Tuesday, July 31, 2012



Do not judge your motives….
You did a “good deed”.  Instead of worrying about whether your motive was pure, go do another one.  The person you helped could not care less about why you helped, they are just thankful that you did help.
If you helped for the “right” reason, Praise the Lord, you have laid up treasure in heaven.  If for the “wrong” reason, you have obeyed the Lord and have the praise of men for your reward.  We all know which one is preferred. 
Never the less:
         You have demonstrated love toward your neighbor as the Lord commanded.
         You did good.  You were obedient.  You performed an act of kindness.  You said a word of encouragement to someone who needed it.  You gave bread or water to someone who hungered or thirsted.  You listened to someone who had a burden on their heart.  You met someone’s need at the moment.
Whatever it was, the recipient benefited and so did you.  Whether the person helped knew you did it in God’s name or did not even know where the help came from, God receives glory.  Guess who would rather you spent your time questioning your motives instead of doing good.  If you guessed “the devil” you are right again.  Satan can’t stop you but he can sidetrack you and questioning your motives is one sure way to do it.
Jeremiah 17:9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
God knows our motives, we ourselves can never be sure.  Even if you believe with all of your heart that your intentions were “right” you might be fooling yourself. Stop second guessing yourself.
ITim6:18  They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,
Heb:13:16  Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
God orders us to do good. Ecclesiastes 12: 13Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.  Do it and let God be God.  Get thee behind me Satan or get run over, I’ve got work to do for God.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Loving Africa and the people of Togo

Remember the road being "fixed" back on the 16 July blog?  Well this is how it turned out.......

 At least now, when it rains, most of the water finds its way down the sides.
This is the next section after improvements.  Driving in Togo is even more fun on a moto-bike.  This evening I rode home from "downtown" after dark on my moto.  Love how every rut, hole, and stone looks so much different in the shaking light of a single beam headlamp.  
This was an interesting week.  Told the students at Bible Institute "English Class" that I had managed to get invited to a "tea" for 15 ROTC students from the USofA that are teaching English to Togolese military officers.  Asked them to pray that God would open a door to getting some material from what our government sent to Togo for an English curriculum.   Made some good contacts and should know in a day or two if fruitful.  The get together was at the Kennell's home and one of the first things to happen was to meet a Captain (Togolese) who located Sergeant Gabriel (transferred from Kara Prison command) for me and now while I am at the youth conference in August I should be able to get together with him.
ROTC students are all ARMY (so glad it was not Air Force) and from all over US including Hawaii.  They will only be here a few more days and then back to home.  Really great group of young people and at least one Christian that I was able to talk to.
Friday Christophe  and I went for a ride to the International Airport at Niamtougou and were invited to meet the Commandant of the Airfield, given a briefing and then escorted on a tour of the control tower.  Enjoyable experience for me and I think unique for Christophe.  Most Togolese do not get opportunity to interact with those in positions of authority.  
Still have not met the President and only five and a half months left.  May have to make a trip to Lome if he does not stop by Jon's house while he is here in Kara.........
Accumulating memories and filing them in "brain" album for future enjoyment.  Wish I was eloquent that I might be able to paint word pictures of the sights, sounds and smells of Togo.  Even a simple thing like having a cup of coffee in a restaurant that would be a bistro if in France with two walls open to the night and creepy creatures doing their creepy things in the garden next to my table. The music of Togo in the background and conversations in French from the table next to mine add to the mystique, making me feel like I am in an Agatha Christie story and Hercule Poirot should be entering stage left. (Hercule Poirot est un détective belge de fiction créé par la romancière Agatha Christie.)  Exposed to to much BBC and an overactive imagination.

Monday, July 23, 2012

catch up time

Every day has its own normalcy and its own unusualness. Friday was no exception.  Man came to the house with two chameleons and wanted to sell them to Jon for Abby.  Understanding that he was needing money and the chameleons were now without a home......... took one of them in as "bug control" officer for outdoor area. 

By the time he got three feet into his new area of responsibility, he was well adapted to his new surroundings. Have only caught sight of him once since then and have not really noticed much impact on local "bug" population.
Went for a 75k moto ride (by myself) to a small town named Koumonde.  It is on the crest of one of the many mountains in North Central Togo and "beautifully situated".

