October 22-November 4
Another couple of weeks has gone by since I last sent out an update. There has been a lot going on over the past few weeks and some big conversations via Skype and Zoom. First of all let me give an update on Daniel Mbuvi's wife. I shared in the last update that she had a stroke and was paralyzed on one side. Last Sunday I attended services at Magangani and after services Alfonse and I as well as several of the church members went to Daniel's to visit him and pray for his wife. We were grateful to find that she is starting to use the arm on the paralyzed side and is also speaking a little now. Daniel and his children are taking care of her at home now and there is a doctor that comes to their home to do exercises with her. Please continue to pray for recovery. It was very encouraging to me as well as to Daniel and his family to have all the folks come from the church to visit. I felt a little bad, because we came to visit and pray for Daniel's family and his daughters ended up feeding us all lunch. It was a blessing and I know cultural, but inside I felt a bad that we were a burden on them. Again I think they were very happy to see the support of the Magangnani church. Everyone gave Daniel something to help with their expenses and we departed.
It has been a crazy few weeks filled with difficulties for several in the churches. Alfonse's dad has been very ill so he had to bring him to Malindi to the hospital. He needed an operation, but they were not able to operate, because his dad's blood count was too low. I just spoke to Alfonse today and his dad is next in line to go into the theater as I type this update. Pray for Alfonse as he takes care of his dad. His dad is very old and his health has not been good for several years. Alfonse has always taken care of him, I pray God will bless him for it. I plan to go by this evening to see them when visiting hours start.
Juma called last week and said to pray for his family, because his mother's Uncle died and while they were at the hospital her brother died also. Two deaths is one week was a big load. Juma ran home this weekend to be with his mom and attend the funerals. Benson, who is one of the church members here in Malindi called us this past week and said that his little baby Victor passed away. We have been praying for him, because he was born with a hole in his heart. After several months his little body gave out. The funeral will be tomorrow for Victor, then Benson will return to Malindi.
There has been a lot going on in the lives of the men. We still had classes this last Saturday even though Alfonse, Juma, and Daniel were not able to come. Rather than continuing on with our normal studies I just taught four different Bible lessons to encourage and help the men. The studies were really from my overflow of the week. I really had a good week with the Lord and when I arrived Saturday I understood why the Lord had been speaking to me. We still had 8 students show up so it was a good turn out and we had a great time . I really enjoyed teaching from the overflow. Can I just be honest....as if I am not usually, but you know what I mean...There are a lot of times I teach the lessons, because it is what the men need or it is what is next on the schedule, but Saturday it was from the heart and even now the joy wells up in me thinking about our time together.
I am still thoroughly enjoying teaching the Thursday night Bible studies at Malindi. I am teaching through the book Knowing God by JI Packer. If you have not read it you should. It is so good. God is speaking to me as I am teaching it and it has been sweet to the soul. There is a small group each week on Thursdays but it's growing becoming a treasured time. I usually attend the meeting alone, but I am planning to start teaching the study to everyone at our house on Wednesday evenings. Our kids especially Lydia are always asking me for "LIVE" teachings.
I spoke to Elly last week and even went to church at his church Mnara wa Kweli in Miritini this past Sunday. When I spoke to Elly he told me that the projector that I gave him to show Bible Instutute classes worked great. He said that the preachers in Miritini had finished up the study on Missions that I had sent for them. They also completed their memory verses and books they were assigned. He had everything ready to give back to me and they were ready for the next classes. I was very excited to hear that the video classes went so well. Elly said that he watched the classes himself before he showed them to the students so he got a double blessing.
This week I attended the service at Mnara wa Kweli, but it really was a bad week to visit. It was not bad because of any fault of the church or Elly but because of the weather. There was an incredible rain storm that came in. I actually saw lightening and heard thunder a couple of times, which may not sound weird to anyone in the states, but here on the coast we just do not have that very often. Our temperatures are so warm and steady that having fierce storms is very very rare. I am guessing that I can count on two hands the number of times I have heard thunder and seen lightning over the past six years we have lived here on the coast. Anyhow I digress... the rain was incredible and everything was flooded so I knew attendance would be way down. Still I needed to visit with Elly and set him up for the next classes in November.
Elly was super shocked to see me because I do not call ahead and tell the churches I am coming. I do that on purpose so I can see the "true" condition of the church. I arrived early enough to talk about the next classes and give him the next books to be done. I also collected the completed books and verses and switched out memory cards with the new class material. We caught a little break in the rain and headed to the church. Indeed services were down, but it was still a sweet service. Elly was starting a missions focus month to begin a missions treasury for the new church they are starting in Midiani. He gave a good report on the progress in Midiani (27 at their last meeting). When I got up to preach I gave an offering from our family to start the missions treasury and encouraged the church that they were doing a good work and that our family wanted in on it. Afterwards I preached a missions message to get the missions month started. It was a blessed day for sure.
