BC: DEPARTED | EAST AFRICA | 26 JUNE 2012
FC: Kenya Rebecca Hood | "And He said to them all if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me." Luke 9:23 My cross was not left in Kenya, but my cross is daily a reminder of the mighty King that I follow and serve with gladness.
1: AFRICA | EAST AFRICA | ARRIVED 14 JUNE 2012 | OUR TRIP TO; EAST AFRICA, KENYA
2: My name is Rebecca Hood, and I am a senior at Gilmer High School. I am a singer, and I have a deep passion for glorifying God through music. Naturally, I believed that the Holy Spirit would guide me into worship music. However, no one can figure out Gods plan. Much to my surprise, God has called me into missions. He made it very clear that I am to go to Africa. Through a long, incredible series of events, there is no denying that the Lord is sending me to teach the Kenyan people about His mercy, grace, and love. I was saved at age 7, and above any lesson I have ever learned, I have learned to say yes. I say yes to Gods plan even if it is not in accordance to my plan. I look forward to serving Christ my entire life and saying yes for a long, long time! I want to take Gods love with me all over the world and share it with everyone I meet. Jesus told us in Matthew 28: 19- 20 to make disciples of all nations, and I plan on saying yes to his command. John 21: 15-17 is where Jesus tells Simon Peter to feed his sheep, and I will continue to feed them. God doesn’t ask us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, or give to the poor. God demands it of us, and I will say yes. It is so special to know that the Lord wants to use me. I will go. I will make a difference. I will say yes. Will you say yes? I am a servant. All I have ever been is a servant to the most magnificent King, and I consider it an honor to even call myself a servant. Often times I feel like Peter. Once Jesus stood on the shore after His resurrection, Peter was SO excited that he jumped out of the ship to swim to Jesus! Now, in this story, I truly believe that a ship would reach the shore much faster than a man swimming. In that moment, Peter didn’t care. Peter only wanted to be with his best friend, his master, and his savior. I am Peter. Countless times I jump ship, and I stand before the Lord soaking wet with a big smile on my face because I am so happy to serve! | HOW THE JOURNEY | started
3: When I first felt called to serve in another country, I was alarmed. I felt unequipped. I am only eighteen? How would God use me? God quickly reassured me through Romans 8:12 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” He told me that I am unequipped, but I have a willing heart. God will use a willing heart, and His love is the only equipment necessary. Mother Teresa once said “One filled with joy preaches without preaching.” The love that God placed in my heart is a message in itself! I want to share that with you and your family, and I want to share that with the African people. As Christians, we pray for the opportunity to serve Christ. So many times when the opportunity comes, we make excuses. I will not make any excuses. I will jump ship, and fall into the sea of Gods endless love. I ask that you join me. At the beginning of my senior year, I knew college was the goal. I needed to apply, get good scores, and scholarships. I knew that that would be the main focus of my year. I applied, and all that was left was to wait. During this waiting process, I began to seek God desperately. I felt as if I had no idea what He wanted of me. As a servant, all God has to do is send me. I am more than willing to go, and I trust that He will provide, protect, and bless. I read a book named Kisses from Katie. This young woman shares so many of my beliefs and values. Much of what you have read in this paper is also in her book. There are things that she has written that I can find verbatim in my own journal. My mind was blown! This young woman moved to Uganda at age eighteen, adopted fourteen little girls, and feeds thousands of children everyday. Katie Davis has opened her own organization, Amizama Ministries, and she daily changes lives. Many nights I felt like I knew her and I would lie in bed and cry and pray for her and her friends in Uganda. One night, the Lord gave me a dream. I could see smiling, joyful faces! I envisioned sea of white smiles on dark faces in my dream.
