30 June 2020

As Strangers and Pilgrims

We're grateful for your continued prayer for us during this difficult time. The Lord has continued to show his faithfulness to us in keeping us safe and healthy. Jen continues to keep the boys to their schooling schedule, and I'm finishing up my record-keeping tasks for EABST. One new item this month is the opportunities that we've had to meet in groups of 2–4 people on our apartment balcony. It has been so energizing and refreshing to meet and talk with other believers in person.

Please pray for us that the Lord would grant us wisdom as we seek to disciple other believers.
Please pray for the Kenyan government. They are set to announce early next week when and how churches will be allowed to regather.
Pray also for the pastors at Emmanuel Baptist Church as we seek to shepherd God's flock here even while we're scattered. Pray that we'll be able to wisely manage regathering when the Lord provides for that.
This season has served to reinforce for us how the Lord is our dwelling place and that this age is passing. Here and now is not our home; we are strangers and pilgrims.
Thank you for your continued partnership in the gospel and again for your prayers.

30 May 2020

Checking In

One of my main responsibilities as one of the pastors at Emmanuel Baptist Church during the pandemic lockdown has been calling some of the members of the church to check in with them. While we are all longing for the regathering of the saints after this season, I have enjoyed the opportunity to connect or reconnect with our members. Often I have been encouraged, sometimes even rebuked in my own walk, as I have heard how folks are battling for joy and hope in God. Pray for us as pastors as we seek to shepherd during this time, and pray that as a church we would remain steadfast in our commitment to Christ and our covenant with one another.
We've finished our online classes at EABST, so now I have a pile of grading to do before closing the books on the semester. Pray for diligence and for skill in using project assessment as one last opportunity for learning.
Along those lines we have made the difficult decision—with the counsel of pastors on both side of the ocean—to put EABST into hiatus for a time. While much goes into a decision like this, the needs of our local churches are the single greatest factor. Pray that the Lord would provide wisdom about how and when to reopen. While this is not what we envisioned, I am grateful for the opportunity to invest more directly and attentively to training future leaders within our local church.

03 May 2020

For a Little While

Not much has changed here in Nairobi since our last update. EABST has resumed its classes but in an online format. EBC is still unable to gather as a body. In the meantime, we as a church are seeking to disciple one another using a variety of means, mostly concentrated on the apostle Peter's first letter. There we read that the body of Christ "for a little while…had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials" (1:6). We're so glad to have this little letter to encourage us in our journey as "elect exiles" (1:1).
While total lockdown is not really a possibility in Kenya, we’re as close to that as can be managed. Since I teach at a school and am one of the pastors at our church, restrictions on public gatherings have made a significant portion of my normal work more complicated. Our reported COVID-19 numbers are comparatively low so far (It’s hard even to make comparisons, for each eternal soul is of immeasurable value!), but the economic impact here in Kenya will be deep and probably long-lasting.
Please keep the following prayer requests before our Lord:

  • Pray that our city and this nation would be awakened to their need for deliverance from God's wrath and for the forgiveness of sins and newness of life found in Jesus.
  • Pray for energy for the work of ministry when everything is done at a distance. I personally find my meetings and classes much more draining online than in person.
  • Pray that Emmanuel Baptist Church would continue to grow in maturity as the pastors seek to equip members to do the work of ministry—encouraging, instructing, admonishing, and teaching one another.
  • Pray that God would continue to protect and provide for our family.
  • Pray that the proven genuineness of our faith would be displayed during this time of testing so that in the end Christ would receive the honor (1 Pet 1:7).

31 March 2020

"And Pray for Us, Too"

When Paul taught the Colossian believers about their place in the Great Commission, he told them to devote themselves "to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too" (Col 4:2). We know this season of uncertainty has made clear to many of our church partners how dependent we all are on our Creator for economic stability, for daily health and provision, and even for our very ability to breathe. You have been in our prayers, and we ask that you would pray for us, too.
Here are some requests I've mentioned to a church partner or two during this season of peculiar providence:

  • Pray for Nairobi and for Kenya that this would be an opportunity for the self-sufficient to realize their need and to seek the Lord. Pray that even in this season of social distancing, "that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ" (again Col 4:2). Pray also that God would spare us from widespread illness.
  • Pray for our church. Nairobi is not quite under complete lockdown, but church meetings are banned. Many are living from day to day and don’t really have the option of staying home from work, but they are nevertheless finding that work has fled from them. Pray that the Lord would provide. Pray for us as pastors that we would know how best to shepherd the flock while we are scattered.
  • Pray for our pastors' school. The government has wisely stopped all school meetings. We understand that there are more urgent matters to attend to right now, but we yearn to continue this work of training men for ministry and to finish the school term that we began in January.
  • Pray for our family that the Lord would continue to protect and provide for us during this time. We are not too anxious, and life has been going smoothly still (though radically different from normal). Pray that we are able to continue to serve well here during a very abnormal time.
Your consistent prayers for us are a constant encouragement to us.