Teleios Ministry

Monday, December 01, 2008

Overwhelming Day

Today we visit the Nyeri Baptist Church Saturday Outreach to Children. This is an amazing work for this church and its primary partner Team Kenya. We arrived to see a steady stream of children gathering. Every Saturday, the church provides a cup of super nutritious porridge, a lot of care, a hugh meal (for most of the children it is the only full meal they receive all week), and well done teaching, singing, learning time (age-graded). To me, it seemed for some of them this was the only meal they received all week. They were so well behaved.

When we arrived it look like about two hundred children, but the time we left there was no way you could count the number of children (they average around 800 children every Saturday. Look at the kitchen and how so much is prepared. An amazing and awesome task is done by the Nyeri church volunteers. Oh, they also provide a meal for as many as 200 street young people. Nyeri Baptist Church borders the largest slum area in Nyeri with over 30,000 inhabitants. The area just below the church has about 15,000. I was amazed at the growth of the slums in less than a year. Also, 60% of the Nyeri Baptist Church members come from the slums. Even more so, some of the volunteers—one of the cooks for us during the conference and today—lives there. They children craved attention but we never had one problem with them. Joseph seemed to attract them but also he seemed to gather them. Rumor also has it he will be a wonderful grandfather. This ministry is one of the most amazing and effective social ministries that I have ever seen. The way they teach the children and care for them is really a model for the world.

We left for Bernard’s family gathering in his home area about 30 minutes from Nyeri. I also got to visit Robert’s family. We were received so graciously. In this rural setting, I was reminded of my own families gatherings and our BBQ’s. Children were playing, men were cooking the meat over the fire, the women were preparing other things, men were sitting and talking, women were preparing the food and things, men were talking, and women were gathering all of the children for the meal. Well, it was great. We had BBQ sheep (the herbs on it were fantastic), traditional Kikuyu dishes (Bernard’s family tribe). What a blessing for us to share this time with him and his family. We met his mom. I was very happy that she remembered me. We got to see some of this brothers again. Met a few new ones.

Robert took me to meet his parents. They live on the edge of the Tana river in a valley. The mountain sides leading to the valley are very steep and accessed only by foot trails. The river flows from the Aberdare mountains to the Indian Ocean. Bonnie and I crossed by boat many miles down stream in 1995. Meeting his family and visiting with them was a great privilege for me. Their small farm sits in an S shaped curve of the river with rapids at one end. The setting was beautiful with the sound of the river and native birds. The good news is that Robert will graduate in April with his degree in Community Development. This is very exciting.

At this point, Adrian, Joseph, Bernard, and Anne left for Nairobi and the Kentmere near Ruaka. I left with John from Nyeri to return to Nyeri. Got a call from Jesse that he had picked up Bonnie, Lucia, Garry, and Johanna--The last of the teams to arrive. They report that all went well on their travel. I look forward to seeing everyone one tomorrow afternoon. Adrian, Joseph, Anne, Meg, Rebecca, Garry, Lucia, Johanna, and Bonnie will worship at Koinonia tomorrow. I will worship at Nyeri Baptist Church fulfilling a three year commitment to worship with them on a Sunday. I am looking forward to a celebrating our common love for Lord and experiencing the joy of changing lives in Jesus Christ.


On Wednesday when we first arrived at the Green Hills, I did not mention that Anne aggrevated an Achilles Heel injury and has been limping since then. She has really been a trooper on this trip--putting up with four guys, an injured leg, and not being able to talk to family. (She was able to talk with them on this evening)

Joseph continued his teaching on 2 Timothy 2. Again he did a great job and a great time of discussion was mixed in to his teaching. The church leaders have really enjoyed Joseph being here. Joseph has done a great job of talking with them at breaks and sharing with them. One interesting discussion that revealed a great deal about culture in teaching was should a pastor give a woman a ride who is not his wife?

I had the second session on a definition of the church, the function of the church, relationship of local and universal church, and biblical basis of church governance. I went through the biblical and historical development of the understanding of church governance and structure. For many of the church leaders it appeared that this was new to them.

Adrian concluded the conference general session on practical matters related to leadership development. He really got the questions: Should a man with two wives or more be a church leader? Should a women who is the wife of a man who has two or more wives be a church leader? Should a single mother be a church leader? Bernard spent some time working on some issues that came up during these discussions. Adrian did an outstanding job of handling these difficult and “new” issues for him. One funny thing happened during Adrian’s teaching. The rain came like a monsoon for some time. You could not hear for the rain hitting the tin sheet roof. Even with a speaker turned up, you could barely hear Adrian and his translator, Peter (tall thin Peter). The same thing had happened at last years conference—same time of day, same type of rain, and Adrian had said, “If you want rain just ask me to speak.” Rumor has it Adrian is starting a new ministry instead of drilling wells for water—he is going to teach for rain.

Not surprising, Anne children’s leadership workshop grew in number. She spend most of her time just showing how to use the materials that she brought and distributing them. I finally was able to lead a men’s conference on effective involvement of men in outreach and ministry. After sharing for a few minutes with various examples, the discussion turned to the relationship of older men and younger men (same discussion that I had had with the women on the previous day.) It was a great time of sharing. The best part was all I had to do was facilitate with an occasional comment.

The conference was great. We are still waiting on the final numbers.

Conference Begins

We all gathered for breakfast and went over our day. Joseph began his teaching on Timothy 2. He did a great job and you could feel the Lord at work. Duncan translated for him and they made a great team. One of the adjustments for the team is time. Joseph was very conscious of his time and tried to stop twice during his teaching. But, he was informed to keep going. It was not the time as 8:30-10:30am that mattered but the total of two hours teaching. Joseph learned that you teach until they say stop.

