A bit of Christmas…in the mail

 

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They say Christmas cards are a dying tradition. I guess our LINKS churches didn’t get the memo, and we’re glad they didn’t!

Today, we received a stack of colorful Christmas cards with thoughtful greetings inside. It’s wonderful to be remembered at this time of year.

THANKS!

Prayer requests

Ask the Lord to help us finish well. We’re almost done marking exams.

This weekend, I (Greg) will sing 2nd tenor in two Christmas concerts with the Nairobi Music Society. It’s always a lot of fun, and gives me a chance to rub shoulders with others outside the University setting. The words of so many of the songs we’ll sing are powerful. Ask the Lord to use them to touch the hearts of those who need Him most.

 

 

 

Timing

Exam week is exhausting. Invigilating (proctoring for Americans) a two-hour exam in Helstrom Hall requires not only watching the students, but it also involves walking between the rows of desks several times and keeping an eye out for students who may need to ask a question.

When one of my Muslim students entered the hall, I told her I liked her scarf, but I was surprised because it was the first time I had ever seen her without the full headpiece. She said the morning had been a bit hectic. Later, as she turned in her exam, she explained that she had three exams that day. Undergraduate exams are government mandated to be valued at 60% of the course grade. Imagine the stress she was under! I thought what horrible timing.

Then, I was headed home for lunch after the exam and I had great timing to catch these pictures.

All this thinking about timing reminded me of a song Greg used to sing in Eastern Nazarene College‘s A Capella Choir – “My Times Are in Thy Hands”. (Click here to hear an A Capella alumni choir sing the song.)

This reminded me of the Christmas concert that he will sing with the Nairobi Music Society this coming weekend.

Timing may not be everything, but it is important.

Prayer requests:

Please pray as we mark exams (see the featured photo) and wrap up the trimester.

Pray also for Amy’s doctoral work which is intense at the moment.

Update on Carlos

Carlos.JPGLast home assignment, one of the Africa Nazarene University students whose story I told was Carlos Rwebogora.

As you’ll recall, Carlos was a student in my “Christian Beliefs” course. I saw Carlos at University Church of the Nazarene last Sunday. We chatted for a few minutes to catch up.

Carlos graduated from ANU in October with his Bachelor’s in counseling psychology. He’s now in the middle of a 3 month internship at Mathari Hospital here in Nairobi. Carlos is working in the psychotherapy unit, counseling those going through drug rehabilitation or patients diagnosed with HIV-AIDS.

When we were on home assignment last summer, many of you prayed that God would guide Carlos about where he should pursue his Master’s degree. Well, that decision is made. In January, he will begin his Master’s in Counseling Psychology right here at Africa Nazarene University. He doesn’t know yet whether he will specialize in family therapy or drug rehabilitation, but he still plans to return to his home in northern Tanzania and serve his people there.

It’s enouraging to see how God is using ANU to help young people like Carlos fulfill God’s calling on their lives. And thank you for your prayers for the faculty at ANU as we play our part.

Prayer requests…and other news

Next week is the beginning of a two week final exam period at ANU. Greg will be the Chief Examinations Officer for Week 1 here at the main campus (L.T. Marangu). Both Amy and Greg will be marking exams for large classes.

Amy is busy entering data from questionnaires students filled out in chapel, related to her EdD disssertation topic.

Today is Thanksgiving. We’re grateful to be joining with our missionary family for a turkey feast! God is good.

 

 

Thankfulness

We are thankful for friends that we have made on the journey. Two of these friends are Jim and Colleen Copple. I (Amy) first got to know Jim on a trip to the refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya. Later, I was able to tag along on a trip to Kiatine where people were dealing with intense food deprivation because of a drought. Conversations with Jim and Colleen are always challenging as they share what God is doing through their various ministries and the incredible people of faith with whom they partner.

