NEWS END OF FEBRUARY 2015
Please pray for my time in Egypt, 7th to 13th March 2015. I hope to be an encouragement to Egyptian believers. I plan to be at a monastery for 4 or 5 days, and then to spend a couple of days visiting some Egyptian friends.
Give thanks for the wide-readership that a lot of my writings are getting these days. Witchcraft in Africa is currently getting a lot of attention, resulting in my articles on this topic on the internet getting a lot of hits.
9th to 13th February I was privileged to teach Swahili to a group of Anabaptist missionaries based about 100 miles from my home here in Kenya. My contact with them, interestingly, was NOT through Vulnerable Mission at all. It was through other missionaries whom I had taught some Luo language who recommended me to them. I later received the message below from one of the students. (I wrote back and granted him permission!)
“I am now doubly grateful for having met you. I did not realize until just now that you wrote, Vulnerable Missions. The book had a huge impact on my decision to live poor among the Wameru and in the slum like conditions of Nairobi. I have just finished your article on witchcraft and envy and forwarded it to the team. I have a feeling your site is going to get many hits from Kenya and the US in the near future With your permission I would like to mention your site on facebook as I have dozens of friends preparing for the mission field right now. I await your permission.”
Sunday 15th February I was struggling to get a message to share with people. I felt dry . . . eventually a message came. Then came the question; where to worship? It had been many years since I worshipped at a place called Luri. I pointed my bicycle that way. Fortunately, I met a man, who is a tailor and actually trained one of my ‘daughters’ years ago, who could show me to the church; a mud building with an iron roof amongst trees and farmland.
For good reason or bad, I had arrived at this service on the day in the month when ladies were in charge. I never got to share my prepared sermon. Instead, two ladies spoke. “You must learn to obey your husbands” the lady speaker said to the gathered congregation. “If you do not, then do not expect your children to respect parents who are constantly squabbling” she explained. “You need to learn to treat your husband like the privileged visitor in your home” she further explained, after reminding us that those homes where women are tired of their husbands and despise their husbands invariably fall apart. “Husbands should always be treated like they are special guests” she emphasised. “It’s best to give him his food in a special dish only for him that you carefully place in front of him.” (i.e. don’t expect him just to help himself out of the same dish as the children.)
After the service we walked about a mile to the home of one of the members, where we sat and were fed a good meal of rice, ugali and meat. The conversation over the meal intrigued me, even as I struggled to follow it in full detail (it was held in Dholuo). The ladies present shared about their experiences and observations about being widowed. I will say even what I did understand, while knowing that you (my reader) won’t understand, because you get even less of the context than I do. A widow should only be inherited by a man who has built on the same side of the homestead as has her husband. To be inherited by a man who is older without his wife’s knowledge can be problematic and can result in one’s having to be given one’s own homestead. A widow so positions herself as to be simply ‘taken’ by a certain in-law, who typically is part of the extended family, but she may (amazement expressed here) prefer to be inherited by a full brother (both parents in common with those of her late husband). Her going to his house interferes with the fortune of the other wife, but his going to hers is likely to result in his death (by upsetting the late).
See this key news update from KIST. I was privileged to meet Rose, the new academic dean, a few days ago. She was once my student then fellow faculty member. We are discussing ways in which I might be involved in KIST later this year. We are hoping to have a course teaching Swahili for interested missionaries and others. I might also teach Greek at KIST in September, and possibly help out in some other classes, if wanted by the particular teacher.
God willing, I will arrive in UK on 13th March. I look forward to seeing many of you soon.