Mid-month news September 2023 Jim Harries, email@example.com
Jim at the recent annual camp meeting of his home church in Kenya.
For German speakers, here’s a short audio introduction to the way of life of the Luo people of Western Kenya: https://share.deutschlandradio.de/dlf-audiothek-audio-teilen.3265.de.html?mdm:audio_id=dira_DLF_8f106cfb
The congregation of a few hundred that attended the annual conference of my home-church denomination here in Kenya was, I think, awestruck by the ‘act’ of a lady member of one of the churches. She had volunteered to translate the preacher, then evidently suddenly found herself convicted by his words. She raised her hands, ‘I surrender’, she said, as she left the raised platform and knelt in front of the preacher, while still clutching the microphone she had been using. Someone took the microphone from her and continued translating. Five or so other women joined her kneeling before the preacher, who proceeded to lay hands on them. For her, evidently, taking a role in an event (spontaneous translation) did not mean that the Holy Spirit wasn’t about to convict her to repent.
I am getting many invitations to participate in the life of, and share God’s word with, indigenous churches. These in a sense are amazingly wonderful ways of getting an audience with already-gathered crowds who are very willing to hear the Word of God and the message of salvation in Christ. I am being relatively selective in what I take up, primarily for pragmatic reasons. That is – so as to avoid incurring travel costs, by ensuring that events are within cycling distance. I could go to more such gatherings if I accepted travel by motorbike, and in some cases at least, my hosts covering my travel costs. More distant travel to more obscure locations raise the issue of overnight stays. Quite frankly – the prospect of ‘uncomfortable’ accommodation in crowded locations infested with mosquitoes with very limited freedom to ‘do my own thing’ are off-putting. While basically very willing to hear God’s word, an additional attraction for these churches, is the prestige involved whenever a white man ‘comes along’. These people’s main agenda may well be to receive prophetic words through the mediation of ancestors.
‘Thanks Franklin Graham … ‘
Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham) finally managed to hold an evangelistic event in the UK, attended by a large crowd: https://www.christianpost.com/news/1k-make-decisions-for-christ-at-franklin-graham-event-in-london.html This is the popular view of ‘evangelism’. Less widely considered – is ways in which people’s thinking has in recent decades been manipulated by a kind of secular brain-washing. A sad travesty: the latter provides the bread and butter of people’s reasoning and excuses not to take God’s Word seriously. This latter often really saddens me about the UK, and the West in general. Much of my work is oriented to exposing, blowing the whistle on, and re-orienting ‘official’ agendas (education, the media, even entertainment, and the judiciary etc.) away from such dead-end roads. Living in an African community that is ‘constantly’ vibrant with the Gospel can provide penetrating insights on how to overcome such dead-wood in the West, I believe and hope … Watch this space!
Tech the way Forward
The government here has apparently decided to concentrate heavily on education in technical rather than ‘humanities’ fields. Young people are being encouraged to choose college courses on everything from engineering to medicine, rather than philosophy, sociology, or other social sciences. This is intriguing in a number of respects. It means that, beyond their traditions, the guidance most will continue to get on ‘how to live together and work together as human beings’ will be from the Bible. I also think, frankly, it implicitly raises the question of the immediate relevance of global scholarly know-how about ‘people’, when applied to folks here in Africa.
Pray for some very delicate situations in the community around here. A friend recently confided, that his nephew has killed a man in a conflict over a woman. An hour or two later, I got an appeal to raise funds for the funeral of a brother of a friend of mine, with a gory picture of a deceased fellow, who was murdered by an unknown assailant. Pray for peace in our communities.
Nairobi, Norwich, Andover, and Beyond!
As I write, I have arrived in Nairobi. I am due to fly to UK in 2-days time. Then to Norwich on the 14th. On the 3rd October to Andover. I am to return to Kenya on the 31st October.
PS I want to set up a system of alerting people when my news comes out over whatsapp. Let me know if you want to participate.