API USA Blog

News from the field.

We Arrived Safely!

We had a fairly uneventful trip from Amsterdam to Nairobi.  We had some delays (pilot initiated go-around on approach), the stairs did not match up with the airplane and had to be re-positioned and the luggage took forever to show up.  Frank was waiting for us and the process of loading all the luggage and getting it to the vehicle all went well. We can already see how the covering in prayer is felt as we go through the logistics of travel.  While we were loading the trailer, Jay laid down his laptop bag so that he could help load.  A car pulled out in a tight turn and "ran over the bag". No damage as the wheels somehow just missed the bag.  We are at the Hampton House now and looking forward to a good nights sleep.

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Enroute to Kenya

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Ben grabs an opportunity to send off a few emails

We just landed in Amsterdam after an uneventful flight from Seattle.  We connected up with Tim and Jay and have a short layover before continuing on to Kenya. Please continue to pray for our travel and our brief time in Nairobi before we head North to Eldoret and then Lodwar.

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April 2015 MMC: End of the Week

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

After a long day of driving, we have arrived at our hotel in Narok, a town Southeast of Kitale.  We had to say goodbye to some of our Kenyan team members this morning.  When you spend 24/7 with people, relationships are formed and it’s always hard to say goodbye.  Thankful to know these incredible people and be able to work with them during each medical camp.

Along the way to Narok, we stopped by Pastor Moses’ house in Matete to greet him and his family.  We had a nice time enjoying tea and mandazi and good conversation.   Pastor Moses is one of the API pastors and his church was built as a result of the API Brad Pederson Memorial Building Fund.  In August 2013, API did a medical camp at his church as well.

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Yesterday, our last day of Medical Ministry Camp was another success.  The people continued to come, which is always hard because we have to tell them we won’t have time to see everyone.  Even though by the end of the week the team is exhausted, sending people away is one of the hardest things we have to do and makes us want to stay longer.  The problem is, we could stay for a whole month and people would probably still come seeking treatment.  The need is great and there is simply just not enough time or resources.    

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Over the week, we saw a variety of diagnosis.  As usual, we saw a lot of people with malaria, upper respiratory infections, and worms.  Many kids had high fevers and were pretty out of it.  We made some referrals for surgery and for other problems that we couldn’t deal with at medical camp, but overall, we didn’t have any life-threatening emergencies.  Praise God!

One of the most challenging things we dealt with this week was a mother who came in with her three children.  All four of them had jiggers on their feet and hands.  The mother said she had them for ten years!  Jiggers are small fleas that burrow into the skin.  They lay eggs and create pea-sized egg sacks that must be removed in order to stop them from multiplying.  They are itchy and extremely painful.  Once the jigger and egg sack are removed, a huge hole is left behind, which can lead to infection.  Kenyans are known to be really tough and not show a lot of emotion even when in pain, but whenever I’ve experienced people being “de-jiggered”, there is a lot of screaming and crying.  It is heart breaking to listen to these kids scream in pain for hours. while the jiggers are removed.  The people with jiggers aren’t necessarily as physically sick as some others per se, but it is super important to get the jiggers out of their skin, and the process is excruciating. 

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At the end of the day, we packed up all of the medical equipment and loaded everything into the vehicles.  Before we left, the people from the church had a nice surprise for us.  We sang some songs and they gave each of us a little gift to remember them.  It was such a special ceremony.  Once again, these people live extremely minimal lives, yet are blessing us with gifts and are so appreciative of us coming.  Moments like that definitely make you think about how you care for others.

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We have an early morning tomorrow as we go to Masai Mara for the day.  The team is doing well and is excited for tomorrow!  Thank you for all of your prayers! God is so good, and we had a great week serving the people of Natwana!

Good night!

 

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April 2015 MMC: The morning of our last day of MMC

Friday, April 17th, 2015

The sun is peeking through the trees as it begins to rise on this beautiful, clear morning.  Today will be our last day of Medical Ministry Camp.  The team has worked so hard this week; we are tired and have been stretched in many ways.  We have been praying for today, that we would be able to see all the people that need medical care, that the sickest would be seen first and not have to wait in the hot sun, and that each person that comes through Medical Ministry Camp would feel the love of Jesus Christ and have the opportunity to make a decision for Him.

Each day of Medical Ministry Camp has been going well.  We have stayed busy throughout the whole day, as the line of people never seems to dwindle.  Our team has worked extremely well together, and it has been such a joy to work alongside of these incredible people!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the flow of medical camp, here is a breakdown of what each patient goes through as they walk through our doors:

Registration:  One of our team members gets some basic information about the person, such as name, gender, and date of birth.

