API USA Blog

News from the field.

Spring 2019 Megwara Pastors Conference

Here is a post from Julianne Thompson.  (Dave and Julianne came with their children to lead a children's ministry during the pastor's conference. And as you can imagine, parenting while on mission can present special challenges)

Still Parenting on Mission

Today we went to an orphan elephant refuge. At the end of the presentation, my daughter, Cecelia, was looking at the items in the gift shop with Dave while I took Mary to the restroom. When we met up, I saw Cece with dangling elephant earrings. I was with the rest of our mission team and didn't want to go into detail, but I did say “Cece, it's not ok for you to have dangling earrings”. She pressed and I was tempted to say “For special occassions,” but then walked that back. She needed to remove them and put her ruby studs back in.

When we got back into the van, it was clear she was angry. She was sitting behind me, but I could feel it. She didn't want to speak to me.

As I spoke with Dave and John about the possibility of rain tonight, I knew I didn't want to ignore her feelings. Cece's too important to me and I never want to allow a chasm to form between us.

I decided to offer her 2x what she paid for the earrings. The currency here is Kenyan Schillings but I had that much in Qatari Riyals. She didn't want to accept the deal. I explained that while she was free to turn my offer down, I would still hold onto the earrings until she was older. I said 14, but then 16 was what I preferred.

She gave in, accepted the riyal and surrendered the earrings.

We had arrived at the mall for lunch and she was feeling a little better. She spoke up a little and said, “Mom, I can't spend the riyal here and I spent the last of my schillings on the earrings.” I told her that I would see to it that she had schillings and asked John about an ATM. I let Dave know that I was planning to pull some money out for snacks at camp and to keep a promise to Cece.

I think she was moved by this. She apologized for her anger and confessed to having known that dangling earrings were not allowed. I was so pleased by her confession! I felt close to her and I poured out affectionate words adoring her. I think this was the best possible outcome.

Lord, I am thankful that your kindness leads to repentence. (Romans 2:46)

I didn't care about the riyal or the schillings. Those only amount to a few dollars. What I wanted was for us to be close, for her heart to be soft.

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Spring 2019 Megwara Pastors Conference

 

It is Friday night here in the Mara and the team is relaxing in the dining hall at Manyatta just enjoying being together and winding down after a busy day.  Above you see the poster that was plastered all over this region and down into Tanzania.  It must have been effective because we have almost 380 people attending the conference.  

This afternoon we tried to gather as many of the attendees as possible for a group shot.  It is always difficult to get everyone together as any of them have animals and farms to attend to during the day. I thought I would just post some pictures from our week so far.

 

Here the ladies are dancing a traditional Maasai dance.  There were too many to dance in the building so the line went outside and back in again.

 

We want to thank all of you who lifted Ben up in prayer earlier this week as he arrived in Kenya very sick.  But as you can see, he has recovered remarkably!

Ben also wrote an update:

This past week I traveled to the Christian Leadership Council for a week of training in Dallas then on to Kenya for with API to train pastors and speak on the Sanctity of Human Life and Sexual Integrity. On the way I got sick with an incredible chest cold and fever. The first two days I spent in bed and thanks to the crack nurses on the trip (Kim, Lauri, Lynn and Juliann) and Doctors Mike, Rich, Reuben, Frank, John, and Shadrack I will be able to present beginning Friday and finishing Saturday. Pastor Rich didn’t want me to get use to breakfast in bed. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes.

The first two days of the conference, Pastor Rich spoke upon “Jesus throughout the old testament and “Patterned, Promised and Present of Jesus in the Old Testament.

Pastor Michael spoke on the beginning of Moses and day two “The Lord among us”. Each of the sessions were well received.

What a great blessing to have 350 adults in the adult meetings today and 187 children attend the children’s ministry directed by David and Juliann Thompson.

Tonight a great storm hit with lighting, thunder and a ton of rain. The kids loved it!

Blessings to you all!

In His Service,

Ben

Pastor Shadrack on the left has been in charge of all the conference logistics and has done a great job.  He is with Pastor Daniel who is the host of this conference.

