News from the field.

Spring Mission 2023

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Saturday May 13, 2023
After the rest of the team left for the U.S., Frank and I traveled to Nakuru where we met the team from Lodwar and Eldoret and we traveled to East Pokot.  We stopped in Rumarumti where we loaded up with famine relief supplies before going on to Tengulbei where we roomed for the next four days. 
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On Sunday, we visited Amaya to share Sunday services and distribute food.  I found out when we got to Amaya, that this village had been one of the last places of ministry for Linda Wickman and her husband in Kenya. I got to meet many who had been young children when Linda and Wickman (as they referred to her husband!) were there, and they told me how they had come to Christ through the Wickmans. I felt priviledged to meet so many who were the fruit of their ministry in Amaya!
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Musa Maklab, and his brother, Meshack (Musa with red tie and Meshack with whom I am shaking hands), who had been young boys when the Wickmans were there, showed us around the mission station.
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Here is the clinic building Linda, a nurse, worked out of while she was in Amaya. Musa, Meshack and Peter.  Peter couldn't stop talking about 'Mum' as he referred to Linda and told me endless stories about growing up under their care.
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The site still had the house built by the first missionaries, the Davis', to the area. 
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And the first pit latrine built by them, still functional!
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After the service, we ate lunch and distributed the food among the five churches that had gathered this Sunday.
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Sunday afternoon we began our pastor's conference in the village of Churo, about 17 kilometers from Amaya.
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We spent Sunday afternoon and all day Monday with about 100 pastors and church leaders from many churches around the area teaching the Foundations of the Faith.
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The afternoons were especially challenging as the roar from the brief but intense rain on our tin roof made any attempt at speaking fairly fruitless - so we sang and jumped until the rain abated!
Thanks to Ekklesia Afrika and Crossway, we had Bibles and other great resources to give to the pastors.
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We also had food to hand out to these pastors and their families thanks to the generosity of many of you.
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Finally, we have partnered together with a church in a village called Kresia to provide a building for the congregation from the Brad Pederson Memorial Building Fund.  Unfortunately, we were not able to visit the village as the road leading there had been washed out by the recent heavy rains. However, Pastor Simon who leads the church has promised to provide pictures as soon as construction is complete. This trip has been very full and very fruitful, though not without a lot of trouble, including sickness, blown engines, lost luggage, and various other minor challenges.  But though it all, God has been faithful to supply us with His grace that is sufficient for all things. We thank God, and we thank you all for your prayers and support!

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Spring Mission 2023

Saturday May 6, 2023
On Tuesday of this week, our team met with the leadership at Karura Community Chapel.  We have been holding Biblical Counseling classes via Zoom for the past year with the pastors at this church, along with many other pastors in Nairobi, and this meeting was another step in partnering with Karura in other areas of ministry. This church is a vibrant, growing church that is very gospel-centered and has community outreach in a number of areas. They have a prison ministry that reaches 20,000 just in the Nairobi prisons, and a rehab program that reintroduces those who have been released back into society. Their Love in the Name of Christ ministry provides resources to the poor in partnership with many other churches in the area. They also have a women's shelter that houses women fleeing bad relationships and those who are homeless due to unplanned pregnancies.  In talks with some of the leaders in the past months, they expressed an interest in adding a pregancy resource center in their area and so we came together to talk about what that might look like for them.
Linda, Toni, John and myself with Pastor Joseph, just one of the pastors of this church of 1.200 people.  John is a member of this church and was the point person in connecting us with them.
Ben and Kim shared about Care Net of Puget Sound and Agape Care Net Clinic in Majengo. We hope to connect Karura with Agape Care Net as they consider how to implement a pregnancy resource center. Pastor Reuben and Maureen, who lead Agape Care Net have really paved the way in modeling how pregnancy center ministry should be done.
Kim connected with Queen who is in charge of Love in the Name of Christ and Mercy House, which ministers to women as the point person for establishing a pregancy center.  In the background I am talking with Pastor Amos who is in charge of the prison ministry which has over 400 staff and volunteers ministering in the Nairobi prisons.
And here is Frank talking to Pastor Joseph about API USA.
Left to right in the backrow: Pastor Martin, one of the teaching pastors at Karura, Luke Tendayi, our initial contact at Karura, Frank, Kim, Mike, John, Pastor Amos.  Front row: Pastor Chahale, Pastor Fred, Ben, Linda, Queen, Toni and Pastor Joseph.  We were blessed by our time together and look forward to partnership in ministry with this church.
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Spring Mission 2023

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Thursday May 4, 2023
While my team has been ministering in Kenya, Jay McBee, our Director of Biblical Counseling has been in Uganda with his team, Pastor Reuben Luvanga and Moses Biketi.  I just received a report from Jay and thought I'd post it for you all.
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"On Friday April 20 I met with the leadership of Karura Community Chapel in Nairobi and the students that participated in the zoom counseling training for the last year. Karura with the support of API will now open a local counseling center as part of the church’s ministry to the community. API will help expand this work by conducting an expedited training for an additional group of pastors. What normally takes two years will be compressed into one year to be able to equip more counselors for the counseling ministry.
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On Sunday, Moses Biketi and I traveled to Matete to meet with the students that Moses and Luvanga Reuben trained for the last year and a half. Moses and I taught the parenting material of the training over two days which enabled these students to officially complete their second module of training on marriage and parenting."
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On Wednesday and Thursday, the Biblical Counseling team of Jay, Reuben and Moses traveled to Kampala, Uganda to travel to the Kyaka 2 refugee camp in western Uganda. Kyaka is home to 100,000 refugees and is one of the largest in Uganda. The team just finished four days in the Kyaka camp and are now traveling to Mbarara and Nakivale which is the largest camp in Uganda. The pastors were very grateful for the team coming to minister to the pastors and to better equip them for the work in the camp. Many are going to join our API weekly WhatsApp audio training calls to further their training.

