April 23, 2014

Taking a break this week!  But, don’t stop praying for us as we work towards returning to Kenya in mid-May.  Join us in praying that we will continue to be alert to and prepared for every opportunity to share how God is at work at the Kenya Baptist Theological College and among Sub-Saharan African Peoples.  For new stories and prayer items, take a few minutes to CLICK the above tabs for Missions Toolbox, Sub-Saharan African Peoples and Kenya Baptist Theological College .

Sneak preview of  a story of how missionaries
caused a stampede - one of the many stories
and bits of information shared in the above tabs!

April 16, 2014

“Whoo…me?” was the theme for the GA Mother/ Daughter over-night at Camp Mundo Vista I had the joy of attending last week-end as Jack ‘worked’ across the road at an RA Father/ Son overnight at Camp CaRAway. It is always energizing to be around families with hearts for being on mission with our Father.  It was also a good reminder that, like our own experiences, the seeds for answering God’s calls, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” often begins in early missions’ programs. 

Chapel time last Friday evening at the Mother/Daugther GA overnight.
There is also another special reason Jack and I always enjoy visiting Camp Mundo Vista. In case you haven’t heard our story, I served as a counselor during the summer of 1969 when the camp was first opened.  North Carolina WMU held an open house before the campers arrived and the Camp CaRAway staff was invited.  As their lifeguard walked in and spotted the refreshment table, he told a friend, “I’m going to marry the girl serving the punch!” NO, he had not yet talked with the punch server or even knew her name.  YES, Jack was the lifeguard that summer at CaRAway and I was the punch server! I’ve often reminded him that it was wise to not announce his plans to me until months later!

One of the many views we are loving while
travelling recently - blooming Dogwood trees.
Another reminder I often make, but I want to assure you is from our hearts, is that we are very thankful for your prayer support.  We are especially thankful for your prayers for safety as we’ve traveled and continue traveling during our time in the States, which will include a very special Easter weekend with our kids at the coast.  We also want to thank you for praying for us as we speak.  God is opening doors for us to meet people and churches who want to know more of how they can join in His work at the Kenya Baptist Theological College and among Sub-Saharan African Peoples.

And for my African friends - a view of the pink dogwoods.
More shared at the end of the post.
Our new prayer item is for our plans for returning to Kenya, hopefully in early May.  Pray that all the needed plans and preparations will be completed swiftly so that we can return to the work that we are still confident God has called us to go and to do.  Pray also that we will be patient as we wait and continue being a good witness of all we’ve seen God do in His Harvest field.

April 11th Nudge to Action for SSAPeoples.  
I want to encourage you this week to take a few minutes to view recent Nudges to Action for Sub-Saharan African Peoples.  Nudges shared this past week include “A story of miracles,” a question for “those who… have received a faith as precious as ours” (2 Peter 1:1), and the “testimony of a man from West Africa who began his journey of following and obeying Jesus after hearing the story of Creation to Christ in his own language.” Remember that even if you are not a member of Facebook, you can easily view these Nudges, which will share ‘Easter Special stories of New Life’ this next week.  BERT

--- NEW additions to the MISSIONS TOOLBOX ---
Would you like to connect or help your church or mission’s group connect in a special way with Unreached Peoples in West Africa?  Would you like to hear the Bible read in their languages?  Would you like to listen and/or hear the JESUS Film, testimonies and more in their heart language?

Then you will want to visit Welcome Africans – a site that can strengthen your prayers for the Unreached Peoples of West Africa – a site you can experience which is “dedicated to the Glory of God” and designed to help West “experience God’s pardon, peace, and blessings” in their lives. (http://bienvenueafricains.com/en/

Would you like to be a part of sharing “the Good News with the nations in a profound way?” Then you will want to visit ethn├ęCITY, a site “designed to assist you by providing resources, networking, and training opportunities to be His Heart, His Hands and His voice to all people groups globally — and to the nations who are literally living next door.” (http://www.ethnecity.com/)

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And more views from the week for my African friends:

Close-up of a white dogwood bloom and...
....the brilliant colour of a red dogwood as it opens.

Spring flowers viewed near the mission house.
More spring flowers above and a view of cherry blossoms
viewed at the church we visited last Sunday below.

April 9, 2014

I have also continued taking photos, including
this one taken last week of a feisty bird!
“I’ve been surprised at how you've continued sharing stories that ‘speak’ to me during your Stateside Assignment.”  My response to this recent comment from a dear friend was laughter and honesty.  It has been challenging to prepare our weekly updates during our time in the States and I have contemplated taking a l-o-n-g break from the internet.  But I always remember that part of my ‘assignment’ while on ‘stateside’ is to entice more supporters to follow the Nudges to Action for Sub-Saharan African Peoples and our weekly updates. 