We have one more full day of ministry left at the conference and the response has been tremendous and encouraging.  So many of those attending have taken the time to tell the team members personally how the teaching has revolutionized their thinking about the Old Testament and Jesus.  The women have been flocking to the ladies breakout sessions with Laurie, Lynn and Kim; and the men have really enjoyed the breakout sessions with Ben and Rich and myself. Many of them were particularly impressed with Pastor Rich's sessions on the Doctrines of Grace and Hermaneutics. Pastor Reuben Luvanga and John Kamau have probably worked the hardest of us all with the media, recording all the plenary and breakout sessions.

Thanks again for all your prayers for us.  Pray that we finish strong.

 

 

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Spring 2019 Megwara Pastors Conference

It is Thursday evening and we've just experienced an incredible thunder, lightening and rainstorm.  There was a virtual river running through our dining hall at Manyatta Camp and we all huddled under the one part of the structure that seemed to be rainproof. It was an awesome display of God's power and we enjoyed watching the show.

Every morning we begin with a great breakfast followed by prayer and the word at our outdoor dining hall. We can see animals moving in the park across the river as we eat.

We have had a great two days of teaching, fellowship and making new friends and catching up with old ones.  There are about 350 adults attending this conference and 187 children coming out to our children's ministry camp run by Dave and Julianne Thompson. 

The kids are enjoying a wonderful program filled with games, bible teaching, crafts, songs, snacks and making new friends.

Meanwhile the adults are taking in bible teaching from Lynn Hamlin, Laurie Akehurst, Kim Sandberg, Rich Hamlin and myself.

  

I know many of you got our urgent prayer request for Ben Edwards who arrived in Kenya very sick.  But through the prayers of many and the mercy of God, Ben is on the mend and wanted everyone to know. Tomorrow we'll post a blog from him. Thanks again for keeping us in your prayers.  More to follow tomorrow.

 

 

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Spring 2019 Megwara Pastors Conference

       

                    In Swahili we say, "Amefufuka!  Amefufuka Kweli!

It is early Monday morning here in Nairobi, the day after Easter, and Kim and I are still jet-lagging a bit.  So I thought I'd catch you all up on what's been happening with us.

Kim and Laurie and I took off last Thursday from SeaTac, flew to Paris, and then to Nairobi.

We arrived in Nairobi around 8:30 Friday night and our API associates, Frank and John, picked us up at the airport.

              

Saturday morning, we met the Thompsons, who had arrived Friday afternoon, for breakfast at the ArtCaffe.  David and Julianne, who will be leading the Children's Ministry track at the conference, brought their four children along, Simon, Cecelia, Emilia, and Marilyn.  Because David is in the military, they had to stay at a different hotel than us so we didn't meet until that next morning. 

Saturday was spent getting conference supplies, buying bibles, picking up books for the conference, and a visit to the Giraffe Center.

Sunday morning we joined the congregation at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Nairobi for worship in the morning; and in the afternoon we paid a visit to our favorite basket hawker.

   Marilyn and Emilia 

                                                                     Cecelia

  

I think Kim was giving some bargaining advice to Simon. And Laurie was thoroughly pleased with her purchases, as were we.  

     

Today we will visit the baby elephant orphanage in Nairobi in the morning and spend the afternoon and evening repacking our gear and supplies for our travel tomorrow to Manyatta Camp in Oloolaimutia where we will stay for the duration of the conference.  Thank you for you continued prayers for us and for the conference.  Pray also for the rest of our team who will be arriving from the U.S. early Tuesday morning.

 

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Summer 2018 Lodwar Pastors Conference

It is Tuesday evening in Kilgoris and we've got an impressive thunder and lightening storm going on outside.  I just realized that I forgot to tell you all about visiting the refugee camp at Kakuma last week so I'll catch you up.

Last Thursday, while Roger, Dan and Rob were still here, we took a trip to the U.N. Refugee Camp in Kakuma - a 120 km trip that took us three and a half hours each way because of the wretched roads. But we had a good time both ways with Pastor Lokwawi, Pastor Lokuruka, Pastor Stephen Lobolia and James, Lokwawi's son, taking time on the way to have a photo shoot at one of the ubiquitous termite mounds that dot the Turkana landscape.

We were invited to the camp by Pastor Ramsey who ministers in the camps and attended the conference in Lodwar. Pastor Ramsey is a South Sudanese who pastors a church in the camp and ministers to the South Sudanese there.  We were hoping to visit several churches there but we were delayed by the camp administration for a couple of hours when we arrived because the required papers weren't in order.  However we spent a couple hours with pastors in the camp gathered together by Pastor Ramsey.