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Intake:  This is where we get the person’s vitals, including heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature.  We ask a few questions regarding their medical history as well as if they have been tested for HIV/AIDS.

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Doctors:  This year, we have four doctors who are seeing these people and prescribing necessary medications.

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Pharmacy:  All of those pills that we have been packaging into the little bags?  All those bags are organized into slots in metal cases, and this is where those prescriptions are given to the patient.  The bags are alphabetized and separated between pills and syrups.  This system makes it pretty quick and easy to find exactly what is needed.  We also have implemented bar coding this year.  Before the patient receives his/her prescription, one of our team members scans the patient record form, the doctor that saw the patient, the diagnosis, and the medication label.  The information is transferred onto the computer or iPad.  Eventually, API plans to use this program as a complete medical record system for several medical clinics that API supports in Kenya.  Alex, one of the team members, has spent numerous hours creating this program.  API is extremely grateful for all of his hard work and dedication to what he has put into this program!  Thank you so much, Alex!

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Reading Glasses:  We have a two cases full of reading glasses.  We have sheets of paper with bible verses in different size lettering, so we can accurately determine what prescription the patient needs.  It is so fun to watch a patient try on different glasses until they find the one that helps them read the smallest print.  A huge smile spreads across their face, and they become so excited that they will be able to read again.

Lab:  George is the boss in the lab.  He is a lab technologist and has worked in many clinics.  He is incredible and has so much knowledge!  Usually, someone from our team is in the lab as well to help him.  They give injections, dress wounds, and have the equipment to run various lab tests from urine and blood.

 

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Dental:  Ezequiel has been very busy seeing dental patients.  He is able to pull teeth, fill cavities, provide basic cleaning, and educate patients about the importance of dental hygiene.  Unfortunately, there are way too many people for just one dentist to handle.  By Wednesday afternoon, we were telling the patients to come back on Friday to be seen because he already had so many people waiting for the rest of the afternoon on Wednesday and all of Thursday.  If you are a dentist and are interested in coming on a future trip, the need is great!

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After the patient has received his/her medication, someone is waiting to evangelize and pray with the patient as he/she leaves.  It is incredible to listen to the stories and the prayer requests of these people.  It is such a privilege to be able to pray with them and explain to them how much God loves them and cares for them.  Often times, you can see the stress and anxiety dissipate as you share the Good News.  These people are desperate for something bigger than themselves and are very receptive to the Gospel. 

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The team is ready, and it looks like it’s time to load up the vehicles!  Would you join us in prayer for our last day of Medical Ministry Camp?

Sending love back to all of our family and friends!  

 

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April 2015 MMC: Purpose

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Good morning from Kenya!  There are a few of us up early sipping on our tea, spending some time in the Word, and enjoying the stillness of the morning before the world awakes.  Breakfast will be served shortly, and then we will head out for Day Three of Medical Ministry Camp.

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All I could see was the long line of people as I looked out the window from my intake station inside the church, which has been transformed into a clinic for Medical Ministry Camp.  People outside waiting so patiently to be seen and treated, wondering when their turn would be next.   We were only a few hours into our second day of Medical Ministry Camp, but for a moment, I felt so overwhelmed by the need.  There were patients waiting for intake, waiting for the doctors, and waiting for their meds at the pharmacy station.  It was crowded inside, yet when I saw the line outside stretching out towards the main road, the people inside seemed so small.  I questioned if we would be able to see everyone.  As I listen to what is going on around me, I hear a baby coughing and someone explaining the importance of being tested for HIV.

Through the noise and the chaos, I see a patient wiping her eyes as one of our team members envelops her frail 80-year old hands within hers.   That is why we are here.  We are here to take away headaches, treat infections, and help get rid of that nasty productive cough.  But our purpose is so much greater.  We are here to love.  We are here to encourage.  We are here to plant seeds.  As the 80-year old woman opens her eyes after praying, a huge smile spreads across her face.  Without any words, you could see the fear and the pain melt away.  Even if we cannot see every person in the village, we are here for a specific purpose.  God is using us.  God is moving. 

Over the past two days, medications have been prescribed, wounds have been cleaned and dressed, and injections given.  Our dentist, Ezequiel, has pulled many teeth, filled cavities, and chipped away thick plaque.  Once again, thank you so much for praying for the people of Kenya and for each of our team members.  God is good!

More pictures and stories to come! 

