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News for Middle of January 2004

* My Bishop friend in Alego waved me down and called me to his house. I went, prayed, then sat down and was offered a cup of tea. We talked as I sipped. I observed the cover-less clocks functioning in front of me and asked him whether clock repair was his way of supplementing his church income. He agreed that it was, and explained how he had gone to Kisumu (our local town) to get a particular spare part that enabled the clock again to function satisfactorily. On seeing that I was suitably impressed he further explained how he knew what to do: “Whenever someone gives me a clock, I will put it aside until the following day. That night I will dream about it, and the dream (in other words, ancestors that will appear to him in the dream) will reveal what is wrong with the clock, so that on the following day I simply set about repairing it according to the instructions received. That is how I manage to keep my business running” he explained.

* Having met the Bishop of the ancient Egyptian Coptic church at the airport on my way to Nairobi a few weeks ago, I was amazed to discover that their headquarters for East Africa is at Maseno, just ½ mile off my route between home and KIST! On going to visit them, I was invited to help to teach on their certificate programme that they are running for pastors in their churches from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Pray for this opportunity, that I hope to take up on every Wednesday afternoon beginning at the end of this month.

* On the night of 24th December a bus was held up at gunpoint a few miles from my home, all occupants being robbed and left stranded. The loot, along with some automatic weapons, were stashed at the home of a witchdoctor whom we recently buried in my home village. Fortunately police later found the abandoned bus, arrested some of the robbers and recovered the loot. It is said that this could be the gang that robbed the Kisumu bank some weeks ago. Pray that such robbery and banditry be curtailed..

* Four out of five of her children have died. In August her husband died. She came home to her parents, 10 minutes walk from my home, and became more and more unwell. She is now almost too weak to walk and very thin. I walked into the small smoke filled hut where she lay on the floor. I shared the good news of Christ with her and prayed for her. She wants to attend my home church, but is too weak to walk there. Pray for Achieng, who seems to be in her 20s.

* Give thanks for new-opening of classes for this year. At Yala I am to teach on the Unity of the Church, and the Beliefs and Practices of the Church. For the Coptic Church, I am to teach on ‘Character Formation’, and then at KIST on the Pentateuch and on Personal Spiritual Development!

* Give thanks that 11 years after my having left AEF (Africa Evangelical Fellowship now part of SIM, Serving in Mission) they have invited me to join their Kenya-region Spiritual Life Conference from 22nd to 25th January. Pray that this prove to be a valuable time of spiritual growth. Jim