Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How Does God Do It?

I truly believe that God guides His children, but sometimes I question how it happens. How can “Whether WE turn to the right of to the left, OUR ears hear… ‘This is the way; walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21). During chapel at KBTC yesterday, I found myself asking again, “How does God do it?” 

As always when these queries surface in my mind, I realize yet again the truth of Psalm 68:35. Our God is awesome. He does give us “power and strength” and guidance and we will never be able to praise Him enough for these gifts, for His wanting to use us and that He allows us to be a part of His work.

I need to back-up a bit and share of earlier times of being awed by these thoughts, beginning with August, 2012, when we lived on the KBTC campus for several weeks as Jack taught. We left concerned about things we had seen and heard. During our individual devotions in the next week or so, God began showing us a new direction for our lives. We did not share out thoughts about what we were sensing, until the day came when one of us said, “I need to tell you something…” and the other completed the sentence. God was calling Jack to serve as the Principal at KBTC.

Another gift God sent to KBTC - these two sisters led
us in  AWESOME  worship during yesterday's chapel.
In past years, we had talked of this and others had talked with Jack, but we knew we were not to “walk in” that direction at those times. This time we knew it was time to “walk in it.” After weeks of working out details, permission and approvals, Jack began serving as the KBTC principal in January 2013.

2013 was a difficult year and a diversion arose for a few months, but God gave us the “power and strength” to trust Him and continue to follow His way. We became certain that one part of His way was that KBTC needed to offer training for African missionaries, not missionaries TO Africa, but Africans who are responding to God’s call to carry out our Saviour’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).

KBTC is so thankful for how these two young women
are volunteering their time, sharing not only their gifts
of making beautiful music, but teaching students and
others to also use the violin to praise God.
We dreamed of having a language school on the KBTC campus as language learning would be a needed part of a School of Missions. Then during the difficult time when Jack was not able to be on campus, we heard that the old Baptist language school, now privately run, wanted to move on to campus. The Kenyan friends running the school DID NOT KNOW of our dream of KBTC offering missionary training!

For more than a year, missionaries from around the world have lived on the KBTC campus, studying at the language school housed in older KBTC classrooms. Then a couple from China learning Swahili moved to the cottage beside us. As our friendship developed, we learned of their heart for training leaders for the newly developing Chinese churches in Africa. We also learned of their desire to bring pastors from China to a place where they can easily complete theological training.

And that brings me back to “How does God do it?” Yesterday’s chapel was an incredible affirmation that God is and has been leading us and others at KBTC to walk in His way! You see, the husband of the family living beside us was the day’s chapel speaker and he shared his testimony and of their calling to share God’s love with Chinese in Africa and to offer training to the leaders of all Chinese churches.

Some say there are 2 million Chinese now in Africa, but the exact number is unknown. What is known is that more are arriving daily and most of these guests have never had an opportunity to accept the hope offered by our Saviour. In the photo above, Jack is praying at the conclusion of yesterday’s chapel for God’s guidance as KBTC provides opportunities to fulfill these dreams for training of Chinese Believers, Chinese Believers who want to reach their people with our Good News.

Another special treat was served after yesterday's chapel - our
neighbours prepared a Chinese lunch for all the students and staff.
AND yes, they even had a few chopsticks for the braver ones to use!
My favorite from their kitchen is always the Marbled Tea Eggs.
KBTC is excited about opening their doors to training and equipping Chinese Believers to share our Good News. We are also excited about how this opportunity can be used to challenge and strengthen KBTC’s ability to train and equip African Believers – AND you will note that I did not say Kenyan Believers because KBTC is already training students from across Africa.

