Wednesday, July 15, 2015

His Work, His Power, His Glory

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than
all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at
work within us, to him be glory…” Ephesians 3:20-21

I have no problem believing that our heavenly Father is able and does “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power.” The bit that is hard for me? The “at work within ME” bit; that He can get through my weaknesses and doubts when the challenges, disappointments and discouragements come and yet still use me to accomplish His work!

You have joined us in praying for Baraka Hall, the building where students
study, eat sleep, attend chapel, etc., to have a needed additional floor
and roof. Praise was great this week as gutters were delivered!
Thus I need to read all of Paul’s prayer recorded in Ephesians 4:14-21. I must remember to forget about me and my abilities. God calls us to do HIS WORK and He does not expect us to do it alone. We are called to do His work through His power!

Back view of the emerging roof on Baraka Hall -
We are definitely giving God the glory!
This week’s disappointments and discouragements?  It has been seeing promises not materialize and realizing that many Believers still lack a vision for training God’s servants. It has been the ongoing problems related to last week’s power surge during a storm. It has been concerns about how Kenya Baptist Theological College was going to meet the expenses which have run into thousands of dollars to make needed repairs.

Gentleness, patience, bearing with
one another and unity was needed
by the workers as they erect
the roof supports with
only man-power and ropes!
Challenges of the week?

- Claiming “that out of his glorious riches HE strengthens ME with power through his Spirit in MY inner being, so that Christ may dwell in MY heart” as I face the disappointments, discouragements and concerns.

- Acknowledging that I have been “rooted and established in love” and “have power… to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and KNOW this love that surpasses knowledge.”

- Trusting Him to fill me with “the measure of all HIS fullness” so that He can use me to accomplish “immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within ME.”

Cold weather has been a challenge this week.
Staff members warmed their son up
with a bit of exercise!
- Recognizing that I must pray Ephesians 3:14-21 not just for myself, but for the Believers around me, my fellow Christian brothers and sisters.

- Continually striving to “live a life worthy of the calling I have received.” I must live Ephesians 4:1-3 and “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

- Remembering that being humble, gentle, patient, and bearing with others is not always easy, but to accomplish God’s work, I must do these things and then let Him do His work.

This view captured last Sunday not far from our
church is a humorous illustration of the daily
roadblocks obstacles encountered daily in Kenya. 
Sorry, if I’m preaching today, but so far the month of July has been too eventful and we are ready for a bit of calm and more joy! Please join us in praying that we will always be doing, thinking, reacting, etc., to things around us as God’s workers. Pray that we will claim His strengthening power and that we never allow challenges, disappointments and discouragements to be roadblocks or obstacles which prevent us from being totally available and ready to allow Him to use us and “work within us.”

We also thank God for our PBC - Eastgate family, who not only live
Ephesians 4:1-2, but are teaching our children to do the same
and to pray for those without our Father's love.
We continue to thank God for the incredible men and women God has called to serve at KBTC. They are living Ephesians 4:1-2! Through times of disappointments in the enrollment of students and funds to cover salaries and other expenses such as those resulting from last week’s damaging power surge, they are being “completely humble and gentle… patient, bearing with one another in love.” Pray that Jack and I will always be an encouragement to them as they are to us as we serve as His fellow workers.

Views spotted as we returned from church along the highway leading
to Thika.  Only a few years ago, there were only a few tall buildings
in this part of Nairobi.  Pray for those sharing our Good News with peoples
from all over Kenya, Africa and our world who live in this growing area.

I will not share an update next week as we will be in a meeting with our IMB co-workers. Pray that Jack and I will strengthen and encourage these friends as most if not all of them could have written the words above! Pray that we will have open hearts and minds to all we hear and experience. Pray also that as I share the prayer needs of our workers serving among Sub-Saharan African Peoples, I will also strengthen and encourage them. God is at work in Africa and we are so thankful for how you join us in His work as you pray, come to serve, and support His work financially,
 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  https://www.facebook.com/SubSaharanAfricanPeoples.