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The API Counseling team will be adding two new training calls to accommodate this growth. One will be in English and in a first for API, we are adding a Swahili only weekly class. This will be done to accommodate a new development. At the Kyaka camp, someone approached us to express their appreciation for the work we are doing on behalf of pastors and offered to make introductions to pastors in the other refugee camps. Our current trip is focusing on doing conferences in Kyaka 2, Mbarara, Nakivale and the refugees in the slums of Kampala. We have pastors from three other Ugandan camps, Rwamwanja, Kyangwali, and Oruchinga that are part of our weekly WhatsApp groups.
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These additional introductions may enable API to do outreach to pastors in all 12 of the camps in Uganda and include them in our new classes. Please join us in praying for this endeavor and that no camp would be left out. Many speak of the suffering and hardship of leaving everything that they once had behind in their home countries. Some have said that they never expect to be able to go back because of the factional fighting. They are attempting to make a new way in a new country even though they are in or on the outskirts of the refugee camps.
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Thank you also to the children at Tree of Life Christian Church and Northridge Community School who made homemade cards for the children in the refugee camps. The first group of cards were handed out to the children in the Kyaka 2 camp."
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Spring Mission 2023

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It's Wednesday night here in Nairobi and John and Frank and I took the rest of the team to the airport to fly home.  We've had a very full two weeks of ministry and fellowship and this past Sunday we took a few hours to tour the amazing Maasai Mara game park. This was a guy trip as the ladies were still recovering from their illness. I thought I'd show you a few shots of God's incredible creation. Photography courtesy of Rob.

Magnificent cheetah


We came upon three lions who had made a Cape Buffalo kill early that morning.  You can see the partially eaten carcass in the background.  They were all taking it easy after a morning of gorging, but staying very near their kill to keep hyenas, jackels and buzzards away.

A silver-back jackel



At one point we came upon a jackel trying to make a meal of mongoose.  However, as he approached the colony, about 50 of them took after the jackel and chased him off. There is strength in numbers! 
We also came across a couple of cheetahs hunting some impala off to the right out of frame. We decided not to wait around as it could be hours before they made a kill.
A red-headed buzzard looking for snakes, lizards and bugs as it stalks across the savanna.
At a hippo pool.  
Hyena looking for food

I find giraffes so fascinating!  We want to thank all of you who have been praying for the ladies and want to let you know that when we got back from safari, they were all feeling much better. 
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Spring Mission 2023

Tuesday May 2, 2023
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It is Tuesday morning and we are back in Nairobi, having traveled from Narok yesterday.  We left Oloolaimutia Sunday evening because the weather indicated heavy rain that night which might have prevented travel.  The river we had to cross from where we were staying during the conference has no bridge and is unfordable when the heavy rains come. so we opted to overnight about halfway to Nairobi. Above is the entrance to Mara Shiners School where we held the conference.
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Happily we are able to report that all the ladies are doing well after being down with some kind of illness since Thursday evening!  It was a challenge for the team as they were all such an integral part of the conference, but by God's grace we were able to fill the holes they left and we are just glad they are all feeling well.
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We finished our conference Saturday afternoon so here are a few shots from the week.
Linda was feeling well enough by Saturday to speak at the women's breakout session.
Pastor Stephen leading the singing.
Our conference director, Pastor Shadrack giving instructions (right) and Pastor Daniel interpreting.

Amoss Mallangah, one of our API Masters students, came all the way from the coast of Kenya to be with us at the conference.
Women's breakout session.
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The conference sessions were held in the middle structure which is the school dining hall and kitchen. The buildings on the right and left are the boys and girls dorms.  Mara Shiners is a boarding school, as are most schools in Kenya.  The small blue structure in the forefront is the solar generating station which powers the whole school.

Here we are in our Maasai finery!
Ben with our hosts, Stephen and Betty Muntet. We are so grateful to Stephen and Betty who opened their home to us and took such good care of us. 
Two very white Maasai guys.
John and Stephen
Crossway Publishing provided some valuable resources for the pastors which we handed out at the conference. 
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Dinner in Narok
Sunrise in Oloolaimutia
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Spring Mission 2023

Friday April 28, 2023
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Tuesday morning we set off for Oloolaimutia but took a minute to take a photo at the equator.
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We had to cut across the park from the Sekananie gate to Oloolaimutia and got to see a little wildlife in the process.
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We arrived at Mara Shiners School, our conference site Tuesday afternoon to a warm Maasai welcome and dramatic skies.
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Wednesday morning we started our Foundations of the Faith conference and by Thursday morning we had about 180 attending. 
During the first session of each day, Linda Galle takes all the children for a Bible lesson and then outside for play.
During our breakout sessions on Thursday, Kim shared on the Sanctity of Human Life with the women.

