Monday, June 27, 2011

Winter in June

A Wise Old Owl
The wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard
Why can't we all be like that wise old bird?
poem sent to us from Shirley Gamble

We are spoiled by a the incredible variety of animal and bird life in Kenya. From beautiful tall harriers and striking greater hornbills landing in our hedges, to tiny sunbirds and bee eaters darting around our garden, we are continually blessed! We spotted this beautiful owl a few weeks ago driving outside of the city.

The cool grey days of the Kenyan winter are upon us. We have had some fierce thunder storms roll through Nairobi blowing down tree limbs and knocking out electricity over the past few days. We are actually getting some work done today at an internet cafe. Without central heating in our home, we are appreciating our fire place and family time around crackling fires in the evenings.

Tristan and Emma are excited to have Ava joining them on their school break (Ava's school wraps up this Thursday -- she is more than ready to start her vacation with her big brother and sister). They have been helping out around the house, riding their bicycles at Rosslyn Academy and building their PlayMobile castles and villages. Along with our Canada Day celebration this Friday, we are looking forward to having two young women from the maritimes joining us as volunteers with Canadian Baptist Ministries short-term missions program (STM). They will be working with us in Eastleigh and with the Guardians of Hope for three weeks.

Thank you so much for keeping our family and ministry in your prayers. We hope that where ever you are, that you are experiencing a wonderful June ... be it summer or winter!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Life's a Patchwork

Quilt by Diane Bannister

More and more we are seeing beauty in the complexity of life.

Unlike the ordered squares of fabric that make up a quilt, much of life is messy and not easily separated into clearly defined areas. When it comes to our life and ministry in Africa, it is difficult to try and draw clear boundaries between work and personal space. Of course this blurring of the lines is not unique to our situation, most people find it a challenge to draw lines of separation between the different areas of life -- work and play; spiritual and secular; social and personal....

Today was such a day with people in and out of our home, dropping Ava off to pre-school; meetings at a coffee shop, dealing with an issue with our van, meeting Ava after school, entertaining tonight in our home, following up on ministry reporting and tasks for our head office, preparing for short term volunteers who are arriving next week from Canada -- so many little pieces that form our day.

It is easy to get caught up in the busyness of everything and miss the big picture.

I think prayer is a gift from God that gives us the space to take all "the stuff of life" and lift it up to God and in the experience of that God can give us a glimpse of a heavenly perspective. That even the mundane little conversations over the hood of a car, at the counter of a shop, or driving to the next appointment with your daughter chatting from the back seat, all of these moments are beautiful little pieces of the great fabric of life.

Where ever you are today, whomever you are with, may you have a glimpse of the beautiful thing that you are a part of! May little whispers of prayer pass over your lips thanking God for the little moments that we so often miss.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

8th Annual Middle East Conference

The view of Beirut from Beit Mery, Lebanon

Martin Accaad facilitating the closing "question and answer session" with the conference speakers from across Africa.

Aaron with John Azumah, director of Centre for Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations and lecturer in Islamic Studies at the London School of Theology.

A delegation of Muslim clerics joining the conference
for an afternoon of dialogue at ABTS

John Uzumah passionately calling the Church to a cordial witness

Aaron and Terry Smith during the lectures

Also participating in this year's MEC were seven Canadian theological students in the Canadian Baptist Ministries Praxis Program. The Praxis students will continue learning about the ministry of the Baptist Church in Lebanon over the next two weeks, as they continue their program in Beirut and in field visits throughout the country.

Participants in the MEC VIII at
Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Beirut

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gathering in Beirut

Mohammad al-Amin Mosque

Beirut, Lebanon

This past week, Aaron has participated in the annual Middle East Conference hosted by the Institute for Middle Eastern Studies at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Beirut. This year's conference focused on the African Church's Response to Islam, with speakers from Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya.

Folarnmi Speaking on the historic perspective of Islam in Nigeria

Folaranmi T. Lateju, PhD. President of the Center for Interfaith Relations and Cross-Cultural Outreach Ogbomoso (Nigeria); President of the All Africa Baptist Men Fellowship; and teaches Islamic Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at Obafemi Awolowo University.

Aaron with Martin Accad, director of the IMES

We deeply appreciate the contribution of Martin in the scholarship of Muslim and Christian relations. Martin's leadership has drawn scholars and leaders from around the world in the pursuit of improving Christian understanding, attitude and response to our Muslim neighbours.

Alistar Brown, Bishop Timothy Ndambuki, Deaconess Mary, and Terry Smith

Aaron with our newly appointed
CBM team mate, Wayne Morgan.

