Archive for December, 2007

Spider Cage Match: To the Death!

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

“I knew this fight would come whilst in Africa. Praise the Lord I am the victor and not โ€œhe who cannot be namedโ€. The evil one, the 8 legged 32 jointed fiend that lies in wait and preys on passerbys; the one the only, SPIDER!”

I can tell this tale better with pictures so go –Here– for the tale. Start with Picture 1 and proceed. If it doesn’t work let me know.

PS the next morning Joseph told me that he almost came over because it sounded like “something was going down” like a cockroach or rat or something. But then it quieted back down shortly so he figured someone won and he would find out in the morning if I was the Victor or the loser. Naturally I was the winner.

Spider Death was Pronounced on December 14th, 9:47pm Nairobi Standard Time (Greenwich Mean Time +3 hours)

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Sickness, Cellphones and Ant Attack

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

The title reminds me of an old B Movie. Probably just he Ant Attack part. Anywhoo, Picture links should be in the section ‘title’, as in, just click the ‘Cell Phone’ of the title “11/27 – Cell Phone”

11/27 – Cell Phone
Got a cellphone for my time in Kenya. The number is 0725 381 285 and that should include the country code and all. It costs me about 10 cents to send a text/SMS and about 40 cents/minute to talk; and nothing to receive. Thus I won’t be contacting too many people outside of Kenya with it. Sweet phone though, got it for 40 bucks and it has a ‘fixed’ LCD screen. Black and white with super good battery life.

11/28 – Present (12/16) Surveying
One of my primary farm jobs are to survey and make a map of the compound. I’ve been working on that off and on now for about 2 weeks. Taking measurements is hard work! the Compound is about 2/3 mile long, 1/4 wide. And I’m measuring it with a 300ft tape measure. Which involves staking down one end, walking 300 ft with it, putting my hat down as a marker, walking back and rolling the tape measure back up, then walking back to my hat to re-stake and start again. Thus, for every 300ft I measure, I walk 900ft. Good exercise! And on some of the walls it isn’t ‘smooth’ ground but some good rivers to forge, brambles to walk through, bugs to frighten.

12/5 – Sickness
On Wednesday the 5th I started to get sick. I don’t know what kind of sickness but I was just exhausted all day with a headache and couldn’t sleep well that night. One would think dehydration so I drank a lot of water that day and was fully hydrated by lunch. Ever since that sickness I’ve had much more flem in my throat than normal. Weird. Maybe due to the Malaria meds but I dunno. Speaking of Malaria meds, they do make my dreams a little more vivid. The other night I was dreaming about Zombies (not a scary dream as one would assume, just kinda intense. My dreams rarely are scarey, but sometimes kinda intense) but I did wake up suddenly cause I thought I felt someones hand on my back and heard something. In the dream it was a zombie naturally. That startled me a bit. Oh, and I have bats in my roof that consistently make noise at night so waking up at night from weird noises is also a common occurence. As long as they don’t come into my room I’m okay with it. And despite what I thought, they fall a lot. I hear a thud from a falling bat quite often. I guess if I was trying to sleep upside down I would fall too.

12/5 – Gum Oddity
Oh, and also the day I got sick was the day I had some Gum disease. My gum on my back molar was a little sore and upon looking I noticed that a small section of it had receded and was red (more red than your generic gum red that is). This worried me as I like my teeth being healthy, but it didn’t grow anymore and the redness and pain disappeared within a couple days. It’s still receded, but I’m keeping an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t grow. Hopefully the gum will grow back normal. I don’t know what caused that. Either way, I don’t know what sickness I had on the 5th of December. What causes restless sleeping, headaches, exhaustion, and gum deterioration? Again, I’m back to normal excluding the extra flem and a little less gum in my mouth.

12/8 – Nandi Rock Hike
On the 8th (A Saturday) a number of us went hiking up to the highest point around. Nandi Rock. Which isn’t too high but it was a good day hike and good exercise in 85-90 degree heat. Got a good sunburn on some exposed white skin (left shoulder wasn’t tan and got exposed for a bit and got nice and red. Now it’s peeling)

One tale not in the pictures is that Ants don’t like me. At one point while standing and waiting for some people to catch up I was attacked by rabid ants. Maybe I was too close to their home, I dunno. At first it felt like plants were tickling my foot which I just ignored as plants tickling your feet are common when hiking in sandals. Then suddenly it was dozens of little stinging pains all over my feet. I think my reaction was “Ow! HEY!” The ants weren’t big enough to break skin so it was just them pinching me with their pincers but it was still a surprise and not something I could just ignore. Then for the next 5 minutes wherever I stood ants would still try to get me. I must have been targeted with the “bite me” smell.

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Thanksgiving and Busted Riveters

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Thanksgiving
So Thanksgiving was pretty sweet. We drove to Kisumu and spent mid-morning/lunch and early afternoon and ate an excellent thanksgiving meal with a number of other “whites” who lived in Kisumu. the owners of the house, Swansons I believe, had known my parents (or at least went to the same church when I was younger) so I was recognized by a couple people. Recognized as in “you’re Dave Jolly’s kid?”, apparently I look like him or something :-). And yes, even in thanksgiving in Kenya, we still had Turkey! I was actually rather surprised, but I guess you can buy turkey anywhere now-a-days around thanksgiving. Enough people want it, someone will bring it and make a couple bucks.

