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Dear Friends,

It is amazing how the Gospel drives EVERYTHING around here. This is something that folks in the UK are trying to forget for themselves. The truth is that the same thing applies in the UK, except that British people have for the time being decided not to talk about it. Our events here are all (it seems) based on Christ, founded in the Scriptures, singing Christian songs, praising God.

Jennifer Jenkins has written an interesting piece that might explain why the UK does not fit into Europe. According to her, native-speakers of English find a problem in today’s world because other people are trying to use their language as a lingua-franca. I agree with her identifying this problem. The same applies in Africa. I don’t see as easy a solution as she seems to, however. She wants English people to speak as if English wasn’t their language! This seems to be an irresolvable dilemma, hence it’s better to have different languages.

As the days go by, I seem to become more and more convinced of the need for African languages in Africa. People having been forced, effectively, to use English, results in a lot of mis-expression. It prevents them from ever making ‘progress’, and keeps them functionally illiterate. Meanwhile the whole world is wondering what Trump will do once he gets into office. One thing he is accused of being is ‘racist’. Not so many people realise how racism, and the destructiveness of global English are two sides of the same coin. That is; people who say ‘don’t be racist’ are effectively also saying ‘African people are no different from Western people, so they might as well use English’. If, however, African people ARE different from Western people, then that would explain why English doesn’t ‘work’ for them, so justifying different languages.

Give thanks for a recent youth conference in Kisumu. As well as teaching, I did a lot of the translation for our main visiting preacher who was from India. We had 140 youth in attendance. Six were my children from home. Around 30 young people committed themselves to be baptized. During the day-times I was able to spend some time with Mennonite missionary colleagues, also in Kisumu. On Wednesday I attended a small fellowship. We ended up four in total. One old friend was there. He has had a troubled life, and now added a second wife. I was glad to be there and to stand with him for the Gospel. A few days later, another home-fellowship, in which I shared about the pain that Mary went through in giving birth to Jesus. Christmas day, the church was packed, I led the service, our overseer gave an excellent talk based on the three wise men (actually, in African parlance, three witchdoctors). Later in the afternoon, I was able to encourage an AIDS sufferer to, contrary to customary law, look after her ageing step-mother.

Best wishes to all for 2017.