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Rock Star debut: Eyes of True Believers (John Williams’ cover)

So, I recorded a video of me singing a song that my good friend John Williams wrote and was going to post it on this blog on his birthday (March 6), but Kenya internet said no.  Welp, finally I was able to get it on YouTube this past weekend during a freak fast internet moment.  So, happy belated birthday John…

RTQ – Eyes of True Believers (John Williams cover)

When I entered college I couldn’t do a very good bar chord on guitar and left college a much better guitarist.  It’s me therapy and has been a big help in Kenya.  When I play guitar I feel like my fingers are dancing and my fingers like to dance.

This song was written by John at Dwight Mission (one of the nearest and dearest places in my heart) and the last verse is about Dwight and a boy named Nighthawk McLemore who is buried in the cemetery there.  The lyrics are some of my favorite to sing and think about so enjoy and let me know what you think.


Furthermore, I don’t believe you when you say you’re doing well
The way is sometimes lit by fire other times it’s hard to tell
Sometimes God is in the details.  Sometimes God is in the yard
Sometimes flying seems so easy; then just getting up is hard

Don’t believe the ones who’ll tell you
Everything is black and white
For the eyes of true believers
See colors in between the day and night

Out beyond the most familiar where the highway meets the sky
Somewhere in between the desert and the world behind your eyes
There are questions in the answers.  There is light between the stars.
There are stories long remembered; brand new songs on old guitars

Don’t believe the ones who’ll tell you
Everything is black and white
For the eyes of true believers
See colors in between the day and night

In the hills of Oklahoma; on the banks of Salty Creek
A bunch of Christians built a mission and a school for Cherokee
In the graveyard by the mission; among the soldiers from the war
There lies the body of a young boy whose name was Nighthawk McLemore

Don’t believe the ones who’ll tell you
Everything is black and white
For the eyes of true believers
See colors in between the day and night

Week 32-33 Continued: Revival and Beach Video

Here is a very short video from the revival in Mombasa to give you a feel of what it was like:

Here is a very short video of the beach in Mombasa on the Indian Ocean:

Coming to America and Scrubs

Saturday morning, I get a call from my parents at 9:15 AM Kenya time.  So, my first thought is, why are my parents up at 1:15 AM? I ask my dad what’s up and he responds frankly, “well, Coming to America came on TV and so your mother refused to go to bed until it was over.” Yes, Coming to America, the amazing movie about an African prince who comes to New York looking for true love starring Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall and featuring Samuel L. Jackson (the robber) and Cuba Gooding, Jr. (doesn’t even speak, just sits in barber’s chair).  Any who, I think it’s awesome that my parents still stay up until 1 in the morning when a life-changing movie comes on, especially since my mother instigated it.

Coming to America trailer:

Today, I was working on something and I heard Scrubs come on the television in the room next to me.  Apparently it comes on every Tuesday at 1:30 now.  I ran into the common room and sit down and watch Scrubs with the Foxies.  I was laughing like crazy and the Foxies were just looking at me like I was a crazy person from the States, which I am.  Kenyan humor and States humor is very different.  Furthermore, I have learned that most people from the States are very loud compared to Kenyans, hence my incessant laughter and loudness.

The humor in Scrubs is the same kind of humor my brain operates in, but most Kenyans don’t understand me when I am in Scrubs humor mode so I’ve learned how to tame it… most of the time.  Today’s episode featured random singings of the song, All By Myself, which is one of my favorite things to do randomly.  So, I decided to end with this nice little video of our good friend Celine singing us the tune because it’s the most ridiculous version I could find on YouTube.

Celine Dion 1997 Grammys:

Week 30: Musings in the Number of Four

The Awkwardness of Newly Arrived Goods and Rachel

Rachel came bearing gifts (thanks Rachel) which I told her we do not have in Kenya.  However, when we went to the store while she was here this was not the case.  The first day, she found off brand Mac & Cheese and Shells called MagicTime from Florida (the Mac & Cheese is good, the Shells cheese is NOT Velveeta).  I looked at her and said, “that’s new.”  Later in the week, she found Skippy Peanut Butter from the States and once again I looked at her and said, “that’s new.”  This is when she started rolling her eyes at me.  Then as we were walking out, I decided to check the cereal aisle for Honey Bunches of Oats (HBO) because Rachel (other YAV) has been searching for them since we came to Kenya.  I have looked for HBO at every store I have gone to in the past seven months to no avail, but this day was different.  I went down the cereal aisle and there it was, two rows of HBO 15 boxes deep.  I got really excited and started calling the Gatundu girls to tell them I had found treasure.  They didn’t answer, so I checked my wallet and bought as many boxes of HBO as my wallet would allow.  Therefore, with Rachel comes food treasures…and doubt about what Kenya does and does not have.  I went to the store this week and the HBO is down to one row with five boxes.  My speculation is that a magical barge came full of goodies from the States recent, but now our treasures are selling out.

