On the third day of my February 2010 trip to Kenya, I got to see water running at Black Tank. Now, when I was there in June 2009, people would walk by Black Tank because the pump for the well was broken and the tank was leaky. Our team in June worked on chiseling out the soft portions of concrete on the tank and replaced it with fresh to stop the leakage. Shortly after, a team from the International Water Mission came and replaced the broken pump and installed solar panels to power it. In November 2009, another NewSpring team built a roof over the tank.
What was once dry is now full of water. What was once barren and devoid, now has life.
It hit me that when I was there in June 2009, Kelly and I had just lost
our daughter Elizabeth and honestly we were devastated. It felt like we were left barren, but our hope was in the LORD. We knew if it was His will for us to not be dry, to not be barren, but rather to have another child, then it would happen.
As I watched the children of Black Tank filling up their containers with the clean drinking water from the well in February, it hit me. God had restored water to this dry desolate area in the same way He had given Kelly and I new hope. As I stood there that day, I knew that God had been faithful. We are expecting a son, William “Liam” Lucas.
During my trip to Kenya in June 2009, I often looked around and wondered if I would be back to see this beautiful place again. I wondered if I would see the Kenyans that I had become friends with again.
Just before I left Kenya on that trip to return to the States, I felt God tell me, “You will be back”.
When I walked out of the Jomo Kenyatta Airport in February 2010, I began to see how faithful God was. In fact, throughout the trip He reminded me over and over.
Our first day in country in February 2010, we crossed the Uaso Nyro river on the way to Segera Mission and the river was flowing unlike in June 2009 when it was only a series of puddles. It was awesome to see water flowing through this dry, dusty region. We went out to Endana to do an outreach service that afternoon and as we got off the bus, one of the guys on our team asked me if I thought it was going to rain because of the dark clouds. I responded, “No, we’ll probably be able to see where it’s raining, but I don’t think it’ll rain here.” Three minutes later, I was eating my words when big drops began to fall. We continued with outreach service in the rain. Apparently sound equipment is more waterproof in Kenya.
As I look back on it, I lacked the faith that it could rain in the Segera area because I had not seen it rain, but just as it says in Isaiah 43:19 (NIV):
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.
God was doing a new thing, but yet it wasn’t a new thing, it has rained there plenty. God has been making streams in this wasteland and not just literal ones like the Uaso Nyro river, but ones that never run dry, spiritual ones. It is because of knowing Jesus that these people have hope and joy, just like in John 4:14 (NIV):
“…but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Jesus says “never” thirst and because of that we have faith in eternal life because He paid the ultimate price for us. He impressed upon me through this entire trip how faithful He is. No matter what the situation or circumstances He is never failing.
On the eve of my departure to Kenya, I just wanted to take a minute and say thank you to all of the people that have partnered with me on this journey.
Because of the sacrifices that you have made, lives are going to be changed 8000 miles away from the U.S. I don’t want you to lose the significance of that. People will hear about The Gospel because you were willing to give. People will be shown an example of Christ’s love because of the sacrifice you made.
It is easy for us to get caught up in what God is doing around where we live in the U.S. It is easy to forget that worship doesn’t just take place in our buildings with electricity, heat and air conditioning. Last time I was in Kenya, I got to walk 2 miles to a church with no electricity. Along that walk to church we were joined by kids as young as 3 who would normally walk 2 or 3 miles to get to church. I can’t begin to describe the authentic worship that I got to be a part of that day. The God that we serve is huge and he is at work all across the world.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to be in Segera and see what God is going to do through this trip. I could describe what God, while I am there, by showing you photos and a video to help you understand, but that would only give you a mere glimpse. I wanted to somehow give each of you a window to this journey, so if (read as a big IF- i.e. 3rd world country + technology) everything goes as planned I will be Twittering while I’m there. I hope that it will give you a better view of what God is doing by providing real time updates of what is happening. I think this will give you a better view of day to day activity rather than me trying to remember a whole day of events when I get back to the hotel.
If everything goes as planned you should be able to follow along here.
I hope this will give you an increased perspective of how big God really is and will lead you to either go on a trip yourself or continue to support others; whichever God lays on your heart.
As many of you know, in June of this past year, I had the opportunity to go to Kenya as part of my staff role at NewSpring Church. To say God rocked my world during that trip would be an understatement. Every single day I was there, I felt God enlarge my heart for the people of Kenya. In Kenya, they don’t have 10 churches on one street like we do here in the South. The third day I was there, I went to the school in Segera to video some of our group teaching kids. I would love to tell you that what I got from that day was some awesome footage, but that wouldn’t be the whole truth. I did get some great footage of our team loving on the kids, but the best thing I got was when I put down the video camera and actually played with the kids. I saw that the joy the kids and teachers had was not because of worldly things, but because of Jesus, and that absolutely blew me away. From that day forward I knew God was calling me back to Kenya.
