2012, No. 7 (30/4/12)

Dear Brethren

We have been catching our breath this past week after a hectic 10 days during the visit of Pastor Ronald Kalifungwa from Lusaka, Zambia.

1. The ‘Meaty Forum’ (Friday evening 13th.).  I picked up Brother Kalifungwa from the airport at 5 p.m. the very time the meeting was due to start.  The traffic jam was bad so it took another hour instead of the usual 20 minutes.  They had waited to start, and anyway people were still coming in.  Eventually there were 70 young people in their 20s for the function held in a room of one of the big town churches.  This forum is the idea of one of our young people who desires to get the ‘meat’ to the many people in Nairobi who are hurting spiritually and do not know what to do.  Many are fed up with the nonsense that goes on in the name of worship in churches Sunday after Sunday.  The Forum is basically a panel discussion on a meaty subject.  This first one was upon ‘Truth’ – what is truth and why do we say the Bible is the only absolute standard of truth.  Totally unprepared I was asked to be one of the 4 panellists.  There was a very encouraging positive response and the event will take place each month on the second Friday.  (I am not personally on Facebook, but you can find out more on www.facebook.com/meatyforum)

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2. Men’s Breakfast (Saturday morning 14th.).  We had a large group of 25 made up mostly of young men.  After a breakfast of tea, bread, egg and banana, we looked at the life of Lot.  It was very challenging to consider how such a man of faith could end up in such sin.

3. The wedding of Lydia was due to start at 11 a.m. and being the designated preacher we had to rush across town.  Of course, it was not necessary as it started almost 3 hours late, but I could not take the chance.  Such lateness is not necessarily due to the bride but to relatives who turn up at the house to ‘see her off’ – they are up-country people and need another song, another prayer, etc. before they can release their ‘daughter’.  Lydia is daughter to Catherine and brother to Nelson, both church members.  She was brought up in Trinity but goes to another church with her (now) husband.  This is why she wanted me to preach, especially having appreciated the sermon at the previous wedding in February.  Sadly weddings are not usually serious occasions and pastors joke a lot.  I was able to bring the gospel to a few hundred people from Ephesians 5:25-27, on the love of Christ.  May the Lord use it for His glory.

4. Sunday we had good sized congregations and Brother Kalifungwa preached on John 8:58 and Philippians 3:10.  He also spoke to many of the Women in their afternoon fellowship on Lot’s wife.  We are seeing a number of new faces and we are praying for saving grace to be granted and others to give themselves to the Lord and His church.

5. Pastors’ Conference (Monday evening to Thursday evening, 16th. – 19th.).  A total of around 40 men attended from different parts of the country.  They so much appreciated Brother Kalifungwa’s ministry on the subject of the Covenants.  He had 9 sessions on the covenant of Redemption, Adamic, of Grace, Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, New and Messianic.  There were 2 more discussion sessions on The Christian World-View and
Dispensationalism.  The one on World-View was the first time I have heard an African enunciate the Christian as opposed to the African World-View.  Very helpful and something I must make sure is specifically included in the PTC.

6. Dine & Listen (Friday evening 20th.).  This is an annual evangelistic event to which we encourage members to invite relatives and friends.  It was quite well attended by about 70 people, but as our brother began to speak on Genesis 3:9 the rain came pouring down.  I do not think everyone heard all he said as we do not have a ceiling to cushion the noise.  What that did is to give us opportunity afterwards to talk with people who were waiting for it to subside. 

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At the meal I was able to talk with one man who has worked in different parts of the world.  He has been sick for a number of months and I asked him what he has learned from the experience.  He has had time to read the Bible, so what did he learn?  He has come to see that the Catholicism in which he was brought up is a religion for those who are not really committed, so I suppose he thinks what he needs is to be committed.  It was my opportunity to tell him, using Luke 18:9-14, that he needs to come to the end of himself for no amount of commitment will save him, only Christ will.

If you wish to find much more information about Trinity Baptist Church, Nairobi and the various ministries please visit www.trinity.or.ke  You will find my emails 2012 Nos. 1-6, our Grace & Truth magazine, and lengthy reports on the ministries in South Sudan (January), in Rendille by our son Jonathan (February) with 70 photos posted from Rendille, and in Pokot North (March/April), plus other resources.  You can also listen to some of our sermons.

PRAY the Lord will graciously bring fruit from the ministry of His word, as He has promised. 

