Hopefully this short video clip will allow you to experience a bit of the flavor of a Kenyan town. Just click the arrow below to view.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
We have enjoyed a great working relationship as the SIM Kenya Country Review Team. Here we are pictured with the staff from the guest house where we have headquartered for two weeks.
Back row l to r: Bruce from the U.S. , Dave from South Africa (team leader), Noah our cook, Gillian from the U.K., Mumo from Kenyan seminary, Patricia our hostess
Front row l to r: Steve our guard, Rosemary canon with the Angelican Church of Kenya, Ruby from Ghana, Jackson our housekeeper
Sunday, March 28, 2010
I worshipped today with our brothers and sisters at New City Fellowship(NCF). This was special to me because New City Fellowship is part of the denomination which Mary and I are members, The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).
New City’s pastor is Joe Muutuki (pictured below with me). Their focus of ministry is to reach an unreached people group in Nairobi – south Asian people, such as Indians, Sri Lankans and others.
Joe is Kenyan. He graduated from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis.
He returned to Nairobi some dozen years ago and planted New City.
It was special to join with Joe and the people of New City in worshipping our Lord today as we spoke and sang in English, Hindi and Swahili.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Our team of six on the Kenya Country Review split up into three teams of two and headed out of Nairobi to interview people in different parts of the country. I was assigned to the team headed to the coastal region of Kenya where we spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
First stop was flying out to the coastal town of Malindi, where we were met by Scott, an SIM staff member who will soon be relocating there. On Wednesday afternoon we drove south to Kenya’s second largest city, Mombasa.
I was out of internet contact for these days, so couldn’t provide a blog update. Here are some photos from this region.
The Indian Ocean and the Kenyan coast is beautiful. Yes, we just had to step foot out on the beach. Matter of fact, Scott, Gillian and myself we walked down the beach to a pizza place for dinner after a full day of interviewing. The beach reminded me of some of the wide, sandy beaches on the Carolina coast, but much less populated.
The weather was unseasonably hot - 90’s during the day with high humidity. And no air conditioning. I sweat for three days and two nights. Slept under a mosquito net in a sparse room at the Lutheran Guest House.
We interviewed pastors, lay people, other ministry people, SIM staff members and some denominational leaders. One thing we realized quickly, Nairobi is not Kenya…and Kenya is not Nairobi. Just as Chicago, New York or Los Angeles is not the U.S. It is so much more.
Here are some of those we interviewed
Students and faculty at Pwani Bible Institute, who are preparing to be pastors, teachers and Christian workers.
Bernard is serving as a light to the M community along the coast having received training and support from SIM and now equipping others.
These two industrious and faith-filled women are being light among women, widows and orphans.
Now I am back in Nairobi working with the team to compile our findings, list our recommendations and present our review next Wednesday. Pray particularly as we discern “What is God’s mandate for SIM in Kenya in the coming years”? There are many needs to serve the Church here, but what is our part. Thank you for praying.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Nearly 200 students are studying at Scott to prepare for ministry. Some will be going out as pastors, evangelists, missionaries, church planters and Christian educators.
I was privilege to be invited to be the chapel speaker today. I talked on three global trends that are impacting missions today. I opened with Acts 13:47 and ask them to consider what vision and calling God was placing on their hearts.
Thank you for praying. Dr. Paul Mumo told me at the end of the day that the students were still talking about what I had presented and that they were really challenged. Plus, I saved 10 minutes at the end when I asked them to discuss the implications of what I had presented. They said they liked the interaction and found it very refreshing instead of having a straight sermon. So the Lord answered prayer for a time that blessed the students.
Here are photos of the Scott campus.
Here are some of the students we interviewed to help us understand the state of the Church in Kenya from a young person’s perspective.
These were very articulate and vision-filled leaders. In order, here is what they desire to do upon graduating in the next year or two:
- Plant a church in Nairobi that will be sending out church planters into the countryside
- Teach in a public school as a means to reach students with the gospel
- Plant a church among an unreached, rural people in the far north of Kenya
- Plant a church among his tribe to reach them with the Gospel
- Be part of a team to bring the Gospel to an unreached people group in northern Kenya
Here is the road into Scott’s campus.
Today three of the review team drove out of Nairobi about one hour to Scott Theological College. Along the way we enjoyed some incredible Kenyan countryside scenery.
Then we came upon this giraffe.
There it was. In the wild. On the way back from Scott we saw five giraffe, gazelles, wildebeest, and zebra.
It has been a long time since I felt such a child-like excitement. Here is another photo of the Kenyan countryside.
What are your impressions? Comment below.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
This morning I worshipped at Nairobi Chapel www.nairobichapel.org
As the title says above I was worshipping with the Body and with the body. My fellow brothers and sisters from many different tribes, tongues and nations swayed, clapped, danced and together lifted up worship to our Lord.
The church meets under a huge white tent. It makes sense with the moderate climate of Nairobi. The service included four main parts woven together in an incredible sense of community and connectedness.
First was singing and worship, followed by greeting each other, followed by an interview with a couple sharing in such an authentic way how God transformed their lives and marriage, followed by Pastor Oscar preaching on Jonah 3.
He gave a powerful message on how God didn’t call Jonah to convert the Ninevites, but to deliver God’s message. The point – God calls us today to deliver his message. It is up to him to do the converting.
While in Nairobi, our team is staying at home converted into a B & B. Today after church I walked through some of the neighborhood on my way to a cafe about one mile away. I am blogging from this cafe, using their wireless internet connection.
Here are some street scenes from the neighborhood that I took on the walk over.
This seems true in the city and countryside.
