These photos were taken in 2004 in Kitengela, Kenya.
This was our first venture into our calling in Africa which spanned from 2004-2010.
This is my wife Mary with Maasai friends.
A revival with the Maasais commenced twenty five years ago.
Previous to that the Name of Jesus had not been heard.
Now, these remarkable people are added daily to God’s kingdom.
Many Maasai live in manyatas, or cow dung huts, built by women.
This particular manyata is tiny.
The door was four feet high and the entrance into the manyata wound through a narrow hallway.
In 2004 I was thirty five pounds heavier today.
When I attempted to get into the manyata, I could not!
Halfway in I got stuck!
Terrified, I pulled out while others laughed.
I wonder if I could do it today.
I think I could.
This is one advantage of losing weight!
This miracle occurred in a Bible conference in Maasai land, in Masimba, Kenya, eight year ago
I was deep in the African brush, in a cow dung hut, without electricity, toilet or running water.
It had been raining nonstop.
The fields were caked in ankle deep mud.
When I woke, the pastor was huddled with a man over a tiny wooden table.
They were sipping coffee in freshly milked, milk.
The man had walked miles in the mud to the pastor’s home.
His baby sister was dying.
He desired the pastor to pray for her.
The Lord spoke to me with the same words that he had to the Apostle Paul in Acts 19.
Acts 19:11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
We got a handkerchief, anointed it with oil, prayed, and gave it to the pastor who proceeded out the door.
That night the church, I found out about the miracle .
When the pastor got to the child’s home, her eyes were closed and she scarcely breathing. The handkerchief was placed on her face. She began to breathe, opened her eyes, and was healed.
The mother who had cancer in both breasts, and unable to nurse, placed the handkerchief on her chest. The pain left her and she nursed!
This photo was taken six months after on a return trip to Masimba.
I was ecstatic to see mother and child in perfect condition.
The dear lady offered me a jar of premium cooking fat and three hundred shillings.
This is the fat that floats to surface of the milk.
It’s meticulously trapped and collected over time.
The three hundred shillings equals four American dollars.
This is a big sum for Maasais who have little.
What God can do when we obey, can blow our minds.
There is just something about spending five days without electricity, a bathroom, running water, or electronics.
There is just something about having nothing else than to talk to people.
There is just something about realizing that the night sky is not black, but gray from thousands of stars.
There is just something about seeing the edge of our galaxy, the Milky Way.
There is just something about not hearing the noise of television.
There is just something about not getting a phone call.
There is just something about eating meat which had been slaughtered on that day, or vegetables which have been picked on that day, or drinking milk from a cow, on that day.
There is just something about eating fresh tilapia from Lake Victoria.
There is just something about grabbing a flashlight and roll of toilet paper in the night to do number two by squatting and aiming into a hole.
There is just something about kerosene lamps.
There is just something about taking a bath with birds chirping above and hens running around.
There is just something about drinking fresh spring water.
I have been so fortunate to enjoy these privileges which most white people will never venture out to get.
Click on photo!
These photos were of Aram, Kenya during a Bible conference that we taught in.
This was our bathing facility.
If you note, our water for bathing is muddy.
There is no fresh water supply, even though a river is not that far away.
There would have to be water pumps and piping that could extract the water from the river and bring it to Aram.
Poverty does not allow it to happen
I was stirred by the sacrificial spirit of these people, especially the women.
I don’t know how far they walked to get this muddy water so we would have the luxury of bathing.
Click on the photos
On two occasions, during another Bible conference, the pastor’s wife, pregnant in her fourth month, and not feeling well, walked home two miles on dirt roads, so that Mary and I could have the car to be driven in. We had not known about it, until after the fact.
The kids in this photo were part of a wedding party in the coastal city of Mombasa Kenya.
Mombasa is on the edge of the Indian Ocean.
My wife, Mary and I had been invited to preach there.
The weather was incredibly hot and muggy.
There were gigantic mosquitoes everywhere.
The home that we stayed in was also host to a wedding.
It was tiny with one terrible bathroom
Mary and I were given the only bed.
There was no air conditioning.
We were given the one tiny fan to blow on our faces during the incredibly muggy night.
We covered our bodies and faces with “Kinga” (insect repellant), to ward off the mammoth mosquitoes.
