October 22, 2014

A short update this week thanks to very, very limited internet! We are away from Nairobi and KBTC today, working at a retreat centre in western Kenya.  Our goal for the last week has been to catch up on needed work which we've found impossible to do with the interruptions of our normal lives.

Jack working on the verandah of the retreat centre where we
are staying - his away-from-home office during the
 the last week. The red tiny item on the railing to the left
of Jack is my phone - which is providing our internet!
Thanks to the almost non-existent internet, I've not accomplished all my planned work, but our praise is that Jack has made progress in learning what is needed for accreditation for the Kenya Baptist Theological College and beginning the processes. This will be a lengthy endeavour so please join us in praying for wisdom and insight as Jack works through the many application forms and requirements.  
This is the arrangement that the staff of the retreat centre prepared
for me on our first morning - the white bit suspended on a twig
above the wood chair holds my 'normal' internet 'dongle -
which didn't work!  
I promise to share more next week about what we've accomplished and how we've seen God at work when we return to the land of stronger internet coverage.  If the internet does cooperate and I can share three photos, you will get to see that we are in a beautiful spot which has helped me not be so frustrated with the weak internet!  BERT YATES

PS:  Now for a bit of the REAL story behind last Sunday’s Nudge to Action for Sub-Saharan African Peoples at https://www.facebook.com/SubSaharanAfricanPeoples.  God definitely led me to 2 Peter 1:5-9 in my devotions that morning, as I was in need of perseverance as it was taking hours rather than minutes to post the daily nudges!
One of the many views that has kept me relaxed after
working for hours accomplishing very little via the internet!

October 15, 2014

Sharing an old story and a new story this week, stories which taught me more of my Saviour’s desire for me to know Him and to more fully know how to share His story of love and salvation. The first story happened five years ago when we travelled to western Kenya for Jack to teach Church Planting Methods to a small group of pastors and church leaders in a village church.

As I routinely do upon arriving at a church, I went to find the women. The only two present were busy cooking and chopping more wood to cook even more food. I silently questioned if they were expecting lots more people for the training, but only one or two more church leaders arrived by lunch time.

The men enjoyed their lunch of sukumawiki (greens), ugali (cooked corn meal) and beans and I had been correct, there was lots of food still in the pots. Chai (sweet, hot milky tea) was then served and as expected the men went outside, but they soon returned with the group of kids from the village that had been playing all day, even though it was a school day, in the open area beside the church.

The kids acted surprised, but entered the church, filling up the pews on one side. Then a few of the men joined the women in offering warm water and soap to the kids and helped them wash their dusty hands before providing full bowls of food to the obviously hungry bunch.

Photo captured this week is a great reminder of
why we always need your prayers for safety in travel!
I remembered this story as I searched for a photo to use last Sunday as Southern Baptist churches celebrated World Hunger Sunday. Once again, I was reminded of how these men who desired to plant churches where discipled Believers could be strengthened and encouraged as they made more disciples, took the time from their training to minister to a group of hungry, dirty kids who were playing outside. Often people assume that missionaries are always the ones teaching and guiding, but the truth is we are continuously learning how to be true disciples of our Saviour from our African brothers and sisters.

The second story happened on Monday and you will have to visit today’s Nudge to Action for Sub-Saharan African Peoples  to view how God reminded a photographer (yes, it was me) how our focus on Him can be diverted. It was also a very vivid reminder of the blessings I know I often miss because of not keeping my eyes and especially my heart focused on experiencing all God offers to me! (Nudge at (https://www.facebook.com/SubSaharanAfricanPeoples.)

And yes, I did capture another photo this
week of the cows moving along the road
as we headed to church on Sunday!
Join us this week in praying for Jack as he begins interviewing new students for classes beginning at the Kenya Baptist Theological College in 2015. Pray for wisdom and patience in the next few weeks as Jack focuses on completing government and other forms (including an IMB ‘challenge’) for helping KBTC become the resurrected place we know God needs for training His children to share His love and salvation throughout our continent and world.

Yet another 'random' photo - and YES,
things do fall off, but not as often
as you might expect!!
My prayer request is for creativity, strong internet and time to write and edit photos – all needed to share what God is doing among Sub-Saharan African Peoples. Pray especially for me as I seek to compose several stories for the upcoming Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

Lots of things have changed in Kenya, but the
stalls selling veggies and fruits are still
along the road to Nakuru and RVA!
Our praises this week include a great weekend with one of our Missionary Kids from Botswana who crashed at our house during his mid-term break at Rift Valley Academy. Jack is praising God for the encouragement that he receives from the KBTC staff, a group of very dedicated Believers. My praise is for a special time last week with our workers from South Sudan. It was a true joy to hear how God is blessing the work in the newest country in our world and the opportunities for the Gospel to reach their peoples.

I know I say this often, but I cannot close without thanking you for how you support us. We could not be doing what we know God has called us to do without your prayer support, your financial gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and Cooperative Program and your coming as or sending co-workers our way. BERT YATES
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Sunday’s Nudge to Action for Sub-Saharan African Peoples can be viewed by anyone, not only Facebook members, at https://www.facebook.com/SubSaharanAfricanPeoples/photos/a.389236874487638.90503.100173880060607/723134777764511/?type=1&theater.
Today’s Nudge to Action is at https://www.facebook.com/SubSaharanAfricanPeoples/photos/a.389236874487638.90503.100173880060607/724991154245540/?type=1&theater.
View as we drive to church each Sunday.

