Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sanctuary Farm

Ava and Emma hiking on the floor of the 
Great Rift Valley at Sanctuary Farm
Lake Naivasha, Kenya

This weekend, Tristan enjoyed two nights of sleepovers with his friends, while the rest of us joined our friends Kerry and Melanie for a camping trip in celebration of Ava and Melanie's birthdays. We pitched our tents under the towering yellow Acacia trees near the lake, and enjoyed a few fun days of hiking and encountering the incredible wildlife and birds.

A baby zebra at the tail end of a large herd that trotted 
past our tents on several occasions. 

Ava and mommy getting ready for a boat ride on the lake

A rare treat

It is not often that you get to see a hippo out grazing in the middle of the afternoon. They like to keep cool in the water, and graze and sleep on land after dark, by the signs of their droppings, the woods where we were sleeping was a popular munching ground. At night we sat by our camp fire before bed entertained by the cacophony of sounds.

Making breakfast in camp

A visiting giraffe

quiet morning by the camp fire

The girls cooking in the dark

A friendly waterbuck, who for some
reason liked to sit and watch us share breakfast
in our camp each morning.

Kerry and Ava out for an early morning walk

We want to thank Guy and Julie for sharing their beautiful sanctuary with our family. It was a wonderful getaway from the city. Also a very happy birthday to Mel and Ava! 

Friday, September 28, 2012

CFGB Food Relief

A Somali mother and son receiving food aid 
in Mandera West, Kenya

This past week, Aaron had the opportunity to join the Canadian Food Grains Bank (CFGB) on a monitoring visit with ADRA Kenya (Adventist Relief) who are implementing a relief project in the the North Eastern corner of Kenya near the Somali and Ethiopian border. The affects of last year’s famine are still bearing a heavy toll on communities throughout Kenyan’s Northeastern Province. In Mandera, traditional herdsmen have lost nearly all of their livestock. A lack of access to water makes it all but impossible to grow crops, and the people of the region have become dependent on food relief brought into the region. 

It was encouraging to see how the local government is cooperating with organizations like ADRA, providing security and assisting in the mobilization of the scattered clan leaders and households. Security is a great concern as the struggle to survive in such a harsh area has spilled into clan divisions and conflicts. Two weeks ago, an armed conflict in Mandera town broken out among rival clan members and in the upset homes were burned near the ADRA food storage facilities. “This community needs hope!” shared one member of our group. 

Please remember the people of Kenya in your prayers, especially the communities living within the vast semi-arid lands of the North and Northeast. The people of these communities are praying for rain. Water is so basic to life. Also remember the ADRA team, Patrick and Dorcus, as they walk with this community through such a difficult time.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Some Merry Hobbits Celebrating in Shire Style
the mutual birthday of Hobbits Bilbo and Frodo

We want to thank our good friends the Enns, Godwins, Morgans, and Nyagas for celebrating with us! This was very special Hobbit Day as September 21st marked the 75th Anniversary of the publishing of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, the upcoming release of Peter Jackson's December 14th release of the new Hobbit "Trilogy", and of course the September 22nd birthdays of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. 

Michael & Wayne Morgan "Proud Foot" at the fire side!

Maureen "Penelope" and Erica "Stella" at the Hobbit feast

TK and Ezra enjoying the Hobbit life

Maureen, Jeannie, Erica and Karen


After a full day of breakfast; second breakfast; elevensies; luncheon; Afternoon Tea; and Dinner; party was gathered around the Hobbit's supper meal, with a fantastic menu of Hobbit food. Our menu was the creative work of all our guests. Together we shared:

Hobbit Scones & Cheeses
Elven Lambos bread & hummus
Sam Gamgee's Connie Stew
Meat on the bone
Farmer Maggot's roasted potatoes and pilfered vegetables
Toad in the Hole with red onion gravy

And for dessert,... brownies, apple tarts, fresh fruit, chocolate birthday cake

Wes knighting his son Isaiah

Wayne, Colin and Aaron raising a toast

After the feasting, we camped out in the yard to watch the 
1977 Rankin & Bass animated version of The Hobbit.