Many years ago, the women in Kiatine, chosen as being among the neediest and most trustworthy, were given food to last a month for themselves and those of their household. Yet, when we went back after two weeks they acknowledged that the food was gone. They, facing starvation, gave the food away to neighbors. Echoing the principle of the second great commandment, they asked, “What would Jesus have us do?”

Currently, Jim and Colleen have many projects going simultaneously. They are still working with those facing hunger as well as with an ANU doctoral student, Flora Mwikali, and her rescue center for girls who have been victims of human trafficking or sexual abuse. As you watch this video produced by Nashville First Church, note that the price of 100 Kenyan shillings is equivalent to one US dollar.

This Thanksgiving, count your blessings: drinkable running water from the tap, toilets in your home, food on the table, and so many more.

Be thankful also for friends from your journey and the insights and challenges that they bring that allow you to continue to grow in your faith and understanding of the heart of God for the less fortunate.

Prayer requests:

Pray for Jim and Colleen’s work around the world. Learn more at their website. http://servantforge.org/

Pray for the ANU students entering the stressful time of final exams.

Pray for safe travels for all who will be returning to their homes for the holidays.

A few pictures – It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (at the mall).

What we saw at the mall

Nairobi, Kenya is a world-class city, with over 4 million people and growing every day. One of the signs of growth is shopping malls popping up like mushrooms, especially on the outskirts of the city.

We split our shopping between 2 supermarkets, one a branch of a large French chain (Carrefour) and the other managed by Kenyans of Indian descent (Chandaria). You can find most anything you need between the two stores. Sometimes, an American product “pops” up on the shelf to surprise you.

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Yesterday, we noticed workers putting up Christmas decorations at the nearby mall we frequent. It’s a reminder that 2018 is speeding by!

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Prayer requests & praises

  • Ask God to give us stamina as we going into the exam period. Our classes are large, and there will be many exams to mark.
  • Amy received her research permit from the Kenyan government! This will allow her to do the research necessary to write her Ed.D. dissertation. Thank you for your prayers that helped smooth things along.

Behind the scenes

Africa Nazarene University celebrated graduation last week. Many dignitaries came from across the globe and from within Kenya to help with the joyous occasion. Now, we are back to a more routine schedule.

This week, I (Amy) chose to focus on the ones who make ANU run but will never have their names in the telephone directory. These staff members, like George pictured below, do all the behind-the-scenes work including setting up classrooms with the proper number of chairs for each session, cleaning offices, and watering plants. Another — some might say vital — thing that they do is deliver tea to the offices early in the morning. (Pictured – above: the white sugar, below: mugs and spoons, George, tea urn being delivered to the workshop, and thermoses of tea for my hallway.)

Today, thank a behind-the-scenes person in your life.

Prayer requests:

  • The trimester is about two-thirds over, so please pray for the students (and faculty) to finish well.
  • I (Amy) am at a critical juncture for my doctoral studies – waiting for the permission to do research in Kenya – please pray that the approval is granted this week.
  • Greg will be co-leading a workshop on strategic planning for the local church. Please pray that people register to attend and that the workshop goes smoothly.

Bonus:

If you would like to know how to make tea the Kenyan way, click here.

A few more pix:

ANU Graduation- October 26, 2018

Graduation is always great pageantry at Africa Nazarene University. This year, we had over 800 students who received master’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, or certificates in our five Schools. It was the first year with our new Vice-Chancellor, Dr Stanley Bhebhe, presiding.

In the School of Religion and Christian Ministry (SRCM), five students graduated from the Master of Arts in Religion (MAR), three from the Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry (BACM), and two from the Bachelor of Theology (BTh), for a total of 10 graduates.

We thank the Lord for His work in the lives of our graduates! Pray that God will use them to do great things in the Kingdom.

Here are several photos that I hope you’ll enjoy.


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Here are 9 of the 10 graduates from the School of Religion and Christian Ministry.
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Gabriella Kisoi was one of the marshals.
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The Administrative Police Band entertained us.
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L to R: Dr Patrick Kamau, Dr Russ Frazier, Ms Christine Mwende (MAR graduate), and Greg