While we slept, these kids practiced the entire night for their part on the wedding.
The halls in this tiny home as you can see where miniscule.
The children had no place to sit, much less to lie down.
They stood the whole night!
This was the scene the next morning after waking up from the one bed.
Kids so happy to see us
I never heard a complain during the night.
Alas, my American tolerance for gratefulness is excremental at best!
My selfishness, fecal.
Oh God, I will never match what these kids carry within!
Click on the photo to behold the faces!
Going to the pot in Africa, many a time is the “real walk of faith.”
Don’t ever take your toilet for granted, and remember to thank God that you have one!
The following are three “heartwarming toilet tales,” of our times in Africa
You will see how wonderfully God turns everything out for good to those who love Him.
Let me forewarn you, if you have a weak stomach you may like to peek at the stories before reading them
Oh yeah, toilet in Swahili is “choo.”
Enjoy and Happy 2015!
Tale # 1
The Maasais are the folks with the big ears, the big earrings, the lion hunters and blood drinkers.
They are some of the nicest people and a nation which God is touching with revival.
I was invited to teach a Bible conference in the heart of Maasai land in Simba, Kenya.
Simba, by the way, means lion. Do you remember, “The Lion King?”
I was met by pastors on the highway to Mombasa, Kenya.
My bags were hoisted on their bicycles.
Simba had been experiencing unending rains for weeks.
The skies above me were ominously black.
As we walked two miles, the rains came down.
No umbrella, and no trees to hide beneath, I got soaked to the bone.
In ankle deep mud, we dragged ourselves to the pastor’s cow dung hut.
The pastor’s wife met us with towels.
I went to my tiny bedroom and stripped from everything including my water logged handkerchief.
This pastor did not have a choo.
His choo was the bush.
That night the walk to the potty would be in drenching rain, ankle high mud, and night critters to bite me when I would bend over.
I prayed and made a deal with God.
“I’m going to ask you a big favor. While I’m in Simba the next five days, I don’t want to go Number Two. I want you to honor me and until I get back to my apartment in Kitengela and my America toilet, please don’t let me go number two. In the Name of Jesus, I bind Number Two from coming out!”
I then went to sleep in my six by eight foot room.
At three in the morning, I woke up to roar of trouncing rains, and an overwhelming urge to do Number Two. I could not believe it!
I was really angry at God for not answering my prayer.
But the need just worsened
Here is a grammar lesson in Swahili if you will visit Kenya
Number one is “short col”
Number two is “long col.”
I got my roll of toilet paper and flashlight.
The pastor was sleeping in the other room.
I went to his bed side.
“Pastor, pastor, I have to go to the choo, I have to go long col.”
The pastor rolled the big wooden door aside from the hut.
I pointed my flashlight into the yawning night, its beams catching huge drops of rain.
As I stepped into the mud, the rain stopped. Whammo!
From a thrashing downpour to a nothing in sixty seconds.
I looked up in disbelief at the black skies,
“My God you are so great and so good!”
I went to my “bush choo” full of confidence and performed my long col.
Tale # 2
My second choo story ensued in Kisangaji, Tanzania.
Kisangaji, is even more remote than Simba.
Kisangaji, is about 10 miles from the nearest town of Mbati.
I was there on a five day Bible conference.
In Kisangaji I did not have a bush choo but the regular rural choo which is a hole in the dirt inside of a tiny structure.
I did not pray what I had prayed in Simba, but my wish was just as strong.
“Lord, until I get back to the pastor’s home in Arusha, Tanzania, with my American choo, please don’t let me go long col in Kisangaji.”
What made it tricky was that our only food was, “ahhh yes, rice and beans. Beans, beans and more beans.”
It was Sunday, the fourth day of the conference. I was heading out to Arusha the next morning.
No urges for long col! Praise His Holy Name!
After the Sunday morning service we walked two miles to a river in blistering heat.
We were going to baptize several converts.
I murmured under my breath as I cooked with perspiration running down my face.
To my amazement, these Tanzanians who had nothing, went on leaping and praising God, drums banging, and voices raised all the way to the river.
Africa, has taught me how ungrateful, spoiled and pampered I can be.
On the journey back, the “long col catastrophe” hit me.
