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NEWS end of August 2004

After the end of our YTC visiting programme I have come to Nairobi, and my main occupation has been trekking between libraries doing research for my PhD. I am glad to say that this exercise has been an interesting one in helping me to fulfil my broader quest of understanding the African community in which I am working. It has also enabled me to catch up with friends who are living in Nairobi.

Some of you may have heard of the attention recently given to Bishop Deya. He is a Luo church leader from Western Kenya near where I am living who has been staying and ministering in the UK, where he apparently has thousands of followers. The media and the police are now uncovering some very crooked-looking activities, in which it appears that women who he would pray for who were barren, were being provided with stolen babies. Deya has claimed that the babies, sometimes up to three being born within a calendar year by women past their menopause, were the result of miracles. Please pray for all involved in this situation, which is starkly and crudely illustrating yet again the meeting of the African supernatural taboo-oriented with the wealthy European rational and moral worlds.

On 25th August, myself and our YTC Director Omaya cycled 20 miles to the town of Siaya. We were there able to meet up with an old friend of Omaya, who is now running a small commercial school in the town. He is very keen on opening a theological faculty to his school, so we have arranged to return to plan how this can happen in detail together with church leaders on 9th October.

Siaya is at the heart of Alego, one of the most ancient Luo tribal areas here in Kenya. It is the capital of the district of which Yala is a part, being the administrative centre for up to 200,000 people (very approximate guess). Despite being of such significant size, according to my information there is no formal theological training institution as yet in the town. It is accessed by one tar road – which passes 15 minutes walk from my home.

We have now accepted 51 students to begin at KIST as from 6th September. 28 of these are accepted onto our three year advanced diploma programme, and 23 onto the 4 year Bachelor of Arts degree. (We do not expect more than 2/3 of these to actually show up and be able to begin.) The KIST Chapel interior has now been dismantled, in preparation for demolition ready for replacement by an upgraded and much larger chapel! Pray for us and particularly our Principal as he is very busy in making many development plans. This is the first term in which we are introducing a formal Kiswahili course for all non-Kiswahili speaking students.