Wednesday, June 20, 2018

World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day

Every day thousands of people become refugees. Driven from their homes and communities by war and violence, these innocent families leave behind everything that they have to seek safety for themselves and for their children.

Now more then ever, the world needs to embrace the fact that we are all children of God. Every life matters. Every person deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. Every child, woman, and man bears the image of our creator.

As Canadian Baptists we are engaged in front-line work with refugees in Canada and around the world. This World Refugee Day we stand together in solidarity with families and individuals who are desperate for peace and a future. We move beyond self-interest to serve the interest of those who are most vulnerable. From relief projects in places like South Sudan to interventions with refugee families in places like Kenya to sponsoring families coming to Canada, we are proud to be a part of the Canadian Baptist community.

We can all be a part of building a better world. 
To learn more about what CBM is doing please click here

Friday, June 1, 2018

Transforming Mission: Expectancy

John Chan, (CBM alumni) Chuck French, and Aaron 
at Rosslyn Academy, Nairobi.

This past week, we have had the joy of hosting Rev. Dr. John Chan, Canadian Baptist Ministries' new director of international partnerships, on a tour of CBM's partners and programming in Kenya.

We told a lot of stories, as we shared with John the history of CBM's work in Africa. At times we got a little nostalgic as we remembered good times with past colleagues and dear friends. As a couple, we have lived most of our married life together in Kenya. This place and community have become home to us and our children. We are so thankful for the experiences of laughing under the umbrella tree in our backyard with friends, dodging through the chaos of Eastleigh streets, singing with congregations in village churches, and traveling with visitors through the beauty of this country. Life and ministry in Kenya are rich experiences.

It has been sixty years since CBM first began work in Africa, and in that time hundreds Canadian missionaries and volunteers have invested their lives in contributing to the redemptive story of God among his people here.

Our friend Rev. Jeremiah Ngumo says that we need to treat the past as a rear view mirror -- "you bounce a look from time to time, but you dare not stare into it. You must keep your eyes ahead on the road before you!"

More than good driving advice, Jeremiah's words remind us that God's story is not finished and that we must live expectantly. As the prophet Isaiah wrote of God -- "Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth."
John with ACC&S leaders, Julius, Jeremiah, and David.

As we work with emerging leaders like the new executive members of the African Christian Church and Schools, there is no question in our minds that the best days are ahead. There will be new challenges, new encounters, but also new growth, new joys, and new triumphs. God is continually leading his Church into new things. Living expectantly is about leaning into that hope and recognizing that in Christ the best is yet to come. 

Patrick Ndugo and John in Kariobangi
In many ways, 2018 is a year of major transition within CBM. There are many changes in leadership and roles both within our Africa team and partners, but change is good and healthy. Growing things must change. We look forward with great anticipation for the fruit that will come as God moves through his people to bring transformation in areas of brokenness.


Please join us in praying for our colleagues Ken and Wendy Derksen, who will be concluding their work in Rwanda and returning to Canada this July. The Derksens have had a tremendous impact upon the Association of Rwandan Baptist Churches where Wendy has been leading them through a process of strengthening financial management and Ken has been supporting their ministries in community development. As the Derksens return for family reasons, they will be greatly missed by us all.

We pray for John Chan as he gives leadership and strategic direction to CBM's international ministries. We pray for him and his wife Ruth as they adjust to life and ministry in Toronto.

We give thanks for the work of our CBM colleagues Ruth Munyao, Laura Muema, Patrick Ndugo, Aisha Hussein, Andre Sibomana, Gato Munyamasoko, and Laura Lee and Darrell Bustin. Please remember the family of Ruth Munyao. Her husband and son were involved in a traffic accident this past week. We pray for the healing and recovery of everyone involved in the accident.

Friday, May 25, 2018

CBM Prayer Update: Resiliency

The rains continue to fall in Kariobangi Estate, Nairobi.

It has been an extraordinarily long rainy season here in East Africa. 

Kenya is taking proactive measures to release dams in parts of the country in hopes of avoiding further tragedies like the one that killed 47 people near Nakuru earlier this month. 

People living at the margins of the city always struggle the most when environmental calamity strikes. Their homes and livelihoods are at greater risk. Their resources are already stretched thin.

A view of Kariobangi from the Ark School

A lot of what Erica and her urban team do is cultivate resiliency. Helping groups establish a foundation of trust and loyalty. Working together with them through problems. Building capacity to weather storms and raise the level of wellness in their families. These groups create an important source of identity and support for the members. It is empowering to know that no one needs to face adversity alone. 

Earlier this week, we visited the community of Kariobangi with friends from CBM. We met with the Ark Sisters, one of the many self help groups that the CBM urban ministry team has helped to form and train in Nairobi. As a group of Muslim and Christian women the Ark Sisters have come to share their lives with one another. They save money together. Learn new skills together. Support one another during times distress and celebrate each success. As a group they have formed a sewing business selling in local markets and exporting to Canada.

By using a faith-based approach to community development, the SHG program is building a depth of love and spiritual strength that is integral to the health and vitality of the group members and their families. 

The source of our resiliency is knowing that we have a God who is worthy of our trust. "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright." Psalm 20:7-8

"Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. 
Sustainability is about survival. The goal of resilience is to thrive."
J. Cascio 

Erica with Ark Sister, Aisha

In Prayer

Please join us in praying for the members of the Ark Sisters and the CBM self help groups throughout Nairobi. We pray that these groups continue to grow strong and resilient.

We pray for the people of Kenya and Rwanda who are working to safe guard against further fatalities from the heavy rains and flooding. We pray for the families who are grieving from the loss of homes and loved ones.

Please pray for us and our colleague John Chan, who will be joining us over the coming week to review CBM partnerships and programming in Africa. We pray that these will be fruitful meetings that will help our partner churches to thrive.