Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The short rains have kicked in here in Kitale. It rains every day again. These rains are needed so that the ground is ready for the farmers to plow and plant. These rains last only a couple of weeks, though, and then the dust season should return for a while. The skies are rumbling with thunder far off even as I speak. The rain is nice as it washes the dust off of everything and is refreshing. Thinking about rain reminds me about one of my favorite verses in Isaiah. Isaiah 55:10-11 says “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it”. What a great promise to remind us that God shall accomplish all His purposes here in Kenya. The work that we do and the words that we speak in his name are not for nothing. He will take our feeble efforts and our ineffective words and somehow make them serve his purpose of bringing light and salvation to lost and dying people. If that is the case then I say let the rain fall on us in torrents and floods.
The works here are progressing, maybe not exactly according to my plan but certainly according to God’s plan. (Just returned to my computer after a short hiatus I needed to take to rescue Josiah’s pet goat. Pet goats are one of the “benefits” of living in Africa). I love to worship God with the Kenyan people and teach them from the Word of God. In recent lessons I have taught them about some of the basics of a relationship with God: Salvation, baptism, prayer, daily devotions, and the functions of a church. Some people know a lot already and some know practically nothing. Most are willing to follow the teachings of any man who calls himself a pastor. One of the cultural things that is taught here is that instead of immersing a person in water when baptizing, the person can just walk under a flag. I’m still not sure where that came from or the significance of it but it is still a common practice. Another strong cultural practice is to receive a baptism card when baptized. While there is nothing inherently wrong with receiving a baptism card, in Kenya these cards can be used for identification, job applications and so on. This makes a person want to be baptized just to receive that card and not because he is identifying himself as a follower of Christ. These and other errors can only be corrected by teaching them to live their lives according to the Scriptures and not according to man-made rules of religion. It is a long, uphill battle that we face.
Finally, my family and I are excited about the upcoming visit from my parents, Norm and Mary Tate. They will arrive inKenyajust five days from today. This will be their second visit to Kenya since we arrived in 2008. On their first visit in February 2009, the Tate family here in Kitale was about to enter a long, difficult battle with culture fatigue. My parents witnessed us falling off the cliff and into the dark abyss of depression and fatigue. Hopefully, they will not have to witness this plunge again this time. It will be so good to have them here with us for the month since we so very much miss ALL of our friends and family from the States.
Until next month, beloved. May God’s peace and joy be with you.
For the glory of God in East Africa,
Roger & Julie Tate (and Emily, Amy, & Josiah)
P.O. Box 761
Kitale, Kenya 30200