API Summer Conference Lodwar

It's Wednesday afternoon and I'm back in Nairobi after a long circle route that took Frank and I from Nairobi, south to Narok, west to Kilgoris, north to Kisumu and Kakamega and Matete, west again to Bungoma, and then east to Eldoret and finally back to Nairobi.  We had meetings with several churches and pastors along the way, renewing old acquaintances and establishing new ones. We met with Maasai Pastor Stephen Muntet in Narok to discuss details of the conference in the spring of 2018, and then we sped off to Kilgoris to meet with several pastors there.

One of the pastors was Sailas Makalluh who has planted several churches in the Kilgoris area. API helped construct a building for the church in Magena last year.

Since then, Sailas has planted two more churches that need buildings.  The first is in Muntenkuar where the church has purchased a plot of ground. There are no other churches in this village and they are in need of a building in which to worship. We gave them some funds to begin construction from the Brad Pederson Memorial Building Fund, and we hope to send more soon.

The second church is in a place called Kiango which is on the border of Kisii County and Narok County.  One of the reasons Sailas chose this place to plant a church is because of the continuing friction between the Maasai in Narok County and the Kisii in Kisii county. His prayer is that this would be a church of peace between the tribes. There is a very long history of violence and war between these two groups and Pastor Sailas is convinced the only way to peace is when these tribes come to Christ.  Right now, they are worshipping in the open air when the weather is favorable.

The church of Kiango was given this plot of land by the owner who came to Christ after he was healed from a very serious sickness when Sailas and the church prayed for him. His testimony was that it was a very small thing for him to give this land to God who healed him and saved him.

Frank and I were invited to dinner at the home of another pastor friend of ours, Benson Ntuntai and his wife Ruth.  

They again expressed their thanks and the thanks of his entire church for the construction of their church and the installation of a concrete floor through the Brad Pederson Memorial Building Fund. They are now also using this building as a primary school.

Since this will likely be one of the last posts for this trip, I thought I'd leave you with a few random shots that didn't make it on the previous posts. Here are some from our trips to the villages in Lodwar.  Below is the village of Namagart.

Food for the village of Naotin.

The village of Moruese.

The village of Juluk.

We also handed out audio bibles and flip charts and gave many gospel presentations in these villages. Pastor George gives a very dramatic and effective presentation.

The kids were always curious about the muzungus (white guys)

They also like the lollipops we handed out at every stop.

Getting water is a daily chore for these people. These women have dug a hole in the river bed to get water.

And the termite mounds are everywhere.  For some reason they fascinate me. Some of them, like this one, are massive.

Thank you all who have partnered with us for this trip.  Your prayers and financial support have been invaluable. To God be the glory.

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API Pastor's Conference Spring 2017

 

 

 

 

April 9, 2017

Lodwar

 

It is Sunday evening in Lodwar and several days have passed since we last updated you all. I finally got to a place where the internet is fast enough to email and post pictures so I'll try to catch you up.

 

We had a wonderful time in Oloolaimutia with the Maasai pastors last week. We arrived Monday morning where we checked into Manyatta Camp overlooking part of the Maasai Mara game park.  From the hotel open air dining room, we could watch elephants, giraffes, antelope, gazelles, wildebeests, zebras and other wild animals as they moved through the part of the park we could see.  It was a great way to begin the day. 

Home sweet home for a week. 

We began our conference last Monday evening at the Enkitoria Church with about 30 pastors.

The rest of the pastors were with their animals moving their herds of cattle, sheep and goats further south into Tanzania in search of pasture as the drought has hit these people very hard. Their animals are dying for lack of food and water and as a result the people are suffering. And yet the testimony of these pastors remains strong. “God is good and He will provide” they tell me. “Even if times are hard now, He will bring us into abundance.”

By Wednesday, most of the pastors and leaders had arrived to take part in the rest of the conference. Our host, Pastor Stephen Muntet, told me near the end of the week that “the pastors were crying to him to have more of these conferences because they were so helped by the word”.  Give God the glory! According to him, we were the first missionaries to come and hold this kind of conference, and this was the first time so many pastors from different denominations had gathered together in unity. There were 86 pastors and church leaders from 8 different denominations that came to this conference and they all expressed their deep appreciation to us personally at one time or another. The pastors are already planning the next conference and they expect 200 to come this time.  Their hunger for the word of God is amazingly deep and they received the word with great joy.

I am deeply grateful to my longtime friend, Pastor Shadrack Mwita who made several trips to Mara to organize this conference. Shadrack was in charge of all the daily logistics of the conference and he did an outstanding job. I don't think we've ever eaten better at any of our conferences.

Market day in Oloolaimutia.

The pastor who hosted the conference in his church, Reverend Samuel Muntet, the brother of Stephen, is building a new clinic to replace the old one he built years ago. His was the first clinic in Oloolaimutia and he will expand the services of the clinic to include labor and delivery rooms, long-term care rooms, a pharmacy and a lab.

We also gave out some audio bibles in the Maasai language along with the gospel flip charts as many people in the surrounding area are still illiterate. On my last trip to Mara, I had given Stephen one of those audio bibles and he told me he has been using it to great effect in evangelism and discipleship in his church.

