News from the field.

Winter Mission 2023

Saturday, December 9, 2023
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I am back in Nairobi and in the land of reliable internet so it's time for a post.  Last Sunday, Pastor Boniface, John, Frank and I traveled to Baringo County to begin our conference in Churo.  This is the home of the East Pokot tribe where we started pastoral training almost two years ago. Above is the Churo AIC (African Inland Church) where we held the conference with 110 pastors and church leaders this past week.  Since there are no accommodations in Churco itself, we stayed at a Catholic mission lodging facility in a slightly larger village called Tangulbei, about 17 km away. So each morning and evening we jolted our way to and from Churo on some of the rockiest, roughest roads I've been on for a while; which ultimately had some unfortunate consequences I'll get to in a bit.
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Frank handled our registration table, as well as his driving duties and emergency vehicle repair jobs. Some of which involved duct tape!
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John handled all our media needs magnificently and creatively, as in Churo, we didn't always have access to proper electrical connections. 
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I was told that this is the correct,Kenya-OSHA approved method of getting power from the generator to our equipment.
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Like in Matete, these pastors and church leaders were dialed in from the first to the teachings presented by Boniface and myself, as we taught on a biblical understanding of the church. 
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This is a vital topic in Kenya where almost anything goes as it relates to churches.  One of the resources given to the attendees was Pastor Conrad Mbewe's book, God's Design for the Church: A Guide for African Pastors and Ministry Leaders in Kiswahili.
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Pastor Boniface and I shared the teaching responsibilities with Pastor Musa Maklab  and Pastor Julius as the interpreters.

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Thanks to Crossway and Ekklesia Afrika, we were able to hand out bibles and two other book resources to all the attendees, R.C. Sproul's, Saved From What, and Mbewe's God's Design for the Church.
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The joy on the faces of those who received their first ever bible was something to see!
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We also were able to give those who attended food, including maize, flour, beans, salt and cooking oil, to take home to their families, thanks to the generosity of our API Famine Relief doners! The climate and the economy have conspired to severely affect the ability of these people to feed their families and so this generosity was greatly appreciated.
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The elderly and the widows were those served first and they were overjoyed to have food to take with them.
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On Thursday morning we headed off for Nakuru where we would spend the night before reaching Nairobi on Friday.  All went well, we dropped Pastor Boniface off in Marigat to catch a shuttle home; and we were about 80 - 90 km into our trip when the engine of our vehicle simply shut down. It turned out that a sharp rock had penetrated the oil sump and drained the oil at the same time the turbo somehow allowed water into places it shouldn't be in the engine. The result was a a blown piston and a dead vehicle.
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We ended up having to have our vehicle transported to Nairobi for repairs.  John and Frank went with the car and I hitchhiked a ride to Nakuru for the night, and arriving in Nairobi yesterday.  I guess it wouldn't be a mission trip without some difficulties!
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Thank you all for your prayers and support for this ministry.  You have to know that these pastors and church leaders are so incredibly thankful to all of you who make this ministry possible. I'll be flying home on Sunday and for those of you signed up for our newsletter, you'll be receiving a full report soon. 

p.s. This is NOT the ride I hitchhiked to Nakuru.
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Winter Mission 2023

