I’m so grateful to everyone who has been praying and I’m sorry for doing a poor job of keeping folks updated. This has been such a busy and constantly evolving trip. Poor wifi has not helped either.
Thursday we went to meet with the grandmothers. As always, they were full of joy, smiling, singing and dancing. Vanessa and Taylor helped to distribute food and seemed to have a great time laughing and connecting with the women. They also had a women’s meeting that afternoon with Esther and about 25 women. They shared on forgiveness and prayed for those women who wanted to help in that area. I asked Esther how it went and she said, “Great. They are so good (Taylor and Vanessa),” so I know it went well. Taylor, Vanessa, and Esther will meet again with the women tomorrow.
On Friday we went to visit Sha’ at the I Can Fly campus. It’s always such a joy to be with her. I know the girls loved hearing her testimony of faith. After visiting the school, we took Sha’ to dinner at the restaurant in Machakos People’s Park. The park is a recent addition to Machakos It has some attractions that are new to the area. One of those attractions is a zip line. They have built 3 towers with 2 ziplines attached. For $5 a piece, we decided to take a different step of faith and go zip-lining in Africa. I’m pretty sure there are no security standards or inspections, but everything worked and we had a blast. We even talked Sha’ into doing it with us.
Sunday we all went to the church in Machakos. Bo shared from Daniel 1, and then Vanessa and Taylor spoke. Vanessa had a great word about the simplicity of following Jesus and even sang a song over the people. It was amazing. Taylor shared a word the Lord had given her prior to the trip regarding blood crying out from the ground here in Machakos and in Kenya. Her word was so well received and the people responded in a time of repentance and prayer for their land. The messages and the response were so great that I didn’t feel the need to say much at all. So we finished the meeting and then had some time to meet with the youth group in the church.
The rest of our time here has consisted of conversations with O and E, and time with Isabel and the children. I am amazed to see the transformation in Isabel and the children. I’ll share more specifically on that in the next update.
Thanks for praying!
Today I had probably the most encouraging and productive meeting I have ever had in Kenya. I met Emily, who is 2nd in charge of the Department of Children’s Ministry in Machakos. Emily is one of the most impressive combinations and competence and compassion that I have ever met. She loves the Lord and truly loves the children of Kenya with the love of Christ, which allows her to do her job with great integrity and skill. Emily is a new transfer to Machakos from Nairobi. A few months back she came to visit Esther’s home to inspect. We now know that following poor advice from various government officials over the last few years has added up to a number of issues that need to be corrected. When it comes to documentation, legal paperwork etc, there is even more red tape here in Kenya than the US. Emily could have really thrown the book at Esther and devastated the program. Instead, Esther found favor with her and she saw Esther’s heart and saw the excellence with which the children were being cared for. She even snuck into a food distribution with the grandmothers and was amazed at the job Esther has done there. So instead of threatening to shut us down, she is actually going to help with the process of establishing a CCI (Charitable Children’s Institution). Not only will this protect the legitimacy of the program, but it will also open doors to receive government funding, grants, etc and to establish a legal entity to operate on the land.
I received the list of every requirement and all of the necessary steps to receive a CCI. You must have a minimum of 20 children for a CCI, so one can imagine the list of requirements for staff, resources, housing etc is extensive. But we now have a clear vision to work towards. While most organizations would have to get everything perfect first, Emily is actually encouraging us to take our time and just make consistent progress. She has even suggested constructing new temporary structures at O and E’s current home in order to establish a CCI there first.
In fact, she trusts Esther so much that she was the one who asked her to take in the new boy, Brian. Emily said that has found Machakos to be an area with one of the worst issues of orphans in the country. And at this point she is more interested in saving the kids than doing things by the letter of the law. In short, Emily is an answer to prayer. This process has also caused Esther to find a clearer vision and focus for the future. I’ll share more about that as we talk and as trip progresses.
Yesterday Bo and I traveled with O to visit a fellowship in Nairobi. Although it was not in the bush, it was a hidden place. We turned off the main highway that goes into the city and started winding our way through alley ways. The neighborhood was very poor and the streets were filed with mud, trash, and a few skinny cattle picking through the trash to find food. Many of the residents there are trying to transition from the slums and find work. The leader of this fellowship, Abednego, met Onesmus through a divine connection. He had previously worked as a successful expert in the oil industry before the Lord told him, “I need all of your time and My people need you.” There were about 35 people in the fellowship today and it was one of the stronger fellowships we have visited. It was so encouraging to see a mature group who are hungry to receive the Word of God.
