Saturday, December 30, 2006
Christmas Week 2006
Bwana asa fiwe!
Kristofer came to Temso Church last Sunday sober and even
shared during the testimony time that he was saved!
Thank you for your prayers. The church members
welcomed him to their church family and expressed their joy
at his coming to the Lord. There were also six
visitors, two of which said they were joining the church.
What a wonderful way to celebrate the birth of our Savior.
Lately the clouds have
been closing in on us at our 7,000+ feet elevation, leaving
us in a very heavy fog, which was the situation Christmas
morning. We had a service at 10:00 a.m. at Cheptabach
for which I was a little late because of having to drive so
slowly in the “soup.” Thank the Lord the people
walking along the road saw my lights before I saw them and
moved out of the way. As we sat in the church, the fog
drifted in and out through the glassless window openings.
I’ve never been inside a building where that happened
before. In spite of the weather we had a wonderful
service in the little church decorated with flowers and
Next on the Christmas Day
agenda was lunch at the home of Luke Osiri, manager of
Kapchorua Tea Estate. It was a delicious meal prepared
by chefs trained in a Nairobi cooking school. (No red
beans and rice!) Anna and I joined him and his family,
which included a daughter who flew in from Wellesly College
in Boston. By this time the clouds had lifted and the
sun was shining—a much welcomed sight.
Then, after two hours of
trying to get through the congested telephone lines, I
finally talked to my children and all the grandchildren—my
Christmas thrill! Everyone is fine. Several of you
have asked about Devin, who had seen a neurologist. A
sleep study is supposed to be done in January.
Meanwhile, he’s all boy, having called 911 on Christmas Day
and everyone being shocked by the arrival of the local
Boxing Day, Dec. 26, Anna had several friends over for lunch
at Chemartin. The food and fellowship were great, but
the weather turned horrible. We were sitting in the outdoor
barbecue area under a tin roof and all conversation came to
a halt because of the overpowering noise of rain and hail.
In fact we’ve had so much rain at this time of the year,
which is supposed to be very hot and dry, that there is
flooding in the valleys (Eldoret and Kisumu) and even in the
desert region in the northern part of Kenya.
On Friday three pastors
and I met with Linus Kirimi, the vice-president of the
Baptist Convention of Kenya and whom I met at the Mukhuru
Bible School graduation in November. He brought the
books we will use for TEE—Theological Education by
Extension—for the pastors and other church leaders and
members who are interested in teaching Sunday School or just
growing in the faith. Now we just need to work out
some logistics and then we will start in January. The
whole study includes about 50 books, with exams upon
completion of each one. Topics include spiritual
growth, evangelism, ministry, Old and New Testament studies,
and theological studies. The fruit of this Christian
training can permeate into and change the whole character of
Linus is a Godly man who
has a true servant’s heart, and for some time he has had the
desire to start a theological school in the Nandi area.
The Lord has brought us together so that this vision can
become a reality to help the churches and people here and in
the surrounding area. A satellite location of Kenya Baptist
Theological College will open as soon as we can work out all
the details. This means that beyond TEE our pastors
who must work will be able to continue their studies at
night and on weekends so they can earn a Certificate of
Biblical Studies (2 years) and then go on to earn a Diploma
of Theology (2½ years) right here in Nandi Hills. I
can’t wait to see how God accomplishes this! But I
know it will happen. Please pray with us about this
very challenging and exciting endeavor.
Well, another year is
almost over and, the Lord willing, we will have a brand New
Year to do as Paul did in Philippians 3:13-14:
“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is
ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which
God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” We
serve an awesome God who is full of love, mercy, patience
and forgiveness; who gives us a second chance and more; who
wants us to have “abundant life” through Jesus Christ; who
showers us with blessings; who is everything we ever need.
Let’s give Him our love, our worship, our best, and our all
in 2007. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Thank you and I thank God
for you and your love, support and prayers.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Sunday, Dec. 17, we were at First Baptist Church, Kapsabet,
where the ladies from the Bible study were in charge of the
service. This is the church that was almost destroyed
by another group that persuaded the pastor and about half
the members to go with them to another location. Many
others just stopped going to any church, leaving a handful
of the faithful to persevere. The first time I visited
there the church wasn’t even half full. But last
Sunday it was full—praise the Lord! People are
beginning to come back. In fact, one man gave his
testimony about how the Lord had dealt with him to return to
the church. The pastor says others he has visited will
also be returning. This was the beginning of an
exciting week of the working of our awesome God!