Gecko Sleep Death
That night I also killed a Gecko in my house. Didn’t know that was possible. Those little guys are hard to catch! I must have caught him off guard as I just stepped on him when I entered my house (all lights were off and it was dark). Didn’t even know what happened until I turned the lights on (after closing the curtains so as ti minimize how many bugs fly in as soon as the light turns on). Then I saw a gecko spleen on the floor next to exploded gecko. icky is a term I would use to describe squished gecko. That’s right. Icky.

Riveters of Doom
The next couple days of work where spent in the Workshop where I was trying to be of service. Helped with a number of things, but the main one was putting up sheet metal on the Trailer. –Picture here– so you know what I’m talking about. In the process of measuring, drilling, riveting the dang riveter gave way. Granted, this riveter was on it’s last legs and was 5+ years old (German made) so it had done well. But we only got 2 sheet metal plates up and still had one more. And that one more now only had 1/10 of the rivets in it, all on 1 row on the bottom. We tried to fix it by welding the riveter back together, but that didn’t work. Just re-broke. So we tried to duct-tape the sheet metal to the Trailer so we could use the Trailer but apparently that didn’t work to well either. It’s too bumpy that the duck-tape gave way like melting butter. So 6 large clamps later, it was good to go for a trip. We got a new riveter from town on Tuesday (Initially broke prior Sat.) Unfortunately it already had a crack in the Riveter which wasn’t noticed when it was purchased. So to prevent it from breaking we used a clamp on the Riveter to “hold it together” and got the sheet metal on and was good to go. Course, later that day I tried to rivet something else and it broke like a plastic toy. But not where the clamp was, as the clamp was keeping it from breaking at that point. Instead the handle broke. That’s right, I broke a cast steel Handle. Awesome grip, booyah!! or it was just cheaply and horribly made… hmmm, I like the awesome grip story better…

Other notable events that week include but aren’t limited to:
– Helped graze the cows (meaning I stood under a tree/shade until some cows strayed and chased them back into the area where they were supposed to be grazing)
– Saw what is called a “Sausage Tree”. Apparently the fruit ferments on the tree, isn’t really edible, but it makes elephants drunk, and thus they like it. Unfortunately no elephants where I am.
– There is a lot of illegal lumber harvesting everywhere in Africa. They chop trees, burn them and sell the charcoal. I saw a group of them today and one was bathing in the river. Nothing like a charcoal covered naken man to make my day!
– Oh, and 10/28, 2 weeks after I left home, was the first night where I actually stopped and looked up into the night sky. Thought that was odd that it took me 2 weeks to remember to look up. I was just walking to my house for bed, stopped, and thought “oh yah, stars, different sky, I should look”. silly me.

and thus concludes some events around Thanksgiving time (11/22 – 11/28)

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Posted in Kenya, Miwani, Work |

My First Sermon

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

I was ‘nominated’ to give a sermon today. I think this is my first Sermon ever to a church. Not my first public speaking stint, but first Sermon. So below is what I came up with. It’s not word for word of what I said, but I wrote this as my study so I knew what I wanted to say; so it’s close. Plus I used this to write my sermon notes. Beware, for those of you who aren’t Christians, heavy Christian content to follow! scary! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, and before I started I gave a short shpeel on how fast I talk when I speak in public and that I was aware and would attempt to slow down. I told them that if I got going to please let me know and slow me down otherwise no one will understand me and their wouldn’t be a point of me talking. I get an adrenaline boost public speaking which while nice as it quickens my thoughts, it also causes me to unknowingly talk faster. Afterwords I was told that I still talked fast but if they concentrated they could understand. Oh, and I’m the only native English speaker, for everyone else on the compound it’s English is a 2nd or 3rd language. Which doesn’t help when it’s ME talking. Native speakers have a hard enough time understanding me! ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh, and actually for this sermon there was a native English speaker in the audience. We had the pleasure of 2 visitors, one gal from North Carolina one from Germany. (They were doing AIDS research and the German gal had heard about the farm from a friend of hers).

Sermon:
———-
An elder Kenyan was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me. It is a terrible fight and it is between two lions. One lion represents fear, unjust anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, and ego. The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.” “This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too,” he added. The grandchildren thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which lion will win?” The old Kenyan simply replied: “The one you feed.”

