Thursday, May 31, 2012

Friday Letters

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Dear Self,
No matter how that paper went yesterday, I'm proud that you got up and did it and didn't give up.


Dear Family,
I love you guys and I miss my nephew Jeremy! Sweetest little boy!


Dear KCB,
What's the point of sending me bank statements when the only money left in that account is the money you charged me. How do you charge ledger fees on a student account anyway? Of course a student doesn't have 100,000?- if I did, I would have opened a proper account not a students account! Sorry but I'm a Co-op bank girl now.


Dear Future hubz,
I pray for you daily, that God's drawing you closer and closer to His heart and that we be that couple that has crazy fun and laughs together daily. I promise to love you and adore you always.


Dear blog readers,
I know your there, I see the stats, but I wish I had more followers. I follow you guys, please follow me back! :-)


Dear Future self,
Send me a sign or something of where you are so I can get there. I'm at a crossroads.


Dear Jenn Johnson, 
If I land a spot after my audition, you deserve a little credit. You are an amazing leader, teacher, inspiration, singer/songwriter and I pray for God to continually bless you and increase you you guys' ministry.







Dear God,
I really pray for you to help me open some doors and maybe kick in the doors that are a bit stuck as regards the whole future life Fridays thing. Need a job, money, where to live etc.

Dear Jesus,
I'm so in love with you, how awesome are you! Seriously, you rock! I picture you as having cool swag and just loving on people and pouring out your love all the time. You hold nothing back. I want to think about how each of my choices affect you.


Dear Holy Spirit, 
Come.




Lovingly Yours,
Jo


Life Group

Remember at my audition when I got asked whether I'm in a Life Group and I said yes? Technically it's true, but the lifegroup I did my Mizizi with last year, hasn't really been consistent, the only reason I said yes, is we were supposed to meet that Saturday after the audition...which ended up not happening, it started raining, there was mis-communication, I was stuck at my audition till a bit later than I expected etc. etc.

Anyway, I took it as a sign that I really need to get off my ass and find a permanent LG. You need an LG to do life! I called one of my friends, P, and she's been trying to get me to come to the LG for the group I did my 1st Mizizi with 3 years ago when I first started going to the York House (previous youth church at Mavuno)

I finally went on Sunday and dragged Mich along and it was amazing. Yaani! It's exactly what I pictured LG being. We talked about the sermon, and the lessons we got through the week. I can't wait for the next one. It was different from my other group because we're all in college, so we could kinda relate better with each other, and there was a set "agenda" kind of, of what we were going to discuss.

I'd really like to get my other group together, we started together so, it would be awesome if we could finish together, but in the meantime, I'm thankful for my "old" group. I really hope I stay committed and we continue growing.

xx
Jo

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Career Crossroads


I invited BFF (Mich) to my Church for some much needed girl time after the service and it was such a breath of fresh air, girl time is the best! I finally got to "socialize at the Calabash" (Church food court)

Anyway, I was just telling her how I’ve realized how much I’ve come alive in God, how badly off I was and just how when I think back, I was under this crappy dark cloud, but right now I feel like I’m living for the first time; how I really feel like I want to give my life to this whole worship and ministry stuff. 

I told her one of my biggest fears about jumping into this, is that nobody just jumps into wanting to be a Pastor. I went to school for all this time, studying business, and accounting to get a starting job paying upwards of 40,000/- and build that to 200,000/- by the time I turned 30. Now all of a sudden, I jump into this whole other career, unpaid position for the first couple of years, iffy salary after that…what’s that about?! The money is a huge issue for me, I don’t want to be going to family reunions and my brother and sister roll up in Range Rovers and BMW’s and I’m in a 1999 Toyota Corrolla! Or (gasp!) public transportation, whop whop :-/ . There’s also the little fact of, “hey, how will I afford to go to ministry school or do an unpaid internship for a year?”

Most importantly though for me is this: husband and kids. I know it’s crazy, but I’m “that” person who’s concerned about a family she doesn’t even have yet. BFF knows this about me. For me, whoever I love, I love. I give everything. Maybe not so much in healthy ways before I knew the Lord, (but now that I do, I’m much, much better at that! LOL) I feel like it’s not a fluke that he made me this way; that I would put my husband and kids before anything outside of Him. So, loving this future imaginary family so much, how am I ever going to get there? 

What are the logistics of like a corporate guy marrying a lady worship pastor? So, how does a female worship pastor go on dates? Honestly, I don’t want to go through my 20’s unmarried. I want it to happen sooner rather than later! How do those two worlds collide? There’s also the fact that you should marry a person who has the same values and goals as you. So, ok, forget the corporate guy, if by some supernatural miracle of God, I meet this amazing guy, committed to God, wanting to build up churches and resource and do all that stuff for church and everything just lines up, do I have the patience to be a church wife, friend to all, mother to many?

Point is, I do want a career and success and achievements and yes, I want enough money to be comfortable and secure. I also want to find purpose in that job, to know that I’m helping, to have fun and to look forward to doing what I do. I do want a husband and kids and an amazing family that loves each other to death and serves the church together, and I don’t want to spend the next 5 years searching for said person and regretting not finding love sooner, when I’m 30 and single.

Is it crazy that I want so much? Is it greedy? If I did get it, would I be happy? Truthfully, I don’t know the answers to these questions. All I really know guys is this; I didn't just wake up one morning and decide this, remember I announced this to my class when I was 13 years old! I have had a few missteps along the way...enough to make a really juicy testimony, lol, but now the "calling" is back. I don't feel like I have a choice but to do it. 

Obviously I do, I can technically just jump into the corporate world, and still live, and have a safe, predictable life. What to me is just, as one poet put it, "alive, patiently waiting for death" or I could take the risk and jump into this, and come alive.

