Latest newsletter and vLog from Mombasa Mission, Kenya.
Thank you for you continued interest in the work here. Since the last newsletter a lockdown has come and gone and a new one has been put in place in the UK. Here, things are much the same as they have been since March; people are required to wear masks in public, including when attending the church services and there is a 10 pm to 4 am curfew. The government says that the number of cases is going up, but there are not many who believe them, as the more cases they get, the more aid they can receive from the western countries and world bank. This is the sad state this country is in; it is hugely corrupt and when a country is like this there is little trust in the government or anybody else, each is out for their own.
The statistics say Kenya is 85% Christian, yet it ranks 137 out of 180 of the most corrupt countries in the world (180 being the worst). This shows you something of the standard of the Christianity that is here, a culture of church-going, yet a mentality and lifestyle of sin. Jesus said ‘if you love me you will keep my commandments,’ meaning the effect of a person being born again by the Holy Spirit produces a desire for holiness, a love to the Lord Jesus Christ, His ways and His people. For us this is one of the hardest parts of being here: not being able to trust people, often at the back of our minds we are thinking, “is this person lying or speaking the truth?” What gives us hope and strength is knowing we have a God who has given us His Word and His Word is truth; although the world is an ever-changing place, groaning under the effects of the curse brought in by sin and the people also manifesting the fruits of the fall, we thank God there are those who are called according to His purposes, those whose hearts are changed, those who God Himself has reserved a place for in His kingdom.
Recently we have been introduced to some young men (Mustafa and Wycliffe) who are starting a reformed Church in Mombasa City. Mustafa is a converted Muslim and very zealous for the spread of the truth and has passed through much persecution, even fleeing for his life from his Muslim family. Wycliffe, a university graduate, has left a promising career as an engineer as he felt called into the ministry. It is through these men we have been introduced to Yohana (John). Yohana has been seeking the Lord’s direction about the ministry, he has been burdened for over a year about Wasini Island, even speaking to the elders of the Church where he attended about his concern, but they suggested he go to a town rather than an island or a rural place.
He had been praying about these things when Mustafa posted on Facebook about Wasini island. It said, ‘does anyone know if there is a church on Wasini island or has anyone preached there?’ I was able to respond saying Sam and Michael had been there. They had not preached but had done some humanitarian work. From this post the friendship began, all with the same desire to reach the Muslims on the coast and on Wasini Island. Yohana came to stay with us here and took a two-day visit to Wasini. He has been studying the history of the spread of the Swahili language and the tribal languages on the coast. The people on Wasini speak their own language so he was able to use this interest to meet with the elders of the Island and to discuss the history of the tribe. He discovered a people steeped in superstition, witchcraft and Islam. He was shown to a cave where they believe Satan used to stay and whom they fear will return one day! O that they might come to the light and be waiting for the return of Jesus Christ! Yohana is also incredibly good in English and Swahili. We hope, if the Lord wills, to work with him in translating books and he also hopes to assist us with language studies. Acts 15:25 it seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul 26: men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Another quite amazing turn of events is the building of new roads. The government has decided that two roads near us need to be tarmac, one of the roads runs from the junction at the main road (15 mins away) to our doorstep, right past the end of the mission driveway! This is truly amazing as there are many roads they could have done, ones that are more direct to the bigger towns, but we see God’s hand in this. The current dirt roads can be quite dangerous in the rain but soon, God willing, we could drive from here to Nairobi without going on any mud! We have also been extending the stone section of the mission drive and have completed another 150m, leaving us with 150m left to complete the driveway.
The class at the Maasai camp has restarted following a break due to the coronavirus. The attendance at the class is very erratic; sometimes only 5 may come (and that late), but other times 25 or so may be there. Currently, we are doing a Bible class, however, this is more like Sunday school lessons as their knowledge of the Bible is very low. We have also started a reading and writing class taken by Michael, one of the deacons here. All except 1 or 2 of the people are completely illiterate and this class is proving relatively popular. We hope in time to be able to go there on the Lords day to take services, then God willing to form a church with a pastor. Local preachers do not like to go the rural places to minister but prefer towns, and we look to the Lord who is able to prompt His servants to move where He will have them.
