Serving the Lord in Kenya

February, 2024

Dear Co-labours in Christ,

       I hope that you have stared this year of 2024 with peace in the Lord. At the Bible College of East Africa, the first term began on 15 January 2024. Its affiliated kindergartens started a week before. Since this term began, I often think about those people and moments and notice the changes experienced in this place.

I. Changes with the Environment 

       When young children enroll in the kindergarten, most of them go through a hard time in being separated from their caregivers for the first time in their lives. Slowly however, adjusting themselves, these small, tiny three-year-old children start to learn how to call out “teacher”, how to grab and hold pencils, and so on. But sometimes, it happens the other way around. “A” was a rough child. Once “A” entered the school, she ran right away into a classroom and jumped up on a writing desk.  It was my first time to see a child wearing shoes, ON a desk; she played with toys displayed there. She didn’t experience anything like “separation anxiety”. She was full of curiosity, always running to different corners in the school. Now it was not “A”, but her class teacher who had to learn how to cope with her. Many times in a day I could hear her teacher shouting “Oh No! “A”; “A” come here! “A” sit down, please!” Yet she is so adorable. Now she has reached age five and she is learning in the Pre-Primary Class 2. She is still very active and very busy. Her social skills have improved, and she now interacts better with others and behaves herself much better.  Through the prayers and labors of others, a Christian environment brings about change.

II. Changes With Time

       I have a group of boys coming from a coffee plantation located at the end of the Marurui area. They come to attend the Junior Youth Fellowship. Just near the end of last year, one day these boys gave me a report about “E”. According to them, his mother disappeared and “E” did not know where she had gone. Moreover, she had gone with the house locked. “E” had to sleep outside and his neighbors helped him with food.  Poor boy! “E” was 15-years-old and his family could not afford his school fee. Instead, he had to work on the plantation for his family. Mum disappeared? So strange! We tried to look for his extended family so he could go to them. He looked very troubled as he was saying good-bye to us.  A few weeks later “E” came back to his place and back to the Junior Youth Fellowship. He said “Mum came back.” That is all he told me! Then I saw his hair died yellow in color, along with his friends. So, tearful one day, but the next day he is making fun of dying his hair with his peers? “So funny, this boy. What a teenager!”

       In Junior Youth Fellowship we read the Bible out loud. I observed that “E” struggled to read. I used to feel for him. This year I was able to arrange a fee for him to join a secondary school. The first day of school, “E” nicely shaved his hair; the yellow funny hair was well removed! He really wanted to go to school. More impressively, his mother began to join the campus church being so happy and thankful about her boy. Well last Saturday, “E” was not in the Fellowship. I asked his friends about him, and they all kept quiet. On the following Sunday service, I found “E” with his hand plastered. He said he had been playing football (soccer) instead of coming for the fellowship, and he got injured. “What a boy! He has a long way to go.”  Yet, eventually he will grow, and change comes with time, by God’s grace.      

III. Changes with His Good Will and One’s Willingness   

      When they join as freshmen in the Bible College of East Africa, all first year students are so angelic. I mean they are quiet, humble and so cooperative. But “M” was different and very much noticed. One moment laughing, and soon after, arguing; smiling to help with manual work in the campus, and later whispering in my ear that I have to pay for his help. He was secular, rough, and noisy. One day he narrated his story, “Madam you don’t know how bad my life was; I even attended Sunday school in my school day; I don’t know what happened. I ended badly in Mombasa.”  He spent 10 years driving a lorry there. In the midst of such a life, “M” met his pastor, who later encouraged him to come to BCEA. He has really tried at BCEA. With the Bible in class, other activities on the compound, his lifestyle has greatly improved. Sure, there are areas where he has to change even more. Yet, he gladly completes every given task, in and out of class. During vacation, when he goes back to his hometown (Machakos), “M” helps in the church there. This year, he is in the fourth year, and I can tell he is not the same person that entered BCEA years ago. May I say change comes with God’s good will, and with one’s willingness.

       “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”(Romans 8:28-29)

      Who guides us with environment, with time to be molded into Christlikeness? Are we submissive to such guidance? As for me, I also experience changes too. I used to walk closely to people and help them around. As such, I used to expect near or fast fruit for my effort. Nowadays, I have learned to be at a distance, to see more about God’s working in their lives. Then, I step in later, in the right time, to be His channel. This requires much patience.

        May I request your prayer for BCEA students, the members of the campus church, the children in the kindergarten, and myself, to grow more like Him. Thank you.          

                                                                                                                            In His service,

                                                                                                                           Bai, Eun Young