Tuesday, October 29, 2013

“Don’t forget us!”

“Everyone has said to us, ‘Don’t forget us!’ and I promise that we never could!” Anna-li said to the Injuni congregation on Sunday morning. “We have been so changed by Kenya and the people we have met. We will never forget you!”

She is right. We have been in Kenya for several weeks now and it has been busy and life-changing. Our first week with Pastor Timothy was a wonderful introduction to this beautiful country and our recent time with Pastor Fredrick in Injuni has been just as blessed. Our time there was short but busy. Here are a few pictures from our time there:

We visited the local primary school and told the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den with the help of some of the kids. Here are the 120 Princes bowing before Prince Darius.

On Saturday afternoon, after we held lessons for the kids and the youth all day, we went for a walk to the local soapstone quarry.

The church was full for the service on Sunday morning with many youth and children in attendance.

On Sunday afternoon we went to the school field to play with the kids. They enjoyed racing us and, no, we never won!

We are in Kisii town now but will head out to Pastor Charles’ area tomorrow and then on Saturday we look forward to seeing John Ruotsala and Dennis Hilman who will join us for the rest of the trip. Please continue to pray for our time here!

Monday, October 28, 2013




"We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world." Eph. 6:12

When the Lord sends us to preach the gospel of reconciliation to the uttermost parts of the earth the enemy often shows his resistance.  In the industrialized countries of the world satan puts on a difference face than he does in the African countries.  But he has the same purpose.  He is a deceiver, a liar, a thief and a murderer and wants that none would be saved.  When he places souls in the shackles of sin and fear and darkness he will resist when the Prince of Peace sends his servants into the domain of the  prince of darkness. He uses his diabolical powers to retain his grip.  For instance he uses alcohol as a tool to control many, along with witchcraft and ancestor worship.  When the power of the gospel - the forgiveness of sins in the name and blood of Jesus - is brought forth many are set free.  

When the preached word has touched hearts and God gives the strength to repent and believe, satan growls like a lion to remind of his power.  He especially wants to frighten children because he desires to possess their souls.  In the ministry of the United Lutheran Church many schools are visited and the Word of God is freely spoken to the children. We,  Pastor Dennis Hilman and myself, Pastor Bob Maki, have confronted satanism first hand in a number of schools.


One middle school was traumatized a few months ago during the school day when a large black bird flew overhead dropping things on the children.  The children were frightened out of their wits and many passed out from sheer fright.  The bird then flew to the roof of the school and the roof collapsed killing many children!  This week when we went to that same school a thousand children were assembled in front of us.  They first sang Christian hymns and prayed.  The Christian principal then introduced us and Bishop Mphahlele from the ULCSA and we began to preach God's word, naming the name of Christ.  

At that moment  a black cloud appeared in the midst of the children and frightened them badly.  All of them ran towards us on the platform in front of them. If it had not been for the quick thinking of the Bishop in opening the two doors into the school corridor many would have been trampled and hurt.  The principal quickly took control and with God's strength and Word calmed the traumatized children.  We all comforted the children and assured them that greater is He who is in them that he who is in the world.  That He is always with us and His perfect love casts out all fear. Then with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, we were able to fend off the evil one and continue with the service.

Pastors Dennis Hilman and Bob Maki

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Sheep Know My Voice!


The call went out to reconvene at the pastors' and church leaders' seminar near Randfontein and these two sheep came trotting.

Participants in the seminar for pastors and church leaders gathered at the church called Bethlehem for a day long seminar. Virtually every one of them heard the voice of the Good Shepherd and wanted to hear the blessed gospel of sins forgiven proclaimed in the name and blood of Jesus
Participants in the seminar for pastors and church leaders gathered at the church called Bethlehem for a day long seminar. Virtually every one of them heard the voice of the Good Shepherd and wanted to hear the blessed gospel of sins forgiven proclaimed in the name and blood of Jesus

In the week that followed we spent much time in the village of Maskiet in the Northwest Province. Many were the homes we visited praying for people. Here with the Bishop at the home of a church elder Ishmael.. We also visited many home of people who are not attending the church

We served Holy Communion to 98-year-old grandmother Lydia. Her memory has largely gone, but not her sharp grasp of living faith.

The Bishop encouraging a young mother and her children.

This dear sister Pini is totally blind but testified that she can see Jesus very clearly!

A little girl pulling the head off of a large bodied winged ant. These creatures emerge from the ground after a heavy rain like we had yesterday. The children delight in collecting their inflated bodies which are considered a real delicacy when fried. Yumm!!

A common sight in the village of Maskiet - along with many wandering donkeys, goats, cows, chickens and stray dogs.

On Sunday morning the Bishop and Pastor Bob got ready for church with a dear friend brother Martin. This is the "lost sheep" God led us to last year after a long time 'away in the mountains' with no contact. In spite of everything his faith had been preserved and now he is truly committed to following Christ. He is married and the father of four children.

Pastor Bob in preparation for the Holy Communion service in Maskiet to begin in the tent which was specially rented and erected for this occasion

 Pastor Bob preaching powerfully on the Prodigal Son with the Bishop translating into Tswana just as powerfully.
The tent was nearly full and to our great joy there were many men and young men in the back half. This is quite unusual in South Africa.

The message went home by the power of the Holy Spirit, with many many following the Prodigal Son into the arms of the Father!!

