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MikeH
Posted on: 2009/6/27 15:01
Needs to get out a bit more!
Joined: 2005/8/31
From: Dresden, Germany
Posts: 1174
Kenya trip
We will be heading out to Kenya tomorrow to minister amongst a group of churches called Hosanna Most High Foundation. Our invitation came through a brother that was studying in Dresden and meet with us in the church. We would value your prayers as this is my first such visit!

Mike
robertw
Posted on: 2009/6/28 2:14
Needs to get out a bit more!
Joined: 2005/2/15
From: Independence, MO
Posts: 1910
Re: Kenya trip
Praying for you and yours Mike.

Ron B
Posted on: 2009/6/30 11:42
Needs to get out a bit more!
Joined: 2005/1/20
From: Reading, UK
Posts: 3861
Re: Kenya trip
good to hear of this Mike. Will be praying.
MikeH
Posted on: 2009/7/30 11:33
Needs to get out a bit more!
Joined: 2005/8/31
From: Dresden, Germany
Posts: 1174
Re: Kenya trip
Thanks for your prayers, we had a great time and all arrived back safely, though our daughter, Katya, had dysentery while there, but she is back to good health. I will give more details later, but have to use an internet cafe at present as came home to find that Deutsche Telekom had disconnected our internet as we were paying too much!!!!

Mike
Ron B
Posted on: 2009/7/30 11:39
Needs to get out a bit more!
Joined: 2005/1/20
From: Reading, UK
Posts: 3861
Re: Kenya trip
Hi Mike
Good to have you back. Look forward to hearing more about the trip.
MikeH
Posted on: 2009/8/12 16:29
Needs to get out a bit more!
Joined: 2005/8/31
From: Dresden, Germany
Posts: 1174
Re: Kenya trip - Report 1 - Background and hospitality
Thanks again for your prayers, we had a very profitable time and were grateful for everything we received. I will details as I can find time to write them. There is a lot I would like to say, perhaps too much, but I hope you don't mind me sharing my experiences.

Perhaps, I should start with some background. Just over a year ago we started an International Church in Dresden which conducts its meetings in both German and English. This was not a completely new venture and so we had a good number of people to start with. There is another English speaking church in town, but it belongs to a rather strict Baptist denomination and over the years several people have joined us from that church, normal after they have been asked to leave it. Just after we started last year a brother called Isaac joined us from that church. Isaac is from Kenya and was only with us for a few months until his studies finished. Before he returned to Kenya, he suggested that we come and minister among the group of churches he was associated with in Kenya. I confess I didn't take this very seriously as it didn't fit with what we were expecting to do, but he continued to press the matter, and after exchanging ideas of what they wanted from us we agreed to find a way to go out and minister to them. To say that we didn't know them and they didn't know us was an understatement as will become clearer later.

We were able to find some cheap flights with Egyptair and so myself, Gabi my wife and Katya our 14 year old daughter traveled by an overnight flight on 28th July. We had cleared passport control and collected our luggage by 4:30am, and I had suggested that they meet us at 6:00am. So we had to hang around Nairobi airport for an hour and a half. It was during this time I realised the only contact information we had was a PO Box in a town I had never heard off and some email addresses. No phone numbers, no mobile/cell phones etc. Before going out, I had contacted a few people that I knew were in Kenya, though most were not in Kenya at the same time as us. However, Matthew Barrow had provided some contact details and some useful information, so we sort of had a fall back position. Fortunately, at 6:00am prompt several brethern suddenly arrived and greeted us much to our great relief and we were taken to someones house, given breakfast and allowed to get some sleep. The next day we travel by bus to the West of Kenya near a place called Busia and we stayed in a bungalow belong to a Major in the Kenyan navy (ranks were standardised a few years ago) in a village called Igero.