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April 2015 Medical Ministry Camp

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The sun is beginning to set after a beautiful day here in Kenya.  The team is finishing up packing the last of the medications to get us started for medical camp.  Day One starts tomorrow.  The team is excited to start seeing patients and finally implementing what we have been working so hard to accomplish over the last few days.

 

A little recap from our first days in Kenya:

On Tuesday and Wednesday, team members spent many hours traveling from the States over to Kenya.  Flights went smoothly and all of the luggage arrived on time.  Praise God! 

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On Friday, we spent the morning at Village Market.  We shopped at the Maasai market, where we walked through rows and rows of vendors with everything from jewelry to hand carved bowls to Kenyan artwork.  We also had the privilege of meeting Philip Njoroge, a world-class marathon runner.  The afternoon was spent filling prescription bags with the necessary pills and labeling each of the bags with the correct medication label and a Bible verse.

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The team was up bright and early on Saturday morning as we left the Hampton House, our hotel in Nairobi, around 6am to head west across Kenya.  After several stops for food and bathroom breaks, we made it to Eldoret nine hours later.  We enjoyed a delicious lunch at Dr. Douglas’ home, prepared by his wonderful wife.  What a treat!  Another hour in the car and we finally made it to Kitale, where we will be staying for the next week. 

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This morning (Sunday), we attended church service at the church where Medical Ministry Camp will be located.  The church is in a village called Natwana about 30 mins from Kitale.  We were blessed with chai and butter sandwiches as soon as we arrived.  It never ceases to amaze me how gracious the Kenyan people are; families living in mud huts who struggle to put food on their own table are happily welcoming us into their homes, serving us with huge smiles on their faces.  A humbling experience for us all and a perfect example of what it means to live like Jesus!

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We all enjoyed church this morning as well.  The choir was amazing!  Many of us were brought to tears by the beautiful Kenyan voices.  Towards the end of worship, a dove flew into the church and perched on one of the rafters.  Throughout the service, the dove quietly sat in the same spot overlooking the whole room.  Gary gave the message, and one woman committed her life to the Lord for the first time!  It wasn’t until the end of the service that the dove quietly flew out of the church.  As the dove represents the Holy Spirit, it was beautiful reminder that God is with us always.  

On the way home from church, we stopped at Agape Community Heath Centre, which is the clinic where Dr. Douglas practices.  Douglas was eager to show us the improvements at the clinic since API has chosen to sponsor the clinic. 

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This afternoon, we have been reorganizing all of the medical supplies and packing more medication.  It can be a tedious process, but so worth it.  There is nothing better than being able to provide free medical care to these people who desperately need it, yet have no way to get it. 

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Thank you for all of the prayers!  Please pray for tomorrow as we begin Medical Ministry Camp.  Pray that the sick would be able to come and get the necessary medication they need.  Even more importantly, please pray that God would work in their hearts and people would come to know Him and that they would feel His love through each of our team members.  Please pray for strength and energy for each of the team members. 

Bwana Asifiwe!

God Bless!

 

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2015 API Pastor Training and Service Project

Wednesday February 4, 2015

Take Off

Dave Johnson, Stan Skinner and I took off Wednesday afternoon from SeaTac for Amsterdam and a connecting flight to Nairobi.  We all got there a bit early and had to wait an extra hour because our plane was late in arriving.  We used the time well. (Scroll down to get the whole trip)

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Although we were an hour late arriving in Amsterdam, our boarding gate for the flight to Kenya was right next door as we came out of the plane. 

We landed in Nairobi Thursday evening and made it through customs fairly quickly. Stan and Dave even managed to smile for us after nearly 20 hours of travel.  Stan is waving his visa form here.  Apparently proud that he made it through the medical screening set up prior to entering the visa line.

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Friday February 6

Friday was a very event packed day. All of us were jet lagging and even though we got to bed the night before rather late, we were all up before five.  We exchanged our dollars for schillings, got supplies at Nakumat, waited in line at Safaricom forever and then went to the Masai Market.

Of course we started the day with Java House.

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Stan and Dave having a great time haggling.

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After spending some time and not much money at the market, we drove into Nairobi to meet one of Stan's contacts for sign making and materials.  Stan was pretty excited to find suppliers for the sign business he is setting up in Matete for Pastor Moses. 

Then we drove across the city out to the ACTS bookstore on one of the most congested roads in Nairobi. However the bookstore was worth the wait.

 

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Friday evening we met John and his wife Margaret and their new little girl, Eliana, at Brackenhurst for dinner.

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Saturday February 7

We took off this morning for Matete after Stan and Dave packed the rig.

