Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Some stories

This is one of my favourite stories from our time in Kenya: While on a prayer walk in during our time in Pokot, Akira felt stirred to pray for the old people in the area as they seemed more set in their traditional ways and less likely to be involved with the church than the younger people. She then met this old lady on her way to the well, and being unable to communicate with her verbally, offered her shade from her umbrella and walked with her. At the well, Akira was able to find a translator and explained the Gospel using the colours on our gospel bracelets. She also invited the lady to watch the Jesus film with us on the Thursday evening, but the lady declined saying she had to go somewhere with her goats that night.

Then, on the Sunday, just as our outdoor church service was drawing to a close, this woman turned up. She had felt troubled by an evil spirit the night before and knew that the answer was to be found in the message that Akira had shared with her. She had made the long, hot trek to church to find salvation and prayed there to give her life to Jesus. Praise God for his amazing mercy and grace!

The holiday camp we helped run in West Pokot was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. It was the first time an interdenominational camp had happened in the area, and we had ~600 kids and young people with us for a week of Bible teaching, songs, prayer and games.

It was hard to chat to the younger kids individually outside of class because of the language barrier, but some of the older kids had good English. The girl on the right here is called Mabel and came with some of her friends from a Catholic church. I asked her towards the end of the week what her favourite thing about the camp had been. I expected that she say something like ‘spending time with her friends’ or ‘watching movies in the evening,’ but she replied, ‘learning about Jesus.’ I think was the camp was the first time that she’d had Jesus’ love and rescue mission clearly explained to her and she was genuinely excited to receive the good news.

On the final day of the camp, we prayed for the kids to be filled with the power and love of the Holy Spirit as they went back to their homes and it was exciting to see some girls from Mabel’s group of friends clearly encountering God in a deep and personal way during our prayer time.

Our campsite around a friend’s house in the Masai Mara region was separated from the local wildlife by just two thin barbed-wire fences that had been damaged in places by wandering hippos. Our friends therefore arranged a guard for us.  

Tengen faithfully watched over our tents every night for a week and ensured that we had no unwelcome visitors. Describing himself as an ‘original Masai man,’ Tengen had little or no formal education, but (if such tales are to be believed) had killed a lion, as all ‘original Masai men’ must do in their coming-of-age ceremony. On Sunday, he kindly walked us to church and we enjoyed some basic language exchange with him.  

When we arrived at the church, the pastor enthusiastically encouraged Chris to “tell him the Gospel!" "He’ll become a christian,” he confidently declared. Chris was perhaps a little surprised at the pastor’s certainty, but, seizing the opportunity, explained the gospel message to Tengen with the pastor translating. He told Tengen how he had been made by a creator God who loved him and had given his life to restore their relationship and rescue him from the consequences of sin. Sure enough, just as the pastor had predicted, Tengen became a christian!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Our time in the bush bush

Lukas and Bethany leading song and dance at the Pokot kids’ camp
Bethany writes: The first week in Pokot was amazing!  We did the kids camp which took 110% of our energy.  There turned out to be 600 kids and 100 youth (plus an unknown amount of women who came along with the kids), instead of the 400 we estimated.  Things were constantly changing so we had to remain, "flexible, but stable" as Joram (the Kenya DTS leader) says.  Many of the kids accepted Jesus and were really touched!  I was helping with the song/dance station which was really fun!  We got to write Pokot songs to teach the kids, and we could hear the kids singing them 24/7 (literally)!

Here’s a video of our celebration at the end of the camp:

The second week we went to another area of Pokot.  It was extremely dry and hot so it was difficult to do things during the day.  Several people felt sick and so survival was a bit of a struggle in and of itself.  However we were still able to minister to the local people through preaching to them at the well, evangelizing at the market, visiting the chief's house, showing the Jesus film, etc.  I had an unforgettably amazing 20th birthday this week!
Women listening to the Pokot audio Bible that we brought with us
Bethany’s birthday
Hagin, our Kenyan teammate, praying for rain in dry river beds 
Local Pokot people at the well

The third week we had a change of plan and had to leave Pokot for various reasons.  We went to a town near Kisumu where we stayed with Paul (our leader/guide/programmer from the base) and his family.  We did door to door evangelism, went to pray for people in a hospital, and ministered at a couple different schools.
Our idyllic surroundings at Paul’s family home. We had to cross this river on stepping stones every time we went into town. 

