Kathy's Blog

The light shines in darkness

The Team God Builds January 14, 2012

Filed under: American Christianity — Kathy Morgan @ 1:14 pm

Recently someone suggested to me, I should tell stories of ordinary people God chooses to intersect our lives when he decides to use us in ministry.  He truly is the one who takes ordinary people like me, and arranges divine appointments with other ordinary people to accomplish something great that we could never do on our own.  This is how he receives the glory, and credit for the work to be done.  As I think about this, I see that throughout the Bible, God always chooses ordinary real life people who the world would not have necessarily chosen!  Throughout my ministry experience I remember all those who prayed for and encouraged me; family, single adults, stay at home moms, church/ministry staff, church members, friends, those who  stepped up to help with the workload, and those who opened doors to give me the opportunity to use my God given strengths, abilities, and gifts.  These people for the most part have done this as servant leaders, not looking for something in return, using this opportunity not to promote themselves.  Americans today, including many Christians, have confused Christianity with karma.  Tim Tebow who is in the national spotlight is under much scrutiny.  He is an ordinary person God is using on his team accomplishing something that could not be done on his own, and Tebow is giving the glory to God.  In an article written by Rick Brown, America does not understand Tim Tebow, Christianity he says:

“…much of Americas, of Tebow’s Christianity is all about what Tebow does or doesn’t do.  Reilly went on to say on The Herd that he had hired a lip reader to make sure Tebow wasn’t swearing on the sidelines at football games, and he hired a private investigator to make sure Tebow wasn’t going to strip clubs or involved in any similar behavior during the week.

If this is America’s understanding of Christianity, than any of us calling ourselves Christian have failed…miserably.  What Reilly described is an evaluation of works. “Good things” done, “bad things” not done. But central to Christianity isn’t about doing things. Tebow loves on hurting kids in hospitals because he has a heart for them. It’s an opportunity to help them.  That’s something he does that thousands of other Americans do every day. And Timmy would tell you that too.

Tebow also does those things because he believes that good works show himself to be a witness of his faith, but Tebow is not working on a system of karma. And karma is exactly how modern America perceives Christianity.  Modern America has all but forgotten its Judeo-Christian heritage, and with it has a total misconception of what it is to claim to be a Christian. Today for the average American, Christianity is about works. It is a lifestyle choice that when failed illustrates to the voyeur that the claimer must have been fakeBut what the media and America doesn’t understand is that Tebow doesn’t claim to be perfect and his Christian faith doesn’t make that claim of perfection of its followers or make him perfect either

Tebow’s claim to being a Christian is not a claim of karma, a belief that if he does enough good things he can one day be weighed on some ubiquitous scale of right and wrong and be proven righteous.”

I am so thankful it is not up to me to earn what job I will have in heaven, how many crowns I will receive, or whether God will bless me with what I think I need in this life.   In God’s eyes, my value and what others think of me is not based on position, status, or achievements.  I am grateful for the people who God has used to allow me to be on the team God uses.   At this time 2 years ago, I never dreamed I would be going around the world ministering to people in third world countries.  God used Mary Dean to ask me to be on God’s team with Stonebiar Community Church in India.  Last year I thought I was going to India in August, but God instead used Lila Farmer, a member of my Sunday class, to introduce me to Solomon Kimuyu a native Kenyan.  I spent 5 weeks with Solomon and Lila in Kenya ministering through Solomon Center for Leadership to the church in and around Nairobi.  Through these experiences, I saw the power of God at work, using ordinary people to do extraordinary things, knowing God was receiving the credit and glory!

 

Life in Nairobi January 9, 2012

Filed under: Kenya — Kathy Morgan @ 11:57 am

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After I entered Nairobi, a warning was issued from the U. S. State Department asking travelers not to go to Kenya.  Kenya had invaded Somalia, and Al Shabaab (Al qaeda) was threatening to bomb American citizens in Nairobi.  All of a sudden I was a target!  The shopping malls now had security screening for people and cars.  I could not walk on the streets or even think of public transportation.  I could not leave the church compound unless I was in a car with a trusted driver.  Being thankful to not be staying in a hotel is an understatement.  I knew the American hotels were a prime target for Al Shabaab.  Our church compound always felt safe.

We did not have much in our house, but I had a good bed!  Those who know me well know I need a good night sleep in order to function the next day.  We had hot showers, a small communion table borrowed from the church, with 3 chairs.  In the small kitchen we had a sink, a 2 burner gas camp stove, and a microwave.  No refrigeration, oven, or any place to store kitchen utensils.  We also borrowed 3 plastic chairs from the church to sit in the kitchen.  I learned how to cook stews, rice, and cabbage African style.  They have wonderful spices, many from India to flavor all their dishes.  I had fun experimenting with all the spices; always trying something new. Chai is a staple.  We drank Chai all day long, so there was always a pot on the stove filled with tea.  Tea Masala spice was added, or mashed fresh ginger for taste.   We shopped daily for the perishables, as well as bread to make honey sandwiches for visitors. Everyone likes honey sandwiches!  I added banana and some orange marmalade to mine and had a breakfast treat!  We always cooked with fresh produce, the farmers bring produce in daily from the hills   the papayas were so sweet and good.  When I arrived, the house had been freshly painted and new curtains had been hung.  It all was clean, and we had green plants all around us.  The air was crisp and sunny most of the time.  When rain came, everything dried up quickly so mud was not a big problem.