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Along the way we stopped at the equator to take some pics.

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In Eldoret we stopped to rest for a bit at Pastor Shadracks home. Stan appreciated the stop.

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Damaris, Shadrack's wife, has almost completely recovered from a bout with pneumonia and a recent miscarriage.  Some of you were instrumental in her recovery through your prayers and financial support.  When Shadrack called me to tell me how sick Damaris was two weeks ago, he said that he wanted to take her to the doctor but they required payment in advance and he didn't have it. Through the generosity of many, we were able to send him the necessary funds to take her to the hospital. When he examined Damaris, the doctor said that if he had waited another hour, Damaris would have died. Praise God for His perfect timing!

We finally reached Matete around 7 pm and reunited Stan with his friend Pastor Moses.

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ps. It is really hard to get Stan to smile for the camera. I have to offer him treats.

Sunday February 8

We had a wonderful time with the church in Matete this morning after a much needed rest and a great breakfast at our hotel, the Downhill Springs.

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After the service, we ate lunch at Pastor Moses' home, and Stan played Santa Claus as he handed out gifts that he and Mary had packed for Moses' family.

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Monday February 9

We spent the first part of Monday setting up the sign shop so that Stan could train the workers.

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We had suggested the previous day that it might be possible for us to install power at Moses' residence which is only about 70 meters from the church and that we would calculate the cost to see if that was possible.  However when we got there Monday morning, Moses already had someone digging the cable trench.  Apparently we were committed to the project.  I'm just glad we had Dave along - he is a man of many talents. He took a look at the situation, calculated what we needed, and he and I and Frank headed off for Bungoma to buy the necessary materials while the ditch was being dug.

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While we were in Bungoma, we met Dr. Charles for lunch and he showed us where he is setting up his new clinic.  He was awakened one morning a few weeks ago by someone who told him they were demolishing the building in which his old clinic was located.  His landlord had not seen fit to notify any of the tenants of the proposed demolition and he rushed to get his things out of the building they were demolishing.

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I stayed in Bungoma as the conference in Amagoro was beginning that evening, and I will be staying there all week. By the end of the day, Stan and his team had produced their first printed t-shirt.

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As always, there are interesting scenes on the road - like these guys hitching a free ride on a gas tanker.

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Meanwhile, I was in Amagoro setting up for the first evening session of the pastor's conference.  Watched intently by a very interested group.

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After setting up the church, we went for dinner by candlelight.

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And then returned for the evening session. We have power and light in the church thanks to a generator.

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Tuesday February 10

Tuesday morning Stan and Dave were back to work in Matete.

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Of course every job has its fans.

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Dave split his time between laying wire and helping Stan with his project.

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And I was in Amagoro starting the first morning of the conference. Right now there are about 40 out of the 55 expected attendees. Since most of the pastors either walk or catch public transportation - matatus - arrival times tend to be variable.

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Together for the Gospel provided these books for the pastors.

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Every day we held a question and answer time after all the sessions were finished.  Pastor Reuben Luvanga does most of the interpretation for us and he does an excellent job.  At least that is what all the students are telling me since I don't speak Kiswahili.

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Wednesday February 11

This morning I called to see how the Matete team was doing and found out that everything was going great, except that it seems the heat press was somehow damaged in the flight to Kenya.  Apparently one of the heating elements was broken and Dave spent the day trying to fix it.  We are praying that he can get it working because we already have orders to fill.

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Since Stan and Dave had to go into Bungoma for parts, they decided to drive a little further and drop in on the conference at Amagoro and surprise me. Stan looks thrilled with the idea.

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Back in Matete, Pastor Moses started burning the bricks they had previously made for the construction of the new shop for the sign business.

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Thursday February 12

In Matete, Dave and Stan and Frank kept at it to get the heat press working and finish the wiring job.

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In Amagoro we finished the 4th day of the pastors training.

 

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I also received some pictures from a church in Turkana called Nataaba on the progress of the construction of their new building.  When we were in Lodwar last August, with money from the Brad Pederson Memorial Fund we had purchased materials for them to build this structure and delivered them to the church.  However, once they began building, a dispute ensued about ownership of the land and they had to relocate. They finally found a plot of ground not too far from the initial plot and began building last week.

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The church was very grateful for the help and send their greetings and thanks to API USA and Summit Christian Fellowship and to all who contributed to the work.

They were very grateful as well for the bibles we sent them as most of them have never had a bible.

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This is Pastor James, pastor of the church at Nataaba.