Of these lions, we all know which one we want to win. The one who fights for peace. No one in their right mind wants to always be experiencing War or Anger or Fights between friends. Speaking of Friends, we all want the lion that represents Friendship to win, not envy and regret, which destroy friendships. Unfortunately we often feed the lion we don’t want to win. The one that tells us we are weak, stupid, less of a man/woman than everyone else. The one that causes us to go into ourselves and take pity on ourselves. Pat yourself on the back and say, I know I know, I’m weak, their strong, I’m dumb, their smart. If any of you have seen Lord of the Rings, and I believe some of the young boys have, there’s a part of the movie where Gollum, a very self tortured man, does just this. He pats himself on the back, rubs his back, pities himself, tells himself all the lies he wants to hear. Gollum’s Lion that represents Self-Pity is very strong. Lots of food. Ultimately Gollum is lost. Killed by his own, corrupt desires.

So how do we feed the lion we want to win? How do we, unlike Gollum, kill our corrupt desires, instead of be killed by? Like I said, often we can’t. We need help. And let me tell you friends, Jesus has food that only 1 lion likes. The lion that is Love. The enemies food is worthless to this lion, it is stinky rotting monkey carcass! However, the food we feed our lions is usually mixed. Good but tainted. Corrupt goodness.

Gen 1:26-27
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

So God created us, in His image, our human nature resembled God’s Nature. And what did he say after he created us? Vs. 31 “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good”. Not just good, very good. And I’ll have to admit, Very Good to God is a kind of good that I can’t even imagine… but something happened. Something changed. Something, someone sinned.

Gen 3:22
“Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat and live forever”

We sinned and corrupted our Nature.

Romans 7:9
“I was once alive apart from the Law, but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died.”

We all know we are not perfect human beings. Christ is, but we aren’t. We are corrupt shells of what we are intended to be. We do good, and we do evil. We feed both Lions. And throughout human history, it’s been apparent that while we can feed both lions; the food is really only fit for one lion. we’ve seen that this Lion, the one who represents Lies and Fear usually wins, and continues to win more and more.

Luke 2:10-11
“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”

As a gift to a fallen mankind, God became flesh and blood. Bones and marrow. So that HE might defeat the Lion that represents Guilt. We are all guilty are we not? I am.

Romans 3:23
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

I’ve lied. I’ve lusted. I’ve been unjustly angry. I’m prideful and have a rather large Ego. And I’ve acted on my lies, on my lust, on my anger. I’ve fed the wrong Lion. Many times. But through Jesus, because he chose to be born as Man, that birthday which we will celebrate later this month, that Lion in me can be DEFEATED. In fact, it already has. He just doesn’t know it yet.

Philippians 3:12
“Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:14
“For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

Back to Romans 3:23, but this time include verse 24.
Romans 3:23-24
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;”

That Lion, the Lion of Judah, Christ, has already staked his Claim on me. and on you. And there is nothing that other lion can do about it. Only I can choose to feed it. Only I can choose to not feed it. And Through God and with the Lord’s guidance, grace and mercy I’m not feeding it. I’m dealing with or have dealt with parts of that Lion; I’m dealing with my issues. And I’m positive the same is with many of you.

Ephisians 2:10
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them”

Someday, before I die, I hope to stop feeding him my unjust anger, my resentment, my lust, my envy and my ego, and whatever else cannot survive God’s presence. With God’s help I’ll get there. With God’s help, WE will get there. Me and Him. You and Him. US and Him. And I’ll be able to feed my other Lion, my Love, my compassion, my friendship and my faith. And simply acknowledging what Christ has done for me, through His birth, his life, his death and ultimatly his resurrection, I am infinetly closer that I ever could have been on my own.

Course that’s all fine and dandy some say. But where’s the practical?! How do I feed the right Lion? I want to feed the Lion of Judah! Well the answer is the same. Jesus, the Lion Himself! Because God created us in His image, we have Free Will. The ability to choose rationally, disregarding the animalistic instinct. God does not infringe on our Free Will very easily. So what do you do? You ask!

Revelation 3:20
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

He’s knocking, He’s saying “Hodi”! You gotta welcome Him in. You gotta ask him! “Jesus, please come in, come in and change me, refine me, perfect me!” I warn you though, being refined is not easy. To refine precious metals, like Gold and Silver, you have to heat them, very hot, and then sift off the impurities. Are you ready to have it hot? You wanna change, you wanna stop feeding that lion of Anger, it’s gonna be work. Do you think God just automatically changes you? Changes your personality? No! But he will give you an opportunity. He’ll bring you food. Which Lion do you feed? Say your anger has destroyed another friendship and you are tired of it. You want to give it up to God and have him refine it like Gold. you pray to God to help you control your anger. Will God then keep all things that make you angry away? No no no, he brings them close. Gets them hot. You pray. The next day something happens that normally makes you Angry. God helps and you don’t get angry. Rejoice! Praise the Lord! Thank Him for his Grace. But then He bring’s something else, and something else. Soon, we are no longer getting angry at the litte things that used to make us so mad. We’re being refined. It’s not easy, with God, there are growing pains. But the pain is nothing compared to letting the other Lion devour us.
—————–

I ended with praying that God would bring to mind things he wants to refine, and that we would in turn offer those up to Christ for refining. I didn’t get anything, but I was also hyped up on adrenaline, sweating and very hot; which is normal when I speak in public.

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Posted in Kenya, Miwani, Speeches/Sermons |