Ben shared on the Sanctity of Human Life and Sexual Integrity with the men.
During the plenary sessions Wednesday and Thursday we were going through the doctrines of grace. Pastor Stephen Muntet, interpreting here, is our host, along with his wife, Beatrice.
At the end of the day, we have a Q & A session with all the teachers of the day clarifying (or trying to clarify) points made during each presentation.  This is often the most intstructive time for both students and teachers.

We will be posting more tomorrow if the internet will cooperate.
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Spring Mission 2023

Wednesday April 26, 2023
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This is a sunrise photo where we were staying in Mbale.  We finished our training with the Agape Care Net Clinic staff and volunteers on Monday as all of us took turns presenting various aspects of the training. 
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Toni shared that the Agape Care Net team seemed very interested in all the training and coaching that we provided.  "The effective communication skills portion was very well received and they asked many good questions and shared a few of their own experiences. They are a group with a heart for women, children and marriages, with various medical and professional training to contribute to the pregnancy center and local community."
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All the ladies took advantage of a sunny lunch break to pose for the camera.  After the final session, we all piled in the vehicles to get a tour of the clinic with the staff and volunteers.
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Ultrasound room
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Kim and Precious Kim
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Thanks to all who have been keeping this mission in prayer!
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Spring Mission 2023

Monday April 24, 2023
Sunday morning the team split up to go to two different churches.  Half of us went to Agape Christian Fellowship, led by Pastor Reuben Luvanga, and the other half to Mahanga PEFA Church led by Bishop Fredrick Ndondo, who is also a board member of Agape Care Net Clinic. 
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Kim got reaquainted with her namesake, Precious Kim, Reuben and Moureen's daughter.
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And this little guy was fascinated by the mzungu's in church.
Sunday afternoon we held our first training session with the Agape Care Net Clinic staff and volunteers.
Ben Edwards spoke about the necessity of strategic planning and church relationships.
Kim spoke on the centrality of the gospel in all we do and the sanctity of human life.
There was lots of time for questions and answers.
It was a really full and satisfying day as reconnected with old friends and made new ones.  
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Linda Galle shared about her new friend, Faith. "This is Faith, my dear sister in Christ, who I met at the Care Net training session, and who shared her own "crisis pregnancy" story with me. Faith recently graduated from nursing school and now volunteers 6 days a week at the Agape Care Net Clinic.  What a blessing it has been for our team to meet these amazing volunteers who want to serve our Lord in this ministry!"
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Spring Mission 2023

Sunday April 23, 2023
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Tonight we are in Mbale, a few short kilometers from Majengo and the Agape Care Net Clinic and the internet is fairly good so I'm taking advantage of the connection.  It has been non-stop since we arrived in Kenya late Thursday night so this is the first moment I've had to write.  Five of us (Linda, Ben, Rob, Kim and myself) flew from SeaTac Wednesday and met up with the rest of our team, Jay and Toni in Amsterdam.  The real fun began when we landed in Nairobi as we waited for our baggage to arrive.
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After waiting for about an hour and a half for our last bag to appear, we concluded that it wasn't going to come so the rest of the team went through customs with what we had and I went to the lost luggage counter to fill out the paperwork. Meanwhile, one of our bags was tagged at customs, and when I finally finished with the lost luggage people, I found Ben in the customs office with the bag of Bibles for which the customs people were telling him he owed $250 in duty fees. Apparently the new president, Ruto, had changed the rule on bringing gifts into the country. We finally agreed on $130 (everything in Kenya is negotiable) and got out of there.  We were grateful they didn't inspect the other 4 suitcases of books! Meanwhile, the rest of the team had been waiting ourside all that time, tired but still smiling!
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The temperature was in the high fifties so our API associates, John and Frank showed up in winter wear.
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We finally arrived at our hotel around 2:30 in the morning thankful we all arrived safely with most of our luggage. Friday was spent preparing for our drive to Majengo on Saturday. We began by having a great breakfast.
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Kim and Toni enjoying the sun.
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Saturday morning, we packed up to leave for Majengo, but we had some logistical challenges.  Our API Prado had developed some mechanical issues we couldn't resolve in time for our departure, so we had to procure another vehicle. We had planned to use our trailer to transport most of the luggage so we could fit everyone in the vehicles, but none of our hired vehicles had a trailer hitch so we had to go to plan B, which was to divide our luggage into what we needed in Majengo for three days, and send the rest to Olulaimutia with John's pickup.  Ministry in Kenya demands flexibility!
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We are blessed to have two master packers on our team, John Kamau and Frank Maina.
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We left Nairobi at nine Saturday morning for what turned out to be a 9 hour drive to Majengo, with stops along the way.  Naturally Java House was one of those stops.
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We arrived at our hotel, Enzogu Gardens (Elephant Gardens) around six, settled in, ate dinner and fell into bed. We want to thank all of you who are faithfully praying for this ministry trip.  We will try and bring you up to date later.  Right now I am finishing this Monday morning because the internet keeps going in and out and I'm trying to finish before I lose it agaiin! God has been faithful to keep us in His gracious grip.
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Winter Mission 2022

