||Pavilions of God's Saving Glory!!
||Ken's 2011 Africa Journals! (Part 2)
||After ten days of travel and preaching we finished the pastor’s
conference and headed out to the villages to proclaim the saving
message of Jesus!
||Friday, June 24 Ishaka village
Drove 2 ½ hours on typical horrible, bumpy, dusty roads to a tiny village named
Ishaka. It is a church plant started in January of this year. A tabernacle consisting of
stick poles, tarps, and sheets is where they still meet. There were a few piles of mud-
bricks on the property – soon they hope to start the walls. We visited and witnessed
in homes first, inviting people to come to our service later (which some did!). We ate
lunch at the pastor's home and then started our service. I got to preach with Elias
translating. I preached on the Mystery of God Being Revealed (1 Cor. 4:1, 1 Cor 6:
Oh how strong and palpable was God’s anointing on His Word. He is also giving me a
courage and boldness and a quiet peace on this trip for the drawing in of the net (the
invitation) that I have never known before!
Two precious ladies of middle age sweetly and unashamedly responded. Oh how my
heart rejoiced. Another team member thought maybe 3 responded, but I only saw 2—
The joy of the Lord filled my soul for the remainder of the time in the village and the
first half of the ride home I was still full of childlike joy and faith. But I must confess the
jarring and seemingly endless ride home took its toll. By the time we arrived at
Kayanga, I was spent, exhausted, and quiet.
Giving In To Temptation!
Shortly after arriving at our guesthouse
another teammate came walking up with a
bag of fried potatoes and grilled meat. He
let me try it. After a week of cooked,
sometimes congealed banana mush
(matoke) and rice it tasted like a gourmet
Then I, along with 5 or 6 others from our
team, bounded across the street to the
same little street vendor for this rare treat. It
was literally just one guy on a sidewalk with
a tiny little grill and a small wooden table.
But from this miniscule little set up he was
cranking out savory grilled meat and
potatoes that smelled enormously delicious.
He aimed to please his new Mzungu clients,
meticulously laboring over the pan of frying
potatoes and squeezing a fresh lime over the skewers of tender chunks of beef. He
would remove the meat from the grill and cut them up into bite-size pieces and serve
them with a generous pile of chips.
The tiny surface of the grill and the rush of Americans meant we each had to wait for
some time. When my turn finally came he wrapped it all up in a piece of newspaper,
took a paltry amount of cash that amounted to only about one dollar and handed it to
me. Despite the uber-build up and lengthy wait there was absolutely no
disappointment as I began eating the copious pile of street-food. I savored each and
every bite for the next little while. It was the best thing I had put into my mouth in ten
Then reality struck and I immediately began to have
serious second thoughts about what I had just done.
I was pretty sure I had expressed a quick prayer of
thanks before I started eating, but had it really been
a sufficient prayer, given the circumstances? Here
on the mission-field there can be grave
consequences to such an oversight! Only then
could I admit that I had noticed the guy cut up our
grilled meat with the same knife he used to cut the
raw meat. That could prove to be a HUGE problem
to my American digestive track.
Now I have spent the rest of the evening with the
nagging sense of regret, hoping I didn’t just make
a silly mistake to gratify my appetite. This is the
most crucial element of the entire trip for me—
EVANGELISM in the villages. I don’t want to get sick
and miss out. I once spent three days in agony on
the bathroom floor in Guatemala after a similar
meal. Last year one of our teammates got really sick and missed three days of
ministry. I’m desperately trying not to be paranoid or borrow trouble from tomorrow
but I have had to really pray awhile to get peace.
This poor man cried and the Lord answered him and delivered him from all his fears!
Listened to lots of Shannon Wexelberg music on my iPod, including the song,
Faithful God. It ministered greatly to my heart.
Saturday, June 25 Nyakabwera
Thankfully, God’s grace was sufficient and I did not get sick during the night.
Unfortunately, one team member who ate at the street stand is extremely sick and
threw up all day long. Today we drove the same bumpy mountainous roads to the
home village of my friend, Evangelist Christopher Philemon and wife Janeth. We went
door to door visiting very, very poor people and inviting them to this afternoon’s
I had one really interesting talk with a Catholic man and his wife. He said if he came to
our Protestant service, his friends and family would feel betrayed and persecute him. I
asked him if he believed both Catholics and Protestants were children of God. “Of
course,” he said. I asked him if his family and friends would think the same. “Yes, they
would agree,” he said. I told him to come to our service and if anyone made an issue
of it to tell them what I just told him. This kind of clicked with him and he really started
Then I used an example that I shared several times last year. I asked him to imagine
he were in the middle of a vast sea, the boat he was in has just sunk. “Now you are
treading water and you can’t last long. Very, very soon you will sink beneath the
surface of the water and drown. You thrash about panic stricken looking in all
directions for help. You feel your strength wavering and you know you are about to
die a horrible death. Just then you spot a boat coming in your direction!
