This week Ray and I celebrated Valentine’s Day a little late (we had to go on a date near his payday!). I googled online to look for a good Moroccan restaurant, and found Taste of Africa in Overland Park, Kansas, which is within an hour’s driving distance from us. It was the right choice; the food is delicious and the service is excellent!
I loved the vibrant colors of the restaurant (especially oranges and reds), with African paintings on the wall. They also play African music.
Ray ordered the Kalahari Platter (tender pieces of goat, cooked in an assortment of herbs and spices with ugali, sauteed kale, sauteed cabbage, chapatti (a flat bread), and Kachumbari salad.
The ugali is a sticky dish that is a staple at African meals. The chef and the waitress complimented Ray on eating it correctly–balling it up in his hand, and then sopping up the goat stew with it. He was in his element.
They said most Americans eat it with their forks. (Of course, how would one know how to eat it properly without visiting Africa?) This made him smile very big, so proud.
At Taste of Africa in Overland Park, Kansas, I ordered Mshikaki (chicken skewers–so good!), fries (it came with the meal as french fries often do in many countries), and Kachumbari (a wonderful little salad).
I had looked at the menu prior to us driving there and knew that without a shadow of a doubt, I wanted The Sweet Banana for my dessert--fried plantain slices drizzled with cinnamon sugar, topped with vanilla ice cream on chocolate and strawberry syrup. Ray and I shared it, even though I wanted it all!
The presentation was so pretty and Oh. My. Gosh. It was divine! (Or was it sinful?) My mouth is watering even thinking about it again!
The female chef is originally from Kenya and came to America as a student and to start her restaurant business. She came to our table to greet us; we complimented her on the wonderful and beautiful meal.
If you haven’t tried this place yet, and you’re a wanna-be foodie like me, you’re in for a different, elegant experience!
I also believe our daughter Heather will go to Africa one day, as a mission trip there has been on her heart for years. I bought her pretty, blue, dangling earrings that the restaurant’s owners sell with other beautiful, colorful African jewelry there.
It was a fun date for Ray and me, and I’d love to go back sometime. What ethnic restaurants have you tried lately? Leave your comments below.
This may be the last post on our Kenya Missions Trip, where I spoke at a 3-Day Conference in Bungoma, Kenya, Africa. You can read part 1 by clicking here. You can read part 2 by clicking here.
This morning I shared with my business accountability/prayer partners that I’m feeling about as motivated as a snail this week.
We haven’t even had Christmas yet! We had to postpone our family Christmas dinner due to the Africa trip’s expenses. (Most expenses came out of Ray’s and my pockets.) You can still donate to this missions trip for us to help Pastors Patrick and Rose Mudenyo and the orphans there in Kenya by clicking here. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Then when we came home from Kenya, Leah was sick with a sore throat and congestion, and then me and Ray got sick. Then Heather’s boyfriend Matt got the flu, followed by Heather and Ray getting sick, so we are postponing the family dinner and our gift exchange AGAIN until January 18. Enough with the sickness – GO, in Jesus’ name!
I usually get post-Christmas depression, after all the excitement of anticipating and opening presents and having to put away the Christmas tree. I really hate taking the Christmas decorations off the tree!
Christmas is such a happy time, my favorite time of year, because it is filled with the joy of the birth of my Savior, delicious food, and generous gift giving! It’s like the movie, The Red Balloon,about a boy and a happy red balloon. The days following Christmas is like the big red balloon deflating! All the fun is over now!
Now I’m a little depressed before our family Christmas time. I won’t spill my guts here, but It’s just different things going on in my life. I appreciate so much your prayers for your support of me!
But I digress. Now about Africa again. So many exciting, amazing things happened there that it’s hard to compress it into a couple of posts. Maybe in this one post, I can share some of the lessons I learned there, but just emphasize one main point. Jesus’ heart is always after the one sheep.
I spoke 4 times there at the Kenya Conference and Ray spoke twice. The first day after my first session speaking on Joseph the Dreamer part 1, Pastor Patrick wanted us to pray for the people after I finished speaking. Most of the church came forward for us to pray for their needs. They were hungry for God. It was powerful.
The 2nd day of the conference, I spoke on Joseph the dreamer part 2, Ray spoke on Ezekiel and the vision of the dry bones, which was very anointed, and then I shared my personal testimony. I was told by the associate pastor and my Swahili intepreter, pastor Pius, that my testimony was powerful.The Bible says that we defeat and triumph over Satan by the blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony, and denying ourselves. (Revelation 12:11)
Where can you begin sharing your story with others? Your story is important. God wants to use your story to help and minister to others!
