Wednesday, January 25, 2017

She Matters in Machakos, Kenya

She Matters Reusable Sanitary Napkin Training
Machakos, Kenya

This week, three members of the Canadian Baptist Ministries' She Matters short term mission team in Rwanda joined us in Kenya. Together we travelled to meet with leaders from six of the Guardians of Hope groups of the Africa Brotherhood Church, as well as leaders from the ABC Community Development Department.

The purpose of the gathering was for the Canadian volunteers to help three leaders from each of the groups become trainers of trainers for understanding the importance of affordable sanitary pads for menstruating girls. Lack of access to sanitary pads is a major cause of school absenteeism throughout Africa.

The women learned how to make and care for reusable sanitary napkins as a way for their groups to assist girls in completing their education without missing school.

The Burt Sisters: Brenda, Sharlene, and Sharon

Sharon and Guardians of Hope Leaders

Carol, Geraldine, and Erica
Brenda teaching the ladies how to assemble 
Sharlene distributing materials
Aaron and I were so excited to see how delighted the ladies were to learn such a practical way to help the girls in their groups and communities. They will all be returning back to their communities with completed kits and the basic tools and training to continue.

Erica with one of the GOH children at the training
Please join us for praying for the ministry of the Guardians of hope, for these leaders, and for the children they are helping. You can learn more about the work of the Guardians of Hope and the She Matters program by visiting our website at

Training participants at the ABC Guesthouse, Machakos

Friday, January 20, 2017

Rosslyn Academy 2017 High School CFS

The High School CFS Caravan

More than a dozen buses were loading up early this morning, as the Rosslyn High School prepared for their annual "cultural field studies". CFS takes students and teachers to all points of Kenya for a week of service projects in remote villages. It is an incredible experience for our children and their friends as they live and work with diverse ethnic communities of Kenya.

Rosslyn Academy, Nairobi

Emma and her best friend Raelyn

Seeing our kids off

This is Tristan's last CFS as he heads toward his High School graduation in May. We are so thankful for the opportunities he and Emma have had as students at Rosslyn. 

Ready to go!

Celebrating with our Kenyan partners

African Christian Church and Schools Installation Service for
Rt. Rev. Jeremiah Ngumo Kiguru

On Sunday, January 15th, we represented Canadian Baptist Ministries at the installation service of new leadership for our oldest Kenyan partner church the ACC&S. It was a wonderful day of prayer and celebration as thousands of church members and guests came to show their support for the newly elected moderator and executive officers.

The Church's general council showed unprecedented support for Jeremiah Ngumo in the December 2016 elections that endorsed him and his new executive team. We have witnessed a great sense of anticipation and support throughout the Church for this new generation of leadership.

One of the many ACC&S choirs that participated in the worship service

Peaceful and positive transitions of leadership are an important sign of church health. In many African denominations, succession planning/process is a major issue of concern. It takes great humility and wisdom for denomination leaders to embrace and encourage emerging leadership within their churches. We are so thankful for the strong example of the ACC&S, who have demonstrated the excellence in this area of church governance.

Outgoing Moderator Rev. Joseph Maina Macharia
sharing his blessing and support for Jeremiah and his family

Dancing for the Lord

One of the highlights of the event was the ACC&S Kigumo boys choir that enticed Jeremiah and past moderators Julius Karanja and Joseph Maina to join them in dance. The entire assembly erupted in cheers as these distinguished ACC&S leaders threw themselves into the fun. 

Rev. Canon Peter Karanja, General Secretary Nation Council of Churches of Kenya
Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki, Africa Brotherhood Church

This weekend was also the launch of Archbishop Ndambuki's book The Seed, a story of the Christian heritage of the Kamba people. On Saturday, we joined over five thousand Africa Brotherhood Church members for a special service of dedication for the book which is being released this week.