Let’s just say there are very few overweight Kenyans.
This would be a middle class neighborhood. Apartments, condos, houses.
What are your impressions? Feel free to post a comment below.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Our review of the SIM work in Kenya consists of 8 days of interviews; three days of compiling the information, discovering findings, making recommendations, then writing the report; the last day is presenting the report and recommendations to the SIM Kenya leadership team and interacting with them about it.
Below part of the team is interacting with the SIM Kenya director, Dwight Hazard. Here’s a small world story: Dwight graduated from St. Cloud State University, which is in my hometown of St. Cloud, Minnesota.
We have three teams who spread out to various locations. Yesterday, Friday, the team I was on interview people involved in medical ministry and pastor training. Above I am standing with some on the review team and in the middle Bill and Esther O’Donovan, long time SIM missionaries who are now teaching at Moffett Bible School, training Kenyan pastors. Matter of fact, Esther’s parents were life-long missionaries with SIM and their daughter and son-in-law are missionaries with SIM.
For my wife Mary’s sake I included the cat in the bottom right corner of the photo that happen to be walking through. Any comments you want to add below about the cat?
Today, Saturday we just finished a full day of interviewing, which was our third of eight days. Tomorrow, Sunday morning we head to three different churches and the afternoon will be open for some rest and refreshment.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Rift Valley is so wide and long that we were told it can be seen from space. I believe it. To give you some idea of the size of this valley, a very visible volcano sits in the middle and there is probably 40 miles of valley still on either side of the volcano.
Right over my shoulder is the first ledge that descends down to the valley. I was standing at 8,000 feet. The valley floor is 10 miles away. The Rift Valley is home to the Massi tribe, nomadic livestock farmers. It is a lush, green valley.
The valley is famous for having been the childhood home and dirt paths for some of the world’s fastest long distance and marathon runners.
Here is another view of the Rift Valley off in the distance from the veranda of a home at a Bible school we visited today to conduct some interviews. Not a bad view to study by.
Part of our Kenya Country Review Team drove outside of Nairobi today. Here are a few street scenes I captured.
Any caption come to mind for this photo above. Go ahead and post a comment below and give me a laugh.
We passed through this small village. Here is a typical roadside market, with the beautiful Kenyan sky as the backdrop.
Our country review team is staying at a bed and breakfast retreat center about 15 minutes from downtown Nairobi. This will be home for 2 weeks, except for a day or two where we might travel to another city or two.
The country review team (pictured above meeting with some of the leaders of SIM Kenya) has come together very well. We are six people from five different countries.
Monday I am the chapel speaker at Scott Theological Seminary, so I would appreciate your prayers for that. And thank you to those who have emailed me personal notes to let me know you are praying.
By the way, did North Carolina Tar Heels even get an invitation to the NIT?
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Can you match the following occupations with the right faces? These are some of the SIM missionaries in Addis Ababa. There are over 100 from nearly 10 different nations. What an array of talents, experience and calling.
- Family doctor
- Theological professor
- Mus lim community specialist
- Elementary teacher
- Office manager
- Home maker
- Ministry president
- Missionary kid
SIM helped establish the evangelical Church in Ethiopia over 100 years ago. One indigenous denomination that grew out of that work now has approx. 7 million believers in over 8,000 churches.
Today SIM is responding to the current needs in the country and in areas where the Ethiopian Church desires to be strengthened.
One area is Bible and seminary training for Ethiopian pastors. SIM was instrumental in helping to start the first Bible college that is now graduating over 100 Ethiopians each year. Just a few years ago SIM worked with three Ethiopian denominations to help them establish the first Ethiopian evangelical seminary – the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology. Above I am with the administrator and president of the school and our SIM Ethiopia director, Steve Bryan.
Small world story - The faculty of both schools are Ethiopians and a few expatriates. I met the young couple below, Jason and Cara Meyer. Jason finished his Ph.D. from Southern Seminary and he and Cara went out with SIM for the past two years.
As we talked, I discovered they will be relocating to Minneapolis in a few months after their service in Addis with SIM. He will be faculty at a new seminary that John Piper is starting. I mentioned to Jason that a childhood friend of mine, Sam Crabtree, is executive pastor with John Piper. Jason said Sam was also pastor at his home church in South Dakota when Jason was growing up. And we made the connection in Addis!
My three days in Addis Ababa were full, productive and a blessing. I wasn’t able to blog, because internet is very slow (only dial-up speeds) and there is no wi fi. The government controls the internet, and for some reason is not allowing it to develop.
Addis is at 7,500 feet elevation. No wonder I was short of breath after walking up three flights of stairs.
The SIM medical doctor who heads one of our HIV/AIDS ministries set up a meeting for me with the archbishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The archbishop has welcomed the ministry of SIM and also has the doctor teach in their orthodox seminary on the Gospel and mercy ministry. The orthodox church dates their roots back to New Testament when the Ethiopian eunuch came to faith and brought the Gospel back to his country.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Initially I was asked to bring with me five boxes at 50 lbs each of materials. It is now 10 boxes. It will go with me as checked baggage.
Currently it will cost $250 per box. Pray that it would be less when I check in tomorrow, and that all the boxes would arrive with me in Addis Ababa on Saturday night. Oh, and pray my suitcase makes it. (Tough to last 3 weeks on one pair of underwear).
Monday, March 08, 2010
I had good meetings today with the SIM USA Board of Directors. A diverse group of people who bring a board spectrum of experience and perspective. Today was various committee meetings.
Tomorrow we meet together in a joint session for updates and for the board members to provide advice and counsel on directional and financial matters.