CLC Kenya and Uganda
Thursday, 28 July 2022
Back safely in the USA!
Tuesday, 26 July 2022
Delayed for a day…but it could have been MUCH worse.
The United Airlines agent said that millions of flights have been affected by this strike. We were very fortunate to have found one. God was certainly watching over us!
Please pray that our Wednesday afternoon flights back to America go smoothly. Hopefully, my next post will be reporting a safe landing back on home soil!
“Safari” to Nairobi
Well, maybe not the type of “safari” that pops into your mind when you think about Kenya…”safari” means journey in Swahili. However, on our journey from the little village of Matunda to the big city of Nairobi we did happen to see a few packs of zebras and several groups of baboons (some of which had little ones hanging on to them—sorry you can’t see them in any of the photos I took since they were taken from a moving vehicle from a bit of a distance).
|Beautiful valley & mountain scene on the drive to Nairobi.|
|A roadside baboon digging for treasure.|
|Yes, those grainy white and black images are zebras 😄|
|This baboon is carrying a young one on its back—sorry for the limited picture quality.|
|Large pack of Zebras near the highway.|
|We decided not to stop and pick up these hitchhikers 😏|
We left in the pitch dark at 6am and saw many children out already walking along the roadsides to their schools—many of them likely walking several miles to get there. Yet another reminder of how good we and the children of our country have it. Our skilled driver, Dan, got us to the Nairobi area in near record time. We dropped off a load of the avocados we had brought from Mary Sagala at her sister, Jemima’s, home in Karen (a suburb of Nairobi—we stayed at her beautiful home when we had first arrived in Kenya). She provided us a delicious lunch of rice, beef stew, chicken, and vegetables.
|Pastor G. & me with Jemima & her brother, John Sagala.|
Our driver, Dan, dropped us off safe and sound at the Four Points hotel in the Nairobi Airport for a good night’s sleep before our flights back home. We gave him our thanks and appreciation for the wonderful work he did for us. He really is an impressive young man, an excellent driver, pleasant to be around, and a pleasure getting to know over the past 3 weeks. Again, thankful to the Lord for leading us to the right people to help us on our “safari” (journey)!
Monday, 25 July 2022
Everything Except a Wedding and a Funeral - The “Grand Finale” Worship Service at Holy Cross
|Holy Cross congregation waving “hello” to their brothers and sisters in Christ in America.|
Sunday was the “Grand Finale” worship service at Holy Cross Lutheran Church on the campus of Emmaus School. By m count there were approx. 50 people squeezed into the small church building. More than half of the congregation was children, a good number of whom are students at the school. Several of the school teachers attended as well.
|Entrance to the church building.|
We packed so much into the worship service that Pastor Gurath and I joked that we had everything but a wedding and a funeral! Allow me to show and tell you…
|Baptism of baby Nancy.|
|Installation of Jasper (in the glasses and tan pastoral robe) as assistant pastor and and Elvis (blue jacket) as acolyte.|
|Pastor Gurath preached the sermon.|
I preached the children’s sermon (the 30 or so children fully filled up the center aisle and front of the church). Mary Sagala did the translating into Swahili.
|Pastor Gurath and Jasper distributed the Lord’s Supper.|
|Near the end of the service Pastor Calvin from St. Peter’s in Kitale was asked to say a few words and he presented Mama Anna Sagala with a “Women of Faith” headscarf from their women’s group. Anna wore it proudly the rest of the day. |
|Mary Sagala commissioned a plaque for the well dedication.|
|I had to get a picture of cute baby Nancy after the service.|
|24 Swahili catechisms with explanation were passed out to families after the worship service|
(this was the last half of the shipment that we had picked up from the Lutheran Heritage Foundation on one of our first days in Kenya).
Saturday, 23 July 2022
Worship at St. Peter’s Ev. Lutheran Church in Kitale
|The servants of the Word for our worship service in Kitale. Pastor Calvin & his congregation had robes and stoles available for us to wear for the worship service.|
|At the close of service the congregation sings the final hymn and follow the pastor(s) out as we all shake hands and finish the hymn facing each other in a circle.|
|The Swahili Lutheran hymnal that St. Peter’s uses.|
|I didn’t get a photo of the fully decorated altar in time, but I did get two more members in this photo of the front of their church tent.|
|A number of women were proudly wearing their St. Stephen Lutheran “Women of Faith” headscarfs. They have a very dedicated and active women’s group.|
|Pastor Calvin, Mary (one of the founding members of the congregation), and Robert, one of the council members and assists with pastoral work as well.|
|Some of the dedicated “Women of Faith” from St. Peter’s who made and served a delicious meal to all after the worship service. So thankful for them and all the women who have done so much for us on this trip!|
Friday, 22 July 2022
The Road (Back) to Emmaus
Thursday morning we returned to Emmaus School and were excitedly greeted by the children once again. Handshakes and high fives till my hands were red (the children thought it was funny when I said “Ouch!” and shook my hands…I think it only encouraged them to give me even MORE enthusiastic high-fives 😆)!
|Are they waving or just trying to give me more |
The standard 8 (grade 8) teacher asked us to meet with his students in their classroom to chat with them and ask and answer each others questions. We asked a few questions of them as they were getting ready for important exams in September in preparation for 9th grade and high school. They all said that their favorite class was science, so their questions of us were about science. Pastor Gurath and I being the “scientists” we are (ha!) did our best to answer their questions about the importance of plasma in blood (Pastor G. had donated plasma back in his college days so he gave a really good answer that impressed the students greatly). They asked me about the planet Pluto and quizzed me on the planets in our solar system (I think I passed their quiz!).