Jack's comment as he returned for lunch today: It was a
Great Morning! It was a joy to walk around the upper
unfinished floor of the building (where students study
study, sleep, eat and meet for chapel) knowing that
the builders are to arrive next Monday to begin
putting a roof on and making this more useable! 
I may not ever understand how God helps us hear and respond to His guidance, but I know the answer to “How does God do it?” He is our AWESOME God! Thank you for your past support and for the assurance of your future prayers and support as we journey together with Him! BERT YATES
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Remember to  view the daily Nudges to Action for Sub-Saharan African Peoples, a part of Bert's work as the Prayer Networker for Sub-Saharan African Peoples at

Personal Bits of our Hearts Nudges to Action are shared at

For more from Jack's work, visit KBTC's site! Like the daily Bits of our Hearts  posts, it can be viewed by non-FB users. TABS at the top of this page make viewing extra easy!

*Recipe for Chinese marbled tea leaf eggs -
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Jack is not in this photo as he also takes photos, including the violin
 photos.  Pastor Joseph Kamau (KBTC's new Academic Dean - far left),
 Zack Mahalanganga(KBTC's Administrator) and Kevin Hoke (Project
Coordinator/right) joined  Jack this morning planning how to divide the
floor for the best uses, including a private area for the women's dorm!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fretting and Trusting

The note I just sent to those on our newsletter via e-mail mailing list:

YES! I’ve been fretting and frustrated by a mistake I made yesterday! I could blame it on allergies, the rain, a computer that is about to self-destruct (if I don’t destroy it first), lots of things. I finally accepted that blunders happen and I needed to get over it and focus on the right things – which begins with trusting God and that He helped those who read to the end of yesterday’s “Rainbows and Other Complex Mixtures” update to not be confused! Those of you who read to ‘the end’ saw that I forgot to remove the note-to-myself added to remind me to tell you to view “a not-to-be-missed added mini-story” posted on our blog!

Sorry, I'm don't know the name of this bird,
but it is entertaining!
I discovered the forgotten added bit yesterday as I sent out the ninth and last e-mail to the usual groups of addresses. Last night and before turning on the computer this morning (a bit later than usual as the electricity went off the moment we got out of bed to start our day), I debated if I should send a correction/ apology!

When I did turn on my computer, I had received several encouraging notes from yesterday’s update and not one query about my mistake! One note from Shem Okello, a Kenyan co-worker, was especially exciting: “I love the Maasai story. Yes they play pool and even chess. They are smart guys. We are starting a Bible study in front of our house before they go to work in the evening. Only twenty minutes and when we have extra tea we avail it for them to enjoy before they begin guarding our estate.”

As I took these photos, I
could not decide if the bird was
preening, exercising or a little odd!
Another two notes sharing that friends were copying and sharing the photos and updates reminded me of things I have been meaning to remind you: PLEASE always feel free to share our updates, FB and blog posts with others. PLEASE do copy the photos/updates and use them freely to increase prayer support for and awareness of what God is doing in our part of the world. AND if you know of anyone who would like to be added to our mailing list, please send me their e-mail address.

I also must add one prayer item related to the rainbow shared in yesterday’s update. Parts of East Africa, including Nairobi, have received lots and lots of rain in recent days and the rains are expected to continue. There has been excessive flooding which is leading to deaths and many dangerous situations Please pray for protection and wisdom for those traveling and for those living in the lower areas, which are often the poorest sections of the city such as the slum areas.

Our small cooler which is used often on iffy
electricity days.  The milk is the UHT kind that
does not need refrigeration and was opened
this morning for our coffee!
I feel better now after enlisting prayer for those affected by the rains and after admitting/ correcting yesterday’s mistake. And at this moment I’m thanking God for having a gas stove in our cottage and the fact that I didn’t make a mistake when the electricity returned briefly mid-morning, but remembered to open the fridge door and remove what I needed to prepare our lunch!

So now, I will not fret, but commit my way to the Lord, trusting that the gas doesn’t run out (yep, that is also about to go) and go to heat up left-overs for lunch before Jack returns from chapel with the KBTC students and staff! And we will not need candles to eat as we did at breakfast as the sun in now shining brightly, though there are dark clouds on the horizon! BERT YATES

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Rainbows and Other Complex Mixtures

A perk of living at the Kenya Baptist Theological College during the week is viewing the city of Nairobi, located miles away from our mountain-top cottage! I’ve taken hundreds of photos at different times of day, in different weather and I’m still taking photos. This rainbow captured last week was a surprise. I had taken many photos of the city glistening on the horizon after a storm before a bird captured my attention. It quickly flew away and when I turned back to view Nairobi, there was the rainbow!

