Update from Africa Nazarene University

April 18, 2008 at 7:59 am 2 comments

Mambo yanaendeleaje? (How are things going?)

“May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children. May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:16-17)

I hope this has been a good week for you. It has been one of study here. Since students have been in the midst of exams and there have been no chapels, Mary Jane and I have been busy working on lesson plans for the nest trimester and I have been trying to firm up a chapel speaker schedule. It’s kind of nice to just do some office work for a time. We know the busy days are not far off.

There is one bad thing about being a missionary. It seems like we are continually saying goodbye to someone. We said goodbye to our families and friends when we left the US. We said goodbye to new friends we had just made from Virginia and Indiana last Saturday after they had spent some time touring the campus. We said goodbye this week to new and dear friends, Dr. John and Laurie Stewart, from Los Angeles. Tonight we will say goodbye to Jon and Sally Mellinger and their children Adrian, Michal, and Sam as they return to the US for their three month home assignment. We will also say goodbye tonight to Becca Nelson and Jeanette Bradshaw from the US as they return home. Add to this the students who have left the campus for the trimester break and those who are graduating and we are saying goodbye an awful lot. I guess it goes with the territory, but it seems like we say “kwa herini” (goodbye) as much as we say “jambo” (hello).

Having said that, we are making plans to be away over the next few weekends. This Sunday we will be visiting a church with some of our students on the outskirts of Nairobi that we have not been to before. Next week we will be at a missionary field conference in Limuru (which will probably cause our post to this newsletter to come out the following Monday), and the following weekend I will be speaking at a pastor’s conference for the Riff Valley District on Saturday and Sunday. Then, school will be upon us again and we will settle back into more of a regular pattern, although it looks like my traveling and speaking schedule is going to be taking me off campus more than in the past on weekends.

I have been walking more these days and even trying to jog a little. The weather has been beautiful, but we really need rain. It might mess up my exercise plans, but if we don’t get the usual rains from the long rainy season, which we are in now – with no rain – then it’s going to be a long dry time until November. Anyway, my walks take me through the outskirts of Ongata Rongai and daily I pass young boys playing soccer, while cows, goats, and sheep roam freely, and continual building is going on in the area. It does break my heart to see welders welding without masks, women and children hauling for some distance five gallon containers of water on their heads, and people walking everywhere – not just for exercise like me, but just as a means to get anywhere. There are very few cars here compared with the population.

Transportation has been a problem for a lot of folks lately. Though most rejoice over the fact that a new cabinet has finally been sworn in for the national government, there are still some groups that are blocking roads with burning tires and generally causing chaos with the regular matatu (van) and bus systems. I heard this week from some of the teachers here that there is a marked downturn in many grades this trimester – no doubt because of the great crisis this country has been through over the past few months. It’s hard to concentrate on studies when life at home or among relatives have been disrupted or obliterated by violence. There are still hundreds of thousands of displaced people in Kenya living in government camps. Almost everyone has some relative or some one close to them who has been directly affected.

I just read these statistics in the news yesterday. The average wage here in Kenya is $400 per year. The newly elected government cabinet, just sworn in yesterday, makes $18,000 per month and their assistants make just over $15,000 per month, plus there are a lot of perks that are not included in that number.  You can see why some people were upset with the recent elections. There is a wide, wide gap between the “haves” and the “have nots.” It’s going to take some time for all that wealth to “trickle down” to where the average person lives.

Still, we are grateful the Lord has brought us through another trimester and we can continue planning for the future. One thing teaching Church History reminds me about is the ups and downs through the centuries of the progress of the Kingdom of God. The best is still yet to come.

So, that’s about it for now. Have a wonderful weekend – and be a blessing to someone around you. They need you to be.

Kwa herini (Goodbye)!

Randy and Mary Jane James
Africa Nazarene University
Nairobi, Kenya

 

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Update From Africa Nazarene University Update from Africa Nazerene University

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alexia  |  April 18, 2008 at 10:44 am

    So glad to hear you are both well! I was thinking about all the “displaced” people (that’s such a genteel word for people ripped from their homes, their jobs, their families, their whole way of life) and I wondered if you could comment on the best way for Americans to help such groups. I think many of us distrust government and IO organizations that deliver aid only to see it stolen by already rich leaders or warlords. Being on the ground, what do you think is the best way to help the people?

    You remain in our prayers,

    Alexia

    Reply
  • 2. Toni  |  April 19, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    It sure was good to talk to you last night. I hope you have a wonderful Sunday! Love you!

    Reply

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