Wednesday is Bible study day at Temso Church. I
arrived at 2:00, then two ladies came, and then two men came
in and sat down. One of the men said he had seen God
working in the area, wanted to be saved and wanted me to
pray for him. However, he was slightly intoxicated, which
is not an unusual sight around here. I talked to him
briefly about the Lord, that he had to believe in Jesus
Christ and repent of his sins. Since he wasn’t in any
condition to carry on a conversation, I just planted those
seeds and prayed for him. He said he was coming to
church Sunday. I told him he’d better be sober.
Please pray for Kristofer Agui Ruto that he will stop
drinking, come to church sober on Sunday, and be saved!
Thursday is Bible study day at Kapsabet. The pastor,
John Rotich, shared with me that two of the churches we
planted in 2005, Cheribisi and Kipture, which were also
persuaded to join that other group, have now decided to come
back to the Baptist church. They’ve asked for help to
get them started again. Pastor John and another pastor
will meet with them to counsel and encourage them, and then
we’ll set a time to go visit the people in their area and
set up two more lighthouses for our Lord Jesus in the
Kaspsabet area. And the excitement isn’t over yet!
discovered a remnant of the church in Nandi Hills town that
we planted in 2002. It also was almost destroyed by
that other group. In fact, we thought it was totally
gone. They have come to us asking for help to rebuild.
The work here is growing and we need more workers in the
harvest! God loves these people and wants them in
heaven with all of us!
for Christmas highlights. In the mall in Kisumu there
was a robotic Santa Claus as part of a very small Christmas
display. He was swaying and singing a Christmas song.
That was the only sign of Christmas, except for gift-wrap
paper and a few boxes of Christmas cards in Nakumatt (the
super Wal-Mart clone). At the entrance to the Nakumatt
in Eldoret there was also a swaying, singing Santa, except
his song was “The Yellow Rose of Texas.” I laughed out
loud! This is equatorial Africa! The sad part is
this: The owner of Nakumatt is from India. There
are many Hindu temples and Muslim mosques in those two towns
(Kisumu and Eldoret), so that Christmas is very much
However, it is very much alive in the churches. We’ll
have our usual Sunday morning services, and then on
Christmas Day we’ll have a service at Cheptabach at 10:00
a.m. I’ve been singing traditional Christmas hymns in
Swahili with the ladies at Bible study. Jon Duncan,
from the GA Baptist Convention, gave me a hymnbook that was
written by a music missionary in Kenya several years ago.
It has come in handy many times!
Christmas Day Anna, Thomas and I have been invited to have
lunch with Luke, the manager of Kapchorua Tea Estate.
The next day, (Boxing Day, which is left over from the days
of British colonial rule), Anna is hosting many friends at
Chemartin with a barbecue. They’re still working on
plans for New Year’s Day. So the holidays will be
busy. I’ll be calling my daughter and son and talking
to all the grandchildren, which will be a thrill for me!
It’s much cheaper for me to call them.
Merry Christmas and God bless you in the New Year!
you for your love and prayers!
mentioned before, the house is bulletproof.
at Kapsabet had an African style dress made for me.
They found someone shaped like me (poor thing!), took
her measurements, gave them to a tailor, and, behold, I
have a new dress which fits perfectly. It may look
funny in the picture because they put it on me over the
clothes I wore to church.
Vervet monkey was in a tree just outside my bedroom
window. I was in the cage while he was free.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, was a National Holiday celebrating 43
years of independence from English colonial rule.
Jamhuri means republic. The official title
of the country is The Republic of Kenya. Anna and I
watched the festivities taking place in the football
(soccer) stadium in Nairobi on TV. There were choirs,
native dances, and a speech by President Kibaki, the third
president since 1963. He spoke of all the progress that’s
been made this year and plans for the future. Most of
the speech was in English, and then he spoke briefly in
Swahili. It was all quite entertaining, but there were
Sunday’s service at Kapchorua was great. They’ve
started a Sunday School! Bwana asa fiwe!
Praise the Lord! A visitor stood up during the
testimony time and shared that he had been looking for a
church that taught strictly from God’s Word. He said
he had found it that day. We talked to him after the
service and discovered he lives quite a distance away.
He wants us to start a church in that area. He is the
third person to visit our Baptist churches in the past few
months who have requested that we start a church where they
live. Therefore, we already have a lot of work for the
mission team that’s coming in July. The people here
had already determined that churches were needed in two
other locations. So y’all bring your walking shoes!
house is now decorated for Christmas. They even
decorated my little abode in the guest house while I was out
teaching a Bible study. What a nice surprise!
