NEWS MID JUNE 2016
I was able to enjoy participation in a Christian Community Development conference in Germany in early June. Many at the conference were Christian activists intending to do their utmost for the poor through wealth redistribution and practical help. The theme was ‘How to do Church God’s Way’. My favourite quote was something on the lines that: “those who love community might destroy community, those who love people build community" (adapted from Bonhoeffer).
The minister of Andover Baptist Church Rob Hadfield and I have found an amazing affinity. When he described the Bible college where he did his training in Zimbabwe, it sounds almost exactly like Kima International School of Theology) at which I taught for 15 years in Kenya! As a result, my analyses of Kenya and KIMA seem to speak into his experience. I wish I had more people as keen to read my books.
Rob asked me to share communion with a widow at a care home in Andover. Her husband, who I knew well, had been buried days before. Death seemed to be right there in the room as I brought out the elements. While at the same time very human, earthly, and mundane, on coming back to the office I told Rob that I have “just connected heaven and earth”, so powerful was the experience. Sharing communion with a widow who had devoted her life to serving God with her recently deceased husband was WOW.
15 years ago Janet Maughan and a friend of hers Yvonne West (both from Andover Baptist Church) came to visit me in Kenya. We had a great time with them. I introduced them to ‘life in Africa’. 15 years later, inspired in part at least Janet tells me by her time visiting me then, Janet is about to travel to India to serve in mission there for 6 months or more! I was at her home to bid her farewell on 6th June. While at the above mentioned CCD conference in Germany, after giving my presentation, someone came to me and said ‘I visited you in Kenya in 1997’. I had completely forgotten. It transpires that indeed he did visit, we talked, and the things we talked about influenced the way he has subsequently served God in mission for many years in Mauritania!
Here’s my recent article on ‘evangelism verses social justice’.
God willing, I am due to return to Kenya 13th June. Thanks to all the MANY people who have welcomed and hosted me in the UK in the last 7 weeks.