“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulations worketh patience” Romans 5:3
Dear Friends, Supporters, and Prayer Partners,
On January 5th the 18 SOME Team members from the USA and Chile were finally together in Nairobi. It had taken a lot of preparations to get this far, including tickets, visas (which took hours waiting in line), Covid-19 tests, and hours of travel. But at last, the team was together.
The SOME Team did not pray for patience, but there were many tribulations! In our trips to Kenya or other parts of the world, we have never had to jump through so many hoops and pay so much money (for visas, Covid tests, etc.) to go on a team. The preparation was also troubled with the threat of Covid-19. There were many precautions, including a PCR test to schedule and get the day before Gary left for Kenya!
Thinking back, I ask myself, where was my confidence? I (Gary) am sorry, but sometimes my confidence had been in the “things” we had purchased and tried to take good care of. Well, this can work sometimes, and other times age takes a toll on us and everything we have. For me, at 79, I found getting around takes added caution so that I don’t stumble and fall. On things, as we quickly learned from Daniel Mwinzi in Isovya, that “the generator was not running”. My response was, “Well, it was working well three years ago, what’s wrong now?” I had forgotten that the Honda generator was purchased back in 1994 and has been used off and on for many years. Then we realized that three team members needed a generator because they have to use CPAP machines with rechargeable batteries. Team member Keith McCoy recommended that we purchase another generator before we leave Nairobi for the bush. The Lord provided the funds and we were able to get a new one, which worked very well! The old one was taken into Nairobi when we were leaving, and it has been repaired and will soon be back in Isovya at the mission property.
When someone doesn’t show up, what do we do? One of the men we had counted on working with us did not show up. He had worked with us for years, but evidently something hindered him. What do we do? We trust the Lord, and He sent other workers. For example, Bonnie Leithmann was able to get a cook from the guest house we had used in the past. That was a blessing. Then a local pastor came, who was good as a handyman, and was able to help with many of the projects. God was most gracious.
Where do the team members minister on Sunday? It was wonderful to be involved with five churches, with Sunday School and worship services each Sundays and also for prayer meetings. Some of the team traveled by our vehicle, others by rented car, some on motorcycles, and still others walked to the church nearby. On the second Sunday, Bonnie Leithmann and Alisa Zuniga taught Sunday School, others did special music, and Gary was asked to speak at the Myumbu IPC Church, which is the farthest church away from the mission, on the edge of the Yatta Plains. As Gary spoke, he noted that the church was filled. Where would anyone else sit? Praise the Lord for growing pains! We did have prayer that they would be able to expand the church, and that God would provide. Lord willing, the church will expand by 20 feet, making it 60 feet long. We were able to leave enough funds that they will start the foundation mid-February. Pray with us that the Lord would supply for the completion of the expansion.
Funds were also given that enabled needy school students to receive new uniforms. This is always a blessing and a tremendous help for these children, and parents. Famine relief was provided, so many widows, pastors, and church members were able to receive beans and corn to help feed their families, until their planted crops could mature and be harvested.
During our weeks there, many projects were completed, such as painting the five plastic water tanks, (some used for pastors and the Bethel Bible School) so the sun does not crack them. It was thought we would build a little shed over each one to protect them, but there was no builder available and a very good oil paint was recommended instead. School desks were repaired for the public school near the mission, as well as doors being replaced that termites had eaten, repairs to the sun shed the watchmen use to sit under and eat their lunch, plus assorted needed jobs here and there.
Unplanned breakdowns seemed routine. First it was the freezer not working, so a repairman came from Nairobi to make that repair. Also, a refrigerator went out, and of course, the oven was not working properly. There are indeed needed repairs ready for the next team! Is there a repairman that will go with the next team?
The team met Ruth Nyamu (below right). About 16 years ago Pat delivered a beautiful baby girl, in a hut, by the light of a kerosene lamp. What a blessing it was for Pat to name her Ruth. As you can see by the picture, Ruth is a lovely young lady, active in the church, and also doing well in her studies.
Do you remember Joel Mzee, who Gary brought to the States in 2003 for the removal of the large tumor on his lower jaw? Well, Joel and his wife have a precious little boy, named Barak (above left)! Joel is thankful for prayer and the surgery, for without it the doctor said he would have died before Christmas that year. And there also was a dedication of the Makuini IPC sanctuary, which has just been completed with gifts from the States. Rev. Brad Gsell gave the dedication message. They were also able to build a pulpit and buy some chairs. Pictured above are Rev. Gsell and the Makuini pastor, Paul Kilonzi.
Thank YOU all for praying for the safety of the many team members, the completion of numerous projects, and also for the funds you gave to do these many works for the Lord. You were a tremendous part of the work, and we do thank you! “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.” Psalm 145:3
Yours in His Service,
Gary (who went) and Pat (who remained at home)