Saturday, December 2, 2023
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It has taken a week to get to a place with reliable internet to even begin this blog so I'll be giving you all a recap of the week we/ve just had.  I got into Nairobi late last Sunday evening and the next morning, Frank and John and I drove to the place we booked to stay for the week. Our conference was in Matete at Pastor Moses Biketi's place but we were staying about 15 minutes away in a town called Webuye. We chose not to stay in our usual hotel called Downhill Springs because, well, it has gone downhill over the years and we needed a new place. So we booked a place called Falls View. It was actually a nice place with good food, service and comfortable rooms. But as with nearly everything in Kenya, there were challenges. I was confronted by the first when I walked into the bathroom.
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I'm not sure what the thinking was here, but it required some athleticism to use the toilet. Maybe that was the point. But we've learned to roll with the punches as it were and I made some creative adjustments!  I also reminded myself I wasn't here for comfortable amenities.
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The week of teaching through the first five chapters of Romans was planned for 100 pastors and church leaders, but we ended up with about 165.  I suppose we shoudn't be surprised. This was the fifth year of this winter conference and the word has gotten out about the value of this trainng. Additionally, Pastors Moses and Reuben have been holding trainings throughout this year in villages close by and all those they've been teaching are coming and bringing their pastor friends as well.
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We were most impressed by the way all the attendees seemed to be focused during the teaching time, and absorbing the material. There was little to no getting up and moving around during the hour and a half sessions, with all those attending concentrating deeply on listening and taking notes.
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During the break times, you could see dozens of small groups gathered together talking, not about the weather, but the most recent session. 
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I broke in on some of these groups just to find out what they were discussing and found they were really engaged in the Romans material. Everyone I spoke to told me how blessed they felt to be under this teaching. One pastor told us that he had been preaching through Romans for the past month, but now realized how much richer and deeper Romans was than he had thought.  His eyes had been opened, he said, and thanked us repeatedly and said he could hardly wait till next year when we would be going through chapters 6 - 11 of Romans.
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Of course we have such a great teaching team with Reuben Luvanga, Moses Biketi, Shadrack Murimi, and adding this year, Pastor Boniface Lokuruka from Lodwar.
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Our Q&A sessions at the end of every teaching day provided us the opportunity to add more depth to the day's teachings and those times are always enjoyable as well as enlightening.
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Thanks to the generosity of Crossway and Ekklesia Afrika, we were able to give these pastors some bibles and other great resources.
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As happens almost everywhere, I get some children who are curious about the mazungu and are facsinated by my white skin.
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We left for Eldoret today, to spend the night and take off for Churo tomorrow morning.  But before we left Webuye, we stopped by Nzoina Falls that we could see from our hoter for some close up pictures.
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We were truly blessed to spend a week with these brothers and sisters, and are looking forward to being back with them next year as we continue in Romans.  Thank you all for your prayers and support!
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Summer Mission 2023

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Monday, September 4, 2023
It is Monday evening and we just arrived back in Lodwar from spending a couple of days in East Pokot.  We were there to attend the dedication of the new church building for the village of Kresia. API, through the Brad Pederson Memorial Building Fund, partnered with the AIC (African Inland Church) of Kresia to erect a new church building in the villiage.
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Although you might think it would be unbearably hot inside, we were surprised at how cool the interior stayed even as the sun rose high during our three-hour service.  There seem to be some fairly strong prevailing breezes that flow through the generously sized windows on each side.
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The church was overjoyed to have their own building after years of sitting under trees and other temporary structures. Because this ground is infested with termites, the church made the choice to use steel construction throughout.
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We were met by the women of the church singing their welcome and blessing to us as we arrived. And then we were all led in procession to the building entrance where we held the dedication service.
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We were then given the priviledge of unlocking and opening the door for everyone to enter. 
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Five local AIC churches came together for this Sunday service and the building was very full.
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The visitors were fitted out with local finery. And I got the hat with an osterich feather!
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However, I don't think we reached the pinnacle of sartorial splendor shown by the average local.
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The local choirs of each church was given time to present songs to the congregation.
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And then the visitors were give the opportunity to share something from the word to the congregation. Pastor Boniface went first, and then I followed.
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I'd like to thank Crossway Publishing and Ekklesia Afrika for their generosity in providing bibles for these believers. Each pastor received a personal Concise Study bible plus10 more for members in their congregations.
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We closed out our time in Kresia with a meal of Nyama Choma and rice (BBQ goat and rice) and left to swing by the village of Amaya, where we were this last spring. On the way we met a couple of young girls who were going through the rites of circumcision (FGM - Female Genital Mutilation). They are the two with long poles. This barbaric rite of passage ceremony is still practiced in many tribal cultures in Kenya.  Although the church speaks out against it, there is a massive cultural attachment to the practice.  But pushback against the culture is rising. The AIC here in East Pokot has recently begun a partnership with a western ministry to fund and build a rescue home for those young girls who are trying to escape this practice. Pastor Musa Maklab, of Amaya is spearheading the effort. Please pray that the gospel would breakthrough in this area and destroy the works of the devil among these people.
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After traveling to Amaya, about 5 kilometers away, we visited the dispensary which has been restarted by Pastor Musa.  This is the clinic where Linda Wickman served when she and her husband were in Kenya. They have hired a clinical officer to oversee the dispensary and hope to continue to expand the work here.
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We also want to thank Surfing Servants for the water purification systems they gave us to hand out over here.  As you might know, clean drinking water is a big issue in most of Kenya, especially in the remote rural areas like Amaya.  These simple devices are literally life-saving gifts to these people. We left one with the clinical officer of the dispensary and he was overjoyed!
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Thank you for your prayers.  God has been gracious to us and we continue to be in good health. Pray that the word that was preached and heard bears fruit for His glory!

