Category Archives: Kenya

Perfect love casts out all fear <3

One of the downsides of having an active imagination is the inevitability of over thinking in the midst of any kind of possible threat and carrying all the plot lines out as if they were actually happening. 

Add to that imagination an ability to embellish with vivid details and you have before you the battle of my mind these days. 

I listen to all the mix of reports on the virus, the economy and the uncertainty of decision being made and I find I am fighting the urge to work through all the potential scenarios as if they were actually happening. I am purposefully focusing my thoughts on what is real and present right at this moment.

Throughout the day I have to pray for a sound mind and readjust that helmet of salvation over this scattered and over-thinking brain of mine. 

As I have prayed, I was reminded of an experience with fear and health from my first visit to Kenya so I am sharing today. 

When our church decided to send a vision team to explore ministry opportunities in the region where our home missionaries were set up, I felt a tug in my heart to go to this area we had supported financially and with our prayers for so many years. 

But as the time drew closer for the actual trip, I realized that there was a fear in me regarding the inevitable exposure we would have to both HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis.

While I am not a germaphobe, I can easily become panicky about serious illnesses and conditions in a way that can border on irrational. 

I know me well enough to know that the fear of contracting any of those could cause me to completely withdraw in such a way that I would be crippled and ineffective in engaging socially with these people I had come to love already through prayer and photos from the teams serving them. 

So I asked some people to pray that I would not get weird and miss the whole experience because of my fears. 

Well, they prayed and I was able to meet and greet and talk with not a shadow of the grip of the fear I had feared; and then very near the end of our time there, God just had to look down on this child of His and decide to make one more good, faithful and strong answer of His power at work in me to be visible so I wouldn’t forget. 

The Maasai, I learned, have no concept of our social hula hoop/bubble.

I had been crammed into vehicles with far too many people, held hands or walked arm and arm with many young women and older women as is their charming custom to do with friends. 

I had sat in the close quarters of dormitories with the women’s ministry team from the area as they shared their desire to learn more and teach others about Jesus. 

And then we were hosted for a meal at the boma (home) of one of the Maasai families we were visiting. 

I was approached at one point by a very tall and very thin Kenyan man, who coughed consistently and had the haggard eyes that were a telltale sign of the disease that would eventually take his life. 

He told me his name and that he was dying of AIDS. His wife had died from same just recently and he was asking for prayer for their three young daughters who would be orphaned. He wanted me to pray over them and not forget them.  

Knowing the culture, I called for one of my friends to come and stand with us in prayer and she bowed her blonde head next to mine as we put our hands on these three young girls. 

Immediately their father stepped up to the tight circle and bowed his head over all of us. 

So there we were. 

Praying over these young lives as their father stood like an umbrella over our heads as we prayed.

And I had no fear. 

Because over the top of it all, I felt the Father of all mercies smiling the way He does when He answers my prayers in ways I could not have imagined. 

Instead of protecting me by keeping me clear of all my fears, He led me right into the thick of them and made His sweet Presence known. He showed me His heart and made mine a teeny bit more like His.

I wrote their names down and carried them in my prayers for many years. 

Those girls are grown now and recently friends were able to snap a picture and send to me from their trip to Kenya. 

We have many real things that could produce fear in us right now. But we have been told to not be afraid.

It is easier said than done, but we know…

Love casts out all fear. Perfect love, that is.

And the only Perfect Love is from the Father <3 

Oh my goodness…what in the world…

Well….happy Friday to you and wow…thank you for those of you who donated because of yesterday’s post <3

…blew me away and made me cry. Many thanks  – so sweet you are <3

So here I posted about human trafficking yesterday and then I read the headline on the “Your Money” section of the newspaper and I about get sick.

The lead article is about how “Wealth Shock” can be fatal.

Wealth Shock.

The new malady of our culture.

To lose our investments can prove highly contributive to an early death.

What in the world?

You all know me.

I never read the paper.

But this one caught my eye.

They have documented statistics about this.

And how women are more likely to have wealth shock than men.

And then there is this quote about how we need to be doing everything we can to prevent people from experiencing loss of … wealth…


This is in the newspaper.

They are researching how to implement policies to prevent this from happening.

I am not sure who “they” are.