Bo shared on love and I shared on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire. We prayed for the people and saw the Lord move powerfully with repentance and the power and fire of the Holy Spirit. Onesmus carries this fire constantly, so it makes our job easy to turn this part over to and allow him to bring the power of God.
I’m leaving soon to pick up Vanessa and Taylor from the airport. I’ll update again once back in Machakos. Thanks for praying!
Click link below to see some of the kids dancing at the church service. They were pretty great.
Bo and I arrived safely in Machakos late Thursday night. We spent the last 2 days talking and praying with O and E. It has been some of the best time of discussion and prayer that I can remember. The Lord is really giving clearer vision and wisdom as to how to approach that vision. One of the challenges here is knowing the difference between what your local government worker tells you or allows and what the law really requires. If you rely on your local government worker’s advice, it may not protect you in the future. We have run into that problem again. Esther has had to work the last 4 months to fulfill all of the required reporting for every child in the program, both those with the grandmothers and those in her home. This has been a huge challenge, but it has also forced the ministry to set things in order and have a clearer perspective of the work. We have also run into trouble in housing for all of the children according to regulations. They have had to keep the twin girls in a different home until in compliance. We are looking to add on additional temporary housing by next week in order to keep all of the children here.
Esther has found favor with a Emily, a new Ministry of Children manager, who is enforcing the law correctly but also showing grace to help us set things in order. It will pay huge benefits for the future and allow for growth. Emily really cares for the children. She sees Esther’s heart and realizes she is someone worth investing in. In fact, the rescue center asked Esther to take in another child. Upon hearing the boy’s story, it is hard to blame Esther for saying yes. So now there will be 8 at their home. I hope to meet with Emily next week so that we can have a clear plan for the children’s program.
Tomorrow Bo and I will travel with Onesmus to visit a new fellowship in one of the poorer neighborhoods in Nairobi. Monday we hope to handle some different business chores here in Machakos and then make our way to Nairobi to pick up the girls. One of the girls, Kathryn, will not make this trip. She lives in Houston. Thankfully, she is safe. But the Lord has spoken to her that it is best and wise for her to stay back and hopefully come on a future trip. We are looking forward to Vanessa and Taylor’s arrival in Kenya and for everything the Lord will do in their time here.
Thanks for praying!
On August 30 Bo and I are set to fly out of Orlando to Nairobi. We will head to Machakos and have 4 days there to meet with Onesmus and Esther. There are a number of things that Bo and I will need to discuss with O and E regarding the future. I would ask for prayer for the Lord to give us wisdom in our time and discussions together regarding land, the children’s program, finances, and the future.
On September 4 we have 3 young women, Kathryn, Taylor, and Vanessa, who will be arriving in Nairobi to join us. We will meet them and stay the night in Nairobi before traveling to Machakos the next day. On our last visit, Onesmus requested multiple times that we bring women to minister to the women here in Machakos. Anyone who has been here knows that the African women often lead very difficult lives and often live under tremendous emotional and physical abuse. And they are normally responsible for so much that they really do not have time to consider their own wholeness and well being. After returning from our trip, the Lord connected us with these 3 women who each had a burden to come to Kenya.
Onesmus has arranged for 3 days to invite the women in Machakos to come and receive ministry and fellowship together. He is also planning a crusade in Machakos while we are there. This will be there first time that we have been a part of a crusade, so we are excited to see O in his element. We also plan to visit a few fellowships and take some time to walk the hills with Esther and visit more families in the program. And I expect we will meet with some of the grandmothers who have shown initiative to take steps toward growing food, starting businesses, etc.
I know the girls who are coming with us are also excited to spend time with Esther, Isabel, and the 7 children they have taken in. While we would never want to show favoritism, because they are all in one place and not spread out like the others, we do have a special opportunity to invest in these 7 kids. I believe it is an opportunity to see the Lord demonstrate His heart and His power to transform a life and use children like this to do His greatest works. So we want to invest as much as we can into the lives of these kids and see them healed of past trauma, trained up in the Lord, and encouraged to pursue the gifts God has given them.
Thank you for your prayers. I’ll send out updates while we are over there, as much as our wifi connection permits.
A word from Gezzele Martin:
Although we have spoken about this in the past, I felt it best to put into writing the ministry God had me do in Kenya in November as well as what He has called and commissioned me to do in the future in Africa.
The Lord has given me a series of 10 teachings that have been effectively used by the Lord to bring many to Christ and deepen the walk and commitment of those already in Christ. These teachings equip the Disciples of Christ to be ready to answer for the hope they have using the Word of God. It appears the Lord is bringing these teachings to Africa.
