Sunday, September 28, 2014

Back in the water!

Emma’s first Swim Meet of 2014

Being back to school, our children are also happy to return to sports and extracurricular fun at Rosslyn Academy. Both Emma and Ava are swimming this fall on the Rosslyn Swim Team. This weekend was Emma’s first Middle and High School meet with Peponi School here in Nairobi.

She did fantastic winning first place in two of the events and second place in three others. We are very grateful for coaches Jon Hravatic and Mindy Seeman for the encouragement and strong coaching that they are providing the students. Our girls are having a great time!

Erica warming Emma up after the races

All three our our children are also very involved in choir and drama. The choral season will soon be upon us with concerts and the high school play in November. 

Please remember our children and their friends in your prayers. Rosslyn Academy is home to hundreds of young people who are going through times of great transition. We are thankful for the wonderful teachers and staff who provide such an important ministry to our family and so many others.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

CBM Africa: Partnership


Serving in partnership is a powerful way of enabling the Church in its many manifestations to pursue a common vision. Certainly working together allows us as Canadian Baptists to achieve more than we could on our own. But the real bedrock of partnership is the fact that it brings us into deeper fellowship with other members of the family of God. 

As Canadian Baptists, we have called this experience global discipleship. It is the mutual learning, encouragement and edification that is born out of walking side by side, shoulder to shoulder, with our international partner churches. Learning with and from one another, everyone is made stronger in our pursuit of deepening our Christian faith and witness.

This past week, Erica and I had the joy of meeting with four of the African denominational leaders who are an integral part of the ministry of Canadian Baptists in Africa.

Meeting at Heart Lodge, Nairobi

Canadian Baptist Ministries is currently working with partner churches in the areas of capacity building, cross-cultural ministry, evangelism, theological education, literacy and education, HIV and AIDS, food security, relief and community development.

During our meetings, we discussed opportunities for multilateral collaboration as partner churches come along side each other. Eight key areas of priority were identified, namely: Human Resource Management; Theological Education; Peace and Reconciliation; Children’s Ministry; Inter-Religious Dialogue; Gender and Women’s Ministry; Marriage and Family Ministries; and Financial Management.

Please join us in praying for our partner churches.

Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki
Africa Brotherhood Church (ABC)
Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo

“In the past, women within our church had been trained as “sisters”. They could become secretaries, teachers and even preachers. But now in the past three-years, we have ordained 300 women pastors. Of our total 648 pastors, now nearly half are women. There are now two women canons of the church and in these last three-years women are now on the governing council. Of the 45 members, 15 are women. These are important changes in our church.”

Please pray for the ABC as the church seeks to strengthen its congregations and communities through the empowerment of women. In the words of Charles Malik, “The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.”

Executive Minister Rev. Dr. Kakule Molo
Community of Baptists of Central Africa (CBCA)
Democratic Republic of Congo

“We are thankful to God. Our country has gone through reoccurring wars, but one year ago one of the most difficult rebel movements, M23, was defeated... Recently we had a conference for 700 of our pastors. Trauma healing is a major need in our church. There are so many victims of rape. In my home church alone we are helping 3200 women and children born of rape. Most of our congregation has been traumatized. Even our pastor was recently kidnapped by bandits, but he escaped.”

Please pray for the CBCA as its churches provide medical and emotional healing through their 155 medical facilities, as well as their education programs and churches.

Moderator Rt. Rev. Joseph Maina
African Christian Church and Schools

“Planting new non-Kikuyu churches is a major initiative of the ACC&S. Our goal is to establish ten new churches in the next three years. Already in 2014 we have had success. There are four new churches already planted this year and we have two new start ups that are not fully established yet... God is building the church so quickly that now we see the need for more trained pastors!"

Please pray for the work of church planting and pastoral training for the ACC&S. Theological education and cross-cultural ministry are two important growing edges for the church.

Legal Representative Rev. Gato Munyamasoko
Association of Rwandan Baptist Churches (AEBR)

“One of the new initiatives in the AEBR is cell group ministries. A cell group is usually twenty people at the household level. In Kinyarwanda we say “The House Where People Share”. It is a movement that brings people together for praying, sharing, and learning. Church members organize their groups in the community and invite their neighbours. In Rwanda the groups also save money together and make sure that everyone is able to be apart of the national health insurance program.”

Please pray for the outreach ministries of the AEBR as they train leaders and group facilitators in their new cell group ministries throughout the country.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

CBM Urban Muslim Ministries Team

Lucky, Patrick, Erica, Aisha and Laura

In the Nairobi communities of Eastleigh, Pangani, Haruma, KyaMichael, and Kariobangi, Canadian Baptist Ministries has several initiatives that are strengthening the lives of displaced Muslim groups who have come to the city to find a better life.