4: SCARY! I don’t know these people, but I find myself praying for them every day. I am supposed to be a singer? How is THIS Gods plan? However, I knew what God had in store for me. God was calling me to Africa. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” This is one of my favorite quotes from Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt. Nothing is chance. This dream was certainly a treasure from Heaven. After fasting and praying, I decided to talk to my mother about Gods plan. When I approached her about the situation, she smiled and said that God had already shown her long ago that He would be sending me to Africa. My heart literally felt like exploding! I couldn’t believe that the Lord had already taken care of approaching my mother before He had even planted the seed in my heart to do so. The only condition my mother had was that I immediately needed to talk to my daddy. My daddy is a preacher, and my rock. He is strong willed, which may be where I get it from, and he is protective. I know that my relationship with my earthly father has helped me to have a better relationship with my Heavenly Father. It is a relationship full of respect and love. The Bible says to fear the Lord, and sometimes I fear my dad. I was so nervous to tell him that God was calling me to a different country. I mean, I had no clue what God even wanted me to do there. God could call me to teach orphans and I would say yes, or God could call me to lick the floors clean, and I would still say yes. (Although, I pray God would not ask that of me!!) The glorious feeling that had flooded my heart after my mother told me she approved of Gods working through me in Africa soon left while I was at work the next day. A burden weighed down my soul as I thought of what my father might say to my calling. I was running errands, and I could barely see because tears filled my eyes. I quickly drove to his office, and prayed with him about what Gods will was. Once we finished praying, my dad told me that he was happy for me to follow the Lord, and he wanted to join me in service. My dad wanted to go with me to ensure my safety, but soon after our heartfelt prayer, doubt clouded the room. How could we afford shots? Plane tickets? Travel expenses? The only answer- God is provider.
5: After leaving my dads office, and feeling a-hundred-million-billion times better, I began calling my aunt. Aunt Janice is an angel. She has always been such an incredible role model to me, and I was aware that her and my Uncle Randy have been to Africa. After playing phone tag for the evening, I began to grow irritated and impatient. The next day, as I drove to school (And I may have been running a tad bit late) I drove by my Uncles new plant that he is opening for his business. My little Toyota was FILLED with the Holy Spirit, and I knew I needed to stop and speak with him. In that instance, my ‘say-yes’ attitude failed. I said no. I went to school, and I couldn’t even walk in the building! All I could do is weep. I wept for disobeying. I quickly turned around and rushed (speed limit) back to the plant. As I put the car in park, I realized that he was no longer there. I began weeping even more heavily! I heard a voice say ‘call.’ I picked up the phone in a desperate plea to get a hold of my aunt. FINALLY! She answered! My heart was filled with joy, but that joy was short lived. She stomped the joy out of me when I couldn’t get a word in. All she wanted to talk about was college! College, at this point, was not a hot topic in the Hood household, seeing that I had not yet been accepted anywhere. I listened to her, and told her that I knew God would provide! He always does! If God wanted me to go to Harvard, I would have the money and the scores, but I didn’t and I still don’t so I suppose that’s just NOT His plan. God does open doors, though. I told her that I would notify her upon my first acceptance, and I moved on to more important subjects like oh.. umm.. AFRICA! I told her that I felt led to go, and I shared with Aunt Janice how my parents both felt like I was called, too. However, Aunt Janice also squashed that dream when she told me that June is the election month for Kanya, Africa, where we would be going. She said that it was a violent time, and there was no possible way it could be safe to go. My heart fell out of my chest. No? This COULDN’T be right. God was opening this door and slamming it shut in my face?
