Friday, June 27, 2014

On the Road in Eastern Canada

Tobique River, New Brunswick

Our home assignment tour continues in Atlantic Canada as we travel in the province of New Brunswick sharing about CBM’s partners and ministries in Africa. Since arriving, we have enjoyed wonderful gatherings with friends and supporters in Midland Baptist Church; Pembrook Baptist Church; Burtt’s Corner Baptist Church; Plaster Rock Baptist Church; Douglas Baptist Church; Hammon Valley Community Church; Young at Heart; and Grand Bay Baptist Church.

We’ve also had great visits with friends and family in Riverview, Sussex, Saint John, Fredericton, and today in Hampton. This weekend we will be returning to Moncton to speak at Lewisville Baptist Church and to connect with friends and supporters in the area.

Next week, Aaron will be travelling to Bathurst with Emma and Ava, and Erica and Tristan will be flying to British Columbia where Erica will be speaking about the ministry of the Guardians of Hope program as part of a missions conference in Penticton, in the province’s southern interior. 

Once Erica and Tristan return from British Columbia, we will be driving to Nova Scotia where we will be speaking at Mount Uniacke Baptist, Kentville Baptist, and New Minas Baptist Churches.


Please continue to pray for our family as we try to make the most of this short time in Canada. We are looking forward to some much needed family time with Aaron’s parents and siblings in Prince Edward Island, and a camping trip with Erica’s mom and sisters in New Brunswick.

Visiting with Erica’s sister, Lori, and her mom, Mary
in Riverview, New Brunswick 

Visiting today with Alden and Tracy Crain 
in Hampton, New Brunswick

In Prayer

Please continue to uphold our Africa team in your prayers. We have been in regular contact with many of our colleagues and partners in Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan. 

This past week, the first food relief distribution was completed in the community of Narus, in Western Equatoria, South Sudan. We are praying for Reverend Samuel Moyoko and his congregation who are on the front lines of this critical ministry.

Please pray for the security situation in Kenya. Especially remember our partner churches serving in the volatile communities of Garissa and Eastleigh where terror attacks continue to threaten the people we are serving.

We are also praying for our colleagues Randy and Elizabeth Legassie who will be completing their assignment in Kenya with the Africa Brotherhood Church in August. Presently, they are leading pastoral training seminars in Machakos and finishing up the term at the Eastern Kenya Integrated College.

Welcoming Janice and Jonathon Mills to the Canadian Baptist Ministries’ Africa Team the Mills are currently raising support as they prepare for ministry in Rwanda.

CBM Africa Team: Laura Muema

Laura Muema serving with CBM in Nairobi, Kenya

The Canadian Baptist Ministries Africa team is formed by Canadian and national staff serving alongside our local church partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Kenya. Each month on our blog, we are featuring one of our colleagues and the ministries that they are a vital part of. You can learn more about the work of CBM in Africa and around the world at

In the urban ghettos of Eastern Nairobi, CBM has been serving among displaced Muslim communities for about 16 years. Since 2008, adult literacy and self help group initiatives have been our primary interventions with these communities. We are deeply thankful for the great team who serve vulnerable families in these often volatile areas of Nairobi.

Our key leader in this ministry is Laura Muema who has served as CBMs project officer for urban Muslim ministry for nearly four years. Laura was recently awarded the Grace Berry Memorial scholarship in honour of the late Mrs. Grace Berry who served with her husband Rev. Bob Berry with CBM. Laura is presently working on her Masters degree in Nairobi while giving leadership to community outreach projects in the Eastleigh, Karibangi, Pangani, KyaMichael and Haruma estate of Nairobi. 

For anyone who has volunteered with us in Nairobi, they have no doubt been impacted by Lauras gentle spirit and infectious laughter.

“My first encounter/experience with CBM started in March, 2010 through the CBM project with the Presbyterian Church of East Africa’s Eastleigh Community Centre. I worked with the Somali community and got to understand their cultural and religious beliefs and values. Though there were and still are challenges with serving this community, God has given me His gifts of compassion and encouragement, giving me hope that I could share His love through word and deed. I have witnessed gradual changes in the Somali community socially, economically and spiritually. 

During my ministry with CBM, I have enjoyed interacting with women and men of Islamic faith, in building bridges of understanding, trust and friendship with them and in working toward positively changing their attitude on education, health and improving their livelihoods.

My faith has enabled me to continue in this ministry. Joshua 1:9 encourages me to be strong, courageous and not to fear as God guides me and will be with me wherever I go; Proverbs 16:3 reminds me to commit to the Lord whatever I do, and my plans will succeed; and James 2:14-26 tells me clearly that faith without deeds is dead! These scriptures have shaped my understanding of ministry.

I have found joy in being appreciated and accepted by the communities that I serve and have seen changes in attitude and aspects (social, economic, spiritual) of their lives. I have seen women and men build friendship and social networks in supporting each other in savings, doing business, discussing issues and ideas that can bring changes in their communities. I have also seen men and women learn English as a second language from level one onwards. This has led to improvement in communication between them and other community members, their employers and customers (for those who have businesses). They are also able to enjoy helping their children with homework.

Working and ministering in Nairobi is not without its challenges. We face insecurity in Eastleigh and generally throughout Nairobi where there have been many terror attacks over the past few years. Connected with this is the challenge of the instability of life for the community members with whom we serve, especially our Eastleigh Self Help group members who struggle with their immigration status in Kenya. This has caused Self Help Group members to drop out, as many are subject to deportation and relocation back to the refugee camps. 

Another challenge is limited space to engage in larger activities like agriculture. This is because most of the targeted communities live in slum areas where the houses are so small and so close to each other and without compounds or space to grow their own food. Poor sanitation and lack of water has also been a hindrance to communities taking up activities that could help them practice modern farming and healthy living.

