Sunday, February 27, 2011

Attitude Check?

I can't remember if it was from my Kanakuk days or sometime before that, but I do remember when someone would yell "attitude check?", if you were in ear shot you'd yell "praise the Lord!".

Just as I sat down to write this, Helen, one of our house staff walked in and said, "Tom I hear water in you bedroom." I love the sound of water. When it laps against the side of a boat in the middle of the lake, when it crashes onto the shore at the beach, when it flows through the rapids of a river, but no so much when its coming from my bedroom. I ran in to find the hot water heater spraying water all over the closet. The room was full. "Attitude Check"? "What in the world, Lord"!

Today we received news that a missionary that run an orphanage just 30 minutes away was killed last night, his wife raped repeatedly and two children witnessed the whole thing. It reminds me where we are, what we do and how much I've really laid at His feat. "Attitude Check"? "Really, God"!

This past Thursday I got a text from Jonathan, our Egerton University staff director. His text read, "Riots on campus, pray for our safety and pray they don't send us home." Students had been without electricity for 3 days and hadn't been able to cook. They got frustrated and started a riot. Friday by 4pm the campus was closed, students were sent home and the amazing momentum among our students was stifled. "Attitude Check"? "Come on Lord"?

Friday I walked out to start my car. Elias another of our house staff said, "Bwana, you have a puncture (flat)". The day before I had dropped $415 on car repair, one of which was putting a slim in the tires to prevent flats. "Attitude Check?" "You've got to be kidding me!"

This weekend we had our staff retreat. We met at an amazing place 1 and 1/2 hours into the bush. Our cell phones didn't work, the electricity was off when we arrived, baboons yelled and screamed all night. It was amazing! Our staff was able to bond, to rest, to recoup and reenergize. Sydney and Raegan ran around the property like two Masai warriors all weekend (well Masai warriors equipped with lightsabers). I woke up this morning with gout in my right ankle screaming pain. "Attitude Check?" "Pass the pain pills!"

In one of our sessions, Solomon, our campus directors in Eldoret shared about 10 new guys on his campus that were starving for anything spiritual he could give. In November when we met as a staff, Solomon had shared how defeated he felt. He said it was like there was a large cloud over the campus and his weekly door to door evangelism was fruitless. He had two guys that he had to chase every week to connect on campus with. Fast forward to Saturday morning and Solomon was late to the retreat because these 10 guys were packed in his house all night for a sleepover, where no sleep was had because they just wanted to talk Jesus. "Attitude Check?" "PRAISE THE LORD!"

I don't want to sound spiritual, I don't want to be the missionary who's suffering for Jesus, I'm not interested in being the poster child for Faith. My Pastor is the spiritual one (& will run spiritual soundingness around your pastor any day :) ), the missionary who lost his life last night is the one suffering (well his family) for Jesus, and the poster child for Faith can be someone else thats much better looking and really does live by faith daily. But tonight, tomorrow, this week I'm walking in celebration of 10 men who can't take their eyes off Jesus and a sold out staff guy that stuck with it.

"Attitude Check"?

Thursday, February 17, 2011


This past Tuesday night I was able to spend some time with a group of our students at Egerton University, just outside of Nakuru. The group gathered in the JFK commons, we drank tea, ate cake and I shared some thoughts with them. Our campus director, Jonathan and his group of key leaders are doing such a great job of brining in our 1st year students (freshmen) and investing in their lives. Its fun to not know faces and meet them for the first time. Its fun for them to have no idea why they've gathered to hear me speak because their connection to the ministry is not me, but our staff and student leaders. And its really fun to hear how they came to be apart of the ACO ministry. I met one young man who door was knocked on during orientation week, when he answered two of our 2nd year students asked if they could come in.
I loved how he put it; "I come from a very simple life. We have no electricity at my house, and we go and get the water from the river to cook, clean and drink. When it is night, we sleep and when it is day we work or go to school. I was alone in my room, I had light and water down the hall and was just sitting waiting for something. When the knock came, my life changed. They told me the story, invited me to Bible study and we've been at it ever since. This guy (pointing to one of our 2nd year students who leads a Bible study) he's my mentor, he's my father in Christ."
I got chills! This young man was apart of the GENERATIONS that we long for, talk about, plan for, train for and invest in. This weekend he'll be apart of the One Day gathering for students led by our campus staff at Egerton. I'm praying that he'll get to see three generations of disciples that are ahead of him (Sophomores, Juniors & Seniors) and be excited about carrying on the tradition of knocking on a door next fall, introducing a young Kenyan man from the bush to Jesus, and begin to teach him what he's learning now.
Earlier in the day I visited our new Community Partnership at Njoro Central High School. The school is about 5 minutes from the Egerton campus and is a new site for our students we are discipling to invest their time in. The high school is 5 years old, has 196 students in grades 9-12. Our ACO staff person in charge of community partnerships has done a great job in preparing the way for the Egerton students to get plugged into the lives of these high schoolers through Bible studies and mentoring. They principle who showed us around was so excited about their newly completed science lab. She laughed nervously when I told her that I blew up my lab station in high school because I didn't pay attention to the instructions and just started mixing chemicals.
She said, "bwana Tom, you must be a Peter. One who jumps in faith and realizes what you're doing in midair or a few steps in." I smiled and told her that was the best compliment I'd ever been given.
Have you jumped today?... In the Faith that you hold so dearly, that you sing about on Sunday mornings in worship, in the book that you carry in your hand or that sits on your bedside table filled with stories of jumping? Another GENERATION has the potential of promise because two sophomores knocked on a door not knowing what was on the other side. I wish I had the Faith of Peter most days. Do you?