When I was leaving Nairobi, I met a woman of Indian origin waiting to board my flight to London.  Her grandfather was an India Cooley the British had brought to Kenya in the late 1800’s to build the Kenyan railroad from Mombasa to Uganda.  She grew up in Nairobi but moved to London in her teens.  We talked about how the world had changed, and all the violence that we now see.  When it came to terrorism, she kept saying “they are brainwashed.  Don’t they know we have to live together respectfully in peace, and work together?  Jesus is coming soon, I tell my sons this every day.  All the signs we are told to look for are happening in our world now”.  She asked me if I was a missionary, and I told her I was.  I asked her what church she went to, and she looked puzzled.  She then said “I am a Muslim, not a Christian.  We all know Jesus is coming and he will fight the beast.  I hope he wins.”  Jesus is not her savior, he is a good prophet.  She, a Muslim, knows more about the condition of our world then most Christians.  Jesus is coming soon!

 

Out of Africa January 1, 2012

Filed under: Kenya — Kathy Morgan @ 3:23 pm

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What a year 2011 has been!  We have seen so many changes in our home towns, our country, and our world.  When I hear “The world is getting smaller” the full meaning of that phrase doesn’t hit me until I start traveling abroad.  I spent 5 weeks in Kenya this fall, and everywhere I went I would meet people who have lived in America, or have family living in America now.  Many of these women are shopkeepers, seamstresses, those with large gardens and small farms.  I was privileged to be with men and women who are hungry for God’s Word, its Doctrines, looking to Him in order to make some sense of the world they live in.  At their core, they are just like American Christians with the same needs, and desires.

In Kenya, poverty is high, corruption runs deep in their businesses, government, and in some churches.  The prevailing attitude is that of entitlement.  You should get something from someone else, whether you are rich or poor.  You should be paid for your time, transportation, meals, lodging, even for existing.  While I was in Nairobi, I witnessed a large slum located on airport property, bulldozed in the middle of the night leaving thousands homeless.   The next week a subdivision where homeowners had a title for the land, was bulldozed.  The MP had sold bogus titles to them; it was airport property.  This attitude has hurt the integrity, value, and self-esteem of the people who live in a beautiful country full of flowers, hills, tropical plants, and wild animals.

After the 2007 elections, sectarian violence broke out displacing and killing tens of thousands of men, women, and children.  The election reflected the social disease that had been taking root for so long; the people felt the only alternative for constitutional change was a violent resolution.  At the end of this election a Country that had been governed by a Christian majority, now had to share power with a U.N. mandated coalition government made up of Muslims.   The Obama government sent $23 million US aid not to the Christians where it has traditionally gone, but to the Muslim coalition.  They have a new constitution, with U.N. mandated goals, one of them being the empowerment of women.  Traditionally women have not had any value in African society.  They have the same rights as property, or animals.  They are beaten, sold in to sex trafficking, brutalized along with their children.  Children are to primarily spend time with the father’s family.  The Son’s are to be educated; the women stay home to care for the home and children.   Everything in life goes through the father’s family.

The society is now starting to respond to the needs of women and children, through the empowerment of women mandate.  Kenya is now 51% female due to the killings, and these women are handling family finances, educating their children, and working where they can to help supplement the income of the husband, especially during these difficult economic times.  They are changing the communities they live in, and gaining respect from their husbands at home.  Many are widowed, and out of need are aggressively pursuing a business, their only alternative would be to become prostitutes, to support themselves and their children.  Merry go round groups are started as small banks that they contribute to.  They are raising and selling livestock, milk, fruits, vegetables, making baskets, jewelry, wood carvings, and have small kiosks as souvenir shops.

These are the men and women I had the opportunity to bring God’s Word too.  My topic was the role of women in society – how God is using women to be His warriors, working with men to accomplish God’s Kingdom purposes.  All presenters spoke about the end times we live in, and what that means for the Christian today.  As Christians we will have to make the choice, we can no longer have 1 foot in the church, and 1 foot in the world.  Our choice will be :  1) stand for Christ not compromising our faith and His message no matter the cost (even death) or 2) fall away from the faith and choose to be at the mercy of Islamism, Socialism, Communism which is Atheist.  Similar to what the Weimar German Republic faced when Hitler was coming to power in the early 1930’s.  Kenyan Christians will be making this hard decision as they vote in December 2012.  They are on the verge of becoming an Islamic state, implementing Sharia Law.  All human and individual rights are lost in Sharia Law.  The people below, where I spoke,  welcomed the challenge.  They want more Bible knowledge, discipleship, and economic opportunity.

  • Athi River Baptist Church Women’s conference – 200 attending
  • Baptist leaders Conference men and women – 50 attending
  • Nairobi Bishops Conference – 100 attending
  • Mlolongo Baptist Church (main message) – 50  attending
  • Baptist Women’s Conference for Rural church leaders – 100 attending
  • Athi River Baptist Sunday English Service (main message) – 300 attending
  • Athi River Baptist Women’s Business skills conference – 100 attending

Many of the women who attended, had never been to a conference before, they live without indoor plumbing and electricity.  I saw deliverance from witchcraft, repentance from prostitution, and compromised living.  The Pastor’s wives want additional training to better lead their flock.  I believe the true church will become more unified globally as we move in to 2012.  We need each other, to stand together and support each other against a common enemy – the “isms”.  God is at work throughout our world, not a day went by I did not see his hand directing, leading, and providing divine appointments.

I have been asked to come back and help them start more merry-go-round groups for businesses.  They want business training, Bible teaching, and evangelistic training.  The Lydia Movement is the tool God is using to address the whole woman – spiritual formation, family counseling, and business development.