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MID JUNE 2019

Dear Friends,

Mid-month news – June 2019

Dear Friends,

Registration is now open for our UK conference. It is to be held at All Nations Christian College (missionary training college), 8th to 11th December 2019. You are welcome. Click here to go to the registration page!

I have often tried to explain to people, that the power of witchcraft is envy, and even that ‘witchcraft is envy’! Hence I was excited recently cycling to a bible class, to see this small shop. The shop is called ‘nyiego en juok’, which can easily be translated into English as ‘envy is witchcraft’.

Envy is Witchcraft

I have been busy, in preparation for my trip to Zambia in July, in re-learning the Kaonde language (that I knew up to 1991!). Doing a bit of research, I have been amazed to discover that although there are only a few hundred thousand Kaonde speakers in Zambia, the very closely related Luba language incorporates a massive chunk of the Congo! Whether now I ought to get involved in mission in the Congo . . . is another question??

Map of Congo

In Zambia, I am planning to stay at a Bible College that is under the Evangelical Church in Zambia. (ECZ) The Bible College located in Chizela teaches using the Kaonde language.

Map of Zambia

The Coptic Church has a new hospital, recently opened, in Lusaka, Zambia.

A recent experience in an ‘African church’ had me rethink how Westerners understand gender. I was the only adult male apart from the pastor, with about 25 women in attendance. Enthusiasm expressed by the women, their willingness to commit themselves to this newly revived church, their eagerness to be prayed for by this pastor, were all very striking. The pastor was right when he indicated that I should pray for the children – the women did not want my prayers, but his. The charisma exuding from the pastor was magnetic. The whole experience, apparently very mundane, just over 25 ‘poor’ adults (these weren’t well-to-do people) in a tumble-down building used as a church for a Sunday morning service, was electric! (There were no song books, there was no PA system, no electricity, no keyboard, no technology . . .)

I had to reflect on how dumb (in the sense of stupid) I can these days appear in my host community in Africa! What I mean is – there is a lot of talk in the West about supposed ‘inferiority’ of black people. Yet, on their territory, I am the one who feels like a blunderbuss trying to negotiate a motorcycle race track, a dimwit on a talent show, a damp rag at a party, or an adult talking like a toddler! This is not because I don’t know the language. I know the language, in this case Dholuo, very well. It is something more than the language that I am ‘missing’. It is like there is a whole realm of ‘what it is to be human’ in Africa, that I have had at some time in my people’s history, sloughed off. In traditional Africa, it is sometimes as if I am barely a person at all. I often seem to miss entirely the heart of what is going on. The very whatever-it-is that people here live for, passes me like a ship in the night.

Please pray for my ongoing involvement in diverse ways with local churches. Pray for us at the Coptic mission here near Kisumu, as we are expecting a lot of foreign visitors over the next 2 or 3 months. Pray for my trip to Zambia, that is to have me be away from home 25th June to about 29th July, most of that time in Zambia.

Jim