Staycation 2017

What, you ask, do missionaries do on a staycation?

Look at the pictures and you’ll know our answer…

We have fun with hobbies. We joined Nature Kenya last fall, but this drizzily morning was our first chance to go birding. Fleur, the leader, has been participating in or leading the Wednesday Bird Walks since 1971! She is super fun, feisty, and knowledgeable. Most of the group were Kenyans who care about the environment. Some have been doing the bird walk weekly for years.

I am also doing some embroidery, a.k.a. thread painting. As you can see I am simply using floss to cover an already printed placemat.

Greg is having fun on NazNet which is now hosted on Facebook  as “NazNet General Discussion”, “NazNet Pastors”, and “NazNet Theology”. If you’re Nazarene, come sit at the table and join the conversation.

We read (this is just a sampling), eat chocolate, and watch DVDs.

We visit local tourist sites. The littlest giraffe (picture – top) at the Giraffe Center was only 5 days old! When one of the workers saw that we had completed the wooden puzzle, he gave us a high five. Apparently, it isn’t completed very often. The real reason we went was to hike  the forest trail. We seemed to have strayed and ended up hiking for more than an hour. We started on Ndege Trail and after following some narrow paths and pushing little tree branches out of the way we ended on Jocks Trail. It was relaxing.

We also try new recipes and bake. Generally, we hang out together. We have plans to do other local things in the days to come. Hopefully. we will be able to check off everything on our to-do list. (Yes, we even make a to-do list for staycations.)

Please, keep praying for peace in Kenya. BBC News from today.

Level up!

DSCN6959When Amy and I served at the Regional Office, the slogan for Nazarene educators across Africa was simple: “Everyone up one level.” Now that we’re at Africa Nazarene University, it’s Amy’s turn to “level up.”

She recently received her acceptance letter from Trevecca Nazarene University — see photo. She has been accepted into the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in leadership and professional practice. It’s a 27 month online program, and when complete, will qualify her to make an even greater contribution here at Africa Nazarene University, where we’re assigned as educational missionaries.

Amy begins on September 13. Already she has her study set up at the house, and is looking forward to the challenge.

In other news…

DSCN6942

Last week, we enjoyed a fun day at the Nairobi museum with visiting lecturer, Dr Matt Price. School children often wear colorful uniforms, like these children queuing to enter. We especially enjoyed the taxidermy collection which boasts an amazing variety of bird species found in Kenya. All-in-all, the museum is one of our favorite places in this bustling metropolis of 4 million people.

 

 

 

Learning together

One of my top five strengths is Learner. I love to learn.

dscn6360.jpg

Today, ANU hosted a morning workshop about Qualitative Research. The workshop ingaugarated a series that is being facilitated in part through ANU’s Insititute of Research, Development, and Policy along with another local university.

Prof. Linda Ethangatta (for a short video about her, click here) opened the workshop with an invitation to share tea, mandazis, somosas, and sausage. After everyone had shared the food and good conversation, the session began.

Prof. Wakiuru Wamwara, sponsored by the Carnegie Africa Diaspora Fellowship DSCN6571Program, taught. She held the audience’s attention through a variety of teaching strategies. She drew the locals in with stories of her own research including the hassles and triumphs. Being Kenyan, although a long time resident of the United States, she used local examples that resonated with all present. Prof. Wamwara is on the faculty of Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

This week we also took Dr Matt Price from Mount Vernon Nazarene Universitdscn6330.jpgy on a day of tourism. First stop? The AA office so Greg and I could fill out paper work for our Kenyan licenses. Turns out that it is not all too difficult. Even so, wasn’t that exciting. It got better from there with a visit to the Nairobi National Museum – note the picture of the gourds above, a tour of the CBD campus of ANU, and a walk downtown. We finished off with a delicious meal at Urban Burger.

Please pray for ANU students this week and next as they study for finals and finish projects and papers. Also pray for the Kenyan general elections in early August.

Thanks and have a wonderful week!

Is there a doctor in the house?

20170712_080703
L to R: Rev Kennedy Kirui, Dr Greg Crofford, Rev George Mwita, Pastor Shaun Bati (guest speaker), Rev Aweis Ali, and Dr Matt Price

It has been a special treat to have several (academic) doctors come to teach in the DMin and PhD seminars being held this month at ANU.