We are so thankful to our colleagues Laura, Patrick, Aisha, Lucky, Andrew and Alamu who make up the CBM urban outreach teach. Together they are leading adult literacy classes, self help group programs, livelihood training and children’s education scholarships. Recently, the self help group program has been distributing ceramic water filters and training households on the importance of clean drinking water. We are very appreciative of the generous contributions through the annual CBM Gift Catalogue that have provided hundreds of families with clean drinking water in the urban slums of Nairobi.

Urban ministry is about connecting with people and their stories. It is about drawing people into community where they discover identity and meaning. Over the past eight years, we have been continually blessed by the incredible people that we have had the joy of serving in urban centres like Nairobi, Kigali, Goma, Juba, Mombasa, Garissa, Thika and Machakos. These are important hubs of their societies. Places where people of diverse backgrounds gather. Places where the hope of God in Christ transforms lives.

In an urban context we work with a multiplicity of cultures, religious backgrounds, economic status, and world views. But what we bring into it is the beautiful message of grace and acceptance. We believe that if God’s love is for anybody anywhere, then it is for everybody everywhere! 

Please pray for the CBM urban team in Nairobi. Everyday we face complex and overwhelming problems of poverty, injustice, and violence. Our team asks for wisdom and discernment as we seek to make the best use of our limited resources for the good of the people we serve. Please pray for the safety of our team and the communities that we serve as crime, terrorism and ethnic violence are major vulnerabilities. 

We thank God that we are not on this journey alone. That each and every day we know that God is with us and that God loves the people of Nairobi far more deeply and profoundly than we could ever imagine.

"Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. 
It is an act of justice” — Nelson Mandela

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Kamp Tumaini -- Joyful in Hope!

Excited for Kamp Tumaini

Today we had the pleasure of meeting with the Kenya leadership team for the upcoming camping ministry for the Guardians of Hope (GOH), the international HIV and AIDS program of Canadian Baptist Ministries and our church partners. In Kenya the camps will be a joint effort with our friends and partners in the African Christian Church & Schools and Africa Brotherhood Church.

Our theme for the first summer of camp is “Joyful in Hope”. From August 9th to August 23rd, 2015, thirty Canadian volunteers will be paired with thirty Kenyan youth leaders as they serve as counsellors and camp leaders. Each camp will provide a fun and loving environment for the orphans and vulnerable children of the GOH to experience spiritual, psychological and social growth.

Our colleague Maureen Morgan, who is coordinating the camp initiative, hosted our planning meeting today at her home in Nairobi. Erica and I are excited to be working with the Africa Brotherhood Church in preparation for their first two camps. Today we covered a lot of important administrative and logistic details, and began to shape the camp program.

The team is very enthusiastic and the energy spilled over into a lot of fun as we enjoyed some songs and games over our lunch break.

We are very excited to soon connect with the first wave of Canadian volunteers who are being selected in October for the 2015 August camps.

Please join us in praying for the volunteers and campers that God will be leading to Kamp Tumaini. Camping ministry has had a powerful impact upon our lives personally, and we are confident that God will use this ministry approach to touch the lives of many. That in Christ we will be joyful in hope!

2015 Kamp Tumaini Leadership Team

Laura, Pauline, Maureen, Patrick, Aaron, Erica, 
Samuel, Geraldine, Henry, Patrick, William, 
Heric, Judith and Wayne

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Romans 12:12

You can learn more about Kamp Tumaini by visiting 
our CBM website at

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wasini Getaway!

Sunrise at Diani Beach, Kenya

This past week, Erica and I had a wonderful getaway on the coast of Kenya. We are so thankful for our good friend Melanie who moved in with our kids and enabled us to enjoy this week of holiday together. We are also glad that our friends Wayne and Maureen Morgan were able to join us over the weekend with their son Michael. It was a beautiful place to enjoy with friends!

Exploring Wasini Island on the border of Kenya and Tanzania

We relaxed in the small community of Ukunda and had great adventures exploring the beautiful Kisite marine park and Swahili communities of Wasini Island. Sailing on traditional dows and snorkelling on the reef were amazing. One of the highlights was meeting pods of dolphins on our trips around the island. We were also blessed to have a sea turtle swim with us one morning while we were snorkelling on the reef.