The Happy Hobbit Couple

Picnicking on the lawn
Emma, Madeline, and Naomi

Hope you had a happy Hobbit Day!!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Greetings from CBM President, Ken Bellows

We are thrilled to share this greeting from the new president of the CBM board of directors, Ken Bellows. To read more, please check out the blog of our General Secretary, Sam Chaise, at this LINK

Hormud SHG

Patrick sharing with members of the Hormud SHG

This week, Erica and the Canadian Baptist Ministries Self Help Group project team are leading a series of training workshops with the women of the Hormud Self Help Group from Eastleigh. While two of the women had been members of the 2009-2011 Iftin Women’s Literacy project of CBM and the Eastleigh Community Centre, the other five members of the group are completely new to the CBM program. Over the past 27 weeks, the Hormud members have been working together to build a strong support system together as they save money and encourage one another with family issues and challenges. The money that they have been saving will be used as seed capital to start a small business.

“Hormud is one of four groups within the Self Help project that have completed the first two levels of SHG training this year and are ready to start skills training and micro enterprise development,” shared Erica. “Over the next two months, each of these groups will receive training and receive the help of matching grants to support the start up costs of their businesses. Before a group can receive this financial assistance, they need to complete their skills training and, working with Aisha and Patrick, to create a simple business plan. Then over the following months, we will walk with the ladies as they follow through with their plan and get on their feet.”

The Hormud ladies are excited to be starting a business making high quality scarves that are worn by Somali women throughout Eastleigh. The scarves are also a big hit with non-Muslim women as well. Please pray for the women of Hormud as they work together to improve the lives of their families. They desire to live up to their name “Hormud”, which is a Somali word for leadership. “We want to be leaders in our community,” shared one group member. “Together we want to have a better future!”

We hope to have a few brief audio interviews from both the North Eastern Province and Eastleigh ministries online in the coming week. Please check back on our blog for more information, or see our podcast site at

Patrick, Aisha and Erica at Heart Lodge, Nairobi

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September 2012

One of the joys of living in Kenya is the beautiful trails and paths. This past week, we had some great early morning walks on a trail near our home.  Even in the city, we are able to spot some great wild life from little dik dik antelopes to curious Sykes monkeys. Along with some great hikes, we had a fun weekend cheering Emma on at the annual Rosslyn swim meet. She did great, even swimming against a twelfth grader. 

 Ava and Erica on the nature trail

This week, we are looking forward to training gatherings with groups in Eastleigh, as well as meetings with CBM’s development program officer, Lenny Mbogo, who is visiting this week from Toronto. We will be connecting with our team mates involved in the Guardians of Hope and Muslim ministry projects.

We want to thank everyone who has been praying for our family and ministries.

Snacking on the trail side

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Micro Enterprise Development

Zahra working on ceramic bead production
as part of the Noor Self Help Group

As part of Canadian Baptist Ministries Muslim Women’s Self Help Group project in Eastleigh, Nairobi, small groups of refugee women are working together to provide sustainable incomes for their families through small artisan businesses like that of the Noor SHG. This week, Erica and the self help team are preparing for training with one of our newer groups, “Hormud" (which means leadership in Somali). Excited about the success of the Peace SHG, the ladies of Hormud SHG are interested in learning how to start of women’s scarf micro enterprise. As the ladies save money in their groups, they can apply for a matching grant through the CBM project to help them with the capital start up costs for their business. We look forward to sharing more about how the group does in the coming months.

We also want to thank everyone who has been sending us encouraging comments for the Garissa pastors and churches. This week, our team is back in Garissa following up with the leaders and their churches. Please remember Yattani, Michel and William as they walk with these leaders mentoring them in community assessments and project design over the coming months.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Praying for Garissa

Praying for Peace and Healing in Garissa

This past week Canadian Baptist Ministries hosted our fourth conference for Garissa pastors and church leaders. The group of sixty leaders and CBM team members gathered together in the beautiful Brackenhurst centre in Tigoni, Kenya, for training on designing church-based sustainable community development projects.  Over the past year, we have been working with the Garissa churches with the goal of strengthening the fellowship and unity among the churches, and enhancing the work of Integral Mission within Northeastern Province.  We were delighted to have 24 churches represented at this week's gathering. They are eager to begin participatory community assessments throughout Garissa District, as they are mentored by our colleagues William, Yattani and Michel.

