“Habari Asabui” from Kenya
… that means “good morning!”
We pray all is well and good back in Canada!
Roger, Blair and I have had another busy week of serving here in Kenya in many different areas in and around PACE. Each of us has been given the freedom to really seek God for direction and affirmation in what He would have us put our energy, time and resources into. That has been so great, as we have really felt God’s presence and blessing in all we’ve been called to be involved in by Him through people… children and adults alike! We had been challenged by this initially but so blessed as we have sense we’ve been truly serving God’s call to serve, not man’s.
Roger has been working very closely with the teachers over the week. First as he began his French classes for class 6&7 which have gone very well. He had to take a break from that for a couple of days as all of the students at PACE had to write mid-term exams. Roger also helped in that time, sitting in classes to “monitor” the exams and working with the teachers in marking them. He had a pretty busy week but really got a chance to understand the school, the education system and also to really begin to get to the know the teachers on a professional and personal level.
And the french is going over so well! Last night, when we left the young people after our “Friday night activities” with them, quite a few bid us farwell with “au revoir!” And at one point in the evening while they were roasting marshmallows, some of the kids broke into “Frere Jacques” that Roger had taught them earlier in the week! They are enjoying!
And they really enjoyed their activities last night… we took a break from just watching movies and instead played a couple of rounds of “Capture the Flag” and Hide and Seek … in the dark… then roasted marshmallows and made smore’s. They love Capture the Flag. The August team introduced it at camp this year… so many of the kids remembered… many weren’t at camp, but they caught on quick. Even some of the vocational college students joined in and had a ball! It was getting dark by the time we played, so that added an additional challenge which they really enjoyed! Each team won a round, so we will have a tie breaker next Friday evening!! Blair really enjoyed playing this with the young people… but he spent most of his time sitting in jail! (Bring back any memories, Mary??!)
Oh… and we showed them a slide show of their spontaneous field trip that we took this week. On Tuesday morning at about 7:45, we got a call from Mathange, the head teacher, that there was an elephant stuck in the mud on the other side of town and he asked if we’d like to come and see it. So, we high tailed it over to PACE, got on the bus with about 40 students and some teachers and drove off to see if it was still there. And it was… and boy was it stuck… poor thing. There must have been over 1000 people to gathered by then to see it… the crowd was amazing. The wildlife rangers allowed Blair and I and a couple of the PACE teachers to come close (we ended up standing about 20ft. from it) to take photographs… and there were a few other people who were actual media as well who were allowed this access. (I think they thought we were media… we were the only muzungos there!) Anyway, Blair got some great photographs. He is going to post a couple on our blog… which you can see at http:/partnership2009.wordpress.com/ they should be up by now.. as it is 3:00 am in Canada as I write this… and he will put them up in the next hour.
I’m happy to say the story has a happy ending. A vet was flown in from Nairobi to Nyahururu and the animal was sedated. Then the wildlife rangers wrapped a couple of big rope slings around it and pulled if out with a big tractor. Apparently when it woke up people scattered as it got up immediately and made it’s way back into the forest a pretty good clip!
… and then there was the hippo. Unbelievably, the very same afternoon… a hippo fell into (walked into?) a hole that some men had dug for some construction, just 200m away from the elephant. I trust it got out ok to!
Not a good day for the local wildlife, or the rangers!! But, as I said, it seems to have all turned out well. And many people got to see an elephant, who have never seen one before.
Blair and I have been working hard in the library and kitchen throughout the week! That’s been great and we’ve been able to engage in some really good conversation, again to get a better understanding of where people are at personally and spiritually… and where needs really are here. It really does take time and a willingness to listen and to dig beneath the surface, so to speak, of what one sees here. People are so hungry here for God and spiritual depth, which is so encouraging… the challenge lies in sharing ways they can continue to seek and learn and grow closer to God… and to help each other in these things. Please keep the staff at PACE in your prayers that they may continue to seek spiritual depth and that they continue to seek to live out their faith in tangible ways in their daily lives here.
