Yet again I have to thank the Lord for a blessed time of ministry in Pokot North, 24th. March to 3rd. April. Johan and I were able to visit and minister the Word in 10 of the 13 places where there are churches and schools.
We walked up for almost 2 hours from Apur to Tarakit, at over 2,000 metres. What a breath-taking view west into Uganda! There are 3 churches and schools on this high ridge where the Pokot people plant maize and beans – Kapkoghun, Tarakit and Kapyomot.
The secondary school at Kasei is well established with over 200 students in 4 classes (Forms 1-4). It reminds me of the time I first came to Kenya in 1968 to teach in a secondary school in Miathene (Meru), which also had 4 classes but only about 150 boys. Kasei has 11 teachers, one for each subject they study, but only a few of them are provided by the Government. We as a church provide 2, and fees help to pay for the rest. I joked with them that we were only 8 teachers in Miathene, so in the old days we worked much harder! The Principal (Head Teacher) is very co-operative and has started some studies in theology with us.
Being able to freely preach to the boys in the unfinished laboratory building was a highlight for me. First they stood and sang beautifully, without accompaniment or hand clapping, a song in Swahili saying, ‘The grace of the Lord is sufficient’. This was my opportunity to tell them that grace in Christ is the way of salvation, and it is totally sufficient to save us (Ephesians 2:8-9). You could have heard a pin drop as I started by telling them of my experience as a teacher so long ago.
We have definite plans to start a second secondary school, this time for girls and in Kamketo, about 10 kms. away. We have been given the go ahead by the community and the authorities because of the success of the school in Kasei. It will start at the beginning of 2015 using some of the facilities of the primary school, but we will build one permanent classroom, and then the Government should come in to assist.
Of the 11 primary schools, 4 have all 8 classes, and 2 more will reach there this year. There are a few thousand boys and girls registered, not to mention the Early Childhood Development (ECD) classes with the youngest ones. The Government is not able to supply all the teachers needed so we continue to support more than 30 on a monthly basis! We are encouraged that finally many of the Head Teachers either attend the TBC churches or are genuinely sympathetic. This is also true of many of the teachers. Such ones we can supply with good Christian literature so we can bring the true Christian faith to them.
Polygamy continues to be very prevalent in the area and causes problems in the churches. The pressure for Christians to conform is very strong. In the photo below:
(1) One man had 2 wives, married a third who subsequently left him for another man. When that husband died she wanted to return to the first and he agreed for a while but then the Lord convicted him of the sin.
(2) One woman lost her husband and came to live in the area. She found it very difficult to be single in the society but there were no men of mature age to marry (i.e. widowers). In a polygamous society if one wife dies there is always another. So finally she gave in and became a 3rd. wife. She told me she knows she has done wrong, and I told her to cut the relationship, which may have serious consequences for her.
Please pray for the leaders who have so many responsibilities to perform, as there are only 3 trained men, and 2 Kenyan missionaries. For the first time I have seen some strains between them emerge over finances. There are 2 men we are hoping to train in the PTC in Nairobi in the future, and the brethren are planning to set up a Bible School in Kamketo to train those who are not proficient enough in English.
There has been a perennial leadership problem in Kapterema/Korokou so that the church membership has never been more than 10. David Nasia, 4th. right, is now leading and these are the people presently connected with the church. It is the most densely populated area with intensive cultivation of beans and maize.
There were many opportunities to preach, to small and medium sized groups. I preached on such themes as The Life of Faith (Hebrews 11:8-16), Affliction (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7,3:2-4), Love (John 13:34-35), Prayer (Matthew 6:5-13), 3 things that make a Christian (1 Thessalonians 1:8-10), the Work of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23, John 3:3-5), Spiritual Growth (Acts 20:32 and Ephesians 4:11-16), Sin (Mark 7:14-23), Christ as All (Luke 14:25-27), Blessing of Peace (John 16:33). We use the church buildings and homes, and go where people are under a tree.
Sunday we spent at Kamketo where there is the largest church and the only permanent church building. Some of the brethren at the nearby church of Kasepa joined us and there were 120 present in the service (less in the afternoon meeting). They have this lovely custom of forming a circle after the service so that everyone greets everyone else.
This is the large church building that is going up in Kasei which is designed to hold up to 250. The lintel is complete. The roof is next which will cost 400,000 shillings. Kasei is a main centre which is set to develop; there is the boarding secondary school, and also boarders in the upper primary. Since all secondary boys are required to be in church on Sundays a large building will be useful.
I trust this report has been an encouragement to you. The Lord is at work through His word, but there is much opposition. Please keep praying.