Saturday December 9, 2022

It is Saturday evening and John and Frank and I are back in Nairobi.  We finished the conference in Matete Friday evening with about 130 pastors and church leaders in attendence. We spent the week teaching through Foundations of the Faith with these wonderful people who thoroughly appreciated the opportunity to study God's word in depth.  We had many new people at this conference who had heard of the ministry API is doing in this area and came to see for themselves. One of those turned out to be an excellent interpreter named Pastor Samuel Ndege.  He sent me a note shortly afterward saying, "Praise the Lord, Pastor Mike..I write to thank you so much for allowing God to use you in a mighty way. The members of my church who attended the conference and myself have been so much illuminated by the teachings.  And the book "Word Centered Church" is quite revelational.  Thank you so much.We continue to pray for your ministry, Pastor Mike. May the almighty God bless you indeed. And once again, thank you for allowing me to minister to God through your ministry."
Pastor Samuel Ndege, Grace - Way Ministries Int'l, Kakamega (on the right below)

I was blessed to have a team of teachers at this conference to help with the speaking.  Pastors Moses, Reuben and Shadrack all took turns teaching these pastors.

One pastor traveled all the way from Lamu, on the coast of Kenya, and another rode a bus from Uganda for 11 hours to be here. Both are students of API School of Ministry and really wanted to get some in-person training. Pastor Ezekiel from Uganda is one of our Biblical Counseling students who is ministering in the refugee camps there; and the other is Pastor Amoss who is in our Master's program and ministers among the Muslim population in Lamu.

Pastor Ezekiel

Pastor Amoss (on the right, with Pastor Samuel Ndege on the left)
As always, we had daily Q&A sessions which really were the highlight of each day.  What was especially gratifying about these was the fact that Moses, Reuben, and Shadrack were there answering questions along with me.  I thank God for the growth and maturity I was seeing in these brothers as they answered some really hard questions from the delegates.

Every day I had an opportunity to meet with pastors during the breaks between sessions and hear about their life and ministries.  And they were almost over the top in expressing their thanks to API for coming.

We enjoyed a lot of singing throughout the conference.
Friday we took a group photo just outside Pastor Moses' church.  The church has bought the rest of the land that extends to the road as you look past the back row, so they can expand their facilities. God is doing some wonderful work through this church, not only in Matete, but throughout the county and they are really growing.

Thank you to all who held us up in prayer and gave to make this conference possible! Just know that the gratitude of the pastors and church leaders for these kinds of learning opportunities is immense.  As one pastor told me, "Through the ministry of APi, our churches are growing so much in the knowledge of God and the right teachings of the Bible.  Tell your people that our hearts are full because of their love."
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Winter Mission 2022

Monday, December 5, 2022
On Saturday we visited three very remote villages to bring food. The first two were recent church plants by George and Boniface. They had come in November to show the Jesus film and share the gospel. Many people in both villages came to Christ as a result and George and Boniface appointed a pastor in each place. This trip was to provide food, share the gospel and bring a bible for the pastors who are some of the few who can read. This first village is called Kangataruk and the pastor is James Losike.

We were greeted by an enthusiatic children's choir on our arrival.
There are no chairs in this place so the men sit on little carved wooden stools called echecholongs, and the women and children sit on the sand. Fortunately, my driver Paul brought along one for me so I could sit with the men.

Pastor Boniface led the village in saying thank you to all who donated to bring them food.  So this is for you!
We moved from there to the village of Amayen, the second church plant.  To do that, we had to cross a major river that, although it is dry in this season, still poses challenges to vehicles.  We scouted the route on foot first and then, confident we could cross without too much trouble headed over.

As we were crossing the river, we came across a couple of boys at a waterhole.  These hand-dug wells are the only means to get water in this drought, but they can be dangerous the further down you have to dig.

We finally arrived in Ameyen, the second church plant.

Boniface also gave a bible to the pastor of this church - James Erukudi

From Ameyen we again took the trackless road to a village neither George nor Boniface had been yet called Nabenyo. They had been invited by a man from that village who was supposed to meet us to take us there.  However, he had urgent business elsewhere and never showed.  This is a village where George and Boniface want to plant a church. We finally arrived where we were greeted by the headman over the area who said that even though they didn't know us or who invited us, we were welcome in their home.

We were probably most welcome because we brought food. After we distributed the food, I noticed George engaged in conversation with an older woman who was leaving with her food. I asked him what the conversation was about and he told me she said that last night she didn't know if she would die or eat the next day, but thanks to the team she is going home to prepare her meal.

Thanks again for your support of this work.  Our team is continuing the famine relief even as I am headed to Matete to start our conference. Click on this link to donate for famine relief.
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Winter Mission 2022

Sunday, December 4, 2022
I flew into Eldoret this morning to meet two of my team, Frank and John, who drove up from Nairobi. Tomorrow we will travel to Matete to begin the conference.  Friday was another famine relief day and the first village we visited was Nakakerererei (and I can't even begin to pronounce that).  But it is one of those onomatopoeic words that mimics the sound of one of the native bird songs. This village was about an hour into the bush.