As you know, the Lord sent me to Kenya to teach and equip the pastors and leaders of the fellowships under the oversight of Onesmus. Many leaders came to Machakos from around Kenya (O. said approx. 150) and for 3 days I was able to teach them the foundational truths of life in Christ including: the importance of following the Word of God, what it means to follow Christ, the process of converting from the kingdom darkness to the Kingdom of Light and the purpose of the church and church leadership. On another occasion, when I met with the women, I taught on the Proverbs 31 woman and God’s Order for every household. It appears those teachings were well received and many spoke of a desire for more. In addition, the Lord used me to demonstrate worship in the “rest” of the Lord; something they have not been accustomed to but are learning to receive. As part of the teaching I do there, I worship in song and in dance. I was also able to leave written teaching materials/tools for a few leaders and handmade bookmarks for 300 attendees.
But most importantly, the Tuesday after I arrived in Kenya, the Lord woke me at 1:30am and had me in prayer for Kenya for 7 hours. During that time of prayer, there was much crying out and weeping for Kenya. The Lord impressed on my heart His love for Kenya and the Kenyan people.
He began to speak to me about the spiritual condition of His people in Kenya. He said “My people perish for lack of knowledge” and led me to Deut 11:13-28. He said Africa has great faith; faith that supersedes the faith in the western world. (The lack of great faith in the western world is simply due to how much we have and how easily we can obtain it. Even the poor in our country have more and have access to more than what I have seen in Africa. And so, great faith is required simply to survive there. How much we take for granted in the western world!)
As you are aware, Onesmus is highly effective for the Lord in inspiring the great faith that heals, delivers and demonstrates the Spirit’s power in amazing ways. This demonstration of the Spirit’s power is absolutely essential to the work of Jesus on this earth. The Lord is saying that after the healings and deliverances, they walk away free of demonic influence but still in bondage to sin, simply because they do not know what sin is and therefore, do not have the ability to truly repent. He said the people are not able to advance (mature) in the Lord due to their sin. (Matt 12:38-45). He said they do not know His requirement to say “no” to ungodliness (Titus 2:11-15) and live holy lives (I Pet 1:13-15). This work of teaching is also necessary to the work of Jesus on this earth. He says it is time to set the people free from sin as well as demonic influences. Both preaching and teaching are necessary.
In this time of prayer, the Lord told me the “New thing” He wants to do in Kenya is to see the African fellowships sustain themselves both physically and spiritually. Once the people begin to walk in true repentance, God will release His favor upon them. Our Lord is and will always be true to His word but we must also be true to our word in His New Covenant agreement. He said He is sending an African American woman to inspire and encourage the African people to live as Disciples of Christ.
So, on the last Sunday I was there, the Lord had me teach on the acts of the sinful nature in Gal 5. It was truly eye opening for them… I could see the shocked looks on their faces! The 2 sins the Lord had me focus on was sexual immorality and witchcraft (thru horoscopes, psychics, astrological signs etc.). Thru the teachings, He explained the need to come out of darkness and walk in the light as He is in the light (I John 1:5-10)
This being said, I believe I am called to bring this message of the Kingdom of God to Kenya and it appears Kenya is also ready and desiring this. I have been praying about this for several months and I feel it is time to go back to Kenya. Onesmus and I have been talking about this and we think it would be good for me to go 2 times a year, in November to teach at the conference Onesmus puts on for ministry leaders and in June to travel to outlying areas/small fellowships associated with Onesmus’ ministry to teach the people as well as the leaders who are unable to attend the November conference. Onesmus and I agree I should return to Kenya this November. I am also in the process of securing Swahili bibles to either have shipped there or for me to take there in November. It is my hope our ministry will be able to send teams to Africa in the future to minister the teachings of the Lord.
The purpose of these trips are not just one sided. I too will be building my faith in healing and deliverance…something so desperately needed in the US. I am in the process of developing a healing/deliverance team here and the training I would be receiving there is invaluable. I firmly believe the demonstration of the Spirit’s power must grow in the western world in order for us to be whole in Christ.
As this is a brief synopsis of the work the Lord is calling me to in Kenya, anyone with specific questions/concerns can contact me at the info below. Should the Lord open the door for me to go to Kenya in November, I will send updates on the work He is doing there thru this ministry.
Thank you for the support you have provided and are still encouraging me with through our conversations about the plan of God for Africa and through your prayers!
The blessings of heaven to you!
Tent of Meeting Ministries, Inc.
