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August 2012
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October 2012

Upako Centre

It has been a while since we received updates from Pastor Francis at the Upako Centre.  I discussed this with him when I was in Kenya last August, and he promised to do a better job.  So far, he has kept his word and I appreciate his efforts.  Without them, we cannot provide help or assistance and maintain an accountable relationship.  Here is his latest update:

Dear Dr. John,

1 Upako 1We are back to business with children at upako centre and school for the final term this year, the classes begun again on Monday 3rd September  with all the children together and will run up to the 8th December 2012 when the rest of the children will be going to their homes for December holidays. During holidays we remain with only 19 orphans who are taken full care of at the centre because they have no other place to call home.

We have eight volunteer teachers who are still willing to teach through to December and we thank God for them.

The children receive food, clothes, beddings, 1 Upako 2learning materials and games materials which mostly come from The Sophia Fund through your organization.

We trust God for provisions for this new term and we pray that the children will never lack and here we need prayers and support.

God bless you as we walk the journey of serving the lost, the least and the last in society.

Pastor Francis

As I announced last week, we will be raising $30,000 for our trip in February, 2013 and Upako and Pastor Francis are in that faith goal.  You don't have to wait until next year to give toward that goal.  You can give now through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.  You can also go back and read the history of our involvement with Upako and Kenya here.  I appreciate your support and know you will continue to help people like Pastor Francis and the children and orphans to whom he ministers.

Plus, I am shipping over a large container of resources in December, so if you have shoes, children's books, games, wholesome adult fiction, Bibles, leadership books or commentaries that you would like to contribute, let me know and I will get the shipping address to you.  If you live in Pittsburgh, you can simply let me know and you can drop them off or I can pick them up.  Thank you and God bless you!


Q274: A Lament

What would Jesus ask you today?

"How long will the wicked be jubilant?" - Psalm 94:3.

One of the recurring themes or questions in Psalms is why the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer. Yet every time the psalmist took up this lament, he eventually came to realize that the wicked will come to a sad end, while the righteous will always enjoy their relationship with the Lord. Are you lamenting your own hardships when compared to the comfort fo the wicked? Have you been asking the same question or wrestling with the same paradox? Read Psalm 94 in its entirety and see how the writer moves from despair to confidence, then make the same journey yourself if you have the need.


Q273: Seasons

What would Jesus ask you today?

"How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn
while he is with them?" - Matthew 9:15.

There are seasons when certain things are appropriate and then not, but legalistic rule-makers don't want to pay attention to that.  Here the Pharisees were asking Jesus why His disciples were not fasting.  Jesus simply said they were busy with other things, but that eventually they would fast. Do you prefer rules or can you be flexible where seasons of prayer, fasting and other spiritual disciplines are concerned? Do you know what time it is for you?  Read and reflect on Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 and then determine what season you are in and what the appropriate action should be on your part.


Q272: Benefits

What would Jesus ask you today?

"What did you go out to see?" - Matthew 11:8.

You put your time and energy into what you value. The people flocked to see John the Baptist and Jesus was asking them why they went out to see him, wondering what they were looking for.  What do you go out to see?  A movie?  The mountains?  The beach?  In other words, where are you investing your time? If Jesus is your passion and focus, then you should invest some time in learning more about Him and the ways of God.  Read Mark 10:29-31 and see the benefits when you abandon casual interests for the Lord's.


Q271: Denial

What would Jesus ask you today?

"How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,'
when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?" - Matthew 7:4.

If you desire to help others, then you must develop yourself to be the best you can be in whatever area you wish to offer help. That means you must be self-aware - knowing what it is you are sensing and feeling, and not denying the reality in your own heart. Then you can empathize and counsel those who need your assistance. Are you in denial as to the reality in your own heart? Do you recognize and deal with your fears and other emotions? As an example, look at Peter's claim of loyalty in Matthew 26:31-35 and then the painful results of that in Matthew 26:69-75.


Q270: Evangelism

What would Jesus ask you today?

"Do you think they were more guilty
than all the others living in Jerusalem?" - Luke 13:4.

