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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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Desert Adventure

18/08/14

We had a very interesting Sunday.  In the morning we visited two churches, one right outside of Lodwar called Juluk, led by Pastor Beatrice Natto, and the other in town at Pioneer Ministries, led by Pastor George Lokwawi.  Pastor Tim spoke at Juluk and I spoke at Pioneer Ministries.

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In the afternoon, we took a trip to Lake Turkana where there is a small resort. Pastor Shadrack characterized this trip as simply 'entertainment'. which as it turned out was anything but entertaining.  It was however an adventure.  Things were going fairly well (given the conditions of the Kenyan roads) when we developed some mechanical failure in the vehicle about 12 km from our destination.  Normally this wouldn't have been a problem as we could call someone to pick us up.  But apparently this place was a vast dead zone for cell reception. Pastor George and Pastor Shadrack attempted to effect repairs but things were beyond mere roadside mechanics.

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Pastor Leonard and I decided to start walking to the resort to see if we could get a vehicle to take us back to Lodwar. Rob stayed with the vehicle to lend moral support to the others.

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As you can guess, this area is rather devoid of helpful passing vehicles.

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But there are goats.

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Eventually Leonard and I did run into a guy on a motorbike who agreed to take us the rest of the way into the resort. He wanted to take both of us but I'm not really a fan of three on a motorbike.

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Meanwhile I stayed in the shade to await his return.

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I finally got to the resort an hour later, after one minor wreck and a skinned knee and shaken confidence in the driver.  Our plan was to return with a vehicle to pick the others up, come to the resort, have lunch and then hire a drive back to Lodwar.  Meanwhile, ignorant of the planning going on back at the broken Land Rover, Rob was put on a rare passing vehicle to take him to Lodwar with George to get a mechanic to come and fix the car. When Leonard arrived to pick them up, only Shadrack was there.  Leonard brought him back to the resort where we negotiated a steep fee for a vehicle to take us to town.  Unfortunately, they demanded cash in advance but we were fairly stuck there so we paid.  It was now about 9:30 pm.

All was going well until we had passed the broken down Rover and gone about 3 km when the rear wheel of our vehicle decided to give up the ghost. My thought was 'Okay, we'll just put on the spare and proceed'.  Which would have worked had the spare been aired up recently.  It was just as flat as the other.  Thinking quickly, but not very soundly, it was decided that Shadrack and the driver would walk back to the abandoned Rover and pull a tire to put on our vehicle.  I took a nap.

When Shadrack and the driver returned, they had no tire with them as they had discovered that it was a much bigger tire and wouldn't do the trick.  We were pretty much out of options at that point and I was beginning to think I'd be camping in this desert overnight.  But we had prayed earlier, asking God to send a vehicle our way to take us to Lodwar; and just as I was settling down to go back to sleep, a car showed up. 

It was a small wagon type vehicle with four people already in it.  I was squeezed into the middle in the back seat between two rather large women, while Shadrack and Leonard were put in the boot - the cargo area that was about 3 feet by 3 feet.  Thus ensconced, we slowly made our way home. It became rather obvious that these travelers had enjoyed a bit too much of the happy juice, as my companion in the second seat kept offering me a drink from the bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream she was finishing.  I kept praying.

We finally arrived at our place of residence early Monday morning around 12:15.  We got out of the car, thanked God and these well-meaning Good Samaritans, and went to bed. 

 

 

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Travel to Lodwar

We left for the airport in Nairobi for a flight to Lodwar. There were some delays in getting some necessary supplies for the trip which put us on the road behind schedule.  Nairobli traffic was its usual hectic mess.  At one point on the way to the airport we finally got up some speed just to find out a car was crossing multiple lanes between other cars and we were destined for a high-speed impact.  All of us felt the hand of God guide the car amoungst the schreeching tires and certain impact.  We came through with un-belief that the crash did not occur and then thanked God for his obvious protection.

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 The flight to Eldoret and on to Lodwar was uneventful although we were all a bit fatigued from the trip; some of us more than others.

 

We arrived safely to the Lodwar International Airport:

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A previous flight was not so lucky:

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We gathered our bags in front of the terminal.

 

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After packing up we made it about a half mile before we had a flat tire in town. It was a great chance to meet some of the locals.

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It is now Sunday morning and we are well rested and heading out to worship in some of the local churches.

 

Please continue to pray for the team.  Your prayers are felt and are critical to our time here.

 

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Pastors Conference Lodwar and Eldoret 2014

Pastors Conference Lodwar and Eldoret 2014

 

15/08/14

 

 

 

We made it to Nairobi late Thursday night after a couple of flights – Seatac to Paris; Paris to Nairobi – and arrived at the Hampton House around 10:30. After a good nights sleep, Rob and Tim and I went to one of my favorite spots, the Java House, for a thoroughly western breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast...and of course some of that famous Kenyan coffee.

 

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We went to the Village Market to exchange our dollars for schillings and to take care of our communication needs and spent a couple of hours at the Maasai Market looking (and occasionally buying) some of the local products. In between, we met up with Kenneth Mbugua, an associate pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Nairobi. I had contacted Kenneth prior to coming because we have been using his book, Gaining the World, Losing the Soul – How the Prosperity Gospel Distorts the Good News to great effect in our pastors conferences. He was very encouraged by our ministry to his people here in Kenya and we invited him to come to our conference in Eldoret so he could see firsthand what we are doing. He indicated that he would probably come up for a day or so while we are there.

 

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We then spent two hours in Nairobi traffic to go to our favorite bookstore – ACTS – on the campus of the Africa International University, where we loaded up on books to supply the pastors at the conferences.

We head out tomorrow at 3 pm for Lodwar and the Pastors Conference there. We're flying there because of the extremely bad roads that are often frequented by bandits.  But the downside to flying there is that our weight limit is severely challenged. Please pray that the airline will grant us much favor with regard to excessive baggage fees.

 

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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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