On this 2nd day I prophesied that the fire of God was coming to that church. We didn’t pray for anyone that day, but just spent time with the pastors that afternoon, getting to know them and the orphans more.
One of my favorite memories is of that afternoon coffee that pastor Rose and Patrick had prepared for Ray and me. We sat outside where a breeze blew to help with the African intense heat and talked to pastor Patrick about his years in ministry, miracles he had seen in Kenya (one blind man healed and another miracle healing), why sometimes miracles don’t happen (pastor Patrick believes that it’s often caused by unbelief), and how he and pastor Rose are training the orphans to do chores as part of the family to become responsible.
Another favorite memory I have is of visiting an older man who is part of the pastors’ church, Revival Praise and Worship, on Monday morning before we left Kenya. He and his family served Ray and me peanuts and Coke® and spoke encouraging words to us about our calling from God.
“When God tells you to go, just go,” he said. “Don’t say, ‘We don’t have the money to go. Just go!'” His simple, pure faith made me smile and I received what he said.
When we left, he said he and his wife didn’t want to leave us as their guests empty-handed, so they blessed us with a dozen eggs – a great gift in their culture. A gesture many of the women do in Kenya to show respect and/or affection when greeting or saying goodbye is to hug, kissing one another on the cheek.
Another custom I learned about from our new friend Apostle Catherine is that it is common when meeting someone’s children to lay your hand on his/her head and speak a blessing over them. There are also things not to do in Kenya, which you can learn here.
On the 3rd day of the conference,Ray spoke on The Good Samaritan, which the pastor told him they’d been studying for weeks at their church (Ray didn’t know this, but God did). Then I spoke on Deborah the Warrior and Jael from Judges 4, and after this is when the fire of God that I’d prophesied fell!
God had shown me five women in the audience who were “fire starter” intercessors. As pastor Rose led worship and as these intercessors prayed for God’s presence, the fire was going to be released into the house of God and God’s people touched in a great way. I instructed the intercessors to pray for all those who needed prayer. Most of the people in the audience surged forward for prayer and a couple of men on the church staff and the pastors held the crowd back to keep order. It was amazing seeing what God did! People were set free!
Pastor Patrick emailed me this week to tell me that the fire is still burning and even growing, and that people are being healed and delivered. God is continuing to use these 5 intercessors. Praise God!
While there in Kenya, I was able to pray and prophesy over each of these 5 intercessor women, whom I call “fire starters,” at the end of Sunday’s powerful service. Each one of them cried and I believe God ministered deeply to their hearts. I don’t think they or the audience knew God wanted to use them! It blessed me so much to see women stepping more fully into their purpose, using their gifts for God. That is my passion!
But there was one woman intercessor, whom I felt God sent me specifically to Africa to pray for and to release into more of her God-given purpose. Her name is Justine. This was my word for her.
“You are the woman I believe God sent me to Africa for. You are a beautiful woman, inside and out. But you don’t know how beautiful you really are and it’s because of the things you’ve been through in your life, how hurt you’ve been. But God says you are BEAUTIFUL. You’ve also been hidden for a long time. You have been in a place of serving others. God says now it’s your time to come out of hiding and to be put on display. God is about to use you in a very powerful way. You are the primary fire starter here. As you worship and as you pray, the fire is going to be released. It is a roaring, raging, holy fire that will consume everything in its path. God is going to use you in a great way in this house.” (Justine helped cook and to serve Ray’s and my food while we were there. I watched how humbly she did this and God began speaking to my heart about her.)
When you study stories of Jesus in the Bible, you see how often He ministered one on one to people. His heart was always after the one sheep.
Yes, Jesus had the great, powerful, limitless anointing to minister to crowds of people. He was also anointed to minister to groups of people, whether that was 5000 people, 100’s of people, His 12 disciples, His 3 closest friends, or the one disciple “whom Jesus loved.” But Jesus seemed to delight in seeking out the one who was alone:
Andrew the fisherman
The man by the pool of Bethesda
The woman with the issue of blood
The little girl Tabitha
The woman of Nain, whose son died
The woman at the well
The woman caught in adultery
The thief on the cross who asked Jesus to remember him
Peter after Jesus’ resurrection
Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb when she thought He was the gardener.
I believe Justine was my “one” in Africa, whom God wanted me to pray for and help release into her great destiny. She is a rare, brilliant diamond who has caught God’s eye and heart. A woman of fire.
Who is the “one” in your life who God wants you to reach out to, to minister to, to heal, to prophesy to, to help in some practical way, to pray for, to bless? Encourage her or him today.
So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! ~ Luke 15:3-7, NLT
Traveling to Africa was my BIG DREAM COME TRUE, but the reality wasn’t like a dream.
