January 21, 2015

“You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary;
the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.
Praise be to God!” Psalm 68:35 NIV

A view captured as we returned to KBTC
last Sunday afternoon.  The number of people
along the roads of Nairobi always astounds us!
I’m blown away” – Jack’s simplified version of Psalm 68:35 as he reacted to the happenings at the Kenya Baptist Theological College this morning, well actually every morning and afternoon in recent days! Just a few of today’s events which were definitely not coincidences, but God incidents: a visit by a former principal who also dreams of new ways KBTC can train and equip Believers; a call from a young missionary sharing a reproducible community development model that the college could use; and a conversation with a young man who is passionate about training Youth Ministers.

Also spotted last Sunday afternoon -
An instant photo shop along the road! 
There was also a meeting with the pastor who is the new Academic Dean, who not only gets excited about Jack’s dreams for the college, but is adding to the dreams. Most of these events were unexpected, such as the return this morning of a house key, which is the end to a long-standing problem!

Another view of God's blessings
at KBTC - the beautiful flowers!
As Jack recounted the happenings of the morning during lunch today, he added: “I know that I’m passionate and excited about KBTC and how I believe God wants to use the school to accomplish His work. I also know that not everyone understands and thinks I’m being too positive.”

My reaction: “You are passionate and excitable, but you’re not just being positive. You are seeing and understanding that these happenings are not based on your power and strength, or that of any other staff member or supporter! You see that God is the one behind all that is happening. You acknowledge that it is His power and strength that is behind all the ways that KBTC is being revived and available for His work. Most importantly, you are giving Him the credit and praising Him for what He is doing!”

Another blessing found at KBTC - an
incredible staff who keep things looking beautiful!
Please join us in praising God for all that is happening, including events (often unscheduled) from the last week which include: news of student scholarship support from five sources; meetings with people committed to helping the school offer classes/ programs for training children’s workers, worship leaders, and counselors; offers from peoples desiring to teach or seeking classes in evangelism, Bible Storying, Chinese (language), apologetics; and a Facebook ‘chat’ with former students and Kenyan Baptists who want KBTC to offer a school of missions and short courses and programs to train those with a heart for cross-cultural evangelism .

The God-incident (NOT a coincidence!) of our meeting
the chaplain occurred when he sat beside us as we
ate coastal pilau at the KBTC graduation in Malindi.
The most exciting unexpected news was shared during a planned meeting. The head of the KBTC Malindi branch reported that a chaplain Jack and I met after their graduation service last November has received permission to begin a Bible School in the prison.

Have to add one photo of a cute kid!  My little friend
hid behind the wall before his Sunday School class
began.  He then peeked out with a gift - His Smile!
We do have lots of praise, but we also need you to continue praying for KBTC as the revival/ restoration progresses. There are still many difficulties such as problems with occupancy of another house, the need for more local support, and leaky roofs (I need a photo of how Jack prepares his desk each evening in case it rains and of his ‘personal’ mop which was needed after last night’s rains). Plus there is one negative (the unfinished main building) which is a major problem thanks to a positive – more students are coming and more opportunities to train arising, resulting in the need for classrooms and dorms have outgrown the available space in the completed one story of the needed three story building!

Some of you may think this is nonsense, but
I know that one way God answers your prayers
for encouragement for me is by sending views
 like this outside the window as I work!
And we have one more praise/ thanksgiving – For how you strengthen and encourage us as we serve. THANK YOU for your prayers, sending workers our way and your financial support.
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Remember to view the daily Nudges to Action for Sub-Saharan Peoples which shares what God is doing among Sub-Saharan African Peoples and how you can join in His work through prayer, serving and giving! (https://www.facebook.com/SubSaharanAfricanPeoples)

You can also keep up with KBTC and what Jack is doing at https://www.facebook.com/KenyaBaptistTheologicalCollege. Both these links are on FB, but can be viewed by anyone!

January 14, 2015

“It is a day for you to sound the trumpets.”
Numbers 29:1 NIV

One new way people trumpet' the news in Africa is
through cell phones. We spotted this donkey cart
driver using a cell phone only moments after a horse
walked dangerously close to our car thanks to the
 rider being busy talking on his... CELL PHONE!
Reading these words during my devotions last Monday, I thought of the opportunity I’d had earlier that morning to join others in a bit of ‘trumpeting’.  As I began my daily work on the computer, the first post I spotted on Facebook was from a co-worker in West Africa who was praising God and ‘trumpeting’ the news that a district in Sierra Leone had been declared Ebola free.