But I am thinking….

People are dying of starvation…

and abuse…

of thirst…

AIDS and Tuberculosis….

all over this world.

We need to get a grip America.

We are dying but it is a poverty of spirit not of wealth.

Sorry my dears…not a fun Friday post…but it’s my heart.

Be blessed.

Be the change agents in the name of Jesus.

Here’s the program and policy we truly need.

Don’t die because you were trying to hang on to your life and your lifestyle….

lose your life for My sake, and you will find it ….Matthew 16:25  <3



Insights from Kenya 2017 guest post by Megan Peterson

So Megan would be one of Russ’s girls.

One of a trio of young ladies that insisted on riding with Russ on any and all outings the youth group took when these lovelies were in high school.

And I have witnesses who know that as they ran across the parking lot to our Tahoe at least one would stop, look back at me kind of disappointed-like and say…

“Oh…are you going with us too, Laura?”

Kind of like … the opposite of an invitation.

And we would all laugh as I would hold up my hands and assure them I would not mess with that magic.

NO way.

Now those girls are all grown up and as beautiful as ever and in a world that is so very mixed up about what a lot of things…Miss Megan gets God’s love right…right here <3

Stillness in the Midst of Rush Hour by Megan Peterson

Photo credit to FCC Kenya Team 2017 

Do you ever have a plan A, B and maybe even C.

And often wonder how’d I ever get here, and then feel that you’ve missed everything in between?

This has been myself the last 5 years.

Consistently striving to figure out this adulthood thing, being content with experiences and directions of life.

Still, there is a yearning for peace, sense of self and trusting in His ultimate plan.

God has placed a notion on my heart for the word LOVE.

This word is often associated with an extravagant feeling, yet it can also be integrated within one’s lifestyle.

To love as a Christian, is to give to other’s those things that you would want them to give to you, if you were in their situation and not expect anything in return.

Done, marked that off the list; help people get back their independence by working in the medical field. Yet—there is so much more to this Love.

This past July, a group of 23 people ventured to Kenya, Africa with Decatur First Christian Church for a Medical Mission Trip.

Travelling hours along barren and bumpy terrain in vans to serve people with medical attention.

Certainly, serving others, along with the appreciation of western culture resources changed our lives.

However, there is one thing that impacted and shaped this weary heart.

The expression of Love through communication; both non verbal and verbal.

Example 1:

These three girls.

We gazed at each other with such curiosity: neither of us could verbally understand one another. However, the world language of a girl is to twirl with her skirt, smile and giggle.

This was our conversation.

The understanding of one another and connection to the Love of our God. No words, but being still and present His Divine plan.

Example 2: One of our Maasai Van Drivers and translators, Stonic Kopiah.

A man who dresses very “Western”, has a gentle, but strong spirit, yet he has very traditional tribal upbringing.

He is a man who became a Warrior to fulfill his family’s wishes and legacies. This means he went into the wilderness for 2 years, lived off the land and killed a Lion in order to return to his tribe.

Fast Forward, after various jobs, now drives safari vans, has 1 wife (very rare in traditional Maasai) and two children. His oldest, a girl, 25 years old and single. He made clear that he wants to give his daughter the choice to pick her spouse (Again, very rare in traditional Maasai).

This man has experienced much, was challenged often and now continues to love through many humble actions (supplying women with simple work of doing his families laundry, giving his Daughter a voice with a choice and translating to help the people in his community for the betterment of their health) and expects nothing in return.

Though, his love is clearly outlined above, he touched me with the time spent in conversation during long van rides to/from medical clinic and sitting shot gun next to him at the end of safari.

We talked about life in general, desires, morals, importance of relationships, how to drive the vans on the road and to be open, while listening to others.

Towards the end of safari, the radios sounded and a female lion and cub were spotted.

We arrive, he pulls over with the lions on my side, turns off the van with the windows down.

I quietly and hesitantly signal “the window is down”.

He replied, “Have confidence in yourself, they will not hurt you. I wouldn’t have let you keep the window down if I’ve known that they would harm you.”

Simple, yet very powerful words of Love.

Often, we rush through the day. Forgetting to simply listen, be still and communicate with God and others around us.