We shared the mission and vision of API with them and heard about their work in the camps. There are around 200,000 refugees from all over Africa in these camps - Ethiopia, Somalia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Burundi, Congo, and many more, and the gospel is going out to them all.

We were hosted by Pastor Mubarak (pictured above) in his church there. And Pastor Lokuruka brought some bibles for his people. 

And while we were inside, Roger of course was outside with the kids.

Dan also made new friends.

Please pray for the pastors and churches who are laboring in the gospel fields in Kakuma in very tough conditions. And pray that we would be able to encourage and support these pastors with biblical training and resources.  Pastor Mubarak and Pastor Ramsey assured us that we would see many of these pastors at our next training.

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Summer 2018 Lodwar Pastors Conference

It is Sunday morning in Nairobi and Stan and I are headed to worship with Trinity Baptist Church in Nairobi and then travel down to Kilgoris to see our Maasai brothers.  Rob, Dan and Roger left Friday night for the U.S. and Stan and I are on our own.  But before we left Lodwar Friday, Dan, Roger, Rob and I took some time to look around Lodwar Town and do some shopping.

Dan and I both found some hats and we'd like you all to judge who got the better deal.

Dan opted for the more traditional look while I found something a little more exotic.

This is the traditional hat worn by Turkana men and the feather is from an ostrich.

The boys enjoyed their last cold drink of Tangawezi (a powerful ginger soda pop) in our favorite cafe, the Kilimanjaro.  Which has the best kuku and chips around.

Saturday, Stan, Frank and I visited our friends, the Petersons, out at Rafiki Foundation where they work.

"Rafiki" means "friend" in Swahili. This captures the vision and purpose of the Foundation—to befriend orphans and widows in their distress (James 1:27). To accomplish this mission, Rafiki established Training Villages within ten African countries, one of which is in Nairobi. These Villages provide orphan care, Bible study, classical Christian education, and teacher training through Rafiki’s five programs: ChildCare, Education, Rafiki Bible Study, Advanced Learning, and Widows.

Thanks again  for your prayers for us.   Stan and I will return to  Nairobi Wednesday for his flight home and I'll be leaving Kenya for the U.S. on Friday. 

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Summer 2018 Lodwar Pastors Conference

Wednesday we traveled to the church in Nakorinyang that was planted about two years ago by my good friend Patrick Nacho who has a church in Lodwar.  (Every time I say his name I get visions of Mexican food!) It is a great location except that it happens to be right in the middle of a river bed, so when it rains, no church meeting.  Pastor George here is preaching the gospel using the audio bible and flip charts we brought to give to the church.

We also brought food as we have to all the churches we visit and it was joyfully unloaded.

We left Nakorinyang and set off for Eliya Springs, a fresh water spring on the banks of Lake Turkana. We spent the afternoon swimming in the lake and taking selfies.

However, some of us slept, although Dan insisted he was praying.

The spring itself is fairly warm water, but very clear.

This trip was a treat especially for the Kenyans who traveled with us as they rarely get the opportunity to enjoy this kind of beach adventure. Everyone swam in the lake except of course Rob, who was busy taking pictures.

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Summer 2018 Lodwar Pastors Conference

It is early Friday morning and we are at the end of a great week.  Tuesday of this week we loaded up and headed out to Namagirat where the new church was built. Apparently Roger has this craving for ice cream.

We found the church building completed and full of people waiting for our arrival.

The celebration was extremely joyful as we dedicated this house to the Lord.

As always, Roger was in his element with the children.

He and Dan took the kids out to show them how to play frizbee.  None of them had ever seen one of these but they quickly mastered the technique.

The church was so grateful for the gift of a new building they reciprocated with goat for us. We named him 'Dinner'.

Namagirat was about an hour and a half southwest of Lodwar, and when we left there, we traveled back to Lodwar, ate lunch and then set off for Nakepokan, about two hours north east of Lodwar. To get there requires 13 river crossings, only these rivers only run when it rains. But crossing the soft sand is trouble enough.  Palm branches give pretty good traction here.