Tourism is a major industry for Kenya, but over the past year the country has suffered greatly from security threats that have kept many tourists away. On Kenya’s southern coast alone, over 5000 workers have been "let go” as hotels, restaurants, and tourist centres cut back. Recently Jonathan and Angie Scott, of "Big Cat Diaries” fame, have been calling people to visit Kenya. Scott argues that tourism is vital to both Kenya’s economy and its conservation efforts. Without travellers bringing much needed money into Kenya’s marine and wildlife parks, there is not enough resources, or incentive, to protect Kenya’s natural wonders.

Erica with our local guide, Jumo, 
at one of the historic mosques in Wasini

Living in Africa has been a blessing to our family in so many ways, but we are continually amazed by the incredible people that we meet and become friends with along our journey. Over the past week, we have met several wonderful people who have shared with us their love for life and the people of their community. Above all, every where we went we met people who are praying for Kenya. Praying for peace. Praying for rain. Praying for God to heal the brokenness that they have experienced.

One of our most memorable moments from the week was sailing with a group of about 25 strangers in boat on some pretty choppy seas. Out of no where one man pulled out an empty water can and started beating out a song. Soon another man jumped up with a coke bottle and an old nail, tapping out a rhythm as people joined in. The minutes fades away as everyone laughed and sang together. We weren’t strangers anymore.

"Pamoyo Pa Mtima"

Swahili Proverb

"If the heart loves a place, 
it's a good place for the heart."

Monday, September 15, 2014

CBM Africa Team: Andrew and Alamu

Andrew Rob and Alamu Liban
serving in the CBM Adult Literacy Project, Nairobi

A major part of Canadian Baptist Ministries’ work in Kenya is our outreach ministries in the Muslim majority areas of both Nairobi and the North Eastern Province. In the urban centre of Nairobi, our project officer Laura Muema coordinates various community development ministries with church and community partners in the Eastlands estates of Eastleigh, Haruma, Pangani and Kariobangi. 

We are thankful for the many team members that are a part of this important ministry in helping to strengthen local churches in their ministry with their Muslim neighbours.

Today we are excited to share with you a brief interview that Laura recently had with two of our adult literacy teachers working with CBM’s partners in the urban slum area of Kariobangi. Both Andrew and Alamu are genuine guys who are examples of what it means to live out the Christian faith in word and in deed.

      Laura: Thank you for taking the time be interviewed today. I know how busy it is between classes. Can you tell us what you feel are the best parts of your Ministry with the literacy classes?

Andrew: Serving the community through a Christian organization has been the best part of my ministry with the literacy class. I can relate to my walk with Christ and serve the community with the aim of sharing God’s love and developing them in literacy which I know will eventually change their lives in other ways. Also, seeing the commitment of the students from the church and community encourages me and makes me enjoy teaching.

Laura:  Alamu, I know that you have told me how being raised by a single mother has helped you to respect women. What has it been like teaching the all women’s classes?

Alamu:  As much as I teach them English, I also learn from them. They are experienced in many aspects of life and I enjoy learning from, working with and serving the women who attend my classes. I love teaching. The women’s passion and commitment to learning moves me and encourages me to work every day. 

I really find it fun teaching the women new words and phrases. It is especially fun when the words are almost the same as in their language as the students find it funny and interesting.

      Laura:  How have you seen the transformation in the people attending your literacy classes?

      Andrew: I have seen quite a transformation in my students: They have gained confidence to participate in class as opposed to when they first started. They can now read and write simple words and sentences and even draw. Some of the students have bought and can read their Bibles. Those with businesses can comfortably understand and communicate with their customers.

Alamu: I have seen many changes in the lives of my students. They have transformed academically, most of the students are learning fast and well. They can now read and write and are even using their knowledge of English in their businesses and places of work, and also in relating with other people in the community. 

Socially, the students are bonding with their children at home, taking part in their homework and having fun using English words and phrases with their families. They are also friendlier in class and interacting with each other which was not the case in the beginning. 

Economically, the women can now understand how to bank their money from their businesses and group activities and also how to sign on important documents concerning their finances. 

Spiritually, they are able to communicate in church and even read and understand the bible.

Laura: What are the greatest challenges facing the people you are serving?

Andrew: Some of the challenges facing my students are: Poverty. Some students lack concentration in class, as they have many worries about their lack of school fees for their children and even at times rent.

Another issues is insecurity. The level of crime in Kariobangi is high. At times we have to end classes earlier for those that live further from school as it is not safe to walk at night. Also, some students are business people and fear theft of their products/goods/livestock. 

Religious differences is another issue. I mean the differences between the Islamic and Christian communities and also between Christians of different churches and denominations. However, the classes and Self Help Groups have brought the people together and slowing fading the differences away.

