Serving the Lord in Kenya

November, 2018

Greetings in the name of the Lord,

Thank you for your prayer and support. I have been doing well in my service at the Bible College of East Africa. I just want to share with you about a few happenings this November 2018. For this term, I taught a subject called Teaching Methods. It covers different methods useful in Christian education. One of them is a field trip. In order to learn this method better, students were expected to organize a real field trip; they chose to visit the National Archives. The National Archives is located in the very center of the city of Nairobi. It is convenient for us because it takes about thirty minutes to reach there using public transportation like a matatu (a minibus). In that word matatu, I was told, tatu means three in Kiswahili, and that years ago the fare was three shillings – hence the name of the vehicle became matatu). By the way, the National Archives is a place where they keep records and documents about the history of Kenya, along with sculptures and paintings that belonged to the second vice-president of Kenya. His single effort made possible to open a gallery for people to appreciate their own culture and art.

For this visit, a questionnaire was given to the students for them to think on while viewing the exhibition. It was to evaluate the different cultures and communities of Africa, from a Christian view point. It was a Wednesday afternoon, this November, when twenty-six of us left the college gate by foot and loaded up in our public transportation. Upon the arrival at the National Archives, all of us had to pass security and surrender our bags. The entrance fee was only KSh50 (US$.50) for residents. A guide approached us and took the group to each exhibit, explaining each one. Some took notes, and others took photos. Everyone was serious and attentive. Things went well. However, I noticed something unusual. The guide was not showing them every piece, but rather skipping some. It was my second time to this place, and I could recall displays related to African traditions and religion; that is exactly what our guide was skipping. It took about 90 minutes to look around. Anyway, most of the students were satisfied with the exhibition and we returned back to the college safely. But I kept thinking, “If the guide had shown more, the students could have learned more.”

Kenyans are known good runners, especially those from the Kalenjin tribe who would often win medals in races on a world level. It is quite a spectacle to watch the BCEA students compete in races. There was a race organized at the college on a Tuesday afternoon this month. They had a long race, a 100-meter, 200- meter, and a 400-meter, and it was not only for men but also for women. Most of them ran in races according to their individual physical ability. But some were so excited that they participated in all the races. Spectators cheered, calling out various names. As they saw one nearing the finishing line, they shouted with their loudest voices. I felt proud of them on how fast they could run on the field. The most enjoyable time came in the giving of the rewards. These rewards are simple things like soup, tissue paper, or tooth paste to use in their dormitory. They receive those simple rewards with joy and a shout. I used to say, “These guys know how to have a fun time.” It is a joyful occasion, indeed. Interestingly, this kind of race gets organized only when someone volunteers to prepare gifts. Sometimes they come and ask when they can have a race, and I just smile at them. But in my heart I question “Well, you are the ones who run and receive rewards. Why do you ask that someone else organize it? “

When children finish primary school education and secondary school education, they are supposed to take the respective national exams. With that exam, children are evaluated in their academic ability, and can choose secondary school, college or university according to its result. The exams are normally set near the end of October and prolonged up to November. The exam plays an important part in their future. Along with their family members, children who take the exams are rather anxious. Let’s say the whole nation feels it. In the campus church, we set aside time to pray for those candidates. While people pray for them to perform well on the exam, my prayer goes, “Lord, please keep them under your care that they don’t mess up after the exam.” Now I know it is not the exam itself, but rather the period after the exam when many face challenges with their free time and get involved with bad things. Eventually that ends their further education.

This is my tenth November in the Bible College of East Africa. In November the Jacaranda trees are beautiful with their purple flowers everywhere in Nairobi. This is the first November that I just appreciated Jacaranda trees and other flowers in the compound. I just admired it as the flowers fall upon ground, covering it and making it a purple carpet. In this my tenth November I feel for the BCEA students who have to sweep the fallen flowers away to keep the campus clean. I mean, for the years I spent here I have learned to sense the other side of what happens on campus. That makes me not necessarily siding with the majority, but being more sensitive to the needs of all sides. I am thankful to the Lord for the opportunity of service (regardless of my shortcomings) and His gracious guidance.

Vacation Bible School for children is planned for the different mission stations under Glory Bible Missions for three weeks in December. As I prepare for the VBS, a question comes to my mind, “Does everyone use every opportunity to fulfil his/her calling? What about me?” Following VBS, I will leave to go home for furlough. By the end of this year I will have completed another five years at BCEA since my last furlough. I plan to be with my parents to assist them in their medical care. I also cannot forget to thank you for your love and concern in Christ. May the Lord keep and guide you with His peace.

In His service,
Bai, Eun Young