My fascination with these views may possibly come from growing up in the country between two small towns and not visiting a city of a million until I was an adult. It may also be from watching Nairobi grow from an estimated population 800,000+ when we arrived in 1978 to more than 3 million today.

Two daytime views of buildings in the city of  Nairobi from our KBTC
cottage.  It would take an hour or more to arrive in the city centre by car!

Two nighttime views - the artistic one is when the camera moved!

Last week I missed a photo that I regret not being able to show you. The ‘missed’ photo would have captured the story of the variety of peoples found in Nairobi today and the very complex mixtures of wealth, education, faiths, etc., all which affect our ability to share our Father’s Good News.

To get to our church, Parklands Baptist Church/ Eastgate, we pass railway tracks separating the city from the international airport. A wide clearance has been saved around these tracks and in Kenya this means free spaces for grazing cattle and an abundance of dukas selling everything and anything, even some called a hotel, though this usually, but not always, means only a place to eat and not a place to sleep!

I was focusing on the roaming cattle (yes, I’m still a country girl at heart) along the road and train tracks, a distinct contrast to tall city centre buildings in the background. Then I spotted a ‘building’ of poles with a thatched roof. Under it sat a pool table, surrounded by a bunch of men in their Maasai shukas!

Captured this photo on campus this week
of one of the KBTC Maasai guards.
Maasai often leave their home area to work as guards in the towns and cities, so these men were possibly having fun before going to wherever they sleep, likely in a slum or some out-of-the-way corner elsewhere. Some of the pool players may also have been some of the herders of the cows, sheep and goats which come to Nairobi when rains are sparse where the Maasai live, south of Nairobi.

My first thought was, A SPOT FOR A NEW CHURCH PLANT! My next thought? I wonder how many of these men who work long hours (12 hours is the norm for guards) and usually work at night and sleep during the day, have an opportunity to go to church or a Bible study. How many Believers take note of the guards and others such as the street sweepers (yes, these are still often seen in Nairobi) around them and think of sharing of our Good News?

Two more shopping opportunities near the train tracks!

We are often asked how much longer we plan on being in Africa. WE DO NOT KNOW! What we do know is that God is still allowing us to join Him in His work among Sub-Saharan African Peoples.

The bird which caught my attention which
almost made me miss the rainbow is
now sitting upon her eggs!
Jack remains committed to training Believers at KBTC to share our Good News with the peoples of our world who have not called “on the name of the Lord” because they have not heard or truly understood what they were hearing (Romans 10:9-15). I get frustrated with slow internet and learning the ever-changing twists of social media, but I continue to know that God is calling me to use this tool to share what He is doing among unengaged and unreached peoples and how others can join in His work.

THUS we need your prayers! Pray that we will always be alert and ready to respond to every opportunity to bring our Good News to those without our Father’s gift of salvation.
* Make sure you move beyond the important information shared next or you will miss a great mini-story!
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Remember to also view the daily Nudges to Action for Sub-Saharan African Peoples, a part of Bert's work as the Prayer Networker for Sub-Saharan African Peoples at

For more from Jack's work, visit KBTC's site! Like the daily Bits of our Hearts** posts, it can be viewed by non-FB users. TABS at the top of this page make viewing extra easy!
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Now for a few fun photos of two of our KBTC staff kids who spotted some SAFARI ANTS on the way home from school yesterday afternoon.  Their escort, another of our kids, is a bit shy, but admitted that watching these two was hard work.  From the reaction of the kids just before they ran away, I think the SAFARI ANTS began biting!

And the last photo - one of my favorites of the week.
Getting to know our staff kids is definitely a major
perk of being on the KBTC campus!