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News for Middle of February 2006

Dear Friends,

Rev. James Aweyo, my original host to Kenya back in 1993, who has remained a good friend as well as my Bishop, passed away on 27th January 2006. I actually visited him on 26th January, at which time he was already very weak indeed. It appears that a serious road accident in which James was involved over a year ago did damage to his brain that has had a delayed impact. He had been bedridden for a number of months before he actually died. The burial service is to be on 11th February at James' rural home. Pray for the church of which he was Bishop, and all the burial arrangements.

All being well, I will be in the UK from 23rd February till 7th March. My PhD viva is to be at Birmingham on the 24th. I have not yet made many additional plans for my time in the UK in case the PhD examiners give me a lot of additional work to do on my thesis.

A short-term VSO volunteer stopped me the other day just as I was about to walk home, to thank me for my writing. I had shared these with some other volunteers. They had passed on the same. "This explains where I have been going wrong in my first 21 months here" said the volunteer. "Now that I have read what you have written, I finally understand why my attempts at conducting and teaching counseling sessions have not been working.
Unfortunately I now only have 3 months left to apply the insights you have given me. I will come and see you some time soon for you to explain things more clearly to me ."

There seems to be an ever-rising number of short-term workers in my home area. I am usually wary of them, as they tend to be very clear on what they want to do and what is 'good for the people', and very unwilling to listen to anyone (Westerner) who has been able to learn from experience that what they want to do won't work. The assumption that short-termers seem to come with, is that 'these (the African) people must be the same as me', making them particularly blind to cultural differences. They rarely learn even the language of the people, but are often very sincere, heart-driven and easily offended. Yet they are 'my people', and my either ignoring them or just nodding and smiling at them is not helping them. Saying nothing can be a lie. Please pray for wisdom in my interaction with my fellow Westerners here 'on the ground'.

Pray for our new Board for Siaya Theological Centre. We met last week (on 7th February) and are due to meet again next week (on 14th February). We are currently getting some good students, but need to be planning future developments and strategies.

Best wishes,