We are all rejoicing with the phenomenal finding and courageous rescue of 12 young men and their coach in Thailand. I must admit that when seven days of being trapped in the cave turned to eight and then nine, I was doubtful whether they would be found alive. But the world came together in efforts and prayers, and the victory is sweetly tangible — even from a whole continent away.
I am led to consider others who are trapped, millions of others, in need of rescue. Trapped in modern-day slavery, trapped in poverty, trapped in life-threatening addictions that they long to be free from, trapped by abuse, trapped as refugees, trapped by injustice.I wish the world could come together and work out their rescue. I wish the world could come together and decide that these things should not be happening on our watch.
Yes, we will need a good strategy (many strategies, actually). Everyone’s expertise will be needed. Yes, it will require teamwork. And it might cost some of us our lives.
Lord, whichever specific rescue mission you want to put me on, I am ready. Use me as You will.
At a Crossing Cultures consultation in Mombasa recently, one of the speakers noted that the biggest threats to the Kingdom advance in our day are materialism, individualism and Islamic extremism.
We can get very “worked up” about Islam, especially when violent attacks and ruthless oppression seem to abound. Just near home, DOVE missionaries are in a region of northeastern Kenya where religious killings have suddenly increased. This week, Kenya’s intelligence agency warned Christians in the area that a certain extremist group, Al Shabaab, has sent out a threat: “we are coming.” Yes, this threat is real and we are intensifying prayer for their protection.
But please notice the other -isms in the same sentence above. We are being told these equally threaten genuine Christianity and the spread of the Kingdom.
So I must ask: Is my lifestyle materialistic? Does my worldview reflect an individualistic mentality?
“Enemies” without, and “enemies” within. Is that where we have reached? We need to be careful, checking ourselves and challenging each other toward the simple lifestyle of Jesus and a worldview that reflects true koininia community.
Kenya’s 16th Prayer Breakfast in Nairobi on Thursday was an historic event. Kenya’s President and his deputy (Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto) publicly asked for forgiveness from the opposition leaders, Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka. Relief and excitement were bursting forth!
This is an answer to a lot of prayer. Over fifty years ago our national patriarchs, Jomo Kenyatta and Oginga Odinga, started a rivalry that has been passed on through generations. But their two sons declared at the Prayer Breakfast that they would stop that rivalry, unite the country and trust God to heal the land and people of Kenya.
When Cain killed his brother, Abel’s blood cried to God from the ground. In response, God sentenced Cain. “The ground has rejected you; you will not eat from it. You will be a vagabond.”
The wandering spirit along with unproductive land is common in Africa. Too much blood has been shed and the sentence seems to be the same. The land is spewing out, as it were. Many are running from their villages, cities and nations, looking for something better “out there” — many times in the West. There is a rising restlessness that can no longer be ignored.
It is time to change the narrative. Time to repent of our brothers’ and sisters’ blood that has been shed, cry to God for forgiveness and allow the blood of Jesus to speak in our lives and our land.
I believe that God is beginning to heal Kenya. When church and national leaders take responsibility and Kenyans follow the example to own up to our sins and repent, we will experience healing. People of different tribes and races will reconcile. The economy will recover. As the land is restored it will stop vomiting us out and exiles will return to Africa. I believe we will then see true transformation.
God’s favor as regards the Prayer Center has been quite evident in the last several months. However, we are totally in awe of what happened this week: a ten-meter-wide strip of land part of the way up our property border has been restored to us by the Kenya Roads Authority. Amazing. Divine.
It is ironic that about three years ago, the City Council talked about paving that same road, and wanted us to forfeit land. But we took them to court. Then things went silent. And the road was never paved.
When DOVE bought the land in 2007, that strip had already been taken. Neither the surveyor we had at the time, nor the seller of the land (now deceased), could give a clear explanation. We now know that someone had sunk a borehole and built a water tank on the road reserve bordering our land, then hived off ten meters to make room for a road and for electric lines. To get that back would have been an expensive, uphill battle in court, complicated by land cartels and corruption.
However, our God fought it out for us in the courts of heaven! Praise be to His Name! As the road construction finally began this week, the City Council wanted to see our boundary beacons so we called a surveyor to confirm the locations. Miraculously, the surveyor, the Roads Authority and the City Council all agreed – in our favor! Our land had been stolen, and we were going to get it back! We rushed to put up a boundary fence in the middle of what had been a road, even as shanty buildings along the previous boundary were being cleared down and the illegally-positioned water tank was demolished. What a miracle!
In September last year we struck an abundant water aquifer, and the campaign to bring in funds for construction is ongoing. We believe our God will release finances for the work. This week’s events are so miraculous; a clear indicator of God’s favor and blessing on this vision.
We appreciate all of you who are praying for this project. We are excited with what God is doing!
After spending the last two weeks of March with the wonderful DOVE International family, we set out from Pennsylvania to see the world. (Well… maybe not the whole world! But we did get into 14 different U.S. States).
Thirty nights and twenty beds later, we were so glad to arrive back home one week ago–despite being smacked with the realities of life in Nairobi: frequent power cuts, traffic jams, long “security check” lines, all of which can really slow things down!
Friends “old” and new in Phoenix, Arizona
On the trip, it was extremely precious for us to spend time with family, renew “old” friendships and forge new ones. We had many opportunities to share the vision for a Prayer Center here in Nairobi, and testify of great things God is doing in DOVE Africa.
Thank you for everything, dear friends!
~ Ibrahim and Diane
Using the words “my late brother” is shocking and painful. On Saturday April 7, we celebrated the life of my late brother, David Diener. The day after his death was Easter. The day after that, his 67th birthday.
David had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just five weeks before. Now there are only two of us living among my parents’ four children: I and my brother, Larry. David leaves behind two children, four grandchildren and a loving wife.
I remember David as a larger-than-life big brother who I was so proud of. Being ten years my elder, David went to boarding school during high school and then off to college. So we didn’t really “grow up together.” But I bragged about him: impressive things that he built, sports at which he excelled and daring feats that he accomplished. I also remember that he scared me silly one time by jumping over a bonfire (I had an uncanny fear of fire when young) and sometimes got in trouble for teasing me too much.
David (front center in above photo) lived an abundant life, always active and always serving others. It feels like it was cut short mid-sentence. But despite the grief, we thank God that David’s suffering was not too prolonged and that we had several weeks to handle the good-byes. We are also grateful that many from the family were together in Fort Collins, Colorado for his memorial, including three of our children.
“I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.” -Jesus (in John 10:10).
We have just been celebrating Easter: the ultimate victory of life over death, light over darkness, hope over despair. But the declaration “He is Risen” is not the end of the story. It is the beginning. It is our starting place for a transformed life: not just our words but what others actually witness about the way we live.
Easter is not just about what Jesus did for us—it is our mandate to “go, tell the others” that all of our fears and failures are irrelevant to Christ. He has conquered them all.
That is an exciting message! Let’s go and tell it!