God opened the door yesterday for me to return as part of NewSpring’s February 2010 trip. This time I will not be going as a videographer, but rather as a volunteer. This means I will have to pay the full $3500 for my plane ticket, food, lodging, etc. I have no idea who the money is going to come from, but I do know God has called me to go and He is a God who provides. I am asking that you pray about partnering with me both financially and as a prayer warrior as I prepare for this mission. If God lays it on your heart to contribute financially, you can mail your check to the address below or drop it by one of our NewSpring campuses. You will receive a tax credit for your donation. If you get it in before the end of 2009, it will be tax deductible for the 2009 tax year. I need to have all the money in before the end of January. Please do not write my name on the check anywhere (IRS standards). Instead, please paperclip a note or put a Post-It note with my name on it with your contribution.
I really appreciate you! Thank you for being an amazing part of my life!
Attn: David Nimmons
PO Box 1407
Anderson, SC 29622
Just to give you a glimpse of what God is doing there, take a look at these photos or watch the videos below. If you would like to read about what God has been doing in the Segera area in 2009 check out pages 6 and 7 of this PDF our partner organization The 410 Bridge.
If you take one thing away from this video, it is that the only hope for these people is Jesus. These people have nothing besides the joy that they have in Him. We have been called to reach out to the ends of the earth, and trust me, where these people live is near the end of the earth.
Some of us are called to physically go.
Some of us are called to financially support.
Some of us are called to intercede in prayer.
What are you called to do in order to take the The Gospel to the world?
Over the past two months God has been teaching me some amazing, but hard lessons. Most of the time I am thick headed and it takes a while for them to sink in. For example, hearing a story when I was in Kenya.
Chuck told us about how when he was at the Segera Mission in April on a medical trip one of the things that the doctors had to do was scrape the feet of a young girl whose feet had been infected by the ground dwelling parasites. When I heard the story I thought ‘man in America when a parent takes their kid to the doctor they know that their kid may experience some temporary pain, but it is for the long term benefit of the kid, but in Kenya many of these parents had never been to a doctor themselves and so not only do you have to explain to the kid that the doctor has to sometimes hurt them in order to heal them, but you have to explain that to the parents as well.’ Up until last night that was all that story seemed like to me, just a cultural difference and barrier that we must overcome when doing ministry in a third world country. While talking with one of the godliest couples that I know, Jake and Suzanne it hit me that this was the same thing I was experiencing, but not understanding.
Often when we are experiencing pain, God must bring us through more pain in order to refine us and heal us of what was wrong with us. When He does this we have two options just like this young Kenyan girl did- 1. we can kick and scream and fight back or we can 2. hold still and allow His hands and His grace to remove the thing that is eating us up and destroying us. If we choose Option 1, this is a dangerous option just like it would have been for the girl, she could have kicked the scalpel and hurt herself even worse, leaving a large gaping wound on the bottom of her foot allowing the parasites even easier access to attack her body. If we try to kick God away and allow Satan to drive a wedge between us and Him when we are already in pain all it will do is allow Satan even easier access to attack us in the future. In turn we must allow God’s mercy to completely consume us and rest in His presence until He frees us of whatever pain we are in. Just like for the little girl it is often not the shortest road to recovery, but it is the best way to be healed.
When talking to Jake and Suzanne, Suzanne brought up the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and how God chose them and allowed them to be thrown into the fire. When King Nebuchadnezzar said bow to his idol, they had a choice, they could get down and bow to something that wasn’t their god or they could stand and say what they said:
”17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
In a nutshell they were saying ‘no matter what kind of pain you can inflict on us we will not forsake our God, because He will not forsake us.’ Think about that!!! Somebody is going to throw you into the fire and ALL you have to do to not be thrown into the fire is bow down! Thousands of years later and Satan’s playbook is still the same- he tries to fool us into thinking that he can really hurt us beyond what God can heal us from. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew that this was one of Satan’s lies and more importantly they had no doubt in the sovereignty of their Father.
If you know the story you know what happens next- King Nebuchadnezzar orders them to be thrown into the fire. This is when his world starts to get rocked.
”24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire? They replied, “Certainly, O king.” 25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s hope in The Lord resulted in Jesus’ visible physical presence in their lives. I know after everything that Kelly and I have been through over the past two months that the Holy Spirit has definitely been present in our lives. I can testify to this not only because of feeling His presence, but I know without Him we would not have been able to make it through the past two months and have the hope that we have.
Pain often has a “stinch” that comes with it. When you are experiencing that pain all you can smell when you breath is that stinch that just permeates your whole life. When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were in the fire I am sure they could smell the fire that was all around them, but when God delivered them from the fire
”27b They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.”
God removed all outward signs of the ordeal that they had experienced. For the rest of their lives I am sure that they could vividly remember the events of that day, but they no longer had to smell the stinch of what they had experienced.
