February 5, 2015
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Wow! What an exciting month we’ve had here in Kenya. It’s been exciting because it has revolved around the visit of Pastor Darrell Messer and his dear wife Shirley. Just in case you didn’t know, Pastor Messer is one of the directors of BFM, but he also just happens to be my own pastor from my own church back in Bellbrook, Ohio. When my family moved to Ohio and started attending Emmanuel Baptist Church in Bellbrook back in 1980, Pastor Messer was already the pastor there; he and Shirley have been there ever since then. So needless to say, these people are very dear to my heart. They have been trying to get here to Kenya for a few years, but their plans up to now have always been thwarted. But, they arrived here in Kenya two weeks ago, and now as I write this report we are on the eve of them returning to Nairobi to catch a flight to France where they will visit BFM missionary John Hatcher.
We’ve packed a lot into the past two weeks. After a couple of days in Nairobi allowing them to catch up from jet-lag and allowing us to worship on Sunday in English, we headed home to Kitale. Their first morning in Kitale gave them a rude welcome to missionary life in Kenya as I looked at the water tank and, behold, NO WATER! While Pastor and I scrambled around town trying to jimmy up some way of getting water, I had visions of severe water rationing and what it might look like to our guests if we couldn’t take showers or flush the toilet for two weeks. Welcome to Kenya, Pastor and Shirley! Fortunately by early in the afternoon the water supply was flowing again and I could put that worry behind us for a while. Although the morning plans got trashed because of the lack of water, we were able to tour Kitale in the afternoon – walking through the market with its mounds of second hand clothes, piles of stinking fish, blaring music and stares from the Kenyan people who were not used to seeing that many Americans in one place. In the days to come we visited some of our Kenyan friends in their homes, and spent a day at In-Step Children’s Home as well as getting to see the ministries we are involved in. Here are some of our activities for the week: On Thursday, Pastor and I did some evangelism in town and started up a new Basic Christianity class for which we did get one student to attend. On Friday we attended one of our classes which one of our students taught. We have been trying to teach him how to effectively teach the Word of God. On Saturday we went to a new group that Nathan and I started which meets in the home of Kefa and Matilda. We had 27 people attend the group that morning where we sang, worshipped God and studied God’s Word together. Saturday afternoon we went to the prison where Nathan ministers. We were able to meet his men and hear them sing to us, and then we watched as Nathan taught them from the Word of God. Sunday found us worshipping with Pastor Kirui at Bethel Baptist Church and then fellowshipping together with the other Kitale missionaries later in the afternoon. Throughout the week Pastor and I ate lunch at my favorite dive of a restaurant in town, Mama Chiku’s. I think Pastor has found a new favorite place to eat. I had a hard time convincing anyone else to join us there though.
The highlight of the trip for me though, was when Pastor, Josiah and I were able to head up into the Kenyan bush and visit the Pokot people. The temperatures were oppressive, we slept in tents, ate rice and goat every day, and got filthy from the dust. But we preached a few times from the Word of God, encouraged the local ministers, met some new people, and showed the Jesus Film a couple of times – the result of which was that a number of people professed faith in Christ. Pastor was even asked to help a local pastor with some baptisms. We went to the river, dug out a shallow spot in which the baptisms could take place, and did the baptisms. Thirty feet away were two dead crocodiles floating in the water. They had been killed by the locals some time earlier. It made me keep looking around to see if there were any other critters swimming around that we needed to be aware of.
We love Pastor and Shirley and have thoroughly enjoyed their visit. We will be sorry to see them go. Blessings to you both, Pastor and Shirley!
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 & Chloe)
Visit their blog!