One of the highlights, at least for the pastors, was the ceremony making Shadrack and I honorary Maasai.

I think I'm a little too white for this. But they insisted. One of my staunchest supporters in the Maasai thing was Pastor Timothy.

Please pray for the churches in Mara that God would increase the love and unity among them and that the gospel would go out in power throughout the Maasai. Pray too that God would have mercy on their land and visit it with rain. 

 

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API Pastors Conferences 2016

Monday afternoon we began registering pastors for the conference and handing out the books and other materials we brought for them

A big thank you to TGC and their Theological Famine Relief initiative for supplying all these books for the Kenyan pastors!

Our first session was Monday night where we opened the conference with the first chapter of 1st Timothy.  The next morning, Pastor Tim continued on with chapter two.

We are using one of the conference rooms at the Catholic High School in Lodwar for our sessions.

Preparing lunch - Nyama stew. (goat stew)

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Fly Day

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It's Wednesday morning in Nairobi and we just had a great breakfast at Java house and we are packing up to fly home this evening.  Over the weekend we had the opportunity to visit the game park in Masaai Mara and saw some of God's incredible handiwork up close and personal. It is migration time for the animals and there were literally millions of them on the move.

Here are a few photos taken by the master photographer - Rob Hostager.

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Thank you all for your prayers and support all throughout this trip.  God has done more than we could have imagined or planned on our own and we are thankful for your participation in this ministry.

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Monday in Nairobi

It has been a few days since we have had reliable internet so I'll try to catch you all up on what's been happening. 

We finished the conference in Eldoret Friday night with a great time of celebration of the Lord's table.  We had 46 pastors and church leaders attend the conference that started last Monday evening and it was a full week of teaching and learning.

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Everyday we held an hour session for questions and answers, with the pastors and students grilling the presenters.

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Friday, we took a group photo with the students and their t-shirts and books.  The t-shirts were made by Pastor Moses Biketi in his new sign shop Stan Skinner and Dave Johnson helped him set up last February.  The books were provided by P&R Publishing and the Gospel Coalition's Theological Famine program.

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Saturday morning we took off for our eventual destination of Narok, but we were sidelined after about two hours of driving when the trailer hitch assembly broke off our vehicle. Providentially it happened just as we came into a town called Kakamega and not while we were speeding down the highway.  As it happened, there were three welding shops within about 100 meters and after an hour's delay and 6 dollars worth of welding rod we were on our way.

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Ben and Tim enjoyed some Tangawezi and Coke Zero while I chilled on the grassy bank and Rob and Jay were nowhere to be seen while the hitch was re-welded.

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We stopped in a place called Majengo where Pastor Reuben Luvanga has planted a church. 

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We stopped off to visit and to give the church some money from the Brad Pederson Memorial Building Fund to help them put up a structure on this plot of land they recently purchased. Reuben and I are standing where he intends to put the pulpit.

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After some chai and chapati at the home of Reuben and his wife, we continued on our way to Narok.

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Last Day in Lodwar

 

It is Sunday night in Eldoret. We finished the conference in Lodwar with a group picture and a moving communion service Friday night.

 

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Ben and Pastor William Emase

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Ben and Michael react to one of Rob's jokes.

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After the service, Rob and Shadrack, Jay and I went stargazing.

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Saturday we spent visiting the church in Nataaba and Juluk. We had been able to help the church in Nataaba to finish the walls of the church and we went to take pictures.

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Ben and Pastor Leonard inspecting one of the homes nearby

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When we got back to Lodwar we visited the church in Juluk, a short drive from town. The church in Juluk is pastored by Beatrice Natoo and has grown so much they need to expand the facility.

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We finished up in the Lodwar open market, California, and we drew a crowd.

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Ben, trying to get away from the vendors

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Sharpening a panga

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After returning to our rooms to pack, we went to the airport for the flight to Lodwar

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We landed in Eldoret around 6:30 and went to dinner at a really good chinese restaurant. We needed a break from ugali and tsukumuweke.

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Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday in Lodwar

Today is Friday and we haven't posted since Monday due in part to the work load and in part to the sketchy internet here in Lodwar.  We've been very busy from 8 in the morning till 9 at night with teaching and interacting with the pastors here. We have around 85 pastors from Lodwar and all over the Turkana region, including at least two from outside the country.  One is a missionary from Sudan and one pastor is a former Muslim from Somalia.

The pastors are continually saying over and over how much they appreciate and love what we are doing for them in teaching them from the word of God. They also realize that we have lots of people behind us (like you all reading the blog) that have given sacrificially to send us to them.  We've been told that they consider us a real blessing from God.  As I was speaking with the chairman of the Lodwar Pastor's Fellowship, Pastor Boniface Rimati, he told me that when he was called to this area as a pastor, he felt like he had three things he wanted to accomplish. One of those three things was somehow to introduce some pastoral training for the pastors of this region.  He said that the API School of Ministry was the answer to his prayer.

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Here are some pictures to enjoy of our stay here.

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These ladies are amazing - they carry everything on their heads.

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These are roadside shops.