Trusting that the interactions of the day are meant to fuel the human souls and fortify His promise that he will provide.

For in his Word, he states, “Let all that you do, be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV


A big thanks to you, Miss Megan, for opening your heart and sharing how Kenya touched and changed you. Thank you for sharing part of the journey with us today  <3

So what is success going to look like when it’s all said and done?


I read an article recently that outlined a number of things successful people never do.

It haunted me for days because…

I do most of them.

Which explains a lot, I guess….

except what the author of the article defines as “success”.

Because I also read recently the post of one our missionary friends.

A couple who have served for about 30 years in Kenya and now Tanzania.

I have been blessed to not only pray for them and their ministry, but to have traveled to Africa twice to touch the very people who I prayed for AND who prayed for ME…

This post that I read was short and sweet and precious as they shared the passing of one of their first Maasai friends. The one who had taught them the language and given all of them their Maasai names.

In the short obituary, our friends shared news of her passing after a painful battle with cancer and tender ways that God’s kindness and faithfulness attended the death of His saint.

And then in the  middle of this paragraph is a phrase that sheds a new light on what defines success…

“She was the first Christian in her area…she suffered much for her faith.”

Oh my…

Does my Savior look down on me as I walk through a culture that so desperately needs Him and see that I bear His Name well…and that I am willing to suffer much for Him?

Success is to hear Him say when it is all over….


Well done, good and faithful servant <3

Relating as we go…

As we go…as the times unfold…as we set our hearts to consider the cost and make the commitment to intentionally share what Christ has done for us, we can default to human nature and forget…we are not converting people to a religion…we are walking and talking the Good News of Jesus Christ so that others will want a relationship with Him through salvation and discipleship to His teachings.

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We, who follow Christ, know what we were before He saved us. We drink deeply now of His living water and we desire what He desires…for all to come to Him. 2010 09 04_0534

We are sharing Christ and what He has done for us, in us, with us and through us.

We are making disciples because we are disciples. 2010 09 04_0624

When I traveled to Kenya, it was under the ministry umbrella of CMF. They work with the local church leaders there to provide support for their work in their own community.

Just like every day life here, we were surrounded by believers and we were surrounded by unbelievers.

Because of the language barrier, cultural differences and the fact that I am the same goof-ball no matter where you plop me down in the world…I didn’t have theological discussions or debates on points of Scripture or anything that remotely looked like I was sharing the gospel and making disciples.

I just visited and met and received and gave..

I was an ambassador for Christ, just as I am every day of my life…


And I met people…like…2010 09 03_0686Sane (Sah-nay)….who after this selfie told me he knows how to make people too…not like Frankentstein…don’t worry….he meant he could operate the camera…

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Imagine my joy on my next visit when, I found him and reconnected with him at his new home…IMG_3361

Then there was Helen, who came up to me after the church service on my first visit and said, “So….you are a friend of Dori (our CMF leader and yes, long-time friend)”

She was obviously sizing me up….and then with dignity told me…”I am a friend of Dori, too.”2010 09 03_0680

I must have passed the test because, when I returned two years later, she was waiting for me … with a gift


I can’t explain what made me know I was called to go the first time or the second time to Kenya.

I don’t even know what impact I had, if any, on anyone there.


I know going changed ME…I know that even though I spent such a short time with them and I may never see them again on this earth, they are my brothers and sisters and I will spend eternity with them.

And I know I was obedient to the call…even if I can’t explain it.

I can’t explain why it burns in my heart for others to know the Truth; to experience the love and forgiveness I have not deserved and yet have received.

I can’t explain why my heart aches for those who reject Him and why it matters so much to me that all come to salvation…except that when I exchanged my dead end life for His eternal one…His desires became mine…and that is what He wants.

And I want to be obedient…even if I can’t explain it and mostly don’t even feel particularly good at it.

Everywhere I walk, I take the living Hope of the World with me.

Christ in me, shared openly and honestly, in my every day life will speak of the Gospel and His teachings. As my heart and mind are filled with His truth, my words will speak the Gospel and His teachings.

For those who know Him, this will be encouragement…for those who don’t, then I pray they see Jesus in me.

With a sense of urgency….and a pursuit of relationship….I share Him….2010 09 04_0582as I go….