Anyway, so that's what's going on with me. This month's sermon series has been incredibly relevant to me. I still have a couple of months before I'm done with College, so I have plenty of time to make plans, and I;m going to use what Pastor M taught us,

1. Read The Bible
2. Pray
3. Seek Godly advice
4. Look beyond the circumstances

Anybody ever been at a career crossroad, would love some advice!

xx
Jo


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Worship Night!

Our church had its monthly worship night this past Friday, I tell you, it was amazing! I got there at around 6:30, people were still grabbing coffee and refreshments, then we started with some prayer...we did the whole "pray for your neighbor" thing and I always, always get paired up with someone who prays better than me...you know the type of prayers that you just want to keep quiet and listen to because they sound so powerful? I should have told that guy he needed to join the intercessors team, he was really good. Anyway, yes I prayed too!

After that, we got into the worship part of the night. The band was AMAZING! The sound was really good. Most importantly though, you guys know I love worshiping and its always a different experience, this time was great because it just got to a point where I realized, it's not about me, it's all about Him. Whether I like the song currently playing or not or whether or not I like the person leading or not, whether or not people around me are sitting down and I want to kneel or jump up and down is irrelevant, at that moment, I just have to make Him my focus, praising Him, crying out for Him, dancing my butt off for Him, lol.

We learnt a couple of new songs, I'm gonna have to figure out a way I can upload sound to my blog, so that I can put up new songs I've learnt/am working on. That would be kinda fun for future generations.

Anyway, it was such an amazing night, I can't even tell you. Being with other people who are as passionate, or even more passionate as you are about God, is an amazing thing. There are some amazing people living in this world of ours, Church was full, arms were raised, tears were shed, there was an in-door competition of who could jump the highest, dance the hardest and sing the loudest. People were just lost in worship. LOVE!

You know the Kim Walker Smith song, "Open Up Heavens" where she goes, "open up heaven, we will party with the angels..." I'll put it up...



I've just been picturing that all weekend. Like, the Bible says, there's a party in heaven every time someone comes back to the Father. I can picture the angels being like "Bam! In our face!" or "Whoop! There he is!" every single time someone gets baptized or turns their life around. In revelations, it says, the heavenly beings spend eternity singing praises to God.

We're kinda lucky to have a taste of that here on earth. A chance to remind yourself, you are not alone, you're not the one in control and you can't carry the world on your shoulders.

That said, worship night was amazing, and I'm happy I finally got our car back and I got the chance to go. I am not alone, I am not in control and I don't have to carry the world on my shoulders.

xx
Jo

Monday, May 28, 2012

My First Auditions!

I auditioned for my Church's Worship Team!

I hadn't told anyone this until the actual day (Saturday), even though I signed up almost a month and a half ago. I was just really nervous and embarrassed. Anyway, it was pretty amazing, in a fun way. I have never ever in my life sang in front of anyone, except for one time in High School at a C.U talent show, which I barely remember.

I got there, late - there was some crazy 2-hours-for-a-20-minute-drive traffic in account of the Mater Heart Run at Nyayo Stadium. I honestly thought I'd missed the audition.

I got there though and met a friend who kinda calmed me down. (The guy who introduced me to the person in-charge of the audition...thanks manu!) Put my name down, and waited for my number (11) Everybody was kinda singing and rehearsing, but I just couldn't. It's the whole, "cramming before a test" thing, plus I was just too scared to sing in front of anyone and get my confidence shattered 5 minutes before getting on stage.

Talked with a great girl who was also going up and we ended up driving home together, (hey Nat!)

So, I finally got called up and one of the "judges" was the Pastor (Mike) who did my interview for my Baptism, the other lady was the one I've been liaising with to get the details for the day (Doris), and on the keyboard was one of the amazing vocalists/leaders from the services (Osayi).

Anyway, they asked me why I wanted to join, I said, I love music and I love worship. Then they asked of I have a life group and I said yes. Then they asked me to sing my favorite song. For the record, I've only sang the two rehearsal songs they sent us the whole week, so I hadn't practiced anything else, but I ended up singing "God I Look To You" by my all-time favorite W.L, Jenn Johnson from Bethel Music. Then I did the chorus from 1 of the audition songs, "Mighty to Save" by Hillsong United, then we did what I think is called an Appreggio, where the keyboardist plays notes and you have to repeat them by ear. I think it went OK.



But, then they asked me to hang back, and after a while, I got called back to sing with a Soprano and a Tenor. (I'm alto) It sounded horrible, so that knocked my confidence down to the floor! The soprano was so high and I didn't know how I was supposed to blend, or IF I was supposed to blend or just stick to my voice...I've never sang with anyone before!

Anyway, waiting for news...I really hope I get in. I need to be actively involved in Church and this is the best way for me right now, because I'm so passionate about this. Also planning on getting involved with some of the classes they have at Church, maybe co-lead a group, get some experience prepping for a session and teaching. Might really help me if I get into ministry.

Anyway, would love love love your prayers over this!

xx
Jo

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Worship Team Auditions

By the time you're reading this, I will be on my way to audition for Worship Team at my church. I write so much about music and worship and sing so much in the shower, I figured it was time to take this public. This is funny for a couple of reasons, I have never actually sang in front of anyone...except for that one time I performed Toby Mac's Made To Love You at a Talent Show in High School...that wasn't too bad...

I really want to do this. I want to be connected in Church and I feel like this is what I should do. Since I got saved and baptized and everything, I've always known mentally, that I was saved, but it never really connected with me until I experienced worship that it all changed for me. I realize everything I do is an act of worship, but there's something about music and voices lifted up that's just amazing and powerful to me.



