I know Where I’m Going… (Ros' Blog)
John’s narrative of the Easter story differs from that of the other three Gospel writers in that it is a much more intimate portrayal, seen less from the standpoint of an observer, and more through the eyes of Jesus himself. John, as Jesus’ closest earthly friend, had ample opportunity to observe and listen to Jesus and to get a feel for how He Himself saw events. In particular, he records far more than the other writers of Jesus’ own words in the period leading up to His arrest.
John records how, at the last supper, Jesus took a towel and performed the function usually reserved for the lowest servant in the house – washing the feet of everyone present at the meal. And he prefixes the story with this interesting observation: “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God.” The security that Jesus had in facing the cross came from knowing what authority He had, whose He was and where He was going.
John’s Gospel makes three references to a character who is overlooked by Jesus’ other biographers. His name is Nicodemus, and we first encounter him in chapter three. Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Jewish ruling council, is fascinated by what he has heard of Jesus and wants to meet Him for himself. But, wary of being seen to associate with him, he cautiously visits him by night. “Rabbi,” he says, “we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” – an admission which, at present, he lacks the courage to make in broad daylight or in earshot of the other Pharisees.
Jesus makes Nicodemus welcome, and has a serious conversation with him about the need to be born again, born of the Spirit, in order to be included in God’s kingdom. He gently teases him in a way people only do with someone they like: “You are Israel’s teacher, and do you not understand these things?” Nicodemus is forced to face the reality that, unlike Jesus, he does not yet know what authority he has, to whom he belongs, or where his destiny lies.
Nicodemus’ encounter with Jesus has a lasting impact on him. He not only retains his confidence in Jesus’ divine origin, but he begins to gain a boldness in defending Jesus to the religious leaders. When they denounce His teaching and berate the temple guards for not arresting Him in chapter 7 of John, Nicodemus risks (and receives) a rebuke by venturing to ask, ““Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?”
The final time we meet Nicodemus, he has flung caution to the winds. Jesus has been crucified, has died, and His body is about to be taken down from the cross for disposal. The normal fate of crucified remains is to be flung out into the valley of Hinnom, the place where the rubbish is burned. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea boldly go to Pilate and demand the right to take care of Jesus’ body. Permission is granted, and in broad daylight, in front of all the Jewish and Roman officials who have been present to witness the crucifixion, they tenderly remove the body of Jesus, wrap it in strips of linen and Nicodemus applies seventy-five pounds of spices which he has brought with him for the purpose. It has been estimated that such a quantity of spices would have cost the equivalent of about £110,000 in today’s money.
Nicodemus is making a very bold and very public statement about his estimation of Jesus’ worth. What a journey this man has come from the timidity that had him scurrying furtively to Jesus at night. Somewhere along the way he has learned what authority he has, whose he is, and where his final destiny lies. This has not come through any intellectual process of reasoning, but simply through keeping company with Jesus, feeling the warmth of His appreciation and acceptance, and realising his worth in God’s eyes.
And what about us? We all arrive at adulthood hampered by things that make us insecure and uncertain of our identity, whether that is the result of a physical or learning disability we’ve grown up with, abuse or neglect in childhood, being the victim of school bullies, or even just the self-doubt and longing for acceptance that are part of the normal experience of adolescence.
From there we have a choice. We can either go through life hamstrung by these limitations that we or others have placed on us. Or, like Nicodemus, we can associate freely and regularly with Jesus, observing His confidence and security that come from knowing what the Father has given Him, His total acceptance and belonging to the Father, and His ultimate destiny in taking the full place the Father has reserved for Him.
So, this Easter, let’s not continue to dwell on the things that hold us back or make us feel inadequate. Instead, let’s be confident in our authority (for Jesus said, “All authority has been given to me… go in My name”), in whose we are (for Jesus said, “You did not choose Me but I chose you… I no longer call you servants… instead I have called you friends”) and where we are going, that our destiny is inextricably bound up with that of Jesus (for Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am you may be also”). Armed with these three confidences we can face with complete trust in God anything that lies ahead, knowing as Nicodemus eventually did, that our allegiance to Jesus matters more than anything, and is worth any sacrifice of reputation or wealth.
