Kenya Kronicles

news from Mombasa, Kenya

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pray for Gary and Crossroads Fellowship

Dear Friends,

Recently Gary went in for another attempt to "jump start" his heart, but it failed so we meet with his cardiologist on the 23rd of July to see what is next, if anything. Gary is hoping to go back to Kenya the end of August, as our co-pastor, Jim Horne, and his wife Susie, will be coming back to the states for her hip replacement surgery and a new Kenyan pastor has been hired that needs training and mentoring.

We are praying that Gary can indeed go to help the church move forward with this very large step. Please pray that the Lord will open the way for Gary to go for three months. Please pray for Jim and Susie Horne as they come back to the states for the surgery (that the surgery will go well and relieve Susie of this pain) and pray for Mike Mutua, the new Executive Pastor of Crossroads Fellowship church. Bobby & Lisa Bechtel are back in Kenya, also to help with Crossroads Fellowship ministries, so they can use prayer as well.

On another note, should Gary go back, another huge responsibility will be to help oversee the continuing Phase Two building process. The building process is being led by the deacons of the church, but since they all work full time jobs, the day to day things usually fall to the pastors.

Crossroads Fellowship is still growing and we believe that when we get Phase Two completed, it will house all the Sunday school children, which will open up seating in the worship center for even more adults. All of the feeding centers and rural churches all are doing well, expanding and growing. We thank God for how He has grown these ministries!

We know that God will lead us into the right decision as we pray and seek His will, and we trust Him completely. Thanks so much for your prayers and financial support over the years. We so much appreciate your partnership.

Your Co-Laborers for the Kingdom,

Gary and Jean

Monday, May 10, 2010

Please Pray

Dear Praying Friends;

Just a note to say that Tina has to have a "procedure" on her mouth again. The doctor (an oral surgeon) will go in and try to get some of the infection out of Tina's jaw. This will require an outpatient hospital stay. Tina has some blood disorders which are congenital and has to be on blood thinners for the rest of her life. However, for this procedure, she has had to be off the blood thinners for several days before this procedure. There will have to be six of these procedures in order to try and get all of the infection out of her jaws. Please pray that she will not throw any blood clots and that this procedure will be completely successful.


Jean and Gary Smiddy

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Update from Indiana

Dear Friends;

It is a wonderful time to be in Indiana, as spring time is beautiful with all the blooming and budding and new life. It is refreshing. Of course we two, having come back from Kenya, where it was extremely hot, would appreciate some warmer weather; I'm still wearing my winter clothes!

Some of you already know about what I am about to share, so sorry to have to repeat, but so many on this list, I have not communicated with since we returned from Kenya the end of March. Only a few weeks after our return, Gary's heart went back out of rhythm again, so after weaning him off the heart medication he was taking they had to put him the ICU in order to put him on a different medication. This medicine did convert his heart into normal rhythm, but that did not last. So the doctors tried to "cardio vert" (use those paddles on his chest in order to shock his heart into rhythm). They tried four times, but that did not work either. At that point, they sent him home. Their hope is that the new medicine will eventually convert his heart at some point. If that effort fails then the next step will be an "ablation" which I cannot explain, but it would mean a surgery. Yesterday, Gary went to the doctor to get blood work done, almost passed
out and wound up in the emergency room....he was dehydrated! So they gave him IV fluids. Today he is feeling much better and his heart seems to be doing well. We believe it is just going to be this way, in rhythm, out of rhythm! All this to say is that we would appreciate your prayers for us.

God is so good in his perfect timing of things, we are so thankful that we were not in Kenya when Gary began having these issues with his heart, we would not have wanted to be there during these episodes. We just thank him that He sustained Gary's and my health while we were there.

On another note, we just got word today that our church in Kenya, Crossroads Fellowship, had an attempted robbery! Apparently the thieves tied up the two guards, and tried to break into the building and vandalized some of the property. (The church is in the middle of a building project, the education building and we do not know if any of the building materials were stolen). We feel heart sick about this and we would ask your prayers for the deacons and other leaders of the church that they would know how to better protect the property from thieves.

