August 27, 2014

“We think we know what change is but our missionaries have a corner on the market when it comes to change. They experience changes in location, co-workers and friends, family, work, housing, and their administration. Often it is a constant with them. Sometimes they embrace that change and revel in the excitement of it. At other times, change makes them exhausted. Pray that today they would run to the One who never changes and rest in His embrace. May their hope and trust in His certainty be renewed.” (May 26th post at https://www.facebook.com/WomensMissions.)
One way that God renews the hope and trust of workers in Africa -
the beauty of His creations found throughout the continent!
It was truly God leading when I spotted this on Facebook yesterday!  Change is good and often welcomed, but…

I just scratched several paragraphs that I had spent hours writing. Why?  First, I am exhausted from still trying to get us settled in our ‘week-day’ home in the cottage on the campus of the Kenya Baptist Theological College.  Sometimes I, like many missionaries, get a little weary of figuring out how to make things work when you live in a different culture and when we face limitations!

Director of Missions from Kentucky
teaching the Gospels.
Jack is also exhausted from teaching 4 hours most days recently (though he truly loves teaching), plus doing his regular ‘principal’ work! God is bringing change to the Kenya Baptist Theological College and it is being revived and restored.  We thank Him for the volunteers, missionaries (current and retired), KBTC graduates and others who are teaching the new classes which were begun this year. 

KBTC graduate teaching an advanced diploma class.
We are also thankful for the new students and those returning to complete missed classes (a total of 27 in the 3 week term which ends on Friday and 25 expected for more classes arriving next week) who are committed to learning, as well as to paying their fees which allows KBTC to pay their staff, electricity bills, etc. – a little late some months by days, but never delayed by months as in the past!  Pray for Jack as he balances the existing time and funds with all the ‘due’ bills and the long list of things ‘to-do’!

A view that will always revive the exhausted -
a view of the tea fields beside KBTC!

I think you can glean lots of prayer items from the above comments, but also pray with us that a house will soon become available for use as the principal’s house, which means we can ‘fully’ move to the campus, which will be less stressful (definitely an exhaustion factor) than living in two places!

One reason for my exhaustion - the fumes experienced on Kenyan
roads which do not aid breathing properly!

One way I overcome exhaustion - looking out a window
and viewing the beautiful birds and flowers!

Another reason that I’m exhausted is that sometimes we and our co-workers do become somewhat overwhelmed by all we see and experience.  Many of these changes, blessings and excitements are shared in this week’s Nudges to Action for Sub-Saharan African Peoples.  This week’s stories include praises, bits of cultural differences, as well as heartbreaking stories which all need prayer, so please take time to view these stories which affect our ability to share the Gospel among peoples, including as one friends shared this week, among “millions… who've never heard.”
Not yet used as an illustration for a Nudge to Action
for Sub-Saharan African Peoples, but...
I will close this week’s update by asking that you use the opening quote about ‘change’ to guide you in praying for us and our co-workers (international and African).  As we serve our Father, pray that we will depend upon and “run to the One who never changes and rest in His embrace. May OUR hope and trust in His certainty be renewed.” Would you also claim Psalm 16:7-11 for us as suggested in Monday’s Nudge to Action for Sub-Saharan African Peoples (with additional personalization capitalized): “Ask God to counsel and instruct US; to keep OUR hearts glad and their bodies secure; to make His presence at OUR right hand very real; and to fill US with joy as WE obey and serve Him. BERT YATES
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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Shared as today's Nudge to Action for SSAPeoples:
Photo taken by a friend serving in Lesotho.
Thanking God today for Believers among Sub-Saharan African Peoples who “Sing to the LORD a new song… praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples… (who) Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns’… Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.” (Psalm 96)

August 20, 2014

“As for me, the LORD has led me on a journey” (Genesis 24:7). Pray for a successful journey (v.40) for missionaries among Sub-Saharan African Peoples seeking medical help or training away from their people; for those helping their kids settle in schools in another country or continent; and for those on a new “right road” (v. 48) of service among a different people, as well as those beginning retirement.

Our cottage has two bedrooms, the smaller one
is now 'my' office, and it even has a real kitchen,
unlike the small cottage we 'called' home last
year with one bedroom and a second room
used as the kitchen/living/dining/ office!
EXCEPT the desk has to go!  I thought the
mold was only in the drawers, but...
Yesterday’s Nudge to Action for Sub-Saharan African Peoples was based on many of the prayer items I’ve read recently in my co-workers newsletters, blogs and Facebook posts, but it was also a personal one for Jack and me. God has answered our prayers and we are now making a weekly journey to the Kenya Baptist Theological College campus, rather than Jack making a daily journey! While we await the availability of a house which will become the permanent principal’s house, we are once again staying in a guest cottage on campus during the week and returning to Nairobi on the weekends.

When it was time to teach his afternoon classes last Monday,
Jack loved walking to the new building from our cottage!
Thank you for praying “for a very productive first meeting of the new KBTC Board of Governors” last Friday. It was a very, very productive meeting and Jack and the staff are excited about the new leadership which is strengthening and encouraging the revival restoration of KBTC.

I was paying attention during the worship service at our
church (Eastgate PBC) last Sunday, but during the service I
realized that the photos I needed to promote the new KBTC
enrolment flyers were 'happening' in front of us!
You'll have to visit the special KBTC 2015 Enrollment
album to view the special promotion!

This term of classes is continuing to go well. Jack is praising God for those teaching music, education and theology this term. Pray for strength and wisdom for these teachers as they teach long hours – a necessity during the four three-week terms per year schedule. Thank God with us also for the students who desire to become better equipped to serve our Father.

