This is the first Onsite Update from Tim and Rachel Endean and Dan Brooks in Kenya:
Travel cannot always be simple. But in these times, with the right papers and a mask, it works. We are in Kenya to meet with pastors and prepare for future ministry among the teens here.
We arrived at our stopover and entered our rooms under the silent patrol of a misguided owl flying through the hotel halls. It was about 1 am local time, which in Eastern time is…well I don’t actually know, and it doesn’t really matter after 30 hours of travel. We all slept well.
Sunday morning Timothy (our driver) brought us the rest of the way to Nyeri. There are police roadblocks intended to slow the spread of Covid, but Timothy had secured the proper papers giving us permission to pass through. After 3 hours we arrived at Bellevue Baptist Church in Nyeri. The elevation is over 8,000 feet, and when the clouds lift, we can see Africa’s second highest mountain in the distance.
We participated with the church during the day on Sunday, and I preached in the Sunday service. Pastor Stephen and his wife hosted us for lunch. He is the lead pastor at the church.
Throughout the day we had much conversation with Pastor Stephen and Pastor Bernard, who has been a gracious host. Bernard is passionate about giving depth to young people to combat the temptation of blending Christianity with animism.
He told us of a Christian family close to him in which the mother had a medical problem. A doctor gave the diagnosis. It wasn’t treatable. The family then sought to discover and resolve the sins of their ancestors. Of course, this “spiritual research and solution” is financially very costly. And physically and spiritually useless. The mother died.
Sixty percent of Kenya’s population is under 25. Pastor Bernard hopes to help these young people avoid the syncretism that is pervasive. Bernard shared, “It has been said, the African church is a mile wide and an inch deep. It is true.” And we certainly recognize that a shallow Christianity is a systemic problem, not only in Africa, but also in America and throughout the world really.
Bernard and these pastors will not sit still in the face of cultural and spiritual challenges. Even though the camp had to be cancelled several weeks ago, they still asked for us to come and give training in youth discipleship.
Today we spent about 5 hours in training with 12 pastors from the surrounding area. Tomorrow the pastors will return with their wives and other leaders from their churches for Phase 2 of the training.
They have engaged well. In the words of Bernard, “They say, ‘we needed this training yesterday.’ They are fired up!”
Thank you for praying for us, and praise God for what He is doing among the churches here in Kenya.
Please pray that we would be able to communicate clearly, and that these church leaders would be able to engage their teens well in discipleship ministries. Please pray that these young people would be grounded in the Word of God in a rapidly changing culture.
Pray also that we would be able to meet with another Pastor on Thursday. He is arranging to travel about 7 hours to come to Nairobi, since we cannot get the needed passes to go to him. Pray that God allows him to come.
May God grant the church in Africa and around the world to grow in both breadth and depth until people from every nation and language are united around the throne of God.
For the team,
This is the final onsite update from the CampsAbroad team of Tim and Rachel Endean and Dan Brooks in Kenya.
“How was Kenya under lockdown?” a UN worker asked us as we were leaving Kenya.
“Not bad, our hosts went to the police and were able to secure the passes we needed for our travels within the country.”
“You can get a pass?”
Apparently you can.
This quick exchange was a good reminder of God’s care over the details of this trip—connecting us with the right people at the right time, giving us safety, and giving favor with the authorities. Thank you for praying—God has answered many prayers in many ways.
Our Tuesday training included most of the pastors from Monday (with some new ones), the pastors’ wives, some young adults, and a few young people around upper–high school age.
We introduced a lot of material, and they listened well. It seemed they hardly noticed the crackling sound of the tin roof under the sun, or the passing buzz of a motorbike—a very practical means of transportation between towns. And a practical means of carrying cargo whether a large air compressor, several goats, or a sofa—all of which we observed. I asked two Kenyans about unusual motorbike cargo. The winners: One had seen a motorbike carry a coffin. Another had seen a sofa as cargo, plus riders on the sofa!
On Wednesday we offered a taste of camp for a few local young people. Our time was limited because we had to return to Nairobi for a Covid test that afternoon in preparation for our flight Thursday evening.
We began the morning with some free time as the teens arrived. As our game of Ninja grew toward 30 teens, we had just over an hour left for camp. We gave a fun, quick welcome time. Then we transitioned to a preaching time and a Bible study. With 20 minutes remaining we moved into a game on a public field near the church. Several local children came to watch, and one nearly got trampled in an ill-advised and ill-timed attempt to join in. We encouraged him to watch.
We left after the game while the teens headed for lunch and more discussion about the Bible study. The excitement in that short time had reached levels that it often takes a full day to achieve. They will be excited for camp next year.
Our drive to Nairobi slowed to a crawl through traffic, but we made it to the clinic in time for our Covid test—an answer to prayer. We received our results promptly the next morning. Another answer to prayer.
God answered our prayers about meeting with Thomas, who drove about 8 hours to meet us in Nairobi on Thursday. Thomas is a Kenyan pastor and a leader among several groups of churches. He came with a friend, and they asked a lot of good questions. We trust God will give clarity and make a way for us to serve with them in the future.
We are thankful for the people we were able to serve with here in this short time—many godly people who have demonstrated a desire to be lifelong learners, and they challenged us to constantly learn as well.
Thanks for praying for this trip. There have been so many unknowns, but the trip could hardly have gone better, from our perspective. We serve a good God who is not limited by a global pandemic.
We trust God’s plan, and we are excited for what God has ahead in camp ministry for these groups in Kenya and around the world.
Thanks for your part.
For the Team,