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Dear Friends,

I have just had this article published by the World Evangelical Alliance: ‘Tent-Making in an Uneven World; some implicit difficulties for Westerners in Africa’,

Please pray for our next ‘language encouragement day’ to be held in Kisumu on 22nd November 2014. This is aimed at gathering missionaries to encourage them to take learning of the Swahili and Luo languages seriously. It is to be a follow up of a similar day we held on 26th September 2014. Details here.

See Jim’s Journal for November 2014 here.

I am working on making some contributions to a book to come out next year by WCIU, William Carey International University (Pasadena, California). The book is to be entitled: Agents of International Development and Shalom. Give thanks for this privilege.

I was privileged to have been able to meet up with Gary Cowman, who is based in Nairobi and works with Wycliffe Bible translators in Advocacy and Alliance. Gary suggested that we write a joint article. We have begun working on this article.

In a recent church visit I made, about 8 miles from home: Nine women stood in a row to be anointed in this recently founded indigenous church. Each was given different leadership responsibilities in the church and the diocese. These were uneducated village wives. Women otherwise pre-occupied by babies and hoes, had received a new level of assignment. 1 Timothy 3:8-13 was read: “This is how the helpers of the leaders of the church of Christ should also be upright, sincere, not people with two mouths, not drunkards, or people hot at making financial profits. They must be people who have no failing in them that they are hiding in their hearts, and they must be people who take hold of the truth of our faith diligently, etc.” (my translation). So plain and everyday. So dramatic, challenging, invigorating and transforming. Afterwards some women ran up to me. “How can we get Luo language Bibles” they asked? There was no hint that they wanted them for free. They will send me the money, and I won’t buy and deliver until I get the money.

A striking thing, in a way, is that the pastors who lead women such as the above do not ‘pity’ them. These are the kind of African women whose lives’ conditions are used by fundraisers in the West to make us pity them and raise funds to help them! My own instinctive orientation may well be to say that they are ‘poor overworked women’ and that ‘they desperately need to be helped’. Then I could go to the church with ‘help for the poor’, which is them. It seems that could be the death-knell for progress in such a church. Progressive pastors around here, it seems to me, squeeze and squeeze the women in their churches. They need them for resources to run the churches. (See Luke 8:3). Meanwhile the women lap it up! They thus acquire ownership of the church and what it does. They know that they are important. The fact that churches run as they do shows that they do cough up. They respond well to being ‘squeezed’! God’s work goes forward on an indigenous foundation.

Give thanks for a short visit. I was able to share about ‘love’ with the congregation of a very large church in Uganda, just about 6 miles from the border with Kenya.

For those interested in such things, here is a freely available book outlining UN thinking on ‘Freedom of Religion and Belief’; I think you’ll agree key issues for today!

Best wishes,


VM 2015 Conference