Sunday, March 22, 2015

So much to report...

So much has happened in this last week that I can't even begin to tell half of it.  So I will let the pictures tell the story.
On Wednesday, we traveled to Eldoret where the vicar of St. Mark's Anglican Church of Kenya has been transferred and a new vicar is in charge.  We had the formal handing off ceremony with the three leaders who have been appointed to chair the Business as Mission office in this church.  We are sorry to see Rev. Karoki leave, as he did a great job of empowering his church to own this ministry and help it move to the next level.  Rev. Karoki promises to have Discipling Marketplace Leaders (DML) start at his new parish in the next six months.  We pray for a good relationship with the new vicar and praise God for the good work being done in this place.
On Saturday, Africa Theological Seminary (ATS) had its graduation ceremony.  One of the graduates was our own Alfred Kibairu.  Here we have a shot of the gathering after the graduation with family and friends dancing around him.
As Alfred has also completed his contract with DML, we got him a cake, which he is cutting with his wife here.
The Marketplace Ministers from Kitale, Kakamega, and Eldoret all sent gifts to thank Kibairu for his work and he is being presented with the gift here.
Alfred with friends and family.
Alfred with his mother and father, as well as his baby daughter.  Please join us in prayer for his mother as she was recently diagnosed with bone cancer; Alfred and his family are looking for money in order to get her some chemotherapy, but unfortunately, that is very expensive here.
This is Rev. Elly Kisala, who has just been appointed to be the Director of DML Kenya.  Elly has his Masters in Divinity, is a business man, and has been working with DML for the past year.  DML is now officially a department of the Africa Theological Seminary and we are excited to have Elly on board to help us go to the next level!  Elly will be focusing on the on-boarding of churches in Kenya, the training of pastors, and the theological education.
This is Caroline Sudi, who has recently been appointed as the Deputy Director of DML Kenya.  Caroline worked in the banking industry for eighteen years as head of the loans department as well as bank manager.  She left the banking industry two years ago as she felt a calling for God to bring her skills into the church but she didn't know how.  About a year ago she met me and started taking one of the DML classes, and then became a trainer.  She is so good with people and she knows business well, as she also owns two businesses.  Caroline is now running her second class at her church, Faith Community Center with the African Gospel Church, where she also serves as the worship leader.  We are very excited to have Caroline on board with DML!  Caroline will be primarily focused on working with churches to provide quality business development to their members.

On Sunday, we had another commissioning service of Marketplace Ministers in Kakamega.  Bishop Jackson Wambua is anointing the Marketplace Ministers with oil here after they made their commitment to accept their calling and to do their business "as unto the Lord."
Here they are being prayed over, while the first group stands behind them to give them support.  Both classes have now joined together to form a cooperative.  The next class will begin in April.  Additionally, there will be a new class starting in the Anglican Church of Kenya in Kakamega and the trainers will go from this church there to help them get started.  We praise God for continued growth!
At most commissionings, we ask one or two Marketplace Ministers to speak and share with the church.  This woman shared that of all the certificates she has, this one is the most meaningful, and she went on to explain how it has impacted her.  I thought it was a nice thing to say but later I was told that this woman has her Doctorate and teaches at the university in town!  I find it hard to believe that she values this certificate higher than her Doctorate, but praise God for the value she found in it!
Dr. Walker, President and co-Founder of ICM then gave a great and passionate sermon about how we are all to be living sacrifices - out there - in the world.  He reminded us that studying the Bible will bring about knowledge, but obedience changes the heart.  We can study all we want but we have to get out there and do it for the heart to be transformed and to be witnesses to the love of Christ.  His sermon reinforced the commissioning and it was a great service.
And there is so much more that I didn't take pictures of:  we are in the middle of another training of trainers; there are three simultaneous DML classes going on in Kitale and the environs; the ATS Leadership Summit will be held over the next two days; and I've been giving the orientation to the new staff members, trying to leave everything in good order.  I leave Kenya on Tuesday and will be back in Grand Rapids on Wednesday.  This was an incredibly busy and taxing month, and to say that I am exhausted is an understatement.  But I continue to be encouraged by the good people in Kenya and the quality leadership that I have seen.  Thank you for your prayers!