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Dear friends,

"Would you rather be black" one of my "daughters" asked me? The question struck me! Living in a Black community, I guess the answer is "yes". One gets tired of always standing out. That is not to say there is anything wrong with being "white". Something had clearly prompted her to ask that question. I guess it was my comments. It is the peculiar reputation of White people that makes it difficult to be White in a Black community. That reputation is something like; people who think they are very clever and indeed are very powerful in terms of resources, but are also very ignorant of local things.

Give thanks for early preparations for the November 14th to 16th conference in Norwich. This conference, looking at vulnerable mission, is already attracting a lot of attention. 18 well qualified people from UK, Continental Europe and the USA have already indicated that they want to present papers. Over half of these potential speakers have doctorates. The cost for the conference is £50, excluding B and B. Those who pay early get a £10 discount. Those who apply early may also get accommodation with local church members. Write to Tim Reeves for more information.

Pray that I get to recover my Luo Bible, that dropped off my bicyle at some point yesterday! I am pushing on with the process of applying for Kenyan citizenship. If this works out, it will save me from having to apply for expensive work permits every three years. Prayer valued.

The newest addition to my household, a kitten now (estimated) 6 weeks old, has already given our mice a fright; they've either left, or they keep hidden. The only trouble with the kitten, known as Matilda, is that her favourite play time is during our evening prayer and worship, and she plays right there in the middle of our circle, distracting everyone.

Home from the City

His original house had collapsed. Now the old man had come home to rebuild, a few months before he was to retire from work in Nairobi. There he was outside his temporary house that had walls made of sacks. He was gathering poles to be used by the builder who was to come the following day to build his actual home using poles, mud, and iron sheets.

Sitting there also with us barely under the shade of a tree around a slightly dilapidated table, was the man's pastor from Nairobi. The table was loaded with cooked bananas, yams provided by my colleague's wife (we were about to do some pastoral visiting), and tea. The pastor, who looked to be around 60, was also originally from this area. One of the sons of the man from Nairobi walked by. Having been raised in Nairobi, he did not even know his mother tongue. Some of the men laughed at his linguistic ignorance.

The conversation turned to an evaluation of churches in the city of Nairobi. "Nairobi churches never teach at depth" the visiting pastor from Nairobi explained. Instead "if you teach at depth, people leave" he explained. The reason people in Nairobi go to church is apparently so as to be prayed for to help them to get good jobs that give them a lot of money. A few minutes later we discovered what it meant, according to the visiting pastor from Nairobi, to "teach at depth". To teach people "at depth" was to teach them how to deal with specific issues related to ancestral spirits. "Some people have died unhappy and frustrated" the pastor from Nairobi explained. "They are coming back to trouble people, and at times are causing premature death", he added. Pastors need to know how to dilo, he explained. To dilo is to do away with such troublesome spirits. In the past, jodilo (people who could do dilo) used to, amongst other things, re-open graves then thrust a spear between the bones of the troublesome deceased. I do not know the rituals/prayers involved in contemporary Christian dilo.

Here’s all about out upcoming conference in the USA: Download the flyer for the Vulnerable Mission Conference September 2013