Back in Radfontein at one of my very favorite places - Boys' Town - for boys with a difficult or even non-existent family histories. Only seven boys were in that night to hear about the example of young David (like David's seven brothers) but all but one of them came forward to be blessed by the personal message of the Gospel. You could call it a real revival.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Jumbo! Greetings from Kenya!

Johanna Akerlund, Fanny Snellman, Anna-li Snellman, and I have been here for just a week now and it has been a great time! We have been working in the public schools as well as with the children here at Pastor Timothy’s home. Here are some pictures of the girls at work during the last week:

Fanny teaching the story of the Good Samaritan with the help of Johanna and Anna-li. We taught in this school for two days. It is one of two public schools in the village where we are staying.

Johanna playing football (soccer) with the kids. The girls donated the football to the orphanage. A few days later the kids were using it as a volleyball, so it’s become quite a versatile ball!

Anna-li and Fanny with Andy and Linea the puppets. The kids LOVED the puppets, though they felt a lot better about them after one by asked, “Are those dolls really talking or what’s happening?!” and Anna-li showed them how it worked.

Johanna teaching the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 in another primary school. This public school is in a near-by village. Both of the schools are sponsored by Pastor Timothy’s ministry.

We all helped the kids with the corn harvest on Saturday. Here is Anna-li, Fanny, and Pastor Timothy’s youngest daughter, Karen.

We will continue to a new area tomorrow with Pastor Timothy, then three days later to a different part of Kenya. We will be here for a total of six weeks.  Please pray as we continue to serve in this beautiful country!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

South Afrcia October 2013



Children are a vital part of the living church.  Throughout Africa and now here in South Africa where Pastor Dennis Hilman and I,  Pastor Bob Maki,  labor with the United Lutheran Church, we are invited to many public schools and pre-schools to share the word of God.  Unlike in the United States the laws in SA do not prohibit Jesus from public places, including schools, where the preaching and speaking of Jesus is invited!


 Bishop Louis Mphahlele of the ULCSA with me receiving a warm welcome from the Head Mistress of the public Tsholofelo Education Centre in the township of Bekkersdal.


Yesterday we began the day at 7:30 a.m. at a public primary school in the township of Bekkersdal in Westonaria. This is the school which many of the children attend from our congregation in Bethlehem attend, where we preached on Sunday. When the Bishop, Louis Mphahlele, was driving us to that school he saw a number of children from that church walking to it.  He stopped the car and invited them to  pile into the back seat.  About 7 or 8 of them did so and rode to school with us.

 The school day begins with an assembly of of about 1000 plus children lined up outside in front of a platform area.  They begin by singing several hymns of Zion and then recite a prayer together.  In this prayer they ask God to watch over them this day and His help in being able to treat each other in a Godly way, and praying that God would be with them, helping them to learn.  A teacher then introduced the Bishop along with me as a pastor from the U.S.  bring God's word, and thanked us for coming.

I was asked to speak to the children.  While preaching I noticed big smiles of the faces of some of the them.  Later the Bishop related that these were children from the Bethlehem church and they would be telling their friends that  it was "my moruti" (their pastor) who was speaking.

Afterwards the principal encouraged the students to continue in the word that they had heard and walk in the light of Jesus Christ. He then led all of us in prayer.


Later that morning we went to the Tsholofelo Educare Centre, which is a creche or preschool also in Bekkersdal.  About a 100 small children and six teachers gathered with the four of us - the Bishop, Dennis, Mary Malefani and myself.  The teachers began by leading the children in several Christian songs.  It sounded like the voices of angels. 

We then acted out and told the story of the 99 sheep who the good shepherd left to go after the one little sheep who had wandered away. The Bishop translated to the Tswana language.  When we spoke the little ones listened carefully and you could see their reactions as the story was acted out:  sadness when the little sheep was lost and afraid and then they clapped and were happy when the Good Shepherd found the lost sheep and carried it back to the fold.

These little ones who believe in Jesus not only will become the Kingdom of Heaven but they ARE the Kingdom of Heaven.

Pastor Bob Maki

Chairman, ALCA Foreign Mission Board






Thursday, October 10, 2013

Come spend some time in South Africa!

It is wonderful to be back in South Africa once more. I arrived here last Friday and it's been wonderful to meet both old friends and new. Here are a few pictures of my friends from this beautiful country:

 Here are some of my kids! They were walking by on the road and saw me sitting behind a house in the village of Lesung and came running over to say hi. I've stayed at the same house for several years so many of the neighborhood kids know me.

 This is the house I stayed in several years ago when I was in the village of Ikageng. Amanda (in pink) took such good care of me. Her daughter Thabang (standing) and niece Nicky are also good friends.

 Two years ago I volunteered in a high school near both Ikageng and Lesung. I enjoyed my time with the students but also with the teachers. This is the family of the head English teacher (sitting to my right) from the school whom I got to know quite well.

There are always new friends to make! And the young ones are always fascinated by my camera. :)

On Tuesday night, I went to the airport with the Bishop to pick up Bob Maki and Dennis Hilman. They will be serving here for almost three weeks while I'll be heading to Kenya on Sunday. Please continue to pray that God will work in the lives of his children in South Africa and that he would bless the time Bob, Dennis, and I have to spend here.