And on that, God has opened up an opportunity and I have been blessed to have been asked to facilitate another “come away day” silent retreat. This time for a local group of “Caleb” Pastors and their wives, some other local Pastors, along with some missionaries in the area, including us, some American friends and an Australian couple that will be visiting as well. We have the date and venue confirmed for Friday, October 23rd. Please pray that this group will be as impacted by this day as much as the PACE staff have been.
Oh, and speaking of prayers… thanks to all who prayed for Blair in his time of preaching to the P.C.E.A. (Presbyterian… sorry, I know I spelled that wrong!!) Church in Ol Joro-Orok last Sunday. He did end up being “the” preacher for the English service after all… as the lead Pastor of the church got called away to another church that morning. God gave Blair a message that was very relevant to everyone… and was challenging. It blessed us to see and hear God speaking though him in a powerful way.
We spent a wonderful day in Ol Joro-Orok (it’s about a 10-15 min. matatu ride from PACE)… after the English service, we stayed for the Kikuyu service, which was just under 3 hours!! Lot’s of music though, so it didn’t feel like 3 hours. Then we had the opportunity to go to the home of one of the elders for traditional Kenyan lunch. This couple has 2 young daughters, 4 and 8 years old… they took a real liking to Blair. The 8 year old announced she wanted to come home with us. When we asked her.. “You mean to PACE or to Canada?” She said “Canada.” We explained that she’d probably miss here mom, dad, sister, friends and home here… we all had a good laugh though.
We’ve done lots of visiting this week, in other’s homes, also having friends at “our home” and visiting over lunches and meetings in town. Blair and I spent quite a bit of time with two Pastor’s we’ve just met who will be going on the Rwanda trip. We had come in to town for a meeting with the two Pastors who I am helping to lead the trip… as it turned out, one was out of town, one was on his way back to town and his car had broken down. He said he could be there in about 15 min…. so we waited in his office… 20 minutes (or so) later, 2 other gentlemen walked into the office… who turned out to be these two Pastor’s we’d not met. They had heard we were waiting and knew that it might be hours before our friend arrived. So they decided to come up and keep us company. We all left an hour later, but we were all thankful that God had given us this chance to meet and get to know each other. We’re looking forward to serving alongside these two men.
Well, I should sign off for now and get going here. We have another “busy” day ahead… later today we’ll be going the home of Joseph Kohora and his wife. Joseph is the dressmaking instructor at PACE and we have gotten to know him well over the last couple of years. We are looking forward to getting to getting to know his wife as well and to see their home. (Oh, and Phyllis, your Kitenge is done and it is beautiful!!) 🙂
As well, one of the Rwandan orphans at PACE, Mushimwe, is turning 14 today… so before we head out to meet Kohora, we are going to stop at PACE for lunch with a cake to help her celebrate. Again, this is a way that Mathenge reaches out in love to these children. A simple birthday cake to let them know that they are loved as family… more than family in some cases. Birthday’s are not generally a big deal here from what we understand. The whole “birthday thing” is more of a western tradition… but somehow Mathenge has caught on and enjoys holding a simple celebration for his kids who have no close family to celebrate with. It’s a privilege to be here to celebrate with her. We have also grown to know and love and watch Mushimwe grow over the last 4 years we have been in Kenya.
We pray that all will have a good weekend at home. A special hello to my nephew, Ryan (who some of you know as he sometimes helps his Uncle Blair in the “Aluminum for Africa” ministry) Happy Birthday for tomorrow, little buddy!! 😀 Let’s see, 13 now, right??? Boy, you’ll be driving before we know it!!
As well, I wanted to say “hi” to my friends at WHY Club and to the “Garden Angels!” I think of you all often… and we want to say thank you again for your prayers and support!!! Oh, and to the “Angels”… Wachira, the director here at PACE has some dreams for landscaping the school compound… you would be welcome here anytime to put your gifts and talents to work here in Africa!! 😀
With that I will say Kwa heri for now! Thank you all again for your prayers and encouragement! We all appreciate the support from home so much!
May you know God’s peace, love and JOY!!… today! “This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!!”
With love and in Christ,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3: 5-6