Kids at one of the primary schools we visited

The luscious green of Paul’s town was accompanied by lots and lots of mud
Finally, last week we went to the beautiful Maasai Mara.  We did door to door evangelism, preached in church, preached in the local villages, and ministered at a school.  We also got to go on safari, and see lots of cool animals! 
Kimie with some Masai women at a traditional “boma” (village)

Lukas on his birthday with Wilson, our Masai safari guide


A family we visited in the village where we stayed

Monday, 2 June 2014

From camping in the Kenyan bush to camping the English to a house of our own in Cambridge

Sorry for the lack of promised updates. We arrived back in the country on Friday afternoon after spending an unplanned, but delicious, lunchtime in Charles deGaulle airport. From Heathrow we we're whisked off to Nuneaton where we spent two nights camping at the YWAM England gathering at the King's Lodge. I think we all found it spiritually refreshing and were challenged by Mariette Lowe's direct teaching on being dependent on God ( the 80s disco and gourmet food were also much appreciated ;) ). Now we're back in Cambridge, blessed to be staying in the Rudducks' gorgeous Oak Villa in Madingley.
Thanks again so much for your support and prayers during our time away and stay posted for more stories and photos of our time in the bush.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Back at the base

Hi! We're back in the realm of wifi again after four weeks in the bush! We've experienced so much over the last month: three different tribal languages, a variety of landscapess and sleeping arrangements, people who know the  gospel well and those who've never heard of Jesus before. Hopefully different team members will be updating the blog over the next few days to let you know  more details. For now, I'll just say thank you for your prayers and that God has kept us all  safe and healthy.  It's been such a privilidge to see so much of Kenya, make friends and experience life here. Thank you to all of you who've helped make this possible. We've given out a lot emotionally, spiritually and physically over the last month, but overall I just feel hugely blessed to be able to be here and experience more of the breadth of God's amazing creation.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Sing aloud O daughter of Pokot!

We've really been enjoying being able to give a bit more time to praying for the Pokot people over the last few days. When we were praying the other night we felt that God was speaking Zephaniah 3:14-20 over the Pokot people, especially the women. Please join us on praying that God will release them into the freedom he has for them at this time.

In other news, Connie preached a great sermon on freedom from strongholds at the conference of a local church here today and will also be preaching tomorrow and on Friday. Half of the team went to support her, while the other half visited the families of children whose education is supported through YWAM. They heard many sad stories but enjoyed being able to share with the families and were touched by the warm welcome they received.

With only two full days left before we leave for Pokot, we're excited, but there's many practical things that still need to be arranged. The weight of most of this falls on Joram, one of the staff here, so please remember him in your prayers. He has three boys under five, so you can imagine life is very busy.

One major prayer request for the Pokot people is for rain. Apparently it is very dry there, and people are starving for lack of food. Partly because of this we're expecting lots of adults, mothers in particular, to be joining us for the camp. Praise God who is able to meet all our needs!

We're also really excited that we're going to be able to partner with a pastor who wants to plant a church in the Pokot in our third week there. It's so good to know that we'll be able to leave those who respond to the gospel with someone who can continue to disciple them when we're gone.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Today we visited another church and had one of our strangest cultural experiences yet: a vegetable auction in the middle of the service!

The auction actually made a lot of sense as the vegetables had been given as a gift to the church and the proceeds went to the offering.

We led the Sunday school, shared a few songs and testimonies, preached and were blessed by a delicious lunch. We then led the youth service outside under a tree and had fun admiring the stunning views (the church was on top of a hill) and playing with the kids, one of whom has followed us home!

We were really encouraged that many of the kids prayed in response to hearing the gospel in Sunday school and that the church was so welcoming to us, inviting us to return when we come back from West Pokot. One young man came straight up to the front to receive prayer after Connie's preach on intimacy with God and we were able to pray with others in their seats.

Yesterday we attended a memorial service for a Somali Kenyan believer who was shot because of his faith last year. It was amazing to hear his wife and sons speaking and be reminded of the sure and certain hope that we have. It was also amazing to meet some Muslim-background believers and seekers, hear their testimonies and pray for them.

Pool, kids and shepherds

If Jesus was in Makatano, our nearby town, where would he hang out? Perhaps he'd be at the pool tables and with the kids during the day and up on the hills with the farmers at night.

Akira reports:
Thursday was wildly fun!!! One of the pastors from the church we have been working with took us to a few places were young men play pool, gamble and drink all day.

It was amazing to have the attention of all the men who were there. They stopped and gathered together and we got to share the gospel with them all :) The response was amazing -many guys surrender their lives to Christ and repented. It was so evident even while sharing the gospel that the Holy Spirit doing something. We also had a few people share their testimonies and got to chat to the guys individually afterwards.

The pastor was very encouraged and said we have now made a platform from him to go there to disciple them. GOD IS GOOD.

We were invited to a school during our evangelism the day before so on Thursday afternoon we went to share with ~200 children and teachers. It was really fun and the children loved it.

Thursday night was even more fun: we walked about 3km to a nearby farm and shared the gospel around a campfire with all the labours there.  We did some songs and drank sweet tea under the stars:) A lot of the men responded and we got to pray with them.

It's so humbling and so much fun being used as a clay jar for Jesus. 2 Corinthians 4v7