GROWING ROOTS………We just arrived from vacation last night.  What a great week we had seeing my family in Spokane and participating in new adventures with Kaia and Claire.

There is very little to be concerned about when we go away on vacation.  Our next door neighbors keep watch and water our plants.  This is especially helpful because Ron is a master gardener.  We have come to expect our plants and flowers to look extra healthy when we come home.  Last night was a little different.  Ron explained to us that one of our potted plants had finished growing.  He said that the root system had outgrown the pot and that we shouldn’t expect too many more flowers.  What a bummer!!!

Ron went on to share with us that many people do not consider the growth of the roots when they plant.  Many of you  know this of course!

This Sunday we will be reading Jesus’ parable from Matthew 13.  It says, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.  So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also.  And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'”

This parable tells us a few important details about God.  First, God has given careful attention to how He has planted us so that our roots can grow.  Second, God continues to care for our root system even when weeds begin to grow around us.  God desires that we grow, flourish and bring fruit.

Give thanks to God today for the special kind of planting and care giving that He has done for you and your roots!

WIRED WORD………….Bob Glathar will be leading us again in our discussion this Sunday.  We will be meeting in the Fellowship Hall at 8:30 am.  Thank you Bob!  Read the article below to best prepare yourself for discussion.

In Africa, where more than 600 million people or half of all residents on the continent still do not have access to electricity, Kenya has systematically pressed toward the ambitious goal of becoming the first sub-Saharan nation to achieve universal connectivity for its residents by 2020.

In 2013, only one in four Kenyans were connected to the power grid, and by 2016, that number had doubled; in 2017, about 70 percent of Kenyans have gained power through the Last Mile Connectivity Project.

The Republic of Kenya Ministry of Energy and Petroleum hopes that the initiative will result in “an increase in economic activity (industrial, agricultural, commercial) and social well-being (households and social institutions).”

Ten years ago, the government initiated expansion of the electricity infrastructure, currently composed of 40,000 transformers, prioritizing the power needs of medical centers, markets and schools.

As capacity to meet the needs of consumers grew with more transformers and investment in renewable energy producers such as wind and solar farms, more households throughout the country gained access to power.

The government paid special attention to the “equitable distribution of resources” to rural and high-density slum areas with traditionally low access to electricity. In the last three years, 12.4 million people have joined the ranks of the “enlightened.”

Seline Akinyi Mumbe is one of those. A resident of Unami, a village 170 miles northwest of the capital of Nairobi, she relied on charcoal, firewood and oil for fuel during the first 48 years of her life. She got electric power 10 months ago through the Last Mile Connectivity Project.

“I felt like I was in a different world, because my house was well lit,” Mumbe remarked.

School children from all over Unami now flock to Mumbe’s home to study and do homework after dark.

Mumbe finds it easier to accomplish simple tasks such as charging her cell phone at home instead of at the market. She has also started a small business, collecting 10 cents from neighbors who are still not connected to the grid every time they want to charge their cell phones at her house.

Half of rural Kenyans live within one-tenth of a mile of the nearest electricity pole, but even with government subsidies and the chance to pay the $150 connection fee over a three-year period, many still can’t afford to wire their homes and connect to the grid. It takes four months or more to earn that kind of money in rural areas.

For those who do get connected, service is not always consistent, with frequent power outages that can last a few minutes to days. Some exasperated customers wonder whether the connection is worth the investment. The government will not force residents to connect to the grid if they choose not to participate in the program.

Stanley Mutwiri, an official with Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) acknowledges that “planned and necessary” service interruptions can happen as the company rapidly adds more households to the network. As capacity to produce and deliver power increases, the company expects fewer blackouts for customers.

Kenyan Energy Minister Charles Keter believes that people have the right to access electricity, whatever their economic status or place of residence. “Power is very essential in any developing country,” he said, adding that he hopes the rest of Africa would follow Kenya’s lead, so that the stereotype of Africa as a “dark continent” can be put to rest.

More on this story can be found at these links:

Kenya Races Toward Goal of Electrifying Every Household. PBS
Last Mile Connectivity Project. Republic of Kenya Ministry of Energy and Petroleum
Last Mile Connectivity. Kenya Power

The Big Questions

  1. Why might some people decline to be connected to a power source? Can light truly reach every last person or mile if some people don’t choose to accept it? Does light shine on all people whether they like it or not? If people shut their eyes to the light, is the light still shining?
  2. Upon whom does God shine his (physical and spiritual) light? To whom is God’s power available? How do people access that light and connect to God’s power?
  3. How might the Last Mile Connectivity Project with its emphasis on “No community left behind” or “No Kenyanleft in the dark” serve as a metaphor for the kingdom of God? In what ways does the metaphor fail to fully express the meaning of the kingdom of God?
  4. Once Seline Akinyi Mumbe was connected to the electric power grid, how did she benefit? What did she do with the light she had? How can her actions serve as an example to Christians regarding what we should do with the light of Christ God has given to us?
  5. Can / should we bring the light of Christ to people who say they don’t want it? Why or why not?