NEWS END OF AUGUST 2014
Muslims are much more likely to take someone seriously presenting the Gospel if they are older, I read on one occasion. I am finding the same in the African community where I am working. It can be as if one word from an older man is worth 10 by a young man! Whether this is because one is closer to the grave, or because one is expected to have more experience, is not always clear. Give thanks for the advantage that this can give me as I grow older in my ministering to local people in communities in western Kenya and beyond!
Sitting in my office, about 8pm, talking to a Coptic father colleague . . . we heard the sounds of a Landover and other vehicles pull into the compound. Men’s voices, plus screaming women, also came into earshot. My colleague went to my door and I followed him out. One body after another was being pulled roughly out of the back of the police Landover, and wheeled into the hospital. Fifteen people were brought to us, and others to another hospital, victims of an accident that must have happened just 1 hour earlier on a nearby road. Some people only groaned. Some made an effort to tell me the location of their pain. Many were covered in blood. A couple of children were there, their mother being one of the most injured. Everyone pitched in to help, while trying not to get in the way of the medical folks who knew what they were doing . . . Most of the patients were given referral letters. Then it was up to the relatives to see how they could get them transported to larger and better equipped and staffed hospitals. I put on a brave face through all this, being especially busy contacting people’s relatives. Yet I had to realise later that the experience had been traumatising . . .
Pray for our mud situation! Our local chief evidently decided that parts of the access roads to my home should be ploughed up. This has made it very difficult to leave from or get to home after rain, especially on a bicycle, the wheels of which clog up in no time.
A one-time neighbour who is severely crippled as a result of having TB recently came back into the area for a visit. Give thanks for the enthusiasm of my children at home, who were keen to visit her, sing to and with and to encourage her.
The annual convention of my home church was well attended by a few hundred people in Kisumu. I was privileged to spend a lot of time with the overseers of the church. One of my major roles was translating for the visiting speaker from Finland, from Finnish English to Swahili. I was at the convention Friday to Sunday. Of particular interest was the dilemma I faced, as in previous years, related to being a white face in a black crowd. A major issue the church is facing is its gross financial dependence on money from Europe that it is trying but struggling to break free from. There will be a meeting in November to try to resolve this. You will imagine that this puts me into a funny position; where the last thing I want to do is to be generous . . .
One of the leaders of the convention told us how he was living in mortal fear of possible repercussions of his having broken some ancestral taboos regarding the recent building of his new home. There’s a lot more going on in such an event in Africa than a Westerner necessarily realises! The focus of most of the speakers was on how release from oppressive ancestors could bring much-needed prosperity.
Please pray for a meeting we are arranging for 26th September at which we hope to encourage local missionaries who are working on language study. Pray for other potential arrangements for advanced study of the Luo language with other missionaries who already have some language acumen. I hope we will be able to explore some indigenous theological themes in depth with them.