The First YAV Man Night

Friday night was Man Night.  It was glorious.  Shelvis, Henry, and I watched Obama on Leno, Michael Jackson music videos, and then Usher music videos, very manly!  We ordered lots of pizza and ate like Kings.

Michael Jackson can dance:

Kenya Pizza:

Splash and YAV Dinner

Saturday morning, we went out to a big manly breakfast and then to the Nairobi water park (with some women), Splash.  They have two pretty good winding slides, the white slide and the black slide, and apparently no rules.  We were going down six people at a time which was a lot of fun.  I ended up climbing the stairs and going down the slide 12 times and after that was spent.  Shelvis and Henry went down 35 times!

That night the seven YAVs got together at Leslie’s for the first time in a month.  It was really nice for all of us to be together again and catch up.  The night ended in the way every YAV night ends with games: Concentration, Categories, and Big Booty.

Big Booty:

Andy’s Pizza Party

Sunday, I went to church and felt my 12 slide trips.  I went home after church and took a nap.  That afternoon we went to a play about a Kenyan person with physical disabilities and what her life is like in Kenya.  It was very interesting to experience a play here and also to see how they presented people with physical disabilities.

Sunday night we went to Andy’s apartment for pizza.  Andy is a Lutheran missionary who works in Madagascar, but has had to leave since the problems there.  The conversation and Andy’s children, who are three and nine, was very entertaining.  Most of the night was spent getting shot with Spiderman’s web and sticking to the wall.  Yeah, it was as amazing as it sounds.

The Seven YAV’s:

Week 25: Jars of Clay

A few weekends ago, I received a text telling me that Jars of Clay (a popular Christian Band) was coming to Nairobi and asking me if they should buy me a ticket.  I replied with a, “heck yes!”  My mind then went through my relationship with Jars of Clay since high school.

Jars of Clay was the first Christian band I really liked (or liked at all).  One of my best friends, Josh Reese, was listening to the CD in his room one day and I asked if I could borrow it.  I did, for a long long time.  Their self titled CD is in my top 5 CDs of all time.  Check it out if you haven’t heard it before.

Jars of Clay was the beginning of my relationship with Christian music.  Furthermore, as I have grown in college and seminary they are one of the Christian bands which I have not put aside because of theological differences.

My senior year of high school I saw them at the end of the week of 9/11, my friend Chad Steele and I went to Oklahoma City to see them.  I was really confused and upset at this time.  This concert was a good worship experience during a very trying time.  The most powerful part was when they played my favorite song of theirs, worlds apart.  I have put a version below for your viewing pleasure.

Worlds Apart by Jars of Clay

At the end of my senior year of high school, I went to see JoC with the FPC of Tulsa youth group.  My good friend, Cole Penick, and I had been an exchanging a fake arm for many years.  I had received a fake arm as a joke present for my birthday and decided to give it to Cole who in turn gave it to me and so on and so forth.  Well, Cole won backstage passes to meet Jars of Clay.  For a graduation present, he brought the arm with him to meet Jars of Clay and had the entire band sign it and gave it to me.  Thus ended the exchange of the fake arm.

My freshmen year of college I wanted to take my first college girlfriend to see Jars of Clay because we both loved them.  I bought tickets online to see them at Six Flags for $10 each which I thought was a steal!  Well, it was…  We drove the hour and a half to Six Flags and I presented our tickets.  The ticket lady said that these were just the tickets for the show and that we had to pay the extra $50 each to get into the park first and then we could go see the show.  I beleive that she saw the horror on my face and took pitty on me.  She ended up letting us in for free (I thanked her a lot, but I think she realized that I did not have $100 to my name at this point and time).

This brings us to the present as I am serving as a volunteer in Kenya.  When I walk into the kitchen at AEE and there is a mzungu on the TV I always say that I know them, as a joke (the stereotype in Kenya is that all white people (foreigners) know each other).  Well, I walked into the kitchen last week and said my usual line, but this time I wasn’t lying.  I couldn’t place him at first, but it was Dan,  the lead singer of Jars of Clay, on the morning talk shows.  I finally did know a mzungu on TV.

The concert was great.  They had a lot of opening acts who were very energizing and sang some songs completely in Swahili which was interesting.  I have been to a lot of churches where people are singing in Swahili, but never a concert.  It’s different and interesting.  Everyone is rocking out and agreeing with whatever the singer is saying, but I had no idea what they were talking about…

Jars of Clay came out and we went up to the front and I had the best seat (well, I was standing) I’ve had in my 5 Jars of Clay concerts.  (If I can only get Dave Matthews Band to come now)  Kenyan radio mainly plays Western music and they have Christian stations so the Kenyans all knew Jars of Clay’s music which they didn’t expect.  I am glad that they came and I was able to see experience a concert in Kenya by a band that I love.

I have included a video with a quick view of the room.  I forgot I was in Kenya at some points, but looking around at the crowd reminded me where I was very quickly.

Jars of Clay singing Love Song for a Savior

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