Wed. Sept. 2nd
I’m thankful to have a chance to write this evening, it has been a somewhat busy week and a bit since the team departed. Actually, it feels as though it has been a couple of weeks already there has been so much going on!
As it turned out, last week, after I spent a day wandering the streets of Nairobi, just taking it all in… the Ngamau family picked me up at the guesthouse I was staying in and we drove for almost an hour south-east of Nairobi to stay in a lovely home of a missionary family in the Ngong Hills. We were out in the country! Though I must confess, missed not being able to walk to the Java House each morning after all, God had a better plan… (as always)… a quiet place to rest (catch up on some very necessary reading) and re-coup after a very hectic two weeks of ministry and travel. (Traveling in Kenya can take a lot out of you!!)
We arrived back in Nyahururu last Friday… a 3 1/2 hour journey that ended up taking 5 hours!! It was so good to be back home though! I spent the first couple of days just “moving in” so to speak… and getting accustomed to how long it takes to accomplish simple house hold chores. It’s so different from home… especially cooking… I was eating a lot of eggs, rice and toast to start… and bananas… they are very easy. I’m just now in the last couple of days getting to shopping in the market for and cooking vegetables… it’s a bit of a process to cleaning and preparing to cook… if you don’t like overcooked mushy veggies… which really are safer if you’re in a hurry! And in the midst of trying to learn how to cook with what’s available here, there have been days with no power, or no water and even one day earlier this week there was no power AND no water. That is part of the challenge (and the adventure!) of living in rural Kenya… you just never know what the day will bring!
Anyway, it’s been a good transition… not as difficult being on my own here as I thought it might be, I’m very thankful to God for that!
I have experienced His provision and sense of protection in so many ways and in so many incidents already! There is a lot of opportunity to be “stressed” over issues like power and water all of the sudden not being available at some critical time… there is lots of opportunity to go into panic mode, or complain, but God has been showing me His grace in these situations in ways I could never imagine myself. Out of the blue I’m invited out to dinner the evening I run out of water, there is a knock on the door and there are 8 young men carrying 4 huge buckets of water to see me through till “the big tank” can be filled, in the end the blessings in these times far outweigh any inconvenience… and it has given me the opportunity to quickly let go of my Western, individualistic, independent ways and become a part of this community. MY way would be to be able to move in here, be self-sufficient, not NEED anything from anybody… but clearly I’m learning that’s not God’s plan for how I’m to live here… and there has been great joy and peace in realizing that.
As it has turned out, I also have house guests for the week. There is a guest instructor teaching an intense one week module at PAST Bible School and apparently, (as I found out just a few hours before he arrived) guest instructors stay in this home. The director of PAST, Thairu is also staying here with him. Again, though it was kinds of “sprung” on me… it’s been a great blessing to host them here. Last night we were all invited to dinner at the home of an American missionary who is also teaching at PAST, and it was a good opportunity to get to know him somewhat before he actually moved in! Tonight was a little quieter, the gentlemen took dinner at PACE… (I’m just not confident enough to cook a whole Kenyan dinner yet… eggs and toast or just some rice and veggies wouldn’t cut it for these guys!) and when they got in I did have tea ready for them. We enjoyed an hour or so of conversation, talking about both of our homelands, cultures, churches. This Pastor has a church of over 1000 in a city called Naivasha… about two hour from here back towards Nairobi. It is considered an “urban” area, and they have some industry, a couple of large flower growing operations and quite a few resorts and tourist areas as they are on a large lake. He talked about how the church had grown gradually over the last 22 years from when he started just attending there… at that time they had “only” 250 members. And all this growth has been though local efforts and resources which I was so encouraged to hear. This is a great blessing from God for an African church… it’s certainly not rare, but it is not common either.
Oh my goodness, I just realized what time it was! I did promise I would cook some eggs for breakfast for the men in the morning… it’s the least I can do… and I can do eggs!! 😀 So I’d better go for now… I will continue in the morning!
La la salama! (Peace be with you tonight!)
Friday, Sept. 4th…
OK… so it’s two mornings later! We were on a power ration again yesterday (every Monday and Thursday) and it went out at 6:30 am yesterday… JUST as I plugged the kettle in for coffee! Oh well… another pot on the burner! 🙂
It’s been really nice having house guests here with me. The Pastor and Thairu leave today to go back to their homes, so it’ll be quiet here again tonight. Though I will get more sleep! We’ve been up late the last two nights talking… so much to talk about… as it turns out this Pastor is teaching an intensive course on Missions to other Kenyan Pastors… God is so good!!! So, yes, we’ve had lots of good conversation and questions to wrestle with together in regards to how Christianity and culture clash and mix and can address the issues that we all face, no matter where we come from (or where we’re going!) I am learning so much and getting a much deeper understanding of the Kenyans worldview… at least from a Kikuyu perspective… there are 47 different tribes in this country… can you imagine? We have “French and English Canada” to try to navigate… think 47 different seperate cultures to try to bring to come kind of unity in this country! And quite a few of these tribes are considered unreached people groups by the Kenyans. The AIC Church who we are working most closely with, have sent out many missionaries to live and work amongst these groups. And of course they are now expanding “globally” to reach Rwanda and Congo. It’s very encouraging to hear how involved and committed they are to missions in their own country and now beyond.