Yes, I’m using the work THANKS a lots today, but we also want to thank those of you who spotted our birthdays on prayer calendars this past week and prayed extra for us. I had a great day last Thursday (14th) and gave myself the gift of time away from the computer – not all day, but most of the day! Jack was exhausted after teaching and our ‘moving’ on Monday (18th), but he still called it a very blessed birthday as he loves teaching and is so thankful to now have more time each day on campus rather than in the car journeying to campus!
I (Bert) walked up to the classrooms with Jack
on Monday so that I could get photos.  I was
so busy watching the twittering orange breasted
bird that I totally missed the big one, until
moments before he made his own 'journey'!

And our greatest thanks is to God for how He does lead us on a journey and how, although there are many crooks and turns we might rather skip, we know when we’re following Him, we can trust Him, depend upon Him and be assured it will truly be a successful journey. Join us in praying that we will always seek God’s guidance and wisdom as we continue seeking the ‘right roads’ to join in His work and serve Him. BERT YATES
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This week's daily Nudges to Action for Sub-Saharan African Peoples can be viewed at  https://www.facebook.com/SubSaharanAfricanPeoples.

KBTC 2105 Enrollment Flyers story shared at  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.830834860268135.1073741829.466678516683773&type=3.

Another 'journey' captured this week through
the window of my 'office' in our home in Nairobi!

And my favourite photo of the week -
captured peering into our bedroom window in Nairobi!

August 13, 2014

What keeps us and our co-workers strengthened and encouraged so we can “Sing to the LORD a new song… all the earth… praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples… Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name… Worship the LORD” (Psalm 96 – the guiding verses for IMB workers among Sub-Saharan African Peoples).

One thing that always brings us energizing joy is the things
we see as we travel around Kenya - especially the kids...
This question has passed through my thoughts many times in recent days as I’ve visited with co-workers in ‘real life’ or via the internet, learning about their lives, their praises and joys, and especially their concerns, hurts, problems, difficulties and frustrations. Yes, God is THE true source of our strengthening and encouragement, but a close second answer is the assurance we have of your PRAYER SUPPORT!

... and the colour and activity...
When we first arrived in Kenya (36 years ago in mid-September), it would take weeks to get a prayer letter to the States! But today with the internet, we can instantly share our praises and our requests and needs, whether it be concerns for a family member (on the mission field or back ‘at home’), security issues, the lack of rain/ or too much rain affecting the lives of those we minister among and our ability to reach them, the outbreak of a disease or war and so on – only a few of the issues ‘heard’ this last week.
... as well as the unexpected.  I have not a clue
what the kid in the centre is doing...
...other than possibly imitating Mom
carrying things on her back in a 'cut' tub!
And just as knowing people are joining us in prayers strengthens and encourages us, remembering and acknowledging ANSWERED PRAYERS also keeps us energized! Which leads to an additional prayer suggestion: When you pray for our needs, pray that we and our coworkers will recognize God’s answers to our and your prayers, especially when it is not the anticipated answer or at the expected time.
I always love passing one village where
rows and rows of bananas are sold...
... but we never stop as I don't want to have
nightmares of being attacked by bananas!
There is also another challenge that comes from answered prayers. As we and our co-workers are blessed by answers to your prayers, we must make sure that you know how God is at work and how you’ve been a part of His work! Which is why there are lots and lots of photos today as this is the best way that I can share a few of the answered prayers we’ve spotted this past week!

Another encouraging experience last week was visiting a training
for Regional Convention Moderators (21) and their deputies. Many
are KBTC graduates and Jack was impressed with their response
and desire to help in reviving TEE, Bible Schools and KBTC.
One thank you that we ‘owe’ you is for your prayers for the revival/ resurrection of the Kenya Baptist Theological College. God is answering! A new round of classes has begun and 22 of the expected 35 students have arrived WITH their fees! Pray that the students will learn much about their Father and how they can serve Him. Pray that the problems resulting in the delay (illness, lack of fees, etc.) of some students will be resolved and they will quickly join their classes. Pray for strengthening and encouragement for the staff as they serve and trust God to answer prayers for a full resurrection of KBTC! Pray also for a very productive first meeting of the new KBTC Board of Governors this Friday.

Last week's special joy was visiting with Will Jay and Marie Roberts,
retired missionaries, who sponsored and led the training
for the convention leaders
y that we will always be focused on trusting our Father as we join others in singing a new song to Him, praising Him, proclaiming His salvation day after day, declaring His glory and marvelous deeds among the nations, ascribing to Him the glory due His name and worshipping Him. Pray for us as we seek to strengthen and encourage our co-workers, missionary and African Believers, and others as they seek to obey, trust and serve Him.
Another special joy of the leaders' training for me was the
Kenya Baptist Media display which included books
I edited and/or wrote while on the KBTC staff!
Pray also that we will always recognize when God responds to our needs and requests. Pray that we will always have open hearts to knowing what He is doing so we can be a part of His work. Yes, I know I’m asking for a lot, but we serve a loving Father who hears our prayers and provides us friends like you to strengthen and encourage us as we find our place in God’s story! BERT YATES
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Remember to take time to view this past week's Nudges to Action for Sub-Saharan African Peoples at https://www.facebook.com/SubSaharanAfricanPeoples.

An added energizer for Jack and me is being a part of the church
family of Eastgate (formerly Mombasa Road/ Parklands) Baptist Church.
An added bonus last Sunday was that the very shy son of friends
not only allowed Jack to hold him during the early part of the
morning worship, but as I took photos of our new nursery class
he shared not just his toys, but everyone else's with me!
And the reason I'm posting today update very, very late?
The songbirds were chattering all day all around the
windows of our house and I spent time enjoying their antics!