Kenyan Update from Phil Sheldon!


The Rush for the Shower

Well it’s Monday afternoon about 4:28 our time (that’s 9:28AM your time for those wondering) and I guess the election poles are open (that’s quite funny as the Swahili word for sorry is pole – make’s sense in a weird way). It has been quite the ride since we arrived here at PACE last Friday. Saturday was a bit of a quiet day and a day for the Cottrill’s and Garner’s to get readjusted to PACE. A lot has changed since they were here six years ago. Even for Wendy who was here in 2008 it has changed.

Sunday was the busy day. As you can see from the title is was a panic to get into the single shower. The shower was just a few small stream of water but at least it was warm. Team 2 (Garners, Cottrills and Sheldons) are all staying at Dorris’ home. Dorris had to leave suddenly a week or so ago to attend a family funeral in the States so she wonderfully left us the use of the house. Lots of room and we are very comfortable here.

Anyways we all (both teams) had to be at Wachira’s for breakfast and out the door for church by 8:30. There were 15 of us – two teams, Roger (who is doing great by the way and is much loved by all by the way); Joanie Wachira and Gl4enda and Irungu all trying to fit into 3 small cars so a tight fit by our standards but not by Kenyan. I’m sure if we had not been in such a rush we would have picked up a few more on the way. Oh by the way Wilf, Irungu finally has his own car – a small Toyoto with the words “Hot Rod Bug” on the windshield. He calls it his Hot Rod for God.

We went to AIC Nyahururu church for the 9AM English service were John Garner spoke to us on Finishing the Race well. Our two teams also sang our Swahili hymn – I surrender all – and the crowd went wild. After the service there was a combined baptism with another AIC church and we watched as 22 people were baptized in the outdoor baptism tank. It must have been exceptionally cold water judging by the expressions on the people’s faces as they came out of the water. There was certainly joy on their faces but a bit of surprise as well. It was very moving to see – young and old – there was even an older woman who was on crutches due to a foot injury and she refused to wait to be baptized until she was better. It was a struggle to get her down the steps and into the tank but from her face it was worth it. They all go in with full Sunday best dress.

Afterwards , we split into three groups and two of us (Dave and I) headed to two rural churches so that Dave and I could preach the Swahili services (John stayed at AIC so he could give his message again in their Swahili service). I went with Pastor Geoffrey Njihia’s church and spoke on suffering. Wendy, Pat and Carla came with me for support so the four of us sang our Swahili song again. It was a great service with everyone having to participate – children, youth, men and women at some point. I’m sure that we could convince Jon to add that to our service.

Next we had to rush to get to Maina in time for 2PM for the dedication of Pastor Peter and Joyce’s new home. This was the first CALEB pastor’s home that Harbour participated in and it was great. About 150 people showed up including so town officials as this was a big event. There had been many hands involved in building this home and everyone wanted to be there. Joyce’s face must have hurt as I don’t think she stopped smiling for a minute. The program involved the usual speeches and lots of singing and prayers. Our team even got the nerve up to sing our song for a third time that day. I spoke on behalf of our team, Harbour Fellowship and International Teams and the various donors. I had a God moment when I looked at the church as I started my speech and realized that I didn’t see the stone blocks anymore – what I saw was fingerprints of all the people involved covering the walls and Gods fingerprints were at the very top. That came out of no where because it wasn’t in my original speech so it must have come from God. Next we all marched around to the back of the house where a pink ribbon was cut and we all went into the house and then prayed over the rooms. Joyce had a few tears then along with everyone else but many smiles as well.

Finally we all went outside again for the cake cutting. Now a cake, especially a decorated one, is a really big deal for them, so to have enough for everyone was something.

Just as we were leaving, Pastor Mati and his wife Rosemary grabbed Wendy and I and took us to see their new home. They have moved in last week because of the housing problem with their rental home. This is the second of the CALEB homes that Harbour assisted with. It wasn’t quite finished inside but it is livable. The dedication on their home will be in early October. But again so many smiles.

There was a great story that I heard about Pastor Mati. He is very close to 65 and retirement but is in great shape. I guess his congregation wanted to talk to him about retiring from Ministry and he told them, that because of the house, what he calls this amazing gift from God that he can never repay, he intends to continue working for God the rest of his life in some way or another.

After this we went to the weekly Sunday night Ngamau family worship where as many family members as possible get together for food and fellowship. This has been going on for some 26 years. Wachira has 6 brothers and 2 sisters all married with children and grandchildren so you can imagine the crowd. And then add our 10 plus Roger and it was wall to wall. Of course we sang our song again and Carla gave a great testimony.

Finally we all got home. It was a long day but a very full day and one we will all talk about for years.

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