Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Church in Muslim Communities

While Kenya is a predominantly Christian nation, there are 3.7 million Muslims living in Kenya's crowded urban centres, coastal communities, and spread across the Northern Frontier. From the arid lands of North East Province to the narrow streets of Eastleigh, Muslim people live with their Christian neighbours interacting in the marketplace and the byways of life. Although Canadian Baptist Ministries has been serving in these communities for nearly thirty years, we continue to learn from our brothers and sisters within the African Church. Their experience and perspective has much to teach us, and the wider Body of Christ, about living in peace and cooperation with our Muslim neighbours, while standing in the assurance and hope of the Gospel. Their story has not been an easy one and at times has fallen into patterns of mistrust, tension and violence.

This past week, Sam Chaise, the general secretary of Canadian Baptist Ministries, posted an update by Aaron on his blog "Cut To the Chaise", about how the Church in Garissa is bonding together through the intense time of persecution and unrest that has hit Garissa and this region. Along with their deepening desire to strengthen the unity of the Church, it was encouraging to see the humility and sincere love for their Muslim neighbour shine through their conversations. Rejecting the urge to strike back, the pastors spoke of forgiveness and reconciliation -- This is God at work!

You can read the post and view short video clips of two of the pastors by visiting Sam's blog through the link below.

Click here to read Aaron's post in:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Saying farewell!

Joann and Irene at the Nest

As the New Minas ladies prepared for their return to Canada, we had some fun together at the Rosslyn River Garden and visiting our friends at the Nest Children's home.

So many answers to prayer during these past two weeks. The big praise early yesterday morning was the word that our friend was freed from Somalia - God is so good!

The ladies departed last night for Toronto
We are thankful for all their help these past two weeks

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sack Gardens in Eastleigh

Eastleigh, Nairobi

Erica and Coral visiting a home in Juja, Eastleigh

Earlier this week, the team from Nova Scotia joined us in Eastleigh as we helped Laura Muema following up with the eight refugee women who had won our vertical gardening contest in Eastleigh through Canadian Baptist Ministries Urban gardening project. Each of the women had successfully started sack gardening outside of the Eastleigh Community Centre and are now having a regular harvest of fresh produce for their families.

Climbing narrow stairways in the crowded
apartment blocks of Eastleigh

Laura Muema presenting prizes to
two of the Somali Women in Eastleigh

Each of the winners of the contest (8 women in the top three teams)
received food bundles to help supplement their families diet

Sack Gardens in Eastleigh

Guardians of Hope - Kigumu Upper

The members of the New Minas Baptist STM presenting gifts
to Henry, Patrick and representatives of the
African Christian Church & Schools (ACC&S)

Today we had the joy of travelling with our friends from New Minas Baptist Church into the dramatic highlands of Kenya's Central Province to visit with beneficiaries of the Guardians of Hope HIV and AIDS ministry. We climbed some steep and dusty trails on our journey to the homes and businesses of members of the Guardians of Hope project in Kigumu Upper. This is a peaceful rural region bordering the jagged Aberdare Mountains. Each family lives on small land holding rich in lush tea bush and kitchen gardens.

Joann visiting with a committee member
from the Kigumu Upper GOH

Please continue to pray for Henry and Patrick as they give leadership to the ACC&S GOH. Under their direction, the GOH is making a deep impact upon their community.

We were very encouraged to meet GOH members today who have benefitted from the project and are now "paying forward" the help they were once given to assist other families affected by HIV and AIDS. Paul and Jane are two Guardians living positively with HIV with their three children. Through ongoing ARV treatment, they are both strong and building a good life for their family. They recently shared their first calf from the heifer they had received from the GOH project several years prior. The calf was given to a neighbour, Charity, who is also HIV positive.

Aaron, Erica and Yattani
at the ACC&S Headquarters in Thika

We also had a chance today to visit with our colleague Yattani, who is living in the beautiful town of Thika with his family. While Yattani works on his Masters degree, he is also dedicating a week each month to connect with our CBM NEP program in Garissa supporting CBM's efforts in building cooperation with local pastors in Garissa. In Thika, Yattani will be serving under Henry Mwangi as part of the ACC&S Development team and lecturing in their Bible school.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fivekennys January 2012

Our first audio podcast for 2012 is now available on iTunes or directly through our pod bean site through the link below.

Join us this month as we listen to three pastors from CBM's recent Garissa Pastors Conference, who share prayer concerns for the Church in Kenya's North East Province.

Fivekennys January 2012

Interview Video

You can watch this short video interview with Erica and leaders in Canadian Baptist Ministries Self Help projects in Kenya here or download it directly from Vimeo at

Friday, January 20, 2012

Self Help Group Conference

Participants in CBM's first Women's
Self Help Group Conference in Nairobi

This past week, Erica hosted our first Nairobi Women's Self Help Group Conference with representatives from all 12 of the Muslim Self Help Groups in Eastleigh and from three Guardians of Hope groups from the Africa Brotherhood Church. We are so thankful for the contribution of Laura Muema, Mercy Mwikali, Aisha Hussein, and the women of the New Minas STM who all contributed.