It’s been very good to have the gentlemen here, I’ve heard through the grapevine that there might be another guest instructor next week… we’ll see!
The other “project” (for lack of a better word) I’m working on currently is to assist a couple of leaders here at PACE in introducing the concept of a “silent retreat day” to the staff. This is something was introduced to me by a good friend earlier this year and has really served to help me grow deeper in my relationship with God as I’ve sought to engage in this practice on a regular basis. It’s basically a day of silent retreat, all you take is a Bible, a notebook and something to write with… it’s a day to engage in extended time of prayer, a time to meditate deeply on God’s word and to listen for his promptings and leadings in regards to… whatever is going on in one’s life… It’s a time to be refreshed and re-energized for life and for serving others… it certainly opens up the potential for increased sensitivity to others needs.
God laid it on my heart to share this “spiritual discipline” with my brothers and sisters here. Thairu (the PAST Bible College Director) and Wawerau (the PACE manager) are both graduates of a Christian University here in Nairobi, so thankfully, they have engaged in this practice themselves and are familiar with it. To the rest of the staff at PACE and in general… it’s a totally foreign concept… so I am working with these two gentleman (who I am encouraging to take the leadership role in this) to gently introduce it to the others. The aim, is to encourage spiritual growth to help in the challenge PACE finds itself in which is a problem here in Kenya… and frankly in most places (including Canada)… that Christianity is “a mile wide and an inch deep.” People… nations call themselves “Christian” but often it’s difficult to distinguish who the Christians are… our lives don’t look much different than anyone else’s, the way we make decsions, use our resources and our time, take care of the earth and all God has provided to us, how we treat others, often doesn’t reflect what we say we believe and many times it’s because we don’t set aside the time to stop an really think deeply on what we do really value and believe and come back to God’s word (in the case of a Christian) to see if how we live is lining up with what we claim to be as Christ followers. (Sorry, was that the longest sentence EVER!)
Anyway… the people here I’ve talked to about it have shown an interest in understanding and engaging in this kind of “come away day” so we are praying through and planning for the first one which we have tentitively set for Saturday, September 19th. If God lays this on your heart for prayer, please pray for us for God’s leading, timing and direction for those of us planning this day, and as well please pray that God will bring the people He wants to attend this first one, and that their hearts would be open to His working in their lives so they can come back to be with others with a greater sensitivity to other people and to God working through them, but also so that they may introduce this practice to others… we are praying for a “ripple” effect, so to speak. That this would be the start of a greater work of spiritual development in the lives of a few to start, to reach out to the lives of many in time… to bring depth to the work God has begun in this ministry and in the community… and to bring lasting change to address real needs here through people who live and work and raise families here.
Lasting change really does have to start from the inside and there is no limit to what God can accomplish though people willing to be transformed by His work in our hearts and lives.
This morning I was led to read from John 7 and in verses 37 & 38 Jesus says, ” Whoever is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” How fitting to be reminded of this as we pray for believers here to be filled with this living water.
So please pray for us and also I would ask that you continue to keep Mary, Phyllis, Val and Franklyn in your prayers as they re-enter into life at home after spending a life changing two weeks here in Kenya. It’s not an easy transition and everyone processes it in a different way… they need an extra measure of God’s peace, patience, perspective and grace over the next few weeks at least. Please remember them and encourage them if given the opportunity.
Please also pray for Blair and Roger who are in preparation mode for coming to join us here in Kenya on August 21st! I am eagerly awaiting their arrival! Only 17 days! Yes, I’m counting now!!! 😀
Please also pray for rain here! Though it is inconvenient… it is so needed here! We thank God that it has rained some the last two evenings… but it’s still not enough… crops and subsequently people are having a harder time because of drought. We must just pray and wait and trust God for the rains to come.
And with that, I shall say “Kwa heri” (goodbye) for now. I pray everyone has a blessed weekend! Thank you for your prayers, sharing scriptures (which have been a great encouragement and immense blessing to me) and continued support! It is a privilege to serve here on your behalf!
In Christ’s love and in His service,