For more from Jack's work, visit KBTC's site, which can be safely viewed by non-FB users. TABS at the top of this page make viewing extra easy. https://www.facebook.com/KenyaBaptistTheologicalCollege
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Goats headed to market, a view often spotted during Ramadan,
especially this coming weekend as Eid, the end
of the Islamic month of fasting, is celebrated.
Another "Who needs Walmart?" photo spotted near our church.
Views like this from our kitchen window definitely makes washing
dishes a time of joy, especially when the water is off one more time!
As Jack and I walked around campus after work this week,
the manager of the Christian group farming on the property
offered us this now devoured head of lettuce!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Miracles and Believing

“Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles
among you because you observe the law, or
because you believe what you heard?” Galatians 3:5

My favorite photo taken this week and yes,
I did enhance the colour a bit, but not that
much. Love the creative selling!
It has been weeks since I last prepared a weekly update thanks to a very uncooperative computer, plus we took a few weeks of leave to visit with family in the States. To be honest, as computer problems forced a longer than planned break from computer work, I realized how much I needed time-off! I’m writing from a new computer today and am very refreshed and eager to get back to sharing what God is doing in our part of the world!

Poinsettia are blooming on campus and NO,
I did not enhance the colours in this photo!
We were not seeking to be deceptive by not announcing our trip to the States, but it is not wise in our part of the world to announce publicly that your house will be empty for a month. Our time with family and visits with KBTC partners kept us busier than expected (thus our not contacting others), but as Jack always replied when I asked if a visit was as good as expected, “It was even better than expected!”

As I shared in late May, we were awaiting the beginning of construction and roofing of “the upper unfinished floor of the building where students study, sleep, eat and meet for chapel.” The work finally began in June and we returned in time to view the raising of the first truss and though it was a bit scary, it was super exciting and definitely a time of praise and thanksgiving! Thanks to the support of KBTC friends, students will soon be studying/ sleeping/ eating/ attending chapel in a building with a roof! You can keep up with progress and needs at KBTC’s facebook page, which can be viewed by all, including a video of five men raising the first truss via their hands and ropes which can be viewed at 

Last week they raised the first truss of the roof and yesterday all the
trusses were in place and most of the needed steel supports (purlins).
As often happens when we see our Father at work and view His miracles, the devil throws a tantrum and tries to discourage us and others at KBTC. Our praise is that our Father has given us and the KBTC family His Spirit to guide and strengthen through times of disappointments in the enrolment of students and funds to cover salaries and other expenses.

Jack and I are OK and thanking God for his
protection.  I awoke at 1:30 on Monday night
hearing pops and discovered that the power guard
on our cottage fridge was ablaze.  I'm also thankful
that what I did stopped the fire and not me - which
was grabbing it and pitching it into the sink!
We are also thankful for no injuries among the KBTC family during a storm with strong winds on Monday night which resulted in power surges and major electrical problems on campus. Many of us had problems in our homes, from light fixtures exploding to ‘fried’ appliances. An electrician has been on campus all day (a one-day delay as power was not restored on campus until late yesterday afternoon) and he is still locating more problems in the offices. Another unexpected expense will be repairing the damaged pump at the borehole which provides water in homes and offices on campus. Pray with us that it can be repaired rather than replaced and done so quickly.

Our fridge guard no longer works, but we learned
when the power returned the next afternoon that
it did its job - our fridge is working great!
Yes, all of this has led to many moments of discouragement, but we keep reminding ourselves and each other that we are doing God’s work and He is the one in charge! He only asks that we believe in Him and rely upon Him, or as the old song says, TRUST AND OBEY Him. No, this isn’t always easy, thus we need your prayers. Join us in praying that we will keep our focus on knowing and doing God’s will.

We also ask that you join us in praying for wisdom and strength for Jack as he leads KBTC as the school strives to become better equipped to train Believers who want to serve our Father and shepherd His children. Pray for guidance and sensitivity as I correspond with our workers, sharing their praises and needs as Nudges to Action (Praying/ Serving/ Giving) for Sub-Saharan African Peoples.   BERT YATES

One last praise this week for this beautiful wildflower
growing outside my office/spare bedroom window!

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, 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 https://www.facebook.com/SubSaharanAfricanPeoples.

Personal Bits of our Hearts Nudges to Action are shared at  https://www.facebook.com/bitsofourhearts

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!
https://www.facebook.com/KenyaBaptistTheologicalCollege

*Recipe for Chinese marbled tea leaf eggs -  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chinese-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!