I certainly have to apologize, as this is the longest silence I think you have ever had from us! I had planned to write a long newsy email to you before we left Kenya, but alas, our final few weeks there were such a challenge and so very busy, that I just never completed the letter I had begun. At any rate I wanted to write and bring you up to date and share some information with you about the ministry time we had over the past 7 months in Kenya.
First, we had incredible ministry opportunities while we were there! Of course, Gary was immediately back to teaching, preaching and counseling.(Jim Horne, the other Senior pastor had to immediately leave for the states just after we arrived). He taught on Tuesday evenings and preached on Sundays, but he also had our two national pastors preach as well who helped carry the load. Pastor Robert Lundi, is in charge of the the high school age group and another group in their 20's and early 30's. He also is very much involved in music and sings in the worship team as well. Pastor Duncan Malalo is another of our national pastors and he is in charge of the children's Sunday school children from 2 year olds to 11 year olds. Both Robert and Duncan are good preachers and are gifted in a number of areas. Gary was successful in bringing back to the church some of the ones whom had fallen out of fellowship for various reasons. It was so exciting to
see people repent of their sins and be restored to fellowship with the Lord and other believers.
Gary was also in charge of moving forward with the building of Phase 2 (the "education building"). He, along with the deacons had to meet with various Contractor's, and hire the necessary people to oversee the construction plus fulfill all the necessary requirements of the Kenya government. It took all the months we were gone to just get the construction started before we left.
Gary's health was really excellent all the time we were there. That said, we did have to call his doctor here for advise on one of medications that had to be adjusted because of his weight loss, but that was the only time he had any problems. We thank the Lord for that blessing!
My time there was spent visiting orphans and former street kids and adults, some handicapped ladies and went to the hospital to visit children with a particular type of cancer, called Burkitt's Lymphoma. Two good friends of mine, Michelle Windell and Les Schwarz, are in an organization that raises funds for these children that have Burkitts for their chemo drugs, vitamins and these drugs can completely cure the children of this disease if treated properly. I was blessed abundantly during our time there, as we were hardily welcomed when we would go to the orphanage for the street boys and also the street women (who do not live in the orphanage but come there for sewing together). We were able to teach Bible studies, bring food to them and have little parties for them. Michelle, Les and I went to the handicapped ladies group that do sewing and sell their goods to mostly tourists, but we were able to sing and teach Bible stories to them.
Occasionally, I helped Les out with the baby group on Sundays, that she formed to help the moms be able to attend church.
Crossroads Fellowship church is still growing, thriving and God's church. On most Sundays there are between 650-750 people in attendence. The depth of the growth in individual lives is amazing to witness. It was such a priviledge from the Lord to be apart of it!
Our Kids: Nathan and Tina are doing well. Many of you have asked about Tina, and we have appreciated your prayers for her because she is doing very well. She seems strong and is able to work. They moved to Arizona a year ago and Nathan has a job with a school photography business. Also, he and Tina have business of their own called Visions by Smiddy and are wedding photographers. Hanna is amazing as she kept "house and home" going while she was working and going to school. She did a great job! She got the McNair Scholorship this year which launches her into grad school after she graduates, but of couse she still has one more year to go. Study Abroad is in her future as she plans to go to France second semester next school year.
We thank you all for your generosity of prayer on our behalf and of course your generosity of financial gifts which help to stay in Kenya.
We are in Indiana at 1464 Butternut Circle, Greenfield, IN 46140; 317-462-3419
May God bless each one of you, Gary and Jean