Two years ago, the Brad Pederson Memorial Building Fund helped Nakepokan realize their hopes for a church building and we found a vibrant growing congregation there.

As usual, the visiting speakers went on so long that sleep overcame some of the congregation.

Of course, Roger had his usual fan club surrounding him.

Roger is just a kid magnet.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers for us and the people of Turkana. 

 

 

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Summer 2018 Lodwar Pastors Conference

It is Tuesday evening and I've been trying for two nights to get this blog done as the network here is very spotty and capricious.  Sunday Dan, Roger and I preached at different churches in Lodwar.  I was with Pastor George Lokwawi's church, Dan was at Pastor Dan Njuguna's church and Roger was at Pastor James Louren's church. Rob went with Dan to take pics, and George was taking pics while I was with him, but I don't have any of Roger.  However, the report was that all the churches were blessed by the team's preaching.

Monday we loaded up with food and took off for two villages, Nataaba and Loregum. 

Nataaba was where we helped the church build the first building here in Turkana, and Loregum is the church we helped build last year.  

Both churches were incredibly blessed by our visit and by the food that many of you contributed to help feed the hungry.

It was a long day made just a little longer by getting stuck in some very soft sand. We assumed our Land Cruiser had four wheel drive but circumstances proved that wrong. 

While Dan pushed, I directed operations.

One of the reasons we got stuck (other than the fact that the four-wheel drive did not work) was that there was a very big truck stuck in the main track and we tried to go around him.  You can see the back end of the offending truck in the picture above.

We made it back to Lodwar before dark and were thankful to jump in the showers. 

 

 

 

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Reflections on the 2018 Lodwar Pastors Conference

 

The video can be viewed directly on Vimeo here:  https://vimeo.com/285616582

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Summer 2018 Lodwar Pastors Conference

It is Saturday evening here at St Teresa's in Lodwar and we are having a day of R&R after a full week of conference responsibilities.  We took the opportunity to climb to the summit of the hill on which the school sits to get some photo ops with the statue. I think we look remarkably similar.  

The statue was donated to the people of Turkana by the Vatican and as you walk up the hill you encounter the traditional stations of the cross.  Here Roger and Shadrack are pausing at the burial station.  Interestingly, the statues of the soldiers are definitely Turkana and not Roman. 

But as you can see, the view is impressive from the top.

We ended the conference Friday with the book give-a-way sponsored by TGC and another book publisher who donated all these resources to the pastors.  Every pastor and leader got a copy of Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, Show Them Jesus, and Taking God at His Word.

While the Executive Team for the Turkana Pastor's Fellowship handed out the books, we took time for a team photo. Every one of these men worked hard to make this conference a success. One pastor told me, "You do not understand how much you have helped us with your teachings.  We have never received anything like this.  And the books you bring are so valuable to us."

110 pastors and church leaders attended this conference and we took a group shot on Friday night.  If you look real hard you can see a few white faces at the back.  Again, we thank you all for your prayers and support for this conference.  

 

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Summer 2018 Lodwar Pastors Conference

 

It's Friday morning and we are wrapping up the conference today.  It has been a very impactful week for all of us, API team and all the pastors and church leaders, as we have studied the book of Galatians in depth.  But I think all those who have attended this conference would say that the evening session with Pastor Roger teaching on children's ministry has been one of the great highlights for us, mainly because he gets the place jumping with his energetic delivery and infectious enthusiasm.

Our afternoon question and answer sessions have been incredibly helpful and fruitful times for these pastors and leaders.  Our panel is composed of the API team and two of the leading pastors in Lodwar and together we have all gained a greater understanding, not only of the passages we have studied, but of each other and our respective cultures.

It is always difficult to bring these to a close and the conversations always continue outside.  

 

I want to give a special shout out to the guy who is the hardest worker on the team and makes everything go - Rrrrrob Hostager.

And the guys who make everyone laugh.

th

While we have been working hard in Lodwar, there has been a work party laboring to build a church in the village of Namagirat.  Monday, we bought all the materials for the church building and sent it out to the site, and by Thursday the workers had built the framework.

Next week, Roger, Rob, Dan and I will be headed out into the bush to join the church in celebration of this new construction.  I'd like to thank all those who have contributed to the Brad Pederson Memorial Building Fund to make this happen.

