News for End of March 2005
Shouted out ...
The first two minutes of this class in Siaya went well. Then it suddenly appeared as if there was someone else standing next to me as I was teaching!
. . . The fact that a Pentecostal church was having a crusade 25 yards away from our large open-windowed (i.e. large openings with neither glass nor shutters) building did not seem to be a problem until they turned on their state-of-the-art high volume PA system! There seemed to be no choice but to continue. I raised my voice. It was as if there were three of us (the crusade speaker was being translated) all outdoing one another to teach the same class! Our class finished at 1.00pm. So did the crusade ... (my students felt that it would show a bad spirit to ask the crusaders to turn their volume down). That was a hard class to teach!
The small mud-walled and thatched hut looked like a perfectly good place for a night's rest. I had been offered this accommodation by my friend, as an alternative to squeezing between himself and his wife and children in their small 2 roomed hut! All was well . . . until I blew out the lamp and lay back with my chest exposed to the cool night air . . .
'That's strange because there is no fan in the room' I thought to myself as a gust of air blew across my chest a minute later. A flapping sound filled the air, and a bat divebombed my bed. Gulp. Fortunately I had a mosquito net (actually, acting bat net!) which I proceeded to tuck in thoroughly as I prepared myself for a night's sleep with constant flapping all around the room. Thanks to my net, the bats couldn't whistle right past my nose! They weren't vampire bats - I don't think.
Moral of story - when preparing to sleep in a strange mud hut, be ready for the prospect of having bats fluttering around you all night.
It is often striking how 'heart-led' people here are in organising various programmes. In running up to a meeting I prepare myself mentally for the kind of things that we need to discuss in order for a particular project, like a particular programme of Bible teaching, to succeed. When we get there, very few of these issues end up being even referred to. The concern here is with the heart. If we get our hearts right, and if we manage to appeal to the hearts of the people, then we will succeed. That's it. I guess that's right . . .
As I write this is the closing day for KIST. Students are about to write their final exam, and then go home. Give thanks for this term and all that has been entailed in it. Give thanks also for those students who have been out on ministry in various parts of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. We have already been hearing a few reports, generally very encouraging, on how they have been able to see God at work in their lives and their ministries. Prayers valued for our Principal who is currently in the USA. Pray for our staffing situation, as we are facing a bit of a shortage of teachers particularly at BA level.
YTC (Yala Theological Centre)
The 10 year celebration for YTC (actually happening over 11 years after its starting) is due for this Easter Saturday. After many aborted plans due to lack of funds, we seem finally to be on target - after major efforts particularly by our director. Please pray for this Saturday's event. Pray also for our students, who will then be on 'vacation' break. Pray especially for interviews planned near the end of next month for three new teachers, two to be based in Yala and one to be based in Siaya.
STC (Siaya Theological Centre)
Give thanks that the board for the Siaya centre was formed on Saturday. A very difficult task remains ahead of us in Siaya. It is still very early days, but some of the early signs are promising. The Siaya centre will close on 2nd April, to re-open 14th May.
I am due to head off for the Church of God missionary retreat on Tuesday, coming back on Saturday. This is at Malindi, on the Kenyan coast. Pray that the time of sharing together there with missionaries from different parts of the Continent will be a valuable one.