A reminder to pray for Unreached Peoples which is
seen often in Nairobi these days - signs written in
Chinese.  Many Chinese businesses are coming to
Africa, which offers opportunities for churches and
 KBTC to proclaim the Gospel to people from China.
This district is just a small part of the Ebola affected area, so one might question why my coworker was so excited. The answer: This area is still included in the ‘nations, tribes, languages and peoples’ (Revelation 14:6) without a proclamation of the Eternal Gospel! (For more on this, take a minute to view http://vimeo.com/113395470.)

Not a kid from Sierra Leone, but a kid who lives
on the KBTC campus.  One day this photo may be
used as a Nudge to Action for SSAPeoples,
nudging Believers to be like ACTION FIGURES,
to be ACTIVE Believers sharing His Story!
A Nudge to Action for Sub-Saharan Peoples was already prepared to use on Monday, but that story was delayed until today. Instead a new Nudge was prepared for January 12th, sharing my friends ‘trumpeting’ of the good news for people from “One of the many areas of West Africa where it is likely that those who die from war or viruses may have NEVER had an opportunity to hear a proclamation of the Eternal Gospel!” Anyone can safely view this and more Nudges to Action for Sub-Saharan African Peoples at https://www.facebook.com/SubSaharanAfricanPeoples.

This week’s bit of honest:  I hope no one spotted
 me last Sunday when I laughed as our pastor
explained  that he did not first hear this
 testimony  through the phone or a  visit, but he
spotted our friend's ‘trumpeting’ on Facebook!
I also remembered how our time with church family on Sunday offered another time of seeing Numbers 29:1 in action. Our pastor often changes his worship service plans, adding a time for our church family to ‘trumpet’ a testimony of how they’ve recently seen God at work. It was a time of praising God as a Kenyan friend shared how she had seen God at work in the last few days. Earlier in the week she had prayed for the safety of her parents, then on Friday, God answered her prayer in an awesome way when her Dad had an accident which could have led to deaths, but instead it was a time of miraculous protection and healing.

One of the many times road work stopped as the
old rented backhoe was nursed back to health!
Soon after my Monday morning devotions, Jack returned from his office to our cottage at the Kenya Baptist Theological College, asking me to go with him to view the transformation occurring on the road that leads to the upper KBTC campus. Some may describe a rented backhoe as making a horrible noise, but those of us on campus described it as a wonderful ‘trumpeting.’ Now when it rains, one can travel to the classrooms/ chapel/ dining/ student housing building without fear of sliding or getting stuck!

For more photos from KBTC, visit
I thought Jack wanted to drive due to a bruised foot (healing slowly, thus a need for prayer as lots of walking is required at KBTC), but he really wanted to experience driving on the new road. He also wanted to do his part by smashing a few of the remaining clogs of rock and dirt under the tyres of our car, well actually not OUR car, but the car purchased by the IMB thanks to your gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

Another way that KBTC is 'trumpeting'
that they are ready to serve our Father in
a REVIVED way - Proper Sign Boards
directing guests to the campus!
Thanks for allowing us to ‘trumpet’ what we've seen God do this week. As I was completing this update, I heard a bit of noise outside our cottage and remembered something else we have to ‘trumpet’ about. Jack was showing the Children’s Minister of Parkland’s Baptist Church around campus – one of the many people who have been an answer to ours and your prayers, as she is one of the many Believers who in recent weeks have asked how they can join in God’s work at KBTC! BERT
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Other photos captured last week.

The loud noise coming from our home in Nairobi
last Saturday night?  Jack 'trumpeting' as he
watched his first WFU basketball game of
this season and Wake WON!!!
One reason I LOVE doing dishes at our KBTC cottage -
there is a window beside the sink and I get to view
beauties such as this while washing dishes!
Not sure what had caught their attention as
we were returning to Nairobi last Friday evening.
Captured at church last Sunday.  I would love
to know what this little princess was thinking!

January 7, 2015

“The LORD answered Moses, ‘Is the LORD's arm too short?’” Numbers 11:23

A Christmas gift to myself:  The joy of visiting
Biashara Street and buying African fabrics to
update furnishings and wall hangings at KBTC.
As we returned to the KBTC campus Sunday afternoon, I asked Jack why the staff had three weeks instead of the usual two for a Christmas break. His answer: “They worked hard last year and everyone was exhausted! Funds didn't allow year-end bonus, so the extra week was their zawadi (gift)!”