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Summer Mission 2023

Friday, September 1, 2023
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We left Lodwar on Sunday afternoon on the 27th and traveled to Kakuma for our 3rd annual Pastors and Church Leaders conference. The picture above is of what is supposed to be a water fountain on one of the round-a-bouts in Lodwar, but hasn't been quite finished yet. We call it the Leaning Fountain of Lodwar.  And it's been there a while.
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We had 100 pastors together in Kakuma for this conference on the book of Ephesians and they were dialed into the word. They rarely got out of their seats during the sessions despite the temperature inside the building reaching well over 100 degrees. Rob said he was going to bring a thermometer next year to find out just how hot it was.  Last year some of his electronics bit the dust because of the hit, but we had no problems this year.
Many pastors from the Kakuma Refugee camps attended this year.  We had pastors from Ruwanda, Burundi, Congo, South Sudan, and Ethiopia attending.  Most of them I talked to were intent on returning to their home country when they could and expressed their great appreciation for the training they were receiving. 
We held Q&A sessions at the end of the teaching day and we were impressed by the quality of questions and the level of understanding among these pastors. 
We closed out the conference with our resource handout, including food. I was told by one of the pastors from the refugee camps that what they received from us in food was more than they received in a month from the U.N.  Part of the problem with food distribution in the camps is that although the food is given free by western nations, including the U.S, the camp administration is run by the Kenyans and is very corrupt.  We have seen barrels of rice, corn, wheat and beans being sold in local markets even though they are clearly marked as U.S Aid.
All of these pastors were so grateful, not only for the resources, but for the word they received. Pastor Ben of Elim Pentecostal church sent me an email yesterday that read: "Thank you so much it was such a blessing to have you in Kakuma for three days.  Have been blessed by the solid teachings from the book of Ephesians. I am  considering by the grace of God to start teaching the book of Ephesians in our church in series.I am fired up!"
Yesterday, Rob and Tim returned to Nairobi to fly back to the U.S. tonight.  But Pastor Boniface, Paul our driver and I are on a road trip to East Pokot.  Tonight we are in Eldoret and then we travel tomorrow to Tengulbei to spend Saturday night. We will be in Kresia on Sunday to dedicate their new church building.  Please pray for us as we travel and minister.
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Summer Mission 2023

Sunday, August 27, 2023
We finished our conference on the first eight chapters of Romans Friday night and it was a great week of teaching and learning, fellowship with all the pastors who came and connecting with longtime friends, like Pastor Daniel Njuguna of the Apostolic Faith church in Lodwar. I've known Daniel from the first time we came to Lodwar back in 2013 and he is not only a great friend but a great interpreter.
At the end of the night we handed out the resources to the pastors provided by Crossway and Ekklesia Afrika. They each got a study guide for the book of Romans and Conrad Mbwewe's book on God's Design for the Church translated into Kiswahili.
We also gave all the attendees some food to go along with the books. Many families are hurting right now as food prices have skyrocketed.  Everything they need to survive, especially the basic things like ugali flour, cooking oil and salt has doubled, tripled and in some cases, quaddrupled in price.  We want to thank all of you who provided famine relief funds for these people!