We appreciate you, one and all and appreciate your prayers and gifts in our endeavors for the King, in Kenya.

Lovingly, Gary and Jean

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Greetings from Indiana

Dear Friends;

I certainly have to apologize, as this is the longest silence I think you have ever had from us! I had planned to write a long newsy email to you before we left Kenya, but alas, our final few weeks there were such a challenge and so very busy, that I just never completed the letter I had begun. At any rate I wanted to write and bring you up to date and share some information with you about the ministry time we had over the past 7 months in Kenya.

First, we had incredible ministry opportunities while we were there! Of course, Gary was immediately back to teaching, preaching and counseling.(Jim Horne, the other Senior pastor had to immediately leave for the states just after we arrived). He taught on Tuesday evenings and preached on Sundays, but he also had our two national pastors preach as well who helped carry the load. Pastor Robert Lundi, is in charge of the the high school age group and another group in their 20's and early 30's. He also is very much involved in music and sings in the worship team as well. Pastor Duncan Malalo is another of our national pastors and he is in charge of the children's Sunday school children from 2 year olds to 11 year olds. Both Robert and Duncan are good preachers and are gifted in a number of areas. Gary was successful in bringing back to the church some of the ones whom had fallen out of fellowship for various reasons. It was so exciting to
see people repent of their sins and be restored to fellowship with the Lord and other believers.

Gary was also in charge of moving forward with the building of Phase 2 (the "education building"). He, along with the deacons had to meet with various Contractor's, and hire the necessary people to oversee the construction plus fulfill all the necessary requirements of the Kenya government. It took all the months we were gone to just get the construction started before we left.

Gary's health was really excellent all the time we were there. That said, we did have to call his doctor here for advise on one of medications that had to be adjusted because of his weight loss, but that was the only time he had any problems. We thank the Lord for that blessing!

My time there was spent visiting orphans and former street kids and adults, some handicapped ladies and went to the hospital to visit children with a particular type of cancer, called Burkitt's Lymphoma. Two good friends of mine, Michelle Windell and Les Schwarz, are in an organization that raises funds for these children that have Burkitts for their chemo drugs, vitamins and these drugs can completely cure the children of this disease if treated properly. I was blessed abundantly during our time there, as we were hardily welcomed when we would go to the orphanage for the street boys and also the street women (who do not live in the orphanage but come there for sewing together). We were able to teach Bible studies, bring food to them and have little parties for them. Michelle, Les and I went to the handicapped ladies group that do sewing and sell their goods to mostly tourists, but we were able to sing and teach Bible stories to them.
Occasionally, I helped Les out with the baby group on Sundays, that she formed to help the moms be able to attend church.

Crossroads Fellowship church is still growing, thriving and God's church. On most Sundays there are between 650-750 people in attendence. The depth of the growth in individual lives is amazing to witness. It was such a priviledge from the Lord to be apart of it!

Our Kids: Nathan and Tina are doing well. Many of you have asked about Tina, and we have appreciated your prayers for her because she is doing very well. She seems strong and is able to work. They moved to Arizona a year ago and Nathan has a job with a school photography business. Also, he and Tina have business of their own called Visions by Smiddy and are wedding photographers. Hanna is amazing as she kept "house and home" going while she was working and going to school. She did a great job! She got the McNair Scholorship this year which launches her into grad school after she graduates, but of couse she still has one more year to go. Study Abroad is in her future as she plans to go to France second semester next school year.

We thank you all for your generosity of prayer on our behalf and of course your generosity of financial gifts which help to stay in Kenya.

