2012, No 8 (30/5/12)

Dear Brethren

Our son Matthew has been with us for most of May and I am writing this while we are on a few days’ break away from Nairobi.  We are staying in a house in the Rift Valley from where we can see Lake Naivasha and the Aberdare Mtns. as a backdrop.P1110759

Today we went to Crater Lake a private game sanctuary centred in the Lake that nestles at the bottom of a crater (obviously).  It is the only time we have been away with Matthew.  Earlier I had attempted to take him for a night of camping at the Amboseli Park on the border with Tanzania, but that day the car totally broke down twice so we had to abort the trip.

The last month has been full of various kinds of ministry:
Sunday preaching & Adult SS.  I have continued to preach on Ephesians 4 most mornings, and Judges in the ‘evening’ (4 p.m.) service.  We have divided the Adult Sunday School into 2 – Pastor Murungi is going through a 10 part series on ‘Our Distinctive Doctrines’ (see website) and I am seeking to explain the prophecy of Joel to seek to show that such books of the Bible are not so difficult!  We are thankful to the Lord that more people are coming to the services so that most Sundays we have visitors who we invite to talk over a cup of tea in a room we have set aside.
Meaty Forum.  The aim of this Forum is to bring serious Christianity, i.e. the Reformed Faith, to the younger generation through a panel-type discussion.  This was the 2nd. one with up to 50 present (less than the first).  The presentations on how to interpret the Bible were well received.  Afterwards I asked 2 young people what they found so useful.  They did not know that there can be principles for interpretation, like grammatical structure and historical context.  I suppose they have been reading and just hoping something will jump at them out of the text, a sort of existentialism.  No wonder there are so many varied teachings.
PTC (Pastoral Theological Course).  From 16th. to 23rd. I had the privilege of teaching the 7 students again, on Early Church History, and the first half of Gospels & Acts.  They are so enthusiastic about studies and they are all completing the work in the allotted time.  Judging by their written work and the comments they make these studies are having a profound impact on their lives and ministries.  I would like to introduce a degree-type course so that in the future we will have those who can teach in this Course when I am no longer here to do so.
Marriage Counselling.  Our young people are seeking to act with much discretion as regards relationships.  3 of the young men have sought to engage us as elders even before they start a formal relationship.  They say they want to be accountable.  You will remember that Alan & Kesiah were married in February and immediately went to settle in Hong Kong where Alan is working.  They have come for 2-3 weeks holiday and it is so refreshing to fellowship with them again and to talk about their marriage working out in a totally new environment.  Another couple are getting married, Lord willing, on September 1st. and have asked me to counsel and marry them.  Manases is leader of a small work the other side of Nairobi which has been profoundly influenced by Desiring God Ministries and which wants to be in fellowship with Trinity Baptist Church.
Biblical answers to common questions.  In the coming months I am planning to give some attention to writing a series of leaflets dealing with commonly asked questions that especially have to do with the aberrations centred in the charismatic movement that are so common in Kenya.  Pastor Murungi has been developing a Vision for Nairobi in which we are encouraging Bible studies in various parts of the City with the prayer that some will turn into church plants in years to come.  Nairobi is a large city of around 4 million and there are hardly any Reformed and Baptist Churches.  Generally there is an almost total dearth of serious Biblical preaching.  We are told that many are so fed up with the things that go on in so-called ‘worship’ that they despair of finding anything different.  Hence the Meaty Forum, the republication of our quarterly magazine Grace & Truth, and the development of our website.

Once again we thank the Lord for our continued fellowship in the Gospel as you pray for the success of the Word of God amongst us.

In Christ’s service,

Keith & Priscilla Underhill

Progress Report No.4/12

From: Patrick Ochieng’
Subject: Progress Report  No.4/12
Date: 30/04/12

Dear Brethren,

Greetings in the name of our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, to you all from my family and the entire Korr fellowship.