A few "klicks" (my Vietnam vets will know what I mean) down the road it makes a horseshoe curve just inside the ridge of the mountain.  In this video you are actually looking across the valley at the same road I am standing on.  Since it takes over half an hour to upload 15 seconds of video this is necessarily short.  Wish I could do justice to the view, as it is awesome. 
Going to pretend that someone asked how I was doing and post this in response.  Took it after the ride and was checking out my "farmer tan".  You know when the head and forearms are tanned and the rest is pasty white.  Like this....
The top limb is my forearm laid next to my calf.  Thought it was neat until a little "sun poisoning" effect with an itching that is still with me ten days later.  Have not found any benadryl in local pharmacies, so an occasional rub of aloe gel (world wide remedy) and wait for it to fix itself.  As Carion would have told me, "that's an awful lot of white.....".
Wednesday we walked a "klick" from church to the well that we had a cover made for a month ago.  Over the past four years a couple of children had drowned in it and the small stone wall was not adequate for protection.  
This is what it looks like installed.  Keep in mind that the mason had to get the three pieces of steel as well as the mortar and his tools to the well over the same footpath we traveled.  The Togolese are hard working from birth and can carry you and I on their heads with ease.  Probably booth of us at the same time.  Well, maybe not as you may have put on a little weight.........
Seriously, looking down into the murky waters of the well, it is easy to imagine why so many are sick and why life is so short for most.  Only the strongest survive and clean water is one of the biggest health problems in Africa.  The clear water you saw from the village well (pump) in an earlier blog is worlds better for all purposes and a very appreciated investment in the village.  What a door opening tool for taking the Word of God to a whole village.  They understand the "woman at the well" drawing water for the Lord and the similitude of "Living Water".
As if murkiness was not enough, at least two of these bottom feeder catfish are living in their drinking, cooking, washing water. 
Midst all of this is the beauty of an area not touched with "progress". People living close to the earth.
Little things also need attention.  These small openings in the cover of the baptismal pool allow rain to collect in the bottom of it and breed mosquitoes as well as stagnate. 
A few well placed nails and problem solved.  Now to figure out generator and roof and........ 
Had to share this short video.  Storms vary in intensity and length, this one was steady but long.  This is looking from the upper room toward "downtown" Kara Saturday about 8:30 at night.  As you might notice there is the absence of "light" as the power was off for about eight hours.  During the lightning flashes you will get an idea of how dark dark is.  Love the solitude and peace of a rainy night. (think it would make a song "I Love A Rainy Night").
Every once and a while I wonder off to some place different (understatement noted) and this afternoon was one of those times.  This is a restaurant in town, very French and quite pleasant.  While I was there the rains came and since the dining room is on a lower part of ground the rains came in.  With the power off, my entertainment was watching three of the staff trying to get the water back out and down the garden that makes the wall of one half of the dining room.  Eating in the dark, with water lapping at your feet, and a wait staff that speaks French and Kabiye (no English) is adventure at my age.  God has blessed me in my later years to give me adventures still.

BTW:  Rode home on moto in rain with muddy roads that only Jon could appreciate.  God kept both of my feet out of the mud and brought me safely thru it.  Really get some looks from locals when old white guy sets at intersection on moto in rain and acts like it is normal happening....... I'm just saying.

By age thirty I thought I had done all, seen all and everything left was "daja vu" all over again. Now, everyday holds the opportunity for "UP".  (If you have not seen the movie you will not understand.)

last minute add on:  Christophe called and someone else in village is sick and needs to go to local hospital in am.  Last one died the next morning.  Pray for this one, it is difficult to learn what is wrong with an ill person not only because of language but doctors do not share information with patients.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Homeward bound from church Sunday

Does not look like it, but

there actually is a video here and also on FB that will go full screen. This was a road on the way to church and while we were there they decided to takes some of the holes and washes out of it.  I love a challenge and Jon's Toyota Hilux is up to most anything.  Did not have to use 4x drive as this was a super highway compared to most roads in the "outback".
The voices you hear, besides myself, are Christophe, Tchaa and Christian who were riding back to Kara with me.  Christophe is my right hand, Tchaa the Chief's son is my adopted brother and Christian is the pastor/preacher at Tchandida.  (Jon - correct me if I get any of the details wrong)  

Daily life

Morning wake up call.  These guys will peek thru the screen to see that I am actually up and about.  They are a cheerful alarm clock and usually arrive with the sun.

 This is not zoom lens, they let me get within inches.
 I know, lot of pictures of food.  Fresh leaf lettuce, cucumber, tomato and onion with oil and vinegar for dressing.  Fresh baked bread, all from the village.
 Gentle afternoon rain.
 Brunch of french toast, eggs, mango and banana with bread and coffee.  Mango season is just about done and I will miss them.
Jon.  I found a little refuge on the house top.  No wonder they used the housetop "upper room" in early church times.  Cool breezes and solitude.


