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Being busy, I was late starting my prayers for the patients in the hospital. Instead of doing my normal 'rounds', I spent some time sitting at the nurses station, just chatting with hospital staff about the Gospel. Thereafter, God led only to the male ward, where I anticipated some significant conversation. What I had to share, was simply from Matthew 1, that the Virgin Mary was actually innocent of fornication despite being pregnant, as the father to her son Jesus was the Holy Spirit. "Round here we’d never believe that," said one of the two men in the male ward. "Right," I said, "we’d judge her as guilty. And every other time, we’d be correct to do so. But God is showing that he can forgive even the cases in which we find someone definitely guilty." I became more aware than ever how being born to a virgin was a demonstration of God’s grace to sinners in Jesus’ very birth.

"Let’s stay longer to visit some friends" an African colleague suggested in a short-message to me after we had already agreed to go on a trip together. I knew that I could not do so, as I had already made other plans for that time. Then I shocked myself - as I could not get myself to say 'no'! Instead I responded, I hope maybe a bit ambiguously "fine". . . . A few days later I told him what my plans were, which precluded my being with him for that period. . . . ... In this community, it is not the done-thing to say 'no'. It is better to say 'yes', even if one will not do what one is being asked to do. Even if one knows one can’t do it. It seems that I have appropriated this particular aspect of the culture . . .

Please pray for a class, teaching the Luo language, that I plan to hold here for all comers in the first week of March 2020.

A bishop in Mwanza in Tanzania has asked me to be part of a pastoral training programme they are wanting to set up there. That’s the 2nd city of Tanzania, and half-way between here and where I’ll be in Tanzania, on the alternative-route home, so I may be able to visit him next month. (It is one long day’s travel from home.)

Two of my children are just starting college courses this week - prayer for them valued.

As I finish writing this news I am in Nairobi, hoping tomorrow to continue my travel to Babati in Tanzania, where I intend to teach at a bible college for the next five weeks.

Our AVM (Alliance for Vulnerable Mission) Bulletins have found a new home on the web! Those interested in reading recent and previous editions, see here.

Best wishes,