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Can't leave your car doors or windows open with these guys around.

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Kids always have a front row seat.

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View from the back of Lodwar High School.

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So...what we have here are the latrines. The one on the right is for the women.  The one on the left is for the men.  No, no, not the white building, (which I thought).  The men's latrine is the half-wall on the left.  Nothing like fresh, open air where you can see who's coming to join you in the latrine. Or you can simply have conversations with passers-by.

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Here is where the cooks prepare the food.  This picture was taken at about 12 pm and the fire was going.  It's only around 95 today.

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Monday in Lodwar

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It is Monday in Lodwar, and we spent most of the day finishing our preparation for the conference that began tonight at the Lodwar High School complex. We did some shopping to get some power strips, and ink and paper and water. 

Pastor Tim Bourgeois and I are teaching through Acts 20:17-39 on the theme of Shepherding the Church of God. Jay McBee and Ben are teaching a Biblical Counseling series focused on discipleship.

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The first order of business was to get the pastors registered for the conference. However, this being Kenya, we will probably still be registering new attendees on Thursday.

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Through Together for the Gospel and their Theological Famine program and the generosity of P&R Publishing, we were able to offer free books to these pastors to help them in their ministry.

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We also schedule about an hour each day for question and answer which is very helpful, both for us and for the pastors.

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On the Road

Saturday August 15

Saturday was a long travel day for us. We loaded up and left Nairobi around 6:30 heading for Eldoret.

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Frank and Jay loading up

 

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We left before having breakfast so we stopped in Naivasha around 8 for some much needed nourishment and coffee. Fortunately we found a new Java House open for business.

 

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The trip was fairly uneventful until we hit Nakuru and the speed trap. We were pulled over by the police and Frank, our driver was informed that he was clocked at 97 km/hour by radar back near Naivasha, an hour earlier. We were surprised since most of the trip we had not been able to go over 60 km/hr due to the heavy truck traffic. Added to that was the fact that we had already been waved through 3 previous police check points who apparently hadn't gotten the alert for this speeding vehicle. Nevertheless, we were 'arrested' and had to go with one of the policewomen to the Nakuru station to sort it out. 10,000 schillings ($100) and an hour later, we were allowed to continue. From the conversations we had during that hour and the lack of any evidence, we concluded that we were simply being forced to contribute to the Nakuru Police Benevolent Fund.

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We finally arrived in Eldoret at the home of the Director of the East Africa Bible College where they had prepared a wonderful lunch for us. Our visit was brief since we had to be at the airport for a 4 pm flight to Lodwar, which of course didn't leave till after 5 pm, this being Kenya.

 

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We finally arrived in Lodwar after a 50 minute flight around 6:30 pm, and checked into St Teresa's, a Catholic retreat center, where we will be for the next seven days.

 

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Thank you all for your support and prayers during this time.

 

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API Service Project February 2014

Monday February 10

We arrived in Nairobi last night about 8:30 pm and were picked up by Frank at the airport. We spent the night at Brackenhurst near Limuru Town and the next morning went into Village Market to exchange our money and buy some stuff for the trip – stopping of course at Java House for coffee and beans.

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We drove through to our first night's stay at Bishop Stam's – a Catholic retreat center around 35 minutes from our first project site – Matete.

 

Tuesday February 11

We had a serviceable breakfast at the center and then drove to Matete for the first day's work. The first order of business was shifting all the rock and sand by wheelbarrow to the actual work site; and drawing hundreds of gallons of water from a well and storing it onsite for our project. The Kenyans do concrete work a little differently than we do – using manpower instead of machinery so we all got a real good workout.

The first course to the floor consists of a soil called maram that is laid about 3 inches deep. Then the next course consists of large rock, sand, and a thin layer of cement that is laid out on the ground and then mixed together with water, loaded into wheelbarrows and poured on the church floor. The top is left with a rough finish to facilitate the final layer after drying for three days. We were all pretty tired when we got done today. But it was a good day and we all were happy that we finished this part.

Wednesday 12

Today we traveled from Bishop Stam's to Amagoro to begin the first phase of our second project. This church is about twice as big as Matete and we began by excavating the entire interior of the church. The soil is very fine sand and we created quite a duststorm inside before we were through. Our health and safety expert, Butch, was not happy with the work conditions so we mazungus mostly stayed outside during this phase. But we all got busy as next we filled the floor with the first course of maram.

It was at this time I was informed that we had a water problem – to wit – no water on site. So a plan was quickly drawn up with the local water agency to run a pipe 350 meters to the church. The problem was that a 12 inch wide by two feet deep ditch needed to be dug, and then the pipe laid to bring water to the site. This was around noon today. We needed water by that day to wet down and compact the maram so we had to move quick. Fortunately, everybody responds to the prospect of earning money here so we found seven guys who wanted to work, negotiated a price and they went to work digging over a thousand feet of ditch in a little over five hours – by hand! The water company came and laid the pipe and then the whole thing was backfilled. It was well after dark by that time, however the four of us had gone back to Bungoma by then.

 

We moved our lodging to Bungoma today because it is really more central to both Matete and Amagoro and we are staying at a lovely hotel called the Elegant.

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