We are in Indiana at 1464 Butternut Circle, Greenfield, IN 46140; 317-462-3419

May God bless each one of you, Gary and Jean

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Dear Friends/Family;

Greetings from sweltering Mombasa, where our day time temperatures reach 95-104 degrees! Those of you who do not have email, I must apologize for not writing a letter to each of you. Now and then I send out updates via email. This time I plan to print this and send it to you via snail mail. Kenya mail, by the way, puts a new meaning to “snail mail”!

We are doing very well! We thank God that He has been sustaining our health! We had a bumpy (literally) beginning with Gary falling and then Jean following suit. We both hurt our backs. But I am grateful to report that we are doing well now.
This Christmas is very strange indeed. No kids coming home for the Christmas break, no extra food to buy and cook, no presents to shop for. It makes us homesick to be with them during this holiday especially. In fact tomorrow is Gary’s 63rd birthday and the only thing he wants to do is go out to eat. He doesn’t want any fuss. In fact we aren’t even exchanging gifts. But we are praising God for his wonderful gift, Jesus Christ! He is the only Gift any of us needs!

As far as ministry goes it has been very exciting! Gary, of course is pastoring Crossroads Fellowship church. He preaches on Sundays and Tuesday evenings. He does a lot of counseling and of course is getting all the paperwork done for us to begin building Phase 2 (the Sunday school rooms, kitchen, etc.). He has had numerous meetings with the Deacons and the architect and contractors. So he stays busy! Jean has been involved with outreaches of the church such as visiting a number of different orphanages and teaching, playing and encouraging women and children. That has been lots of fun. Those of you on Facebook will find pictures of various orphanages and the children that live there. There is a group of people here that work with children in the government hospital that have Burkitts Lymphoma (curable cancer if it is caught in time and if the medicines are taken properly). The organization raises funds for the chemo medicine for these kids. Jean has loved every minute getting to visit these kids in the hospital as they receive their medication.

I apologize for this letter being so late in coming. But we just wanted to thank you for your prayer and financial support. We are so blessed to have partners in the ministry such as you!

May you have a blessed Christmas and New Year in Christ!
Love, Gary and Jean

Friday, October 23, 2009

October Update

Dear Prayer Partners;

After two months of being here, we feel quite at home and involved in Crossroads Fellowship and other outreaches from CF. When we arrived the church was conducting what it termed "Super Saturdays". These Saturdays were conducted for the children of the church. There was Bible teaching, games, crafts, and singing. These were done in August while children were out of school. After the sucess of these, there were three other "Super Saturdays" conducted at three feeding centers in Vipingo, Bomani and Injili.
These were attended by hundreds of children and many of the CF attendees volunteered to help out in the various areas of outreach. Some of the members of CF have gotten involved in several different orphanages and women's projects. Jean has been going with several other ladies to visit the orphanges and women's projects. The women we are visiting tomorrow are former prostitutes and we are going to assess the needs there and how we can help and of course, we want to share the love of Christ to them. We believe that we can share the Bible with them. So please pray that we might be able to have a weekly Bible study with these needy ladies. Right now they are making crafts and selling them in order to help support themselves.

Gary has had our two Kenyan pastors Robert and Duncan, preach on Sunday and to teach on Tuesday evening. Otherwise, Gary preaches on Sundays and then does teaching on Tuesday evenings and on Thursday evenings there are small groups but all held at church. There are many needy people in the church and Gary has been meeting with and counseling some. We try to "see where God is working and join Him in that work "(Experiencing God, which three of the small groups are studying).

We have a a big PRAISE and thanks to you for your prayers for Tina and Nathan! The email we received this morning says it best so see below what Tina wrote:
(I just had an appointment with a hematologist today and received very encouraging news. Apparently I've been misdiagnosed and do not have hemophilia. I do still have two blood clotting diseases but at least it's not complicated by other disorders. The overall visit was so very encouraging- the doctor gave me some solid advice about future medical solutions. She also gave the go-ahead to simply stop my medication for several days, have all the dental work I need, and then resume the blood thinners. This is the safest way to prevent another hospital overdose and will allow me to keep my teeth instead of having them all pulled.