Pray about the video classes and set up for the Bible Institute. I real feel that it could be a way that we can accomplish more in multiple locations. We will continue to have classes "live" as my kids would say, but in between, the video classes can be used to continue studies. I plan on putting some classes on video here at the house so that they can be used while we are on furlough and for new classes that we will start. I believe watching the video classes a few times through and continuing to grow will equip the men to take control of the teaching themselves in the future. I pray that one day the Bible Institute will be completely run by the national leaders and will multiply the equipping of church leaders.
Also over the past three weeks we have had some very important meetings and made some big decisions. One meeting was a Zoom meeting with Ryan Copico, Aaron Johnson, and Ben Fisher. We met to discuss the Fishers' survey trip and a trip that we are praying about and planning to go North of Malindi to preach the gospel. Ben and Anne along with their three children will be with us the December 27-January 11 for a survey trip. Anne came this summer with one of the 516 missions teams with lots of questions about missions and the work here. At the time I thought she was just interested in missions, but God had been working in their family already and they were seeking God's will. Since the summer we have been emailing with the Fishers and even have met via Zoom to talk about the work and needs here. Pray for the Fishers as they make this trip that God will clearly show them His will. Their pastor and church are behind them in this survey and God has supplied most of the needed finances. Now it is just up to the Lord to make His will known.
Another part of our conversation was concerning a trip we are planning North in May to make contact with unreached and unevengelized groups. Specifically among the Orma, Warde, and Pokomo. I shared a little about the preparations we were trying to make on the ground and of some shut doors that we thought were opening. Please pray for this trip North. We believe this is the direction we need to go next, but it will not be easy and will require God moving to open doors and giving us discernment. The coast continues to destabilize as far as safety, but it does not change our commitment or call to preach the gospel. We will be wise and take precautions as best we can, but ultimately the Lord is in control.
Speaking of the destabilization of the coast there were two attacks on Saturday in the Malindi Administrative Police Barracks and the other in Mombasa at the AP barracks there. Several of the attackers and one police officer were killed. The rains hindered the attackers from accomplishing their objective which appears to have been to burn down the barracks from the Jerrycans of gas recovered from the failed attacks. The paper is blaming the attacks on a separatist group called Mombasa Republic Council (MRC). These attacks are not aimed at expatriates, but at the government. We are paying attention to the news and monitoring the situation. The embassy has not said anything and life continues on as normal. Unfortunately the norm on the coast has become unrest.
A big meeting that Kenya and I had last week was with Lynn and Brenda Raburn concerning the their ministry to missionaries. We have been recipients of Lynn and Brenda's ministry since we surrendered to missions in 1999. We attended the World Missions Seminar that year for the first time and since then we have attended it every chance we have gotten. Over the years we have also benifited from the International Missionary Retreat that Lynn and Brenda put on as well as their counseling and mentoring. We believe in and are passionate about the ministry that they are doing and the need for it in our associated work. With that in our hearts we approached Lynn and Brenda to see how we might help them as they continue in their ministry to missionaries.
We had a detailed discussion on how we could partner with Lynn and Brenda in the World Missions Ministry. We talked about what we could do now to begin working with them and things we would need to do to prepare our selves to help in the future. We concluded the meeting very excited about partnering with Lynn and Brenda beginning this year with the World Missions Seminar in March. Kenya and I both will be teaching and learning how the seminar is put on. We have taught in the past at the seminar and are looking forward to the opportunity again. Please pray for us as we add this to our current ministry.
Our vision is to be a ministry of eternal significance that impacts the cause of Christ through the advancement and multiplication of His churches. This has been our vision and still is our vision. We are looking forward to seeing it fulfilled here on the coast of Kenya as we continue to labor and beyond as we begin partnering with Lynn and Brenda Raburn.
We are getting close to having a full ground team here. The Straders will arrive on November 19, the Howells will return from language school the week of Thanksgiving, and Ashely is already here. It is going to be awesome for all of us to pray together, dream together, and see what God is going to do next here on the coast and Eastern Kenya. I have to admit it I chomping at the bit. I know that everyone will be working on language and culture adaptation, but to have everyone here praying and planning together with the same goal in mind of reaching the unreached generates strong emotions and expectation. I pray God will lead us as we each pour ourselves out for the Master. There are good things on the horizon and it awesome to be a part of it. Thank you to each of you who have been and are taking this journey with us by reading these updates. Oh By the way sorry for the lack of pictures so let me leave you with pictures of our family Halloween fun....