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February 2013
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A Happy Mary

I received touching photos along with a thank you from Pastor Francis concerning Mary's school tuition, which thanks to you we forwarded two weeks ago. Mary is pictured below (click to enlarge) in her new school uniforms, smiling with her new bookbag, and with her classmates at her new school (her picture next to the blue jeans shows that our container supplies have been distributed, for someone contributed 1,500 pairs of kids jeans). Mary is a petite little girl, probably due to malnutrition in her past, for she will turn 12 in June.  Yet no one has a bigger smile, heart or leadership potential than our little Mary Naserian, but let me allow Pastor Francis to communicate what this means in the words below:

1 Mary with FrancisHalo Dr. John,

I have attached the scanned receipts plus Mary's photos through our gmail address. I paid the first term's fees less 8,000 Kenya shillings, that money has been used on Mary's school requirements only.

The money received was Ksh.580,10.33 ($700US): 1 Mary and Jeans

  1.     School fees for this term were Ksh.38,750 and I paid Ksh.30,000
  2.     Admission and interview fees were Ksh.2,350 - paid in full.
  3.     Personal effects were Ksh.16,000, but I spent Ksh.16,680.
  4.     And school uniform was 7,680 and I spent Ksh.8,200, all of which I have    attached the receipts.

1 Mary PosingIt was tears of joy and sadness as Mary was leaving Upako for the new school. The new school is like heaven to Mary who is trying hard to come to terms with the real change and sudden twist in her life.

I have hope that she will make it to greater heights in life as she has the potential to excel academically. We never knew that any of the children can find that much favor to wake up in a new environment free of struggle, excess oxygen, controlled diet and 1 Mary Wavingenvironment, clean and well-arranged school, among other good things.

May God bless you all for choosing to take on this long journey of educating Mary. Thank you so much and I promise to make sure that all the donations towards Mary's education will be channeled to do exactly that. I lack words to express my gratitude to all of you involved in serving God through the poor. I saw Mary leave the slums for the new school and my heart saw the freedom.


1 Mary with ClassmatesPastor Francis

Notice that Pastor Francis stated that this is a long journey for Mary, for she is just starting out as a 12-year-old. I am trusting God that we will help her for the remainder of her years in school, and will see our resources increase to help others like little Mary. I will let you know when her next tuition installment is due.  In the meantime, we are helping two other children at this point with their tuition, as well as the many children and widows we are feeding and clothing.  Won't you please help us help Mary and those like her?  You can give through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.  Thank you and God bless you for the work we are doing together in Kenya. It is truly remarkable to see God at work.


Pearl 91: Urgency

TOPIC: Time

"How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
    When will you get up from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest—
and poverty will come on you like a thief
    and scarcity like an armed man" - Proverbs 6:9-11.

This month you have studied principles to help you manage your time, or manage the events that fill the time you have. Now it's up to you to apply those principles so that you can do the things that are in your heart to do. No one can make you do this; you must do it for yourself. Otherwise time will pass you by and your best intentions will remain unfulfilled and untouched. What are your main 'takeaways' from this month's discussion? What changes will you make? What are your main objectives you want to achieve with your improved time management skills? Where will you place the urgency in your life and work?

Lord, I thank You for your help this month as I have addressed my need for time management training. Now help me apply the principles as I seek to improve. I want to be productive and fulfilled, and I know that comes from You and from my diligence in pursuing Your will. I commit my way to You and ask Your help. Amen.


Pearl 90: Sleepwalking

TOPIC: Time and Priorities   

"He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son,
but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son" - Proverbs 10:5.

As we near the end of this month's theme of time management, we return once again to the issue of priorities and your ability to recognize and follow through on those things that are most important to you and the work God has assigned you. When it's harvest time, everything else has to be put on hold so the harvest can be gathered and not lost. Do you have that kind of urgency around important tasks? Or do you find excuses not to do them, as if sleepwalking through your day? What is keeping you from those highest priority activities?

Lord, I feel like I am sleepwalking through my days, putting off until tomorrow what needs to be done today. There is a harvest of opportunities before me, and I am missing the harvest somehow. Help me respond with urgency to the matters before me so that I won't miss my harvest of fruitful work.


Pearl 89: Inner Peace

TOPIC: Time and Peace

"If you do this and God so commands,
you will be able to stand the strain,
and all these people will go home satisfied" - Exodus 18:23.

The benefits of God-directed delegation are many, but the main ones are inner peace and satisfaction in and from the work God has assigned you to do. As we conclude our discussion of delegation, examine once again what is keeping you from delegating. Is it perfectionism?  Is it fear?  Is it ignorance? Is it not having enough good people in your world to whom you can give the tasks? If you address those issues today, then next year at this time you won't be so overwhelmed and your work will have taken on new meaning and significance.

Lord, I know I need to let go and let others do what they can do. I have held on to my duties too tightly, drawing my identity from them and even becoming emotionally attached to them. It's time for some changes to the way I work, and I ask Your help as I make significant adjustments to my work and lifestyle.


Pearl 88: Your Load

TOPIC: Time and Pressure

"Have them serve as judges for the people at all times,
but have them bring every difficult case to you;
the simple cases they can decide themselves.
That will make your load lighter, because
they will share it with you" - Exodus 18:21.