As C.T. Studd said, when he gave up a glittering international cricket career and an inherited fortune to take the Gospel to parts of the world where Jesus was unknown, “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice is too great for me to make for Him.”
Image taken from Gratisography - follow this link to visit their site.
Wheels in Kimilili, the final day
We're very grateful to volunteer, Charlotte, for her inspirational blogs from our wheelchair distribution in Kenya. Here's the final one...
We stayed in a lovely little guesthouse overnight and returned to the Eldoret centre on Friday morning for our final distribution.
There were nine more clients expected - Seven of those were seated and all went to plan. Our final two clients were struggling to travel to the centre.
Sadly, one mother struggled to get to us as her husband did not allow her to travel due to their child's disability. Fortunately, the staff at the centre got involved and a policeman shoed the husband away. The little child was seated with us and the mother was overwhelmed with emotion. She had no idea her child could sit up. What a huge answer to prayer! Our other mother managed to make it just in time as well!
After we finished, we had lunch and some went for a quick swim in the hotel next door. On leaving, the staff at the centre gave us ladies a beautiful scarf each and the two chaps fantastic animal printed shirts! They also blessed us with a beautiful picture of water dripping between pots to put up at the WFTW office. They were a fantastic team and such an encouragment to us. It was incredible to see God working in their lives and through them in their work.
Our return flight plans went smoothly. Reninca managed to check all of us in (bar one) from the UK, which was a huge answer to prayer and such a relief! We did have a bit of a manic rush at Nairobi to ensure the final member of the team was checked in, but praise the Lord they were - despite the queues.
A real sadness fell over me as I left Kenyan soil. It has been an incredible, life changing 10 days. We have seen God move and work in unimaginable ways. We have experienced mind-blowing answers to prayer and never changing grace. God is alive and at work in those regions of Kenya and what an encouragement that is!
Please continue to pray for the folks of Kimilili and Eldoret; that their wheelchairs would bring real joy to their lives. Through independence and new freedom, they would be able to share with others around them the real Gospel of grace. Please pray they would feel accepted and secure in Jesus's love for them as His children, not separate from Christ through their disability.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragments for us as a team. We encourage you to follow in our footsteps and get involved with a future wheels trip - it will change and develop you for God's glory.
Over and out. x
You can find all our Wheels Blog posts by following this link.
Day 8 in Kimilili
Our Kimilili Blogger, Charlotte, has all the latest news from our Wheels for the World distribution. You can find all our Wheels Blog posts by following this link.
This morning we visited the Dreamlands hospital. What a highlight! Becky Nightingale, a veteran on a Wheels trip, is very involved in the day to day running of the hospital. She showed us around.
It's a modern 2 story building with 4 recent buildings outside and a final older building. The building started 10 years ago as a basic clinic with maternity services. It has now grown in a multi-faceted centre.
We observed an orthopaedic clinic. Children with the congenital disease, club foot, can be treated by a basic local operation where the ligament in the ankle is cut. This is funded so the hospital is able to offer it for free! Lots of children were queued with casts, and we watched the clinical officer remove a cast. The children were brave!
The clinic has an eye service offering basic surgical techniques, antenatal ward, physiotherapy gym, GP office, pharmacy, radiography, ultrasound and dentistry. It also has a facility for some soft tissue surgery.
The new buildings are just being staffed. There will be fully functioning male, female and maternity wards.
The 4th building was spectacular - a beautiful new operating theatre, kitted out with up to date gadgets. Please pray for Becky and the team as they find the medicial expertise and equipment to start orthopaedic procedures on 22nd April.
Many of the team reflected on how much the hospital has grown since they first visited. It really warmed our hearts.