Saturday 7 July - Wedding of Germain and Esther at the church in Kara.

 These are the children that sang as part of the service.  The wedding was over three hours long and included several local pastors and missionaries as well as over two hundred well wishers and family.
 The decorations were simple white bunting suspended from ceiling and fans and the couples names symbolically united.  Everyone had an enthusiastic part of the ceremony.
 Germain shyly lifting veil from his new bride.
 Even with the enthusiastic encouragement of everyone present he needed an extra helping hand.
Presenting the new couple.  Another young Christian family started, testifying of God's love for His people.
It is a privilege to see God working in the lives of these Togolese and to witness the Word of God in their lives.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fourth of July 2012

Fourth of July at the Kennell's

 Let the kids have my camera for a few minutes and get this
 and this
 Like most of Togo, entertainment is self powered
 Sort of like boccie I think.
What is a picnic without ham(s)

Anyway, good food and good fellowship as well as a time to remember home.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

TW3 - this was the week that was

Thought you might like to see a "side street"  going back to the village we visited Friday evening.  A foot path and motorbike trail is our road.  Pastor Moussa and about 20-25 people from his church go to small villages that have no church on a Friday or Saturday evening and while half the crew sets up video, lights and sound system the others go two by two and   visit the surrounding area.  It is both witnessing and inviting local families to the Gospel film and message.
As soon as they start setting up the local people start to gather.
Every night they show this, they have to bring a generator, screen, sound system, lights, DVD projector as well as a Gospel of John and Book of Romans (in French) and hundreds of Gospel tracts.
This is the road to the village we visited Saturday.  Sometimes the problem is not getting to the village (daylight) but trying to find your way out at ten o'clock at night.  Cristophe had to get out and lead on foot at one point.
Jon, your pickup truck did fit under the leaning tree and between it and the bush to the left.  Once I got thru, it was decided that we would set up this side of the tree and I u-turned and came back.  Sometimes I actually loose the steering wheel and let God drive when going gets tough.  The rest of the time we share the job.
Down the trail and looking for the next home to visit.
My visitation partner speaks English, French, Kabiye, Ewe fluently and a couple of others conversationally.  He is a blessing to work with.
Just so you know, it is not all work.  I eat thirty eggs a week.  Scrambled, omelets, french toast, over easy....... Don't tell my Cardiac nurse.
Took a little ride on my motor bike during the week.  Went thru Kara first and then back towards home.  Instead of going home I continued East about 20 kilometers to Ketao then returned home.  When I looked at it on the map (enlarge below by saving as picture and then viewing) I found that I was about 5 kilometers from Benin.  It is not that far East or West to the border.  Unlike going from one State to another, going from one Country to another can be a real challenge.

Back to evangelization (sp).  Music draws people from a great distance.
My witnessing brother.  Saturday we met two of his former students in different homes we visited.  At the last home we were able to witness to ten men who had just came in from working in the fields.  When the program first starts there are 20-30 children maybe 15 women and a few men.  By the time the video that takes them from fetish/idol worship to salvation starts there are well over 50 children and more than 50 men and women.  The video, in French and Kabiye, follows one couple from witchcraft to salvation thru Christ as they experience the futility of idols and the reality of Jesus.  I have only seen this video twice and both times I have seen people in the audience respond to the preached message afterward and come to members of the team with questions on how to know Jesus Christ.  
The homes we visit are really compounds of small mud huts in a walled enclosure.  Maybe one family or a large "extended" family occupy with separate buildings for storage, sleeping, cooking and a large courtyard for  gathering together.  Men, women, children, chickens and dogs share the enclosed area and they love to welcome visitors.  The ten men we talked to last are hoping enough people will come to know Christ and meet regular so that there might be a church started in their village.  One of Pastor Moussa's members meets with these people every Sunday (believe he is a Bible Institute Student)  to disciple them. 
 Leaving Kara about 3:30 in the afternoon, it is about 11:00 at night when we get back.  Always having an appetite, I snack on fresh Mango at midnight.
After church at Tchandida today, French toast, eggs over easy, coffee, mango w/banana and ice water.  Does it get any better than this?  Don't think so.
God has blessed me and shown patience with me beyond anything I could imagine and still I come up short.  I have never known how amazing our God is until seeing him work in the lives of the people here in Togo.  Everything else has been academic, this is real.