The other focus of the conference was to help the pastors and leaders responding to post-traumatic stress arising from the increased persecution and attacks against the Church in their region. We are grateful for our colleague Elizabeth Legassie who led us through sessions on PTSD and strategies for both self care and care of others experiencing anxiety and PTSD from the attacks. All of the participants expressed deep appreciation for the concern and support that they have received from CBM and Canadian Churches. “We are so thankful for the CBM,” shared Pastor Ibrahim of the East Africa Pentecostal Church, “they brought us together as churches. If the attacks had come before, when we were scattered and broken apart, it would have been devastating, but God knew that we needed to be together and united. Because of this, the attacks have shaken us, but we have not fallen away!” 

The July 1st attacks against three of the Garissa churches have had a serious impact upon the Church. “It is not only the 18 Christians who were killed and the 60 others seriously injured from the grenade and bullets,” shared Pastor Jesse of the G.P.C Church, “Many Christians are afraid to come back to Church. Some people have moved their families away, and others have requested that their employer transfer them away. On Sunday worship, the churches have maybe half their number, because people are scared.” Sister Lea Maina of E.A.P.C. also shared with us how those sitting in the worship services have struggled with fear. “We sing and pray, but everyone keeps looking over his shoulder. If you see a shadow by the window or at the door, you think maybe it is another attack. Everyone is on edge. Even if someone gets up to leave for the toilet, everyone sits up and wonders where is he going?... in our fears we must turn to God ...We have not lost our faith. God is good, and God is mighty.” During the conference, she preached to the gathering encouraging her fellow Christians not to lose hope.

It was encouraging to hear of the faith of God’s people as they witnessed to signs of healing and hope in Garissa. Reverend Mutunga, pastor of the African Inland Church Garissa, buried 14 members of his church in a mass funeral after the attack on his church. On the Sunday after the attack, he led worship in a church where bullet holes and scars from the violence remained. “Evil has not won!” In a courageous act of solidarity, Muslim sheiks, leaders and neighbours came and formed a human wall around the church. “They came to show that the terrorists had not won!” shared Rev. Mwasya of the Church on the Rock (another church targeted on the July 1 attack). “They came to protect Christians, they came to show that they were sorry for what had happened,... it is a sign that good can come out of something so terrible!” In the past two weeks as several churches in Mombassa, Kenya, have also been attacked and burned, similar signs of solidarity have been shown as Muslim leaders have not only surrounded churches, but have actually entered them and joined Christians during their worship services. “They are telling the terrorists that if you want to kill Christians, you must kill us as well!” shared Rev. Mwasya. Such actions are signs of God’s grace and redemption at work.

Photos Courtesy of Wayne Morgan
Pastors and Leaders working on problem analysis concerning 
poverty and conflict within their community

Please continue to pray for the Church in Garissa and for peace and healing within the greater community. As we concluded this gathering, it was evident that God has placed these faithful men and women to be ambassadors of the love and mercy that is at the heart of God’s kingdom. The road ahead will not be easy. The challenges the Church faces internally, and within their wider context are great, but as our friend Sister Lea shared “God’s Love is Greater!"

CBM Kenya team members: Karen, Elizabeth, Randy, Wayne, Maureen, Aisha, Yattani, Deanne, Michel, Pauline, Erica, Aaron, and William (missing from the photo are Ruth, Laura and Colin)

Thank you for your prayers and support!

To learn more about the work of Canadian Baptist Ministries in Africa and around the world, see our website at

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Congratulations Emma!

Emma for Sixth Grade Rep!

This week was student council elections at Rosslyn Academy. It was Emma’s first experience of Middle School government as she entered the race for the sixth grade representative. On Friday morning when the results were announced, she was thrilled to learn that she was voted in! We are so proud of our girl -- way to go Emma!