The only other things that are Christmassy are the
poinsettia trees, but then they bloom all year. There
are so many Muslims and Hindus in the area, especially in
the towns, that Christmas decorations are very scarce if at
all. I’m very thankful that Anna loves good music and
she’s been playing all her Christmas CDs and tapes by
American and English artists. It’s so interesting to
listen to “Winter Wonderland” in equatorial Africa and
realize that a lot of the people here have never seen
anything frozen, including food! Christmas services
are being planned in all the churches and I’ve been told
that they are very special times. I’m looking forward
to sharing our Lord’s birthday celebration with African
Christian friends. Of course, I will greatly miss my
family, especially my five grandchildren who bring so much
excitement and joy to this wonderful time of the year!
Speaking of Christmas, I pray all of you have a wonderful
and blessed holiday season with family and friends sharing
the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! MERRY
CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!
told this week that my house should be finished by April.
They laid the foundation and began the outside walls this
week. No wood is used in the building until they get
to the roof. The windows and outside doors are of iron
with iron bars on the windows. The outside walls are
very thick stones, and the inside walls will be plastered.
The total thickness of the walls will be about 7 inches.
I think that makes it bulletproof! Right now there’s
no power or water in the area, so I’ll be using a solar
energy system with a back-up generator and a rain water
collection system from the roof with a filtration system.
The blessing of all this is no monthly bills! Also,
the sun is much more reliable than the electric power
source. God had it all planned and problems solved
before I arrived!
been in contact with Linus Kirimi this week about training
for the pastors and he will be coming in January to talk to
them about a Bible school in Nandi Hills. That is a
major answer to prayer and these men are so excited to have
that opportunity. There are many details to work out,
but as I said above, God has already solved all those
problems. We just need to pray and allow Him to reveal
His perfect will in His perfect time. (Linus is the
man I met at the graduation recently who is a vice-president
at the Baptist Convention of Kenya.)
you for your faithfulness to pray for us over here!
here like to be called by their last name; therefore, my
builder, Kihara Waweru, is called simply Waweru.
He's standing on the right in front of where the front
door will be. Actually he's standing in the area
where the veranda will be and from where the view can be
enjoyed. The day I took this picture the clouds
were closing in and covering the hills with mist.
The view from the valley below would have been just
another cloudy day.
this picture looking down from the top point of the
triangle. Waweru is still standing by the front
door in front of the third tree from the left.
John and I used to talk about a retirement home in the
mountains. Now he has his in heaven and I'll have
mine on earth.
Saturday, December 9, 2006
What a special treat it was
to be invited to a very serious, important Kalenjin family
tradition last Wednesday. The daughter of one of the
deacons at Temso Church has found a mate, so a party
celebrating her engagement was held at her home. At
1:00 all the elder members of her family and representatives
from the prospective groom’s family arrived and quietly
seated themselves in chairs arranged around the four walls
of the living room. There were more than 20 people in
the room, the oldest of which was 86, the grandfather of the
bride-to-be. The purpose of their presence was to have
the future bride and groom identify themselves to everyone.
At the appointed time two
teenage girls entered the room and stood there for a moment.
Nothing happened and they were shooed out of the room.
Next two girls in their twenties entered. After a
minute or so the groom rose from his seat and approached his
fiancé, gave her a hug and presented her with a gold
necklace. The two had now revealed themselves to their
family members. The bride-to-be and her friend left
the room and the future groom returned to his seat.
After a few more minutes of
silence, representatives from each family began a friendly
discussion concerning the dowry to be paid from the groom’s
family to the bride’s family. A family friend had been
designated beforehand to write down the contents of the
dowry as each item was accepted by the bride’s
representative. The usual dowry consists of a certain
number of cows, goats, sheep, chickens, money or whatever
they decide. It was all in Kalenjin, so I have no idea
how it came out.
After the dowry was settled,
the bride went outside to greet the ladies who were gathered
in a circle singing. They gave her a kikoi (the
all-purpose wrap-around) and sang as she went around the
circle greeting each one. Then they all started
walking away from her house pretending they were taking her
away from her groom, but a few of her friends rescued her
and brought her back home to him. This was all in fun
and part of the celebration. Now it was time for a
lunch of red beans and rice with goat meat on the side.
How interesting it was to learn firsthand about a different
Sunday was mountain-climbing
day as a few of us went back to the Tinderet area to visit
Cherobon Church, which meets in a primary school almost at
the top of one of the mountains. We parked the car at
the bottom and began the 30-minute walk up narrow paths of
dirt and rocks of all sizes, stopping only twice to catch
our breath. (Actually, they stopped for me; the rest
were in much better shape and much younger!) We had a
wonderful service filled with lots of music, testimonies,
teaching and preaching. It started at 11:00 and by
2:00 we were eating red beans and rice with chicken on the
There are many here who think
that all wazungu (that’s plural for mzungu
which means white person), are quite wealthy and can
provide everything they want for the churches and for
themselves. They think I am the magic answer to all
their problems. I have been much in prayer seeking
God’s wisdom and discernment concerning His perfect will for
each situation. There is obviously so much need and I
really want to meet every need, but that isn’t possible or
practical, nor is it what’s best for them. God has
been leading me to teach them His way of providing and
that’s through the Biblical principle of tithing, giving
offerings and reaping what you sow.