When you delegate, it is not so you can dump undesirable tasks onto someone else. It is so that you can focus on doing what it is that you do best and are most gifted to do. Plus, you have a 'load' of duties to carry but others are to help you carry that load to make it lighter. Are you under a heavy load? Do you have grace to carry your load or is it weighing you down spiritually and emotionally? What changes do you need to make to lighten your load?

Lord, my load of work and responsibility is too much for me, and that means I am doing something wrong. I have taken on too much and need to find others to help me with the tasks, or explain to my supervisors or family that the work is too much. Give me the insight and courage I need to lighten my load.


Pearl 87: Your Team

TOPIC: Time and Priorities

"Teach them his decrees and instructions,
and show them the way they are to live
and how they are to behave" - Exodus 18:20.

Jethro continued to help Moses focus his work priorities, as opposed to doing it all himself.  As we saw yeserday, first, he urged Moses to spend more time in prayer, representing the people before God. Then Jethro directed him to pick his team to whom he would delegate, spending some time to train them in the work. Are you still trying to do the work of many people instead of finding many people to do the work? Who is  or should be part of your team? How can you apply these principles of delegation and team building to your family, work or ministry?

Lord, I am reluctant to release my work to others, for fear they won't do as good of a job as I. Then there is the fear of picking the right people. Show me my 'world' as you see it, and then help me identify the right people. Finally, help me prepare them, even my children, for the work at hand.


Pearl 86: Time for God

TOPIC: Time and Priorities

"Listen now to me and I will give you some advice,
and may God be with you. You must be the people’s
representative before God and bring their disputes to him" - Exodus 18:19.

Moses' father-in-law gave him some good advice to stop doing all the work and establish clear priorities based on what it was that only he (Moses) could do, allowing others to do what they could do. Moses needed to spend more time with the Lord and less time with the people. That is good advice for you and me, too. How is your prayer life? Are you spending the time you want and need in God's Word? Are you taking time to think about what you are doing and need to do?

Lord, I am busy with all kinds of things that take me away from You, my Source of wisdom, strength, encouragement, and discernment. I need to do what Moses did, and that is to spend a little more time with you sorting out my world, getting what I require from You for the work You have assigned me to do.


Pearl 85: Fatigue

TOPIC: Time and Delegation

"Moses’ father-in-law replied, 'What you are doing is not good.
You and these people who come to you will only wear
yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you;
you cannot handle it alone'" - Exodus 18:17-18.

You don't have to be busy to be exhausted, for fatigue can be caused by mental weariness. When you don't delegate, it wears everyone out - those with whom you work, those whom you serve and you. And Jethro in this passage made the evaluation that this situation is 'not good.' Are you exhausted? Is not delegating the possible cause? Is it time you change your work habits and philosophy, which would mean changing the way you use your time?

Lord, I am tired and it's not a good tired. I am fatigued because of mental strain from trying to do too much, from being a perfectionist and not learning how to let go and let others. This is 'not good' and I want to change. Show me how and I vow to follow through and regain my energy level I need and want.


Needs in Kenya

This past week I heard from Alice at EOTOO, asking for some help to feed the children. This is a first, so I am getting ready to wire $500 out of our PurposeQuest funds to her. I also heard from Pastor Francis concerning the $700 I wired for little Mary's educational needs.  Below is Alice's request and Francis' response:

Dear Dr. John,

I am trying hard to make the accounts so that EOTOO can live in the present. Currently we are very hard pressed for cash and l am making a special request on behalf of EOTOO for some money to feed the children to come to us through some electronic transfer.  I am working on the January and February Accounts which will come to you in a short while. Thanks in advance and God bless. Alice

Dr. J,

I received the money for Mary's schooling ($700) and we are in the process of buying things for Mary, who is ready to be interviewed at her new school tomorrow. I will escort her to start classes on Monday, after which I'll send a report and all the receipts (thank you so much). Peter told me that the the things you sent via Mombasa are now in Nairobi so we will arrange to collect them on Saturday. Francis

The only reason I could send $1,200 this past week is because of your generosity. But that means there is $1200 less in the account, which is almost at zero. As we approach Easter Sunday, please consider an Easter donation toward the needs in Kenya. It is just a matter of time before I get other requests, and I want to be able to say 'yes' when the requests come. You can give through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.  Thanks and have a blessed Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday.


Pearl 84: Bottleneck

TOPIC: Time and Delegation

"When his father-in-law saw all that Moses
was doing for the people, he said, 'What is this
you are doing for the people? Why do you alone
sit as judge, while all these people stand around
you from morning till evening?'” - Exodus 18:14.

Moses was a busy man, but he was alone in his work. He had no vision or concept of the importance of and strategy for involving others.  In other words, he tried to do the work of 100 people rather than find 100 people to do the work. It was not only hard on Moses, but also on the people who were affected by this bottleneck he had created. Are you working long hours, wearing yourself out because of your sense that you have to do the work yourself? Do you feel guilt when you aren't doing the work? When you don't show up, do you also feel guilty or like you are somehow being 'left out?'

Lord, I am emotionally attached to my position and my work. Consequently, I can't let go and let others! I think it is taking a toll on me and others, but I am afraid to let go. First, help me to get my thinking straight that I am not the only one who can do good work. Then show me the people to whom I can give my work.