Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Safely home

The travel team has arrived home safely and with all our luggage! Josephine and Peter will be getting on a plane in Nairobi today so continued prayers for their safety.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Prayers for travel

We would love prayers for traveling mercies and safety as we fly out in 11 hours.

Over the last several days we have had team debrief conversations in the midst of Kenya adventures, including a wonderful safari and an up-close encounter with baby elephant orphans.

Photo - John Lewis and three bishops

Saturday, August 11, 2018

John Lewis - Kingdom Story Update

Some of you know that John Lewis has been doing 2 two-day Kingdom Story seminars for Kenyan/East african pastors. One seminar was in Meru. The second one is in Nairobi. Read below for John’s description of the Nairobi conference.

About 70 pastors and leaders showed up yesterday for the first day of the Nairobi KS 2 day conference. They hail from 6 or 7 neighboring counties; one person coming from 650 miles away, one bishop came from Rwanda. Several students at our host college also came from Sudan and Uganda. It cannot be easily overstated: it’s very special in Africa to have pastors from different denominations and regions meet together in one place, share their stories and their struggles, laugh and eat together. They are normally “tribal” and isolated.
The flow and impact of the first day mirrored the first conference; God is moving and laid the foundation yesterday for a great 2nd day today. Here is a super fun story…
Some of you may know that KS hosted two Anglican bishops from southern Sudan to be transported and housed here in Nairobi for the conference. It’s a long way and finances for them are as you can imagine, tight.
Last night I had dinner with the two bishops and their spouses. What a delight, what men of passion and commitment who have suffered under Islamic persecution and persevered in their calling. And what eagerness they had to discuss the possibilities of making KS resources available to train young pastors in their two southern Sudan counties in the years ahead. The church has grown and practices evangelism diligently. Discipleship is another matter. The condition of the church is weak, and many members remain immature in their faith and lifestyle. This is not surprising when you also consider many of their pastors are young men without even a full high school education. And both bishops are convinced that the foundation for maturity includes a deep heart familiarity with God’s word. And they love the KS approach; they love story!
What also came out during dinner is that there are three counties that cover all of Southern Sudan for the Anglican Church, and each of these counties also has an ecumenical church group that brings together all the area pastors and denominations in the area for collaboration. The Anglican bishops are excited down the road to use their influence to share the KS resources with these pastors as well. They imagine our work with them going viral in south Sudan.
So what the third county’s bishop? He wasn’t invited to the conference, or present yesterday. But at dinner I added a little miracle to our collection: Peter, the bishop of the third county had phoned them. He was “just happening” to come into Nairobi tonight from Sudan to do an interview to get an out of country visa. Yes, he could join us for the 2ndday of the conference! Moses and Abraham want us to all have lunch together to finalize the follow up plans for each of the bishops in their three countries for the year ahead! They are asking me to consider dong a training conference in each of the three counties of south Sudan in the year ahead.
Be encouraged.  God is on the move, and went ahead of me here. Thanks for your prayers and support…and know that the fields are white for the harvest, the pastors eager in this country. Our work to this point has prepared us well to be and serve here.
To God be the glory! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Photo - walking to Robert’s house

Monday - final day in Meru

Adahlia is a quick healer and has been feeling great since Monday night/Tuesday morning. Thanks for the prayers!

Monday began with a visit to John and Carissa’s sponsored child Robert. Hope guardian Amalia and her friend Susan are very invested in Robert’s life. They joined the team for the visit. (Side note: It becomes clearer and clearer that the Guardians invest much more money in these children than what we sponsors send in. They love these people like family and when they ask for food or another necessity, they find a bit of extra money from their own humble income to help. It’s really inspiring.) The vans parked on the side of a road and we walked a pretty long way down a trail/narrow dirt road. As we walked, kids silently emerged shyly waving at us and walking along with us. By the time we reached Robert’s house we probably had about a dozen kids there! Amalia informed us that these were all cousins to Robert and we were experiencing a true village. A family who has a piece of land and subdivided it between family members over the course of generations. They all live in community. When Carissa thanked the grandmother for taking care of Robert, Josephine quipped “It takes a village.” Suddenly that saying made perfect sense!

During the visit Carissa toured the home and got to know the grandmother better. I (Pam) had the village girls teach me their clapping games, which was a joy. Josephine translated the stories that go along with the rhythms, which were just as silly as my sing-song stories growing up. Darren pulled out his phone and we taught the children the cha cha slide and the hokey pokey. They were more than willing to give it a try. Sometimes we’d dance too close to the goats or run into the clothes line but it was all good.

As we said goodbye, the children escorted us all the way back to the road. Robert grinning up on John’s shoulders. Girls gripping both my hands. When our hands got sweaty they both let go and studied their hands. I think they expected the sweat to be white like my skin!

Josephine gave Crew Leader shirts to the children from the back of the van and we took off.

That afternoon we met with the Hope Board. This post is already long, so suffice it to say it was a bit of a love fest. They wanted to thank us for UPPC’s investment, and we wanted to thank them for their investment in the children. It was wonderful to hear personal accounts from them of kids lives being changed — graduates from the program who are able to support themselves so the next generation in their family will not be in the same desperate place financially. They fervently report that the program is changing, not just kids’ lives, but future generations. Praise God for this good work.

Monday, August 6, 2018

From Jason: Prayer Request & Reflections

Well, the Kenyan bugs finally made themselves known.  Our poor little Kanana (Adahlia) has been vomiting this morning and is dealing with other food poisoning symptoms.  Hopefully it passes quickly.   Emily and I have been attending her, and as she sleeps I thought I’d write you a couple thoughts.

I have loved getting to know the local Hope Guardians more.  They have hosted us in there homes and churches, and we’ve had them join us in many of our visits.  I’m so impressed by the quality of character and resourcefulness they show.   Here are a couple quick snapshots:

 Ibrahim is honored and respected and clearly the patriarch of an entire region.  He speaks with authority and grace at the same time.  He is humble in his ways-  eating lunch with a gaggle of preschoolers, clowning with his helmet at the ceremony,  getting down to help wash the hands of our children.    And he knows what he is about-   introducing himself as “the father of nations” and simply as a “farmer”, and taking time to greet each child at the seminar despite being the best dressed and most revered person there.  

Esther and Amalia are teachers with big big hearts for the students they serve.   And also so much more than that.  Esther is finishing a PhD in local inheritance laws and customs and their disenfranchising effects-  on top of being a women’s advocate on an international scale, and a loving  wife and mother.  

Beyond her teaching, Amalia has a sprawling set of enterprises with her husband (who himself is en route to a PhD in green supply chain).   Rental units, construction, farming.

Harun works for a giant tea company and spends his Sundays playing the keyboard for the rousing services at the village church we attended.  

It is fun to get to see these friends in their own environment.   We are blessed to be in this work together.  

We head to Elijah’s house tonight, and I’m excited to spend some more time with him.