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Friday February 13

Today was the last day of the pastors conference. And as with all the sessions, we spent a lot of time in question and answer mode. All the questions were very good and indicated a good grasp of the material we presented. I was very encouraged by the obvious passion to understand the word of God everyone displayed.

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Unfortunately I did not get a lot of pictures of the conference but I did manage to capture Frank at his finest.  Frank is our API associate who does just about everything for us.  He's particularly good at waiting.

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Frank probably had the hardest job of us all.  He was on the road early, driving from Matete to Bungoma to pick me up and deliver me to Amagoro.  And then turn around and head back to Matete to work with Stan and Dave.  Then he would come to Amagoro in the late afternoon to take me to Bungoma and head back to Matete.  He also was taking Dave all over to try and find parts for the heat press.  Unfortunately Dave had no success in finding the part he needed.  But he did manage to get the electricity hooked up to Pastor Moses' house.

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The firing of the bricks was a success as they were unveiled today.

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And everywhere Dave goes he finds friends and admirers. (It might have been the candy he carried in his pockets)

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Saturday February 14

Today we held commencement exercises for two of our graduates - Pastor Dennis Makutu and Pastor Shadrack Mogesi Mwita who each earned their B th degrees from API School of Ministry.  Many thanks to the dean of the school, Dr. Franklin Clark for his passion and drive to bring this kind of education to the pastors of Kenya.

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Sunday February 15

While Stan and Dave attended the service in Matete once again, I spoke in the church in Amagoro at the request of Pastor Leonard Ekea.  Currently the children's Sunday School classes are held outside while the adult Sunday School is going on in the auditorium.

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The nursery is located inside.

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In the evening, I joined Dave and Stan at Pastor Moses' home for a celebration dinner.  Judith, Moses' wife, showed off her new Wonder Bag she received from Mary Skinner as she made us dinner.  It was nice being all together after a week in separate locations for this last meal with the Matete crowd.

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Monday February 16

Today was a travel day and we took off from Matete in the morning to travel down to Kilgoris.  Along the way we made a few stops.  The first was in the village of Majengo where two of our friends live.  The first stop was at Pastor Michael Omega's home. Michael is an evangelism trainer with E3, and he facilitates our evangelism training wherever we hold our Medical Mission Camps, to train the local pastors and church members in personal evangelism.

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Stan was intrigued by the pig pen.

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We also met with Pastor Reuben Luvanga who has a church in Majengo; and then we traveled down to Kisii where we were joined by Pastor Shadrack's wife, Damaris, who just finished her work there.  We got into Kilgoris around 7 pm and spent the night at the Seasons Hotel.

Tuesday February 17

We spent the morning and early afternoon visiting with some of the pastors in Kilgoris that have been part of our pastor's training conferences for a few years.  The leader of this group, Christ Gospel Churches, is Bishop Samson Kenteyia and we took the opportunity to visit his church that is in the middle of being remodeled and enlarged.

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We also visited with Pastor Jackson Mongaine, of the Kenya Assemblies of God,who was a participant in our 2013 conference in Kilgoris.

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We then traveled to Pastor Benson Ntuntai's new church plant in Olangabolo.  This church has received funds from the Brad Pederson Memorial Building Fund to raise a new structure.

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We are hoping to raise more funds to help them finish the project and enclose the structure.  Pastor Benson also asked if we could bring our floor crew and help pour a cement floor. I told him that since the church was on top of the hill and far away from water, that might be difficult.  He replied that it was no problem - he would just bring the water up by donkeys.

We finally left Kilgoris that afternoon and traveled to Narok to spend the night before going to the game park at Maasai Mara.

Wedesday February 17

Today we spent touring the game park in Maasai Mara.  Although it is not the migration season, there are still plenty of animals to see.  Here are pictures of some of them.

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 We took a lunch break at the oldest lodge in the park - Keekorok Lodge.

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We also took some shots while on the border of Tanzania and Kenya in the park.

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Along the Mara river, we took a nature walk with an armed park ranger.  I felt pretty safe until I asked him if he had ever had to fire his weapon at any aggressive predators on this walk, and he said, 'Oh yes, many times!'

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Thursday February 19

We left Narok in the morning and drove back to Nairobi for the flight home that evening.  On our way to the airport, we stopped to eat at the Mombasa Road Java House and met the owner of the hotel we stayed at in Matete.  Her name is Daisy Kanainza and she is the youngest Senator in the Kenyan Parliament.  She was very interested in our work in Kenya.

