Well, the men and Taryn have just left for Nairobi. They have a harrowing 3 hour journey ahead of them. Ok, maybe not so harrowing as the past few days, but they are on their way and will arrive home to their loved ones soon.
I’m not sure where we have left off in our communications. We have been involved in several work projects here at Pace, have visited with several of the local pastors, shared a supper with the PACE Heads of Departments, had a wonderful dinner with the boarders, and most recently, joined the ladies of the Nyahururu community on a mission trip to Maralal. Ryan and Jeff stayed back at PACE to complete a few loose ends.
On Friday morning, a group of about 36 local ladies representing several local denominations, set off for Maralal, a rural community about 8 hours from the Somali boarder. They were joined by a few local pastors, the AIC Bishop, Irungu, Maina, and our team. Those of you who have been here before will understand how thrilled Irungu and Maina were that our team joined them. Technically, Maina heads the maintenance department here at PACE, and Irungu is the mechanic/jack-of-all-trades, but both men are so much more than their title, and play an intregal part at PACE. These two men were to lead this group of women in building a church for the Somburu village. Needless to say, both Frank and Dave were invaluable. The women dug the holes for the poles, so many poles! The holes were between 2.5 feet for the primary holes down to 6 inches for the less significant ones. The holes were dug by one lady using crow bars and other such tools to loosen the dirt. As the dirt piled in the hole, another lady would pull out the dirt with here hands. The poles had been prepared by the Somburu women prior to our arrival. Once the poles were in place, a few rocks were thrown into the hole to keep them in place and the dirt was pushed back in to fill the hole. The crowbar was used again to stomp the dirt more securely into the hole. Then the top connector pieces were installed. Keeping in mind that Kenyan women wear skirts, beautiful shirts, even on the construction site, this is where our role ended. Thus, the blessing of Dave and Frank. They needed no direction, and went right at it, hammering all the pieces together. They sawed and hammered the rafters to make the roof, and then climbed back on this somewhat unsturdy structure to nail on the tin roof.
Eddie and Cam were under the weather due to the dusty ride in and too much sun, but along with Taryn and I joined the women in the home tour during the afternoon. This was just as much a culture shock for the women of Nyahururu, many of whom have never left their own community. The Somburu women are much like the nomadic masai of Kenya. They are still very traditional. They live in dung/mud huts that are build by the women. The women adorn themselves in beautiful beaded jewellery to please their husbands. Many men have multiple wives. One of the eight year old girls has been “chosen” (engaged). At twelve, she will likely go to her husband. One 18 year old woman has two children, 3 years and 18 months old and runs her household. God has reached this community through some local missionaries, and this same girl does teach Sunday school at this church that was meeting under one of the accasha trees. Although her husband is not yet saved, he did seem to be very supportive and welcomed the group into his home. Many of the elders in the community stayed all day to watch the construction. This was their great hope, that they would not die before a church structure was built. Thanks to this team of women from Nyahururu, this Somburu church now has a roof to meet under. They are told of the great love of Jesus Christ who came to earth and died for their salvation. They are discouraged from continuing the practice of taking young wives and multiple wives. The churches of Nyahururu will continue to reach out to this community, building more churches. This is the third church that has been build there. The Somburu community completes the project, giving them ownership. The structure is also used as a school. The building that was constructed in December is now a registered school.
I’ve been told that I have to go now. They want to close the building. Please remember the team in your prayers as they travel back to you. I will continue here for another week and work with Wachira on the water project. There is much encouraging news on that front as well.
Know that God has been working here through us and in us. We look forward to your many questions. Please feel free to stop any of us to talk about what is happening here in Kenya. We are anxious to share with you.