I am honestly in freak out mode. I don't really know what to expect. I cannot even fathom being rejected...or being bad and not knowing I'm bad and getting those pity looks from the auditoners (?) I guess I'm just going to go up there, pretend I'm in my bedroom and just go crazy...I WISH we were choosing our own songs! I'd have done a Bethel song or a Kim-Walker song and I'd be extremely comfortable in that!

Anywhoo, these are the songs I'm singing...

I Need You...Tye Tribbett
At first glance this seemed like the harder song, but it ended up being the easier one, its loud and fun. There are a lot of ad-libs which I have no idea what to do with, I mean do you copy what the guy's saying or come up with your own. I kinda have my own stuff in mind, but I guess I'll go with the moment.



Mighty To Save...Hillsong
At first glance, this seemed like the easier song, but it's kinda harder to sing...watching a couple of tutorials to see if I can get any tips.




Friday, May 25, 2012

Future Life Fridays - YWAM Nashville

This edition of FLF features, Youth With a Mission in Nashville, Tennessee.



Pros
1. I LOVE Nashville, or any part of Tennnessee really
2. Practical training

Cons
1. I can't find the Church it's affiliated to so I don't know the leadership
2. Haven't really heard of it

Financial:
Discipleship Training School :: Phase 1 (4 months) $2990, Phase 2 (5 months) $3290, Phase 3 Outreach (depends on circumstance 5 months) including, meals, accommodation
School of Ministry Development :: Phase 1 (4 months) $2990, Phase 2 (5 months) $3290, Phase 3 Outreach (depends on circumstance 5 months) including, meals, accommodation




Monday, May 21, 2012

The Spirit Never Sleeps

I once heard, I think it was either Danny Silk or Kris Vallotton say, the spirit doesn't sleep and sometimes, God shows us something and we disregard it as a dream:

(Joel 2:28 [NET])
After all of this ​​​​​​I will pour out my Spirit on all kinds of people. ​​​​​​Your sons and daughters will prophesy. ​​​​​​Your elderly will have revelatory dreams; ​​​​​​your young men will see prophetic visions.


(Dan 7:1 [NET])
In the first year of King Belshazzar of Babylon, Daniel had a dream filled with visions while he was lying on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream in summary fashion.

I love hearing pastors speak. From a young age, actually since they started broadcasting Christian TV in my country, I’ve loved watching men and women of God speak and teach about the Bible. 

There’s something totally different though about God speaking directly to you.

A young student write once about encountering God in worship and her conversation went like this;

“I asked Him if it hurt when the nails stabbed His skin
I felt a glimpse of wracking pain,
Made me grimace from within
Then with a smile He took it back
The memory His own
‘Oh, it hurt, but there is so much to know;
Torture worse than nails and pain beyond belief,
A future never knowing you, it would have always been to Me’”

Over the past couple of months, (wow, almost 5 months) as I've been focussing on getting deeper in love with God and making Him my one desire, there have been plenty of times I've heard Him speak to me, with the Bible or through other people or through certain situations. There are also sweet random moments, when I'm praying and I sort of can gauge His reaction and what He'd say back, either through experience of what I've studied in the Bible and how it'd translate in that situation, or just something totally random.

I truly believe that sometimes, He does speak directly to us, but at the same time, our minds are incredibly, tricky I guess, and you really have to discern whether your speaking to yourself or really hearing something. Like Jenn Johnson said, you have to look at natural situations through the lens of His word. If a revelation doesn't conform to His word, its false.

Acts 17:11 "....for they eagerly received the message, examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if the things Paul and the others taught them were taught were true

So, I journal a lot on these instances, and this is one of them. One time during (private) worship, I was singing and then God asked me, "How much do you love me? How much do you want me? Why do you want me? I was just weeping, like "More than anything! I want you more than anything! Because your all I have, your all I want, you made me free, I come alive in you!" Then God says, "I love you Joanne. I love you Joanne. My blood is strong enough to break the chains of fear and regret holding you back, my heart will break the chains and you will be free to live. He also says, I am the source of your joy, I will provide, I am the source of your future and the script I'm writing for you is way better than anything any Hollywood guy ever wrote...trust your future to me."

This honestly still gets me a little teary, its what I needed to hear that day, and every day really, and this might be exactly what you need to hear today, and maybe you need to answer those 3 questions too.

Another thing that happened that I thought was kinda cool, was one time last week I was praying and I saw myself in this room with a lot of little round tables with vases of flowers on them. Like white daisies, only instead of the yellow center, they had purple centers, I don't know what those flowers are called. I knew for sure that God was in that room, I don't know how to explain it, if I felt it or I saw it, I just...it was just something...and I knew 100%. It just got me thinking, our prayers to God from an open and honest heart (i.e. if your mad, be mad, if you're hormonal, be hormonal, if you've got questions, ask them...most importantly, be relational instead of being steeped in religion) Prayers from an open heart, just seeking to connect are like a fresh fragrance to God, and now that I think about it, His presence in that room, is kinda like saying, God inhabits the praises of His people and He's in the midst of our prayers.

Just thought I'd share some cool things that have happened of late, there are a bunch more, but lets just start from there. I wasn't really this type of person who believed all this stuff. I knew God was out there and that He loves us and wants to connect with us, but never literally! It's kinda crazy! But having only had a taste of it, I'm hooked, I want more! I'm still nervous, but I think my desire to actually experience something outweighs the nerves. We've got a worship night coming up this week, so hopefully, we'll see.









Blogging

My mom and I were talking about how I went in to donate blood a couple of weeks ago and got rejected because my blood (Hb) count was lower than the normal 14. This basically means I don't get enough iron and stuff in my diet. Anyway, my mom and I were arguing as to what the actual number was, she was like "it was 12.4!" and I was adamant that it was less than 12. I took out my phone and checked my Facebook, because I'd updated it that day, after my hospital visit and it turned out it was 12. What did we do before online journals?!

