Thursday, January 31, 2013

CBM Team Gathering

Emma and Naomi at our team 
gathering this evening in Nairobi

This week we are participating in CBM team meetings with our colleagues from Kenya and Rwanda. Along with a series of trainings on "human resource management" being lead by our member care director, Sharlene Craig, the conference is providing us a chance to learn from each other on different areas of special focus, from facilitating short term mission teams to effective peace building initiatives. It has also been a great opportunity for us all to get to know our new team mates -- the Legassies, Morgans and Bustins. 

 Jane McPhee leading "Human Resource Management" training

As the diversity of CBM’s work in Africa grows, we are being intentional with strengthening the capacity of both our team and partners. Please remember us in your prayers as we work through ways to strengthen this ministry.

Deep in meetings today at Heart House, Nairobi

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Team Ministry

CBM Muslim Ministry Team, Kenya

Over the past week, we have been blessed to have our friends Michael and Melanie Waddell from Midland Baptist Church, New Brunswick, visit and join us in ministry. Michael and Melanie joined our Muslim Ministry team for a retreat day on Friday as we sang, prayed and discussed the different ways that we each connect with God. We used Gary Thomas’ insightful book Sacred Pathways as we talked about our individual differences and similarities. It was a refreshing and encouraging day!

We have been profoundly blessed to serve in Africa with wonderful teams in each of the areas of outreach that we are a part of. Collaboration and cooperation have been an integral part of affective ministry for CBM around the world. Next week, we will participating in gathering of our Kenya and Rwanda teams being facilitated by our Africa team leader, Colin Godwin, and director of member care, Sharlene Craig. 

Yattani and Michael

William and Patrick, young leaders in Garissa and Eastleigh

Please remember our Muslim Ministry team members in your prayers. We think especially of William and Yattani who are travelling through areas of insecurity and tension in North Eastern Province. This past week, six people were killed in Garissa in the latest attack against southern Kenyans. Pastors in Garissa continue to struggle to build peace. We thank God for a positive relationship that is being formed in Garissa between Christian and Muslim leaders. Presently, CBM is working with these two groups to initiate a joint project in Garissa that will demonstrate cooperation, respect and healing in the community. We covet your prayers!

Meeting with members of our larger CBM team
 this past week during a Farming God’s Way training.

Girls go to school too!

Fatuma is a daughter of one of the Self Help Group women of Eastleigh. Like most of the girls in her community, access to education is a major challenge that her family must struggle to overcome. Canadian Baptist Ministries’ urban self help project in Nairobi is helping vulnerable families recognize the importance of education for women and girls, who sadly are often neglected by their society. The Somali women in the groups are working together to provide a sustainable income that will enable all of their children, boys and girls, to complete school. This year, the project will also be helping 25 vulnerable households with tuition costs for school and providing literacy training for mothers and young women. Education opens doors to a better life!

This past week, we gathered with sixty representatives from the ten Self Help Groups in Eastleigh. Throughout the day, members from each of the groups shared about what it has meant for them to be a part of a self help group. “Our group meets every week,” shared one women, “but we love each other so much that we meet more. I am so thankful for my sisters!” The groups are not only saving money and starting micro enterprises, but they are providing emotional and spiritual support for each other and their families. “Many of my neighbours are afraid. They are leaving Eastleigh because of safety. But I do not want to leave.” confessed a widow in the group. “I pray to God for my daughter and for peace.”

In 2012, the Self Help Groups adopted a beautiful scarf as their symbol. Made by the women of Peace SHG, one of the groups formed last year, the scarf has a bright yellow sun that is rising into a blue sky, fringed with green. “The light is the the hope that we experience together!” shared Erica during the gathering. “You are a light to your community! Blue represents the peace that we all want in our lives and community, and the green represents how you are growing individually and as a group.”As new women join the SHG they are presented with a scarf to wear.

Melanie with Hamdi

Thank you for praying for the women of the Eastleigh SHG and their families. 

Sports Day 2013

Rosslyn Academy’s Annual 
Elementary School Sports Day

This is Ava’s first sports day as a Rosslyn Academy student. She was very excited to join the green team for a full day of games, track and field events and swimming. In the end, the green team pulled ahead and won the day.

