Friday, April 27, 2012

Greetings from Kenya

Preaching in Malaba (note the fancy pulpit)

                                                                        Biblical Stewardship TOT group in Misikhu

                                                               Forgiveness and Reconciliaton TOT group in Nairobi

The following was the report from the field I recently sent from Kenya:

I am here in Kenya, and have been doing all TOTs. They have been productive and interesting. We began in Malaba, on the border with Uganda, doing another round of Expository Preaching with selected members of the Katakwa Diocese of the Anglican Church of Kenya. Isabellah Inyele, my coordinator in that region, is one of the most competent, organized people I know. She is also an excellent preacher. The group seemed to be learning the preaching format I have been suggesting. The critiques of the sermons we preached were particularly helpful. In fact, the students' critique of my sermon on Ezekiel 37:15-28 caused me to make some revisions, deletions, and change the order of certain things. One pastor suggested that I return and that we do nothing but preaching and critiques, so that everyone gets a chance to preach and be critiqued. I think that is a good idea.

We then moved to Misikhu, about an hour inland, for a TOT on Biblical Stewardship. One pastor commented, "Your teaching is not like the Whites. They came to steal our blessings." Another added, "This is foundational. This can change Africa." I think (and very much hope) that he is correct.

Following Misikhu I took the long bus ride down to Nairobi. The trip was complicated by the fact that about 2/3 of the way through, the bus broke down, and we sat for 1 1/2-2 hours until my group was picked up by another bus.

In Nairobi we did a TOT on Forgiveness & Reconciliation. This proved to be very powerful. Many of the pastors shared some very deep wounds. Some had lost everything in the post-election violence of 2007-2008. Others had other, very damaging experiences. Yet they all talked of their being able to forgive the perpetrators and find healing. One woman said that she had come sick at heart to the TOT and had remained that way for the first 2 day. By the end, however, she had felt healed and empowered, and committed to go to the person with whom she had a significant problem and reconcile.

One of the organizers told me that several people had come up to him during lunch and shared how healing the whole TOT had been. The organizers are going to follow-up and will be leading this seminar themselves in various places. Forgiveness & Reconciliation is particularly important, not only in light of the recent post-election violence, but also given the fact that Kenya will be having general elections again at the end of 2012 or beginning of 2013. There has been lots of talk in the media here about increased tribalism in connection with the upcoming elections. Please pray for Kenya and this whole situation. The Gospel, when believed and applied in our lives, truly changes and heals people, and is the deepest and best way to avoid a repetition of the troubles our Kenyan friends have experienced.

I am now in Eastern and Central Kenya, doing a Biblical Stewardship TOT, to be followed by Forgiveness & Reconciliation and then Expository Preaching. Because my return flight was canceled and moved up one day, I have decided to cancel the final 1 Timothy TOT and instead meet with all my Kenya EPI coordinators in Nairobi. We need to discuss financial, budgeting, accountability and structural matters. This will, I think, be very important as we move forward. Please pray for this. God bless you all.

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