Last week, we welcomed Dr Daniel Mwailu, a Methodist D.S. in the U.K., who assisted with “Spritual Practice for Ministry.” He team-taught the course with our ANU Chaplain, Dr Cindy North. The students were very pleased with the practical nature of the material.

This week, Dr Matt Price of Mount Vernon Nazarene University served as co-lecturer with me for the course, “Holiness Theology and the Minister.” Matt brings knowledge of sub-Saharan Africa from his time as a missionary in Benin. Students have also appreciated his depth of knowledge and easy going teaching manner.

Dr Daryll Stanton has assisted with a research course and brings a lot of expertise as our students are crafting their thesis proposals.

Thank you, one and all. We’re glad there are doctors in the house!

Jim preached and kids played

DSCN6182It was great to have Jim Copple preach in the University chapel on the main campus today. Through stories of people he has met and worked alongside, he stressed the importance of moving from WHY to getting it DONE – moving from asking (often unanswerable) questions about a situation to making a commitment to change or improve it. His passion for the betterment of life for all was clearly in evidence.

Thanks, Jim!

On Saturday, ANU hosted the finals of the Kenyan Jr. NBA. DSCN6033For the last three months, games and events have been held at various locations around Nairobi.

The event was boisterous. Helstrom was crammed with  1,500 very excited kids and a large group of invited guests. Greg and others greeted the US Ambassador to Kenya, Robert F. Godec, on behalf of the university.

The Slum Dunk Mathare Nets won the day! (More information and pictures are available on the ANU Facebook page – July 1 posts.)

I don’t know if Jim or the kids had butterflies, but one gorgeous afternoon I had trouble deciding where to point the camera! These are only a few…

School of Religion and Christian Ministry

Africa Nazarene University is undergoing a restructuring. As a part of that, the religion department has a new name: School of Religion and Christian Ministry.

Greg has accepANU logoted the appointment to be the first dean of the new school. He will be adding administrative duties to his portfolio. He will also be more involved in promoting the university and its various programs. He remains the Coordinator of the PhD in Religion and a senior lecturer.

Dr Daryll Stanton has turned over his duties as the Religion department chair to Rev. Gift Mtukwa. Dr Stanton will be helping with the transition for the next several months until he and Verna begin their year-long “victory lap” in the United States before retirement.

Pastor Gift was also invited to the Senate meeting, but he is in the United States for General Assembly. Greet him and Judy and the other ANU representatives at the ANU booth!

Pray for Greg and Gift as they pray and dream and work together to develop a vibrant vision for the School of Religion and Christian Ministry at ANU. In the months ahead, they will be sharing this vision.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Meanwhile … Happy World Giraffe Day! Click here to find out more about giraffes and the efforts being made to save them at the Giraffe Center in Karen – very close to ANU.

As many of you know, I take a lot of pictures. The goal is to get a picture of every type of animal that lives at ANU or visits the campus. I am happy that some of the students in the Environment and Resource Management (ERM) department are going to use my pictures in a biodiversity project.

Have a wonderful day!

A few parting shots…

 

The enduring value of a proverb

 

DSCN6869

Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe notes: “Proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten.” We have a little flip calendar with a different proverb for each day. I like one from this week:

The one who wants to do something finds a way; the one that doesn’t finds an excuse.

How true is that, not just in Sudan but globally?

Here’s a list of five American proverbs that I learned as a boy from my parents:

  1. He who hesitates is lost.
  2. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
  3. If at first you don’t suceed, try, try again.
  4. Laugh, and the world laughs with you; cry, and you cry alone.
  5. Stick and stones can break my bones but names will never hurt me.

The funny thing about proverbs is that sometimes they’re just not true. The fifth proverb in the list is well-intentioned, but probably has done more harm than good. As for the second proverb, I prefer oranges and bananas.

Even the Bible realizes that proverbs can become so overused that they obscure other truths. Ezekiel 18:1-4 (CEB) is one such case:

The LORD’s word came to me: What do you mean b this proverb of yours about the land of Israel: ‘When parents eat unripe grapes, the children’s teeth suffer’? As surely as I live, says the LORD God, no longer will you use this proverb in Israel! All lives are mine; the life of the parent and the life of the child belong to me. Only the one who sins will die.

With these cautions acknowledged, we can still celebrate that most proverbs are valid and square with God’s truth. We’re grateful to be living in Africa where people still value proverbial gems of wisdom and enjoy inserting them into conversations.