A highlight of the conference was having members of the Guardians of Hope working together with members of the Somali SHGs from Eastleigh -- the spirit of cooperation and sisterhood was felt throughout the conference.

Aaron & Erica wearing gifts from our Somali friends

Solidarity Ceremony

At the close of the conference, each of the Muslim and Christian women came together in a sign of love and support, and presented each other with solidarity necklaces made by the women of the Noor Self Help Group. We thank God for the respect and acceptance demonstrated by all of the participants, and for their desire to work together in unity.

Sports Day 2012

Sport's Day 2012

Today was the annual sports day at Rosslyn Academy. We joined Tristan and Emma to cheer on the RED TEAM for a day of races and track & field events.

Picnic on the field side

Emma with her friends Diana, Naomi and Hannah

Michael Lower Cheering
for his green team mates

Tristan and his friends making a RED team pyramid

In the end, RED was victorious winning the most points
and the "Spirit" award -- sorry Michael
It is not easy being green!

Smile Dresses for Guardians of Hope

Mercy and Erica with Smile Dresses
from First Baptist Church, Charlottetown

This week, we had the joy of spending some time with Mercy Mwikali, the project officer from the Africa Brotherhood Church's Guardians of Hope. Mercy and representatives from three of the ABC GOH groups participated in a Self Help Group Conference hosted buy Erica, with members of the New Minas Baptist Church, STM. At the end of the conference, Erica presented Mercy with Smile Dresses for Guardians caring for young AIDS orphans within the program.

Please continue to remember the Guardians of Hope and the important ministry they have in caring for children infected and affected by HIV and AIDS throughout Africa.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mosquito Nets in Garissa

Garissa, North East Province

Canadian Baptist Ministries drought response program in Kenya's North East Province continues amid insecurity as CBM continues to work with local groups and community leaders in supporting vulnerable communities along the Tana River. We wanted to share with you this brief report from our CBM colleague William Wako, who has been living in Garissa and serving this community.

Greetings from Garissa,

After a long drought situation in North Eastern Province, God graciously provided rainfall towards the end of last year. The rainfall was good news to people, the few existing animals and the land that has severely dried up by the long heat. On the other hand the rains also came with challenges, for instance, due to the flooding all the water pans, dams and rivers burst its bucks and rendered some people homeless, besides causing disease outbreak.

Among the areas that are worst affected are the Bakuyu community, next to Iftin location, and Bula Bakari of Korakora location. Both of these communities are the marginalized tribe of Waliwana (Malakote), and they live right at the banks of Tana River. Beside being rendered homeless by the flood, both of the communities suffered from disease outbreak because of poor sanitation. One of the major crises was Malaria breakout because of the pollution and bush environment of the river.

Upon visiting and assessing the situation, CBM established the urgent need of intervention with Mosquito nets to save the lives of children and pregnant mothers who are the most vulnerable group of the community. It was in early December last year, through the organization of Yattani and myself, we distributed mosquito nests for 80 vulnerable families with assistance of community elders and leaders.

Before issuing the mosquito nets we gathered the community and offered training about, ways of treating the nets and how to use it. One month later, I visited the community to assess the impact of the project and found out that the community are not only using the mosquito nets but also treasuring the gift because it was of higher quality than any they have had before. According to Mzee Juma, the use of the nets drastically reduced the spread of malaria particularly among children and pregnant mothers. Similar statement was expressed by Abdulahi of Bula Bakari, who insisted that the quality of that mosquito net was also recommended by public health office from Red Cross who visited them. Also the supply of the mosquito net to this communities help our relationship grow better, that was clear in the way they express themselves.

In addition, the exercise build community trust and confidence with CBM and that we offer quality services. The both community registered their sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Organization for concern and quality service.



Speaking with William tonight, we expresses his thanks to CBM and for everyone's support that makes such interventions possible. On behalf of our team here in Kenya, thank you for upholding this ministry in your prayers.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

On the Ground

Heather, Judy, Joann, Coral and Erica with
Mama Turtle, at the 140

We have had a full and wonderful weekend of orientation and preparation with the New Minas team as they have started pulling together their ministry plans with Erica. The ladies will have a variety of experiences over the next two weeks as they come along side Canadian Baptist Ministries self help group projects in Nairobi and with the Guardians of Hope.