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Traveling Home

02/09/14

Here we are in Amsterdam waiting on our flights home - Tim to Los Angeles, and Rob and I to Portland and on to Seattle. As you can see, we've gotten hold of a little bit of the U.S. here in the form of Starbucks to while away our four hour layover.

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We've had an amazing trip as you can probably see if you've been following our blog. But we are thankful to be getting home after three weeks on the road. We are sincerely grateful to all of you who have kept us in your prayers.  The only time any one of us was not feeling well was two days ago when I think I got hold of a bad piece of apple pie at Java House in Nairobi.  But that was short-lived and I was feeling great the next morning.

Monday and Tuesday we filled with activity as we nailed down all the final tasks we had to complete before we left, but we also got some much-needed rest at the Hampton House. One of our last stops was at the Kenya Bible Society where we purchased some Bibles for the churches in Lodwar in Kiswahili and Turkana.  We had intended to purchase those in Lodwar, but we couldn't find any.  So we are shipping these to one of our pastor friends, George Lokwawi in Lodwar to deliver to the churches in Nataaba, Juluk, and Nakingol.

In His service for His glory,

michael

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Maasai Mara

31/08/14

Friday afternoon we traveled to Narok where we spent the night.  Early on Saturday morning we got up to travel to the game park in Maasai Mara. The annual migration was on and there were literally millions of animals to be seen.  Here are some of the animals we saw.

Young male lions

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Pretty bird

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Cheetah

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Guinea hens

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Tembo - elephant

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All of the lions we saw were resting

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Buzzards enjoying a meal - circle of life stuff

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Baby hippo

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Sleeping croc - they sleep with their mouths open and birds come and pick their teeth

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Mama simba and her cubs

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Cape buffalo

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The pride had made a kill and eaten and left this one to guard the food

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Baboon

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Male osterich

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Twiga - giraffe

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A silhouette shot of the migration of wildebeestes

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We had a great day in the park and as we were driving home, we came upon a wreck that had just happened minutes before.  Apparently it was a one-van accident when the driver lost control on the gravel road.  No one was badly hurt beyond scrapes and minor aches.  As we were miles from anywhere, we piled all the luggage of the passengers on the Prado and took six of them back with us to Narok, leaving the driver and one other to deal with the police.  They were still in shock from the accident, and they couldn't understand why perfect strangers would be so kind. Somehow we managed to squeeze ten of us in a vehicle that only comfortably fits seven. Good thing they were all young people and fairly thin.

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Again we want to thank all of you for your prayers to God for us and we thank Him for His mercy and grace.  We are in Nairobi for two nights until we fly back to the US on Tuesday.

 

 

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Post Conference Stuff

31/08/14

It is Sunday evening and we are back in Nairobi so I'll try to catch you up on all the news. We have had a busy two days since the commencement exercises for the graduating student of the API School of Ministry.  Friday we held the commencement exercises, graduating four students: Pastors Fred Anyule and William Odhiambo with Certificates in Biblical Studies; Pastor Moses Biketi with a Bachelors in Theology; and Pastor Leonard Ekea with a Masters of Biblical Studies. Pastor Tim Bourgeois gave the commencement address and on behalf of the API School of Ministry and Covenant Bible Seminary I handed out the diplomas.  Here are some pictures of the event.

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Conference Notes - Eldoret

29/0814

Today is Friday and the last session of the conference here in Eldoret was held yesterday.  Pastor Tim and I have been teaching through the book of Genesis and all the pastors and leaders here have let us know just how much they have been blessed by this study.  They were also blessed to receive a copy of Pastor Tim's 150 page Genesis Devotional that we had copied and bound into books here in Eldoret for them.  We will be holding a commencement exercise this morning for four graduates - Pastors William Odhiambo and Fred Anyule with Associate of Theology degrees, Pastor Moses Biketi with a Bachelor of Theology degree and Pastor Leonard Ekea with a Masters in Biblical Studies.


Here are some shots taken during the week.

Pastor Tim with Pastor Benson and Pastor Geoffrey

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Rob with Pastor James

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Reuban, William, Dennis, Jeremiah

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William and Emily Odhiambo, Ursula Ekea, Fred Anyule

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Valentine's baby

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My little friend

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Thanks to all of you who have been praying for this conference.  God has been good to us and we have been blessed with His presence, power and protection all through this time.

 

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Interview with Pastor Dennis

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Conference Notes - Eldoret

25/08/14

Sunday morning we all went to the church where Dr. Douglas, who works with Gary in the Medical Ministry Camps, is a pastor of evangelism. There were probably 1200 people in attendance and I was asked to give a greeting.