One of the biggest challenges over the last few months has been the lack of rain. All of our water comes from a rainwater harvesting tank that holds about 90,000 litres. The long April rains more or less failed, then the short rains which usually start at the beginning of October did not come as expected, but instead it was hot and windy. By the end of August, our tank was extremely low, down to a few inches of water. As you can imagine it was a great concern for us all and we put measures in place to drastically reduce our water usage, adults and children showering into tubs, then using the water for flushing toilets, wearing our clothes for 3 days before washing etc. (not pleasant with the amount of sweating here!) We prayed often about the situation. On one Saturday evening Sam and I met as usual for prayer. We prayed about the Lords day but also about the water situation. As we were praying a shower of rain passed over. I said to Sam, “there is a sound of the abundance of rain”. From that time we believed it would come, but the Lord would make us wait, our faith must be tested! Two weeks later, a Sunday morning September 20th the taps ran dry. Hannah and Elsie were trying to cater for a family of four guests staying the weekend but they met together and prayed, believing the Lord would provide, He had never left us before! They managed to wash rinse and wash up all the dishes in an inch and a half of water. Thankfully I was able to relocate the suction pipe to the centre of the tank and cut the filter on the end in half! This was a real test for us; did we believe that the rain would come? or should we buy a tanker load of water from Ukunda? We decided to wait on the Lord, our neighbours were struggling so why should we take the easy way? During this time we decided if we truly believe that the Lord would bring the rain we should act in faith and plant the 4 acres of the land with maize and green grams. The locals were asking, “why are you not waiting for the rain?” We replied (with little convincing faith!) “the Lord will bring the rain.”
On Wednesday 23rd September it rained, adding about 7000 litres to the tank. It rained a few times in the following month, just a little for the tank, but not enough to germinate the seeds.
During this time the situation became very bad for the locals, the dams became green or ran dry, meaning the people had to walk further for their water. The Maasai were taking a 3 hour round trip for each jerry can. On one occasion, before the class, Sam filled the pickup with jerry cans to help them out. One of the men said to him it was so good to have a wash, he had not had one in a week! They also had to slaughter two of their cows because they had become too weak to search for grass and water. Our tank became very low again, with less than two inches. It got to the point we dared not lift the lid to check! However, on October 22 it rained again adding another 7 inches of water, then on the 30th it rained all morning adding 4 feet (40,000 Litres)! We rejoiced and thanked the Lord. The workers were saying, “you will have to replant all your seeds, they have rotted away.” We decided to wait a few days just to see and on November 3rd the ploughmen came in anticipation to replant the field, yet on inspection we could see the green shoots coming up! It rained again that day adding another 2 feet (20,000 Litres). On the 9th it rained from midnight until the afternoon and the tank overflowed! Praise the Lord.
Malachi 3:10 ‘Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.’ The photo on the right is the manhole backing up and overflowing!
God willing in January we hope to build another bigger tank to take the overflow water and the roof water from the two mission houses.
The food aid is ongoing. Every Monday those in need; the old, disabled, widows etc. come to receive maize, beans, cooking oil and a bag of long life milk. We are currently giving away 200kg of maize, 70kg of beans and 15 litres of cooking oil per week.
During this time of great encouragement, Elsie went down with Malaria. She was quite unwell due to it being her first time to have it and after she finished the course of tablets she still felt quite unwell. Thankfully Sam was able, by using the microscope, to detect some remaining parasites in her blood, and the treatment continued for a few more days. It is relatively unusual to need further treatment, but it explained her still feeling unwell. We are thankful she has now made a full recovery, we thank the Lord for His mercies and the balancing of life’s blessings.
Sam and Hannah have settled back into life here and thankfully all the children have been kept safe and well.
We thank you again all for your prayers and support, it is good to know we have people who bring us and our needs before the Lord.
Christian love from all of us here.
We have also begun a regular mission vlog on YouTube. Feel free to watch the videos. Our prayer is that the Lord will bless the means that are used to glorify His name. Follow the link: Mombasa Mission.