I love blogging because I can look back and see what I not only did at a particular time, but I also see pictures and see my train of thought. That's pretty cool.




The main reason I blog though, is because I read blogs, and other people's blogs have changed my life. After many random Google searches, I've stumbled upon many ordinary people like me, who wrote ordinary words about their lives and inspired me in one way or another.




For instance, reading this blog, long since abandoned, by an amazing girl chronicling her life at Bethel School of Worship, and she writes about an encounter she had with God and I love this. Like, burst into tears love this... 


“I asked Him if it hurt when the nails stabbed His skin
I felt a glimpse of wracking pain,
Made me grimace from within
Then with a smile He took it back
The memory His own
‘Oh, it hurt, but there is so much to know;
Torture worse than nails and pain beyond belief,
A future never knowing you, it would have always been to Me’”

How beautiful is that??? This girl simply wrote about a conversation she had with Jesus in a random moment and years later, it impacted me. That's what I hope from my blog. That one day, someone will live in the impact of my stuck-in-front-of-my-computer-typing-my-heart-out-because-I-can-do-nothing-more.



I'd especially love it if you'd hop on over to my Bent Reeds blog, click on the tab at the top of the page. I do posts here about little ways I'm growing in love with God here, but there its full on, the unabridged version. Also, for a little musical break, click on The Sound tab right up there for tons of my favorite videos and lyrics.


xx
Jo

Friday, May 18, 2012

How Far Would You Go?

OK serious post time! Bear with me guys :-) :-) :-)

3 things really unnerved me this past week.

1. Is that scene in The Avengers where the villain Loki, after destroying buildings and blasting people with his ray gun thingy, stands over a crowd of people scared to death and tells them to bow before him. Everybody bows and Loki goes on and on about how he is the greatest being in the universe, humans are pathetic and need a ruler blah blah blah, and one old man stands up and says he won't bow. Loki challenges him and the man says he wont bow to a guy like him, he's no king...or something to that effect.
It kinda got me thinking, one day, I'll be challenged over my faith. It happens and it will happen, and it may be in a small setting like an interaction with a stranger in public, or it might be huge, where I'm asked to choose between Jesus and life. I saw the fear in that crowd's life, they were facing a horrible death, I was scared and I was sitting in a theater! My point is, as a Christian, I have to be so rooted in faith and belief that I can stand and say Jesus is better that anything that wants to stand before Him. Better than money, better than public support or popularity, better than relationships, better than LIFE. He is life. I'm not there yet, but God, I desperately want to be there.

2. I watched an old episode of 7th Heaven, where Simon talks to a Holocaust Survivor and she speaks of her family dying in the gas chambers and ovens. That just breaks my heart in pieces and I even had to stop and hold back the tears when I wrote this.
A couple of days later, I saw on the 700 Club, the story of the Milgram Experiment. Where a group of Yale Psych dept. members were asked by an authority figure to administer electric shocks of increments of 15v to someone else (an actor). The test was to see how far the Yalees (subjects) would go to please the authority figure before being convicted by their conscience to stop. At each voltage spike the actor would scream in pain and when the Yalee would want to stop, the authority would say,
  1. Please continue.
  2. The experiment requires that you continue.
  3. It is absolutely essential that you continue.
  4. You have no other choice, you must go on.
If the Yalee wanted to stop after all four successive verbal prods, the experiment was halted. Otherwise, they stopped after the subject had given the maximum 450-volt shock three times in succession. 26 of 40 Yalees gave the full 450v, despite being apprehensive, nauseous, anxious etc.

When someone you respect asks you to do something you're uncomfortable with, how far would you go before you spoke up?

God, help your voice, my conscience and my will not be drowned out or subdued because it's easier to say yes to a person towering over me than to walk away.

3. Tying into this holocaust story, is this murder case going on in the States. It's easy as a Kenyan to look at this and think, a racist gets away with shooting an innocent kid, but as I read the fact of this case, I'm ashamed at looking at it as a matter of race, because it goes far beyond that. We live in a world that's full of fear and hate.
We're fearful because we've seen things and heard things and gone through experiences of hatred. Even in Kenya we went through the Post-Election Violence not because it mattered who was president or not. not because Luos and Kikuyus are enemies, but as a result of hate in the world today.
Authority figures or even random people spark something up and perpetuate the fires of hatred for their own good, and it poisons us and seeps down through the generations.
We have a duty as human beings who call ourselves evolved and open-minded to erase the hate from our lives, from our families, from our communities. Fear and hate led to the holocaust, fear and hate led to the P.E.Violence, fear and hate led to a kid's death.

God, help me spread love and not hate. Help me see people as you see them and not as a representation of the lies and mistakes of others

xx
Jo




Future Life Fridays -BSSM


On this edition of Future Life Fridays, we feature one of my picks for a Church Internship, Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. 

 {via}

Pros
1. I love Bill Johnson's and Kris Vallotton's sermons. I respect how they are all about living what they preach, I respect their ability to not rely on public opinion but on God's opinion and their teachings are Bible centered and God focussed
2. I love Bethel music and to get to learn under them would be an incredible experience
3. Redding is a beautiful city with lots of outdoorsy stuff to do and normal climate
4. More affordable than most
5. Get to grow in maturity and confidence as a Christian and a Leader
6. Emphasis on loving Holy Spirit which is neglected in a lot of new churches
7. What's more inspirational than Banning Liebscher and the impact he's made on youth and young adults?
I could go on and on

Cons
1. Honestly, I just have one issue, which is a couple of pictures I saw online of some apparent BSSM students who went on a field trip to a cemetery. It's a flimsy con, because for all I know those pictures could be fake...anyway, just thought I'd be honest

Anyway, here's the breakdown from their website:

Mission: the school emphasizes that believers need to return to the ministry of signs and wonders—to minister in love, truth and the power of God. The mission of BSSM is to equip and deploy followers of Jesus Christ who passionately pursue transformation in their God-given spheres of influence. Students are trained to continue in the ministry style of Jesus: to enjoy the presence of God, say what He is saying, and do what He is doing.

