Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Visit in Kenya

Before you saw our faces, you sent the Word to us! Thank you so much for bringing Bible studies to our area. - Regina

Now our church is growing strong because of what we are learning in the Bible studies. - Jane

Regina and Jane shared these heartfelt words this week with us when they came to visit, along with four other women leaders and the church district pastors' leader. The group arrived three
hours late, because of the difficulty finding transportation on market day. Some came by taxis, some by motorcycle taxis, from Changina, a six-hour walk from Tenwek. Their purpose? Expressing thanks for the Word of God that is burning in their hearts from women's Bible studies started in their area this year.

It all started a few years ago when Betty was chased away from her home by her husband. In the village to which she fled, far from her home, a Tabitha women's Bible study was meeting. She joined it and found much encouragement and nourishment in the fellowship and in the Word. So when she returned to her husband's village last year, she started a Bible study. Now that study has grown to three studies in three villages, and the excitement is growing. Betty walks six hours each Friday to meet with Center Leader Gladys, to study the Word with leaders from other places, and then returns home to teach her leaders, who then teach their own studies.

Pastor Joel Rop, the district leader in her area, thanks God for Betty and her passion for the Word of God. He had long prayed for God to do a big work in his area, and he sees that these Bible studies are lighting people on fire for God.

You or I would not probably pick Betty to start a new outreach. She is one of the poorest leaders we have, not even having money for a taxi. But you don't notice her humble attire, because of the joy she radiates as she speaks about the Lord. She truly loves Jesus and His Word and wants other women to love Him like she does. Pastor Joel has worked with her local church to find a place for Betty to live, and land to farm. In God's grace, the unheard of has happened. Although Betty's husband is not around, when church leaders approached her husband's unsaved father, he agreed to give up one acre for Betty to farm and to live on. Tabitha Ministry is working with the local church to get corn planted, and a house built for Betty. And Betty came to say "thank-you."

Of course the real thanks goes to God, who sees the needs of his people and hears their cries. Cries for spiritual nourishment and revival. Cries for a home to live in and food to eat. And thanks also goes to you who are partnering in the Tabitha ministry. To God be the glory!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

God's Word gives HOPE

After two years in Acts, we have completed this series of Bible studies in our village Bible studies. Eighty-nine lessons, and 89 memory verses later, many women have been encouraged by studying the early church and the life of Paul. Jane, a new contact from a Bible study about an hour away, visited me recently, to express her thanks to God for these studies. She has experienced a lot of hardship in her life, including two bad marriages, a daughter with a brain tumor, other illnesses, and on-going poverty. She said she had not imagined there ever existed someone with problems as bad as hers, until she read about Paul's life and ministry. Through these studies she has found great encouragement in the Lord. In her words, "Now I have found hope. I am so thankful." This is just one testimony among hundreds of women feeding on God's Word each week.

(Side note: Last month the second most frequent cause for admission on Tenwek's medical ward was suicide attempts. These people really need to know the HOPE in Jesus!)


Joyce is a young widow with five children. She and her son Immanuel have HIV and are taking medication for it. After many years of loose living, she came to know the Lord three years ago. She now loves the Lord, and is trying to teach her children to follow Him. She visits us each week and we like to visit her, too. Julia and Immanuel, the son holding the Frisbee, are especially good friends and play soccer together whenever they have a chance.

She has received a house, cow, food, chickens, fencing, and field work from Tabitha Ministry. Her cow is now providing milk for her family, when it is well; Joyce has just harvested her beans, and she is caring for her family of four boys and one girl as best she can. But each week she struggles with health issues, a rebellious son, general poverty issues, and jealous family members.

Pray for encouragement from the Lord and other believers for Joyce.

Pray for Dennis, her oldest son, in 8th grade. He can be helpful, but he has a temper and gets into trouble because of it. Pray that he'll turn his whole heart to the Lord.

Pray for good health for Joyce and her children.

Pray for regular Christian fellowship for Joyce.