For those of you used to Africa or other less developed parts of the world, what comes next will seem very non-descript, but, apart from a couple of holidays in nice hotels, I had not visited any part of 'real' Africa; Gabi had done a missions trip about 20+ years ago. Actually, I am somewhat grateful for those times camping at the Summer Conference, as it is a prepares one for what is everyday life in Kenya. The bungalow was pleasant, though to limit the abiltiy of bugs to populate hidden spaces there were no ceilings and the walls only went up to the rafters. The roof was tin and when it rained conversation became almost impossible. There were no connected services ie no running water, no electricity, no gas pipe, no sewage, no telephone, though most use mobile/cell phones which are easy to obtain. The water comes from a borehole, which a lad was constantly drawing up by hand and filling large containers at strategic places around the compound, cooking and heating water is either with bottled gas or wood burning 'stove', there were two pit latrines, fortunately far enough from the borehole to be safe. We were offered a shower; bliss one thought, until one realised this means a bowl of warm water in enclosed space just like a water closet (WC) without the equipment and the water runs away to the nearby crops. The food was typically stew together with Kale, rice, chapatis or a maize flour water mix called Ugali which one is supposed to eat communally with ones hands. The meat is much tougher then one finds in the developed world, and so tooth picks are essential after any meal. The most disconcerting thing was to find that the meat was not wrapped in plastic cling film, but the chickens came wrapped in feathers and clucked and the sheep were wrapped in wool and kept fresh a lot longer At one point Katya had to go to market to select a sheep for a feast, and was worried that she might have to help prepare it; fortunately for here that didn't happen. Only the beef was prepared at a shop, because a whole family can't eat one cow. What was funny was seeing several places called hotel and butchery. They were often very small without apparently any rooms and one began to develop a picture of Sweeney Todd; you check in, but leave in a very different way. Someone explained that Kenyans thought hotel sounded important so all the cafes were called Hotels. Please don't think there is anything derogatory in my meanings; there is not. I am trying to express the feelings of a city boy, in this environment. We were treated with incredible kindness, and it is impossible to describe the extent to which everyone looked after us. Apart from three meals a day, our washing was done, shoes cleaned and we even had afternoon tea served. Sitting outside one afternoon, I realised why the colonial life could be very appealing. By the way, this house was probably one of the better ones in the area, others were true mud huts with thatched roofs.

After two weeks 'up country' we returned to Nairobi and stayed there for a week, though it was though the rural lifestyle had been transfered to the city, except there was running water and a sewage system most of the time. Our last week was some personal time and Isaac's in-laws agreed to put us up. He is a quantity surveyor and again we were shown unbelievable kindness.

Mike
MikeH
Posted on: 2009/8/14 12:03
Needs to get out a bit more!
Joined: 2005/8/31
From: Dresden, Germany
Posts: 1174
Re: Kenya trip - Report 2 - Ministry
As to minsitry, we had been given a schedule of things they wanted us to cover. I would speak for a day seminar to the missions council, which we found out later was the management committee for the denomination, which comprised around 60-65 churches mainly in Kenya, but some in Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania. Then we would have a two day seminar repeated in three places. The first day, I spoke to leaders, and the second day Gabi spoke to women. I would also ministered at three 'assembly meetings' which were monthly(?) gathering of the whole diocese. I decided to start each seminar with an introduction, setting out four bases for my teaching. These were: there is one God, who is God indeed, and expects our total committment; the Lord Jesus Christ is head of the Church wherever it happens to gather and under whatever umbrella it is formed; the bible is the only reference book that I have (though I believe in prophecy, but only where it explains scripture, or provides guidance for today, not if it expands the revelation); and there is a new testament. I was asked to speak to the Missions Council on: Stewardship - I took the first third of the time to speak on their primary responsibility to be stewards of the mystery of God , I then spoke on the New Testament approach to money and finances, which seems to be based on the idea of common ( the Greek word - koinos, which includes koinonia in the family), I had prepared some material on how old testament ideas were being fulfilled, but decided it was safer not to risk upset and left this out, I also covered some very practical aspects based on the idea of segregation duties, and segregating the management and accounting for assets; church administration - this should be to make the work of the ministry (to the Lord or to the people) easy, if should never overtake or replace the ministry; church discipline - we need to be careful to distinguish seekers from the saved, Jude addresses the former as do passages to Timothy, while Paul's advice to Corinthians is a good basis for the saved; and servanthood - I based this on parables mainly, because so often the Lord talks about the master (himself) and servants without any distinction between them, doulos=slave and we are all unprofitable servants, we just get up tomorrow and do the same things for the master. The seminar that was repeated three times, was to cover the following areas: Faith - in some senses a difficult subject, because it is so easy, one just believes God, whatever He has said about or into a particular situation; Leadership - I started by talking about our experiences in the world, and that the KoG operates on a totally different principle, first and foremost I am an example for others to follow, then I teach and then with care rebuke as though handling my father, mother, brother or sister; and a topic of my choice, which I chose the New Covenant (Ron's influence ) where I focussed mainly on the one baptism. Gabi then spoke on: Women's responsibility in the church; Husband/Wife relationships; and her topic of own choice was, A Woman after God's own heart. For the Sunday meetings I spoke on the following topics: Acts 19 - Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you first believed?; The sermon on the mount - the greatest evangelical message very preached; and Jesus' last discussion with His disciples in John's gospel - Where do we go from here?