P.O. Box 86613
Tucson, AZ 85713-6613
Patricia (above) is HIV positive, as is her husband. He is too weak and sickly to work, so she is left to try to care for the children and provide for the home. Sadly, they have already lost 2 children to HIV. Years ago their daughter, Sarah, passed away at a young age. She was one of the first children in the program. I still remember seeing the little mound of dirt on the property where they buried her.
They currently have 6 children, none of which are HIV positive. Her son, Elijah, was also one of the first kids in the program. He is now 16 years old and healthy. Her two youngest (pictured below) are Nehemiah, who is 3 years old, and Moses, who is 2 years old. Despite the trials, Patricia is full of life and joy. When we come to visit, she usually joins us for the rest of the walk to the other children’s homes. She is always so grateful for the visit and tries to get us to spend the whole afternoon in her home.
Their prayer is for health and strength, especially for Patricia and her husband. Like many Kenyans, they are also praying for consistent rain that would allow them to grow food on their small plot of land.
Below is a note I received from Onesmsus, describing his most recent gospel crusade in Mwingi:
Jesus’s plan is for the Good News to be proclaimed throughout the world in the Power of the Holy Spirit, with Signs, Wonders and Miracles confirming the Word and demonstrating God’s Kingdom.
Pauline (above) is a young widow who lost her husband to HIV. She was also diagnosed as HIV positive. For those who remember, on the last trip I sent out an update and prayer request for her. After her husband died, her mother-in-law attempted to run her off the husband’s land. Women’s land rights are an issue here in Kenya. Thankfully, the issue was resolved and the mother-in-law relented. The Lord defended this widow. Pauline has two children: Kevin who is 13 years old and in class 8 (junior high) and Bennet who 4 years old and is in middle class (pre-school). Both children are healthy and are doing well in school. Pauline grows crops on her small plot of land and sells vegetables in front of her home to make enough money to sustain her family. She also receives support in the form of food from EAZM and school fees for Kevin. When asked yesterday if she has any prayer requests to pass along to folks in the US, Pauline asked for prayer for peace and healing. We laid hands on her for healing for HIV and we are believing for a good report.
We are going to make it our aim on trips to begin to tell the story of each family that is receiving help from EAZM. I will post a spotlight for each family every month or so and we will continue to visit the families until we have told all their stories.
We visited several other families in addition to Pauline on Thursday. It was great for Elizabeth to see the plots of land that these families are working with. They have used the seeds from Esther to plant crops and the crops appear to be doing very well, especially with the extra rain we have received. The common need is going to be a consistent water source in dry season.
The wifi in all Machakos was out for the last few days, so this is my first opportunity to send an update. I am currently in Dubai, en route back to the US. Elizabeth should also be on her way back as of now.
Yesterday Onesmus, Esther, and I spent time talking and praying about the future for EAZM. Esther has some great ideas in mind for the grandmothers to start becoming more self-sufficient. She is going to do some more research into water storage tanks, chicken businesses, and the local market for bags and purses. I’ll share more as I hear back from her.
We are looking to return to Kenya sometime after the election on August 8. There has been a history of violence surrounding elections in Kenya so we will pray into the right time to go and, more importantly, pray for peace in this election. Thank you for joining us in prayer!
As I shared in the last post, this trip here has opened my eyes to how significant Onesmus’s call is to Kenya. Nearly every fellowship we visit is in a hidden away place that could not be found on a map. The people in these churches are dirt poor, most cannot even afford Bibles. In a nation where ministry is often big business these are the ones who would be forgotten; they have nothing to give. But Onesmus has been faithful to feed His lambs and he has raised up faithful men who follow the same model.
The other day I told Onesmus that someone in the US has committed to funding his preaching outreaches for next month. I don’t know if I have ever seen him so excited. He was like a kid on Christmas. “Now I will preach until Jesus returns!” he said. These faraway and hidden places have been crying out to Onesmus to come and preach the gospel and to encourage and disciple the young pastors there. But they so poor that they have no way to fund his trip or even offer him a place to sleep. So we thank God that He has made a way for O to continue in his call.
Today we visited a fellowship in the hills outside of Machakos. From the reactions, I don’t know that a white person has been there in recent memory. Onesmus said he did not need to check on this fellowship often because the pastor is strong. He was right. The people were strong in faith and there was no deliverance. I spoke on identity in Christ and the people received it with great joy.
Bo and Jo arrived safely in the US today. Tomorrow we will walk the hills with Esther in the morning. In the afternoon I have two meetings: one with the landlord and another with O’s lawyer. We have some legal work that needs to be done with our land and I’m looking at some new options for legal representation. Please pray for wisdom and God’s direction and protection in these matters.