In Christ, Keith & Priscilla Underhill

2012, No. 6 (13/4/12)

Dear Brethren

Pokot North
Simon and I arrived back safely from 10 days with our brethren in Pokot North after 11 p.m. last Thursday (5/4).  The Lord gave us a very encouraging time. 
The 3 trained church leaders, Andrew, Joshua & Thomas.  They are doing well and are more settled in their work in the churches as they seek to learn to balance the demands of church and school.  With 11 Churches for which they are responsible they have so many opportunities for ministry, not to mention calls to go to new areas.
The 2 ‘missionaries’ and their families, Amos Wamukota and Isaiah Juma.  We have sent these 2 men to Kamketo and Kasei respectively to help in ministering to the many children in the Schools.  They are doing a valuable job.  The 2 Primary Schools in Kamketo and Kasei are boarding from Class 4-8, as are all the students in the Secondary School in Kasei.  Because of the privileges the Government gives us as the Sponsoring Church, they are able to minister to the students many times per week.

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The 11 Churches, with at least 150 baptized members.  Each Church has a leader, but only the 3 above are trained, and none of the others have even been to Secondary School.  The small Church at Kapterema has suffered from unfaithful leaders over the years.  The venue has been moved to a new semi-permanent building adjacent to the School, and the present leader is pressing on, so we trust the Lord will give new contacts.   Kapkaghun is also struggling as the community seems just to be waiting for outsiders (me?) to get everything done.
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The 11 Nursery Schools.  The Government has finally started posting trained teachers that we now call Early Childhood Development (ECD).  However there are so many children involved that one teacher alone cannot cope.
The 9 Primary Schools.  There are more than 1,500 children enrolled in these Schools, and we help with salaries for more than 20 teachers, with the Government employing slightly fewer.
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The Secondary School was encouraging.   Isaiah has an hour’s ministry with all 37 of them 3 times a week, and they all attend the Sunday service.  The Government has just sent a Principal, and the Church employs 2 teachers, and through fees 3 more are employed.  May the Lord save many of them as they are constantly exposed to the gospel.  There is still the opportunity to go and volunteer as a teacher there for a year.
One of the most encouraging times was talking with 2 men at Wasat.  The Gospel has only very recently come to this place and these men have started attending church.  I asked them Why?  They clearly stated that it is because of what they have seen since the church has come and the lives of some people (their wives) have been changed.  Two things have characterized what they called their horrible lives – cattle raiding from neighbouring communities (Turkana), and drunkenness.  They described what they used to do as they went as a group surrounded a village at night and waiting until 4 a.m. before opening fire and then taking the animals.  They reflected that we ourselves have wives and children and how awful if they were to be killed.  With the Gospel having come there is so much more peace in the community – what a great testimony to the power of the Prince of Peace!  Wanting to know how much they have grasped of the Gospel, I asked them if they think God could possibly forgive such wickedness.  When they affirmed this I wanted to know on what basis, as so many just think this is what God ought to do.  They were quite clear that it is on the basis of the cross of Christ where He died for our sins.  Sadly, such raiding still continues.  Just a few days earlier there had been a raid in which about 25 people were killed.  We rejoiced that there is a Gospel that proclaims salvation even to ‘the chief of sinners’.
The car gave me some problems.  On the Saturday we were to go up the track into the hills from Kasei to Korokou.  I found the clutch pedal on the floor and no pressure in the system.  I phoned my mechanic in Nairobi and he told me where to look for a fluid leak, but I could not find one.  Even to get the network at all one has to stand in a very specific place and still it cuts out from time to time.  There was only one solution, to call a mechanic from Makutano, 120 kms. south, the nearest available.  Hours later he arrived on the back of a motorbike (a common form of transport in these remoter areas), with the necessary seals, and within less than an hour it was fixed.  Kenya is such a resourceful country.
Two things are likely to bring change to the area.  First, electricity is on its way.  Ironically for a few decades there has been the massive Italian built hydro-electric dam at Turkwell Gorge, but as in so many parts of the world the immediate vicinity does not greatly benefit.  Second, there is the discovery of oil.  Much is being made of it, but even its economic feasibility has not yet been determined.
I plan a much fuller report on website on our website www.trinity.or.ke in due course.  You can now see our magazine Grace & Truth, and listen to some sermons.

Forthcoming Events
We have Ronald Kalifungwa, Pastor of Lusaka Baptist Church, Zambia, as our guest from 13th. to 21st. April.  Please PRAY for the following events.
Friday – The ‘Meaty Forum’ a Panel Discussion organized by our young people.  This is the first on ‘What is Truth and Where it is to be Found’ and is planned to be monthly.  It will be held near the town centre with the aim of reaching many young people in the institutions.
Saturday – A Men’s Breakfast at 8 a.m.  The daughter of one of our members is getting married and I am to preach at the wedding later in the morning.
Sunday – Pastor Kalifungwa will preach at both services, and at the Women’s Fellowship.  My only responsibility will be to start an Adult Sunday School class on Joel.
Monday-Thursday – The annual Pastors’ Conference on the theme of God’s Covenants.
Friday – Dine & Listen, our annual evangelistic event.

We thank the Lord for your fellowship in the Gospel of Christ.

Keith & Priscilla Underhill