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Dear Friends,

A couple of days with an African priest, enabled a linking in with Christian practice at the grassroots. Now an anglican priest, Fred was once our teacher in Yala Theological Centre and has often stayed at my home. I spent two days and a night with him. At the time, events seemed to pass in a blur. Looking back, it was much about ghosts. ‘Ghosts’, could otherwise be called ancestors, demons, spirits, you name it. Not sure which is the best term. I had the privilege of leading a small entourage in prayer and sharing of the Scriptures with various sickly and elderly people around the village. One old man died as we were preparing to visit him. Folks were engrossed, at least they seemed to be, by Scriptures that we had to share. What a contrast, I occasionally thought, with British folks, who often are so fearful of the Scriptures that they can’t pluck up the courage to listen to what they say.

6th January; Christmas day. For the Copts, that is. Amazing. Blows the mind. I said to someone in the UK before I came out here: everywhere you seem to find the church. Discussions, activities, events, calamities, God is sought for inputs into all these contexts. It seems so evident here that it should be so. One would wonder what is wrong with people who might consider that it could ever be otherwise. Nothing and no-one is taken as seriously as the priest. That is not to say that schools, for example, aren’t booming. Yes, they are, and universities and all. But, those things all run on money, it is clear what people who attend them are after. In the church, money plays a big role indeed, but things are different . . . !

The Bible class in Yala has re-opened. Some great things being taught. I have had meetings with the AVM executive board. I need to make a decision on whether to include a trip to the USA in my proposed 2015 furlough. Half of me says ‘no, it is too expensive’. The other half says ‘don’t refuse even one opportunity to share God’s words’. Your prayers valued.

Meeting on 10th Jan. to look for a way forward with the Gem Bible Institute. (At the moment, dead in the water. This was once known as Yala Theological Centre.) We have some experienced and capable people on board, My hope is that they will be able to set something up where they can appeal to LOCAL donors for assistance.

Our internet Swahili-language theological discussions are on the move. At the moment keeping it low profile to just a few people as a kind of pilot/beta programme. Discussions have been on the nature of God, and now I have just launched another discussion on the letter of Paul to the Philippians.

Pray for various discussions I am engaged in with churches in the Yala/Maseno area that are oriented to my getting my work permit renewed by June of 2014. Meanwhile, my application for Kenyan citizenship is with the government, and I am awaiting a response from them.

Thanks, and Happy New Year,