Atmosphere: Boldness, passion and risk are center stage in Bethel’s school.  Emphasizes hands on training and experience along with academic understanding. This creates a do and teach culture where all of the students are expected to take risks to stretch their faith and grow in their understanding of God. BSSM believes that each verse of the Bible is an invitation into an experience with the Lord, therefore the students are challenged to live the Bible. This produces a class environment that often feels very much like a laboratory where disciples practice the things they are being taught while instructors coach the process and all this takes places in a setting of passionate worship.

Student Life: in-class hours are Monday through Thursday from 12:45 to 5:30, the school is full-time, five-days a week - minimum. The other hours consist of learning through homework, from an author or from the Holy Spirit as the students read the Word, attend services, serve on ministry teams, soaking & prayer times of personal devotion, living the supernatural lifestyle in an honorable way at work, and more. It's designed to equip students to live a supernatural lifestyle, not just minister in the gifts of the Spirit. They are encouraged to be naturally supernatural by bringing heaven to earth wherever they go. 
Therefore BSSM by design, does not have dorms. Instead we encourage students to live in the outreach neighborhoods and get jobs in the local area so that they can practice bringing Jesus to the market place as a part of their learning experience. Most of our students work part-time jobs while they attend school.
The school has no general restriction on dating for our single people, which is so common to most ministry schools. Rather, we have chosen to teach our students how to have healthy relationships and live in purity. 
Of course, learning without a lot of external restrictions creates a need for a high level of discipleship, personal responsibility and accountability in the lives of our students. This is accomplished through small group interaction and a covenant community which embraces honesty, transparency and confrontation.

Academic Life: Taught by apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers - not by professors or theologians. BSSM students learn how to read, understand, and “do” the Bible - how to cast out demons, witness, heal the sick, prophesy, preach, pray, practice His presence and much more.
The BSSM students learn in large group sessions, revival groups of 60-70 people, small groups of 5, and on their own. 
There are also classes entitled Advance Ministry Training. Here, students choose the subjects they are passionate about and called to train in; areas such as leading worship, children’s ministry, preaching, prophecy, intercession, intimacy with God, youth, and career ministry. .
Reading on your own time is expected and is a large part of our curriculum. There are approximately 2400 pages of mandatory reading throughout the year. That works out to 10 pages of reading everyday of the 240 days from beginning to graduation. That’s on top of 2-3 chapters of the Word daily. So plan on reading 30 – 60 minutes a day minimum.

Finances:(doesn't include housing, food, living expenses) 


Non-Refundable application fee:
$35 = 2,800/-
Tuition:
Includes 1-2 closed-circuit television conferences a year, textbooks and costs of city outreaches:
$4,200 = 336,000/-
Expenses not covered by tuition:
Cost of an optional mid-year missions trip

$0 - $3,500 = 280,000/-
International Students: A lot of information and support is given here

Sounds pretty good, huh?

xx
Jo

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ravioli Recipe

I've always wanted tot try making homemade pasta and after I saw this homemade Chicken Noodle Soup recipe on Ruthie's blog, I knew it had to be a sign! :-) She included the recipe on how to make the noodles, and I used that to make my pasta for the ravioli.

For the Stuffing and Sauce
1 kg (2 pounds) of ground beef
2 small onions
2 tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 triangles of Happy Cow soft cheese
4 tablespoons of cheddar cheese (chopped into small pieces)
1 tablespoon of your favorite spice mix
1 cup chicken stock

1. Fry the onions till they're translucent, add garlic and fry until slightly browned
2. Add beef and brown
3. Add tomatoes and spices and let cook. If it starts drying out, add a couple of spoons of chicken stock.
4. Reduce until all the liquid is gone
5. Add happy cow cheese triangles, cover and let 'em melt then mix it all up
6. Add your cheddar cheese chops and turn down the heat before it all melts.
7. Take out about 3/4 of the cheesy meat filling and set aside for the stuffing
8. Add the chicken stock and bring to a low boil and reduce until it thickens up to sauce consistence

For The Dough
1 cup all purpose flour plus a little extra for the counter
2 eggs

 1. Throw the eggs into the sifted flour

 2. Knead the dough until it's tough but not dry. If it gets a dry, try splashing some water on your hands and continue to knead.

3. Let the dough sit, covered by a damp cloth for about 20 minutes, apparently this gives the gluten some time to relax after being worked so much.

4.  Roll the dough out until its as thin as you can get it, but use your judgment because your going to be stuffing them in a bit.

 5. Cut the sheet in half and scoop your filling onto one half leaving enough room in between each scoop to totally seal them

 6. For a little extra "sealage" and to make them look like pasta and not just clumps of dough, press the edges down with a fork

 7. Boil in SALTED water for about 7-10 minutes, but this depends on your size, mine were a liitle bit HUGE!

8. Remove from water and serve in sauce


xoxo
Jo

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How to Stick to Your Calling


I have this issue of Jesus picking favorites i.e. John. I guess it’s a good idea, not to look at Jesus as you know the top of the clique and picking His favorites. I have to understand this context. At that point in His life, Jesus had only been in ministry for a couple of years. He didn’t have a huge following like He does now. He picked a couple of ordinary guys who he could walk with. Out of these 12, we get the whole, "many are called but few are chosen" line. 

