Field Report: Northern Kenya

First, Praise the Lord with us!

The last weekend of March was a landmark occasion for praise to God for the Baalah Bible Presbyterian Church with baptisms for 74 new church members. At long last! Longtime readers will remember the several times we planned and prayed for it through the Mission Board’s Praise and Prayer Network. Every time it failed through lack of any or all the factors necessary: ordained pastors to do the rite, finance for transport, flying weather for airstrip, political peace, security, and visitor accommodations.

Well, somehow we succeeded this time. Rev Solomon Muthukya and his son, Rev Joshua Musyoka, both of Independent Presbyterian Church, did the honors, both in qualifying interviews with each candidate and in preaching and in baptizing. They commended the candidates afterwards to us: every one of those mamas knew what Christ had done for them! Those young people knew their catechism! Not one failed to pass muster. Praise the Lord for the long mentoring and instruction by the pastors, both on the spot at Baalah and via cell phone instruction on speaker phone from Nairobi. All our pastors praise the Lord for His grace. A few of our secondary students in schools in Lower Kenya were mourning because they did not have the fare to get back home for their baptisms, but they will get their turn together with the sixty others who had previously been set aside by Baalah pastors, either as needing further understanding of doctrine or as lacking some aspect of good testimony of behavior as becomes followers of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sixty in the wings! In case you are wondering—they know, they have been taught: baptism is not something which bestows upon you salvation from sin, it is only the sign to witnesses of the saving faith you have in your Saviour, Jesus. In Northern Kenya, that means I am a believer in Jesus! I am not Muslim! Unfortunately, the Baalah Village Elders had gotten the idea that nobody was allowed in the Church that day except those baptized. We learned afterwards they had wanted to see their wives and children baptized, but were misinformed that they were not free to come and observe. Alas! We’ll make that welcome very plain the next time coming! I hope you will be praying for the next sixty?

Second, Please Help Us Pray!

Our Dear Outreachers, you must have learned a lot about the great North of Kenya through these letters from us. You never knew there was such an area! Nor that it was such a vast mission field! There are many adversaries, just as the evangelists in New Testament times found out in Europe. But also there are many open doors. Of all our adversaries of whom you have read in these letters, I’ll bet you never thought there was ONE who lives abroad, (receiving our letters from a Leaker), who openly said to those churches to whom he had access, “Those are all lies, there is no such development as that in Baalah, neither school nor a real church; there is no church building, they are just under trees! All those stories which Judith and Peter write about are made up, they are just lying to you! As for such confrontations they tell of with officials, or with enemies, it is just stories to make money, that’s all!” It was a jealous adversary in our Northern area who, receiving our updates from him, told him that our updates were all a hoax. And due to his enmity to us, he chose to believe her. Actually, it was not bad that she shared our updates all over the North, because it validates us since if they were not true, Northerners would have long since protested to the Government to shut us up. But too many locals know the truth. Thus it is good when visitors from your churches come and see for themselves. We were delighted to have Elder Ron Dudley and his wife Connie from the Suncoast Bible Presbyterian Church in Florida celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary by coming to Baalah to witness the baptisms! Wow! Our Welcome Mat was surely out, and despite all the “modern inconveniences,” they were troopers, and we loved having them.

Last quarterly letter I wrote you about the need for safaris. Building on that, I am asking you to pray for the Lord to help us get a desert-worthy safari vehicle. The Pajero we have had has finished its day, been sabotaged in its long service, and is now worn out. The last time we tried taking it to the North, it broke down just beyond Isiolo, and had to be towed and repaired at Nanyuki before driven back to Nairobi while another was hired for the balance of the Northern journey. We are putting the Pajero up for sale. Our mechanic thinks he can get us 700,000 shillings for it, and after his broker’s 5%, there could be nearly $7,000.00 (using the rising dollar rate of 90). We missionaries should not raise funds through our office-mailed letters, so I am here only wanting to lay this project before your prayers as groundwork.

Our school bank, Barclays, can give us an AFB loan big enough to pay for a new or well-conditioned Toyota Landcruiser, with four years to pay back at a reasonable rate per month. For down payment, the sale of Pajero could perhaps give us a good start-up. If we should default on payments, the bank will re-possess only the vehicle, as the loan will not be connected to any property as security. How does that sound to you financiers? Better than what we are up against now for any safari by hired vehicle: for a six-day safari to the church at Baalah each month by hired vehicle (one day up to reach Baalah, one day back to Nairobi) that is KS160,000= US$1777.00). Four days while up there at Baalah/Korr/Marsabit @ 25,000/= per day (KS100,000 for four days) becomes US$1,100.00. Total cost of vehicle: $2,888.00 for one Church safari. With our own vehicle, we pay fuel, oil, tires, and repairs—nowhere near that much.

Second item for prayers: that SD card again. The North of Kenya needs strong prayers by those who love her. There are meetings going on now for security, Muslim-Christian relations, Christian zones, Muslim zones, outdoor preaching where churches are at risk and need Christian encouragement, protection for Muslims, and for protection of Christians. We need lots of prayers for the North. The best way to evangelize restricted areas, as all evangelical Northern churches agree, is by the SD card. We still need funds for Peter to re-record his Transition Message on how Rendille traditions came from the Levitical Law Book (Leviticus) and are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Then we need to buy more solar-powered players for the SD—say one for each village which can be played to a group, or borrowed by one or two huts at a time. Reember that the Rendille card is 8 hours playing length, has 51 Psalms, the whole John Gospel, Rendille catechism, chapters 1-7 of Luke, Rendille Christian songs, their history, their traditions, and even some theology, comparing and contrasting Rendille ideas about God and those Biblical. Several Rendille pastors and university students worked with Peter in the whole recording which was played free over Anglican radio SIFA (Praise) in the North a few hours each day. The Borana people are distressed as many of their people convert to Islam as a means of self-protection against terrorism, and they want this SD in their own mother tongue to reach them.

Pray for this outreach! It is not cheap, but it is so good, so lasting, so easy to pass around, and so perfect for illiterates to play the tiny SD in their cell phones, in radios, and in the Solar Player. After the Lord helps us pay for the replaced school roof and the desks destroyed by the falling roof, we will use all funds available for a vehicle and for the SD card ministry. Praise the Lord with us that now, with yearly fees to governments paid, our only recurrent monthly need for the rest of 2015 is monthly payroll, for we joyfully tell you once again that class supplies, texts, firewood and school food are all sponsored by our Lord through Kenyan well-wishers. Praise Him, Praise Him!

Yours for Jesus in Northern Kenya!

Judith Collins