NEWS MID APRIL 2016
"No one will mourn at my mother's funeral" the lady told us. Her mother, aged 94 was to be buried a few days later. "There will be much joy" she told us. This is an ongoing outcome of the famous East African revival. A particular hymn continues to characterize those who go through the revival. Ironically, it is commonly sung in an Ugandan language. (The revival came to Kenya from Uganda). Here it is on YouTube.
Frequently when one meets the fellowships that continue from the revivals all participants wave as they sing. so, we were told, the now deceased 94-year-old was waving when she died. I cycled for 3 hours to get to this funeral. It was one massive Christian celebration!
(Another Saturday.) Saturday is, in this community, frequently a busy funeral day. Even my Egyptian colleagues were preparing for funerals. "Where are you going today?" they asked me. "To receive some cows" was my response. They looked at me quizzically "One of my daughters is having dowry paid for her today" I explained. "I need to be there to receive the cows." There was a spring in my pedal as I cycled off. (The lady concerned had lived with me from 1997 to 2007.)
I had done this before for her sister. There was a sense of expectation at her uncle's home. The women had already worked hard, and were still working hard preparing food. The husband had sent some lads with three cattle and a goat. The animals appeared at the gate. Brothers brought them in and tied them to some bushes. Some minutes later came a procession of about 10 men in dark suits, including the ‘groom’, walking silently through the gate and into the home of the girl's maternal uncle. They sat. Two or three older women had accompanied them. Their 'job' now was to sit and wait and eat as three girls on 'our side' (the girl's side) served them with tea, bread, drop scones, peanuts etc.
Three times in all the visitors processed out, then some minutes later back in. It was a kind of solemn affair, but also very relaxed. It wasn't the kind of session where someone might giggle because it was all too serious. People conversed with those sitting next to them. A generator outside enabled the playing of some music. There were introductions so that people could know one another. Old men talked the loudest and most confidently, young people and women-in-the-room less so. (Women outside, where most of them were, were of course very free to talk as much as they liked.)
Eventually, about 7 hours after the men first walked in, they had eaten their fill. It was dusk as they gave out financial gifts of thanks to the girl's family. (I got £10.00 in thanks for having kept her for 10 years.) After a few speeches from various family members, the formalities ended. Now that the family have received these cows, the pressure is on her brothers to pay for their wives.
Please pray for the pastors’ conference to be held next week in Kisumu, at which I will be sharing.
Give thanks for my anticipated time in the UK and Germany, arriving at Norwich Central Baptist Church on 1st May 2016.
For information on my latest book see: here.