Wayne and Maureen have answered a call to serve in Kenya as Integral Missions facilitators with the African Christian Church and Schools. It was a wonderful gift to have this past week to get to know Wayne and share about the challenges and joys of ministry in Africa.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Eastleigh Community Centre

Eastleigh Community Centre Director, Daniel, with founding director Edward Ngenga and Rev George of the PCEA.

We were delighted today to meet Edward Ngenga the founding director of the Eastleigh Community Centre. In the history of the community centre, Edward was a key part of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa taking over the community centre from the Indian Mission that first established the community centre 52 years ago, when Eastleigh was a much different place. This was the first time that he has been to the centre in several years. It was encouraging to have him give some history and wise advise to Daniel and the present staff.

Emma, Laura and Vance

We were also excited to have our friend Vance join us in Eastleigh for a tour of the community centre. Emma had a great time today working with the ladies in Noor Creations making beads.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011



We just posted a second podcast for June 2011 at

Join us for a conversation with Mercy Mwikali
the new Guardians of Hope project officer with
the Africa Brotherhood Church, Kenya

In this podcast, we travel to Machakos to look at
how micro enterprise development is a crucial
strategy to helping Guardians gain a sustainable

You can listen to this any any of our most recent podcasts by visiting our podbean site or by subscribing for free on iTunes (Just search for fivekennys in the iTunes Store).

Unfortunately, we've hit our limit of space in the free podbean account, so we have had to start deleting older episodes of the podcast. Moving forward, we'll only keep the most current podcasts on the podbean site. So it is a good idea to download the audio files.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Noor Creations (Good-bye Safiya!)

Noor Creations Self Help Group
say Good-bye to Safiya

Today we hosted a good-bye party for Safiya (sitting in the centre) as she leaves Kenya to be married in Ethiopia. Safiya was one of the original fifteen refugee girls that helped form the Iftin Women's Empowerment Program in 2008. It is very sad to see her leave.

Party Games!

Over the past five years, these Somali girls have become a part of our family. It has been such a blessing to see them growing up. Safiya is the second young women in this group to become married over the last few years.

Playing the cookie pizza game was a lot of laughs

Farewell to Safiya

Safiya and Patrick

Fardosa, Tunis and Zahra
Chai Time!

Ayan and Emma all dressed up Somali Style

Tristan giving Somali style a try

Ava gets some henna

Our Somali girls

Oh Dad -- Check this out!

"Wave at the Bus!"

If you haven't checked out the blog of Dale Price and his family in Utah. For the past year, Dale has been playing a prank on his sixteen year old son, Rain Price, who rides the school bus to High School. Since the fall, Dale has waved to the bus in 180 costumes from super heroes to giant chickens. Remarkably, he hasn't run out of ideas and has only spent $50 on the prank (using some creativity, the family collection of halloween costumes and the generous help of friends and neighbours).

You can see "Batgirl" and all of Dale's
costumes on their fabulous blog

The story was picked up on Utah's Daily Herald and is starting to get more attention on the internet. Rain might have been embarrassed at first, but now the daily spectacle of his stay at home dad of three is becoming a highlight for everyone on the bus and community. What will dad do next?

My personal favourite: Dad reading on the toilet. Casually looking up from his newspaper and waving -- you've gotta love the commitment!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 2011 Podcast

Jen Fry and Laura Muema

We just posted our June 2011 Podcast. This month's podcast is an audio tour of Eastleigh with Laura Muema, Jen Fry and Thomas Coldwell, as they drove with us through Eastleigh last week. Both Thomas and Jen returned to Canada on Monday evening, after volunteering with us in Eastleigh with the Iftin Women's Empowerment Program for the month of May.

Both Jen and Thomas are blogging about their experiences at

If you would like to listen to their description of Eastleigh and their experience of building relationships cross culturally, please download the 14 minute podcast at or subscribe for free to our podcast on iTunes.

Thank you all so much for upholding the ministry of Canadian Baptists in your prayers!

Mt. Kenya's Friendliest Monkeys

Mt. Kenya

"Is that a monkey on your head?"

This past weekend, we travelled up to Mount Kenya with our friends Wendy, Laurence, Dana and Steve to participate in a wedding. It was a wonderful getaway. We enjoyed getting to know new friends and spending some quiet days on mountain. One highlight was visiting the Holden Animal Orphanage at Mount Kenya Safari Club. The many of the animals walk around in the open grounds and are very friendly!

Erica was kneeling to talk to a shy Colobus when she was surprised by a large Sykes monkey who wanted to hop on for a ride.

Red Monkeys
we love the little moustaches

This female Patas Monkey (also known as a Red Hussar), is one of the few red monkeys left in Kenya. They once were spread plentifully across West sand East Africa, but loss of habitat has drastically affected their population.

Aaron making friends with a little Sykes monkey