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NEWS mid August 2004

A laugh a day when Jim’s around!

"Asebiro kendo (I’ve come back again)" I said, going into this small familiar café to order a cup of tea. Unfortunately I laboured too long on the e, so said "asebiro keendo" instead of "asebiro kendo". The latter means "I have come back again" but the former means "I have now come to marry". I got some funny looks, and then some laughs.

Mud and Crowds

9.30am departure after rain meant frequent cleaning of bicycle wheels. It took us, 4 men plus 2 girls, over 1 hour to get to our meeting place. Our Director emerged up the muddy path from his house, stick in hand, cleaning the mud from his bicycle wheels as he came. We were now a group of 9 moving from house to house along village paths over hills and valleys. 10 houses and 35 miles later (half of them had me carrying someone on the back of my bicycle) we got home in the dark at 7.30pm. I have no cause to complain. Our director who accompanied us is a polio victim and 15 years my senior!

This is one of the most strenuous weeks in the YTC calendar, repeated 3 times annually, visiting and encouraging our students at their homes. We often learn incredible things about our students in this process. Please pray for them. One explained how after succeeding in fighting with his uncles in court to retain his land, one of his children was stolen for sale into slavery. Then his wife disappeared. Four years later she has not yet returned.

Hold to Your Faith!

Land shortage aggravated existing family tensions as Simon (false name) and family found themselves with no-where to move from their father’s homestead, despite tradition dictating that they must move on. Refusing to cover for a brother when he stole, resulted in a growing unpopularity for the Simon’s, who were taking a Christian stand amongst the extended family. When the same brother’s child died, the Simons were accused of killing him (by witchcraft).

At this stage the younger brother’s anger got the better of him and he went for Simon machete in hand, throwing rocks and verbal abuse, threatening to kill him. The two faced each other, Simon by this time also having clutched a machete. . . . "Hold to your faith" said the Christians in the small crowd that gathered to witness this event. Amongst a hail of stones and insults, Simon dropped his machete and ran away.

Give thanks for this small but yet enormous show of Christian courage. Without this, Simon would probably now be in jail – where his brother later found himself.

Despite now having acquired a plot of land, the next problem being faced, I was told, is that of a traditional law stating that a new house must be moved into on the same day on which it is built. Although as Christians, Simon’s family do not consider themselves bound by such a law, not following it would result in heinous practices by fellow villagers – such as using the house site as a toilet, and burying the head of a sheep slaughtered on site under the house. Pray for this family in their crisis.

On the funny side, as these events were recounted to me I found myself standing behind a door with most of my body obscured to view from passers by. I had parked my bicycle outside. At once I saw a small boy of 4 or 5 walking along, staring so intensely at my hand wondering why it was so pale in colour, so amazed to find a white man there just talking, that he walked squarely into my bicycle knocking it onto the ground! (Both boy and bicycle were unhurt).


As I write I am in Nairobi, spending time particularly with the aim of visiting Nairobi libraries so as to do research for a week or two. I am staying in an SIM house, with the other Church of God missionaries from Kima. Pray for our two new teachers at KIST and three new teachers in Yala, now preparing for next term's task.