More importantly, every time we share in a church or I share a new story via the internet, I realize anew the joy we and our co-workers in Sub-Saharan Africa find in being a part of His work.  The result is always being re-energized about sharing with you the joy of knowing what God is up to among Sub-Saharan African peoples and how you can join in His work! 

One of our joys of Stateside Assignment is always
attending Missions Extravaganza - the annual
meeting of North Carolina WMU.
So, I’m still posting daily Nudges to Action for Sub-Saharan African Peoples and preparing the weekly update.  If you were at the North Carolina annual WMU meeting this past weekend at Ridgecrest, you may think I'm cheating a bit this week.  But as I shared an ‘expanded story’ with them last Saturday night, I realized that I should also share it with you as I was reminded yet again of  how much we depend upon you and your support – your prayers, gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and Cooperative Program and sending more workers our way. BERT

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The poinsettia are in our back yard.
The cream coloured flat roof
is Westgate Mall.
Most of the stories I share as the Prayer Networker for Sub-Saharan African Peoples are the stories of others, but last September a story happened that was very personal – a story which made the international news for days – a story which occurred in our back yard – a story I remember as many stories. 

A story of heartbreak:  Our reaction to the terrorist siege at the Westgate Mall in late September 2013.  I had been at this mall the two previous days buying groceries as this mall is on the street where we live in Nairobi… within view of our home.  We knew this would happen at  some point, but had prayed it would not.  Every time I would leave the mall, I had found myself offering a prayer of thanks for safety.

One of the things that increased our tension during the siege -
the constant noise of four helicopters hovering overhead!
A story of fear:  When the shooting and blasts began, we feared that co-workers and friends were in the mall. I went to the computer and immediately learned that one of our mission families was in the mall with the Mom in one place with the four younger kids and the dad in another with their teenage son. 

I remember viewing these roses in our yard
and thinking how surreal it was that something
so beautiful could be growing so close to
the pain and chaos at the nearby mall.
A story of risk-taking: Jack and I quickly decided that he would do what we were told not to do in security training.  As I corresponded with the friends in the mall via FB and their smart phones, Jack went and stood near the mall so that their kids would see their missionary uncle as soon as they left the mall.  Which they did!

Another photo of contrasts -
our neighours' turtle meandering
through their yard as smoke
billows from Westgate Mall.
A story of joy: It was true joy to hug the younger four kids and their Mom after their release as they headed to our home.  Another joy was alerting their families via Facebook that I had loved on their family!  The father and the older son were safely evacuated later and were sent out the opposite way from our home and met by co-workers. 

A story of the assurance that God cares about the little things: I'm a very light sleeper and awaken many times each night. During this tense time with gun firing and other blasts continuing for several nights, I slept soundly which was much needed.  When a fire started in the mall I never asked for prayer for my asthma and the smoke coming our way, which was the way smoke from that direction often came.  The smoke always blew other directions.

A story of how the internet can be used for prayer support:  When the fire started on the second day of the siege, we thought there were still hostages in the mall and I asked for prayer on FB as did the IMB’s arm for prayer, CompassionNet.  We cannot document how many people saw that prayer request and prayed, but we know that in less than two hours more than 10,000 people viewed two of the many sites where the prayer request appeared.

We knew to expect it after the siege, but spotting
international news reporters and their satellite
dishes on nearby streetcorners was still astounding!
A story of frustration as the international news made this into Islam against Christianity:  Yes, one terrorist, rather than all of them, did tell followers of Allah to leave.  But we know that only a few who heard his command left.  Many of the Muslims refused to leave and many were among the more than 70 who died as they do not equate these terrorist acts with their faith.

A story of our incredible church family: 'Stuck at home’ on the Sunday morning of the siege, we thought it strange that we were receiving text cell and e-mail messages from our church family at Parklands Baptist Church/ Mombasa Road during the morning services.  We learned later that their plans for Sunday school and worship that morning were delayed and they spent much of their time praying the situation at the mall and for us.

Taking this photo of a memorial to those who died
during the seige was heart-wrenching.  I had seen
the photos of a few people that we knew in the local
news, but seeing them on the poster was difficult. 
A story of open doors: I often shop in our Asian part of Nairobi and have many friends there.  The first time we returned to shop, numerous store owners who we did not know, as well as those we knew, came out to assure us that they had been praying for us – Hindus and Muslims who are seeking to truly know THE GOD. 

