Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The season in which we celebrate the birth of our Lord is now upon us. Lights are being displayed on houses. Festive music plays on radio stations and in all the stores. Black Friday money has already been spent. Church choirs prepare for cantatas while children are preparing their plays and memorizing their lines, all of which will revolve around the baby Jesus. Holiday food will be consumed in mass amounts: Turkey, ham, cookies, fruitcake, punch, dressing, sweet breads, etc. It is a great time to be in the United States. We always look forward to spending Christmastime in America if possible. I love the joy of the season.
Christmastime in Kenya is much different. Not as much joy. Holiday food consists of everyday fare like ugali (corn meal) and sukumawiki (cooked greens) or for the more fortunate, an anemic chicken. I have yet to see a children’s play. There is no such thing as Black Friday. Lights are non-existent and festive music rare. All of these things are simply not part of the Kenyan culture in Kitale. And yet Christians in Kenya are able to celebrate the exact same thing that Christians in America celebrate, namely, the coming of the Messiah, the coming of the Savior, the coming of the King.
As I progress through this holiday season I want to keep in mind what we share in celebration with the churches in Kenya and the churches where other BFM missionaries are found in Peru, France and Brazil, and the churches all around the world. That common thread through them all is the entrance of our Savior and our King into this world.
In furlough news, our travels have taken us to numerous states. We have reported on our Kenyan work in:
Ohio: Emmanuel Baptist in Bellbrook (Pastor Darrell Messer), Cornerstone Baptist in Cincinnati (Pastor Jonathan Gordon), Covenant Baptist in Dayton (Pastor Kelvin Benton), Union Baptist in Union (Pastor Bruce Winner)
West Virginia: Calvary in Hurricane (Pastor Jeff Hurst), Mt. Calvary in Charleston (Pastor Jesse Waggoner)
Kentucky: Emmanuel Baptist in Salyersville (Pastor Mark Campbell), Emmanuel Baptist in Oldtown (Pastor John Lybrook)
Michigan: Grace Baptist in Holly (Pastor Bob Hopkins), Lake Road Baptist in Clio (Pastor Doug Armstrong), New Hope Baptist in Dearborn (Pastor Terry Atkins)
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for loving us. Thank you for your churches that you have established in America, in Kenya, in Peru, France and Brazil, and all around the world. Thank you that they continue to proclaim your truth and your name on earth. Thank you for empowering them with your Holy Spirit to accomplish your purpose of spreading your kingdom to the ends of the earth. I pray that you would strengthen your churches that are called by your name. I pray that they would be kingdom minded. I pray that they would shine your light and your love to this lost world. I ask that they would stand firm on the truth in your word. I pray that through your churches you would receive honor and glory and praise. Amen.
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)
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