Saturday was our rest day so we visited the home of our API Associate teacher, Boniface Lokuruka.
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Clean drinking water is hard to come by in Lodwar so we brought the family one of the water filters provided by Surfing Servants, an organization based in San Diego.  They provide water filters to communities in third world countries all over the world and they were kind enough to give API some to give out.
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One of Boniface's sons, Kevin, set it up right away and was impressed by how simple and easy they are to set up. Here he is reading the instructions on the bag. Many people in this area are subject to Typhoid because they have no source of clean drinking water.
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Today we travel to Kakuma to hold our conference on Ephesians.  Thank you for praying for us! God has kept the team healthy and strong thus far and we thank you for holding us up!
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Summer Mission 2023

Wednesday August 23, 2023
We began our 10th annual conference in Lodwar Monday night. We are going through the first eight chapters of Romans and it is a challenging task.  But fortunately we have Pastor Tim Bourgeois from Tree of Life Church in Chatsworth, California with us to help break it down for us.  It is also challenging because the temperature is in the high 90's and there is no air conditioning in the venue. However, that doesn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the participants and we have 175 pastors and church leaders attending from 8:30 in the morning till 9 at night.
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Here are are few shots from the first two days.
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Tim and I each have our own interpreters that we have been working with for 10 years, and these guys are really good. Pastor Daniel Njuguna translates for me and Pastor Boniface Lokuruka translates for Tim. Translation is an incredibly difficult job, but these guys make it seem effortless and we have the confidence that they are getting the message across.
The conference is hosted by the Lodwar Pastors Fellowship in concert with API School of Ministry.
This is Paul our driver while we are in Lodwar. One of the best drivers we've had apart from our API driver, Frank Maina. Paul is a joy to work with and he anticipates our every need.
Each day at 4 pm we have our Q & A session, allowing the participants to ask questions and get clarification on the material we have covered. These are very helpful, not only for the teachers but also for those who are attending. 
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We will keep you up to date on what is going on over here but the conference so far has been very helpful, encourageing and stimulating for those attending judging by the interactions we have had. The conference runs through Friday night and then on Sunday we move to Kakuma to begin a three-day conference in that city in partnership with the Kakuma Pastors Fellowship. Thank you for praying for us as we move through this week and next.
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Summer Mission 2023

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August 21, 2023
Rob and I arrived in Nairobi last Friday night after mildly eventual trips.  Rob flew to Amsterdam to Nairobi, and I flew to Paris and then Nairobi. We were supposed to arrive in Nairobi at the same time but both our flights were delayed by different things and I arrived about an hour later than he did. On the first leg of my flight, the person sitting next to me lost her lunch in the seat in between us and I made a hasty departure to another seat. My flight from Paris was delayed by a medical emergency after a boarding passenger fainted as he was walking to his seat. He revived with the help of some doctors on board, and then was checked out by a Dutch firemen paramedic team who okayed him to continue. However as we taxied out to our take off point, he fainted again and we returned to the gate and sent him off the plane. By this time we were two hours behind schedule and so arrived in Nairobi at midnight. But Frank had already collected Rob and we finally got to the hotel around 1:30.
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Tim arrived the next evening from Dubai and we left Sunday afternoon for Lodwar with John Kamau. Frank drove us to the airport for the flight to Lodwar which was thankfully uneventful. 
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We had a few too many bags and boxes to fit inside. Fortunately we have a roofrack on the vehicle.
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Our flight to Lodwar ran through Eldoret where we picked up two more members of the team - Pastors Shadrack and Reuben.
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We held our firsr session tonight and began a week of studying the first eight chapters of Romans.  More to come.
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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.

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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.

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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.  
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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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