Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hello to all from Etago, Kenya,

Oct. 24: Actually, I'm using the thumb board on my cell phone to write the first part of this while on the way to Etago, from our hotel in Kisii. It's quite muddy and bumpy. There has been a lot of rain lately. Our driver, the intrepid Charles, tells us that it isn't close enough to an election for there to be much work on the roads.

This will be our second day in Etago, among the 136 children in the AIDS orphan school. At our arrival, the children lined the entrance to the schoolyard, singing "Welcome, welcome to our visitors!" During the opening service, they songs, dances, and recitations for us. Russ Schmitt handed each of them a homemade card from the children of Immanuel Lutheran School, Mankato. They also each received a toothbrush and toothpaste, courtesy of CLC Project Kinship. We then spent the afternoon with the pastors of the 5 area churches, and some elders, in Bible study.

That evening, Russ and I returned to the hotel in Kisii with Charles, while Pastor Mayhew stayed at the home of Pastor Enosh, who lives near the school.

The next two days were very busy, with pastoral seminars conducted by Pastor Mayhew and me. The schoolchildren each received a Tshirt as a gift. A donated volleyball net was set up, to the delight of all. We visitors played a game too, along with the local pastors and school teachers.

It was back to work that afternoon, with further seminar instruction. Here is the group in Etago whom we addressed:

One of the things that this young church needs is a constitution that fits the way that they operate here in Kenya. Pastor Mayhew and I put together an outline of such a document, for the sake of "decency and order" in serving the churches here. Our draft will be submitted to a constitution committee, which has been chosen from the leaders of these churches. The revised constitution will be considered for adoption by the voters in January.

I had the privilege of staying at the home of Pastor Enosh and his family on Thursday night. He has a wife and four children, and they all live together in two buildings, each about the size of a garage. There is no running water or electricity, though they run a few lights and small appliances from a 12-volt battery, which they recharge during the day with a rooftop solar panel. It's actually a beautiful, pastoral place. Once off to bed, it was a wonderment to be practically out in the open countryside, and to hear...absolutely nothing! Nothing, that is, until about 5:30 a.m., when local roosters and cows competed with each other to welcome the rising sun.

Enoshes wife, Elizabeth, waves from their home

As we drive slowly over the poor roads, we often pass by groups of children who yell "M'zungu, m'zungu!" (white man!) Russ has taken to rolling down his window and yelling back "M'toto M'dogo!" -- "little kid!" This is greeted with peals of laughter.

Tomorrow (Sat.) we visit two congregations -- Kinnuchi and Chotororo. One more on Sunday, another on Monday, then we head back to Nairobi and on south to Tanzania. In Christ, Pastor BN

Writing now on Saturday night -- It was a great day of fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Kennuchi and Chotororo congregations. As usual, our schedule had to be adjusted. Our vehicle needed a weld on the exhaust system, so we had a late start. We went first to Kinnuchi congregation, where we first visited the home of elder Alex and his family.

After the service, we moved on to Chotororo congregation, which is led by Pastor Fred. We walked the final half mile to reach the church, which was completed with metal roofing about two years ago, courtesy of your contributions to the MDF.

On the way back from the service, the children took a great liking to Russ Schmitt, who entertained them with German songs as they walked.

We will be sad to say goodbye to the people of the Etago CLC. We finish our visits Monday, and will have a travel day back to Nairobi on Tuesday. From that point on there will be good roads, which we have learned by experience to appreciate! We hope you are all well in the Lord's care -- Pastors B.N., N.M., and Mr. R.S.

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