This village was really struggling and they were very grateful for the food and oil we brought.  We always make a point of bringing lollipops along for the kids and these kids blessed us with a song of thanksgiving.

After sharing the gospel and handing out the food we took off for another village a couple hours away.

The happy faces we left at Nakakerererei were ample reward for the hours of jolting travel!
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Winter Mission 2022

Sunday, December 04, 2022
I arrived in Kenya this past Tuesday and it has really been non-stop since I got here.  I spent Wednesday getting all the necessary things ready for the next two weeks and then took off for Lodwar on Thursday.  The plan was to arrive in the morning and then head out to the bush to some far villages to distribute food.  However, 20 minutes into a 45 minute flight, I was startled to see the landing gear deploy outside my window seat.  I was pretty sure we weren't preparing to land anywhere soon as we were probably 10,000 feet in the air, so I fgured we had an issue. My suspicions were confirmed 30 seconds later as we made a u-turn back to the airport.  We were assured it was a minor problem and after two hours and many promises of taking off 'soon', we were back in the air headed to Eldoret and then Lodwar.

I was picked up by my driver at the airport, driven to my hotel where I dropped off my baggage, and immediately headed out to the bush to our first stop at a remote village called Kangyangapus. When we arrived, Pastor Stephen (pictured above) was preaching to his people using a Proclaimer.  This is an audio device with the Turkana Bible on it.  He would play a few verses, and then add his commentary and ask the congregation questions for clarification and to see if they understood.  Stephen doesn't read or write as is the case with a majority of the congregation and this audio bible is all they have.  As you can probably tell, this is Stephen's most prized possession.  

As always, the children were both delighted and a little scared of the muzungu who suddenly appeard in their midst.

We had a great team of young men to do the heavy lifting. 

It is hard for us to fully appreciate the joy and gratitude the people of this viilage felt as they saw the food and oil being off-loaded and handed out. They have watched as their animal herds have been decimated by the prolonged drought and they have had to travel further and further for water and food to sustain their families.  But is is the men who perhaps feel the effects of this most keenly.  One of the older man took my hand as I was greeting him and, with evident pain in his face, told me that without their herds, there was no longer a way to be a man.  When there herds of goats, and sheep and camels were healthy and thriving, they could provide for their families.  But now they had no way to do that and instead were watching their families go hungry. 

But these people were incredibly encouraged that there were people they didn't even know who would show such compassion as to send them food and they wanted me to relay their heartfelt gratitude and love.  I want to thank all of you who have joined us in bringing food to the people of Turkana.  Since August we have been helping villages like this with food and cooking oil, and we will continue to do so even after I leave. Here is a short video clip of Pastor George talking about the challenges of feeding so many hungry people. I'll be posting more tomorrow.  I've been hampered by a sketchy internet network but I'll keep trying:)

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Summer Mission 2022

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Friday, September 8, 2022
Last Sunday I flew to Zambia to visit my cousin, Liz Trautman who has built a home for disabled children in Lusaka.  The home is called The Lighthouse at Kasupe and she has done some wonderful work since she came to Zambia. 
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Liz has three boys living here right now, Gift, Matthews, and Ajee.
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These boys came from the slums around Lusaka and they are finding a new lease on life as well as good life and gospel training at the Lighthouse. Ajee is attending a university in Lusaka and Gift and Matthews are doing their schooling at the Lighthouse.
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One unique feature that is fairly common in Zambia, are huge ant hills, although I was assured that the ants have long ago moved out.
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The grounds are beautiful and Liz has planted a lot of trees.
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The eastern half of the proprerty has not yet been developed but Liz is praying about how that should progress.
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The grounds are beautiful and the western end has been turned into a garden of fruit trees and vegetables. Below is one of her papaya trees and a view of the garden.
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She also has banana trees, mango trees, calabash trees and we discovered one macademia nut tree.
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The house itself is spacious and well built, especially since a couple of guys from her home town of Moses Lake came earlier this year to put a new roof on the building.  Apparently the local contractors who built the place initially did not have a good grasp of hydraulics and the original roof leaked like a sieve. Below is a view from the main room that separates the boys section from the girls side.
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I got to spend all day Monday and Tuesday with Liz and I was really blessed by the routine she has established for the boys, beginning with daily devotions in the morning, and prayer time around the meals and evening bible study and prayer. I asked Liz to give me some prayer points that I could share with our supporters for The Lighthouse at Kasupe and here is what she gave us:
1.  Some (older than 16) young people who enjoy children to come (for 3 months) and help with the neighborhood reading and writing class for impoverished children.  
2. Speedy approval of our duties waiver so that we may get our vehicle out of the Zambia Revenue Authority impound lot.  It has been there for a year now. 
3. Land for a medical building and direction on whether this should be a clinic or a level 1 hospital. 
Would you be praying for this important ministry to the disabled and disadvantaged children of Zambia.  If you would like to get in touch with Liz personally, her email is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I know she would love to hear from you.
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Summer Mission 2022