INSECURITY: The world is encompassed with trouble as Satan seems to rule the sons of darkness in a terrible manner. Just before I left Nairobi there was some news about the bandits attack of the lorry which was headed to Nairobi from Moyale. It is indeed shocking to hear such things happen in an area you may think people are illiterate and know nothing except to look after the animals.The very day by God’s providence our vehicle passed, five vehicles were attacked between Merille and Archers Post. Our vehicle of course was given some tight security as we were travelling with a senior government officer at Marsabit. As we proceeded towards Loglogo from Laisamis, two days ago the tanker belonging to the World Food Programme was shot at and caught fire. The consignment of food was burnt to ashes.  As Christians this shows how terrible sin is. All these people want is to kill, steal, and destroy properties. Sadly, it is still a matter of concern as the government seems not to do something in order to avert the situation.

LOGLOGO: I spent a whole week at Loglogo before getting transport back to Korr. Life was not easy there as it was expensive paying for a meal despite having to pay for the room. Thankfully the Lord provided for the resources from Nairobi and I was given some kind of comfort though worried about my family. At Loglogo, I had the opportunity to witness to the people I met about Jesus. I found out that we have not much utilised our time to preach Christ to the people. Christian people cannot pretend to be satisfied with merely going out to the few in their surrounding. The Lord’s command in Acts 1:8, ‘You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’, seems not to be heeded optimally.
As I was returning from Nairobi, the scripture which kept on ringing in my mind was Romans 8:28, “All things work for good…”Despite the difficulty in reaching Korr, I met with six ladies said to be from the Foor (Fora) who came to sell the milk under the shade.After the introduction based on my interpreter, a worldly man who too doesn’t have any religious basis at all, a broker for the transport system, I shared with them about Christ from the book of John 3:16. These poor ladies had startling questions about Jesus, for it was their first time to hear that name. After finishing to introduce Christ, one asked me, “Which goob (settlement) does Jesus come from?” Before I could answer, another lady shot another question, “Is he married, and does he have children in their goobs or his morans (warriors) are looking after the animals in their foor.”
Here is the place I have been cheated into believing that having so many denominations around the gospel must have penetrated to the inside areas where people don’t have time to visit….I doing personal research, I came to learn that there is no evangelism outreach at all from churches in the area. There is a vast opportunity for evangelistic work to be done, but the labourers are few. Given the famine situation around, most families stay away in the foor to look for pastures for their animals. Focus must be given to these areas or else our work will have no impact at all.

EVANGELISM:  We are very much willing to do as much as we can to fulfil our Biblical mandate to reach out to others, but the challenges we are meeting with are enormous. We are praying that the Lord bless His work with the provision of funds for the purchase of sugar, tea and milk when we visit further places. The transport system has been a major hindrance especially to some of our ageing evangelists. No matter how long it takes, we trust that the Lord will provide at His own appointed time.

DESERT LIFE:  By our Kenyan standards, life in the desert is more expensive than life in the urban areas including Nairobi. It is extremely hard to meet the family requirements therefore lacking the urge to want to pursue more in terms of person to person contact. We need to be dependent on God always.In view of the missionary life among the most needy people, it is tempting when people who have genuine needs come to seek for help. Our mode of dress and calling is being interpreted as those best suit to meet the people’s demands. .. It is inhuman to eat while others look or fail to welcome those whom the Lord has brought you to minister to. The Lord is able to use a sharing of a cup of tea to change one’s life.

INCOME GENERATION: In order for effective work in Rendille I wish to propose that an income generating activity be set up for the church. If for instance we start with the purchase of 20 or so female goats, in a year’s time the number will increase and the male animals will be sold and the income used to put in the church’s account for emergencies such as famine, hospital bills, etc., besides caring for the widows and orphans. This is what we have shared as leaders and we were in full agreement.

SCHOOLS:  We appreciate the efforts by the church in Nairobi for taking care of the schooling of our children. This help is being witnessed far and wide. We’ll continue to ensure that these children are led to grow in the word of God.
The tradition is hampering the development in some areas as the community leaders insist on employment of their own sons to teach. Clannism is very strong here.
We pray that one day they will learn to live as the Rendille no matter the clan affiliations.
Please pray for more gospel workers.
•    Pray that we should not be discouraged at all despite lacking some evangelism tools.
•    Pray that the work of evangelism may have a positive impact in the lives of the people.
May the Lord bless His work for His work for Christ’s sake!

In Christ’s Service,

Patrick Ochieng’