When bad things happen to some, it is easy to assume that they were greater sinners than those not involved. Jesus was responding to a question about a tower falling and killing 18 people and told those who asked to be careful, for if they did not repent, they would all likewise perish with no hope for eternity. That is quite a statement to make to religious Jews who carefully obeyed the Law! What is your perspective on eternity? Do you see the desperate for men and women to turn to Christ? If you do, what you are doing to evangelize or support those who are? Read Revelation 7:9-10 and remember that salvation is not based on man's sincerity or behavior, but rather on the name and blood of Jesus.


Q269: Proficient

What would Jesus ask you today?

"But since you do not believe what he wrote,
how are you going to believe what I say?" - John 5:47.

The Old Testament can be difficult to understand, but now that Jesus has come, we can look back and make sense of it, for most of it was describing or pointing to Jesus, His coming and His mission. When you approach it with that in mind, it becomes much easier to comprehend. How much time do you spend in the studying the Old Testament? If you do, do you study it as an aide to understand what Jesus said or did? Read John 5:39 and determine to be as proficient with the Old Testament as hopefully you are with the New.


Q268: Other Gods

What would Jesus ask you today?

"What god is as great as our God?" - Psalm 77:13.

There are other 'gods' besides the one true God, but they are the result of human invention and demonic influence. Yet men and women serve these gods every day with their strength, time and money, and then wonder why their lives are a ruined mess. Yet you have been spared this waste when you came to know and worship the Lord Himself. Are you grateful for what God has done in your life? Do you take time every day to thank Him for the specific things He has done, and for who He is? Read Psalm 135 to learn the effects of worshipping false gods, and then proclaim God's goodness in your own words, just like the psalmist did.


Progress in Kenya

It appears that the three-week old national teachers strike in Kenya may be coming to an end, but in the meantime, I received an update this week from Pastor Peter as to what the library in Banana has meant during these weeks when the children could not go back to school:

Dear Dr. John,

1 Kids libraryAm happy to let you know that here in Kenya we are all fine although the teacher strike has entered the third week and we are so much concerned because Class Eight and Form Four students are about to sit for their Examination in a month's time. We pray that this stalemate will be solved soon.

Library

The WAPIS library has continued to be a place of refuge for many students at this time and we are 1 Bikeshappy that they are maximizing their potential by using the library positively. We are having students from near and far who use different modes of transport to access the library, ranging from walking, commuting and cycling. This is a clear indication that we are making an impact and a difference in the community.

Sports

1 Jump RopeWith the sporting equipments you donated, we have managed to introduce sport evangelism, which is targeting people from all ages including men, women and children. We have being having football activities, tug of war and rope skipping. This has proved to be a good model to bring all people together for peace and unity in the community.

Bible Studies

With the Bibles you provided we have been able to start a Bible Study for youths of age 13 - 24 and 1 Kids Outside Librarythis has proved a good tool for mentoring these young people into responsible leaders of both today and the future rooted in the word of God. We are positive that this would open doors for many people to start attending the Bible study and we are encouraging other Churches to start the same. With the recovering addicts we continue using the recovery devotional Bible donated by Karen and we are happy for the impact it is making to this people group.

1 Library Kids 6In conclusion, I so much appreciate every support you have accorded to us and we shall keep you in touch.

God Bless you all.

He is the reason of our living.

Pastor Peter

Today I had a meeting for those going to Kenya with me next February, and I expect to have a team of 12-15 going over.  I also announced today that we have set a goal of $30,000 for our visit that will cover another shipment of resources to establish more libraries and expand the present one in Banana, as well as continuing to help feed orphans and widows.  I will be sharing with you in coming weeks the specifics of the plan, and also how you can help by contributing both supplies and dollars.  If you feel led to give now, you can do so through my website or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. 


Q267: Abundance

What would Jesus ask you today?

"And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?" - Mark 8:20.

Jesus was asking this question to remind the disciples of His ability to provide in abundance. They had more than enough when He multiplied the loaves and fish. Perhaps it is time that you also remember how well the Lord has provided for you over the years. Are you in a panic now over your finances or future? Have you ever lacked? When has God ever let you down where provision is concerned? Reflect on Psalm 36:7-9 and see if it is the truth where God's abundant provision for you is concerned.