Then the REAL questions they wanted to ask came from the students (all girls): Were we married and did we have children? They screamed and squealed with delight at pictures of Pastor Gurath’s adorable little girls…and then reacted (with a little too much surprise 😏) at how beautiful our wives were when we showed them pictures (see video below). Yes, yes, we get it, even people in other countries can see that we’ve obviously “out kicked our coverage” and been blessed with wives that are far too beautiful, talented, and amazing than we deserve (Hi Anna & Jewels!). We closed our little Q&A session with them by praying for their upcoming exams and for God’s blessings to them as they prepare for high school.
|One last selfie with the standard 8 students.|
Around 10:30am we gathered with the teachers for a “teacher seminar.” Very similarly to the one Pastor Gurath conducted at St. David’s School in Etago, he led the teachers in a summary study of the main teachings of the Bible as they are laid out in the CLC’s “Statement of Faith and Purpose.” The teachers all got printed copies to follow along with and take with them (plus we dropped off the rest of the Small Catechisms—both the ones with and without the explanations—for both the teachers and students to use). The teachers all seem to read English very well and speak it clearly, which is good to see!
It was also very enlightening when we came to the subject of Creation and Pastor Gurath mentioned that unfortunately many people in the USA and in most of the schools the theory of evolution is taught and believed as fact. They literally laughed at the thought of this, since they realize how impossible it is that all of creation (including ourselves) could somehow come out of nothing. According to them most people and teachers here in Kenya believe in creation. In this category it appears that Kenya is far ahead of the U.S.!
|Pastor Gurath leading the teachers seminar.|
|The Emmaus School teachers and Mary Sagala (on the end in red, who also attended the teacher seminar).|
That afternoon we visited with Pastor Samson. He is very elderly and blind, but still preaches and has many Scripture passages and many hymns buried deeply in his heart and mind. He is anxiously awaiting being reunited with his wife and being with His Savior in heaven soon (he says he “turned in his application long ago” 🙂), but he also acknowledges that God’s timing is best.
When we entered the house he greeted us with a hymn. After conversation and a meal, which was made and served by a woman and her daughter who help take care of Samson, he sung a closing hymn (with those who knew it in Swahili).
“Kidogo” More Swahili:
“Kidogo” = a little
Habari = “How are you?”
Mzuri = “I am fine!”
Thursday, 21 July 2022
Good Bye Uganda
Wednesday morning we packed up and left the Continental Hotel in Iganga to make a few visits on our way out of the country of Uganda. Our plans were to meet in Bulandani with Pastor Tannas and in Busia with Pastor Absalom.
Pastor Daniel accompanied us all the way to the Kenyan border. All three of these pastors know each other from when they all lived in Busia (which is a busy city at the border of Uganda and Kenya).
Our first stop was in the little rural village of Bulandani and Pastor Tannas’ home and church next door. Pastor Daniel has known Tannas since 2004. Tannas had gone through serious family tragedy and serious personal and spiritual problems. father had committed suicide which caused Tannas great sadness and spiritual problems. Pastor Daniel helped him work through these issues with the help of God and His Word. Now Tannas shepherds his own congregation. Yet another incredible testament to God’s saving grace!
We spent time talking with Pastor Tannas, eating some local pineapple, mango, and the best chipatti we’ve had on the trip so far (homemade by Pastor Tannas’ wife and still warm—delicious! I made sure to tell her that hers was the best chipati in Uganda AND Kenya :) Chipati, if you’ve forgotten is the flatbread that is similar to a soft tortilla and is eaten in India, but has been adopted by a number of African countries as well).
After talking and eating for a while we walked to the church where we had a short worship service in which Pastor Gurath and I were both once again invited to preach and Pastor Tannas translated into Lugandan. The congregation was very receptive and appreciative and said they were blessed by the message and thanked us deeply. We, as usual, we’re equally blessed to be able to share God’s saving Word with them!
|Preaching at Pastor Tannas’ church in Bulandani.|
|Cute babies alert!|
|After some effort (and a little help from his mama) this little guy cracked a smile for me 😊|
|Children eating ugali (Ugandan style) and fish (Nile perch). The ugali is dipped in the fish “soup.”|
|Some of the women who helped make and serve the meal. Tannas’ wife is in the white shirt and light blue head scarf. His eldest daughter is the one walking.|
One of the commenters on an earlier blog asked about the women and their participation. Those who were attended today were almost exclusively women (only a few men and some small children). In fact, in every church service we’ve been a part of the women have outnumbered the men. In both of our Kinship schools at least half of the teachers are women as well. So, yes, the women attend and are very involved (in addition to usually being the ones making and serving the delicious food we’ve enjoyed on this trip!).
Pastor Tannas and his wife have 5 children, but he says he cares for a “small family of 9” (I think this also includes his elderly mother, who is also a member of the congregation). He also works part time as a teacher in a nearby school. He stretches his meager income to help support his family, send his children to school, and also helps support his church. On their property they keep goats, chickens, and rabbits for food and for income.
|Pastor Tannas & me.|
From the time I met him at the previous week’s Pastoral Conference I have been impressed with Tannas’ wise insights in the Word and his commitment to preaching it and shepherding his flock.
|Pastor Tannas’ firstborn, Emmanuel, is in high school. |
He made me this decorative star as a gift!
|The rest of Tannas’ children.|
We only able to meet Pastor Absalom briefly at the border, and weren’t able to visit with his congregation this time. He is a very busy man who work as a counselor to young people (teenagers) in addition to shepherding a congregation in Busia.
|Pastor Absalom, me & Pastor Daniel.|
The Lord gave us a smooth and trouble-free border crossing back into Kenya and safe travel all the way to our hotel in Matunda on Wednesday night. Bwana asafiwe! (Praise the Lord!)