2011, No. 13 (29/9/11)

Dear Brethren in Christ

We have continued to be encouraged of the Lord by the ministry and fellowship that He has given us.  There are the usual problems and disappointments, but our unity in the things of the Lord remains.  Such is reflected in the things I am able to share with you this time.

PTC (Pastoral Theological Course)
Almost all the students came and I was able to introduce the courses on Evangelism and Eschatology.  One could not come as he had to take his very sick father (with whom he pastors) to hospital.  With Evangelism I sought to emphasize the relationship with the Sovereignty of God, and trust they will find Packer’s book, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, helpful.  On Eschatology I was very concerned to show that the whole system of Dispensationalism is unscriptural, as it is a very common teaching in Kenya.  It does not come so much as a package, but in its more exciting manifestations such as the nation of Israel and the so-called secret rapture.
The students will come for the last time this year in November, and I will have done all the teaching.  We are seeking in 2012 to invite a few guest lecturers so that the burden for me will be lessened.  Even apart from that it is not good when there is only one teacher as different styles, approaches and insights are needed.  There are a good number of students interested in joining (re-joining) the Course.  Please PRAY for useful men to be willing to come.

Churches Registered
You will be aware that for any church to operate legally it must be under a registration cover.  This is why there have been many local churches registered under Trinity Baptist Church.  It might seem like a denomination but we have let them operate independently except in the matter of choosing their leaders.  However, now the Government is registering new churches and 2 of ours have received their registration: the church at Oyani and its church plant at Arambe are now Upendo (Kiswahili for love) Reformed Baptist Church; the churches at Maranda and Ndira with one church plant are now Guildford Park Church.  They have assured us that such registration will make no difference to our fellowship and that they will be active participants in the Association (RBAK).

Titus Tumaini
Our brother Titus is seeking to establish a witness amongst a few unreached people groups in the Garsen area of the north coastal area of Kenya (100 kms. north of Malindi along the Tana River).  We had a telephone conversation in which he sounded encouraged, having started a morning service in Idsowe where he is expounding Ephesians, and now also an evening service.  Sadly Iddi is not working with him as we had hoped, and he does need a fellow worker.  This is a matter for us to PRAY about.  They are seeking to put up a semi-permanent church building in the plot they have in Idsowe and we will help them with the corrugated iron sheets when required.

We are very thankful that we have received some gifts towards helping with the famine situation amongst the Rendille people especially, although we are seeking to extend help to wherever it is needed as funds permit.  From reports being received the Rendille are also suffering from their animals being raided by neighbouring communities.  Because of the lack of pasture they have had to wander further than normal and this has brought them into conflict.
It is especially because of the famine conditions that Pastor Murungi and myself are making a week’s visit to Rendille beginning tomorrow (Friday).  It will be his first time, and he wants to see things for himself so that he can make more informed decisions while here in Nairobi.  Please PRAY for every aspect of the visit:
We want to be an encouragement to our brethren working there: Patrick Ochieng in Korr, Raphael Bulkash in Ndikir, and now Stephen Leseitalo in Lontolio who resumed the PTC this last time.
Our health, especially for me as I am recovering from a sinus infection after a flu that started more than 2 weeks ago.
The good running of the car and our safety in travel

We thank the Lord for your fellowship in the gospel and trust the above is helpful for you to pray. 

In Christ’s service,

Keith & Priscilla Underhill

2011, No. 12 (13/9/11)

Dear Brethren

By God’s mercy we returned to Kenya on 7th. September after spending 3+ months away.  The time went quickly as we had the opportunity to meet so many of you, both in USA and UK.  The last month in UK was busy seeking to set up Matthew in the house we have bought in Liverpool, and visiting many places.   Having been ministering in Kenya with the family since 1975 we are deeply thankful to the Lord for many unbroken ties of fellowship which we are persuaded will go on into eternity.  We were able to visit the 3 churches that have been faithful supporters from the beginning.  Going back even further I was able to fellowship with 5 with whom we were together in College in Aberystwyth 1964-1967.  How faithful the Lord has been to us.  Other visits were made because there is a deep connection with the ministry in Kenya through living or visiting here.  Deborah and her 2 children (see photo) were also with us for 3 weeks in Liverpool now that we have a house that she can stay in. 

