May marks my 18th month in Kenya. God has been good and provided every need. I have been very comfortable personally and have been content that I am where God wants me to be and doing what He wants me to do.
The teaching continues to go well and I get feedback that the pastors and leaders are understanding more and more of God's grace and His Word. I am taking care that they understand what the Word teaches - not a theological system or a denominational creed. I want to be sure that at the end of the day they can say with confidence I believe this because this is what God says in His Word - not I believe this because my teacher said it.
January saw several of the teens which I have been teaching go off to high school. Here it is different than America in that most kids go away from home to boarding schools for high school. This is true even of the poorer families in the slums. So I have started over with basically a new group of teens teaching the basics.
I mentioned in my last letter how I have undertaken to help two boys, Derek and Isaac, who otherwise would have nowhere to go. This is not what I consider to be my 'ministry' but rather what I have decided to do personally. My ministry remains first and foremost the teaching of the Word. Anybody who comes to Africa can't help but be aware of the great physical needs of the people here. As a minister I have to know what my priority is and maintain that priority. Otherwise the needs of the people become the priority and we become just another humanitarian organization. As a minister of the Word I know the greatest need is spiritual and I have to maintain and teach the Word as a priority both in the churches and the individual believers.
Having said that, I as an individual believer can't shut up my compassion toward the physical needs I see around me. I decided that the way I could help was not to spread limited resources around but to concentrate on helping two boys and making a difference in their lives. I can't help everybody but I can help these two boys have a home and hope for the future. It also gives me the opportunity to teach them spiritual things so 10 years from now by God's grace these two young boys may be strong spiritual men giving light in the midst of darkness. I say this because I believe in the power of the Word. Religion ultimately has no power except to enslave, but the Word of God taken into the soul and generated by the Holy Spirit does have the power to transform lives. So I believe and so I teach which gives me great confidence -- not in my ability but in the power of the Word of which I am privileged to be a minister.
Thanks to your generous giving and help we were able to have another retreat for the teens this April. I think it was Cliff who told me once not to call it a retreat but an advance. We definitely didn't retreat and those kids are advancing spiritually thanks to the teaching of the Word. So let's just say we took the kids camping at a place on Lake Naivasha called 'Fishermen's Camp' It was a great facility and the kids were able to bike, swim, play soccer, and do things they don't get a chance to do in the slums. Even the fact that they had hot showers available was the source of great enjoyment as this was a luxury they don't have at home.
There were 8 girls, 7 boys, Joshephat and I and a driver. We rented a vehicle which was nice because we were able to drive around the lake and take the kids to Hells Gate National Park for a day of hiking through some great scenery and wildlife. We were not able to take the vehicle into the park so we all walked 8 km to the place where the spectacular gorge begins. Yes, you read that correctly, I actually walked 8 km although it was difficult and my leg was hurting. I had to get a ride back but the kids had to walk back another 8 km after hiking the gorge. Needless to say they were pretty tired that night. We were able to see quite a bit of wildlife including lots of zebras, gazelles, antelope, warthogs, giraffe, storks, monkeys, baboons, etc.
The campground set up two big tents for us and the girls cooked our meals on the campfire - including the live chicken we brought along. I told Joshephat there was no way one chicken was going to feed 17 people but somehow it did. So it was a great time for everybody and most importantly we were able to give the gospel and teach the Word to these great kids.
I managed a few pictures which I will attach although the quality is not the greatest. Stan