Final Days in Kenya

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At night, the last thing we do is tuck the mosquito net around the bed. Just as we’re dropping off to sleep – bzzzzzzzz – . We have closed ourselves in with one, blood thirsty, dive bombing mosquito. Annoyances can completely distract, even derail us from what is at hand; be it a good night’s sleep, getting tasks accomplished or following the direction to reach specific goals. It’s like the mosquito buzzing close to the ear and you end up spending then next hour trying to find and eradicate the nuisance.

East Africa has been our home for 4 months now. We have so much enjoyed the varied opportunities of sharing in a array of settings; church services both rural and urban, lunchtime fellowship, early morning office devotions, schools. We have travelled in Cars, Buses, Matatus (van) & Boda-Boda’s (motorcycles). Whatever will get us from here to there. Travelling on some of the roads could have been  that distraction, like a buzzing mosquito, but we see it as part of the whole adventure. Apparently the mosquitos are too!

Our time here is coming to a close – for this trip. We fly back to Canada in just a coupleof days. This week, we’ve been teaching at Church of the Living God in Nairobi. Saturday was a “tech” day; training technicians about the set up and running of a sound system. Everything from speaker placement to wrapping cables; patching the sound board to holding microphones. Sunday, we spoke  in the morning service and afternoon was a Worship Experience – joining with their worship team to praise and worship the Lover of our souls! So very Blessed!!!

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Better than a Zoo!

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Seeing “zoo” animals in the wild is surreal –  a tower of Giraffes (that’s what a group is called – who knew!), several herds of Zebras, a couple of herds of Wildebeests, birds of iridescent hues and beautiful songs. All in an hour and a half. It makes me mindful of Revelaion 4:16 “…and for Your pleasure they exist and were created.” Even I f no one ever sees these incredible sights, God is enjoying them everyday. So glad He shared it with us!

There have been some wonderful moments.  We shared in a concert in Nairobi with Igniters Band; a group of young adults with a passion for worship, reaching and training their generation. Lots of energy, excellent music and shared vision. We look forward to future time with this delightful band.

It is always so exciting to teach in a YWAM DTS. YWAM Athi River is located East of Nairobi in Machakos County. We spoke on worship and also the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit, an often misunderstood or spooky part of Christianity. At the end of our time, four of the students requested to be water baptized, so a cleaned out cow trough became our baptismal tank. It was while at the YWAM base that we went for a hike into the adjacent bush and were treated to a visual feast just before sunset.

This week we are teaching a series on Worship at Shofar House in downtown Nairobi. We began on Sunday, Mother’s Day, and will continue through Friday. Their worship leader, Bjourn Kamau, joined our team for three out of four Arts in Ministry Intesives. Another week and a half will remain of our time here in East Africa.

If It’s Friday, This Must Be Bumala

Who gets to do this! We arrived in Western Kenya late Sunday night after a wonderful time in Kampala area for the Easter Weekend. We have spent much time deep in the villages for the past month and not near Internet and in many cases no electricity.

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In Western Kenya, the Busia district, we travel daily to a different jungle village to teach. An overseer, whose church we have been to several times, has planted 24 churches throughout the region. His pastors complained that when a guest comes, they all have to come to the main church to hear them. “Couldn’t you get them to come to us?” When Apostle Inya asked us, we immediately said yes. So each day, we drive over what would be impassable roads in Canada and arrive at a church building, usually made of mud with a metal roof and we share for the day. What a privilege to speak with these eager, hungry souls. Not many would have this opportunity and we are loving it.

Next week we return to Nairobi where we’ll teach in several seminars, a number of churches and a week East of Nairobi in Athi River at the YWAM base teaching in their DTS (Discipleship Training School.) Then back to Nairobi for two packed weeks before we fly home to Canada.

To Rwanda & Back

We concluded the fourth and final Arts in Ministry Intensive yesterday at 6:00 pm. It was held deep in the village of Mutonto, in the midst of cattle country. We drove over some very interesting roads; narrow, rutted and bumpy. Surprisingly, this remote area had the largest attendance of the four conferences which presented us with challenges, especially for John in the workshops; finding enough space for the large group to break down into smaller groups to effectively participate and learn. All were so very delighted that we came to them in their remote area. To learn how to creatively present the Gospel story to those that have not heard is new and very different but a welcome concept. Some can hardly wait to get started!

At midnight, we boarded a bus for Kigale, Rwanda, while Grace and Rosette travelled the opposite direction back to Mityana. Their input and translation skills was a huge assist. In the evenings, we sat together putting the song list together for the next day’s worship and the Nkanjis were able to translate a number of the songs into Luganda. It made the songs more accessible to the people, giving them more freedom to enter into real worship.

