Sacrifice!


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

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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.

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Pastor Francisca on the left rode ten hours in an un air conditioned bus from Mombasa, Kenya to hear me speak.

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Walter, the man in the middle, rode his bicycle, tie and all, five hours to hear me speak.

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This is what I ate during the particular Bible conference.

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This is what the attendees ate.

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Selfishness Exposed!


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.

Joyful faces.

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!

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Give Thanks For Your American Toilet!


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.”

“Ughhh!”

“Oh My God!”

“Yippers!”

“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!

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How To Get Healed Without Prayer?


Once I was teaching a conference in the Maasai tribe in Kenya. There is a modern day revival with the Maasaia. Twenty years ago they had not heard of the Name of Jesus. Today they are getting saved daily. They are the people with the big ears, big earrings who sometimes drink cow blood and milk.  My interpreter at this conference was translating for me from Maasai to English. Later he told me  that one of his arms had been in pain, but as he translated for me, the revelation coming out of the teaching, healed his arm.

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It could have been at this very meeting!

“My Journey to Africa” by Sarah G. Alvarez


This entry in as essay written by my daughter Sarah Alvarez as part of a submission to one of her college classes.

In 2005, my parents uprooted my family to Kenya, Africa. Living in a third world country proved to be an experience that changed my life forever. At the time, I did not realize how much of a significant part of my journey it would become, shaping me into the woman that I am today.

Needless to say, as you can imagine, living in a third world country was a humbling experience. From the moment you step off the airplane you are taken back by the poverty that the people of Kenya live in. Kids roam the streets without shoes, families live in small shacks, and clean water is a luxury. On a day-to-day basis, food is no guarantee. Health is an afterthought, and survival is the priority. Many people watch the news and hear the stories of a third world country from their own home, and have the comfort of being able to change the channel and forget about it all. However, it is another thing to immerse yourself in that environment and face the true reality of what it is to walk in the shoes of the less fortunate in Kenya. People cleanse themselves with unsanitized water contaminated with bugs and bacteria. It is a rare luxury to have a shower, and an even rarer luxury to take a hot shower. The toilets consist of a deep hole in the dirt, and if you asked a local from Kitengela if they had ever heard of a refrigerator, their answer would most likely be no. Even living there, I cannot say that I fully endured the poverty that so many around me did, but in my year and a half in Kenya I experienced just a small dose of what life is and always will be for millions of people.

Initially, moving to Kenya, I don’t think that any of us anticipated it to be as difficult as it was.  Leaving the United States with just your parents, three siblings, two Chihuahua’s , and just a few bags is no easy task. We were leaving a whole life behind us. A life that we were all so accustomed to knowing. A life where we had our friends, family, and even small comforts that I soon learned to never take for granted. As time passed, we adjusted bit by bit through the culture shock, but I would be lying if I said that there weren’t any days where I stayed in my bed crying. I was home sick. I longed to see familiar faces, and to go about with my normal routine which I had in America. I wanted to eat the food that I usually ate, and watch the television that I usually watched. Adjustment was the most difficult task of them all, and I don’t think that I would have been able to do it without my family’s love and support. We helped each other through it all. Whether that being my hilarious brother trying to go out of his way to make his sisters laugh instead of cry, or even just being homesick together, it helped tremendously.

Finally, the impacting realization that I took away from this experience, was that I came to see how grateful I am to be an American. So many of us take for granted the little things that I have already described. Whether that is food, clean water, shelter, or other basic needs. But more so, we take for granted the very country we live in. We often do not realize that compared to so many others out there, we have it amazingly well. We need to be proud of where we have come from, and most of all, be thankful for everything we have been blessed with.

All in all, the experience of living in a third world country shaped me into who I am today for a number of reasons. First, my year and a half in Kenya humbled me greatly.  It reminded me more than ever how important my family is to me. Also, it has taught me to never take for granted being an American, our rights and the freedom that so many others would do anything for. It is important to give thanks every day for what we have, big and small. There is so much to be grateful for in the world, whether that is family, health, or maybe even just hot water and food. But it is our job to never, even for one second, take what we have in life for granted.

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Sarah Alvarez in Central Park, NYC, NY.

 

The Power of the World of The Holy Spirit


The Power of the World of the Spirit

Mat 8:8  The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only  By a word, or by the instrumentality of a word.  The word itself healed the servant), and my servant shall be healed.

Herein we see the power of the world of the Spirit.  The Greek tells us, “speak by a logos word,” not the logos word, but “a” logos word, making it into a specific word with a content of healing, or a rhema word.

“By” a logos word” tells us that it is the word itself is influencing and affecting the situation, and causing the healing.  Jesus did not heal the servant.  The rhema word of God working through Jesus is the one, which healed. This is because the Word spoken by God is always creative. Jesus did only what He saw the Father do.

Jesus’ life was so submerged in the Spirit of God, that He lived in the domain of supernatural faith found within this world.

Secondly, He lived in the world in which all is new and reconciled to God, is available.

The faith released through Him inside the word that He spoke, caused the word itself to heal the servant. The important thing is that He always spoke the Word of the Heavenly Father.

 Hebrews 4:2  For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith ( The word “mixed” is defined as the beating, melting, or tempering together of equal measures of two alloys, the rhema word and faith, to create the element termed as the power of God) in them that heard it

Let us look at a few more examples the rhema word, which is the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Tempered or beat in every instance with an equal measure of faith as found in the domain of the Spirit, to create a “word” itself which heals, or casts out a demon. The Word of God is proportionally effective as our faith.

Matthew 8:16  When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word (By the instrumentality of the word; Jesus did not cast out the devils, but the word of God operating in Him), and healed all that were sick:

Luke 4:32  And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with (Instrumental) power.(His word had the “instrumentality of authority”; The word itself, in the domain of the Spirit, exercises God’s jurisdiction over the works of the enemy in the same way that a state trooper exercises jurisdiction over the interstate highways.

 Luke 7:7  Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word( By a word or by the instrumentality of a word. The word itself healed the servant), and my servant shall be healed.

 Luke 11:20  But if I with the finger of God(By the instrumentality of the Spirit; Jesus did not cast out the devils. The rhema word originated in the Spirit and operating through Jesus, cast out the devil) cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

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Worship in Ugunja, Kenya