The ladies working through plans to help
strengthen the Noor self help group

Ava, Emma and Joann "African Style"

We want to thank everyone who has been upholding this team in your prayers. Please continue to pray as we prepare for the upcoming women's self help group conference this Wednesday and Thursday.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Minas Baptist Church

The New Minas Short Term Mission
Coral, Heather, Erica, Judy, Joann

Last evening, Erica and I had the joy of welcoming four women from the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia who will be volunteering with us in CBM's Urban Muslim Ministry program over the rest of January. They are being led by Coral Rafuse of New Minas Baptist Church. After crossing the city, we had a wonderful visit together at the 140 Guest House which will be there home for the next two weeks.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Praying for the Church in Garissa

Garissa Pastors & Church Leaders Gathering
Ruiru, Kenya

This week, we are facilitating a conference with 18 pastors from the North East Province capital of Garissa with our CBM colleagues. Together we have been blessed to fellowship with this courageous group of Christian leaders who shepherd Christ followers in a community which has becoming increasingly volatile over the past year. In many ways this has been a historic gathering as the Garissa pastors have committed to work together in mutual support and cooperation for the strengthening of God's Kingdom and the building up of the Body of Christ. Moreover, they have demonstrated great sensitivity and wisdom as they seek to build peace and live out the love of Christ toward their Muslim neighbours.

Sharing our hopes & fears

Timothy Bannister sharing about the care of creation
and central importance of food security in the holistic
ministry of the church.

Throughout the gathering, the pastors worked together in accessing the effectiveness of their ministry and encouraging one another on how they might work together in new ways. We were impressed by their honesty and humble spirits. The room was a diverse mix of not only 19 Christian denominations, but pastors who have served in Garissa for a wide span of time -- from "patron pastors" with 34 and even 36 years experience in Garissa, all the way to those who have been in Garissa for merely a few months. One pastor declared himself the "baby" as he has been leading his church for only 7 days. And yet, the openness and teachability of the entire group was evident as everyone spoke equally showing deep respect and interest.

We came into this gathering not knowing most of the Christian leaders with whom we would be working with, or the dynamics that we would meet, but we were blown away by the maturity and wisdom of these pastors. It is evident that God's spirit is at work in this community!

Colin Godwin teaching the pastors about
models of Christian and Muslim Relations

ACC&S pastor Samuel, Yattani and Aaron

On Thursday evening, Yattani lead a service of prayer for the church and the community, during the prayer time one of the pastors received the devastating news that 8 of his friends and family members had been taken by a group of Somali bandits. It was a painful reminder of the constant threat and anxiety that both the community and the church are living through in Garissa. Our brother had little sleep as he prayed for the hostages.

This morning, during our time of worship the news came back that all 8 hostages were released unharmed. "I thank God for what he has done!" shared pastor Mutemi. "When I heard 8 were captured, I feared as 7 had just been killed in another community by bandits. Praise God they have been released and they are safe! The cattles are gone, but my brothers are safe!!!!"

It was an incredible answer to prayer

Pastor Ibrahim MaKunyi

One of the self proclaimed "patrons" or Church fathers in Garissa, Pastor Ibrahim Makunyi Kamwara leads the East Africa Pentecostal Church in Garissa where he has served for 34 years. Pastor Ibrahim spoke powerfully about forgiveness to myself and a small group of pastors, as he shared about the November 6th grenade attack against his congregation which killed two of his church members and seriously injured four others. The attack happened during a Saturday night and early Sunday morning prayer time in a house on the Pentecostal compound. According to pastor Ibrahim the extremists who attacked the church have just been apprehended by police. "What do we have to fear! God is with us!" he shared. But even with such great faith, all of the churches in Garissa do live with fear. "We are on edge." another pastor shared. "I know these threats are affecting my health. I trust my God, but it is hard."

Insecurity is not only felt among the pastors, but for their congregations it is a daily concern. Pastor Ibrahim shared how much it meant for him to know that Christians around the world were praying for his congregation and the churches in Garissa. Amongst such persecution, all of the pastors have come to appreciate the gift of Christian unity and fellowship.

"How can our friends in Canada and around the world be praying for the Church in Garissa?" I asked.

"Pray that the Church will be united."
"That we will compliment each other and not compete."
"That God's community will work together as and be light and ambassadors."
"That we will see God's Spirit end the insecurity and the fear."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Gathering

Watching the sun set over our conference centre
in Ruiru, Kenya

Over the next few days, we are helping to facilitate a gathering for pastors and Church leaders serving in Garissa, Kenya. As many of you know, this past year has been an extremely difficult time in Kenya's North East Province where threats and attacks against churches, public sites and individuals has become rampant. Please keep these pastors and their churches in your prayers, and remember the communities of Garissa that have suffered from insecurity and the militant activities of El Shabbab.

ACC&S pastor, Samuel, and our colleague William Wako

During the first evenings session

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ngong Hills

The Beautiful Ngong Hills

This weekend, to celebrate the end of of kid's Christmas break, we took them for a night away in the beautiful Ngong Hills. Here are a few shots from our getaway!

Mommy and Emma at Ngong House

We stayed in their incredible family cottage called the
"Wrong House", an amazing log cabin.

the cabin nestled amongst the trees and flowers

Playing card games on the giant couch

Mommy, Tristan and Emma playing

Tea Party on the lawn

Taking a walk through the forest to see the tree houses

A happy boy with his bucket o'chicken

Our kids on the front porch of the cottage