January 20, 2020
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ,
Pastoring a church in any situation is not easy. I think it is especially not easy pastoring a church in a cross-cultural setting. There are so many things that I do wrong and because it is being done in a cross-cultural setting. Most of the time I don’t even know the things I’m doing wrong. Some things I have learned a little, like, not using American illustrations in my sermons that don’t make any sense to my Kenyan listeners. Also, talking slower and enunciating my words clearly for those who are not used to my American accent. Other things I have gotten used to—like children walking around during my message, even up to the lectern where I am standing, and talking to me while I am preaching (Chloe did this the other day too. She came right up to me while I was preaching, tugged on my pant leg, and asked me if she could preach.). I try and keep things informal and people will comment or ask questions in the middle of my sermon. I actually like that. What haven’t I learned? Well, again, that’s hard to say. I haven’t learned all the cultural norms. I haven’t learned to speak Swahili well enough. I haven’t learned how to play the guitar well. I haven’t learned yet when I have done something to offend someone. Pastoring a church as an American in Kenya is not easy. But it IS rewarding.
The last couple of weeks we have had a new family attending the Chapel. It is always nice to have visitors that come more than once. One-and-done’s are discouraging. It makes one think he is doing something wrong. But we are doing exactly what I think God wants us to be doing: simple Bible teaching, sensible and heartfelt worship, focus on Jesus. So, even if the one-and-done’s don’t like what we are doing, we will continue to follow God’s leading anyway. The new family, however, has returned. The mother came first, along with her three children. The father works in Nairobi, an eight-hour drive from his family. But he also was in Kitale this past weekend and attended the Chapel with his family. He told me that he also enjoyed our Chapel service very much. We are praying that this family continues to attend.
I am encouraged to see the Chapel folks entering a new phase together. Being in our new location is much more conducive to “fellowship”. The people are beginning to linger a lot longer after the services, talking and getting to know each other better. I see them starting to become friends instead of just “people who attend the same Chapel service”. I enjoy watching them mingle and listening to their conversations. We are all definitely growing and being united in the love of Jesus. It has also been suggested to me by some of the people that we should have more times of fellowship outside of our normal Sunday services. First, this shows me that they truly are growing and being bonded in the love of Christ. Second, it shows that they are taking initiative and interest in the growth of the Chapel instead of just allowing me to take all the initiative. Others have seen needs in the Chapel (like childcare) and are taking the initiative to find solutions to those needs. These developments are encouraging to me and I praise God for what he is doing in our ministry.
Blessings to you all,
Roger, Julie, Amy, Josiah & Chloe
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