Saturday, November 25, 2006
The United Nations Climate
Change Conference was held in Nairobi November 6-17.
During that time the weather here was definitely not normal
for this time of the year according to the natives.
November should be very hot, dry and dusty; instead it is
cool, sometimes cold, with rain night and day causing
flooding in some areas. In fact it rained so hard all
day and the night before last Saturday that we cancelled
Bible study. The dirt roads were so muddy it was
unsafe to walk or drive and the gulleys on each side of the
road filled with water and were like small rivers. The
people are saying that surely a drought is on the way.
Last Sunday after church I
was invited for lunch at the home of one of the Bible study
ladies, Dolvine Tuwei. I drove as far as my car could
safely navigate the dirt roads, and then we walked downhill
quite a ways. She, her husband and 10-month-old son
live in a traditional rectangular structure of mud and
sticks with a tin roof. She had it very nicely
decorated with colorful scarves and cut-outs on the walls.
The entrance had a small arbor with vines growing on it, and
beautiful flowers were blooming in a large garden in the
front yard. The meal was the traditional red beans
(from their garden) and rice followed by a cup of
Bryan, one of the boys at
Chemartin went with me to church and enjoyed lunch with us.
This Sunday I hope he and his two brothers will also go with
me. One of his brothers is Andrea (Andrew), one of the
drivers. The other brother is Nikolas who is a Form 3
grade) student at the secondary school run by the tea
estates. Bryan is in Form 2 (10th grade).
They are typical teenagers—they love my RAV4! Please
pray for them as I have been witnessing to them about the
Tuesday Shikuku and I left
for Nairobi at 7:00 a.m. for me to go to the Immigration
Office to apply for permanent resident status. I
called beforehand to find out what papers I needed to take
with me, so all I had to do was fill out their form. I
was there only 30 minutes, but it will be two months before
I find out anything, and then I’ll have to return to Nairobi
to pick up my “alien card.”
After leaving immigration, we
took care of other business then went to the mall for supper
in the 5:00 traffic. Everyone must come and experience
a Nairobi traffic circle during rush hour. You won’t
believe it. Two lanes become crammed into three or
four lanes (depending on whether there’s a big truck among
the chaos) with only inches between the cars. There
are few traffic lights, so it’s first come, first served,
and he who hesitates is left stranded in the dust until
everyone else has gone home! It’s totally amazing and
Because of road conditions
it’s unsafe to drive at night, so we left Nairobi on
Wednesday morning. The drive each way was five hours
on roads that were half very good and half very bad.
Along the way the road passes high above and on the edge of
the Great Rift Valley. What an awesome sight it is!
About half way on the trip the road goes down into the Rift
Valley for a few kilometers where baboons gather on the side
of the highway to watch humans dodge pot holes. Then
the climb begins back up to Nandi Hills and cooler weather.
Friday was graduation day at
Mukhuru Baptist Bible School for two of our pastors: Peter
Kemboi of Cheptabach and John Rotich of Kapsabet. They
received certificates for their theological studies during
the last three years. They would like to continue
their seminary studies and earn diplomas and then degrees,
and that will depend on God supplying the needed finances.
Please pray for the pastors here. These two are the
first to receive certificates. All the others have not
had the opportunity to go to a Bible school.
was taken by surprise when before the graduation service
began, I was asked to stand in for the absent music teacher.
Two men received certificates in church music. I had
to don a robe and cap and marched in with the other teachers
and students. It was quite an honor, but I surely felt
out of place. But God had a plan. The experience
brought me into contact with a vice-president of the Baptist
Convention of Kenya who is in charge of the Theological
Extension Education (TEE) section. His name is Linus
Kirimi and he was the keynote speaker at the graduation
service. He will be an invaluable source of help for
our pastors. Over lunch (red beans and rice) we talked
about the needs in Nandi Hills and he’s willing to start a
Bible school right here! Mungu ni mwema!!!
(God is good!!!)
I continue to stand in awe at
how God is working and providing for the churches here.