Here in Rwanda, the nation is remembering the Genocide of 23 years ago for the whole week. This country has completely turned around and is rebuilding and healing. Along with John, we will share in Scira Community Church in Kigali. John returns to Kampala overnight to fly back to Canada and his family on Monday. John Wason is a brilliant Story Teller who stood up to the many challenges confronting him; language barrier being a major one. John took the biblical principles we taught and put them into practise making it very practical and applicable. Thank you John for sacrificing and giving your time, finances and talents to make these Arts in Ministry Intensives a reality and successful.

On Monday we shall meet with a group of pastors to talk about a possible Conference here in 2018. On Tuesday we’ll be back on a bus to Kampala, Uganda.

Seed Planting Time

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The rains have begun here in Uganda so it is planting season. Everywhere we travel, industrious people can be seen tilling, digging, planting. Last year there was no rain so it is a welcome relief. In spite of this very busy time, we find ourselves planting seeds in the fertile soil of the hearts of very wonderful pastors and  leaders. The third of four Arts in Ministry Intensives has just finished in Kangulumera, north of Jinja in Uganda. When it became apparent that the organizers could not make the conference work for Jinja town, our dear friend, Sam Kisolo took it to a group of rural Pastors and they ran with the idea. Despite the very busy season, these men and women are gave four days to learn some new ways of presenting the Word of Life. The initial feedback indicates that they are all very anxious to get started with some innovative ideas.

Our team has grown from four to six as we add Grace and his wife Rosette Nkanji. Grace worked with us in the PA DTS two years ago and we are so happy to have them join the team for the two Ugandan Seminars. Grace is a worship leader, plays keys and is proving to be very helpful with interpretation. On Sunday we will divide up to share in different churches.

At 3:00am Monday, we will board a bus headed for Mbarara in Western Uganda for the final Arts in Ministry Intensive. As with each seminar, we don’t know what to expect so we approach each area individually with open hearts and minds. Our byword – ‘Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken.’

Arts In Ministry Intensive

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This weekend kicks off our 3 weeks of regional seminars. The goal of the Arts In Ministry Intensive is to open the delegates understanding and imaginations to innovative and relevant ways of presenting the Gospel; To give them tools to begin to build and strategize to reach into present culture. Jesus used stories that were about current themes: Farmers sowing seed; death of rich and poor; Construction; Father and Sons etc. We want to envision and challenge leaders to reach beyond their comfort zone, step outside of the box and look into their communities to meet them where there are. They are not going to come to us (or rarely will) we must go to them with a message they can hear, in a medium to which they will listen.

John Wason, WordtoLife.ca, is joining us for these next three weeks. A gifted story teller who presents the Words and Stories of the Bible in a most compelling and riveting way. His workshops will be invaluable in imparting practical tools to move forward. Also joining the team is Bjourn Kamau from Kenya, a gifted musician, singer, worship leader and teacher. Bjourn’s insights in worship, musical excellence and biblical foundations,  along with the cultural understanding as an East African is such a huge asset. Workshops on music and song writing are sure to stimulate much creativity.

Beginning in Nairobi 19th to the 23rd, we’ll travel to Webuye, Western Kenya, from March 25th to the 28th. YWAM HopeLand, Jinja, Uganda, from March 30th to April 2nd, and on to Mbaraba, Uganda from April 4th to 7th. While the seminars end at Mbarara, we will continue west to Rwanda from the 8th to minister and meet with a group of pastors about a worship conference there in 2018.

And so we embark on what is sure to be a great adventure over these next few weeks as we ignite a flame in hearts here in East Africa.

Pressing On

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A GPS is very helpful until it is not. Here in East Africa, loaded with the appropriate site maps the voice in the box (Karen) often gets confused. “Turn right on dirt road” says Karen. “Continue on dirt road” she states mechanically. “Recalculating” we are warned; “Make a U turn” she instructs  as the dirt road before us becomes a single track heading into the forest, disappearing completely on the GPS. We continue on with protests voiced constantly from the box. One more bend and voila! A village apprears. We have arrived at our destination. Karen is silent as we mark the spot for future journeys. Sometimes you need to press on in spite of voiced opinion or opposition. When we first began this ministry of leading and teaching worship, a man we highly respected told us that we had chosen too narrow a field and would never make it in ministry. Hmm! We pressed on even when the road was just a track going off into the forest.More than 4 decades later are still navigating what has become a super highway, highly travelled. In fact Worship has become a huge part of Christian culture. Israel Houghton wrote the song “To Worship You I Live” which, for us, says it all.

