Sunday 19 February 2012

Kawangware Youth Service

What a privilege it was today to be invited to attend the first Youth Service held at the Kawangware Community Centre. Each week Chosen Children of Promise ( conduct classes and activities for the local children of Kawangware (a large slum area in Nairobi). I have spent some time in the CCP office over the last few weeks (in between everything else) helping to solve some IT issues for them.

Today they launched an new initiative; a weekly youth service. It was amazing to see the room filled with children so fervently praising God.

Each Saturday from now on, they will run classes and activities from 3pm and then at 4:30pm they will conduct a youth service with the children actively involved in the running of it. Today's service was lead by a 12 year old girl and a 15 year old boy. They did an incredible job! The closing prayer by the girl was not scripted and showed a Christian maturity well beyond her years.

Once again, what is there to say but, Bwana asifiwe (praise the Lord!)

Saturday 18 February 2012

Last day with pastors

Today (Friday) was my last day of teaching with the pastors of the areas of Dagoretti and Ngando. Numbers have varied from day to day and even fluctuated throughout each day from half a dozen to over twenty.

As per usual, we had a later than planned start. But we covered a lot today. We looked at the Bible's view of discipleship and then the gift of administration. It was a 'heavy' day.

At the end of the sessions (that went overtime due to lots of discussion and questions), those of us still there (Friday is a busy day here for pastors), shared in a time of prayer. One pastor prayed in French (I have no idea what he was saying but I do know there was a lot of thanksgiving), one of the pastors then prayed for me. To close, I was asked to pray for these pastors and their ministries. I have never felt such emotion when praying. To say that I was overwhelmed would be an understatement!

Then an amazing thing took place, something I've not seen in Kenya. One of the pastors asked me if it would be alright if he gave me a hug. Then everyone followed his lead.

They said that they were expressing their appreciation for the teachings that I had shared with them. I was gracious and wonderfully received and they simply could not get enough of teaching from God's Word.

I give thanks to God that he faithfully answered my earlier request for prayer - Ephesians 6:19 (NIV)
"Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,"

God has truly given me a heart for this place and what He is doing here. If it were not for fact that my wife Linda had already returned to Australia and I miss her do much, I would stay. But I know I need to wait for God's timing and not race ahead of His leading. So, for now, I will return home but eagerly await God's time to return to Kenya.

God is good - all the time,
All the time - God is good,
Because that is His nature!

Bwana asifiwe (praise the Lord)

Ngando churches - photos

Friday 17 February 2012

Tour of churches

Wednesday started off looking like it would be a "not so good" day. We were scheduled to begin class ( with the local pastors) at 9am. By 10am we still only had a handful that had arrived. However, the conversations that ensued were amazing, as some of the pastors sort counsel from the others on issues that they were dealing with in their churches. Many spoke of cases of domestic abuse, violence or neglect. It was for me an enriching time sitting there listening to the Godly counsel of some of these pastors.
We paused for a cuppa about 11am and then began the training for the day.

After class, I was taken on tour of some the local churches in the N'gando slum area. Humble buildings filled by people passionate for God. I met and prayed with many people, people who have a heart for ministering to the people struggling each day in this area to make enough to survive. For many, it is nearly survival!

It is almost time for me to leave for today's training but I will find time later to post a few photos of some of the ministries that I visited on Wednesday.

Today will be my last day teaching thes pastors on this trip. We hope to appoint someone soon that will be able to continue these sessions. Please pray that as we review the applications, that God will clearly guide us in the decision. It is so vital that these pastors continue to be feed and trained in God's Word!

Monday 13 February 2012

Amazing Sunday!

Wow, what a day!
I had a leisurely start to the day as church did not begin until 11am. Actually,it wasn't that leisurely as I felt the need to the sermon I had prepared for this morning. I was preaching at Dagoretti Corner Baptist Church. I have spoken there before but for some reason I felt uneasy about my preparation for today.
It all went well. The message was received. I was assisted by a Swahili interpreter which meant it took longer than normal. (the sermon was an hour!)

After the customary greeting at the door after service, I slipped away to pick up my friend, Stella.
We had a special day planned for a little girl that my home group in Australia sponsor her school fees. It is Merilah's birthday on Monday and so we planned to take the family out for the rest of the day. After picking them all up (Mama, Merilah, & her 2 sisters (Julie & Georgina)) we took them to lunch at the food court in Westlands Mall. Then at the family's suggestion we took them to the National Museum in Nairobi.. The girls had a great time!
One of the staff where I am staying baked 2 birthday cakes for us. One to have today and the other for Merilah to take to school tomorrow to share with her class.
What staggered me about the day was when Merilah's mum said that today was the first time they celebrated a birthday for Merilah. That is the reality of their poverty - no special occasions.
It was an indescribable joy to see them all enjoy the day. In the west, we take so much for granted.
I'll add a photo taken in their home last month & one taken today at her birthday celebration. The mum works on the far side of the city and can only manage to come home and visit the girls on Sundays.
That would like to move out of their "tin shed" home into a real building but they could only afford 2000 shilling per month for rent. A basic 2 bedroom flat would be closer to 10,000 shillings per month ($115 Australian per month).
If you like to help this family move from the slums, contact me. They have really pulled on my heart strings.

