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Dear Friends,

Merry Christmas to all.

Watching TV one evening in the home of one of the professors in the USA, he commented that I was laughing a lot at the TV. I was a bit set back first – I didn’t want to offend anyone by appearing to laugh at their news broadcasts. I admitted though, that I was laughing a lot. Then I had to think to myself, why was I laughing so much? One reason perhaps, I very rarely watch TV, so when I do it intrigues me. That was not the main reason though, I realised. “I am laughing because they think like I do,” I said. I think indeed that was it. I am used to hearing Kenyan people talk about things, sometimes in English, but their reasoning always seems to be miles away. Americans, close cousins to us Brits, however think very much like Brits do. It was so entertaining for me to find people thinking like I think, that I had to laugh!

I found a Kenyan man of the Luo tribe, studying at one of the seminaries I recently visited in the USA. The thought came to mind – perhaps I should speak the Luo language in one of my sessions at the seminary and have him translate into English. Thinking about it though – I realised that if I did so his English translation, even if he was an excellent translator, could easily miss a great deal of what I was trying to say. That is – I wanted to address my American colleagues with very specific terms so as to bring very specific issues to the fore. How come then, I asked myself when in Africa, are Luo people are so happy to use English, then for it to be translated into the Luo language by someone else?

On careful thought I managed to at least part answer the above question to my satisfaction. Luo people use English to rhyme with the way they use Luo. Therefore, when they use English, they use it to mean Luo things. Whether they teach or preach in Luo or in English in that respect does not make much difference. This situation did not apply in America.

Just by way of example of how people think differently here as against in America, a man recently testified in church. He had visited a church and wanted to get back to the main road. It was very muddy, a treacherous route for a motorbike. The pastor called a motorbike taxi for him. The motorcyclist was drunk! Yet out of humility he accepted the drunk motorcyclist the pastor had provided, so set off down a treacherous muddy road propelled by a drunkard. Down the road suddenly he was on the ground and injured, but not too badly. Grateful that his injuries were minimal he told us of another man, a friend of his who also used a motorbike taxi with a drunk rider on a wet day, at another location. As they rode through the mud, the driver fell off, leaving the motorbike going on alone with his friend, until it crashed. That man was so badly injured that you would not even want to look at him. Praise God!

Please pray for the many crusades and such pre-Christmas events happening now. Coptic is busy with many visitors. My home church has its annual youth conference at the end of next week. Crusades, teachings, and conferences seem to be planned all over. Give thanks for new efforts by the Coptic church at engaging the community around here ‘spiritually’ as well as physically, through the hospital etc.

Here is my programme for my next furlough, in 2018. I have revised it a little to keep it down to seven weeks:

May 8th to 11th Andover.

May 13th to 18th Acomb Baptist Church, York.

May 20th (Sunday), Norwich Central Baptist Church.

May 27th to 30th Andover Baptist Church.

May 31st to June 2nd Vulnerable Mission Conference, Ware, Herts.

2nd June to 6th June, Wantage Baptist Church.

6th June to 11th June, New Farm Chapel, Alresford.

11th June to 13th June, Andover.

14th to 18th June, Worpswede, Germany.

18th to 22nd June conference, Stuttgart, Germany.

22nd to 26th June, Worpswede, Germany.