So here we are in East Africa, teaching, leading, sharing in churches and fellowships and meeting some of the most wonderful people on the planet. Yesterday at Kaloneni in the hills east of Nairobi, we sang, spoke and enjoyed time with a church who found their way into our hearts. We will definitely return to this church. We travelled back into downtown Nairobi to Shofar House to join their worship team (already in progress), lead some more worship and shared our hearts.  With the blowing of the shofar, we ushered in the new month on the day of the new moon. We will return to that church as well.

“With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:58‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Return to East Africa

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It’s not because we love to pack and live out of suitcases for months at a time; It’s not because we are super special and unique; It’s not because we are great to look at – no not that. It’s just because we feel that perhaps we have something to offer; something to help; something that will bring clarity and assist Leaders to be more effective reaching this generation. So, here we are in Nairobi, Kenya East Africa. Our first week has been full. Sunday through Friday, teaching at First Love Pentecostal Church in Umoje (a part of Nairobi). We also had a very successful meeting with about 22 area Pastors to plan the first Arts in Ministry Intesive. This is a four day conference to envision, teach and train  in the use of the Performing Arts in evangelism. All agreed this generation need a different approach and are excited about this seminar in mid-March. 

Because of the amount of travel in the coming week, it is much easier for one to move around, so while Marg stays to share in Nairobi, Dave is doing a whirlwind trip to Western Kenya, Jinja in Eastern Uganda and Mbarara in Western Ugnada to meet with area pastors to begin plans for the Arts in Ministry Intensive in those districts as well. The necessity of meeting face to face with these organizers of the seminars means three full days of travel on buses. At the end of the week both of us will be in the village of Apegei, Kenya to share in a delightful community  of believers.

David and Lucy Griffith are hosting us so graciously while we are here. Our time is full as are our hearts. New faces and opportunities as well as returning to familiar places and people. Thank you Lord.

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”  ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Heading Home

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The night sounds are loud and insistent. Crickets, tree toads, frogs, more insects – a music all its own. Even a mosquito buzzing in my ear. Hmmm. How do they know in the dark exactly where my ear is?!  Tomorrow morning we board the plane bound for Canada.

Our time here in Guyana has been more wonderful than we anticipated. We have reconnected with so many people from the past and spent some tremendous times talking, praying, sharing, laughing and just being together.

Claude and Carole Brooks opened their home to us and have treated us royally, chauffeuring us thither and yon, putting up with our comings and goings. Ministering at their church, Love and Faith World Outreach Centre was like returning home. They even held a Worship Seminar on Saturday for us. It has been such a privilege to share with a number of other churches and delightful to see what the Lord is doing in the nation.

Worship Time!

Worship Time!

This has been a rich time of ministry, friendship, reconnection and refreshing. It is our hope to return here in the near future. Some talks have already begun so stay tuned as we put plans in place for 2017.

As we return to Canada, it will be time to prepare for Christmas with our family. In Colorado. The New Year will find us getting ready for East Africa. More to come on that later.

Light!

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They call it a Supermoon. Did you see it? So bright there were few places for the darkness to hide. Hmmm! Such an obvious analogy it hardly bears writing, but I will anyway. The moon is merely reflecting the true light of the sun and last night it happened to be closer to earth than it has been in 69 years, not to be repeated for another 18 years. In the middle of the night – spectacular light. I got up thinking it was dawn to find it was 2:30am.

Would that I could reflect God’s perfect light enough to be seen. Don’t need to be a Super Light that shows up every few decades for a special event, better to be a steady reflection day after day. Even when the moon is darkened to us, it is reflecting on the opposite side where no one is positioned to observe. I want to be that kind of reflector even when no one is looking.

So here we are in Guyana, South America where our light shined for a time with our young family. So much has changed and developed here in two decades. It still feels a little like home – familiar faces and new; places we know, some we don’t. Life has continued to evolve and grow in this beautiful land and yet it is so familiar.

For the first week, we were joined by John Wason (WordToLife.ca), a brilliant story teller who takes the Word and presents it creatively, breathing new life into it for his listeners. Our first place of ministry was with a five month old church in a community called Tuschen. Beginning with twelve people in July, Church of Restoration has grown to over 100 with many new converts weekly. We hope to return there before we leave at the end of November.

YWAM Guyana has become a strong “light” in the nation and especially in their community of Parika. We have been with them for a week. Along with John, sharing in the DTS and a local church, we’ve seen how their active Literacy after school Program and Computer Skills training is building the children in Parika. We are honoured to be connected with this cohesive, committed and dedicated group.

Tomorrow we move on into Georgetown where we will be meeting with some Pastors and speaking in churches in the city area. Love Guyana. So happy to be here!