Saturday, September 3, 2022
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It's Saturday evening here in Nairobi. I flew back from Lodwar this morning, got a Covid test for my flight tomorrow to Zambia, and reconnected with Rob, whose flight home was delayed by two days. I fly out to Zambia to visit my cousin Liz Trautman, who runs an orphanage in Lusaka called the Lighthouse at Kasupe.  I was also reflecting on our famine relief efforts this year to which so many of you contributed.  What we do is important in providing food for Turkana families in dire straits, and yet it is just a drop in the bucket.  Turkana has been several months without significant rainfall, and I have never seen this place drier than this year. Life is a struggle for so many who often have to walk for kilometers every day to find water just to sustain life. For the most part, all the men have taken their herds toward greener pastures near Uganda to keep them alive, but the old men, women and children have been left behind to fend for themselves.  I'm asking that you continue to keep these people in your prayers, and go to our website and give to our famine relief effort.  https://agapekenya.org/donate/donate-now.html.  As you donate for this effort, we will be sending the money to our API associates in Turkana who are heading up this relief effort.  Thank you for your partnership with us in this.
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As is true in the rest of the world, prices for everything have skyrocketed. Prices for maize flour and beans have doubled, cooking oil has quadrupled, and fuel is 40% higher than when I was here this spring.  
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Nevertheless, we managed to buy bean, maize flour and cooking oil to distribute to 7 villages and to all the pastors and church leaders who attended the Lodwar and Kakuma conferences. We have four villages yet to reach and Pastors Lokuruka and Lokwawi will be delivering food there next week.  So far we have been able to feed about 650 families and we anticipate another 300 or more next week.
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All told, we were able to purchase $9,000 worth of these staples to hand out.
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The strange thing is, there are relief organizations in and around Lodwar, but none of them seem to be giving out food. And the relief food that comes through the U.N. and U.S. aid appears to be hijacked and sold in the markets.
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Thank you for your prayers and faithful partnership with us!
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Summer Mission 2022

Friday, September 2, 2022
It is Friday evening and I am still in Lodwar after returning from Kakuma.  We held a three-day conference in Kakuma starting Monday this week and finished on Wednesday.  We were hosted again this year by the Solid Rock Fellowship Church led by Pastor Benjamin.  We returned to Lodwar Wednesday night and then Rob and Tim flew back to Nairobi Thursday morning, along with Pastors Shadrack and Reuben who flew to Eldoret.
We had 102 pastors in attendance for these three days, with 46 of them from Kakuma Refugee Camp.  Since transporation was an issue for them, we provided transport to get them to the conference. 
Pastor Jared from Life Challenge in Nairobi came with us to Kakuma to do some training on Monday on reaching Muslims with the gospel. We want to give a big thanks to Jared and the Life Challenge team for partnering with us to equip these pastors and church leaders in Turkana.
Both Tim and I took the sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday.  You really can't see it in these pictures, but this church was pretty much a giant oven by 11 am, and by the end of the day, we could literally wring our clothes out!  Tim was instantly recognized even though this was his first time in Kakuma. At our last conference, I showed several of his teaching videos he sent as he couldn't be there, and he was warmly welcomed when he walked in.  He's kind of a rock star in Turkana!
Pastor Reuben not only translated for me, but ran the media with Rob. Rob came down with the same bug that got Tim on this trip, but he had done such a great job training John and Reuben that we allowed Rob some well-deserved rest this conference. By the second day however, he was feeling will enough to get back in the saddle.
Shadrack did an incredible job as our Conference Director, here and in Lodwar and we are fortunate to have him on our team.
All the pastors and church leaders were very appreciative of the foundation teaching they were receiving, and most of them had never had this kind of teaching at all. "API is really helping, not only our pastors, but our churches to grow" one pastor told me between sessions. "This training is so helpful to us to understand the Bible". 
Both Boniface and George came with us as part of our team to help in the conference.  I can't say enough about what these guys contribute the ministry of API in Turkana. 
We ended our time by handing out food and cooking oil for each participant, along with two very helpful resources for Bible study for these pastors.
We hadn't told them we were going to be giving out food, and you should have seen the smiles break out when we brought in the food and oil.
Most of these pastors, especially from the camps and the bush, are having a very difficult time feeding their families and wanted me to express their deep gratitude to their brothers and sisters in the U.S. who remembered them.
A very great thank you to all of you who contributed to our Famine Relief this year. 
Thank you too to those of you who have been faithful to pray for us. Please continue to pray as we are not yet through. Although Rob and Tim were scheduled to fly out tonight, Rob called and his flight has been delayed till Sunday. I believe Tim's flight is still leaving tonight. 
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Summer Mission 2022

Sunday, August 28, 2022
It is Sunday evening and the team and I are in Kakuma getting ready to begin the conference here.  We  took a group photo on the last day of the Lodwar conference to commemorate our 9th annual Pastors and Church Leaders Conference and to send you all a traditional Kenyan greeting!  
One of our favorite times in every conference is the Q & A sessions we hold every day where the participants pepper us with questions over the teachings they are receiving. The questions this year were very keen and demonstrated a good grasp of the material we were teaching. 
We closed our Friday evening session by handing out food to the pastors.  Several of them had come to me to let me know that they had been going through very difficult times and said they were going home to their families who had very little or nothing to eat.  We decided right then that they wouldn't go home empty-handed and started our famine relief that night.
Pastors George Lokwawi (second from the right behind Boniface in the red API shirt) and Boniface Lokuruka.
I need to tell you that George and Boniface are the real hands and feet of API in Turkana and I don't know what we'd do without them. They are both tireless servants of God whose hearts are for their people and God's glory.
 RRH3424The following morning we began our famine relief program by visiting five village out in the bush.  The last one we visited was a place called Nakwei Quarry, which means "The place of the foxes".  API is partner with the church there to build their first building. It had been known as Kalongoe, or "Place where people are killed" due to the many people who had been killed by bandits in the area.
But when the church purchased the plot to build, they decided to change the name because it was no longer a place of danger.
It is mostly women, small children,and old men who are left in the villages as the drought has forced the able men to move the herds where they can get food.