We thank you for your faithful prayers and ask that they would continue.  Pray that these pastors and church leaders would leave with encouragement and joy from the Holy Spirit and they would take the word they have heard and proclaim it to their congregations.

 

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Summer 2018 Lodwar Pastors Conference

It is Wednesday evening and we have just finished our second full day at the conference.  We are on a hill with a great view in all directions and the constant breeze makes it relatively cool in 95 degree weather, as we sit inside the hall under a tin roof that tends to radiate the heat. 

Pastor Tim, Pastor Dan and myself are taking the pastors through the book of Galatians, while Pastor Roger teaches them on Children's Ministry. 

One pastor who has had Bible college training remarked that, "I studied some of this in Bible school, but never at this depth. The teachings you bring are much deeper than we have gone before. We thank God for you."

The days have been very full starting at 7 in the morning with team devotions, each team member taking turns leading us in the word and prayer. 

We will wrap up the conference on Friday, handing out the book resources provided by TGC and New Growth Press books.  Keep all of us in your prayers and continue to pray for the spread of the gospel here in Turkana.

 

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Summer 2018 Lodwar Pastors Conference

It is Monday evening here in Lodwar and our first session has just ended.  Stan and I arrived in Nairobi last week on Thursday and we spend the time before the rest of the team arrived doing prep work for our respective trips, and doing some shopping in the mall with Frank and John.

Stan is headed to Matete to work with Pastor Moses for a couple of weeks setting up a cyber cafe business while Pastor Roger, Pastor Tim Bourgeois, Pastor Dan Mason, Rob Hostager and myself head to Lodwar.  Tim, Roger, Dan and Rob arrived late Saturday night in Nairobi and got part of a nights rest as we took off for Lodwar the next day.

Roger, Dan and Rob all came together on the same flight while Tim elected for another airline and itinerary which stranded him in Ethiopia for 15 hours, but he finally made it to Nairobi. 

We left Nairobi around 2:45 pm on a scheduled 2:00 pm departure. But as they say here "TIK" This is Kenya, and things move at their own pace. The wait was long and hot and finally the legs had to come off and Rob thought this would make a good shot. 

The flight was thankfully uneventful and we were greeted by a reception committee of several Lodwar pastors at the Lodwar Airport and taken to St Teresa's where we will be for the next two weeks. 

Sunday evening we hosted the Lodwar Pastors Fellowship executive team to dinner at St Teresas, and had a wonderful time of fellowship and food.

We will post more tomorrow on the conference.  Continue praying for this conference and these pastors who are coming from all over Kenya to be here.  And pray for us as we proclaim the word of God.

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API Spring 2018 Nairobi

Tuesday April 3, 2018

Sunday Frank and I traveled to Matete to preach at the church there. 

Matete was the first church built by the Brad Pederson Memorial Building Fund several years ago. We found them first meeting under a tarp.

The first structure was a temporary mud and stick construction that served the congregation well for a few years.

But as the church grew, expansion became necessary and so the church began to make bricks and a few weeks before our arrival on Sunday, a new and permanent structure had been built that is about twice the square footage of the original.

Pastor Moses has also built some housing behind the church for some orphans and vulnerable children the church is helping to house, feed and school.

Pastor Moses Biketi and his wife Judith.

Frank and I traveled back to Nairobi on Monday, broken up by multiple police traffic stops, produce shopping, and wrecks. 

Frank always stocks up on veggies to take home to his wife and family when we travel.

This semi took a hard left into some shops along the highway.

Fortunately we didn't get arrested this time, but we did end up paying some traffic fees for made-up charges.  It must have been payday for the police because they were out in force.  

Tonight I fly back to the U.S. and I'd like to thank all of you whose prayers and gifts made this mission possible.  Special thanks go to Pastor Rich Hamlin and his wife Lynn, Ben Edwards, and my wife Kim who together with Pastor Shadrack, Pastor Reuben, Frank and John, came togther as an incredible team to minister to the church in Kenya. 

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API Spring 2018 Eldoret

Sunday April 1, 2018

It is Sunday night in Eldoret where I arrived Saturday after flying from Lodwar.  Friday we continued distributing famine relief and one of the villages we visited was Narang'lup where last year we helped them build a new church.

The children were some of the first to show up at the distribution site.

