Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Strength of My Heart

Doing something a bit different and sharing photos with prayer guides today! Beginning with...

The ALMOST-FULLY-ROOFED Baraka Hall. We have spent much time in recent weeks praising God for the completion of this building, but KNOW that having a water-tight building with an additional floor is not our focus, our thanksgiving is for the new opportunities for training God's workmen in the completed building; the enlarged opportunities to equip the men and women who desire to carry out His Great Commission. For more photos taken last Thursday, CLICK the Kenya Baptist Theological College tab located above and visit the photo album, KBTC - August 20, 2015, and read Jack's comments. And when you finish - I know you will join us in offering praise and prayers for those being and who will be trained at KBTC!

Many of you do view the daily Nudges to Action for IMB Sub-Saharan African Peoples, but if you do not, you are missing an opportunity to know the real lives and needs of workers seeking to share our Father's Good News with all the peoples of Sub-Saharan Africa and the real lives and needs of our peoples.  You are also missing opportunities to join them in our Father's work by praying. If you are reading this, it is easy to view recent nudges, CLICK the IMB Sub-Saharan African Peoples located above.

And to know more of what Jack and I are doing, seeing and experiencing, watch out for new posts on our special FB page, BITS OF OUR HEARTS and if you are on FB, ask to be our FB friends (our links are shared on the right). This page also has its on tab above and like the other pages can be viewed safely by anyone, including non-Facebook users. The photo above is a different edited view of the photo which appears on BITS OF OUR HEARTS page.  REMEMBER that you are always free to copy any photos I share for use in nudging other to action for our Father's work.

Our final prayer nudge today is that you join us in praying that will always have hearts attuned to our Father and claim His strength as we obey and serve Him.  BERT YATES
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AND NOW... a few more views of what we did, saw and experienced this past week!

I often question if one of the greatest sources of learning for the
students is their discussions during tea times!

And below, two of our campus staff kids playing with chameleons.
Evidently you have to be under 5 feet tall to spot these things
as all the kids on campus can find them everywhere!

Our kids at Eastgate - Parklands Baptist Church encountered our
GOD OF THE UNIVERSE last week.  VBS Leaders had hoped for
400 kids, but over 600 showed up!  Sunday's wrap-up service
was a true time of celebration!

"Where is my baby?"  An often asked question during VBS
by our pastor's wife (below on the right in blue).
We knew on Sunday morning.  The row in front of us! At
least five people shared her care during the worship service.

Once again on Sunday, we were delayed on returning home thanks to
fans heading to a big football (with a round ball in our part of the
world) match. This may look a bit scary, but it is fun and one of
my joys of being a part of the Eastgate - PBC is that our 
church family do get this excited about serving our Father!

We now have big shopping malls and stores in East Africa,
but I still love the colors and prices of roadside shopping.
You may have spotted that many shopping areas
these days are built from metal shipping containers!



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Praises and Joys

As I celebrated my birthday last Friday, I searched for a Bible verse to guide me this next year and ended up checking books of the Bible with 65 chapters. No hints to why I chose this number!

Isaiah 65 was full of challenges and promises, but Psalm 65 touched my heart that morning, especially the first five words of verses 1 and 2 and the last five, “Praise awaits you, O God… O you who hear prayer… shout for joy and sing.” So today, I want to do a bit of praising God and shouting for joy.

Another joy was attending last Sunday's service
at Parklands Baptist Church led by a few of the
1700 kids who had attended VBS the previous week!
Our 1st praise/joy is that Jack and I have the opportunity to serve our Father in Africa, to do what we dreamed of as small children in Sunbeams (now Mission Friends) and RAs/GAs. In July 1978, we were packed up, ready to move to another part of North Carolina (so I could complete a Masters in Counseling) as soon as we returned from taking the youth of the church where we served in Greensboro, NC, to missions week at Fort Caswell. While there we were asked to move instead to Kenya for one year with the Mission Service Corps, a new volunteer organization with the IMB (then FMB).

