Mid-month news August 2023 firstname.lastname@example.org News from East Africa.
A friend recently commented that, perhaps the major contribution arising from my missionary work in Africa will be academic. When I read that, I had to concede – that he may be correct! A number of things have contributed to this. One being my innate orientation to trying to understand things. Another is the reality – that if one works with indigenous people at their own pace, one can be left with a lot of spare time, that I have tended to fill by reading and writing around the themes that I have been meeting in the course of ministry.
Give thanks that a contribution I have made to efforts at preventing child abuse internationally, has been published. The horrors of child abuse are a global problem. I endeavour to provide guidance on how to tackle them in African context, in this article: Harries, Jim, 2023, ‘Preventing Abuses in the International Aid Sector: A Global Effort, and a British-based Case Study,’ globalmissiology.org 20(3), July 2023. http://ojs.globalmissiology.org/index.php/english/article/view/2778/6926
A missiology journal (one that looks at how best to do Christian mission) has published an article I recently wrote about envy: Harries, Jim, 2023, ‘Envy: Differences Between the West and Africa,’ Missiology: an international review. First published online July 28, 2023,https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00918296231189123 I have long realised that envy is a close cousin to witchcraft. In the article, I explain how in some ways envy is the problem of Africa.
I was the speaker at the weekly meeting of a group of missiologists in the USA on Monday 31st July. I told them that although many in the West (Christians, the media, academics, politicians, and all) these days want to hear of what is going on in Africa, from Africans, this is not always helpful. The desire for Africans to tell us about Africa parallels ways in which schools in Africa want to learn about Europe from Europeans. In each case, people are trying to learn things in a way that gives a poor connection with who they are. Instead, I suggested, education in Africa should be designed by Africans, and information on Africa in Europe needs to come from Europeans. I value your prayers as I continue to promote this message. See (anonymized) video recording of the meeting here: https://youtu.be/ZAcziwaLpmM
Church Split by Donor
A local church (here in Kenya), that until a few years ago held together well, has split into many small factions. I went to see one of the key people involved. By way of explanation for the split, he showed me an email from an American who had been providing financial assistance. An obviously very frustrated American explained why he no longer liked some pastors but was ready to work with others. He wrote that he had decided what to fund and what not, no matter what locals thought. “So sad,” I thought, as well-meaning efforts by outsiders to fund indigenous Christians can easily end up causing divisions, splits, tensions, fights, and even deaths.
Trees stripped Bare
I was shocked to return home a few days ago … to find skeletons of the shade-trees in our garden! I had asked someone to cut off the top branches. Instead, he cut almost everything off (see pictures). The good news perhaps – working with the children to chop, collect, and make charcoal out of branches, to burn leaves, to drag twigs away – has been an invigorating and good communal family experience!
Give thanks that mum arrived safely back in the UK on 26th July. Give thanks for mum’s great visit, and pray for her being able to adjust back to the UK after a very consequential 2 weeks away.
I am due to be in the UK from 12th September to 31st October this year. Please contact me if you would like me to visit you in that time. Please pray for me for that time. Some planned events:
8th October: thanksgiving for 35 years of missionary service, Wantage Baptist Church, Wantage, Oxon, UK. Details: https://www.jim-mission.org.uk/2023/07/13/mid-month-news-july-2023/
11th October: Gathering for interested people in Andover, to hear from Jim about his ministry, and for him to answer questions. Details pending.
17th October: I am to be the guest speaker at the Ladies Fellowship of the Andover Baptist Church. 14:00hrs.
18th October: I am to give a lecture at the University of London. Details pending.