NEWS END OF JUNE 2016
It was fantastic to come back to Coptic in Kenya, to find my language students have been busy translating the Coptic liturgy into Swahili. Since doing that, they told me, students have been much more enthusiastic participants in prayers. Egyptians have this knack, together with many non-Western people, of making you feel at home with them. Their telling me, their Swahili teacher, how much they are progressing with and working hard on the language certainly was an encouragement.
Amazingly, the Principal of a Pentecostal Bible college in Nairobi, Jeff Nelson, got in touch with me as I was on my way back to Kenya. “Can we meet sometime”, he asked? I had a stopover at the airport, so we met there. He sent me his just-completed PhD thesis, that has a major focus on vulnerable mission! It was very encouraging to be able to sit with him. He was able to share many original insights into implementation of vulnerable mission to the reaching of Somali people living in Kenya by the denomination which he works for.
Amongst the surprises I found at home, was that a neighbour’s cat had decided that my home was the best place for having her kittens. Hence a cat and three kittens are ‘staying’ on a shelf in a cupboard. Meanwhile I am told that a wagtail nested under one of the solar panels on my roof, and successfully reared two babies while I have been away.
Coming back to Africa while Europe is still fresh in one’s mind is always intriguing. From Europe – where enormous emphasis is placed on pushing masses of resources onto every individual, now back to Africa, where we seem to have many many individuals sharing every bit of resource. It is quite a contrast.
I must admit that, on my first night at home, lying in bed listening to the mosquitos dive bombing my net trying to get access to my blood, I had to think “why am I here” miles away from home in a relatively ‘poverty stricken’ community, amongst a people who are not my people.
A week after attending Andover Baptist Church for the last time . . . here I was back in rural Kenya ‘participating’ in the chasing of demons from people in a rural church, mud wall and floor and all. What a contrast . . . On the way home, I visited some Muslims in my home town of Yala. A very prominent African man wearing Muslim garb and observing Ramadan ended up telling me he would attend my home church next Sunday. Interestingly, his explanation as to why the Luo people migrated down the Nile in the first place, reaching Kenya about 500 years ago, was that they were fleeing forced Islamisation in the Sudan/Egypt area! The threat of Islam is not new. Perhaps it is the naivety of people in the West that is new.