We are just praising God that we were able to see the specialist before making irreversible surgery plans. We feel like a huge weight has been lifted from our shoulders and feel so at peace that the Lord is taking care of all the details one at a time!

Thank you for surrounding us in prayer! God is faithful! T)

We are so thankful to God for this answer to prayer! We are also thankful that Gary's health (heart) has been so good! We just cannot thank God enough for allowing us to have this opportunity to come back and minister here when we in our human thinking believed we might never be able to come back again! But God is faithful even when our faith waivers! We are so thankful and praise God for our dear Hanna, who is taking care of house and home! She is busy with school, but she needs a job and though she has filled a great number of applications, has not procured a job yet. We know that it is no easy task to find any job in the states right now with so many out of work. But please keep that need in prayer on her behalf.

Thanks very much for praying and we want you to know that you are loved and missed greatly!

Love, Gary and Jean

Thursday, September 17, 2009

September Update

Dear Friends;

We left the states 37 days ago having in our minds a schedule of events that lay before us. But God had a different plan! For example, we knew that Jim and Susie Horne, our co-pastor, would be returning to the states at some point during our stay. Little did we know that on the very day we arrived (13 of August) Jim was told by his doctor that he was to leave as soon as possible for an emergency surgery. So they left four days later! This happens to be the very thing that I did not want to happen. "My fear" all along was that I would be left with all the responsibility and not be able to maintain the demanding schedule of being the senior pastor at Crossroads Fellowship. I am very grateful for God's provision of Pastor Robert Lundi and Pastor Duncan Malalo who are dependable young pastors and they have assumed a lot of the day to day responsibilities. This has allowed me to prepare and preach on Sundays and to lead the Tuesday night church service and counsel people as needed. The Thursday night Life Groups are in the hands of these two capable men.

Last Friday night I met with several leaders of the church to go over the "drawings" and asked them all to pray Friday and Saturday about what God would have us do about building Phase 2 (the education building). By Sunday, it was unanimously decided that we should move ahead. We will be meeting again on Tuesday, the 22nd to approve the architect's contract. Please pray because the dollar against the Kenya shilling is in free fall again. It is down to 73 to $1.00 and upon our arrival it was at 78 top $1.00.
The architect believes that the building can be completed at around $300,000.00. I also believe that is a realistic figure. Should you feel led to contribute to the project, simply make the contributions to Crossroads Fellowship Ministries, P.O. Box 491 , Greenfield, In 46140, earmarked for the Building Fund.

Some of you may not be aware that three weeks ago Gary had a nasty fall, slipping on wet floor tile. He landed directly on his back and we thank God that no bones were broken and there was no blood (which as you know is a good thing, especially being on blood thinners). He is feeling a bit better, but still not pain free. As some of you might remember, he has a "Wednesday group" of men he has played golf with for many years. Since he fell, he has not been able to play, so he is hopeful that soon he will be able to continue. At least he goes out to visit the group on Wednesday nights for a chat. (Pray that he will have opportunities there to share Christ with that group).

Since our arrival, we have seen 5 people baptized, 4 babies dedicated to the Lord, a wedding, and a number of decisions to follow Christ! It is our prayer that the ones who have followed Christ will continue to come to church and be discipled and grow in faith, by the teaching of Word of God.

Please continue to pray for Tina and Nathan. After her ordeal in the hospital she has been recovering at home, but we still do not have word yet as to when she will need the other surgeries. The doctors say that with her blood disorders that this problem with infections at the root of her teeth will probably continue to be a problem so they are contemplating the best course of action for her. So please continue to pray for all the decisions about her health and for Nathan as he works.

Please keep Hanna in your prayers as she is keeping up the house in the states, going to school and looking for a part time job.

Lastly, please pray that the Lord would use us for His purposes and for His glory!

Love, Gary and Jean You can reach our Skype phone at 317-468-2293!