Saturday 11 February 2012

Bible training has begun

Elyon Christian Mission's Bible training program has begun.
Yesterday a number of local pastors gathered for the first training day. I taught on the topic of Stewardship. It was not limited to merely finances but a whole of life approach to stewardship. The day was very well received.
I have 2 more teaching days (Wed, Fri) before I return home to Australia.

This coming week I will be meeting with the leaders of Elyon Christian Mission to review CV's of possible applicants to continue these teaching sessions after I am gone.

This is an exciting time. Please pray that God will clearly guide our decisions and that he will bless his work through Elyon Christian Mission.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Serving where I can

Yesterday I started early at Elyon High school to complete some network cabling.
I then spent the rest of the day working with Kennedy, the IT intern at "Chosen Children of Promise"
Kennedy has had a steep learning curve since the previous IT person left. He has done a great job but there was some fine tuning needed to resolve some network issues and so my assistance was requested.
CCP run sponsorship, spiritual, medical & educational ministries in the Kawangware area near Dagoretti.

Today I will be meeting with a panel of pastors from Elyon Christian Mission. These pastors represent more than 60 church in the Dagoretti area of Nairobi. I have been communicating with them for many months as together we explore the vision of establishing a local Bible training program. Possibly one day it will develop into a full Bible School. There are many hoops to jump through to get to that point.
Today's discussions will help shape the remainder of my time in Kenya for this trip and hopefully we will gain a clear focus of the path ahead in this ministry partnership together.

Monday 6 February 2012

Busy weekend

Just like home, it seems weekends are as busy as any other days. Early on Saturday morning I met students and teachers from Elyon High School at Dagoretti and travelled (I drove a borrowed car) across to the far side of Nairobi to Moi Forces Academy to watch them compete in an inter school sports day. We followed the bus transporting the students - at least until they changed vehicles without telling us. With the help of the 2 staff in my car we eventually found our destination.
I returned to Dagoretti about lunch time and the plan was that my friend Stella was taking me to see Kitenga Glass - a local factory and gallery for the most beautiful items made from recycled glass. We eventually arrived there but after over 2 hours in traffic (for a drive that should have taken us 20 minutes) just as they were getting ready to close. Thankfully they allowed us a quick look around although all the artisans had finished for the day.

On Sunday morning I drove to Lifespring Chapel at Embakasi to catch up with friends and then meet with 2 of our scholarship beneficiaries to discuss ongoing expectations for this year; the final year for both of these guys. After lunch I dropped these guys into the centre of Nairobi - a part of the city I had so far tried to avoid driving through. I'm glad to say I was able to navigate my way home alone successfully, albeit with a migraine.

So far this trip, I've tackled a few firsts (even though it's my 3rd trip to Kenya). I've travelled on matatus alone, I've successfully navigated my way to areas that I've previously not visited, I visited Uganda and even while there travelled on a boda boda (a motorbike taxi). There was even 3 people on the bike for the trip - an interesting experience.

After 3 trips to Kenya and this one will be for 2 months (only 2 weeks left), I have to say I love this country and more so it's people. I maybe a Aussie but God has truly given me a heart for Kenya and it's people.

Mimi ni katika Kenya.

Friday 3 February 2012

Why am I in Kenya?

Kenya’s main religion is Christianity. But it is often said that many believers in Kenya can be compared to a lake that is a mile long but only an inch deep.

Because of the political and social turmoil that they experience, the church often becomes like a hospital where people come simply to get hope.
As a result, many people are coming to Christ as their Saviour. However, the teaching and the knowledge of the Bible are often superficial and shallow, not transforming people's lives. There is a lack of making Christ the Lord of their life. Their belief in Christ is not well translated into their daily lives.

While the statistics say that Kenya is 45% Protestant, many do not truly live out Christ. Thus discipleship is vital. Kenyans need a revival of depth in Christ that is evident in their decisions and actions.

If you are not already praying for the people of Kenya, please add them to your prayers. Only God can revive this nation and it's people!

Full days

This week I thought I would be busy with planning meetings but so far not one meeting. However, my skills have been well utilised repairing computers and setting up a new network for Elyon High School. Today I walked around the local area with one of the teachers as we searched for items that we needed. It is so different to wander around areas where few 'muzungu' (white people) venture. There are some parts that I would definitely not enter at night. For most of these people, they would not choose to live here either but they do not have that choice! It's simply all they can afford, scratching out barely enough to survive.