Jesus looked more at the hearts of these people, at their devotion to him, at their potential, which everyone had potential. He never turned anybody away and made each person feel like they belonged. When he was healing the sick, I don’t think his mind was like “these guys are wasting my time and I really wanted to hang out with John,” In fact when he was resting with the disciples and people came up to him and the disciples tried to turn them away, he says “no let them come.” As long as you press in after him, he won’t turn you away.

Many are called, but few are chosen, and being chosen in God’s context is totally different from the world’s. It’s not about being more special, more gifted, more of anything than anybody else. In fact, Jesus has a reputation for picking the least special. It’s about your heart and how badly you want God, and how much you press in to meet him. Abraham was full of faith, Noah was righteous, Esther was courageous, but even in all these traits that these heroes of the Bible are known for, they had their weaknesses, Abraham didn’t believe Sarah would get pregnant, Noah got drunk, Esther was scared about stepping out and Mordecai had to encourage (if not push her)

For me, right now, I’m called, but I’m scared and discontent. Doubts fill my head ever so often. I’m scared of the Holy Spirit wrecking me, because I’m afraid my heart will explode, either out of fear of that supernatural encounter or out of fear that I’ll just be so full of love and emotion and joy and all that (God, I was horrible and evil, yet you still came to me) or out of fear that I’ll just lose control.

So at the same time, I’m learning about Jesus, how he only wants the best for us, and how his love didn’t come to steal, kill or destroy my life, but to give me life.

I’m also learning about sin. Man, the devil does not give you a break. Honestly, last night I went from questioning if Jesus has picked me, if he cares about me, to feelings of worthlessness, straight on to my old patterns of sin. Depressed->comfort food->maybe I should give that old boyfriend a call. I just opened one of the sermons on my computer and played it on a loop until I fell asleep (clutching my Bible to my chest) and God is faithful, my mom called me and cheered me up for absolutely no reason, just to check up on me. And there I was doubting Him, smh!

Sin is inevitable in the life of a human. Jenn Johnson said it best, “Everybody poops, but you’ve gotta flush!” Temptation is all around us and because we were born out of sin, that sinful nature is ingrained in us. However when we got saved, Jesus shed his blood to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

We put to death that old sinful nature and became clothed in the righteousness of Jesus. Problem is, once you become conditioned to do something, it’s hard to break old habits. This is why the Bible splits into two the heart and the mind. Your heart is changed instantly because the Holy Spirit takes root and changes your heart, that old sinful nature is taken out of you. The mind though needs renewing. The bible says if we say we have fellowship with him, yet keep walking in the darkness that’s a lie (1 John 1:6) This means, for a true life change/revival/renewal, we break the old habits, by building new habits and conditioning ourselves to holiness. So, obviously this could take time, but it’s inevitable. A change of heart will lead to a change of mind. You have to consciously choose to do right in a situation and soon, it will come naturally. We have to choose to walk in the light as he is in the light. 

In the meantime though, we might still sin, and this sin might lead to consequences that we have to suffer here on earth, but we have an advocate in Jesus, who atoned for our sins. 1 John 2:1. This isn’t a license to sin, like I said, on earth we will reap the consequences of that, if you rob a bank, you’ll go to jail, if you lie to your mom, you’ll feel guilty. 

Think about it this way, when I get married, and my husband forgets my birthday, I’ll be hurt, but of course I’ll forgive him. If I forget his birthday, of course he’ll forgive me, but, even though I know his forgiveness will always be forthcoming, why would I want to disappoint someone that I love? When we sin, we’ve already been forgiven, because Jesus already shed the blood to cover our sins, and love covers a multitude of sins, but why would I want to hurt someone I love? It’s not just about the blood, the sin, heaven, hell. It’s about love. It’s about connection. When someone expresses love in its purest, truest form, why would you want to return that by hate?

1 John 5:1 says, "For this is the love of God that we keep his commandments, and his commandments do not weigh us down, because everybody who’s been fathered by God has conquered the world.

Like I said, last night, I was tempted to go back to my old pattern of sin, and Jesus would have forgiven me, that’s a given, but to hear the devil laughing in my ear, telling me I’m such a failure. I hate that. I don’t want to hear those words ever again. Even worse, to lose all that I’ve worked hard for, in building this connection with God again, losing that tiny measure of Holy Spirit that’s been placed on me so far and shutting down the Holy Spirit in me, and letting Him see me like that. I can’t do that again.

This applies to major issues, like sexual immorality and minor issues like, lying.

So, how do we stay true to God, to our calling and kick temptation's butt at the same time?

  1. Remember, just because you’re chosen, it doesn’t mean you take your gifting and keep it to yourself. That’s why John says, what we have seen we announce to you also: 1 John 1:2 It's for the good of the Church and for the community.
  2. The love of God is perfected in those who obey Him, like in Jesus. We have to walk as Jesus walked: 1 John 2:5-6
  3. John says it twice in 1 John chapters 1 and 2; salvation doesn’t end at the prayer. If you say you’re saved, but you walk in the darkness, it’s a lie. Salvation results in change.
  4. If I keep the commandments, I reside in God and God resides in me, and God in me is shown by the Holy Spirit he gave me: 1 John 3:23-24
  5. There are many false teachers among us, and we should test them. Every spirit should say Jesus came in the flesh from God: 1 John 4:2
Remember the mission of Christ can be summed up as LOVE and RELATIONSHIP not LAWS and REGULATIONS
John talks a lot about love:

  1. Love is sacrifice like Jesus gave his life
  2. We should love one another because love is from God, and EVERYONE who loves has been fathered by God and knows God: 1 John 4:7
  3. God is love: 1 John 4:8
  4. Love isn’t that we loved God, but that He loves us and sent his son to atone for our sin 1 John 4:10
  5. We come to know and believe in love God has in us: 1 John 4:16 But this love is perfected in us, so that we might have confidence in the day of judgment
  6. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear, because fear has to do with punishment and there is no punishment in love. 1 John 4:18
  7. Everybody who believes in Jesus, can call God father. We should love everybody fathered by God 1 John 5:1

Finally, John ends his 2nd letter by saying guard yourself from idols  in 2 John 5:21. We know from experience that teptation comes up from the idols we've placed in our lives, for example, if I'm a lover of money, it's easy to be tempted to sin, if I'm a lover of immediate gratification, I'm more inclined to take the easy way out and cheat or lie or have affairs when things aren't going well at home.