Viewed  one morning as we ate breakfast on the
porch of our home in Nairobi, enjoying the quiet
in the neighborhood as work at the many nearby
construction sites also took a Christmas break!
And to be honest, Jack’s staff were not the only ones who needed a break. We enjoyed sleeping past 6 most mornings, having time to celebrate Christmas with mission family and friends, and simply doing nothing but resting, reading for fun, and enjoying nature at times! Our computers were still our constant companions, but it was nice to catch up on work that required energy, intellect and time ALL at the same time! Another bit of honesty: I don’t think either of us realized how much we needed this break until we each realized how good it felt to be so refreshed!

The classroom/ dining/ dorm building still
suffers from an 'old' problem - these stairs lead
NOWHERE as the building awaits more floors!
Thus we did return ready to begin the new year with energy and excitement, but I have to admit, there was still a bit of wariness on my part! Things have improved so much at KBTC during the last two years, but sometimes I question how Jack keeps going as new problems arise and old problems refuse to be solved! Thus, I really needed to read Numbers 11:23 during my devotions last week.

Spotting this beauty as I walked to chapel yesterday
definitely was worth slowing down!
It was a great reminder that I needed to claim my favorite Psalm and remember that “The LORD is my light and my salvation… The LORD is the stronghold of my life” (Psalm 27:1), thus I don’t need to fear or be afraid of anything when I seek God’s guidance and protection (vv. 4,5), choose to praise Him rather than dwell on difficulties (v. 6), pray seeking His will (v. 7), and allow Him to teach me His ways (v. 11)! As I do these things, I can and must be confident that “I will see the goodness of the LORD” (v. 13). But – and this is a big BUT – I must slow down and “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD” (v. 14), trusting His timing and His purpose!

Not sure is this old vehicle, spotted in a village over
the holidays, is 'available and ready'! An internet site
reports that this Kenyan licence was issued in 1953!
I’m not much for making New Year’s resolutions, but God sent me another challenge as I read Isaiah 50:2, a verse cited in Numbers 11:23. “When I came, why was there no one? When I called, why was there no one to answer? Was my arm too short…?” I was reminded that what I do is not simply doing a ‘job’, but in response to His Call. I must never take what I do as His child for granted; I must daily realign myself with His will and always make sure I am available and ready to answer Him.

The reason we were driving through the village was
a jam on the highway. We never figured out why,
but these kids found all the cars entertaining!
Yes, I know this may sound a bit preachy or ‘missionary’, but the older I get, the more I learn that I will always be learning more about our Father and how to be His child. It also takes a constant new resolve to obey and follow His call. So would you join Jack and me in praying that we will put aside our fears and concerns about the problems we face, and rely fully upon God during 2015?

Praying for the new class (536) which began on Monday and
a special music conference during the first KBTC chapel
of 2015. Pray for the 20 students who have not yet joined the
the new class as they get their kids settled in their new school
years, arrange for transportation, etc. More from KBTC at
Pray that as Jack strives to lead KBTC to being a place where God is truly glorified and able to train His servants and as I nudge* you and others to action (prayer, serving and giving) for Sub-Saharan African Peoples, that we will constantly seek God, His guidance, protection and direction. Pray that we will always be sensitive to His timing and purpose and be where He wants us, ready to respond to His call.

Our delayed Christmas gift to two missionary kids
who stayed with us as they travelled back to boarding
school - a visit to two newly opened places in Nairobi!
Pray also that we will always be alert to the need for praise and thanksgiving to God and to those of you who enable us to do what God has called us to do – Which you do as you pray, join us in serving Him and as you give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and Cooperative Program.   BERT YATES
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*Remember to view the daily Nudges to Action for Sub-Saharan Peoples which shares what God is doing among Sub-Saharan African Peoples and how you can join in His work through prayer, serving and giving!
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Three views of birds captured this past week:
I wanted a photo of this bird perched in a tree,
but it flew away as I focused!
Sometimes the birds look at me as I take their photo,
and sometimes they are shy!
I spotted this bird as I returned from chapel yesterday.
His mouth is filled with a bit of food which was so large
and heavy it caused problems during the bird's 'take-off'!

December 31, 2014

Thank you for all the ways you've strengthened and encouraged us this past year.  Thank you also for the assurance we have that all we strive to do in 2015 will be a joint effort with you as we rely upon your prayers, coming as/ sending more workers, and giving - ALL which provides the support we must have to obey our Father and serve among Sub-Saharan African Peoples.