Sometimes your dream, when it is fulfilled, won’t look the way you imagined.
It was extremely difficult for me emotionally, physically and spiritually in the months preceding my trip and in actually trying to get there to Kenya, due to the financial stress of the trip, the spiritual warfare that came against me, and the problems I encountered on the planes getting to Africa.
Our new friend Apostle Catherine (founder of Worship and Restoration Ministries, Nairobi, Kenya) told Ray when he arrived in Nairobi before me (we were on different flights) and discovered my plane was delayed and that I would be unexpectedly staying overnight in Turkey: “God wants Beth to come to Africa, but Satan does not. He is trying to stop her.”
Did you know that when God says something, the devil can try to hinder or delay you, but he can’t stop you because God said it and it is already done?! Through Christ you are unstoppable!
So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. ~ Isaiah 55:11, NIV
Once a week our family attends a small group home church, where we read the Bible, worship, pray for each other, and fellowship with other believers. I testified last night about our missions trip to Kenya.
I also shared that as we get closer to fulfilling God’s great purpose for our lives, we’ll encounter greater resistance from Satan and others. Surprisingly, the most intense opposition may come from your family and your closest friends. You’re in good company then. Jesus’ own mother and brothers thought he was crazy as a loon. (Mark 3:20-21, NIV)
Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” ~ Mark 3:20-21, NIV
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. ~ 1 Peter 4:12-14, NIV
Eh, rejoicing might be a little strong of a word. I confess I wasn’t always rejoicing throughout this whole ordeal! Here’s a few things I went through:
My plane from Kansas City, MO to Chicago was delayed and I had to RUN for my international flight and nearly missed it. (Please note I’m in no runner’s body condition!)
In Chicago, as I was hurrying around a corner at the airport to get on my international flight, 2 staff people came out of nowhere. They hadn’t seen my plane tickets and didn’t know who I was. They both said to me, “Go to this gate (the no.) now and RUN!” I believe they were angels directing my path! I was one of the last people to board the plane. We took off very quickly after I boarded.
We had an emergency landing in Iceland. My international plane was stuck on the tarmac for 2 hours after a passenger had a heart attack on the plane.
Yes, Iceland – the one with mountains of ice and snow. (Yes, I know it’s much greener than Greenland, but I only saw the ice on the mountain and runway part). I thought, “What the heck am I doing in Iceland? I’m supposed to be in Africa!” All I could do was pray.
The airlines staff said they had no idea why we were sitting there on the runway and acted as if they didn’t care or that I would miss my flight to Nairobi when I finally arrived in Turkey. My conclusion is that the reason I was on that plane was to intercede for the passenger having a heart attack. I did and hope he or she is okay.
Because of this 2-hour delay, I did miss my flight to Nairobi, Kenya, and had to stay overnight at the airport in Turkey (I didn’t get a hotel room because Ray didn’t want me leaving the Turkey airport as he thought it’d be too dangerous there.). My flight from Turkey to Nairobi wouldn’t leave until the next evening.
The staff at the Turkey airport weren’t helpful at all when I arrived late trying to get to my flight (which had left), gave vague directions, and pretended at times to not understand my English when they clearly did. Meanwhile, Ray had already landed in Nairobi. He, our friend Pastor Felix, and Apostle Catherine began to pray for me. I was already being covered in prayer by family and my team of intercessors back home.
Turkey is the busiest airport I’ve ever been to. Turkey is a hub for many flights coming in and going out all over the world. It was chaos. They have lots of planes departing and arriving, but have limited gates. You find your gate number on these boards, but they don’t list the gate number until a couple of hours before the departure so you have to wait and keep watching the boards to see what your gate number is.
A model-beautiful girl from Tanzania showed me how to read the boards and where to go to my gate – another divine appointment!
The airport staff were openly hostile to me because I was American. This is the first time I’ve ever encountered prejudice being an American, so it took me aback. They would ignore me when I came to the counter, ask if I was American, and then treat me rudely. This opened my eyes to the way the rest of the world may view us. How can we be better representatives as Americans and Christians to the world?
Women are viewed as property there. Men looked at me like I was a piece of meat. I was also concerned about being alone in the middle of the night there and being robbed so I kept my backpack and rollerboard close to me at all times and stayed near a crowd of people by the main stores. Turkey was the only place I really felt endangered on this trip. My biggest concern was not being able to get out of Turkey to Africa.
