answer.” (Isaiah 65:24, KJV).  So why not fix it sooner, Lord?   It came to me that the Lord wanted to show me that He was there.  The time spent waiting was for me to befriend the Australian family.  Because, as we arrived in IAD, I was able to offer my last PWT (of 20) to the father and he accepted it.

In Summary

My Pastor and church prayed for me before I left, essentially sending me on this construction missions trip to Okinawa.  From time to time I would think of the sending and sought to prepare myself for any opportunities the Lord would send my way.  I had taken 20 Gideon New Testaments along to give
out and came back with none.  In the process of giving them out the Lord afforded me opportunities to share a testimony and/or talk about the Lord.
 

For the Glory of our Risen King Jesus,

Henry Weigel, Missions Coordinator

Centerpointe ChurchatFair Oaks

 

Kenya Trip 2011

Travel

Bobby Basham, the Men’s Ministries Director of the Potomac District of the Assemblies of God organized this trip in cooperation with Andy Whitman, the Royal Ranger missionary to Kenya. The journey was long and costly, so only five men were on the team: Bobby; Ken Plaster – a pastor from Central Virginia; Tim King; Israel Vargas; and myself, Henry Weigel. All of us were from Virginia except Israel; he came from Puerto Rico. On Thursday July 21 we embarked on British Air from Washington Dulles to London Heathrow – seven and a half hours of overnight flying time. Upon changing planes we flew to Nairobi, Kenya – eight and a half hours of flying time. After a long journey we arrived late Friday night and going through the line at the Nairobi airport to get our entry visa was very slow. We were exhausted. London is five hours ahead of Washington and Nairobi is seven hours ahead of U.S. East Coast time.

We were met by Andy Whitman with his Speed-the-Light vehicle (four-wheel drive) and another van he had hired for our stay in Kenya with a driver (Peter) and a guide (Daniel). We were driven to the Hearts Lodge (a Christian Guest House) for our stay in Nairobi. At that point we discovered that one of our bags inadvertently was left at the airport. It was one of the “humanitarian bags” that I checked in. We had so many bags and were piling them on a cart and I heard someone say we got them all, let’s go. I was about to check the bag tags, but when I heard that shout I left. As a consequence we had to go back to the airport. So, Andy Whitman and I went back. We got lost in Nairobi because the GPS did not know that some of the roads were closed due to repairs. We did make it and got the bag. I think I got to sleep at about 2:30 Saturday morning.

The Land and the People

Nairobi is the capital and main city in Kenya. Its metropolitan are has a population of about six million people. Kenya has about 36 million. I am told one in four Kenyans is infected with the AIDS virus. The Great Rift Valley runs through Kenya, north and south. The equator runs through Kenya, thus you would expect it to be very hot. It turns out that Nairobi is about a mile above sea level making it cooler than what the temperature in the tropics normally is. Nyahururu is one and a half mile above sea level and is quite cool at night during this time of the year. I started the work day wearing a denim jacket and later on worked in a long sleeve shirt or at times even in a T-shirt. The humidity was quite low – ideal working weather. The south of Kenya is more arid and is experiencing a drought, but as we were driving north to Nyahururu we drove through a big rainstorm.

On our way back to Nairobi Friday (7/29) we actually crossed the equator and stopped to see a demonstration of the Coriolis force effect on the vortex of water pouring through a spout. As little as 20 steps north of the equator the vortex goes counterclockwise and 20 steps south it goes clockwise. (The Coriolis force is the phenomenon of the force being exerted by a rotating object that is perpendicular to the plane of rotation of the object.) For a few bucks I got a certificate verifying that I had crossed the equator on July 29.

Another stop we made before reaching Nairobi was at a wildlife park in Nakuru. We saw quite a few African animals. A lion had been spotted in a low, bushy tree. His mane was barely visible. We waited until no other car was around. Then our driver, Peter, got out of the van and threw a rock at the tree, no reaction; another rock and soon the lion came out of the tree and sauntered away – what a gorgeous creature, a full-maned male lion! Of course, Peter didn’t waste any time in getting back into the van.

The work we were going to accomplish was to construct trusses, erect them on a home for homeless kids, and then put the sheet metal roof covering on it. The work site was in a town called Nyahururu. It was located several hours driving northwest of Nairobi. Before going to Nyahururu we had been invited to participate in a country-wide men’s fellowship rally that Saturday (7/23) in Nairobi. It was a delight to hear and see those brothers worship the Lord; a great privilege to be a part of it. One of the Kenyan brothers, the Men’s Fellowship leader of Nairobi, has a Government job where he is part of the planning agency for the city. He was telling me how he is able to influence his city’s plans with his honesty in making assessments of the various plans submitted to his office. I also heard about the big riots they had several years ago after an election. I was told more than 200 Kenya Assembly of God (KAG) churches were burned or looted

We arrived in Nyahururu Saturday evening and stayed at the Thomson Lodge. Enroute we crossed the equator. Near the lodge is a beautiful Thomson Waterfalls. Nyahururu means waterfalls. At these waterfalls a couple of guys were dressed up as Masai warriors for a cultural scenic effect.

The Project

Monday (7/25) we started work to build the roof trusses. The next day the trusses were set in place on the roof and we started to put the sheet metal on it. We were working with the Kenya men. In fact the Kenya brothers had the lead and we assisted them. It was a great experience. One night after dinner I gave the devotional to the team. There was good response to it.