Ava had fun competing in all of the kindergarten events. 
She even came in second place in her 100 meter race.
We are so proud of our little runner!

A fun day with friends!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Guardians of Hope

Photo: Such a joy today to see the transforming power of God's love and grace in the lives of three AIDS orphans being cared for by Mary, a Guardian of Hope in Kenya

Mary is a Guardian of Hope caring for three orphans 
in the hillside community of Longonot, Kenya

The stigma of HIV and AIDS still has a strong hold upon the lives of communities throughout Africa, but by God’s grace the story is changing. When AIDS took the lives of two young parents, Peter and Grace, in the community of Kirinyaga, fear of AIDS led to the abandonment of their three children, Ilene, Titus and Eric. “Fear was so great that even their grandparents and family members denied their responsibility to these three orphaned children,” shared Rev. Peter, the local pastor of the ACC&S church. Of course many people prayed for the situation, but when Mary David heard of the children’s plight, she could not turn away.

“I travelled to Kirinyaga and brought the children home with me,” shared Mary David, a member of the Munu ACC&S church. “I hadn’t even told my husband, who was away from home serving a church. But when I was travelling home and realized I had not spoken to him, I called him to tell what I had done.” She begins to laugh, “He came home. He was so surprised, and he came home right away.” The news was a great shock to Mary’s husband and family. Already a grandmother who had raised ten children of her own, Mary was not looking for  more children. “At first I thought it was too much. I had already raised my family -- now I was starting again. But later I felt that they are my own children.” Mary’s love for Ilene, Titus, and Eric is evident in the affection she shows them cuddling in her small country home and laughing in the garden. “I love my children,” shared Mary. “My desire is to see them healthy and one day when I am gone for them to support themselves. God is my reward. I pray that they will be well before I go to be with the Lord.”

Mary’s faith has had a deep impact on the children. “When my parents died I was so sad,” shared Titus. “But my new family believed more in God. I have grown in my faith. My prayer for my life is that I can grow closer to God... I am a good student, I get all Bs. Someday I would like to become an engineer or a business man,.. or maybe a lawyer.” Walking around the small farm, Titus and his younger brother Eric share with us how the Guardians of Hope have helped their family through paying school fees, training on better farming practices, and providing goats. But perhaps the greatest help has been the support and acceptance of an inclusive community of faith.

Photo: Visiting Guardians of Hope today with Erica and Melanie Waddell

Erica and Melanie Waddell visiting Guardians of Hope 
in the Rift Valley of Kenya

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Praying for Kenya - January 2013

The new year has begun in Kenya with steady showers. Erica and I are working at home today, battling stubborn colds, as the rain drizzles against our windows. We have had a busy start to 2013 as we connect with our ministry partners and colleagues in Muslim Ministry and the Guardians of Hope. Please remember the women of our Self Help Groups in Eastleigh who will be gathering together this month to look at the challenges of access to education for their daughters and ways to generate income for their families. Please also pray that we will find passionate volunteers to serve as community facilitators in two new communities in Nairobi where we are expanding Canadian Baptist Ministries’s urban Muslim ministry.

Kenyans will head to the polls on March 4th for a national election, the first under Kenyan’s new constitution, which was passed through a national referendum in 2010. The country is praying that this election will not lead to post-election violence, like that which erupted in January 2008. Canadian Baptist Ministries is working with our partner churches in Kenya to increase civic education and peace building initiatives in preparation for the elections. This coming week, we have representatives from 10 churches, that we are working with in Muslim Ministry in Garissa and Nairobi, attending peace training being organized by our colleagues Ruth Munyao, Pauline Kariuki, Gato Munyamasoko, and Yattani Gollo. Please keep these churches and the people of Kenya in your prayers over the next few months: In the words of Kofi Annan’s New Year address, "“My wish for Kenya in the year ahead is a commitment by all to a free, fair and credible election, and a government transition marked by peace and the rule of law”.

Thank you all so much for remembering our family and the work of CBM in Africa and around the world.