In the afternoon, some of the team went to visit a lady in a nearby village. Something 'went in her back' and she was unable to move when she was young. She laid on her front for 16 years in her hut. A prisoner saw her story and through wheels designed a trolley for her a few years ago.
It had broken so we fixed it and delivered it to her. She had a real heart for Jesus and recited passages of the bible to us in Swahili. She was a real testament to God working for his glory in all things.
Eileen, rob and the IcFEM staff member Leonard, were all given a chicken as a blessing!
- - thankful to the witness of the lady in the village
- - thankful for the growth of Dreamlands hospital
- - pray for continued growth of the hospital, that it would be used to minister to the sick but also be used as an example of Christ's grace
Wheels in Kimilili - Days 6 & 7
Two days in one from our Kimilili Blogger, Charlotte, as she keeps us all up to date with the latest news from our Wheels for the World distribution. You can find all our Wheels Blog posts by following this link.
Day 6 - Monday
Praise God for another great day of distributing!
Today we distributed wheelchairs and walking aids in the IcFEM HQ. It was an indoor distribution. Praise God - it rained a little during the afternoon but we were sheltered - a real contrast to our previous days!
We only had a small selection of wheelchairs remaining. Our main worry was that we wouldn't have the right wheelchairs for the right people. It was a day to rely on Christ's grace.
The distribution day was much more relaxed. The therapists were freed up to take their time seating the clients. It was really lovely just to spend a little more time with each person; to get to know them and talk through wheelchair care and some physio tips! The pastoral team (from what I could see) also had more time to pray and share the gospel. I've found it very interesting how families just wait around after they are prayed for. The english would just whiz off at the soonest opportunity!
We have two Ugandan gentlemen staying with us until Wednesday. They are known well by Eileen and her husband. John Francis is training to be an engineer and David a doctor. It was a real help to the techies to have them help out!
The power returned late this afternoon. Praise God for the answer to prayer.
After evening devotional and praise, we played a group game organised by Rob. It was a great laugh and on reflection great team bonding - praise God!
After our distribution we had only 3 working wheelchairs remaining....
- - Praise for another day of relying on Jesus and seeing real answers to prayers
- - A member of the team is suffering with a bad cold. It isn't stopping her from being fantastic mind you!
- - Please pray for wisdom in how to spend our time best for Christ over the last two days in Kimilili.
Our plans had changed by 9am this morning! Originally some of the team were going to visit Violet (Violet received a unique, specially-designed trolley to help her become independently mobile in 2002, after the team visited to assess her in 2001) to distribute her personalised trolley and others were going to sort some admin out at IcFEM. A couple of members popped up to IcFEM early to pack up the toolbox ready to visit Violet. However, people were seated waiting for chairs! The local radio had broadcast wheelchairs were available at IcFEM. The team rallied together for an additional morning of distribution with a background worry we only had 3 chairs....
We gave the remaining wheelchairs out but still had three more people waiting. God intervened in our weakness. A gentleman from the Eldoret distribution who required two wheelchairs cancelled. We were able to take those wheelchairs from the Eldoret lorry which provide wheelchairs for all but one. We had a final wheelchair that hadn't been able to be fixed. David, a gentleman from IcFEM, went up into town to purchase some more ball bearings for the wheels. Praise God - with a bit of grease and lots of prayer - the wheelchair was fixed! The young man had come in his Grandmother's wheelchair, which had left her housebound at home. Unfortunately, the young man left before we had finished ready to return in another hour or two so we were unable to pray with him. We trust he received his wheelchair and another staff member was able to pray with him.
Sadly, we did have to turn a young child away. It saddened me to see them leave without a chair. It was such a reminder at how much we take for granted in the UK. It also touched my heart how gracious they were. Please pray for the child that went without, that he would be provided for at a future time and that through this Christ's glory would be seen and he would become a child of Christ.
During the afternoon, we visited the town and IcFEM shop and had some down time.