But the adults were not far behind.  And again, Pastors George Lokwawia and Boniface Lokuruka handed out the maize.

You might notice this woman below is wearing only white beads.  Those are an indication that she recently lost her husband and is now a widow.  Here she is cleaning the maize by letting the wind take away the dirt and chaff.

It would be hard to overstate the need these people have for basic staples in this desolate place.  However, the recent rains in Kenya have blessed Turkana as well, and their animals are not dying off as they have been in the past. I want to thank all of you who donated resources to bring food to the Turkana.

 

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API Spring 2018 Turkana

Friday March 30, 2018

For several years, the Huruma church near Lokori in Turkana had been meeting under this tree.  This year, through the generous donors to the Brad Pederson Memorial Building Fund, they were able to have their own building in which to worship.  It will also serve the community as a primary school.

Days after it was built, I was in Huruma to visit the church and deliver some famine relief supplies. Here we are with the church leaders of Haruma.

The church was exuberant in their welcome as you can see in this video.

As we handed out the food, it was gratifying to see the orphans and widows being taken care of first.

In the nearby town of Lokori, Pastor George Lokwawi and I spent the afternoon with the Turkana East Pastor's Fellowship talking about the ministry of API USA.  It was great to see so many pastors from so many denominations gathered together in unity.

After leaving Lokori, George and I traveled to Lokichar where we spent the night at the Black Gold Hotel which has the dubious distinction of having the most incoveniently placed toilet roll. Besides, neither of us wanted to travel another 5 hours on these roads. 

Also, it kind of looked like the wild west out here where it seemed everyone in the bush carried an automatic weapon.  George told me it was the government of Kenya's policy to arm the tribes with these weapons to protect each other from raiding parties. I thought disarmament might be a solution but George said they would just go back to spears and machetes.  The Turkana and the Pokot tribes have a long history of violence towards each other.  You'll notice there are no pictures of armed tribesmen on this post and that is because I thought discretion the better part of valor when it came to trying to wave my camera phone in their faces. 

We returned to Lodwar on Wednesday and then rolled out to Lokaparaparai where we delivered some more food to the church and surrounding community. We bought the maize from Pastor Shadrack who had grown it on his land in Kuria and then drove it up to Lodwar.  Through the generous donations of many, we were able to buy and deliver over three and a half tons of maize to distribute. Pastor Shadrack also donated a half ton of maize himself for famine relief.

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I gave Pastor Lokuruka and Pastor Lokwawi gloves to load the truck because I told them I had to take the pictures since Rob wasn't here. 

This church in Lokaparaparai was started by Pastor Martin Sassy, brother to Pastor Shadrack.

So I had given all these guys gloves for the work...and what did they do?

Currently this church is meeting under this tree and would really like to have a building of their own. Consider giving to the Brad Pederson Memorial Building Fund to provide a structure for Lokaparaparai.

 

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API Spring 2018 Conference Oloolaimutia

Friday March 30, 2018

After the conference ended last Friday, we took a day excursion Saturday through the Masai Mara National Game Reserve.  Here are a few pictures of our trip.

A lone waterbuck

Rich and Lynn Hamlin

We saw a lot of lions and lion cubs this trip

Frank hamming it up for the tourists

I had no idea locusts were so big - that's Ben Edwards shoe in the picture

Team shot on the viewpoint

Wide angle showing the hill the Masai call the Sleeping Warrior

Beauty in the Mara

More lions

Ben Edwards and Reuben Lubvanga

Best sighting of the elusive leopard ever! Right by our vehicle

 

A shot of the rare white Masai and their Kikuyu guides (Frank Maina and John Kamau) and a Luya Masai (Pastor Reuben Luvanga)

The only member of the team not shown here is Pastor Shadrack Mogesi who I think was taking the picture. Our Kenyan brothers were some of the hardest working members of the team and we are grateful for their friendship and dedication to the mission.

It is my last day in Turkana and I'll be flying back to Eldoret to meet with some pastors in Western Kenya, including Pastor Moses in whose church I'll be preaching on Sunday.  More to follow on the events of this past week.  As always, pray for our safety and health as we travel here in Turkana.  I'll be distributing the rest of the famine relief supplies today in some villages in the bush. Thank you for your fellowship in the spread of the gospel here in Kenya.