When we arrived in 1978, Parklands Baptist Church
was a small congregation with lots of  missionaries
from other countries. Today there are thousands of
members and the many missionaries in the church
are Africans on mission to places like Turkana in 
in northern Kenya.  These kids are guests invited
from Turkana to share this year's VBS week. 
In less than 2 months, we had passports and we and our 4 year old son were in Kenya. Now, almost 37 years later, we are still in Kenya. I’ve never completed my Masters’ studies and ended up with a career change to media. Jack’s began by teaching high school kids as he did in the States, but over the years, he graduated to teaching adults in churches and Bible Schools, and KBTC.

View of lunch preparation for KBTC students yesterday.
Jack enjoyed eating a 'birthday lunch' of veggie stew.
Jack, who celebrated his birthday yesterday, is having extra joy this week as he completes a two week session of teaching 4 hours per day at KBTC. He enjoys guiding KBTC as the principal, but his true love is still teaching, especially new courses such as ‘Testing and Evaluations in the Classroom’ which he is teaching at the moment to KBTC’s current Christian Education Advanced Diploma class.

Unexpected chameleon sightings always
bring joy. We learned this morning that
corn fields on campus are being raided
at night by wart hogs and porcupines
crossing the tea fields from a nearby

forest. Sorry, no photos YET!
One part of his joy of teaching is seeing students capture the joy of teaching others. In an assignment this week, one student shared:

Remembering things is not learning to me. I learn when I can apply and transform the knowledge I acquire in class into my daily life… be more creative, a dreamer who does things in new ways whether in preaching or teaching in my church or ministry. Learning is not learning unless I can use what I have acquired and come up with new ideas, terms etc., to help others.”

Even washing dishes is a time of joy
with views such as this out the window!
My joy comes from the opportunity to serve as the Prayer Networker for the IMB Sub-Saharan African Peoples. When a friend commented this week that she didn’t know how I sat at the computer all day, I admitted that it gets lonely and tiring, but my joy comes from reading emails, newsletters, blogs and Facebook posts sharing what God is doing among the peoples where co-workers serve and helping them gain prayer support. How can one not be excited about sharing of baptisms in South Sudan, a week of no new Ebola cases in Sierra Leone, and raising prayer support for a worship group in West Africa needing to stand firm as they face persecution and difficulties? You can learn the details of these and more stories at IMB Sub-Saharan African Peoples.

Photo taken mid-day today!
An added joy this week is seeing the almost completed red covering on Baraka Hall and hearing the sounds of work on the ‘shells’ of rooms which will turn the new floor into proper space for offices, needed classrooms and temporary, but improved dorm spaces. Yes, temporary dorm spaces; the next two big projects will be constructing a dorm for women and one for men. No, we don’t know how this will all happen, but we know God is at work and will provide!

A happy Jack checking the end of the new floor
with new/temporary housing for female
students/teachers and space for library books
needed in class sessions.  The mid section,
the old temporary roof of the lower floor,
will soon be replaced with railings.
Yet another special joy? On Friday we will celebrate 44 years of marriage! And our closing joy/praise is for how you strengthen and encourage us as you pray, give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and Cooperative Program, and send volunteers our way which allow us to join in our Father’s work in Kenya.
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 at
https://www.facebook.com/KenyaBaptistTheologicalCollege

Anyone can easily and safely view both of the above sites by CLICKing the tabs at the top of this page.
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And a few more photos from the week.

My birthday meal at Brackenhurst - fish, sukumawiki (greens)
and ugali (boiled corn meal).  I ate it all except the fish head!
The homemade coconut cream pie was Jack's birthday treat.

And a few unexpected/ fun views of birds captured this week!



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Testing and Examining

“I have trusted in the LORD without wavering. Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.” Psalm 26:1-3 NIV

View from our cottage when
we arrived on Sunday afternoon.
“Brave request.” The comment written in my Bible beside Psalm 26:1-3. David’s boldness amazes me, yet this should be our goal as Believers. We should always be striving to trust our Father without wavering, to have hearts and minds fully in line with His heart and mind, and to always walk in His truth.

“I clicked and it went.” What happened last Friday when Zack, KBTC’s Administrator, passed the test after trusting God and walking in His truth! The first payment of the college’s taxes via internet was due last Friday and after trying for days to finalize the form, plus many sleepless nights, he still could not complete and print the needed form early that morning.

