It is a joy to be able to write to you again to ask you both to thank the Lord for His sustaining grace and to plead with Him for the triumph of the gospel, according to His promise. I had the privilege of preaching from Ephesians 1:22-23 yesterday and to show that all the Lord does in heaven and on earth is for the advantage of His church. What a privileged people we are! In the evening I am continuing on The Life of Faith in the life of Abraham. Genesis 16 shows how necessary it is to have the Patience of Faith. May God grant us such faith that we are willing even to leave this world confident that His promises will be fulfilled. We continue to experience blessed Lord’s days with many visitors and even some old people returning, with a number considering membership.
Please pray for our brother Raphael Bulkash ministering in the Sokoteey area. He came and visited us 12 days ago in Nairobi to tell us what has been happening. For a long time there has been opposition and threats for there are those who want him to move away from the area. They are not happy about the gospel ministry although they do not say so directly of course. After Christmas 8 women were incited to beat his wife, all known people. Although she was not seriously injured, she received a battering. It is obviously a police case. Still Lucy is not willing to leave the area. The opposition came to head with the start of construction of an orphanage by Kindfund from Northern Ireland (www.kindfund.com under Laisamis). Even traditionally this is unacceptable conduct. Neighbouring communities are asking, “Why did you not ask us to help you if you have a problem with these people, as they are our people, they are Rendille?” Even Raphael’s father came and asked why he was not called if there was a problem with his ‘daughter’. As the work of the gospel in this unreached area is now at a very critical juncture, may the Lord raise up voices to oppose the opposition, and may there be those who have heard the gospel who will now show they believe in it from their hearts. This will also affect the work in Losidan (where we have a primary school), Ndigir & Kamatonyi (where we have nursery schools), and these are all places where we regularly preach the gospel. May love overcome such satanic opposition.
It is also a time of deepening famine with the almost total failure of the rains. Animals are dying and many people are looking thin. Patrick is telling those with animals to sell, but it is not cultural, so many will die and leave people again in penury. So far the Government has done little and this is a situation pertaining all over north Kenya. Patrick has written from Korr that people are regularly coming to his hut asking for food, so that we have decided that we will be sending money regularly to help.
After I wrote No. 2 about the new students we had a farewell lunch for the 3 who will not be returning for the lectures as they have completed attendance at all courses. It only remains for them to complete the written work. In true Kenyan style speeches had to be made. They were profusely thankful for all the Lord had taught them during their 3+ years. They remarked that 2 years ago it had seemed as if the PTC would collapse, but not only were their worst fears not realized, they believe it has gone from strength to strength. I had heard somewhat informally that they had formed themselves into a ‘Students’ Association’ and it was time for the Chairman to address us. He told who they as students had chosen as the new Chairman and said both those remaining and those going would remain in fellowship and seek to encourage each other in the service of the Lord. They even plan to visit each other’s places of ministry for fellowship and evangelism. What I find so encouraging is that at last they are owning this training ministry as theirs. May the Lord raise up future teachers from among them!
Still on the subject of culture, I had the privilege of attending a gathering of about 150 people in Thika (just north of Nairobi) to prepare for a wedding in April. The father of the bride is Paul Kianji, one of the first persons I ever met in Kenya as I taught with him in Miathene Secondary School 1968-1970. He is now retired and one of the pastors in the Trinity Church in Miathene. It was the turn of his family and friends to visit the home of the intended groom. The reverse had been done a few months previously and the dowry issue settled. Along with many others I was honoured that he wanted me next to him. There were 2 canopies for the 2 groups and we sat facing one another. Each side had its MC who made sure everyone introduced himself or herself. As the only white person I quipped that I was the only person about whom it was obvious that I was not a blood relative! Yet so closely ‘related’ because I have my room in their house, and we are brothers in Christ. I was privileged to close the whole meeting in prayer which was an opportunity to make the gospel known. The intended couple were not the centre, but rather their families as centred in their parents. Isn’t this a good culture, although it goes too far when it is claimed that the groom’s family has gained a daughter, when both have actually left their parents to form a new family. It was exciting when a man in a big black hat came to greet me by name from the other side. I was taken aback until he explained that he was my student 42 years ago in Miathene! Many high and mighty were present and who they were was made very obvious. Thank God for the saints for each one of whom Christ died so they are equally loved whatever their earthly station. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?
We are beginning to plan 3+ months leave from the end of May. We hope to spend more time in the States, the beginning of June to the beginning of August. Some of it we will spend with our son Jonathan and family near Cleveland, Ohio, but we will also be willing to do some visiting. Please let us know if you would be interested in a visit so that we can tell you in person about the ministry in Kenya.
Yours through the grace of our Lord,
Keith & Priscilla