OMG, I had the worse urge to go long col ever
I had no toilet paper, and there were no trees.
It was just rocky grounds spotted with occasional Acacia trees.
“What am I going to do Lord, have mercy on me!”
I marched like a high-speed soldier, legs tucked in, frantically doing the penguin shuffle, trying to make it back to the camp.
I spotted my Tanzanian hostess Teresia whose house I was lodging in.
“ Teresia” I gasped in pain, “Long col!”
She muttered something back to me.
“L O N G C OL!”, I articulated.
I did know that the Tanzanian Swahili is different to Kenyan.
She had no idea what I said!
I froze in time, now beyond exploding.
Suddenly, another pastor rushed to the scene and spoke to her.
Teresia grabbed my hand and rushed me to my bedroom.
I hysterically dug through my luggage, got the roll of toilet paper and lunged to the outhouse.
Breaking in through roosters and children I must have appeared an utter fool.
I pulled my pants down and lunged for the hole, but did not make it.
The diarrhea came out on the floor, all over my pants and legs.
As a penguin I straddled over the hole and finished my business.
“Oh, God, how could you allow this to happen to me?” Squatting over the hole I continued my denunciation with God.
I swear that in the midst of my complaints, God sent an angel who tapped the roll of toilet paper, which I had left on a mud ledge of the outhouse.
The paper fell off the ledge, magically rolled right towards me, in between my legs, and into the hole!
“Oh My God!” This was the utter low blow!
I think that I heard God chuckle and say, “LOL! This is what occurs when you complain too much!”
I put my diarrhea pants back on and proceeded back to the bedroom.
Past the children and the roosters I faltered once again. I was so embarrassed!
From my door cracked open, I said. “Teresia, could you please bring me magi, which is water, and soap?”
I washed myself down, put the dirty clothes in a bag and proceeded with them to where the pastors where. Quietly I told them what happened. Laughter erupted everywhere. No one mocked me. It was just so darn funny.
Tale # 3
Ndeda Island is a Kenya landmass of fishermen in Lake Victoria.
This enormous lake is Africa’s largest. It is renowned for its brown bass and tilapia.
The 10,000 who live in Ndeda Island catch the fish and haul it to Kisumu where it is sold.
We were invited in 2007 to teach Bible conference on this bustling island.
Upon our arrival, the children hurriedly gathered around our boat. For most, they had never seen a white person (mzungu).
We were a novelty, and for the next five days, they were glued to us.
I was sadly informed that Ndeda Island did not have a single toilet ( choo) to accommodate its thousands of inhabitants.
Their choo was a vast corn field which served as food which had been cultivated through human manure.
My wife Mary is the real deal in missions.
Being part of Youth with a Mission in the 80’s, she knows how to joyfully rough it, every time, and anywhere.
I, however, am a tourist missionary.
I love the mission field but do need hot baths and American toilets if at all possible.
I tried to wrap around my brain the concept of how do 10,000 people go to the pot daily in one corn field?
It wasn’t long till I found out.
As we honed upon the tall vegetation I took a leap of faith and soared “where no white man had gone before.”
“Oh My God!”
“Oh No, Watch Out!”
What I saw I would not wish upon my worst enemy.
This was a mine field of excrement.
Separating one husk, and one tree one from another, I could not locate a two by two square feet space that was free from human feces.
It was the most grisly sight ever.
I did my number one and rushed out of the horrid field.
“Oh my God, what will I do when its number two?”
It was impossible to think of going back into the corn husks, and this time to squat.
I am a tourist missionary after all!
For Mary, this was not a problem. That night with flashlight and toilet paper, she plunged into the corn stalks.
But God is awesome and answers our deepest needs.
Reports came to us that the one choo, a solitary toilet in Ndeda Island, would open for business the next morning at three pennies a squat.
We woke the next morning and proceeded up the hill to the choo with toilet paper in hands.
The entourage of kids caught glimpse of us and assembled behind us like ducklings.
What a sight! Two wzungu (white people) toilet paper in hands, going to the choo, followed by twenty kids.
This choo was clean and fresh. We gave the lady who managed it our three shillings and were grateful to God for the rest of our visit to Ndeda Island.
Do remember to thank God for you American choo!