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API Spring 2018 Conference Oloolaimutia

Wednesday March 28, 2018

 

It is Wednesday night in Lodwar and I finally got the internet to work properly.  We finished our conference in Oloolaimutia at the Meguarra Church on Friday where we took this photo.  We had 295 pastors and leaders and their wives in attendence for our conference on A Biblical Understanding of Gender: God's Design for Men and Women.  This conference was held for the Maasai churches in southern Kenya, but we also had 24 from Tanzania.  The church was packed to standing room only and there were literally no aisles left.  We thank God for the extremely positive response to the plenary and breakout sessions as well as the Q & A sessions we held everyday. As one attendee told me, "We've never heard this kind of word before. And we want more.  We want you to come back next year and teach the Word like this. This is deep."  

Pastor Rich Hamlin and I taught the main sessions each day and Ben Edwards taught the men's breakout sessions, with Lynn Hamlin and my wife Kim teaching the women's breakout sessions.

The men gave the women the church for their breakout sessions and we men took to the field.

The Maasai are a very colorfully dressed people as you can see and every breaktime exploded with color.

We were honored at the end of the week to be adopted as members of the tribe with full regalia.

 

One of the highlights of our week was giving out the resources that were donated by Crossway Books, P & R Publishing and The Gospel Coalition. Pastor Stephen gave a ringing endorsement of these resources since he had been the recipient of similiar books last year.  He told the attendees that he treasured these books more valuable than his cattle.  For a Maasai man to say that is really saying something!

Thank you all for your continual prayers to God for us and this conference.  The week began with heavy rains, but by Tuesday the sun was out and we were basking in sunshine for the rest of the week.  There were many good reports but the best one was from a man whose wife attended the conference.  He couldn't attend because of work, but he called Pastor Stephen and told him, "Pastor, when my wife came home from this conference, for the first time in our marriage she kissed me.  Are you teaching the wives to kiss their husbands?"  Apparently the word to the wives through this conference had some practical effects!

Here a few more shots from the conference.

Lunchtime lineup - ladies first.

Lynn and some new friends and sisters in the Lord.

Q & A with Pastor Rich holding forth.

Morning devotions at the Zebra tent.

Again, thank you for standing with us as we minister to the church in Kenya.   

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API Spring 2018 Conference Oloolaimutia

Tuesday March 20, 2018

We are in Oloolaimutia in the Trans Mara region of Kenya where we just finished our first full day of the Pastors and Wives Spring conference in the village of Meguarra, about 7 km from where we are staying at Manyatta Camp.

Morning coffee on the porch

Unpacking with Shadrack and John

We arrived in Oloolaimutia Monday afternoon after a trip delayed and disrupted by the heavy rains and flooding all of southern Kenya is experiencing. We had expected to arrive Sunday afternoon but decided to overnight in Narok rather than attempt to negotiate the treacherous roads at night. Part of that decision was spurred by the sights of recent flooding we encountered on the trip from Nairobi to Narok.  Shortly after we passed through the town of Mahi Mahu, we passed a 50 yard section of the main highway that had been cut last week by flash floods.

The next morning we learned that section of road was again destroyed by flash floods.  We are praying that this gets fixed before we have to return to Nairobi on Sunday.

We did have a restful night and a good breakfast the next morning in Narok before setting off for Oloolaimutia around 10 am.

We took a little time to visit the tourist trap shops at Seasons hotel.

And then packed up for the trip to Oloolaimutia. I still don't know how Frank and John got all our gear in these two vehicles, plus passengers.

Not very long on the road to our destination we ran into a bit of trouble with water.

We found ourselves stalled in a long line of vehicles attempting to pass through this raging river running over the road.

Eventually however, a trip that should have taken 2 hours ended up taking five.  

We thank the Lord that we came to Manyatta Camp without any serious delays or trouble.  I know that many of you were praying for us and we would ask that you continue to pray.  We began the conference in earnest Tuesday morning and enjoyed a long day of hearing from the word of God and developing new friendships and renewing old ones.  I particularly enjoyed renewing my relationship with Pastor Daniel whose church is hosting this conference.

Registration begins with Frank and Shadrack welcoming the delegates.

We will post more soon so stay tuned for updates.  Thank you all for your support and prayers. 

 

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