Last Sunday I shared about
making Jesus Lord of their lives and all that it means to
surrender our lives to Him and then shared about the major
importance of obedience to God’s Word, especially about
tithing. When I finished, the pastor challenged them
to do just that—tithe. They passed the offering plate
again and many made commitments to begin tithing. I
pray, and please pray also, that this will continue and
spread to the other churches so that God may be glorified in
the communities as they see the mighty works of God because
of their faithfulness and obedience to Him!
My shamba has been
cleared of the corn field, lots of underbrush and most of
the unwanted blue gum trees, so I drove there this morning
and walked along the property line. I’ve never owned a
whole acre before and didn’t realize how big it is.
wafundi (skilled workers) were being watched by several
children. The stones I thought were the beginnings of
the foundation were there only to show them how deep to dig
to make it level on top of the mara (solid rock
foundation). They have almost completed that part and
the next step will be to pour the foundation. When I
go to keep up with the progress, I take pictures of whoever
is there, print them and take them back to them. They
love to get those photos!
Thank you for your prayers.
These people are praying for you!
God bless you all!
all that by hand, no machines!
tallest boy on the right is the son of the family from
whom I purchased the land. His name is Ken. They still
own one acre next to me and will eventually build a
house and become my neighbors. The mom and dad are in
Stanley Choge (he goes by his last name) are my future
neighbors. He is an assistant to the district chief for
Temso, the name of the community where I'll be living.
She has been nominated to serve on the council for our
area and works with a women's group that is registered
with the Kenyan government.
They're standing outside my car after I'd just given
them a ride to the paved road where they can board a
matatu (mini-van used for public transportation).
Saturday, December 2, 2006
Are They Listening?
Anyone who has preached
and/or taught knows the feeling of wondering, Are they
with me? They look kinda sleepy. Lord,
are You sure this is what I should be telling them?
Well, that’s the way it was last Sunday at Taito Church as I
shared from John 3 about Nicodemus and being born again.
But, Bwana asa fiwe! (Praise the Lord!) God was
working and one person was saved and two others joined the
church! One of those who joined the church was Andrew,
one of the brothers I asked prayer for last week. The
harvest is ready and the Harvester is at work. What
great joy it is to be working in the fields with the Lord!
But God isn’t the only one
working in the fields, as we all know. A very good
friend sent me some information from a web site about world
mission news in which there was an article about Kenya.
It reported that there are some non-Christian groups who are
trying to influence the Kenyan government to suppress the
work of Christians. The Bible tells us there will be
persecution in the last days, so we shouldn’t be surprised.
Please add this situation to your prayer list so that souls
will continue to be saved here.
After the service at Taito on
Sunday, we went to Cheptabach for a time of celebration for
Peter Kemboi, one of the pastors who graduated from Bible
school the week before. They also surprised me with
four trees to plant in my shamba. Lunch was—you
guessed it—red beans and rice.
I’ve been dividing my tithe
and the support money from Snellville First Baptist among
the nine churches in Nandi Hills and left it up to the
pastors and other church leaders to pray for God’s will on
how to use it. I was delighted to find out that
Cheptabach and Temso have decided to build toilets (choo
– pronounced with a long o). I’m sure you
understand that these are nothing like the ones in your
churches, but they surely do beat the alternative!
Mungu ni mwema!
God is good!
This week has been rather
full of a variety of happenings. Monday we went to
Kisumu for Anna to see the doctor who’s been treating her
for bronchial pneumonia. She’s much better now.
Tuesday we went to Eldoret to buy more beads for the ladies
and take care of other errands. Wednesday and Thursday
saw afternoon Bible studies and mornings full of this, that
and the other. Since the Chemartin group on Saturday
afternoons is beginning a study of the Gospel of John, there
was much studying to be done. Therefore, this update
is short and sweet so I can send it out on time.
Thank you for your prayers,
love and support!
the trenches are the beginnings of the foundation--a
wall of stone and cement--built on top of the mara,
the solid rock under the soil. Most of the
blue gum trees and stumps have been removed because they
don't allow anything else to grow with them and they're
good only for firewood. Anna and her gardeners
and church members will landscape with more trees like
Poinsettia, which blooms all year; Jakaranda, which has
beautiful lavender flowers; Nandi Flame, which has deep
orange-red flowers; and others. You must come see my
Garden of Eden!
There is a
full-time watchman living on my shamba in the
tin structure you see in the picture. His job
is to protect the building materials from "walking"