“Seconds before you slip irretrievably beneath the waves the boat arrives and a
strong hand comes over the side reaching for your outstretched hand. What would
you do? Naturally, you would grab it with all your might, recognizing it to be the one
and only means of salvation available. Never in a million years would you say, ‘Wait a
minute. What is the name on the side of the boat?’ Or would you say, ‘No, the hand
reaching for me is not the right color.’”
I then told him the message we bring is God’s one and only means of salvation; the
hand reaching over the side of the boat belongs to Jesus Christ!
“You are Catholic, has your church ever shared the message of salvation with you?”
“No” he admitted. “Today we have come from a boat named Nyakabwera Baptist
Church with God’s message of salvation. Do you really think that makes any real
difference?” I shared the scripture with him that man looks on the outward
appearance but God only looks on the heart.
At this point he was convinced and declared he would come! We also paid a really
quick visit to my evangelist friend Christopher’s house! Then my wonderful teammate,
Pastor Billy, preached the service, which was conducted under tarps held up by
banana trees. Five beautiful souls made professions of faith. Oh Jesus you are
saving lost souls before our very eyes each and every day! You are wonderfull!!!
Tonight I talked to Becky at home! That was more wonderful than I can say.
Tomorrow our team heads back to Kotwe. Prayed about what to preach. Finally, I felt I
should preach on the cross.
Sunday, June 26 Kotwe
Today we returned to the village of Kotwe. Oh how full
my heart is tonight as I write! Joy unspeakable fills my
soul. It is something difficult to express without being
misunderstood—I can only say now in my journal and
before the Lord—God has used me today and in the
past few days like never before in my life.
When you say God has used me it can’t help but
sound super-spiritual. It sounds as if you are being self-
important. But just the opposite is true. I’m only too
familiar with my monumental mediocrity, my utter
weakness and mammoth inability. But here on this
mission-field, because of my weakness, the rigorous
travel and packed schedule, I have to rely on Jesus
totally. I’ve been preaching without notes and leaning
on Him. As I preach HIS WORDS, they are flowing from
me like a glorious river. He is speaking through me!
I’m saying things that I have never thought of before,
things so different and powerful that I am hearing them
for the first time along with all the other listeners.
Today I preached on the cross––atonement and
reconciliation with God. As I gave the invitation to
respond to God’s Word, I felt His perfect peace and
“ambassadorship.” Jesus was making His appeal
through me! (2 Corinthians 5:20). I COULD FEEL IT—
His love, His heart, His authority, His Words!!!
Three precious people responded. A sweet middle-
aged lady named Sarafina, another 19 year old man
who looked much older (maybe I misunderstood his
(pictures above: village life answer and his African name eluded me completely),
& village bathroom) and a boy about 11 or 12. The beauty of their
shameless response was so glorious.
The pastor had them stand and testify right then and there. It was Sarafina’s first day
ever in the church. I heard the details from their own Swahili words and understood
them from Elias, my interpreter’s lips. How splendid and marvelous to see Jesus at
I’m feeling dizzy and weak today – sinus trouble, altitude and motion sickness. I rode
in the back of the van over the bumpy mountain pass on our way to the village. Have
not felt right since, but my message was powerful and strong. Thank you Jesus!
Truly, Paul said it so well, God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.
All my adult life I have strived to be a fisher of men and win souls for my glorious King
Jesus—but even to this day to actually watch Him do this work is humbling and
astonishing to me. His word says if we would delight ourselves in the Lord He would
give us the very desires of our heart.
Oh how he has fulfilled that on this trip as precious, precious African souls have come
to Him day after day! Only during the pastor’s conference at the beginning did I
preach in a church made of bricks and mortar. Since then, daily, we have preached in
crude tabernacles make of sticks, tarps and sheets. But they literally became
pavilions of God’s saving glory!!! Oh Jesus I love you!
I remember the verse that completely revolutionized my life way back in 1982. All
these new things are from God who brought us back to himself through what
Christ Jesus did. And God has given us the privilege of urging everyone to
come into his favor and be reconciled to him. For God was in Christ,
restoring the world to himself, no longer counting men’s sins against them
but blotting them out. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell
others. We are Christ’s ambassadors. God is using us to speak to you: we
beg you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, receive the
love he offers you—be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18-20 LB).
This past week here in Africa I have once again felt the immense power of God’s word
and the precious anointing of His Spirit working through this flawed human vessel that
I am. I felt Him speaking and making His appeal through me!!! Oh how thankful I am
so many years ago he launched me out into this kind of ministry. At times I’ve drifted
away or forgotten this truth, but how wonderful to feel it surging through me again at
this stage is just simply beyond all dreams. Oh Jesus I love you!
Tomorrow we leave Karagwe, but today I sensed I was exactly where God wanted me
for those three precious souls.
I tell you that in the same way there is more rejoicing in heaven over one
sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not
need to repent (Luke 15:7).