Interestingly, I noticed that a woman with combat boots stayed by me all night. She never spoke to me, but just stayed close to me wherever I went. I felt safe and at peace with her there. I believe she was an angel whom God stationed to be with me for protection!As my friend Heather Peterson said, I believe that I’ve traveled with an angel before.🙂
Our smart phones didn’t work in Turkey or Africa, so I couldn’t call or text Ray or our daughters Heather or Leah. I was able to access Facebook briefly in Turkey but not long enough to tell Ray what was going on.
What can you do after missing an international flight?After I cried over missing my plane to Nairobi, to cheer myself up,I bought baklava, a wonderful, oh-so-sweet pastry,and coffee. It helped.🙂
I also bought some yummy Turkish delight for Pastor Patrick’s and Rose’s orphans in Turkey. One of my favorite memories from the trip to Kenya is of Pastor Rose opening the boxes of candy for the orphans. They’d never tried it before and were eager to taste it.
I also brought them chocolate Tootsie Rolls, which they really enjoyed. (I want to do so much more to help the orphans and pray God enables us to! But I remember Matthew 25:40, NIV, “Whatever you have done for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done for Me.”)
For dinner in Turkey, I ate a delicious meal of a chicken kabob with rice and veggies. The red sauce by the grilled green pepper is a spicy pepper sauce…it was too hot for me, but Ray’s Cajun taste buds would’ve loved it. I felt for him having to eat fish and chips in London!
The trial for me in Kenya was the heat and ‘skeeters.. Africa is JUST. SO. HOT. The pesky mosquitoes bite the heck out of you for fun. (We’re still on anti-malaria meds as a precaution!) As Ray joked, Turkish people may not like Americans, but the Africa mosquitoes do.
Then there’s the devils.Oh yea, they are real. If you don’t believe me, go to Africa. Demons manifested in people in Sunday’s service and tried to physically attack me. Remember that as believers, we have power and authority over demons through Christ. Luke 9:1. (Demons exist in America, too, but they just more cleverly hide because Americans don’t believe in them. Read C. S. Lewis’ book The Screwtape Letters.)
This was not an American-girl-on-a-paradise-vacation trip.
This was real missions work training. I’m now officially broken into missions work!
For Ray, this was more of a luxury trip. He didn’t have the problems with his planes that I did. When he arrived in Nairobi, he was treated to nice dinners. He happily networked with people for work and ministry. He didn’t mind the heat in Kenya because he loves warm, tropical weather.
On the way home to the U.S., he requested to be bumped to first class seating on the plane and received it, enjoying the fully reclining seat and drinking a fine beverage of his choice. I don’t mind any of this for Ray; he’s worked so hard this year and deserved every bit of this and more!!! I prayed God would bless him on this trip and was happy for him.
But I was exhausted emotionally, physically, and spiritually after the conference. For me, the trip was hell. It was God refining me and teaching me to trust in Him more deeply. And yet God did such amazing, powerful things at this conference.
One of my favorite memories is of the people dancing during Pastor Rose and the worship team’s powerful worship and praise. Pastor Rose’s and the worship team’s worship is awesome. The people are full of joy!
I went through so much to get to Kenya because Satan didn’t want me there. Remember when you step out to obey God and do what He wants you to do, Satan is going to fight you and will use whatever means he can to block you, stop you, frustrate or anger you, make you afraid, stress you out, distract you, drain you physically, and/or overwhelm you. But God is greater, amen!
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. ~ 1 Peter 5:8, NIV
During the conference on the 3rd day, the fire of God fell on Sunday’s service and yesterday, pastor Patrick emailed me to tell me the fire is still burning and that people are being healed and delivered. I am in awe and humbled that God would use me,a woman with a very black past, to go speak to and encourage His people in Africa.
Today pastor Patrick wrote this testimonial about me speaking there:
“Beth Jones is one of the best speakers we have ever had. She lit the fire here during the women’s conference here in Kenya, Africa. She spoke with boldness and with much anointing that have led to total life changing to the women. She empowered the women with the message that changed everything in the lives of the women here.The fire is still burning. How we wish that she comes back soon because she was what our hearts required for these end times. May God bless Beth and continue to use her in these last days to empower women around the world.”
I’m honored and so grateful to God for all He did there!
How does God want to use you? Are you willing? Will you go where He wants to send you – your family member, a neighbor, a co-worker, a boss, across the world? Are you willing to leave your comfort zone and step out of the boat like Peter did in faith? (Matthew 14:29)
Remember that no matter what you have done in your past (or today), God will forgive you if you come to Him humbly and ask Him. The blood of Jesus cleanses you from all sin. God wants to use you in an extraordinary way for His glory now! Ask Him to use you today. Tell Him, “Here I am! Send me!” And He will!
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.” Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” ~ Isaiah 6:6-8, NIV