October 8, 2014

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts
off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch
that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more
fruitful…  I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man
remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing…  You did not choose me,
but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit
 – fruit that will last.” John 15:1-16

After 36 years in Kenya, one might think that Jack and I have become very astute in making needed cultural adjustments as we speak, write and interpret God’s Word!  We have made progress, but sometimes – truthfully often – we realize that there is still so much more we can and must learn!

One of those “Hey, I never thought of that before” moments occurred last month at KBTC.  As a pastor from Florida used John 15, a familiar passage to Believers, as his guide during chapel (Tuesday and Thursday when classes are in session), Jack looked around and realized that most of our students and staff had likely never seen a vineyard, nor had they tasted a grape! 

So being the teacher he is, Jack returned to our cottage and added several packs of grapes to our to-buy grocery list.  One of our perks in the last two years is that the green grocery (vegetables and fruits) where I usually shop is a distributor for South African grapes, and I can now buy a pack of super sweet grapes for three to four dollars.  On my last shopping trip, the store also had incredibly beautiful imported peaches which I did not buy as a small, VERY small pack was priced at $12!

And as the photos prove, we did buy three packs of grapes and the students and staff loved sampling the sweet fruit!  Jack’s next project is to locate the nearest vineyard and take the students on a field trip.  The sampling session did help John 15 become REAL as the students experienced physical fruit of the vine and can now apply it to their own understanding of their Saviour’s teaching about spiritual fruit.

Just as we are thankful for the sweet grapes which we enjoy most mornings, we are also thankful for you allowing us to be in Africa and having the opportunity to be at work in our Father’s Harvest Field, which includes watching students sample fruit of the vine and understanding better His words and how to share His salvation and love with others.  And you do allow us to do these things!  You do so as you pray with and for us, when you come as co-workers, and when you give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Cooperative Program which provides our salary and budget needs. 
One ongoing needed expertise at KBTC - Catching moles!
This week as you think of us, will you praise God with us for how His children are responding to the needs of the Kenya Baptist Theological College?  Jack returns home some days totally exhausted and his explanation is: KEEPING up with God keeps him super busy!  Jack is also constantly being amazed by how God is leading people and contacts to help with needed work at KBTC, from teachers for new classes to those who can check the structural integrity of the building that needs to be completed!
Not sure of the name of this bird,
but this was one of the few photos
I had time to take at the retreat!
My praise is for a great retreat last week with 200+ of our female IMB staff in Sub-Saharan Africa.  The highlight of my week was becoming REAL friends with so many FB friends whom I’ve correspond with as I serve as the Prayer Connector for our part of the world.  It was truly a time of refreshment and renewal for me and I returned home eager to continue sharing Nudges to Action for Sub-Saharan African Peoples and how others – including you – can join in His work!  BERT YATES
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Daily Nudges to Action for Sub-Saharan African Peoples are found at https://www.facebook.com/SubSaharanAfricanPeoples. (Can be viewed by non-FB members.)

To keep up with what is happening at KBTC, visit https://www.facebook.com/KenyaBaptistTheologicalCollege.

Did you view "God created and it was GOOD"* last week?  And as I explained while posting these photos, my "plan was to use lots of God's Words to illustrate this, but His creations need no help in teaching what we can learn about God's care, as well as how we must claim his protection, from these babies as we enjoy them!" I found it astounding when I realized that this incredible event was photographed from the same spots where I stood to take photos during the Westgate Mall attack. * https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153141529050130.1073741849.685050129&type=1&l=312ae96ee5 (Can be viewed by anyone!)

Two special guests at the KBTC chapel when grapes were served -
Pastor David Kiatu (above) and the day's speaker, Pastor Samson Kisia.

September 29, 2014

In last week's update I shared how "God sent me a very special gift... when I decided to view the birds that were singing so loudly outside our home."  I promised as "my way of thanking you for allowing us through your prayer and financial support to obey our Father and join His work among Sub-Saharan African Peoples" to share a slideshow "of more bird adventures which will take the place of next week's update as I will be at a meeting!" (I'm leaving early, VERY early, tomorrow morning!)

WELL... "God created and it was GOOD"* is the promised slideshow!  And as I explained while posting these photos, my "plan was to use lots of God's Words to illustrate this, but His creations need no help in teaching what we can learn about God's care, as well as how we must claim his protection, from these babies as we enjoy them!"
And as I explained while posting these photos, my "plan was to use lots of God's Words to illustrate this, but His creations need no help in teaching what we can learn about God's care, as well as how we must claim his protection, from these babies as we enjoy them!" I found it astounding when I realized that this incredible event was photographed from the same spots where I stood to take photos during the Westgate Mall attack one year before.
Hopefully one of the last photo of KBTC's
incomplete building!
This week while I'm away at a meeting, please continue praying for Jack as he leads the Kenya Baptist Theological College. Great things are happening and problems are being solved, thus Jack and his team need your prayer support!
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153141529050130.1073741849.685050129&type=1&l=312ae96ee5 (Can be viewed by anyone!)
To keep up with what is happening at KBTC, visit  https://www.facebook.com/KenyaBaptistTheologicalCollege.