First of all let me thank you for the help you have given us. I know we are often a problem to you because of our many needs. But we are just forced to come to you as this is the nature of our mission, and the problem of pioneers. Maybe the people who will come after us will have an easier time. Sometimes Judith and I even forget our needs and just put our effort into this ministry as it is so demanding.
We are thankful that some organizations are now helping us with salaries. In receiving salary help we are making sure that our Presbyterian ideals are never lost and will never allow any other doctrine or any other religion to be preached in the Baalah school. Yes, of late, the Muslims have gotten some six boys from our community whose school fees they have paid. Some of these boys – and I might say almost all of them – are not strong Muslims. I have talked to them many times and won’t give up. I will be talking to them. I know the desire for education and poverty in the family may have pushed them to take these evil steps. I won’t give up but will talk with them always. Some feel very guilty for what they have done. Of all six I did not see any who are proud of being a Muslim. Whenever they see me face-to-face they look down, and I have to speak to them. They would not want to see me face-to-face. One student, Gabriel Galfure, has even vowed he will never go back to Baalah and will not attend the church. So he has told the Muslims that he will never go back to Baalah, and if ever he went he will not stop being a Muslim; the Muslims are keeping him in Nakuru. But we praise the Lord for our other wonderful youth whom the Lord has kept very very faithful and will keep them so. If we look at the number of our youth in our Upper Primary classes, in secondary schools, in colleges and universities, we have to praise God. With all our problems and poverty and the amount of power and money these Muslims have, the Lord said even one lost sheep found is celebration in heaven, we thank God for His faithfulness for over 78 mature Christian youths.
Now, let me bring to your attention what we face in this ministry. I know Judith has told you most of it but let me also tell you some.
Telephone and Diesel Fuel Needs
Brethren, in my ministry I make a lot of calls to students in secondary school and colleges. The problem these youth have, which also all of us Cushites have here in Kenya, is that we are all suspected to be terrorists. This is because our cousins, the Somalis, are notorious terrorists and that is why we are likewise suspected. The Lower Kenya population will never allow any Cushite to come to the church, as they suspect all Cushites should be Muslims. Therefore, they see any Cushite who comes to church not to pray, but to bomb the church.
Many of our Cushite brothers and sisters were put in police cells just because they have gone to church and this stigma is very bad. That is why I need to talk to our youth on a daily basis. Having over 70 youth to talk to, I can use roughly Kes 1,000 everyday on calling. This also includes calls to our church members in Baalah and to government offices. As of now I have a debt of Kes 180,000 (US$1,800.00) which spans five months. I have stopped for months now as I am not able to pay it. In the same way, sometimes I am needed in in other offices in Marsabit. I also owe diesel of Kes 240,000 ($2,400.00) for five months for things pertaining to the Rendille Outreach office.
We are blessed with so many youth in these Rendille communities who have come to know and believe in Christ after many years of evangelism. We started with these children when they were very young, some as young as three years, and now they are adults. They always need encouragement since they are always like Daniel in the lion’s den. This is from a community and country which believes any Cushites should be Muslim, and this also arises from their own poverty. The seeds we have planted in Baalah for Christ (and not only us in Baalah, but also, in fact, the brave and courageous Christian warriors in America, Canada and other parts of the world) have made us go on. Right now Baalah has over 60 children in high school and over 20 in tertiary level. But we have really needy children. I keep telling Judith to close her ears to their needs; but the cries are too loud. It pains us when we see them not going to school in a society where every denomination and religion takes care of their vulnerables. Our vulnerables are 14 high school students from very poor families, 11 orphans in high school and 6 university students. This is very hard on us. I beg you to be a partner with us on this. It is not mission work to help, but we just cry to you to look for help for us. The orphans are well taken care of for this term and next, apart from three who were to join high school this coming week. The rest are just not sure what to do. I thank you all for the children you helped last term. As a church we have no words to express our thanks to you and the people who came to our aid. Imagine this term a Parliament Member was giving 5,000 shillings to high school students as constituency bursary! And none, I mean not even one student from Baalah who is affiliated to BPC got even one shilling.
As you pray for these orphans and other Baalah youth, don’t forget even my own children. They are also in need. Our oldest, Sab’di, is now ready for high school. She was given 1/3 of scholarship by prestigious school in Kenya called Brookhouse High school. The fees are very high. At the same time they have promised her that they will give her 60% scholarship when she finishes high school if she goes for year 13 to Alberta University in Edmonton. But we are not capable, and Lucy I have been talking to each other, and we don’t know the best way to tell her that she will not be able to go to school. Our son, Hirlewa, is doing his last year in Primary school. He did well last term, and with all his problems he managed to score 402 points out of a possible 500 points. His eye is not very well and the doctors were afraid to remove the jell they put in for fear that the eye will shrink. He can’t use it now. I was told he needed another operation, and this one will be more expensive. We are not able to go on with it. He has to know how to live with his disability. I also learned how to live with my disability. He is very promising in the mission field. The twins are doing well; always pray for Deraso as her immunity is very weak. Deraro (the other twin) and Naysa are all doing well.
Church and Baalah Community
We are very grateful and praise the Lord for the growth of BPC Baalah. When we first started the church it was only Judith, myself, and Spika’s dog which followed us around. Now we are blessed with over 210 baptized members, and out of these more than half are youth. These youth are those who passed through our school at Baalah. We have mothers, very many, but only four men. These men are from those in the Goobs. This is the problem with Rendille men. They feel that for them, as men and being Rendille, they don’t need salvation. They are already sure of going to heaven as God has already designed it, being men. It is the women, they believe, who need salvation because they are women, and they have no hope of going to heaven because they are women. Now, when Christ’s salvation is preached, it is women who need it most because at last here is hope for them. That is why they mostly come to Christ. In fact the name for any dead Rendille woman is haa’daab khabto, meaning, “the sinner” or “the owner of sin!” So pray for us that God will convince the men that they are sinners and they need Christ, and that by being a man you are not automatically given a ticket to heaven – they need Jesus. Pray for our church leadership in handling some challenges and temptations. At the Youth conference we had very good Sunday school materials from Judith’s syllabus, so now we should do well in teaching Sunday school.
Our church is so full now we need to enlarge the church area this year; please put it in your prayers. We also need to build a toilet for church-goers. We feel embarrassed when the church’s toilet is too full or has collapsed.
Thank you for hearing me today. May God bless you and Happy New Year.
Peter Litinga Lkayo