I experience God at work and in the ministry through the changes that I see in the community I serve; In the courage that God has provided me to approach Islamic communities; and the compassion and heart to serve. I also experience God’s peace and protection even when I fear to go in to Eastleigh and move about in Nairobi. I experience God’s love when I get support from my team mates and leaders and especially when I am presented constantly with the opportunity to share this great love with vulnerable men, women and children of different religion and culture.

The Canadian Baptist churches can be praying for me For God’s love to always be shared to His people through me, for protection upon my life, family, loved ones, work-mates/colleagues, leaders and entire Kenyan nation. I would also like to request for prayers for the Church of Christ here in Kenya, that there may be Unity, Peace and Faithfulness.”

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ontario snap shots

The Toronto Skyline from our apartment in Lakeshore

We have been blessed over the past two weeks to have stayed with our good friends Don and Joy Hepburn in Stouffville, as well as with John and Virginia Keith in Lakefield. CBM also rented us an apartment near several of our colleagues homes in the Lakeshore community of Toronto.

 We are especially grateful to Don and Joy who have helped give our children a break from some of the traveling that we have had to do by having them crash at their home during some of our schedule.

On the way back to Stouffville with Don and Joy, from Campbellford Baptist

Introducing the North Burlington Mission team

CBM Alumni Ken and Diane Morgan who served in Kenya from 2004 to 2006.

Carleton Place Baptist Church

Tristan turns fifteen!!

Queen Ava of Love and Beauty with Terry, Heather and Caitlyn Smith at Medeival Times celebrating Tristan's 15th Birthday!

In Lakefield, Erica was very excited to meet Samantha, who has been a great supporter of the Guardians of Hope ministry in Africa. She has been making beautiful bracelets to raise money for the CBM Guardians of Hope project.

Visiting with the Pyes and their congregation in Campbellford, Ontario.

Visiting with Rev. Das Sydney and members of several women's groups from Kitchner and Waterloo.

Eaton Centre, Toronto

One of the highlights of our trip has been time to visit with John Keith and Ron award whom I (Aaron) have been interviewing as part of my doctoral research into CBM's initiatives in Kenya's North Eastern Province. 

As Ron and I met this past week in downtown Toronto, Erica took our kids to explore Eaton's Centre.

With CBM alumni Shirley McKnight who served in India

Erica with our colleague and friend Brenda Halk in Kitchener

The Kennys in England

Marching from the Royal Horse Guard Parade to Buckingham Palace for the rehearsal of the Queen's Birthday Celebration

In May, our family had a great few days of holiday in London, England, on our journey back to Canada. We rented a little apartment near Picadilly Circus and were able to walk to most of the famous sites and square of London’s West End. 

Ava helping daddy pick up breakfast at a local bakery

We had made a long list of things we were interested in seeing and doing in London, but hardly made a dent in it as each day was filled with so many unexpected highlights. It was wonderful to stroll around the neighborhoods and not feel constrained by any schedule. One of our favorite days was spent exporting Soho and Coventry Garden, and spending an afternoon with our kids at the incredible Hamley's Toy Store.

Buckingham Palace

Great street side cafes!

Ava meets the Lego version of Her Majesty at Hamley's

Being great Harry Potter fans, the must see destination for our children was the Warner Bros. Studio Tour of the Magical World of Harry Potter. Not only were we transported into the original sets, the kids were able to fly brooms on green screens, try their hand at a wizard's duel, and see the props and animatronics created for the movies. 

Visiting the Gryfindor common room and dormitory of Hogwarts Castle

Diagon Alley

Prof. Snapes potions classroom

We had a wonderful few days, enjoying our incredible children.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


We arrived in Toronto, Ontario, for our home assignment with Canadian Baptist Ministries on May 22. Over the next ten weeks we will be speaking at churches and connecting with family, friends and supporters from British Columbia to Nova  Scotia.

On our journey back from Kenya, we had the opportunity to enjoy four great days in London, England, with our children. 

Outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square

It was a great time to spend with Tristan, Emma and Ava after such a busy year in Africa. Among the highlights was the hop on and off double decker tour of the city, the views from the London Eye, marching with the Royal guard up Birdcage to Buckingham Palace, and exploring the wonders of Hamley's Toy Store with our kids. The other BIG destination for our family was the Warner Bros studio tour of the Harry Potter movie sets and props. It was a lot of fun!

Arriving in Canada, we were greeted at the airport by our good friends Don and Joy Hepburn, and Sharlene Craig. After two days of getting over jetlag and running errands, we began our speaking schedule intermixed with office days with our colleagues in Mississauga. 

We have been overwhelmed by the love and support that we have received from the congregations and mission groups that we have met with already. From our first Sunday in North Burlington Baptist to  midweek gatherings in church halls and backyard barbecues we have found people graciously welcoming and keenly interested in the ministry that we are apart of in Africa.

Visiting with CBM alumni John and Virginia Keith in Lakefield, Ontario

In two short weeks, we have had the joy of visiting churches and groups in North Burlington, Jerseyville and Birch, Barrie, Carleton Place and Smith Falls, Lakefield, Campbellford, Uxbridge, Scarborough, and today we travelled to Sarnia as we speak on Sunday morning at Wyoming Baptist and in the evening at Forrest Baptist Church.

Please keep us in your prayers as we travel as a family. We are looking forward to being a part of the annual assembly of the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec, before flying to Moncton, New Brunswick, on June 14.

We will be returning to Ontario on August 5 enroute to Kenya. God willing, we should be back in Nairobi by August 10 for our children to return to school.