I pray we are able to get Sunday Schools started in January
in at least a few of the churches, and told the ladies in
Bible study today to begin praying about their role as
possible S.S. teachers and helpers. That means having
some training sessions. Please pray for us in this
As always thank you for your
receiving their certificates there was a special
prayer for the graduates.
During the service we sang three congregational
hymns in Swahili: "How Great Thou Art," "Stand up,
Stand up for Jesus," and "Send the Light."
Mukhuru Bible School began in 1998. This was their
4th graduating class consisting of 12 theological
students and 2 music students. It's a satelite
school of Kenya Baptist Theological College in
Limuru outside of Nairobi.
had a beautiful sound. The bass guitar amp and sound
system were attached to two car batteries with a third
battery on standby since there was no power on the
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Sunday, Nov. 12, was Thanksgiving Day in the Nandi Hills
Zone. Over 100 people gathered (inside and outside) at
First Baptist Church, Chemartin, for praise and worship and
a long session of prayers of thanksgiving for all God is
doing here. We prayed for the pastors, deacons, other
church leaders, Sunday Schools, the ladies Bible studies,
Anna and Thomas (her husband) and all they’ve done to help
start the churches, for the mission team coming next year
from FBC Snellville and for the areas they will be visiting
with the gospel, for the missions ministry at FBCS, for new
converts to all the churches, for my shamba, and the
property where Temso church is located. Then the
ladies presented me with a beautiful kikoi or leso
(an all-purpose garment), a decorated gourd (sotet or
kibuyu) and a pound of Nandi tea leaves. All of
this was followed by a lunch of delicious red beans and
rice. It was a wonderful day of glorifying our awesome
God! It started at 10:00 a.m. and I was back in my
abode by 4:30 p.m. Quite a day!
Here’s the explanation for
the title above. As you know, my last name is Rushing.
Chirchir is Kalenjin for rushing. Chep
denotes a female. Sunday they bestowed on me that name, so
that my whole name now is Judy Rushing Chepchirchir.
Everyone here has three names which can be derived from any
family member—father, uncle, other—and the place or
circumstances surrounding their birth. For example,
chirchir can also refer to a child who came into the
world in a hurry. Some of their names are quite
The ladies Bible studies
continue to grow. I’ve informed them that they are
being trained to become teachers. I ask questions that
make them dig into the Word to find the answers for
themselves instead of just sitting and soaking. There
are several who know enough to start teaching a children’s
Sunday School class as soon as the pastors can get them
organized. How exciting it will be to see these
children learning more about Jesus!
On Tuesday of this week I
mailed 2½ lbs. of necklaces and bracelets to FBCS and to
one of my sisters-in-law in Louisiana for her church, Judson
Baptist, Walker, LA. They have a group of ladies
called Mission in Action (I think that’s right) and they are
exactly what their name implies. They participate in
many missions activities and are praying for me and the
Kenyan people faithfully for which I thank them and the
Lord. I’ll be mailing some more soon to anyone else
who may be interested in receiving them.
In the list of prayer
concerns above I mentioned the property where Temso church
is located. In last week’s update I said the property
was originally designated as a site for a cattle dip, but
the Temso community very generously donated the 1.5 acres to
the church with the stipulation that a dispensary be built
along with the church. That was in 2002. Since
then nothing has happened to fulfill that plan and I just
found out that the community had recently decided to take
back the land and divide it among five other church
denominations in the area. When Anna and I met with
Chief Joseph a few weeks ago, I wasn’t aware of the decision
to reclaim the land, but I did explain to him why nothing
had happened all these years. As a result, another
meeting was held on Sunday, Nov. 5, at the church involving
members of the community and the church, and, thanks be to
our awesome God, they decided to give the property back to
the Baptist church alone! God is working behind the
scenes setting the stage for great and mighty things to
Here’s an update on my
grandson, Devin. They missed the Nov. 9th
appointment due to inaccurate driving directions, so it was
rescheduled for Nov. 16. The doctor doesn’t think
anything serious is wrong, but they are going to do a sleep
test to make sure the twitching while he’s asleep is not
seizure related. Thank you for your prayers!
is made up of the large stones pounded into the ground then
cement poured over that. The site already has a solid
bedrock of stone they call mara which will be the
"sure, firm foundation."