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The speaker was a well-known preacher from Nigeria who was dressed in a stunning white, silk suit with alligator shoes and bold tie. He gave a show-stopping performance, capped off with an altar call that appealed for those who wanted a blessing from God to come forward with a 5000 schilling offering.  When not enough were inspired to bring the necessary, he then reduced it to a 2000 schilling blessing and got a lot more to come forward. Gary and Rob and I declined to purchase and walked out.

Sunday afternoon was spent in planning and prep for the conference that started on Monday.  And then Sunday evening we were invited to Dr. Douglas' house for dinner with his family. Unfortunately we didn't take any pictures but again we had a feast and a very enjoyable evening.

Monday morning we started the conference with prayer and devotions at six, breakfast at seven, and the first session at 8:30 going on until 9 at night. That is basically the schedule for the next 3 days culminating with a graduation ceremony on Friday.

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And as you can tell from this picture - it is about a 50 degree difference between Lodwar and Eldoret.

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Right now it is raining again and fairly cold as we end this first day with a hot cup of chai.

 

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Travel to Eldoret

25/08/14

Saturday afternoon Rob and Tim and I went to the Lodwar airport to get on our flight to Eldoret.  We also were able to take Leonard and Shadrack with us for their first airplane flight ever!  Initially, there were no seats available for this flight.  However, FLY 540 has never reckoned with the power of the God we serve.  We asked the Lord for seats on this flight Friday, and when we went to the office Saturday morning, they just happened to have two seats available. Imagine that! 

We also spent some time in the local market looking for those particular things that would remind us of Turkana.  I'm holding the local equivalent of a combination chair and pillow called an ekacholong.  All the men carry one of these around with them.

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As news got out that mazungus were in the market - we were swamped by people who wanted to sell us their personal ekacholongs and other things.

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When we got to the airport, we met a group of Spanish university students who had been in Kenya for a month and were on their way back to Nairobi for the flight back to Madrid.  We had about an hour to spend before the plane arrived so Shadrack and I began engaging these guys in conversation. We had a great discussion, asking them about their travels and life in Spain.  We also were able to share the gospel with them and they were engaged but ultimately uninterested.  However we told them that we would be praying for them so if you would join us in prayer for Paula, Alvare, Irene, and Jovi for Jesus to reveal Himself to them and save them we would appreciate that. They actually thanked us for even thinking about praying for them.

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We arrived in Eldoret around 6:45 pm and were met by Gary and Frank who gathered us and all our luggage and we went to a great Chinese restaurant that Gary had discovered.  We had a feast!  Leonard and Shadrack were very skeptical about Chinese cuisine at first - but they were soon wolfing it down.

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Tim and I are making sure our bags are getting off here and not traveling to Eldoret.

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Nataaba

23/08/14

After the conference ended Friday afternoon, we bought some iron sheets (corrugated metal roofing), nails, fasteners and all manner of other stuff and headed out to the church in Nataaba.  This congregation had purchased some land on which to build a new church and the Brad Pederson Memorial Fund donated about half the cost of putting up the structure.  On the way, Rob found a tower he wanted to climb.

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When we arrived at the old church site, we were greeted by many of the congregation gathered together singing and dancing.

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Needless to say they were very happy to see us.  I had come here in February of this year and smiles of recognition told me that they remembered my last visit.

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She's actually smiling.

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I think Leonard is preaching and Shadrack is interpreting - or they are just trying to pose for the camera.

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We visited the site of the new church where construction was not at all advanced since I left there in February.  I hope to see a completed structure soon. Leonard has promised to send pictures.

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On the way back to Lodwar we ran into a wandering herd of camels and Rob jumped out to take a closer view.

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Conference Notes Day 5 by Tim Bourgeois

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We reached the end of the Lodwar Pastor Conference today. It was truly blessed by the Lord from beginning to end. Here are some of the significant things from my viewpoint. The pastors here were very engaged with the teachings and responsive to what they were learning. Having done three Pastor Conferences previously in India, these pastors were the most excited and appreciative for all the teachings. Many described to me how deeply they had been impacted by our studies and that their ministries to their churches would never be the same. The chairman of the pastor’s association was deeply thankful and wanted to stay in touch by email to continue to discuss the teachings and other theological issues. My email might be filled with pastor contact soon because many of the pastors asked to stay in contact.

