I donated to Gideon’s college fund for several reasons. My sister, Karen worked closely with him for 3 weeks during an evangelistic series in Kenya last October. She was really impressed with his dedication to God, his church, his family, and his community.
Arguably, you could say that all of the people she met on her trip to Kenya we’re just as sweet and dedicated to the Lord as is Gideon but she saw a special spark – one we teachers see – that yearning to learn everything!
After my sister returned from her trip to Kenya, I wanted to maintain a connection to the people of Kitale. I just couldn’t imagine letting those wonderful people slip into the realm of memories. I reached out to Gideon and he responded so positively.
Through regular texts and phone calls, we have become friends. Gideon is a unique blend of left and right brains in a very masculine society. He is able to be focused and determined yet he retains his warmth and emotion.
I respect Gideon’s integrity and determination and I want to help, if I can. I’m proud to know such a mature 29 year old – who calls me Mom!
When my sister, Karen Zarska Styer, went to Kenya in October, 2018, I didn’t know what to expect. She began sending me daily updates & photos during her 3-weeks of sharing the Sanctuary message with the people of Kitale, Kenya.
Many of you went on that journey vicariously with her, as I did. We started to get to know these precious people – people who welcomed Karen, Meg, & Denetra into their homes & hearts, people who smile genuinely, love deeply, and devote everything they have to Jesus. They have so little materially but they are wealthy in courage, integrity, and love for their community.
Gideon Mogaka is a 29-year old husband and father in a small village in NW Kenya (about 8 hrs. from Nairobi). He is a free-lance videographer, choir director, and avid SDA church member. He adores his wife and 4-year old son, Samuel.
Gideon is also a leader in his community and wants to work professionally with troubled youth.
Lee was seeing stars floating in his dimming vision. He heard nothing but an eerie monotone hum that seemed to come from between his ears. He fought to orient himself and catch his breath. He was laying in an awkward heap on the Signal Bridge deck. The concussion that rocked his ship moments before had knocked the breath out of him. It threw him over a waist-high panel of monitors and instrumentation and into a wall of lit indicators and switches . He felt like he had been impaled with a 4×4 fence post. His lungs finally took in just enough of the salty humid air for him to let out a barely audible groan. Experience, Navy training and muscle memory guided his movements. He assessed his injuries and composed himself, determined to get into the fight. “Maybe another Japanese torpedo had just found the Alhena”, he thought. A few agonizing moments later, after he had regained his ability to breathe, Lee got to his feet and made his way toward the Alhena’s deck. He, and the other Radio Men he served with staggered toward the exit. Now able to hear somewhat, he thought it sounded like they were taking fire from a Zero but he couldn’t hear a plane. Out of nowhere, it seemed, a 5 inch artillery shell smashed through the ceiling of the Signal Bridge at a 45 degree angle and bounced off the floor and into the far corner of the room where it came to a rest. Everyone had hit the deck as a reflex and held their breath for a few seconds, expecting it to explode. It didnt. It missed everyone in there, too. But it sounded like an entire squadron of Zeros were coming down on their ship….in pieces! Then the mayhem seemed to die down. Lee got up and looked out the door. It seemed that everything on deck was damaged and covered in a viscous dark red sludge. The occasional nugget or pebble still bounced off of the deck or splashed in the water.
There were men, dead and injured, littered about the deck. Someone yelled, “the Hood” and everyone’s eyes turned to where the USS Mt. Hood had been anchored in the bay about 1500 feet off the Alhena’s starboard bow. It was gone! The 3733 ton ammunition ship and crew of 375 had been vaporized. A column of thick black smoke, with a flaming mushroom at its top, was climbing hundreds of feet up into the thin humid marine-layer over the bay where she had been anchored. Smaller gray smoke trails went arcing away from it hundreds or thousands of feet in all directions. Some of the trails had gone particularly high. As Lee craned his neck to inspect the radar dishes and antennae that handle the signals it was his job to analyze, he realized some of those smoke trails were incomplete…..and growing….and one was coming right down out of the sky at him. “INCOMING!” He yelled as loud as humanly possible as he dove back into the Signal Bridge for cover. On his knees on the Signal Bridge floor he transmitted what he thought might the last signal he ever sent. He Prayed, “God! This is Delzell RDM3. Get me through this hell alive and I’ll go into the ministry!”
To be continued.
In the following days Ill be finishing up this short story, which is true BTW, and relating how it came about that I am going to Kenya. Once I get to Kenya I’ll post pics and share the experience as best I can. If you can and would like to contribute, please click on the DONATE button on this site to do that. Thank You
Before Sisters’ Karen, Meg, and Denetra came to my community, I could only imagine their impact. I worried that my English wouldn’t be good enough or that I wouldn’t be able to understand their English. The first to arrive was Sister Karen. She immediately put my fears to rest by speaking slowly and distinctly. She kept encouraging me to practice my English pronunciation and even tried to learn a few words in Swahili!
Even though Swahili is our first language, all Kenyan children are also taught English as soon as they start school. But we rarely have the opportunity to learn the subtle pronunciation differences with a real English-speaking European or American! I thoroughly enjoyed getting better (I hope) with my conversational English after working with Karen for three weeks followed by Meg & Denetra for 10 days. Continue reading “Gideon on the Sisters”
What is the common view of America in my community?
Firstly, America is highly respected as the superpower of the world. If we know someone from America, we feel privileged and are more respected in our community.
Secondly, we think Americans are “stinking rich.” President Obama arrived here in ‘the beast’ (the presidential limousine), so we think ALL Americans have expensive cars and wear expensive clothes. Television typically portrays wealthy instead of poor Americans, which also colors our view.
Finally, Kenya is at least 75% poor so when Americans come to Kenya, they seem to come with gifts for the poor and they frequently set up programs that will benefit the poor, like starting orphanages.
After hosting Sisters’ Karen, Meg, and Denetra, our preconceived ideas had to be adjusted. I invite you to post any question you might have for me. I’ll do my best to answer!!
I didn’t hear from Gideon for quite a number of days and I was getting very worried because of the instability in the country. I finally did hear from him. Gideon’s absence was because he could not renew his phone minutes. His monthly cell phone bill is only $5 so I sent him $20 by Western Union and the problem is solved for the time being.
Thank you for your prayers! We’ll have another blog post from Gideon in a day or two!