Saturday, October 24, 2015

Nobody wants to go

A friend explains about rural Kenya and how difficult it is to make anything happen there.  There's no money.  If everybody there wanted a church, there'd be no offering to build one.  Nobody really wants to go there and preach.
Our friend Samuel

So, that's where my friend Samuel goes to start new churches and share the good news, that there's hope, and life can be different.

Our Kinagoni church, about 70 km
west of Mombasa
Samuel is a bishop, but he doesn't make a big deal about the title.  All it means is that he provides the practical training and loving leadership that's needed for things to change.  Directly addressing the common poverty, he teaches folks about hard work and community, about loving each other and trusting God for his assistance with life needs.  He teaches them about business and practical things that make a difference.
The young church in Kibaoni

He's not alone.  His wife is fully invested in the work, too.  She pastors the second of thirty churches Samuel has established in Kenya, Rwanda, and Burundi.  Samuel trains pastors and helpers for each of the churches, and he sends experienced folks for three-month periods to teach and help in the younger fellowships.  Samuel has training programs (six months) that are required for those offering themselves to the work.
Sunday school for kids in Rwanda

In rural Kenya, the gospel has to be practical.  If you're going to have any good news for the poor, it has to include not starving, not losing a chance at an education, not dying from preventable illness.  Samuel and his pastors and workers don't have a lot of money to throw at the problems, but they do understand the way forward.  Food, work, health, and education are all part of their labor in the villages.  The intent is not to raise income for some distant headquarters but to equip the community to function well for the sake of each and all.  Thirty churches so far, and people hear about them and more come to see.
Samuel with the children at Mavirivirini church

That's the gospel, the good news.  Learn, work, help each other, love and serve one another, and in doing so you follow the call of your Father who loves you and will give you good success along the way.  It's all part of the same package when you're poor; getting right with God really includes, "... give us this day, bread, and deliver us from the evil we see."
Some of the world's finest folks crowd in
and sit on the floor to listen and share.

Lending a hand can mean a sewing machine or a couple of goats or a load of blocks to build a community building for church and pre-school.  It can be salary for some needed teachers at the local school where crowded classes can reach 60+ students or sponsorship for kids fees; there are plenty of needs to be addressed.  All of it is the chance to genuinely and helpfully love others.
Finally, the new church/community building
in Mariakani!

If you'd like to help, email me (contact the author, right column), and ask.  It's tax deductible, if that matters.  All the work is documented, accounted, and reported.
If you'd like to go see for yourself, you'd be welcome.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

First in her class.

In a call from our extended family in eastern Africa, we're told she's now number one in her class!  Lots of laughing and applause and congratulations followed.  Then we hear that her sister is number two!  More applause and congratulations.

Her family welcomed me when I was there.  They visited me when I was injured and bedridden, and they prayed for me.

Lending a hand with school costs was my idea.  The boys weren't in school because their uniforms were worn out and they didn't have enough for fees.  It didn't take much to fix the problem.

It's easy stuff, helping out, and the family is doing pretty well.  They've built a new home, started a little business, taken care of this and that, and all the kids are in school.

For now, they've got a plan and a way forward, and we get to be family.  Others have joined the effort via contributions through our church and a group of churches in-country.  Plenty of opportunity and a welcome if you want to visit there.