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Sunday School at Irimis
When I first arrived
here, I was told that Irimis Baptist Church in Kapsabet was
no longer meeting. It is one of the churches we
started in 2002. That was a typical language barrier
miscommunication. I saw it with my own eyes last
Sunday. It is alive and well and is the only church in
the upper Nandi Tea Zone that has a Sunday School.
That’s something we’re working on—Sunday Schools in all the
churches. Please add that to your prayer list for us.
Space is a problem and so is a lack of trained teachers, but
all of that will be solved with the Lord’s help and it will
Sum is the name of the S.S. teacher you see in the picture.
She faithfully attends the Bible study at Kapsabet, and she
did a wonderful job with those children of all ages.
They are memorizing Bible verses and the books of the Bible,
and they sang several great songs. I’ve asked her to
help train others who the Lord will call to teach.
This will be an item for discussion at the pastors’ meeting
at Chemartin this Sunday morning.
Wednesday at the Temso
Bible study I gave a pair of reading glasses to a lady who
couldn’t see well enough to do any of the beaded/crocheted
projects. She was so proud of them she kept them on
the whole time although she can’t read. She would have
had to walk about two hours to the place where she could get
a ride in a matatu to take her to Eldoret to see an
eye doctor. If she was able to do that, she wouldn’t
have had the money to pay the doctor. She’s a
57-year-old widow and she’s one of hundreds of older people
whose eyes are failing them. But help is on the way.
The 1½ acres of
land where Temso Baptist Church is located was donated
to them by the Temso community with the understanding that a
dispensary would be built on the land along with the church.
The land was originally designated to be a cattle dip
station. Anna and I met with Chief Joseph (not a
tribal chief but an administrator in charge of the
district), and the process to construct the dispensary is
now underway. The government and community will help
fund it, along with other donations. Once it is
established and operating and the government has seen that
the community is actively involved in the process, the
government will take over by supplying the personnel and
medicines needed. Some day it can turn into a health
center and then a hospital which is so desperately needed in
the area. I found out recently that six workers at
Chemartin alone died last month because they couldn’t reach
medical help in time. Also last month a mother gave
birth in the tea field and developed complications, but they
were able to get her transported to the hospital in Nandi
Hills in time to save her life and the baby’s, a blessing
that is not always a reality.
On the lighter side I
thought you would enjoy the following which I prepared for
the Whispering Pines Southern Baptist Association in Idaho.
A very old friend from college and seminary days is
pastoring a small church there and an Associational Missions
Fair is planned in December.
RECIPES FROM KENYA
Kenya’s national dish is
called ugali, which is pronounced oo gah’ lee.
It is basically their version of grits. There are no
definite measurements for the ingredients. You just
learn from experience and it all depends on how many will be
and maize (corn) meal (Jembe brand here.)
Bring desired amount of
water to a boil.
Pour in enough maize meal
to feed the number of people who will eat it.
Reduce the heat.
Cook until it’s ready,
Ready means it’s thick
enough to hold a shape. Some put it in a bowl to shape
it then turn it over on a dish and slice it to serve.
Others shape it into a thick, flat cake and use a spoon to
serve it. You can also serve it straight out of the
pot. It can also be made with millet meal. Most
people do not use any salt.
What they call spinach is
actually Swiss chard. They don’t grow the same spinach
eaten in the U.S. This recipe is by one of the native
ladies, Peres, who works as a cook and housekeeper at
Chemartin. It’s delicious!
An armful of spinach
(Swiss chard) freshly picked from the garden
A couple of tablespoons
of corn oil
½ of one large leek
freshly pulled from the garden and thinly sliced
1 tomato sliced into
small pieces (Tomatoes don’t grow well here in the high
altitudes, so they are brought in from Uganda.)
Salt to taste
Spicy beef flavoring
(Mchuzi Mix brand is used here.)
Cream made from boiled
fresh milk from your cow(s)
Wash the Swiss chard and
pull the leaf from the stem.
