It has been a busy week and a half since my last update. We have gotten Lynn and Brenda all set up in one of our guesthouses. There were a few things that needed attention but I think we have most of the problems worked out. Brother Lynn came to help us put some more studies on video. Brother Lynn’s Swahili is still amazing. He has been gifted with languages for sure! Brother Lynn will be specifically teaching through the book of Hebrews.
Brother Lynn and I also had a fellowship meeting this past weekend with all the leaders of the churches. We had representation from all the churches and one of the new Bible studies. We started the meeting on Friday morning and went through Saturday afternoon. Rather than have specific teachings I asked several men to preach messages with the exception of Elly who I asked to do some specific teaching on Missions.
We had six preachers the first day and ended our meeting at around 7pm. It was a great day and most of the men did a good job preaching. We also heard from all the churches about how they were doing, special prayer requests, and plans for the future. It was very encouraging and challenging to hear from all the churches. Kenya and Brenda did great helping with chai and meals.
The second day of the fellowship meeting we had three more of the men preach. I also preached and cast vision for the future of working in the North. Brother Lynn also challenged the men about reading their Bibles and gave them ways to read their Bible in 30,60, and 90 days as well as in a year. We had a great time visiting and being together. It has been a long time since we had an opportunity like this. I think everyone had a great time and we were able to reconnect with the men after being gone for the World Missions Seminar.
We attended services in Malindi on Sunday this week again. Brother Nicholas asked me to teach Sunday school and Brother Lynn to preach again. We both appreciated the opportunity and nearly melted because of the heat. I specifically wanted to attend Malindi this week so I could attend their business meeting. Several of the church members requested me to come because of an issue the church has been dealing with for the past three months.
I rode the motorbike so that I could stay for the business meeting and everyone else could go on for lunch. We ended up being at the church until almost 5pm for the business meeting without taking a break. It was a heated meeting about how a situation was handled in the church. I offered suggestions on how it could have been handled and addressed other comments made during our discussion. Once we got through the original reason for me being called upon the church uncovered that their 90% of their funds had been stolen. The church entrusted their funds to a member selected by the church but they ended up dipping into the church's funds for personal use. It was a punch to the stomach to say the least. The meeting ended on that note basically with everyone being in shock including me. Pray for the church in Malindi as they work through this situation and for the one who took the funds. My heart was broken when I left the meeting… even as I write I am still in shock concerning it all.
On a positive note Clayton came in on Sunday afternoon with Lindsey, Ashley, and Kali. Kali is Lindsey and Clayton’s puppy. Kenya made dinner for everyone so we could celebrate their return.
Clayton and I made a trip North this week also and went as far as Hola to do some initial survey work. In May we have plans for an official survey trip with John Strader, our Pastor Chad Graves, Ryan Copico, Aaron Johnson, and Darren Clements. With all the violence in Garisa recently we thought we needed to go north and see with our eyes and see what the situation was on the ground for ourselves. We had a great trip and learned a lot. The trip helped us also with our plans in May as well as understanding the travel conditions.
We traveled straight to Hola which took us about 3 ½ hours on some pretty rough road. One observation we made was that there is about an hour and a half drive of no man's land between Garsen and Hola. There literally are no villages or permanent homesteads. This helps us see that there are two distict areas North of us among the people groups we have been praying for. There is the Hola side and the Garsen side. We drove through Hola and had lunch then came home. We did not have any official meetings or anything like we plan to in May, but it was good to “see” the area and get a feel for security.
On our way out of Hola we had a flat tire as the result of a nail. There always has to be a least one issue with our vehicles every trip but at least it was a small thing. Not to brag or anything .....but we changed the tire and were back on the road in 9 minutes and that was without trying. BOOYAH! There were two of us but whatever… We noticed a military encampment on our way in to Hola and on our way back we were stopped at the camp and picked up two soldiers that were heading back down to Malindi and Mombasa. The soldiers were with the border patrol unit and have both been in Garisa and Mendera for the past several years. We were able to ask them questions most of the way home and it helped us understand the area a little. Talking to the soldiers was an awesome way to get information about the areas of the people groups who need the gospel and to make some great connections for the future. Clayton also got the details on the possibility of registering a gun in the country but that is another issue.
I was suppose to go to Singwaya for a youth meeting on Thursday but was unable to go because I did not have a vehicle. Clayton was in the field with Daniel and our Land Rover is still in the shop. I jumped on the motorbike to head out to Singwaya but realized that it had some electrical problems. I thought I could fix them quickly but that is never the case. There is always the job within the job. I went to town with Brother Lynn and picked up the spare we needed, after the fundi rewired it to “work” for me. I ended up shorting out the electrical system and brought the bike to the fundi to fix the electrical and while he was at it the brakes were sticking and we needed a new chain. Thankfully the repairs with spares were a whopping $22 and we were able to pick it up before Bible study in Malindi. Brother Lynn and I went to Bible study and had a good turn out. The day was not as I had planned it but I enjoyed visiting with Brother Lynn and helping him out in the afternoon.
Clayton and I spent Friday together working with Alfonse Maitha for a day in Mjomboni and Mangangani. The church members in Mangangani donated trees for the Bible study in Mjomboni so they can build a building. Alfonse asked us to come to transport the trees to Mjomboni. We were more than happy to help. We spent the entire day carrying, loading, and off loading trees. It was a hard day of work but it will help the new Bible study take a step forward. We got to eat at the Jambo Cafe and have King burgers which I included a picture of. Pray for the church in Mangangani and the Bible study in Mjomboni.
Today Brother Lynn started his lessons on Hebrews. We came in early and worked out the videoing set up so the studies will not only benefit the few who come to the studies but also for the other students that are not able to be with us and future students. Little by little we are building up a great library of studies with multiple teachers. The studies today are going great and Brother Lynn is doing amazing. We are so grateful for him and Sister Brenda being with us for these two months.
Kenya has been working on our other guest house to get it ready for when John, Amber, and Ellanora Strader return from language school. We ran to Mombasa one day to buy a small refrigerator, toaster oven, and table top stove. I think everyone has chipped in a little to help. I know one day Lynn and Brenda helped quite a bit on moving things and setting things up. We are so grateful for the compound we live on. It allows us the ability to house visitors and teams alike not to mention it is beautiful.