Alamu: Most of the challenges faced by the women in my class are: Some women find it hard and challenging to attend class since they have no one to leave their children with at home. So, at times are not consistent with class. Those that work are willing, but find it difficult to attend classes as well. 

There are some slow in class. Others join and find fellow students ahead in the curriculum and find it difficult to catch up. There is need for makeup/special classes. Expectant mothers also find it hard to be consistent with classes and thus fall behind in class. The women are sometimes withdrawn and do not open up. At times their children get sick, other times there is no one to watch their children at home and are these cause them to be absent from class. 

Other women will bring their small children with them, but I am very concerned about the filthy environment. There are open sewage trenches all around us and some mothers who bring their children to school will leave them outside to play in the sewage and unclean surrounding.

      Laura: How can Canadian churches specifically pray for you?

Andrew: I am requesting prayers for peace in Kenya; for love and unity to prevail, for the growth and interaction of the churches of Christ in Kariobangi, for eradication of poverty in the community.

Alamu: On a personal level, also pray for me to excel in my studies and for God to strengthen and encourage me in my work and walk with Him. I am requesting the Canadian churches to pray for me for patience to handle all the issues in the class and outside class, for my family’s well being and safety, my success as I am the sole bread winner of my family (mother, myself and sister) and mostly for God to bless CBM in abundance for their continuous support in the literacy project in Kariobangi.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

September 2014 Update Letter

You can now read our most recent update letters on line. They are a more detailed way for us to share some of the stories of the ministry that we are a part of with CBM in Africa.
Link Here

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

CBM Africa Team: Ruth Munyao

Ruth Munyao in Nairobi, Kenya

Food insecurity is one of the most critical issues facing Sub-Saharan Africa. Among our main areas of intervention, Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) works to enhance sustainable conservation agriculture in order to strengthen local churches and communities. We are so thankful that this crucial area for sustainable well being is being led within our Africa team by our colleague Ruth Munyao.

Ruth coordinates all of our CBM and Canadian Food Grains Bank (CFGB) projects with our African partner churches, primarily in Kenya, Rwanda and Eastern Congo. As our CBM food security specialist, Ruth brings a high level of education from her Masters degree in environmental development, as well as decades of experience working with both government ministries and faith based organizations in several countries.

Over the past few years, Ruth has also coordinated annual agronomist trainings between Canadian volunteer specialists and our project officers and field workers. In addition, Ruth’s passion for professionalism and excellence has strengthened food security hubs within East Africa where the efforts of several international NGO’s and local organizations come together for collaboration.

For anyone who has visited CBM’s work with agro-forrestry and conservation farming, they have no doubt been impacted by Ruth’s contagious joy and her love for people.

We are very happy to share with you some of a brief interview we recently had with Ruth.

"I was brought up in a small rural home in Kenya where agriculture played an important contribution to the livelihood of the people. My family kept Christian values, had respect for human life and believed in hard work. 

My passion is to have a family become food secure and stop living at the mercy of someone else’s “pocket”.  

The verse in John 15:8a,“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear MUCH fruit……” tells us not just to do things casually (which everyone is doing) but to bear “much” fruit. This verse encourages me to think objectively, live independently and work with the spirit of “above average” without giving room to mediocrity.

My joy is to see a smile on a mother’s face as her children get enough food to eat and sustain their small bodies. My joy is in mentoring the young people who work as field supervisors and see them take charge of their lives as they lead communities to great transformation.

Some of the main challenges that people I work with face are the extreme climate changes which have discouraged the farmers despite the trainings that are given on improved crop husbandry practices. We face major setback as farmers work on climate change adaptation practices, sometimes in vain. 

We need integrated interventions to make farmers more resilient to the shocks of climate change. Women contribute over 70% of the food produced in Africa without much recognition from their families, their church and their governments. Together with other NGO networks, we still struggle to bring into light the plight of the African woman."

How have you seen God at work in your ministry?

"God has been our protector and shield amongst some of our field staff who have been through years of war and uncertainties. 

There are times such farmers left their homes to sleep in the forest area so that they escape the wrath of rebels as they trekked across the land in eastern Congo. Being a tropical forest area with lots of rain, families with small babies suffered sleepless nights which resulted to malaria and many diseases. God is faithful because Christians across Canada and Africa prayed, we saw victory at the beginning of the year as rebels withdrew, calm returned to the land and families went back to their homes.

North Eastern province of Kenya is a desert area with little and most times, no water is available for domestic use as well as for their livestock. Since time immemorial, Kenya has been known as a water scarce area. However in October last year, in Turkana county, northern Kenya, two powerful water aquifers were discovered with so much water (they say enough water to sustain Kenya for the next 70 years) out of nowhere. How else are we going to see God at work if not with such miracles?