View yesterday at the same time.
Great illustration for trusting God
when we cannot see what is ahead.
KBTC staff devotions are held weekly at 8 AM on Mondays and Fridays and Zack debated if he should continue working (he starts his office day very early) or attend last Friday’s devotions! He chose to leave his desk and join the staff’s time of worship, praising God and sharing prayer requests. Less than an hour later, he returned to the computer and without any added revisions, it “clicked and it went” and Zack was able to print the form and head to the bank.

“I feared that the bank would say there was a problem, but I'm thanking God that KBTC’s first try at filing taxes via the internet was a success!” The praise report Zack shared at Monday’s staff devotions; a great praise as the punishment for not paying the taxes by last Friday afternoon was a quadruple payment!

While students attend classes below, Baraka Hall
is finally getting a roof above the second floor.
“If I asked those in my congregation to donate 1000 Kenya shillings (US $10) towards a special offering, it would not happen. If a special water, potion or charm was offered for 1000 shillings, there would be a battle to be first in line. Believers must know what the Bible does and does not teach.” What Jack heard a KBTC professors share during a KBTC class this week.

We are expecting to share a photo of a full roof in
next week's update.  This is a 'before' chapel
photo taken yesterday.  If you look closely at
the first 'new roof' photo, you will see that many
 sheets of mbati were added during chapel.
There is still a strong heritage in Africa of relying upon special powers, witchcraft and African Traditional Religion*. We often hear of Believers paying for blessings or church members seeking medical care and other helps from witchdoctors. Yes, herbal treatments and the old methods of grandmothers are often relied upon here and we often find these helpful, but I’m not talking about these methods.

There was a very special guest speaker during
yesterday's student chapel service.  The speaker was
Peter Olonapa,  the new General Secretary of the
Baptist Convention of Kenya and a KBTC graduate!
The professor’s comment leads to the importance in training Believers to know God’s Word and His truths. It is why it is important for KBTC to train our churches’ shepherds to live Psalm 26:1-3 and teach Believers to do the same. Will you join us in praying for Believers to learn to “trust in the LORD without wavering” and what it means to “walk continually in HIS truth”? Pray for those teaching on the main KBTC campus and other sites, such as Bible Schools, as they teach how to trust and obey our Father.

“Testing and Evaluations in the Classroom.” What Jack is teaching this week and next week. Pray for him as he teaches 36 hours about this subject to KBTC’s current Christian Education Advanced Diploma class, those who teach Christian Religious Education in local schools, in Bible Schools and at KBTC.

“Jack’s phone is off again. I have good news for him.” What KBTC’s Project Manager said this morning as he passed our cottage. Jack’s phone was off thanks to forgetting to switch it on after teaching 4 hours yesterday morning, sharing chapel and lunch with the students, and an afternoon meeting with the General Secretary of the Baptist Convention of Kenya. The good news which has led to lots of praise today by the KBTC family? An unexpected gift from a church in the US, which meant the 50% target has been reached and adding electricity, windows, water, etc. to the top floor of Baraka Hall can begin!

Captured yesterday on the fence along the walk
to KBTC's Baraka Hall.  It is not a forgotten
earring, but a view of what God can create
with a rain drop and a bit of broken wire!
“God is at work among Sub-Saharan African Peoples and I love nudging people to joining in His work.” What I write often each week as I correspond with our workers and others who want to join in His work! Thank you for praying for us as we definitely need your prayers. Pray for us as we strive to live out Psalm 26:1-3 and confidently claim David’s request to our Father as Jack serves as the principal of KBTC and as I serve as the Prayer Networker for the Sub-Saharan African Peoples. BERT YATES

* IMB Sub-Saharan African Peoples/African Traditional Religion – http://subsaharanafricanpeoples.imb.org/explore/view/traditional-religion
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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 at
https://www.facebook.com/KenyaBaptistTheologicalCollege
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And now for some random photos captured this week.

It was only when we got closer to this view that I understood
all the colours I was spotting.

And when I first saw the scene below, I thought there
were only two women, but a third set of legs appeared
followed by a fourth set!

My new FB cover photo. Do you see CHAOS or COLOUR in this photo?

And the photo shared below is for all my family and
friends who are a bit homesick for Kenya!