January 6, 2015
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Ministry here is always three steps forward, two and nine tenths steps backwards. It is constantly up and then down, encouraging and then discouraging. I keep asking myself, “Are we doing things the right way? What are we doing wrong? What do we need to do differently?”. When something positive seems to happen, if we give it enough time it will all seem to fall apart. So, I take my cup of tea out to the stable out back of the house (it is literally a stable) and pray, asking God to show me what he wants me to do differently, asking him to give me wisdom and to guide my ministry here. I want only to do what he wants me to do and say what he wants me to say.
I look around at other missionaries’ ministries here in Kenya and I ask, “Why is their ministry doing so well? Why are so many people working with them, clamoring for their teaching and following all that they say? Then I look closely and I know the answer: It’s because those missionaries are paying rent for their pastors, giving away motorcycles, throwing big parties and goat roasts or other similar things. I suppose I could also have a big, thriving ministry if I allowed myself to go that route too. It’s just hard when I compare my own ministry with theirs, when I see my group of students start at a meager six and dwindle down to one after a few weeks. Or, when starting up a new group with the promise of six to ten new students and none of them show up. Why do men plead with me that they want to be trained, set up a date and a time to start, and then never show up? Wouldn’t it be easier to just say you are not interested? I guess you all probably face some very similar problems back in the States, don’t you? I remember doing ministry back in Ohio (seems like forever ago). I would receive many promises from people that they would come to church. I think I remember about 1 in 20 ever showing up (and that statistic is probably on the generous side). Back here in Kenya I have been trying to reach out evangelistically to some of the motorcycle taxi drivers. I drive up on my own motorcycle to a group of 8 to 10 drivers sitting around waiting for work and engage them in conversation. I invite them to an informal Basic Christianity course at our training center. I say, “Come at 3:00. That’s 20 minutes from now. Will you be coming”? All of them promise me they will come. Back at the training center I wait for them to show up. Can you guess how many come? If you guessed ZERO you would be correct. After waiting until 4:00 for anyone to arrive I leave and return to the group that promised they would come. I ask them why they didn’t come. They all stare off into the sky, cough and laugh, and say, “We’ll come tomorrow”.
Is my soul cast down? NO, NO, NO! We serve a great and mighty God. I am so thankful that He promises that His Word will not return to Him empty. Praise God that he loves me, that he loves you and that he loves the Kenyan people. We will keep trudging along, looking for the called and faithful, until God tells us to something different. Maybe next time one or two of those motorcycle taxi drivers will show up and learn about Jesus, their Lord and Savior.
In other news, Chloe is doing fantastically well. She is over ten pounds now and is healthy (except for some moderate to serious acid reflux). She is a joy to our hearts and lives. Thanks to all of you who have assisted us with your prayers on her behalf and your financial assistance in support of her adoption process. Blessings to you all.
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)
Visit their blog!