Tomorrow our plans are still unconfirmed. Currently we plan to visit Dreamlands Hospital in Kimilili to view the morning Orthopaedic clinic and then some of the team to potentially visit a school and the remaining to deliver the trolley to Violet.
- - We praise God for the mini distribution this morning, that we didn't have to turn many people away and The Lord provided for all but one of the people we saw
- - Praise God for continued blessings over the unity of the team
- - Please pray for the little child, that they would give their heart to Christ and He would provide them with a wheelchair in his good time.
- - Pray for the potential plans for tomorrow, that the team would be a blessing to Violet as we provide her with independence in her trolley and to pray and share with her
6 Months Married (Philippa's Blog)
On March 7th, Will and I had been married for 6 months. Well, since our fairy-tale wedding, I can honestly say it’s been a bed of roses! Flowers every day, breakfast in bed, and never a cross word between us! Not convinced? Ok then, so maybe it hasn’t been quite as idyllic as that.
When everybody tells you that marriage is something to be worked at, that it’s very different to just going out with someone, and that “you think you know someone before you get married, but you’ll find you’re learning new things about them every day,” you just smile and think “I know that.” Actually it’s true, but you only truly realise that after you’re married and look back.
I think in the first few months, Will and I spent a lot of time getting to know each other’s mood swings, as well as working out where we wanted to put things in the flat, then getting used to the things we do differently, like how we make tea or hang out washing. That takes some getting used to, and I could tell you some funny stories like the day Will poured fabric softener down the toilet instead of bleach. I could also tell you about disasters like the day I stepped on Will’s computer and broke the mouse pad (because I didn’t know it was on the floor). We have learnt that we have to be organised and consistent with things, since neither of us can see if something is not in its right place. We’ve had to establish who does what in the house, and in fact it’s worked out that we both share things equally, apart from emptying the bin which is definitely Will’s job!
As part of my attempt to be the best wife possible, I learnt to iron recently. My mum did try and teach me when I was younger, but I told her that “my husband can iron his own shirts, he needn't expect me to do it!” In actual fact neither of us could iron so I learnt and quite enjoy it.
Getting used to each other and a new house is pretty standard for any new couple, but we also had the challenge of getting used to our new area too. People around Potton are very helpful and quick to assist us if we get stuck which helps.
Though it’s a challenge sometimes, and there are days which are hard going for us both, it’s also wonderful to have someone to share the rest of your life with. We might get each other’s moods wrong at times, really annoy each other, or say the wrong thing, but we trust God to bring us through the hard times.
We really enjoy studying together and praying, and our hope is that our marriage will be God-centred. Recently we’ve opened our home to hold Christianity Explored and Discipleship Explored courses, which has been a great blessing.
It’s not all romance and flowers, and there have been and will be hard times to come. It’s a case of day-to-day love, both of each other and of God and neither of us would change a thing.
Wheels in Kimilili - Day 5 - Sunday, the day of rest...!
New Wheels team member, and excellent blogger, Charlotte continues to describe her experiences of Wheels for the World in Kimilili, Kenya. You can find all our Wheels Blog posts by following this link.
Today we split into 4 groups and went to different churches with members of the IcFEM team. The general consensus over dinner was the day was tiring but great!
Rob and I went with Michael Mwijana. We started the day by riding on the back of a push-bike - a boda boda. It was a crazy ride - I can't believe how well the men cycle... hey plough through the mud with a wobbly English woman on the back and don't even get out of breath!
Michael is a children's pastor in the local area. Today he lead a children's service at the local Anglican church - Anglican Church of Kenya. It was a fantastic Gospel-centered message focusing on the cross and what Jesus did for us. It was amazing to see the children really focus on the preaching. They sat so well for almost 2 hours. They also sang beautifully and danced for the congregation.
Straight afterwards we went to Crisco Pentecostal church (Michael's regular church). This was much bigger with approximately 200 people. Sadly we missed the worship at the beginning but arrived in time for the sermon. It was a 10 point sermon focusing on how we should act if the enemy (devil) comes attacking. The sermon was much longer and very in-depth, but there was an interpreter so we could understand the whole thing. Again, I was amazed at how well everyone listened for the length of time - in the heat too!