As a result of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s obedience, others’ lives like King Nebuchadnezzar were transformed,
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”
For Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego their lives were changed as well, “ 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
When we experience pain in our lives we must not forsake God, because not only will He not forsake us, He will use that pain to change others as well as refine us and bless us by drawing us closer to Him. In order for him to do that we must trust and hope of the glory of God.
”2bwe rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Click here to see the rest of the set.
This photo captures a story I will tell my grandchildren. Myself, Josephine and Patrick are riding on the cab of an old deuce and half truck. The truck had no battery or starter so it took about 10 of us to push it to pop the clutch to get it started. Then we all piled on in the bed and on the roof of the cab to ride down to the river to pickup rocks. In addition to lacking a starter and battery, this truck also lacked brakes. So basically you held on like the dickens when you took turns since all you could do to slow down was downshift. In order to stop you aimed for a flat area and ran into small rocks and trees to stop.
The view from sitting on top of the cab was amazing.
(The rocks we were getting were used as the foundation for the floors we were pouring in the school’s classrooms. On top of the rocks was poured concrete in order to prevent bugs from coming out of the ground and infecting the children’s feet as they sat in class.)
Take 30 seconds and ask yourself, what are the top 3 most important things in your life? Now that you have those, how do you show those things that you value them- odds are it is with your time or with your money.
Over the past 24 days I have begun to realize what is really important in my life. It wasn’t always what should have been important. It is amazing how losing your daughter will rock your world so much that you begin to question everything. When I say everything, I mean everything. Stuff that used to be a big deal all of a sudden seems insignificant. It no longer matters that Kelly loves to throw all of her shirts in the laundry inside out. I used to wonder why she couldn’t just turn them right side out so that when you fold clothes you don’t have to turn 12 of them right side out at once. I no longer wonder that, I’m just glad to have a wife whose t-shirts I can fold.
Since May 12, 2009 Kelly and my marriage has been closer and stronger than it has been over the past 6 years. For that, I am thankful. I wish that He could have done that in some other way, but he didn’t. I used to say that “I loved my wife,” but not in the way that I can say that same statement now after all we have been through. She is amazing, which most people already know, but to walk through this whole stage in our live together (or more accurately be carried by Jesus through it) has shown me time and time again how perfectly God designed her for me.
It amazes me how quickly I came to realize how precious each moment that we have been given really is. For me it took having next 18 years of your life planned upon raising a beautiful daughter come to a screeching halt. For you I pray that it does not take an event like mine. I hope in your life as you go through the next few days you will stop and realize what a blessing certain things are, while at the same time realizing how unimportant other things are. We must learn to identify these unimportant things in order to prevent them from robbing us in time and in joy from the important things. I say “we” because I know how easily I can forget and slip back to my old ideology of what is truly important.
If you get nothing else out of this post, I hope you at least will look at the things that seem difficult in your life and examine them with a much larger lens. Also, look at the people that are most important in your life and find out if they actually feel as valued as you think you value them. If you find discrepancies in these two areas make changes RIGHT NOW!
On Saturday May 16th at 6:58PM Kelly gave birth to our daughter Elizabeth. She was 9 inches and weighed 8 ounces. With the exception of her cranium she was perfect in every way, all the way down to her tiny little fingernails.
We had 5 days between when we found out that Elizabeth had anencephaly and when she was born. Over those first 4 days, I began to expect that when she was born I was probably going to lose it emotionally. I figured that the birth was going to be the most difficult part of this whole ordeal. I assumed that I would probably pass out at some point during the birth because I don’t do well with the whole medical/blood/etc. stuff. I thought that Kelly and I would both be so devastated that we might not even want to see Elizabeth.
I was wrong. Very wrong.
The peace that the LORD provided for us and the calmness that he put in our hearts during the time of Elizabeth’s birth defies any explanation that I can even begin to give. As we sat in our room holding our daughter Kelly and I began to talk about the past 5 days and we realized that there was nothing that we could have asked for during that time that God had not provided for us, short of a miracle cure. We feel sure that curing Elizabeth was not God’s plan for this situation and know that because of that, he must have an even greater reason for all of this.
Over those 5 days we have been surrounded and lifted up by family and friends in ways that I would never have believed. We have learned how truly blessed we are with friends that would do anything for us at anytime of the day. We have been covered over and over again in prayers. We both agreed on every choice that we had to make during that time, which is huge- we usually have very different opinions on everything. We had a doctor that treated us with the respect that one would have for his own children. We had a delivery that couldn’t have gone any smoother. We had the peace of knowing that because of our great God, Elizabeth was with Him and had been healed.
I wish that I could describe the presence of God that was with us in that hospital room, but I can’t. Even if you know Jesus, it would probably defy your comprehension, like it still does mine. It is just one more thing in life that I don’t understand, but I do know that God is sovereign and He reigns over all of this and all that is to come.
This is not the end of the story, but rather the beginning of a great work.