Thomson Lodge is mainly used by people going on tours or safaris in this part of Kenya. It has access to the internet but it is not very good—no wireless connections. They allowed us to use one of their PCs to access the internet but sadly the internet was down the first few days we were there. The electricity also gets knocked out because of storms, as happened twice during our stay. The Lodge was a bit on the rustic side. They had a supply of firewood and one of the employees would come by and light a fire in the fireplace in our rooms, if desired, because it gets quite cool at night.

The brothers from the Kenyan Men’s Fellowship had come to the work site and slept in Royal Ranger tents that we had pitched earlier. At night it got pretty cool but they were OK. Some of them were amazed at the tools Bobby Basham had purchased that we brought for them to use and keep. Having 220 volt electricity, they require a step-down transformer.

We finished the roof for the building that will house kids that have been abandoned, are street kids, or orphans. This program is a Kenya Assembly of God (KAG) outreach called Kenya kids. It is very needful and I applaud the KAG for doing it.

On a little aside, one of the Kenyan brothers decided to give me a second name, Masheriah: One who fights, works hard, or strives to gather people, wealth and prosperity. The funny thing was I had just been in the process of sweeping up some debris inside the home on which we worked. Somehow that must translate into gathering up people, wealth and prosperity.

Royal Rangers

Andy Whitman is a Royal Ranger missionary and heads up that ministry in Kenya. He also is involved in neighboring countries with that program. Royal Rangers is the Assembly of God boys program similar to Boy Scouts. This is a big deal in Kenya. Kenya and many other non U.S. Countries allow girls into Royal Rangers. Those that go through the Royal Ranger program are well disciplined. Four so far (one, a girl) have applied to serve in the Kenyan National Youth Service program. This is a rigorous program and the Four Royal Rangers have done very well and are valued by the Youth Service leaders to the point where some have been tapped as leaders in the training program. When training is completed they are assigned to various Government projects.

The National KAG also has a vision for older teens and has started a program called Royal Bridge Centre. This is to reach out to boys who are on the threshold of adulthood to make that transition in a Biblical environment. Otherwise, the boys go back to the tribal initiation rites and as a result revert back to paganism. The boys, so far, that have participated in the Royal Bridge Centre have all stayed true to the Lord. Praise be to His name. The “Royal” in the name comes from Royal Rangers.

Andy, being a good Royal Ranger has augmented their food supply by raising turkeys, chickens, rabbits, and quail. While we were there he used his smoker to smoke a turkey and a leg of lamb – mmh, good! Stacy baked an apple pie, a peach crumble and a carrot cake. I ate more than I should have.

Gifts of Appreciation and Shopping

The Whitmans and the Kenya brothers and sisters were so appreciative of our coming and the tools and home-schooling supplies Bobby had organized for our bringing that they showed their appreciation with very thoughtful gifts: a leather picture frame, a leather cover for a notebook, food items on arrival, a Masai belt – symbolizing honor for the recipient, and a key chain. The KAG Bishop for Nyahururu gave me a plaque of Africa with his greetings written on the back.

We had several opportunities to shop: roadside stands, a visitor center, and a shopping mall.

Ministry Opportunities

I love to work on missions projects, but I also look forward to participating in ministry opportunities, such as sharing with the team in a devotional, as mentioned before. Also, on our first Sunday we were in Nyahururu and we all had opportunity to minister in some way. I was asked to preach at a church where Brother Stevens was the pastor. The congregation had a long worship service that was very animated and inspiring. It also included a dance and song presentation by the kids. I brought a message that dealt with serving the Lord Jesus not only with words but also with supporting deeds, relying on the Holy Spirit for help and guidance. I illustrated with some personal examples of moving with the Holy Spirit and the ineffectiveness of doing without Him. Afterwards, the Pastor talked about his plans to construct a new church building. The foundation has been laid but they need funds to continue. The congregation seems to be very poor.

Our last Sunday (7/31) was in Nairobi. We went to the church where Patrick is the pastor. Patrick, you may recall, is the KAG National Men’s Fellowship Director. I was assigned to teach the adult Bible class that had been studying the Holy Spirit. So I brought a teaching on the Holy Spirit – probably from a different perspective than they had been taught before. This was followed by Bobby Basham preaching in the main service. The following altar service was very moving and uplifting. As the altar service was winding down, Patrick came to me with a very direct question. I remember it as, “You have a word for me. Tell me what it is.” It turns out that the gentle still small voice had planted the germ of a word in my heart that I was reluctant to give in a strange environment. But when he asked me, at first I was startled, then I prayed in the Spirit followed by “The Word.” The gist of it was that the Lord had given him a vision of a ministry; that he was to pursue to accomplish that vision. There would be opposition. But he was to keep his eyes on Jesus to overcome the opposition and the difficulties. After the service Patrick’s wife had prepared a lovely lunch for us.

Homeward Bound

Then we packed up and went to the Whitman’s mission compound where we had a time of fellowship with a number of other missionaries. We also met Bryan Burr, the convoy of Hope representative for Kenya and saw his truck and storage facility. Then off to the airport in Nairobi.

On a personal note, usually I take a number of Gideon New Testaments (with Psalms and Proverbs) along to give out. On this trip I gave out approximately 15: some at airports, on the plane, or in Kenya. They were received with great joy. English is one of two national languages in Kenya. The other is Swahili. On the last leg home, from London to Washington I sat next to a man who lives in Sweden but was from Kenya. He was surprised when I told him I had been to Kenya and what I had been doing. He said he believes in the Lord Jesus — I was pleased to hear that.

Thanks to Bobby Basham for organizing this trip. May the readers of this report be encouraged to support our missionaries and their work.

For the King and His Kingdom, I submit this report.
— Henry Weigel (Missions Coordinator)