John says if we guard ourselves from idols, we develop FAITH, EXCELLENCE, KNOWLEDGE, SELF-CONTROL, PERSEVERENCE, GODLINESS, BROTHERLY AFFECTION, UNSELFISH LOVE

If these things are mine and continuously increasing, they will keep me from becoming ineffective and unproductive in my pursuit of knowing Jesus more intimately. However if I forget these things, I’m blind or nearsighted because I’ve forgotten about the cleansing of my past sin. I should also be sure of my calling and election so, I won’t stumble into sin and entry into the Kingdom of Jesus will be richly provided for me.



22nd Birthday Recap Part 2 - Gifts and Outfit of the Day

I got a couple of things I was really looking forward to...

(If you know me, I'm all about Bethel Church and Jesus Culture, and this book is written by the Pastors from Bethel Church and Jesus Culture. It's 40 chapters of excerpts from Banning Liebscher, Bill and Beni Johnson, Kris Vallotton, Danny Silk and Kevin Dodmon)






I have wanted this Bible since forever. I've been looking for a Bible that I can read for the rest of my "adult life" that was a bit more age appropriate, that looked good and that I'd actually enjoy reading. This fit all my categories. It has a brown leather cover, with a flap, its small enough to fit in a purse, it's got this black part that looks really nice and the gold dust on the sides looks pretty good. Its also New Living Translation which I LOVE to read because it's so easy to understand, and Jesus' words are in red which I've always wanted. Wanted to get this last month, but it's a bit expensive for a Bible ad I couldn't justify buying it. THANK GOD FOR BIRTHDAYS, huh?

Last but not least is my guitar. I dont have pictures of this guitar because it's still in the store. My mom gifted me with some cash to go buy one, but once I got to the store, a lot of other costs got thrown in. 
CPK Acoustic Gutar 8500/-
or
Yamaha Acoustic Guitar 11000/-
plus
Guitar bag 2000/-
Tuner 2700/-
Other accessories, extra strings, picks 500/- 

So right now, I need to take some time and figure out these choices as well as save for the bag, tuner, and accessories. Hopefully in June/July?

OK, and finally on the Birthday front, of course I had to do my #ootd

 Sandals from a stall in Bus Station, Top and Jeans from Moi Avenue, Stars Jacket from Ngara

xoxo
Jo


Sunday, May 13, 2012

22nd Birthday Recap Part 1


Honestly, I didn’t want to recreate the magic of birthday parties with my dad, the way I see it, those are awesome memories and not a lot of people have that with their dads, not even my brother and sister. Someday, I’ll have a family and maybe we’ll do that together but for now, I love the memories and I don’t want to plan more bad parties that’ll cloud out the memories of the great ones. This was the best one I’ve had in 4 years. Low-key and totally me:

So, I switched off my alarm and planned on sleeping in, but at exactly midnight, my best friend Reuben, from College called me and wished me a Happy Birthday. In my books, it’s not a birthday unless someone wakes you up at midnight! So, I’m thankful for that, but after that I did put my phone on silent because I was really looking forward to sleeping in. I won’t lie; it does kind of suck being single on your birthday, but … OK, no but, it sucks. Anyway, so, I wake up to a couple of missed calls and texts and I love each of these people, my morning army, Prossy, Paschale, Z, Allan, even Safaricom wished me a Happy Birthday ha! I have to confess I was checking my phone and Facebook all day to read any new birthday messages; you act like it doesn’t mean anything but it really does lol. My brother also sent me some cash as a treat.

I got out of the bed and immediately loved that the weather looked like this and it didn’t rain all day…MIRACLE! Another miracle is that there was absolutely no traffic to town and back!

our street

So, afterwards, I turned on Bethel Music and Jesus Culture and had an incredible time singing in my room. I’m just grateful to God for yet another year and as much as situations are tricky, I’m so lucky because I have Him, and He’s given me a heart for Him. What I do with it is up to me, but He’s blessed me and I’m grateful to that. This is such an important year, it’s when I finish College, decide on whether to job-hunt or join the Church and do a church internship, although my heart is for the latter, I have to make a firm decision this year. I just pray that this year, I stay committed to Him and that I’ll always remember it as the year God did incredible things in my life and grew my love for Him. I want to grow in my purpose and live out my dreams and hopes. This is also the year I probably start the journey to move cities and I truly need Him on that. It was a fun time just having fun dancing around and worshipping. My official birthday song is Matt Stinton from Bethel Music singing This Is What You Do. God, you make me come alive!


OK, then I got all dolled up:



and went to town, where I got to do this


IMAX Kenya source

And see him

THOR!!!
And him

 
Captain America
And him 

Hawk Eye
 
ALL IN 3D!!!

And carry home these

Mexican Fiesta & Chicken n Mushroom


OK this week, I'll do a gifts recap, I cant wait to show you what I got!

BEST BIRTHDAY YET!!!

xx
Jo

Moms and Daughters

I have the best mom. I grew up in a loud house. My mom and sister and me are just loud. Not in an aggressive way or anything, as a matter of fact, when we're quiet, that's probably when the most cutting comments (or rude letters) can be made.