Afterward, Rob and I spent the afternoon at Michael's home. We were cared for so well. Michael and Irene have 7 children living at home, many chickens and a kitten called fluff. We sat with the family in the living room for most of the afternoon. A couple of visitors came and went. Rob and I made the chapati for the family. They killed a chicken for the family dinner in the garden... exceptionally quick field to fork principle!
After sharing a lovely meal and fellowship with the family, we returned to the IcFEM guesthouse for a second dinner!
We have had a powercut here and the rumour is that something has been struck by lightening and we are unsure whether we will have power for the rest of the week. Please pray for us in this, that the Lord would provide us power in his due time.
- - Praise for the blessings from the church service today
- - Prayer that we would have wisdom in distributing wheelchairs again at IcFEM tomorrow
- - Prayer for the pastors and team as we continue to share Christ's love with the people in and around Kimilili
- - Prayer for the team, that we would continue to have Jesus 1st in our hearts
Wheels in Kimilili - Day 4
You can find all our Wheels Blog posts by following this link.
Today we distributed for a second day in Maketa, Kimaeti. We were situated in a beautiful school field, surrounded by butterflies and little baby chicks. When we arrived, there was already a sea of people waiting; lots of expectant faces and bright eyes. It was quite overwhelming actually!
We had many people come, some from over 20km away. We had lots of people that hadn't been assessed and our main worry was that we wouldn't have enough chairs for everyone. God prevailed - our last two chairs fitted the remaining two people! We were left with just one child's chair! It was such a parallel with the five loaves and two fishes - Jesus saw the crowd and felt pity on them, and He provided. Praise God he provided a chair for everyone - it was such an encouraging answer to prayer!
The rain stayed away until our last patient left. Then it poured....!
We praise God again for a fantastic distribution day. The team is efficient and working well together and the IcFEM staff are brilliant. Tomorrow we are splitting to different churches and to locals for lunch.
- thankful for blessings today and such incredible answers to big prayers - our God is a big God!
- provision for the churches meeting tomorrow; that the speakers would be anointed so that Christ's name would be praised
- a restful day for the team after a busy few days
Wheels in Kimilili - the first distribution day
You can find all our Wheels Blog posts by following this link.
Our first distribution day went really well, praise God. We provided wheelchairs and mobility aids to approximately 50 people in and around Kimaeti.
I loved seeing how happy the people were. They were so joyful despite their own or their children’s disability. They smile and they chatter through their interpreter. They are so very grateful. It’s amazing to see their faces light up when they first sit in their chair or use new crutches. It was a real blessing to serve these people.
It was so incredible to see how people cope with disability in Africa. People shuffle along on their knees using flipflops as hand protectors, they shuffle, they’re carried. I saw a little girl tied into an upside down stool on the back of a push bike.
My heart was touched by a little 7 year old girl who was infected by malaria at the age of 1. She contracted the disease so badly that it caused her to have seizures. She is now deaf, blind and physically disabled as a result. Sadly she has been left with a learning disability too. Yet the little girl was so happy, giggling away and playing with a little teddy. It was such a privilege to help this family and share the Gospel with them.
We are so thankful to Christ for providing the right wheelchair for each person. We had enough wheelchairs for everyone registered. The Lord also kept the rains away for us, which was a great providence.
- Grateful to Christ for his provision today
- Christ’s strength to shine through our weakness as we work tomorrow, knowing we cannot do it in our own strength
- Practicality – we have the right chairs for the right people
- Team health, The lord would continue to sustain us
“But he said to me: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”
2 Corinthians 12:9
Wheels in Kimilili - Day 2
Blogger, Charlotte, describes the team's journey to Kisumu and arrival with our partners at IcFEm... You can find all our Wheels Blog posts by following this link.