Would you join us in praying that when we return to Kenya, hopefully in early May, that we will know how to use these open doors to share the true source of peace and joy, our Saviour!
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Remember to view information on CompassionNet, this week's addition to the MISSIONS TOOLBOX - at   http://missionstoolbox.blogspot.com/.

April 2, 2014

One of the places we had the joy
of sharing our story last week -
Yates Baptist Church in Durham, NC,
named for Jack's great-great uncle,
an IMB missionary to China.
“The Story Lives On” – the theme we have been asked to use as our topic while speaking in many churches and groups during the last few months.  The first time this occurred, I was not aware that this was the WMU Emphasis for 2012-2014, nor did I know that the accompanying watchword was “As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20 NIV).

Someone may have spotted me laughing as I opened the bulletin at our first “The Story Lives On” service. Why?  Because God had done it again and I experienced not a co-incidence, but a God-incident! During each Stateside Assignment (STAS), God has led me to my own personal topic for speaking and my guiding scripture this time is found in Acts 4:23-31, the conclusion of the events shared in Acts 4:20.

A photo Bert found last week among her stash of
photos and saved as a possible photo for
a future Nudge to Action for SSAPeoples.
Now for a bit of honesty:  My greatest frustration as I speak is when listeners comment on my being a good speaker and/or my being so passionate.  I am very thankful that God created me to be an extrovert, even in front of groups, and that I am good at communicating my thoughts, but I don’t want the focus to be on my being a good speaker or being passionate.

This was another photo found in Bert's old photos that was
almost used this past week to share the story of co-workers as a
Nudge to Action for Sub-Saharan African Peoples.
I want the focus to be on the stories which I am blessed to have experienced and heard.  They are incredible stories of how God is at work that need to be shared.  They are stories that you, our supporters, need to hear; stories of how God has blessed past investments in prayer, giving and serving; stories that will lead to your being passionate about continuing to pray give and serve in our Father’s harvest field!  

This photo was also considered to illustrate the story..
Thus the reason that Acts 4 speaks to me.  God uses it to remind me that my job as the Prayer Networker for the Sub-Saharan African Affinity offers me a special gift – the gift of reading the newsletters, blog and Facebook posts, etc., of our IMB co-workers.  I get to hear their GOD stories of what they have seen and heard.

...as was this one, which was also saved for another story.
Then, like Peter and John, I have the opportunity to go “back to MY own people” (v.23), to you who pray, give and serve with us, and report all that Jack, I and our co-workers among Sub-Saharan Africa Peoples have seen and heard. I get to share reports guiding you in raising your “voices together in prayer to God” (v. 24) and praying specifically for how God’s servants can “speak [His} word with great boldness” (v.29), resulting in all Peoples in Sub-Saharan Africa being “filled with the Holy Spirit and [speaking] the word of God boldly” (v.31).  I encourage you to look at this week’s addition to the Missions Toolbox and the daily Nudges to Action for Sub-Saharan African Peoples, great sources for these incredible stories of how our Father is at work and how to join in His work through prayer, giving and serving!

This was the chosen photo to encourage supporters to read the
story of heartbreak experienced by co-workers and how to
support them in prayer.  For this story, visit
Nudges to Action for SSAPeoples (link shared at the top of this page). 
Are you beginning to understand why I love my job and why I try to not be frustrated, but thankful for the opportunity to be such a passionate extrovert and share the stories I see and hear? Now two questions for you: What gifts, talents, abilities, etc., has God given to you?  How are you using what He has given to you to serve Him and to share with others what you have seen and heard? 

Another photo spotted this week -
the logo of the Baptist Women of Kenya.
As you ponder these questions, I want to thank you for your prayers for Jack and for me.  Jack’s gifts, talents and abilities lead to his passion for education and enabling Believers to be more effective in carrying out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Would you join him in praying for more students at the Kenya Baptist Theological College and for a stronger relationship between the college and the churches of the Baptist Convention of Kenya?  Pray for me as I nudge Believers to action (prayer, giving and serving) for the Unreached Peoples of Sub-Saharan Africa.  BERT
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This week’s addition to the Missions Toolbox is a great story shared by Baptist Global Response of how gifts to the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund is helping God care for an “Uncle raising eight nieces and nephews…” The Missions Toolbox is now found on a tab at the top of this page under the Yates-IMB-Kenya&SSAP title – http://missionstoolbox.blogspot.com/

A special joy of being on STAS -
'making bubbles' with our granddaughter.