I am writing this to you from Durban, South Africa. I have been here since Thursday last week to finalize the purchasing of a new (second-hand) Land Cruiser for the ministry in Kenya. I have just had the news that the money has been transferred into the seller’s account so that I can take delivery of the vehicle and drive back to Nairobi, about 3,000 miles (4,800 kms.). I am not going to do it alone as my long-time mechanic from Nairobi is here with me. It is going to take quite a few days and, Lord willing, we shall not have too many difficulties and delays at the borders.
I decided to fly Ethiopian to South Africa so that I could spend 24 hours with AO and his family in Addis. He needed encouragement in his labour of broadcasting the gospel to his S0mal1 people and visiting contacts in the S0mal1 region of Ethiopia, the 2 self-declared independent S0mal1 states and Djibouti. I was able to meet with all 3 Ethiopian brethren who had been members of the church in Nairobi – AO, Melesse and Hanna.
How Melesse pled with me to help them start a Reformed and Baptist Church in Ethiopia!
Both 1slam and the so-called Prosperity Gospel are very influential. I asked why 1slam had become so popular and he said it is because of the financial support they give, e.g. all the traders just outside his block have become Musl1ms in the past year. The answer to that is the same as always – powerful preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
My dear wife left on Friday 12th. for the States via Liverpool, so over the next weeks she will be spending time with all the children and grandchildren, returning to Kenya early December.
The Lord has continued to bless us.
- I have continued to preach through Ephesians 5, and I have finished Judges. There was especially enthusiasm for the latter I think because brethren were wondering what possible profit some of the chapters could possibly have. On 14th. October the congregation swelled with all the children and staff from Solidarity Child Rescue Centre, a whole bus load plus! We are seeking to help in ministering to these young people and the administrator wanted them to have an experience of worship without the usual entertainment.
- The PTC students came and we had such a profitable time on The Doctrine of Sin. We are seeking to admit 5 new students next year.
- We had encouraging Meaty Forums in September and October with 70-80 young adults present. The last was on Suffering, such a controversial subject where people constantly hear that Christians should not suffer.
Over the past weeks I have been reminded of the great power of tradition here in Kenya.
1. The extended family are the power brokers. A young man seeks to get his sickly mother established in a home of her own, but an uncle insists that certain traditions must be performed. Another young man is seriously threatened that unless he applies for this job that his uncle wants him to have he will be virtually disowned. At wedding receptions an uncle or aunt of the groom will invariable pronounce that the family have gained a daughter. At Manases’ wedding I told the congregation that the truth is that you have lost a son!
2. Funerals are great social occasions that can take priority over everything else. A member feels she must miss the Lord’s Supper to visit a bereaved woman in-law before she goes home for the funeral of her husband. Vast crowds come to the funeral of the pastor in Thimlich and eulogies are given. Thank the Lord that the son had the spiritual courage to stand up and give a more realistic picture.
3. Tribalism, clannism are still rife. You may have heard about the massacres in the Tana River Delta region between the agricultural Pokomo and the pastoral Orma. A pastor is spoken against because he is not a true native of the area. A pastor will be supported even if he is guilty of something like wife inheritance because he is from your clan.
Please continue to pray for the Gospel to be preached in power for the salvation of many sinners, and that the Lord will raise up labourers for the harvest field, including leaders for Trinity Baptist Church, Nairobi.
In Christ’s service,