When Pastor Emase first started evangelizing in the area, he was threatened by the chief there and told not to come and build a church.  But he persisted and a church was born that met for several years under a tree in a riverbed.
In partnership with API and help from the Brad Pederson Memorial building fund, they are now constructing their first church building.
We left them with some food and our blessing and yours. Thank you all who have partnered with us to feed the hungry.
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Summer Mission 2022

Thursday August 25, 2022
I apologize for starting this blog so late in the trip but I ran into a few obstacles along the way.  Rob and I were scheduled to fly out last Thursday, but Rob ended up going alone.  (He told me he had nightmares about this scenario!) My issue was a failed Covid test, but I was sure I was negative even though the test came back positive.  So I retested on Friday, booked a flight for Saturday and prayed.  Sure enough the second test came back negative and I was cleared to fly.  I got to Seatac around 8:30 for my 1 pm flight and about 12:30 got the notice that the flight was delayed for two hours. That was okay since my connection in Paris had a four hour window. Then when we were just getting ready to board, the flight was delayed another 3 hours.  Which meant my connection in Paris was gone. We finally lifted off about 6:30 and flew to Paris where I had to wrangle another flight.  This one only took me to Amsterdam where I scrambled for a flight to Nairobi. Oh, and the Paris flight was delayed by an hour too. I finally got a flight to Nairobi and got to the gate with minutes to spare. We arrived in Nairobi at 6 in the morning on Monday. 
Meanwhile, Rob and Tim and the API team had flown to Lodwar on Sunday and set up for the conference which began Monday evening. I was able to fly up to Lodwar Tuesday morning just in time for my first session scheduled that day. I thank God for the great team He has put together because those guys didn't miss a beat without me, and the conference was in full swing when I arrived.
Pastor Tim had taken the first two session in the morning and I took the third.
However, when I arrived, Tim informed me that he was not feeling well and didn't think he could do the evening session. So we ended up switching the teaching schedule a bit and soldiered on, praying that he would be well on Wednesday.  He got worse Tuesday night, and by Wednesday morning I was thinking medical evacuation when I saw him.  Between Rob and I, we managed to come up with some medicines he started taking, and I took all the teaching session that day. I also called my sister the nurse and she recommended a treatment protocol which we administered. We also told everyone to pray and by Wednesday afternoon he texted me and said he felt a little better. 
Thursday morning Tim was up and around and ready to go! He gave two session this morning and he will be speaking this evening and looks like he's over the worst. We have no idea why the Lord has allowed so many obstacles to arise to hinder us, but we're pretty sure the enemy is working overtime to hinder the Word to these pastors. But God is proving that all the roadblocks thrown up to oppose His ministry are no match for His power.  We are thankful we serve such a big God!
This morning I picked up Jared Odinga of Life Challenge Africa from the Lodwar airport.  Life Challenge is partnering with us to equip and train these pasters in Turkana to reach the growing Muslim community in this county. 
Thank you for your support and prayers and keep on praying that the schemes of the devil would come to nothing. We have about 150 pastors attending the conference and they are rejoicing that they are getting the opportunity to receive this training.
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Spring Mission 2022

Thursday, May 12, 2022
Jay and I arrived back in Nairobi yesterday from Lodwar, going from 100 degrees to a more comfortable 75! I asked Jay to give you all an account of what has been happening with our Biblical Counseling program so this is his report.

The API team obtained two important milestones Saturday.
The first was to meet with the pastoral leadership council in Kakuma and set up our first pastor’s training conference inside the borders of the Kakuma refugee camp this coming August. While many pastors in the camp barely have enough money to eat, they persevere in giving the hope of the gospel to refugees from wars and uprisings in the Congo, Uganda, Burundi, South Sudan, Sudan and Samalia. Now the API team will be coming to them. For those that would like to contribute to this conference in Kakuma, please click here.

The second milestone was launching a second Biblical Counseling team in northern Kenya for the express purpose of doing on-site pastoral training for the next year in the Kakuma camp. This team will be led by Boniface Lokuruka (1st picture below) and George Lokwawi (second picture below), API associates in Lodwar. These men have been used by the Lord to plant tens of churches throughout the Turkana area and Boniface currently is the bishop over four churches in Kakuma camp and town. Once we have sufficient funds ( click the link here to contribute ), Boniface and George will start monthly trainings to help pastors disciple and counsel not only people in the church, but also as a ministry to the larger Kakuma camp. The training will include crisis counseling areas like how to counsel those in distress and depression, but also peacemaking ( a key issue since all these refugees were displaced by faction fighting ) troubled marriages, anxiety, or those in fear for their future. After two years of counseling training and meetings with Kakuma camp officials and the local churches in Kakuma, API’s biblical counseling team is now crossing over into in-camp pastoral counselor training.