The question and answer sessions at the end were sometimes challenging though I think Gabi had questions that challenged me more, and brought me up against issues that do not exist in the Western church. For example: "My husband has recently died and his brother now wishes to inherit me, and he is both entitled to, expected to by the community, and wishes to? But I don't want to be inherited by him as he is not a believer (he would almost certainly have at least one other wife), what do you recommend?" We suggested that the elders of the church should meet with the elders of the community and explain the situation and seek to support her in her desire not to be married to an unbeliever. Or again, "I am one of three wives and my husband doesn't love me. How do I handle this very difficult situation?" This was the question that brought into sharp focus for me that our primary purpose is to preach the gospel. The only thing that could make a difference for this woman, if it wasn't already, was if the fruit of the Spirit were developing in her life: love, joy, peace, etc. Any form of aid would achieve virtually nothing; it could even make things worse. If money was given, it would almost certainly go to the husband, and with his new found wealth, might get himself another wife, only exacerbating her problem.

As to the churches etc, they were concerned that they lacked teaching, but it was very difficult to get a clear idea whether people could or could not read and therefore would benefit from bibles. They certainly expressed a view that they were forming lots of new churches going from 7 to over 60 in a few years and could easily start a lot more, but didn't have the pastors (trained or otherwise) to take on the role. Hopefully, we helped a little. They seemed to appreciate what was shared, and they were keen for us to go back, though whether that is possible we will have to see. It certainly became clear, that there was a lot of good that could be achieved. We had a sort of debrief about three quarters of the way through the time, which was very useful. A couple of people expressed a view that they were very concerned about whether Isaac had done the right thing in inviting us, in case we brought strange doctrines; they seemed satisfied that we were preaching acceptable things. I also explained that we (or at least I) had felt equally concerned, because if we had not preached what they wanted to hear they could have cancelled the rest of the time, leaving us stranded in Kenya for nearly a month. That had been one of the reasons for my introduction; I thought we might as well find out as soon as possible if we were on the same page; one of the leaders said this had reduced him to tears (of joy ) because it was so long since he heard such things. They apologies for that their buildings were very simple: home fired bricks some windows and doors, rafters and tin roofs, with wooden benches. I expressed the view that they were very appropriate; they were no inconsistent with the buildings people lived in and if anyone came to them, it would be for the message not the furnishings. We saw some church buildings that would not have been out of place in Dallas, Texas. Large, grand and totally inconsistent with the life style of the majority of the people. These churches were offering the potential of riches to those that wanted it

Mike
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