The Jim Harries Mission Page



Jim's Work



Contact Us



NEWS end of July 2004

Song got there before me ...

As I was teaching on the story of the woman in the basket in Zechariah 5, I was surprised to find the congregation of this indigenous church suddenly in fits of laughter! I paused, and without invitation a lady started singing, the whole church joining her in unison. The song related the whole story of the woman in the basket in great detail. The song writers had got there before the preacher!


We have at YTC long confined ourselves to the area that can be easily be reached by bicycle from Yala. Yet we are seeing more and more that the Yala model of theological education has potential to move to other areas. 25 miles from Yala, deep in the heart of Luoland, district capital for the area that includes Yala, is the town of Siaya. There are many churches in Siaya. This part of Luoland is even more renowned for its indigenous churches than is the Yala area. We are asking ourselves whether it may be time to plant a school to operate from Siaya?

Please pray for us in this venture. Things being very busy around here now, means that our first official visit to the Siaya area may not be until late August. In the meantime, we are beginning to make a few contacts.

Taking such a move raises many questions. We clearly want to make sure that the work in Yala is not interfered with. Transport between Yala and Siaya is 2 hours plus by bicycle, or 50p each way by matatu (bus), making regular communication difficult.

Pray for our handling of the financial/material issues connected with this. Many theological education programmes quickly run aground as they are designed in a way that makes them dependent on foreign money. I am aware that my involvement in this (given my white skin) will quickly have people think that I am to be the donor. It must be clear that there is no outside money available – the success of this venture will be dependent on finding people in Siaya with the enthusiasm and determination to make it work.

Give Thanks for

. . . the visit of the Thompson’s from York. Mike and Gill and their son Jonathon arrived on the 12th July, and left again on the 21st, having had their 9 days packed with new experiences. It has been very valuable to have been able to share many aspects of the work here with such a committed Christian family, and also be able to take opportunities to relax with them. They are from Acomb Baptist Church in York.

. . . three pastors from Tanzania have now arrived, who are to live at my home and to assist us in the work at Yala for the next 2 weeks.

How to do it?

The books we use in teaching at Yala, are nearly all written by Africans, for use amongst indigenous African churches. Yet, perhaps because they are written in English, there remain many respects in which their content is still Western. The task of revising these books would be a major one, yet there is a need for ever more relevant material, that will meet people where they are yet point clearly to Christ. Pray for wisdom in knowing how to address this issue.

I have recently been contacted by the people responsible for the "Luo web page" on the internet  They are expressing interest in entering into some theological debate in Dholuo. Pray that this will prove productive.

Other dates

25th July – KIST annual graduation – with 38 students due to graduate this year.
29th July – I am to present my paper on "language use amongst the Luo in Kenya" (in Kiswahili) to scholars at Maseno university.
26th to 30th July – closing classes at Yala.
2nd to 6th August – visiting students in Yala.
9th August – I am to go to Nairobi for one or two weeks.