6: She then said that she was in her car going to have lunch with Pastor Steve Fields, who has family in Kenya and is often over there helping the people. Aunt Janice would mention it to him, and get back to me. I told her I loved her and to please mention it to Mr. Steve Fields. I was still devastated. I had to stop and pray. I told God that I would rather be in the most dangerous place at the most dangerous time and be in His perfect will than be safe at home and out of His will. I would say yes in any circumstance because God tells us not to fear. I went on with my day (only a little late for school) and I trusted my Savior to work. God keeps His promises, and He can work and NO man can hinder Him. That afternoon, as I worked, I received a phone call from my daddy. I was ACCEPTED to Truett-McConnell College! WOW! God works fast. I rejoiced with my office family and my real family! I called my Aunt Janice to let her know the joyful news, and she quickly filled my ears with even more joyful news!! Kenya changed their election month to September, and we would be going to Kenya in June. Hallelujah! God is so good! He promised me that He would make a way, and He truly is the only one who could have done such an incredible thing. That night, when I got home and told my mom and dad about my day, we opened the mail. I was accepted to Shorter University and Young Harris College! There is truly a time to dance, and we had a jam session in my kitchen! I could barely close my eyes that night because I never wanted that day to end. God will never ask you to work on your end if He isn’t working on His end. He is perfect. He does know exactly what He is doing, even if we are stubborn and doubt Him. The solution is always so simple. Say yes. Say yes to the Lord, and you, too, can be accepted! Trust Him, and He will provide for every need! This is only the beginning of my journey. I know that His will for me is much bigger than high school, college, and even this country or world. My God is creator of all, and He can do all things!
7: I am a servant, and I am so undeserving of any type of love or kindness, but God has chosen to use me. I will never know why me, but I will say yes. I say yes because there will never be enough I can say yes to in order to repay Him for the eternal life He allowed me when I was seven years old. I am blessed, and God expects more from me. He said that if much is given to someone, much is expected of them! He expects me to step up and lead His people. I am truly nothing, but I have something inside me that holds more value than the world will ever be able to fathom. Booker T. Washington said, “I think I began learning long ago that those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” I may only be eighteen, and while all of my friends are going on senior trips to Panama or Myrtle Beach, I will be changing the world. Romans 12:12 “Be ye not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove that which is good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” I am different. I am not a normal senior, but since when was following Jesus comfortable or normal? I’m ready! I’m ready to follow God wherever He sends me. I need help to share this treasure that lies within my heart. Please join me, and let’s make a difference in the lives of the Kenyan people. My father and I have had our plane tickets covered, and we have been so blessed to have half of our shots paid for, but the expense is still not small. I know this is Gods will, and God will provide. I hope God blesses each person who reads this. I hope God is not only blessing you, but I also hope He is using you in mighty ways! Read your Bible today, get on your knees and talk to Him. He has an amazing plan for you, too. Say yes. Mark 6: 34 “And Jesus, when He came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and He began to teach them many things.”
8: Our mission is to film different pastors and get a feel for what they need spiritually and physically so we can bring the tape back to our community. It required travel. LOTS of travel! We went all across southern Kenya. Praising God in every mile!
9: Pot hole? More like... van-eating black hole of doom.
11: Kitui is a city that is mainly Muslim. Although it is not easy to convert Muslims, pastor Patrick and his wife are happy to share the gospel with anyone who will hear.
12: Pastor Reuben and his sweet wife house 22 children in their home, and they teach these children skills that will go with them their whole lives. The girls learn how to sew, and the boys learn masonry and how to build. During our visit I was so blessed to be able to sing with these kids. They love to praise and thank God for all of His blessings, although they have so little. They know the treasure in their heart is worth so much more than material things.
13: Pastor Reuben never knows if he will have money in order to continue teaching these children. He trusts in God to provide. In order to save money, the girls sew paper bags into cloths instead of buying cloth. While we were there, we watched them kill, clean, and cook a goat for us. They made us cake, as well! How humbling! They gave us their best. I made bracelets with the children, and we played with water balloons. There was a language barrier between us, but the Holy Spirit made sure that our heart language was clear.
17: I may have left Kenya, but Kenya will never leave me.