Tea time reminds us that what is important is relationships. Over tea and bread, the leaders from across Central Kenya catch up with each other. Anne, Joseph, Adrian, and I spend a lot of time shaking hands. I practiced my Swahili a little. I quickly learned that Kenyans have a little trouble with Southern Swahili. We laugh a lot as they help me. I am not sure if they do it to help me or to entertain themselves.

John, a young businessman in Nyeri, and Margaret are doing a good job of conference organization from the Nyeri Baptist side.

John, one of the pastors, from the central area of FOBOCK introduced the conference with a great illustration. He said, “At the conference, you will either be like a dog or a cow. A cow eats and holds what he eats. He chews the cudd long after eating. So, those who come to the conference can listen and take in the teaching. Then at tea time, lunch, the evening, or even after they return home they will continue to mediate and process what is said. Or, a dog eats quickly. When he has finished eating he is through and goes on his way. He is looking to eat again somewhere else. So those who come to the conference can listen and take in the teaching. Then, they will go away and not reflect or use the teaching again. Let us be like the cows.”

Adrian taught on the functions of leadership. He was translated by Peter (the small, big eater for previous teachers of the conference). He had quite a few questions all related to organization. Adrian has learned some Swahili and did a good job of engaging the leaders.

Lunch followed with a new twist. We had a choice between lentils and rice or a mixture of cabbage, beans, and corn. The size of the portions is something that we always have to adjust to—they fill a serving bowl!

Bernard taught in the afternoon on giving using Exodus 35. This was a great teaching in using our skills, materials, and finances in doing the work of the Lord. He had a lot of questions as did Adrian on church organization and local leadership relationship or lack of relationships.

We broke up into our workshop groups. Anne Davis led the children’s group and all of the children’s leaders were very excited. They remembered Anne from her previous visit. Also, some of the Koinonia Baptist Church were there and eagerly waiting for Anne’s teaching with so many handouts and teaching aids. Anne had two containers full of things for the conference to give to the leaders. Adrian led a session with the youth leaders on developing discipleship groups. Joseph found himself in a rather lively discussion on men’s issues in Kenya. Because Bonnie could not come, I met with ladies on Titus 2. I have to confess that I used material that Bonnie had given me in her preparation for the conference and in other conferences that she led. The focus was on mentoring younger women in everyday experiences. The women really like it and we had a very lively discussion which included husband and wife relationships. Knowing that I had been the representative for the women’s “panties” distribution in Tanzania and now leading the women’s ministry workshop in Kenya, Mary Kabaru (Bernard’s wife) said and started laughing, “Oh, Floyd, you are a good women’s leader.”

After the workshops we returned to the Green Hills for dinner and review of the day. For all of us it was a day of unique questions and experiences. We had to wonder what tomorrow would bring.

Traveling, Reunion, Nyeri

Mpeli, Yusta, and I left early Tuesday morning for Dar Es Salaam. We left with chapati and banana bread. The road was filled with people especially early in the morning. As we passed noon, those of the side of road were reduced a little until we reached Dar. Mpeli and I dropped off Yusta and obtained my plane ticket to Nairobi. I am always amazed at how things go at the Dar airport. Mpeli waited for me to go inside and left. I discovered my flight was delayed until 8:30 PM. Actually, my flight number said I was leaving on the 8:30 PM flight but my time to leave was 6 PM. The 6 PM flight was full (without my name). The 8:30 PM with my name was not. I was able to rebook on the 7:30 flight. In the end it all worked out. I checked my luggage and waited. One young lady was extremely helpful in the whole process. She made the inconvenience and delay bearable. I arrived early in Nairobi at 8:45. An important lesson was learned to always get your visa ahead of time. This was my first time to obtain a visa at the visa counter in Nairobi—the previous 10 or so trips I had always obtained my visa from the Kenya Embassy in Washington DC. I waited for an hour to get the visa. The immigration official was excellent but just had a lot of people to process—who apparently had not listened or read the visa application information. Bernard Mwangi and Robert met me at the airport. It was a great to see them. The Kentmere staff was waiting on me. Already had my key for me and took me straight to my room. The rooms had been painted and some extra touches. Home Sweet Kenya Home.

This morning, I met Adrian, Joseph, and Anne for breakfast. I was glad to see them and hear about their experiences. Bernard and Robert came and we packed up and headed for Nyeri.

On the way, we stopped to see the falls at Thika, grab a samosa and juice, and hit the road again. We stopped at a road side market to purchase bananas. Boy were they good We dropped by the Nyeri Baptist Church where the conference will be held. A group of children quickly gathered to greet us. After getting a feel for where we would be and meeting some friends, John of Nyeri, Pastor John, Margaret, Nancy, and others, we left to get settled in the hotel. We are staying at the Green Hills Hotel. They have done a great deal of renovation on the property. In fact, my first room was still under renovation so they moved me. My second room had just finished the major renovations but still had some touch up. They kindly did a little extra cleaning and mopping so I sat on the bed and it broke. I could not help but laugh. So, I moved to my third room which is a very nice room—really!

Tomorrow the FOBOCK Conference starts around 8 AM. Adrian, Joseph, Anne, and I will be teaching. I cannot wait to see my FOBOCK Friends. Please pray for all of us (includes our Kenyan brothers and sisters in all of us). Can’t wait for lunch tomorrow—great cabbage, beans and corn—this is one of my favorite meals.