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December 2006 News Archive


Posted_By: Judy
Date: 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 greenery. 


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 police!


On 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 Nandi Hills. 


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.



Posted_By: Judy
Date: Saturday, December 23, 2006


Exciting Week!


Last 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!


We’ve 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!


Now 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 downplayed.


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!


On 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.


Have a Merry Christmas and God bless you in the New Year!

Thank you for your love and prayers!




As I mentioned before, the house is bulletproof.

The ladies 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.

This Vervet monkey was in a tree just outside my bedroom window.  I was in the cage while he was free.


Posted_By: Judy
Date: Saturday, December 16, 2006


Jamhuri Day


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 no fireworks!


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!


Anna’s 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!


I was 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!


I’ve 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.)


Thank you for your faithfulness to pray for us over here!

Mungu awabariki!



Most men 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.

I took 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.


Posted_By: Judy
Date: Saturday, December 9, 2006


Engagement Party


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 culture!


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 side.


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.  The 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!

Mungu awabariki!  God bless you all!



They dug all that by hand, no machines!

The 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 another picture.

Rail and 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).


Posted_By: Judy
Date: Saturday, December 2, 2006


Are They Listening?  Yes!


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!


Mungu awabariki!



Down in 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" away.



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