18: Kenya is a republic in East Africa, and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Kenya has a varied landscape of plateaus and high mountains and is home to many different ethnic groups. Formerly a British colony, Kenya gained independence in 1963 and has been a republic since 1964. It is bounded on the north by Sudan and Ethiopia, on the east by Somalia and the Indian Ocean, on the south by Tanzania, and on the west by Lake Victoria and Uganda. Nairobi is the country's capital and largest city. Nearly all Kenyans are black Africans, divided into more than 40 ethnic groups belonging to three linguistic families: the Bantu, the Cushitic, and the Nilotic (see African Languages). Language traditionally has been the primary characteristic of ethnic identity in Kenya. Bantu-speaking Kenyans are divided into three different groups: the western group (Luhya); the central, or highlands, group (including the Kikuyu, the Kamba, and other subgroups); and the coastal Bantu (Mijikenda). Among Kenya's Nilotic speakers, the major groups are the River-Lake, or Western, group (Luo); the Highlands, or Southern, group (Kalenjin); and the Plains, or Eastern, group (Masai). The Cushitic-speaking groups include the Oromo and the Somali. The Kikuyu are Kenya's largest ethnic group. For much of Kenya's history, its ethnic groups were loose social formations, fluid and constantly changing. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries British colonial rule solidified ethnic identities among Kenya's people. Colonial administrators associated ethnic groups with specific areas of the country by designating areas where only people with a particular ethnic identity could reside. This pattern of ethnically based settlement has persisted in Kenya since it became independent, even though economic and political development has increased mobility and urbanization among the country's inhabitants. Thus, the majority of Kikuyu live in south central Kenya, the majority of Luhya in western Kenya, the majority of Luo in southwestern Kenya, the majority of Kamba in east central Kenya, and the majority of Kalenjin in west central Kenya. Ethnicity also has been an important factor in Kenyan politics. Kenya's official languages are English and Swahili; both are widely used for communication between members of different ethnic groups. Nearly all of the African ethnic groups in Kenya also have their own languages, making for considerable linguistic diversity within the country. Many Kenyans thus speak three languages: the language of their particular ethnic group, Swahili, and English. About three-quarters of Kenya's population is Christian, with Protestants outnumbering Roman Catholics. Most of the remainder are followers of traditional African religions or Muslims. There are also small numbers of Hindus and Sikhs.
22: Rain rarely comes to Mwingi. For five years there has been no rain. Pastor Joshua struggles to provide food and water not only for his family but for his church, as well. He trusts in God to send them what they need.
23: Potty Page! | I did it!! | This is not a potty... | This is not a potty.. | YES!!! This is a potty! | Pee pee dance... | No way! | SMELLY! | Victory! | NOT a potty! | NOPE!
24: This church is made of animal feces, mud, and water. It is the house of the Lord. It is holy. | These children will walk miles over these mountains every Sunday to attend church. Each Sunday, the children are given a cup of porage before they return home. Who knows how much food they receive during each week? What a blessing that the church can provide one meal!
25: "One person can change the world." Isn't that hard to believe? For me, it is not so difficult anymore. I truly believe in my heart of hearts that I can do it. Maybe not in bulk, but one person at a time I can love the unlovable, dream the unimaginable, and teach the unwilling. Not only do I believe that I can do it, but I am positive that my God will be my leader and guide as I follow His will. I will change the world. | One Person CAN change the world | One person CAN change the world | "One person can change the world." Isn't that hard to believe? For me, it is not so difficult anymore. I truly believe in my heart of hearts that I can do it. Maybe not in bulk, but one person at a time I can love the unlovable, dream the unimaginable, and teach the unwilling. Not only do I believe that I can do it, but I am positive that my God will be my leader and guide as I follow His will. I will change the world.
31: "Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favor my righteousness cause: Yes let them sing continually, Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant." Psalm 35:27
32: The Maasi tribe is the least civilized of the 42 Kenyan tribes. They mix cow’s blood and old milk for food. They believe every cow in Africa belongs to them. They 'steal' cows, and they think it is ok because every cow belongs to them. The males impress the females by jumping. Whichever male jumps the highest is considered stronger. The males kill lions with spears in order to impress the father of the woman who he wants to marry. They killed the missionaries who preached to them about adultery. These people work hard and have little education about diseases, but through the blood of Jesus Christ there is always hope.