How can our friends and churches be praying for you and your ministry?  

·      "Pray for peace in Africa. Pray for families who have members with terminal diseases and may not access medical care. Pray for appropriate interventions to hasten the climate change adaptation in the region. Especially, pray for rains which help us produce enough food. Kenya’s inflation has risen from 7.67% (July 2014) to 8.36% (August 2014) due to the poor rains of the last season. Kenya needs rain.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

CBM Team Meetings in Africa

Meeting with the Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) 
Kenya team in Nairobi, Kenya 

This past week, Erica and I had the joy of meeting with our Canadian and national field staff in both Rwanda and Kenya. The longer we serve in Africa, we appreciate the fact that CBM and our partner churches are more than people with a mission, but people on a mission. Day by day, our colleagues and partners are living out holistic faith in community: strengthening local churches in participating in the transforming work of hope and healing through their words and their deeds.

Each of our colleagues are working in different areas of focus within our ministry partnerships. Over the next few months, we are planning on featuring a short interview with each of our team members to help you get a wider picture of the work of Canadian Baptist Ministries in Africa. We are very much aware that the ministries that we are apart of are directly connected to our friends and supporting churches in Canada. We are on this journey together!


In Nairobi, we shared a great day yesterday with our colleagues Ruth Munyao, Pauline Kariuki, and Wayne & Maureen Morgan. In the words of Pauline, “We are very thankful for God’s care and protection.” The security situation in Kenya has reminded us of the importance of supporting and caring for one another.

In Prayer
Please pray for the work of the Guardians of Hope (GOH) with the ACC&S and ABC churches in Kenya. As we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Guardians of Hope, there are three important new areas that you can be praying for:
(1) In October, the Kenyan GOH leaders will be travelling with Erica to Addis, Ethiopia to participate in training on “Gender and Human Rights in HIV and AIDS Education”. This will be the first step in a deliberate move increase the intentionality and effectiveness of the GOH in addressing gender and inequity issues in combatting the spread of HIV and AIDS, as well as in the support of people living positively with HIV.

(2) This November will be the launch of a new initiative to enhance the pycho-social support within the groups. Our key GOH leaders from Kenya and Rwanda will be introduced to the "Groups of Hope" approach developed by our colleague Faith Holwyn 

(3) Kamp Tumaini is an exciting new initiative of the Kenyan GOH projects. For the next three summers, orphans and vulnerable children within the GOH groups will be attending a summer camp program designed to share God’s love and support as Kenyan and Canadian volunteers provide mentorship and encouragement. Please pray for wisdom in the selection of volunteer camp counsellors and leaders as we receive applications for the camps.

Please also remember our team in your prayers. You can follow along with the Morgans through their blog at


In Kigali, we spent several days with our new colleagues Jonathan and Janice Mills, their son Robert, and the CBM Rwanda team, including Andre Sibomana, and Darrell & Laura Lee Bustin.

The Mills family have found a rental home are beginning to settle in very well.  Robert has started school and mom and dad are beginning to master driving on the steep and often narrow roads of Rwanda.

The Bustins, who have also just returned from Canadian home assignment, are in their last four months of part-time language study, and very involved in theological education, evangelism, and short term missions in Rwanda.

You can follow along with the Mills on their journey with CBM in Africa through their blog at and the Bustin family through their blog at

Janice Mills and Erica in Kigai, Rwanda
In Prayer
Please remember the Mills family as they begin their life and ministry in Rwanda. We are praying that their family will continue to feel at home and settled in Kigali, and that they will enjoy deepening relationships with our ministry partners and colleagues. Both Jonathan and Janice bring wonderful spirits of compassion and inclusion. We are so thankful to God for the blessing of new friends and colleagues.

We pray for Darrell and pastor Nathan’s work in helping the Rwandan Association of Baptist Churches (AEBR) in strengthening its ministries of discipleship and church growth. Please remember them over the coming months as they work on integrating a community evangelism program called “E3" into the over all outreach ministries of the AEBR. We are very excited for the prospect of a AEBR/CBM/E3 partnership and short term mission project in 2015.

Please join us in praying for the AEBR as it works with the Rwandan Education Board in assessing its secondary schools and teacher professional development programming. This is an area of the ministry of the AEBR that CBM has invested in over the past five years. We are prayerfully walking with the AEBR in the discernment of the next chapter of this important ministry.

Meeting with the CBM Rwanda team in Kigali