Erica with Coptic Priest, Joseph

During both of this weekend's celebrations, it was a blessing to spend time getting to know other Christian leaders and clergy from Kenya's diverse community of Christian faith. Please join us in praying for the Church in Kenya that together we might strive toward unity and solidarity in the mission of God to bring hope and healing to the world.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Transforming Mission: Healing

A nurse from the SIMAHO outreach clinic
assisting a village elder in Bulla Pamoja

As you travel along the Tana River, South East of Garissa, the earth turns to pale sand and thorny scrub. Dome-shaped shelters of fabric and plastic sheets stretched over bowed sticks form the homes of the small bullas (villages). Somali herdsmen take their camels and goats through this area to reach the banks of the river, or to graze after the reluctant rains pass through, but most of the people living in these tiny communities are the invisible minority people of Kenya's Northeast. 

Often referred to as "shoulder tribes" people like the Waliwana and Munyoyaya are a forgotten people. Suffering marginalization and stigmatization, these landless communities squat along river banks and live in undeveloped areas like Bula Pamoja. Access to education and medical services are often great challenges.
"Bulla Pamoja is a village of 613 people, and the closest health facility is more than an hours walk away. For those who are not able to walk, such as the elderly and pregnant mothers, they turn to traditional herbal medicines. But these remedies have little effect. Lack of medical treatment has contributed to maternal deaths and high instances of preventable diseases. The need for immunizations, prenatal and postnatal care, and treatment for malaria were major needs when we first began to work here... Over the past five years, CBM has sponsored regular outreach clinics that come to villages like Bula Pamoja. People are examined and treated for ailments, referrals are made to the district hospital, new mothers are given support and care, and children receive vaccinations and deworming."
Geofrey Mwita

Village outreach health clinic

"This project has provided medical care to the Bulla Pamoja community," shared our colleague Geofrey. "Through their participation in the project, the general health of the community has improved. One of the major acheivements has been a drastic reduction of maternal deaths. From two women and five infants in two years to just two infants since 2015. People are talking about the change."
"I have lost all my pregnancies due to complications," shared Fatuma, a young mother living in the village. "My husband tried traditional midwifes and doctors to no avail. Thanks to God, I now have a child. I am so thankful to the regular post natal clinics I've received through the assistance of CBM. God bless you."
Our CBM colleagues William and Geofrey meeting with members of
this community earlier in 2016

In the future, the community hopes that the government will establish a permenant clinic in their village. They have seen the importance of trained doctors and nurses, and the impact of vacinations and medications for their children. Moreover, the clinics have provided the entire community with public health education that has helped them with disease prevention, nutrition, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, and malaria prevention.

Please pray for this community and our team as we advocate for long term solutions to improve access to medical care and treatment. 

We want to thank the many churches and individuals who have contributed to the success of these ministries in Northeastern Kenya. Your generous support is making a difference in the lives of many. If you would like to learn more about the work of Canadian Baptist Ministries in Kenya or around the world, please see our website at or follow this link to visit our information page of AIDS and Health Care.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Year Celebrations -- Bring Out the Kubbs!

New Year's Day -- 2017

This year we had the great pleasure of kicking off the New Year with some new and dear friends at a backyard Kubbs tournament in Nairobi (pronounced "Koobs"). Kubb's is a fun yard game where teams toss sticks in an attempt to knock over wooden blocks or "Kubbs" on an opponent's side. Once all of an opponents kubbs are knocked down, your team can try to topple the king who stands at the centre of the playing area.

Kubbs is a lot of fun and a great way to get to know your neighbours. We are very thankful for the chance to hang out with our friends Andrea, Alix, Makayla, Elana, and Andrea, Madeline and Eli. It was also a great time of getting to know our German neighbours.

Our team won our first battle, but that victory was a short-lived end to our success!

Try as we may, defeat was before us.

Watching our Kubbs fall

Our good friend "and nemesis" Andrea taking aim at our kubbs

Our gracious hostess, Marita

Christmas and New Year's marks the beginning of our summer here in Kenya and it is a great time to connect with friends. Backyard grilling, campfires, and games are some of the great joys of living in this community. 

Many of our neighbours are working in East Africa as part of humanitarian efforts to combat food insecurity and assist in areas of need. It is fascinating to learn about the wider work that churches and nongovernmental organisations are engaged within Kenya and our neighbouring countries.

Marita's husband, Markus, preparing the barbeque

German Sausages... of course!

Celebrating the victory!

As we reflect on this past year, we are so thankful for the friends and community that God has brought into our lives. 

Happy New year!

Our friends Madeline and Eli taking it all in!