February 1997

Thank you so much for making it possible for me to participate in the VCC missionary outreach to Kenya, Africa. The Lord did marvelous things! Many lives were forever changed, including my own.
I found the people in Kenya to be very warm and receptive to us. It was very easy to approach them on the streets to tell them about Jesus. If the people saw that we were handing out tracts, they would come to us to get one. They are hungry to know more about God. Most of them live from day to day in deep poverty. There are no food stamps or free clinics, so they must look upward for the help they need.
The first couple of days in Nairobi were hard for us. We found calling home next to impossible, and since the area was in severe drought, we were never sure when we would have water or electricity. Also, seeing the people in such need caused a deep sorrow and hopelessness to descend upon us. On our second evening there, however, the Lord ministered to us into the night. The heaviness lifted, and God’s great grace came upon us. Lamentations 3:22 – 23 became so real to me from that day forth. God’s faithfulness and compassions were new to us every morning, empowering us to do the task He had called us there to do.
We ministered three days in the slums and three days on the streets of Nairobi. The response was overwhelming. I think I prayed for more people during the two weeks I was in Kenya than I have prayed for in the past ten years. Many accepted Christ, and many wanted prayer for specific needs, especially for healing and jobs. (The people are very industrious, and they do what they can to make a living, but it usually is not enough. Due to the poor diet and lack of medical care, disease is rampant.)
Before we left the states, we filled our suitcases with clothes, medicines, Bibles, and peanut butter. In addition to meeting their spiritual needs, we wanted to be able to meet some of their physical needs. We took peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with us when we went out on the streets. After finding out that the people in the up-country were experiencing famine in addition to the draught, we took up a collection among ourselves to buy food for them.
Our home base and host church was the Gospel Tabernacle where our sister school resides. The students and congregants went out of their way to make us feel at home and to help us with ministry, especially with interpreting. Our first Saturday in Nairobi, the ladies had a luncheon for us. They prepared a variety of their native foods. Before serving us, however, they had us sit in chairs away from the eating area. It seemed strange, but we were guests, so we didn’t ask any questions. Soon we saw three ladies coming to us with a pitcher, a towel, and a basin. There was no running water at the church, so they brought these things to us so that we could wash our hands. When I saw them coming towards us, my eyes filled with tears as I was reminded of the Last Supper when Jesus girded Himself with a towel, took a basin and pitcher, and washed the disciples’ feet. The love and humbleness of Christ ran deep in these precious people.
Overall, I was blessed to minister to the ladies at the church on three different occasions; at the Saturday luncheon and then on two other evenings after the rest of the group went to the up-country. When it became evident that there were too many people and not enough room for needed supplies in the vehicle contracted to take us to Loitoktok, I volunteered to stay in town. At first it seemed a little frightening to be thousands of miles away from home, in a strange country, separated from the only people I really knew, but I knew this was God’s will for me, and His peace rested upon me. In fact, my time alone in Nairobi became the most precious time of all for me. I became so aware of the Lord’s
presence with me the whole time. He had shown me so much of His love and grace from the time I began praying about whether I should go to Kenya, but, through the little things, He endeared Himself to me more and more. It was also during this time that my heart was knit together with my sisters and brothers at the church. They came to visit me at the guest house. They escorted me to the church for the ladies’ meetings when I ministered. One family took me home after our meetings and then took me on a couple of tours of the city. For me, it seemed that the longer I stayed and the closer I got to the people, the more powerful the ministry became. It was as though Jesus had saved the best wine for last.
Before the group left for Loitoktok, the bishop’s wife had asked me if I wanted to preach at the church on Sunday morning. At the time, I felt my plate was quite full, so to speak, and I was not sure I had the ability to preach, especially to eight hundred to a thousand African people. I graciously thanked her for the opportunity, indicating my uncertainty. When I arrived at the church that Sunday, the first service was still in progress. To make a long story short, upon it’s completion, the pastor took me into his office and proceeded to tell me that he had to go to another church, and he wanted me to preach in the next service. I only had a small pocket Bible with me, so he gave me a large Bible, a pen, and some paper. He put me in a room and said I had about forty-five minutes to prepare. He apologized, talked about being instant in season and out of season, spoke of his great confidence in me, and then left. We were stretched a lot while we were in Kenya, but this was the ultimate for me. Again, God was so faithful. He brought to my mind all the points of a message I had prepared for the ladies’ meetings, but had not used.
I was sad when I left Kenya. I left a part of my heart there. But I also brought a part of theirs with me. In the flesh, there is nothing about Kenya that would make one want to go back, but within two weeks of my return, I was longing to be there again. I pray God’s will be done.
I hope you enjoy the enclosed banana print. The Africans are very artistic, and this is just one of their many native crafts.
You have sewn richly into the soil of Kenyan hearts. I have already reaped rich rewards from my time there. I pray that much fruit will remain and that, if you have not already, you will be tangibly rewarded for your part in extending and building up the Kingdom of God.

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