Here is an update on API’s first biblical counseling team led by Reuben Luvanga and Moses Biketi. They started in-person training six months ago in Matete and Majengo. They have 20 pastors in each of those areas that have completed the first of the three training modules. This training has caught the attention of some pastors outside of Matete. Moses has been invited to start training approximately 80 pastors in Checkalini. The training will include biblical theology along with biblical counseling as we are currently doing in Matete. The local team is designed to augment the conference training with on-going in person training and this is proving to be exceptionally popular with the pastors who want to increase their skills as a pastor. 

       Reuben                                                           Moses
This team was also our first team to introduce biblical counseling and biblical theology training for pastors in refugee camps when they taught pastors in the Kyaka II and Nakivale camps in Uganda in November 2021. The pastors have been eagerly awaiting an API team conference inside the refugee camps with almost daily calls to our team. We have been working to this end and please join us in praying that we can finally accomplish this goal.

As the world went on lock down and resorted to Zoom calls to stay connected, API capitalized on this resource to increase training between conferences. Mike and Jay each introduced weekly on-line Zoom teaching in 2021. On May 24, we will be expanding our reach into Nairobi with the launch of biblical counseling training by Zoom in Karura Community Chapel, an extremely large church with a focus on being a center for pastoral training for their church and also for the local pastors in Nairobi. They just completed a four-story building for the Sunday School and are next looking to create a counseling center for their church and the community and we will be training a core group of their pastors and leaders over the next year to kick-start this effort. This church is just a couple kilometers from our hotel in Nairobi, so we now have the possibility of adding new conference training every time our team comes into Kenya with no additional logistics or cost. This work was initiated by John Kamau, API’s Media Director, who is a member of this church and set up meetings for us last year to explore this new partnership.

We want to thank all of you who have prayed and supported us as we have ministered in Kenya this spring.  God is opening more and more doors to train and equip more and more pastors and church leaders, and we are running to keep up!  Jay and I head back to the States tomorrow evening; Jay to California and me to Washington.  We than God for our outstanding Kenyan team this year as we head back!  These guys really worked hard and made things happen.
Left to right back row: Jay McBee, Edward Amase, Frank Maina, me, Moses Biketi.
Middle row: John Kamau, Shadrack Murimi, Reuben Luvanga
Front: Benson Ntuntai


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Spring Mission 2022

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Jay, Frank and I arrived in Lodwar Friday morning and then set out Saturday to visit a couple of the bush churches.  The first one we visited required a twenty minute boatride on Lake Turkana to a place called Longech.  This is a new church plant by Pastor George Lokwawi.  Everytime I'm with George he is taking me to another new church he has planted. He has a real gift for evangelism and church planting, as does Boniface Lokuruku pictured here and below. While we were waiting for our boat to arrive, Boniface started sharing the gospel with the inevitable crowd that gathers whenever muzungus are around. 

He used a simple sheet of paper, folding and tearing it as he went to tell the gospel story and ended up at the cross. It was an amazing display of readiness and eagerness to share the good news at any opportunity.

The church is literally on the beach at Longech, with palm trees and white sand. I think I could belong to this church!

We spent some time hearing from the pastor and leaders of Longech, and then shared with them our mission to train and equip pastors and church leaders. One of the tools we use is a mini-SD card that they can insert in their phones to access the audio bible, teaching series, gospel stories and study helps in their own language. We've tried other devices in the past and have found they do not stand up to the rigors of life in Turkana, but almost everyone in leadership has a phone and they take very good care of them since they have invested their own money.  The audio format is also best because most of the people in the bush cannot read or write, but they know how to listen! 

I think Jay was thinking this place was pretty cool too.

After we got back to the mainland, George admitted he was a bit intimidated by the little boat and the big water, even though I assured him that since Lake Turkana is a salt lake, he would float quite well.

Leaving Longech, we headed north to a village I had been to a few times called Nakapokan.  I believe this was the second or third church we had help build in Turkana six years ago. In addition to housing the church, this structure also served as the first primary school in the village until the government got its act together and built a primary school a couple years ago.

This was also a memorial journey of sorts as the original pastor, a friend of mine, had died over a year ago - Pastor Thomas.

We went to Nakapokan to see how the church was doing and give them greetings and exortation, and to see the widow of Pastor Thomas, and the house some generous API donors had provided for her.

She asked us to pray and dedicate the place to the Lord.  This home will serve her as a shop to sell things from one half, while living in the other.  Widows have a very hard time in this area when the husband dies as they usually have no other source of income. She was very grateful to her unknow benefactors and thanked us profusely on their behalf.

Again, thank you all who are praying for, and supporting this mission. More and more people are being reached with the gospel as we train and equip those who are going out. Pastor George told me that ever since we have been holding our annual conference in Lodwar, he requires that the pastors and church leaders of all the new churches he plants must attend the conference for training. We thank God that we are able to be a small part of extending the kingdom of God in this land.
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