36: Pastor Luke lives in the slums. His church is built between a bar and a brothel. He witnesses to the prostitutes and drunks because this is where God has placed him. He is such an inspiration to Christians. One Friday, the man who owned the bar built a fence so no one could get to church. That Friday night a drunk man from his bar knocked down the fence. On Saturday, the people picked up the wood for firewood, and on Sunday there was no issue for the people who went to church. The Lord can do all things. The people from the brothel and bar would throw feces, beer bottles, and other items in the church. Pastor Luke humbly told me, "I am so grateful because I have a broom to sweep it up with, and continue to minister." This man missed his grandchild's funeral to make sure that our mission group could get his story. I've never met someone who served God so diligently. Thank you, Pastor Luke, for teaching me what it means to be faithful. | Apida (Migori)
38: Pastor Wilson's church is made of cow feces. He raised his own money in order to build a new brick church, but his business went bad. Now the project is incomplete. This pastor completely funded the building by himself, and he did all of the work. It is important to him that his people have a place to worship God.
39: God said, "Feed My Sheep." I say, "Yes, Lord. I will."
40: "And I will bring the blind by a way they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked thinks straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them." Isaiah 42:16 When God called me to go to Africa I was afraid. This was completely out of my comfort zone. He led me in a way that I didn't know, and I am so glad that He did. I will always follow Gods will because in the end of every worry or struggle it is so rewarding. Thank you, God, for your guidance, grace, and love.
41: Lake Victoria Mohuru Bay
42: Maximere. What a different name? It has reason. This little, dirty, bare foot, bald girl changed my life. I was simply telling her how special she is to God and how she was my friend, and she looked up at me with those big brown eyes and said "Oh! I am so blessed!" This child who has nothing showed me that she actually has everything because she knows Jesus. Her name stands for maximum miracle her parents couldn’t bear children. Maximere performed a miracle on my heart. God’s love is universal.
43: OH NO! Our van broke down. All day we sat on the side of the road with people staring at our white skin. What seemed to be a bad day actually was a great opportunity. God allowed us to witness to the school children and the mechanics who worked on our van. God truly has a perfect plan. Praise Him!
46: Pastor Enos and his wife, sister Phoebe, witness to a tribe that is different from their home tribe. This is such a difficult task because no one wants to go to the church that is lead by a pastor from a different tribe. During the election time, Enos and Phoebe hid with their children in their home because it was so violent. Praise God that one day we will all be of one tribe and color, and we will all praise Him as one!
47: Please let me share with you how God works. Three days before I left for Kenya, I totaled my car. I should not be alive to make this book. However, God spared me, and he allowed me to visit Kerri Kiker's church. Kerri died in a tragic car accident, and her parents decided to get everyone to donate money instead of flowers. All of the community's support for the Kiker family allowed them to build this church in Kenya. God works in mysterious ways. Looking at her picture and realizing how short life is has caused me to not be ashamed of who God has made me. I will proclaim His holy name every day because it could be my last.
50: The Bible Institution is a school for pastors. They train these men in the word, and help them prepare to go out into Kenya and preach the word of God.
51: WELCOME TO GITHURAI This is the Nairobi city slums. Pastor Job and Mrs. Beatrice daily worry about safety. The population is infected with AIDS and HIV. Instead of moving their children to a safer location, they witness to these people. They hold a special Bible study for the HIV and AIDS victims. While we were driving down the streets of this community we saw dirty people, poverty, unimaginable, sickness, and sin. Not only do these people need God, but they desire Him. They want someone to love them. How wonderful it is to know that GOD IS LOVE, and he can cure them. | The little boy in the purple jump suit is sick. He cannot walk or talk. He crawls around the trash piles. He CAN, however, praise God. Which he loves to do.
52: Mama and Papa Fields have lived in Africa since 1952, and have set up 26 churches in Kenya. We interviewed many of the pastors from these churches. | It was such a blessing to meet and interview them because their love for Christ is so pure. Mama only knew John 3:16 when she climbed aboard a ship headed to Africa.She was pregnant at that time, and she knew it would be five years before she could ever see her parents again. When they get to Heaven, I believe there will be many Africans there to greet them.
53: “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasure at your right hand." Psalm 16:11