My mom gave me everything I ever needed as a kid, we weren't well off, and she struggled some times to give us everything, but she did. Luckily for me, I'm her "retirement baby" and by the time I was born, (almost 10 year age difference between my sister and I, and 13 years between my brother and I) they had their finances settled down and I didn't have to go through some of the struggles my siblings went through. That didn't mean she spoilt me though, I'm really sure I was "spanked" the most of all of us. I remember one time I came home after dark, I found her standing at our gate and all the kids in my neighborhood were whispering to me, "amekata kijiti" which translates to she found a stick/switch and I knew I was in for some major whoop a**

As I grew up, went to High School, she wrote me all the time, and loved on me and cared about me. I've never been kicked out of school because of fees, she never missed a visiting day or a parent-teacher meeting or a mid-term or closing-day pick up or drop off, she did my shopping and gave me a good allowance, obviously not as much as I'd have liked, but good enough for my needs.

In High School when I struggled to find my identity because there were plenty of times where I felt like I didn't belong, being so disconnected from everyone else (10 years between sisters is a long time!) and the little fact that while my brother and sister look like her, I take after my dad, she reassured me and she helped me.

In college, she let me move out, twice, paid my rent and each time it didn't work out, she didn't make me feel like a failure for ending up back home. She cooks and cleans and works full time.

When I went through that disastrous break up, she came up to my room, wiped the tears away and told me to buck-up, which is exactly what I needed. When I complain and worry about never falling in love, she always reminds me of God's perfect timing.



SHE HAS NEVER ONCE SAID "I TOLD YOU SO!" She's said a lot, but never that.

She can't fall asleep in the middle of the day because she'll feel like she's lazy, she's honest and tells it like it is not just to me but to my cousins and she is a 2nd mother to a lot of them. She's strict and in your face but she'll also give you time to realize your dumbness on your own.

She's strong and graceful and she's prayed out loud in her bed before sleep, and before getting out every single night and every single morning of my life. She reads her Bible daily. She trusts God.

She's strong and graceful and if it weren't for her, our family would have fallen apart after losing my dad.

She's there for everyone and gives to anybody who needs help.

Most recently, what I love is after we've had an argument, which is inevitable with our totally different personalities :-) and I stewed in my room all day, she came up to me, reached out to me and broke the silence.

I love her.

Happy Mothers Day!

xoxo
Jo

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tales of Birthdays Past


I was in a really strict boarding school in High School, we exchanged hand-made cards and wrote each other dedications on the blackboard during evening preps and buy each other tuck-shop snacks like scones, smokies, crisps, bajias, and if you were really lucky someone would have saved a chocolate bar for you J It got to a point where we were banned from singing happy birthday after some kids were caught singing happy birthday really loudly.

Pangani Girls' High School Badge
Sorry, really bad picture but its all i could find


Before High School, my dad was the birthday enthusiast and he and my mom arranged all my birthday parties. (Read: my dad would agree with me and my mom would buy snacks and do all the heavy-lifting) Mostly it would be our family together with my Auntie’s family with her two kids, sometimes it would be a party for all the kids in my neighborhood. 

Birthdays were a big deal with my dad and I remember being a kid and him making decorations and hanging them up and taking millions of pictures. It was special. My best memories of my dad are centered on holidays and birthdays. That’s why birthdays and holidays are so important to me, and I wish people would understand that, it’s not about being a brat and seeking attention. It’s the one day of the year that’s yours. We have Cancer Day and AIDS day and Water Day and Labor Day and Valentines, and we celebrate each of them, and you have one day of the year that’s your own day, and call me a dork, but I think it’s pretty special and sometimes it feels like my dad’s the only one in my family who got that. Now that he’s gone, it makes for some pretty lonely moments, but awesome memories.

I can do anything but I can’t recreate what it was like with him. I truly felt celebrated and loved, like (I believe) you’re supposed to feel on your birthday and I’ve tried to make it happen for years:

18th birthday House Party fiasco: My best friend at the time, Kevin helped me plan this one. My dad was in Shaggz and my mom was out with her friends. People wanted alcohol and to smoke in my house where my parents live! If that wasn’t enough, someone stole my phone in my own house! At the time I’d turned 18 (legal drinking age) and I didn’t mind the drinking and smoking, I even had my first taste of KC vodka (which I hated, I hope my family doesn’t read this, hee) but honestly, smoking inside the house, leaving smoke stinking up the furniture, that’s just ridiculous, so I had to kick guys out then a fight broke out, crazy! Then, I couldn’t even play the music I wanted (rock) because they were all about ragga and dancehall. Then there’s the walking around making sure everyone’s comfortable, ugh! Not to mention, most of my friends at the time were guys, which made for a lot of organizing when the number of boys who showed up ended up being more than the girls.






19th birthday Expensive Pizza party: Went to Debonairs Pizza and bought almost 8 large pizzas with some new church friends, trying to make new friends on your birthday probably wasn’t my best idea. It’s just that I’d started going to this Church and all my other friends were the party and rager type (read 18th) and I wanted a “”“Christian Birthday””” …Plus sick dad at home.



20th birthday deadbeat ex-boyfriend, whose birthday was a week after mine, and we’d agreed to celebrate together…I went to so much trouble for him and his gifts and he decides, on the night of his birthday to go out with his boys and on what was supposed to be our party the next night, he takes me to his friends party, he’s exhausted and he gets high and doesn’t even notice when I’m practically attacked by some female cop and oh, never got me a gift…deadbeat! I mean, no offence, Christianity, forgiveness and all :-)



21st birthday stuck at work all day, got coffee and cake with a friend afterward, pretty good, at least there’s no bitter memories, (read 20th)

I had mixed feelings about the 22nd after all this, but it ended up being pretty awesome :-) 
Details tomorrow....


xx
Jo