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I was particularly blessed by how in sync Mike and I were in our understanding of Ephesians and how our emphasis points lined up with each other as he taught chapters 1, 3, 5, and I taught chapters 2, 4, 6. It was like we had discussed notes in advance, but we had zero prior discussions. Since I was a last minute teaching replacement there simply wasn’t time to compare notes in advance. I was still completing my prep the night before the first session.
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We were all blessed to learn on the way back to our rooms from the last session that this conference was the first time all the Lodwar pastors had come together for such an event.

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Conference Notes Day 4

21/08/14

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We had another full day of teaching and fellowship in Lodwar.  Today Pastor Tim taught through all of chapter four of Ephesians and I got through the first half of chapter five.  Again the response was overwhelming to us.  It seemed that every pastor wanted to tell Tim and Rob and I how blessed they have been by our coming to this desolate place to teach them the word of God. Apparently not too many Bible teachers make up to Lodwar.  I cannot count the number of invitations we have received to conduct conferences in other areas.  One pastor from a village on the border with Ethiopia assured me that it would be very easy because they had an airstrip there.

We have pastors from many different denominational stripes attending here and at least one former Muslim who was saved and is now pastoring a church. His heart's desire is to go to Saudi Arabia to minister the gospel to those people.

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There are pastors here who have not been in the saddle for very long, and others who have served as pastors for decades.  But they all seem young in their enthusiasm for the word of God and the proclamation of the gospel.  One of my favorite young pastors is a guy named Spurgeon. I asked him how he got this unusual name and he told me that after he came to Christ, he got hold of a book of C.H. Spurgeon's sermons and he appreciated them so much he took his name.

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All the pastors send their greetings!

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Conference Notes Day 3

20/08/14

Day three here at the Pastors conference was another full and rich time.  In talking to one of the pastors during our break time he struggled to put into words what the teachings have meant to him.  Finally he slapped his chest with his hand and said 'I have never heard anything about what you are teaching. My heart is burning with the word of God that you have brought.'  What this pastor, and the rest cannot fully realize is what a blessing it is to Tim and Rob and I to be able to share the word of God with men who are literally eating it up and are serious about the gospel.

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During our break times, there is always a lot of discussion about the sessions and Tim and I are both very busy answering further questions.

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TGC, Together for the Gospel, has a program called Theological Famine Relief that makes great pastoral books and theological tools available for free to pastors in third world countries like Kenya.  We have taken many books from this organization to the pastors in Kenya and this year we took two boxes of books entitled 'What is the Gospel?' to hand out.  Pastor Tim also brought along 160 copies of a book he wrote to hand out as a resource to these pastors as well.

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Rob and Tim took some time to walk up to the top of the hill on which this facility is built to look at the statue erected on the summit by the Catholic Church for 60 million Kenyan schillings.  I think they wanted to see if they got their money's worth.  The consensus was 'probably not'. 

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When Pastor Tim was teaching, he referred to their hike to the statue and the interpreter instead of saying statue said that they hiked up to the 'dead guy'. They also saw some interesting things along the way.

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We call this the 'Kuku Matatu' - the chicken taxi

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This guy was trying out some flip flops

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And the view from the top was tremendous

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Conference Notes Day 2

19/08/14

It's Tuesday evening here and we have just finished our first full day of the conference.  We have 70 pastors registered and attending and we've had a great beginning day here.  We are teaching through the book of Ephesians and the pastors are enjoying it very much. It is very encouraging to speak to such a hungry, enthusiastic audience and Tim and Rob and I have been very much blessed by the response.

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Pastor Tim preparing for his session

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Registration

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Great sunset over Lodwar - Nice portrait too!

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Conference Notes Day 1

19/08/14

Monday was a fairly quiet day for us as we finished our preparations for the first conference session in the evening.  The original plan was for us to visit a church in Kapua, about 75 km away, but given that we were starting Monday evening, the unreliability of transportation, and the incredibly bad roads, we decided that discretion was the better part of valor and chose to stay and finish our preparations so that the pastors we had come to teach wouldn't be disappointed.  But word had already gone out to the church there that we were coming, and there is no cell reception in the area to inform them that we weren't, so it was decided that Pastor Leonard would be our delegate to them instead. Leonard and Pastor George, who has been our driver, went in our place and brought back some wonderful pictures of the church there.

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As we had accurately assumed, Leonard and George did not make it back in time for the start of the evening session, but they brought back news that the church in Kapua sends its greetings and hoped that next time the mazungus would make it.  The evening session went well and we got back to our rooms around 10.

The venue for the conference is a Catholic High School that has some very good facilities. 40 pastors from outside Lodwar are rooming at the school, with about 40 coming during the day from Lodwar.

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