Slice the leaves into
very small pieces.
Heat the corn oil in a
pot large enough to hold the greens.
Add leek, tomato and salt
and sauté for a few minutes.
Add the greens and let
them cook down.
Add the spicy beef
Cook 15-20 minutes,
Add the cream and
continue cooking until desired tenderness.
Do not discard the stems
or any blemished leaves. Finely slice and dice them
and feed them to the fish in your pond. If you prefer,
you may cook them and add them to your dogs’ food.
Rabbits do not like Swiss chard.
Kenyans traditionally do
not eat desserts. They do eat lots of fresh fruits
picked off the trees, i.e. bananas, pawpaws, mangoes, and
As always, thank you for
your prayers and Mungu awabariki,
done the old fashioned way--hard work and sweat!
Saturday, November 4, 2006
Shamba Prayer Service
cup is overflowing! Last Sunday, 10/29, was an
outstanding day. We had another wonderful church
service at Temso, and then all of us walked through the
woods to my shamba
where we gathered for another service and prayer over the
property. At the end of the service everyone joined
hands in a circle with me in the middle and several people
prayed. What a very special time that was! After
returning to the church there was a meeting of all the
pastors followed by a meal of red beans (kidney beans) and
rice, a meal I grew up on in New Orleans. Beans and
rice is one of the staple meals here and it was very good.
Tuesday we took our usual
weekly trip to Eldoret to do various errands, like grocery
shopping, buying more beads for the ladies groups, getting
my brakes fixed, and a doctor’s visit for Anna. When
we returned to Chemartin I walked to the primary school
where I met two of the ladies, Agnes and Annita, who showed
me how to make the traditional, fancy beaded necklaces.
What fun! Annita is a whiz at making them and Agnes
was there to translate for us. We worked until it
became too dark to see very well, and then they walked with
me back to Chemartin. They are all so good to me,
insisting on carrying my stuff—on their heads!—and making
sure I get back home safely.
On Wednesday Agnes and Annita
accompanied me to Temso to show the ladies there how to make
the necklaces. They were so interested and were
working so hard, we spent the whole time doing that, so the
Bible study will continue next week.
was invited to speak at two primary schools on Wednesday and
Friday to encourage the graduating class as they begin their
exams next week to determine where they will attend
secondary school. Primary school (elementary/middle
school) begins at age 6 or 7 or later and they attend for
eight years. Instead of “grades” they have “Standards”
1 through 8. Upon completing Standard 8, they are
tested to see which of the three levels of secondary school
(high school) they are qualified to attend. The
highest level is a National Secondary School. Next
highest is a Provincial school, and then a District school
is the lowest. Those attending the national schools
almost always go on to universities. The others may or
may not, or they may attend a technical school, or just find
a job after graduation. The secondary school “grades”
are called “Forms” and consist of four years of Form 1, Form
2, etc. Form 4 students have exams over a two-week
period in November to determine their eligibility to
graduate and attend a university. The school year is
January to November with vacations in April, August, and
mid-November through December. Many secondary schools
are boarding schools because they are so widely spread out,
there’s no transportation, and it’s too far to walk to and
from home every day. They all wear uniforms.
As you all know, mentioning
the name of God or Jesus in American schools brings
problems. Here, one of the subjects is Christian
Religious Education. When I was asked to speak at
Temso and Cheptabach Primary Schools, my instant response
was, “What can I say?” Their answer was, “Encourage
them, pray for them, and share whatever God puts on your
heart.” I thought, Wow, just like church!
Each of the classes where I spoke sang a Christian song, one
of which was about God calling Moses and He could call and
send them out, too. This was in a government school!
Bwana asa fiwe!
Actually, “government school” means the government furnishes
the building and books and pays the teachers.
Everything else is up to the community, parents and
teachers, including upkeep on the building. Most
schools are also supported by one or more churches.
Hence, pastors of those churches were also invited to speak
to the students. I was impressed with the teachers at
both schools and look forward to going back to share more
about Jesus with them.
God is working through your
prayers! Thank you for your faithfulness to pray.