29 July 2020

Resuming

Again and again we are reminded of the Lord's faithfulness to us through you. We're grateful for your partnership in the gospel and for your continued prayers on our behalf.
We are also grateful that the Lord has allowed us to begin regathering! Due to travel, which I completed just before we went on lockdown, it had been over twenty weeks since I had been able to gather with Emmanuel Baptist Church. At this point we are limited to 100 attendees for a 1 hour meeting, so we're far from back to normal, but it is so good to worship with the Lord's people on the Lord's Day. Please continue to pray for wisdom as we seek to obey our governmental authorities as well as honor the Lord during this time.
The number of cases of the coronavirus in Kenya continues to escalate. A few members have become ill; at least one has recovered, and others have active cases. We could definitely still use your prayers.
Please also pray for me as I take on a few new responsibilities around EBC. I have recently been able to join the service planning team and will be preaching a couple of weeks from now.

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).