Some of Emma’s campaign posters 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Feed Me!

Good-Bye Celebration for our friend Hawa

This past week, we had the sweet sadness of saying good-bye to our dear friend Hawa who has been a part of the Women's Empowerment ministry in Eastleigh since its beginning back in 2008. Hawa and her beautiful daughters are leaving for resettlement after years of patient waiting and earnest prayer. Please remember her as she makes this great journey with her girls.

We joined the ladies of Noor for the party at our local Java House, where the highlight was a cake that the ladies actually fed each other. It was like a wedding reception with everyone receiving fork-fulls of cake from their neighbours. Every one cleaned their plate by feeding someone else, it was a fun tradition that we had never experienced before. What a neat picture of sharing and having your needs met by your community.

Emma's well-roasted marshmallow

Speaking of feeding someone -- We have had a great weekend with our kids and friends. Our friends Mel and Kerry brought over graham crackers and marshmallows for our Friday night campfire.

Ava and Mel feeding each other

Ava being fed cake by Hawa's daughter Safiya

Wordeed The Blog

This summer, Canadian Baptist Ministries published a great little book about "Integral Mission" written by our friend Terry Smith, CBM’s Director of International Partnerships. The book, Wordeed: An Integral Mission Primer, helps introduce and inspire churches and followers of Christ to a way of life and ministry where "we proclaim and demonstrate God’s love and truth with great optimism, imagination and through effective partnership.”

If you are interested in learning more about Wordeed, you can check out the website at -- on the site you’ll find Terry’s blog where he shares inspiring stories and thought provoking perspectives on the challenge of living out our faith. In his latest post, Terry gets us thinking about the role of tea in the lives of people living in impoverished communities where CBM is serving in India, Latin America and Subsaharan Africa:

"It’s been a few weeks since I posted on Wordeed. I’ve missed blogging. Mostly, I have been away from the office, enjoying the charm and beauty of Eastern Canada on a very long but enjoyable road trip.  As my wife and I drove almost 7,000 km with dear friends from the UK and France, drinking tea (often!) was a part of our daily routine. I got to thinking about the impact of tea on our lives, and the lives of poor farmers. And I started reading and learned a number of important factors... “

You can read more on the Wordeed Blog by clicking here:
"Care for a Cup of Tea?”

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Stretching Our Perspective and Resolve

Erica, Maureen & Wayne Morgan, and Karen Godwin
This past week at the Canadian Baptist Ministries
Peace & Reconciliation Training in Ruiru, Kenya

Peace is something that Canadians of my generation tend to take for granted. Growing up as a child in Prince Edward Island in the late 1970’s and 1980’s, I knew little of the conflicts that faced our world. War and violence were something that we learned about in history, and remembered every November. But this seemed a distant and black and white world of the past that did not touch our lives. As little boys, we"played war” on snow banks and in school yards, as we relived the stories of Star Wars or G.I. Joe, but we did not live in the shadow of war.

Children in Africa today have a much closer association with war and violence. Civil conflict, cross boarder attacks, terrorism, roving militias, and the exilic life of a refugee are common experiences throughout East and Central Africa. Over the past few days, it has been eye opening for us to listen to the experiences, fears and perspectives on the reality and causes of insecurity and conflict, from our African partner churches ((African Christian Church & Schools (ACC&S) and Africa Brotherhood Church (ABC)). At times it was evident that the fears our friends shared, can lead us to blame and with draw from conflict. It was encouraging to hear a desire for the Church to step up and take seriously the role of Peace builders. “Our Vision,” shared Rev. Gato, “is to see people reconciled and live in peace between them, and engaged in all different aspects of sustainable peace. We want to help make ACC&S and ABC a catalyst of peace within Kenyan society.” Please continue to pray for the work of CBM and our national church partners in Africa as we seek to live out the “peace of Christ”.

“Because of this decision we don't evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don't look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We're Christ's representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God's work of making things right between them. We're speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he's already a friend with you.”

2 Corinthians 5:16-20
(The Message)