Our journey continued at 6.30am this morning when we left African Inland Mission to Nairobi airport. We flew a quick 35 minutes to Kisumu - they even managed to squeeze a drink and a snack on the short flight! We then took the IcFEM minibus to IcFEM guesthouse.
This for me was a first. I've never been to Africa and so I'll paint a picture for those who also haven't:
Africa is all you would imagine it to be but better! The sights are so varied, everywhere you look there is red soil and greenery. Tethered animals line the road. Children play and run beside the road. There are people everywhere, selling incredible fruits and vegetables, clothes and meats in the street side market. It's hot and it's busy!
We had a small snack and then headed to IcFEM HQ and sorted through the wheelchairs for tomorrow's distribution in Kimaeti. This involved going through a list of people who had been previously assessed for wheelchairs. The best wheelchair was then selected for that person's needs. The staff had kindly already ordered the wheelchairs so work was swift.
Our devotional this evening focused on how incorrect the teaching can be around disability - and how it isn't a result of personal sin or a mistake that people are disabled. It can be, and is, used to give glory to Christ. It's exciting to tell the people we meet tomorrow that actually God loves them and looks at their heart; they are free in him and are important to Him.
- thankfulness we have arrived safely
- thankful for the welcoming staff at HQ and the guest house
- thankful for swift work this afternoon
- for The Lord to guide us in giving the right wheelchair to each person
- that the truth of the Gospel would shine through the lies these disabled people have been taught
Wheels to Kimilili - Day 1
Wheels for the World is running a distribution in Kimilili, Kenya for ten days. Our team on the ground will be blogging as often as technology and time allows! Today, Charlotte Smith tells us all about the journey, initial plans, and some prayer pointers for the team. You can find all our Wheels Blog posts by following this link.
Wednesday 2nd April
The team met at Heathrow airport shortly after 7.30am this morning. Check in flowed without any major mishaps. Reninca came to wave us off and to pray for us. Our flight arrangements went smoothly. We arrived in Nairobi at approx. 9pm local time. We collected our baggage and hopped onto a minibus to the African Inland Mission guesthouse for a few hours kip.
'Team Orr' consists of 9 members this year - Eileen Orr (Team leader), Rob Dalton (Deputy team leader), Nigel and Ruth Davey, Andrew Smith, Christine Grew, Maggie Wyatt, Lucy Woods and myself (Charlotte). I am the only newbie on this wheels trip and many have been to Kimilili previously.
Our schedule is as follows, subject to change:
- Wednesday 2nd April - Travel day!
- Thursday 3rd - Travel to Kimilili. This involves an internal flight from Nairobi to Kisumu and a minibus ride. The second half of the day we hope to get started sorting some wheelchairs.
- Friday 4th and Saturday 5th - Distribution days in Kimatei
- Sunday 6th - Church and lunch with locals.
- Monday 7th and Tuesday 8th - Distribution days in Kimilili HQ
- Wednesday 9th - Visiting local hospitals and schools
- Thursday 10th - Leave Kimilili and travel to Eldoret for a distribution day
- Friday 11th - Finish off any last bits and pieces/mop up before we begin our homeward journey from Eldoret - Nairobi and then from Nairobi to London Heathrow
- Saturday 12th - Arrive in London at 6.50am
There have been a couple of issues regarding checking into flights here in the UK and cancellations of flights home. Praise God He reigns through these organisational issues and has provided for us in incredible ways already.
I think I can safely say from everyone that we all feel excited and privileged to be serving Christ in this way. We value your prayers and are deeply thankful for the support of you all back home.
A couple of prayer points:
- Thank you for safe travel
- United team, that our hearts would be united in Christ and we would be seeking to serve him prayerfully and humbly
- Gospel sharing, that The Lord would provide opportunity, confidence and grace as we use this time to share the good news of the gospel to the local people
" All authority in Heaven and Earth has been given to me, therefore go into all the world and make disciples of all nations." Matthew 28: 18-19