Much has taken place since the last newsletter, and we are thankful for the continual support and generosity which has made it possible to continue the work without abatement. We have benefited greatly from the solar power which has been installed recently, and in this area without mains power this has been a great blessing. In England it is so easy not to value things like electricity, but here the vast majority of people have never known what it is to have it.
Recently the charity was given money to buy bibles and 100 have been purchased. God willing, we hope to hold a session on the importance of personal bible reading at the end of the week. Sadly, the only gospel these people had been previously exposed to was one wholly unlike the true gospel. They have never been brought up under the protestant principle of ‘Scripture alone’, and normally believe anything a preacher will say! Unfortunately, around this area the preaching is often full of error. With God’s help, we are trying to emphasise the importance of personal acquaintance with the Word of God, which will enable them, like the Berean’s, to search the scriptures and discern the truth in the midst of so much error and misunderstanding.
There was a sad event recently which typified the enslavement of witchcraft which binds so many in this area. A young man aged 18 developed a painful stomach and began to vomit blood. Pastor Mapema was there and called for James and Sam to attend him, but just as they were about to leave the parents intervened and said they did not want any help. They believed he had been cursed by the witch doctor, and that this was the inevitable outcome. Later, in the middle of the night, the parents, seeing the deterioration of their son changed their minds and called again, but it was too late. The boy died before receiving any medical help. Such a sad end to another life overtaken by the falsehood of witchcraft.
There has been attempts in the last few weeks to reach people groups who are either completely untouched by the truth, or who have not heard the true gospel. These efforts have led us to a group of Maasai located in a very remote area further north and towards the Tanzanian border. There are 4 camps with a total of about 100-150 people. The language spoken is one which cannot be understood by any other tribe, but thankfully they do speak Swahili as well. We have contacted this tribe now on three occasions and, after initial suspicion they have now agreed for us to deliver an introduction to them on our intentions, and to preach on that occasion. This is due to take place next Friday God willing. There is always some uneasiness when speaking to them as they sit in a circle and speak for some time in their language, without any of us being able to understand what they are saying. They keep themselves to themselves and appear to know virtually nothing about the truth. We have since been told by someone from the next village (about 12km’s away) that they couldn’t believe the Maasai had allowed us into the camp! We thank the Lord for this opportunity and continue to look to Him to continue to show His hand and open doors consistent with His will.
On Saturday 15th December we had a Sunday school prizegiving with the books kindly sent from one of the chapels in the UK. About 150 children came from the surrounding area, some with their parents, and Pastor Dalmas was invited to speak. He addressed both children and parents on the need of practical Christianity – the faith that any child has in Christ must produce obedience to parents and to God, and the parents should have a love and desire to bring our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. He spoke of how even here there is so much to draw our children into sin, and it is very important that we as parents set a Godly example, lay down the right foundation and pray that the Lord will work in their lives.
The average attendance for the Sunday school is about 70-80 each week and they are learning from ‘lessons for life.’ They are also learning to sing hymns both in Swahili and English and this helps them in their schooling as English is one of the subjects they must learn. Most of the Christians here are only used to singing repetitive chorus and singing hymns is a new thing to many. We feel that it is profitable for them to learn hymns as they tend to have a greater depth to them; it is nice to hear the children sometimes singing them as they walk to school in the morning at 6:30am!
Last year we planted 2 acres of maize and green grams, but because of the on and off rains the seeds sprang up and then were burnt by the sun and died. One acre of green grams survived, and we harvested about 75kg; 30kg of which we sent to the feeding program at Manna Likoni (Pastor Dalmas’s) School. The loss of maize extended beyond us alone, and many families around are going to suffer. The rains are not expected until the end of March, then the seeds can be planted, before they must wait 3 months for the harvest. We can only hope that the Lord will use this anxious and difficult time to draw people to Himself and a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We hope to continue planting as it can be a way in which we can support Manna Likoni and the feeding program there.
We are thankful to the Lord as always for supplying our needs. We received a large donation a few weeks ago which has enabled us to start the underground rainwater tank. Water is still our biggest need because although we have the water from the well it is still too salty to drink. We are hoping the new tank will hold 100,000 litres of water collected from the roof gutters. This can then be used for drinking, watering the plants and cleaning the clothes. We have also had to dig two new cesspits; one for the Kingham family’s home and the other as an overflow. These are 25 feed deep and dug by hand. Over the last few weeks we have had 35 people working here plus two cooks to feed them. Each morning they are read the Scriptures, it is expounded to them and prayed over, and we look to the Lord to own and bless His Word to these men. Sam and Hannah hope to build their own home a few metres from the main building, which they hope to build with the proceeds of their UK home. We hope to begin in the next few weeks and get the foundation finished before the rains come.
We have been having a few problems with the Landrover failing to start. We changed the starter motor but the problem has continued, and after searching the internet it seems that the ignition could have a problem so we have ordered a new one and hope to try and fit it next week. This has caused a bit of a problem as when we go to town for the food shop the car has to be left running all the time until we arrive home; thankfully you don’t have to turn your engine off at the garage here! There are no reliable garages to repair this sort of thing so we have no choice but to try ourselves.
We thank you all for your continued interest in the Lords work here, please remember us in your prayers.
James, Elsie, Sam & Hannah
35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.[A00103 – 15/02/2019]