How good it was when Sunday came and we met again with the brethren whom we have loved and served for long.  So many expressed how they have missed us and are so glad that we have returned.  Not that the church did not continue on well in our absence.  Especially with the problems in 2008, we are now more like the ballast in the ship that gives stability just by our presence.  Of course, even this has to change in the next years as we look to the Lord to raise up more leaders.  We are all thankful to God for Pastor Murungi and his wife and the way he gave leadership to the church.  He preached Sunday morning on the conversion of Lydia (Acts 16:1-15).  I was not expecting to teach the Adult Sunday School, but did so on the 2nd. beatitude, and then preached in the evening on Isaac’s sacrifice as a type of Christ’s sacrifice.  It was especially encouraging to talk with many of the young people who have remained faithful and are so eager to serve the Lord.  We pray that one or more of them will emerge as leaders.

Many of you have heard of the devastating fire that claimed about 100 lives on Monday morning here in Nairobi.  It was in a slum area called Sinai not much more than half a mile from us.  However, we did not know about it until about noon through the news media.  Coming back from town the road I wanted to use was closed, and I saw that all petrol tankers had been grounded by the roadsides.  We heard this morning that one of our members lost a brother and a nephew is in serious condition. 
Far more devastating is the continuing famine that is ravaging the horn of Africa, including much of Kenya.  We have just had 2 of our pastors from west Kenya that is normally a very productive area with the message that the last 2 harvests have failed.  The worst is in north Kenya and for us that means among our dear Rendille friends.  Patrick has written that none of the 1 billion shillings (6+ million £) that Kenyans themselves contributed has reached them yet.  He also reported that some of the animals remaining have had to go so far in search of pasture that they have come into contact with neighbouring tribes and have been stolen.  This is being billed as the worst drought in 60 years.  Pastor Murungi and myself plan to make a visit up there in a few weeks.

Please continue to pray for the S0mal1 people who are now scattered all over the world.  The day before leaving UK I met with one lady and her 18 year old daughter who profess the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour.  What an encouragement to hear how the Lord brought her to faith having been such a fundamentalist, and passing through Kenya and South Africa.  We are seeking to link her up with a good local church.  I had been put in contact with her as one of the 50 S0mal1 Christians who had gone to a Conference in Sweden.  According to AO this was an historic occasion:
I had the opportunity to visit EU countries. During my ministry there, We/I had the privilege of baptizing four S0mal1 converts from Islam. I taught the book of Romans to S0mal1s in Orebro who came from different parts of the EU. I spoke at an Ethiopian conference and I also preached in three local congregations. In Rengeby, I preached in open air preaching. At this occasion from the total number of S0mal1s who listened to me very carefully and quietly, about 200 of them stood publicly to declare their faith in Christ. This is the first time ever when Somalis declared their faith in Christ in a public place like this. From now on, we are going to do the same thing. This is a new page in S0mal1 evangelism. There were three S0mal1 believers (S0mal1hope organization members from Sweden) who stood publicly with me while I preached in this open air forum. My special appreciation to these brothers who had the courage to do this … Originally there were 40, but only these three took this public stand for the Lord.
Please continue to pray for the new country of South Sudan, and for David Awan Malek and the Trinity Baptist Churches in the area of Malakal.  I have promised to visit them again in early 2012.  Many of you will remember that I ended my presentation with Sudan and my desire to take someone with me to Sudan on this occasion to whom I can hand over this opportunity of ministry.  So far no one has come forward, not even enquiring.  Brethren, where is our vision?  It is an open country for the gospel, multitudes have turned from traditional religion to Christianity and they need to hear the true gospel of Christ and Him crucified.  When I was newly converted in 1965 this is where I was interested to serve the Lord but the civil war made it impossible.  Now the Lord has opened up the way with the peace that was attained some few years ago.  But at 65 my years ahead are few!

Yesterday 5 brethren met in UK to formally start the process of registering this charity.  Its purpose is to help raise funds for the ministries we have that involve pastoral training and education, so especially in Pokot and Rendille, and the PTC.  We continue to support local churches – the church leaders, and the education of their children; and schools – infrastructure and salaries.  We plan to put details and various reports on our website on a regular basis.  Please keep checking at www.trinity.or.ke

Coming Up
The next 24 page issue of our magazine Grace & Truth is soon due.  I have written 2 articles on coming back, an exposition of Ephesians 1:3, and on the salvation of Saul of Tarsus.  You will be able to read an electronic version on our website.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) we are expecting the 14 PTC students for 8 days.  I shall be teaching them courses on Evangelism and Eschatology.  Please pray that I will be clear in my teaching, and pastoral as well as theological. 

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We continue to thank the Lord for our fellowship in the gospel, and hope that you will be in contact with us.
In Christ’s service,

Keith & Priscilla Underhill