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.

01 February 2020

Classes Begin

Today we held our customary EABST family get-together at the beginning of the semester. I was so excited to meet a student who started with us last semester while I was in the States. He attended the luncheon with his wife and four children. He shared with me about how our Interpreting class, an introduction to hermeneutics, is affecting his life. His new skills in grasping the main idea and the big picture of the passages he studies is opening new vistas of understanding of the Scriptures. He and his wife shared how they are both benefiting in that he is sharing what he is learning with her. In turn, they are helping their children grow in their skill in reading the Scripture well. She is sharing with her ladies' Bible study at church, and he is teaching the youth group passage-by-passage using his new skills. It's thrilling to be part of what the Lord is doing for his people here in Nairobi!
This semester, I am teaching three classes. Interpreting 2 follows up on the class the student was discussing. This is where I get to introduce students to the original languages. They're already hard at work learning the Greek alphabet. I am also teaching Theology 1 where we piece together what God's Word says about itself, about God, and about Christ's person and work. Finally I'm teaching a class on the Latter Prophets, which includes Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve Minor Prophets. We'll be busy this semester! Keep us in prayer as we seek to teach God's Word and equip God's servants for his harvest fields.
Also pray that the Lord would continue to use our ministry to Emmanuel Baptist Church. Tomorrow we're starting a new series in the adult Bible study time on congregational counseling. Each one of us as church members is called to serve the body, to be "full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another" (Rom 15:14). May God grant grace that we may match that description for his glory.