Update from Africa Nazarene University

May 9, 2008 at 7:03 am Leave a comment

Jambo! Habari gani? (Hello! What’s the news?)

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (Psalm 46:10-11)

I hope this has been a good week for you. I know for many in the northern states you are just getting into the routine of cutting grass and doing other yardwork and gardening again. Those are some of the things I miss here, but there are other things that make up for it. This has been a week of orientation for new students on campus and welcoming back students from previous trimesters. Next Monday classes will begin and we will be off and running once more.

One exciting aspect to this trimester is that we are moving our chapel services into the new Helstrom building. It will be a while before we can fill up to the 3500 seating capacity, but we should be able to form a good looking congregation on the 1200 seat lower level. We are still in the process of working out the sound logistics and will have to rent equipment for the graduation ceremonies at the end of the month, but every day we are making progress toward full use of this wonderful addition to our campus.

I don’t know what the official count for our new enrollment is. We had hoped that the intake would be a bit larger this time around, but when one considers the great trama that this nation has been through over the past few months it is certainly understandable if it not. When one has to make the choice between paying school fees for their children or rebuilding their house that was burned in the rioting, there is really no choice in the matter. There are still some people who live in tents that the government has provided for them and many who have no jobs, lands, or homes to go back to. It will literally take years for the economy to rebound to the point that it was in before the elections in December.

Having said that, this would be a good place to announce that Dr. Marangu, our school vice-chancellor, has just assigned me the task of returning to the United States in December of this year for another scholarship tour. The congregations that I visited on the last tour were wonderfully generous in helping us to begin a scholarship program and we would like to extend this opportunity for ministry to others who may want to get in on the blessing as well. I promised those I visited last time that I would not be back to ask of their help again because we certainly don’t want to be a burden on anyone. However, if we did not get an opportunity to come your way last time and your church would be interested in hearing what God is doing at ANU firsthand, we would like to share with you a painless way that you could be a valuable part of this ministry. We only have the month of December and the first few days of January, so our time is limited, but our prayer is that we will have a full slate of places to share while we are back on US soil. We promise to do all we can to be a blessing and not a burden should we get the opportunity to come your way.

Anyway, that’s still about six months away and there is a lot to do between now and then. I getting geared up for my Homiletics and Church History class. I’m really looking forward to them since they are among my favorite subjects. I am also getting involved a bit with some afternoon basketball games. It feels pretty good when I’m out there on the court, but each evening I am reminded that these guys are 30 years younger than me. It’s been a while since I have played much, let alone full court. Hopefully, a bit of conditioning will return the longer I do it – if the old knees hold out.

Mary Jane is really busy these days coordinating travel and accomodations for our soon coming guests. Graduation is just 21 days away and all the school is focused on it now. She is also excited about getting her first taste of teaching on the university level. Before long she will be playing piano for the school music groups again and baking cookies for the various guests we host and for the students and staff workers who look forward to them so. Sometimes I think the school just called us here to get her cookies.

Last weekend I was privileged to be invited to speak at a pastor’s retreat in the Rift Valley district. It was the site where much of the violence took place in January and where the economy is still reeling from the effects. It was different preaching and teaching Saturday and Sunday through an interpreter, but after a few hours of doing it, it seemed to get a little more natural. These men and women are real heroes of the faith. In spite of the ethnic rivalry of recent days among the tribes, we worshipped together as one even though they were from tribes that normally don’t get along well. There were Luos, Lujah’s, Kalejin, Masai, and others I couldn’t identify, but we were all brothers and sisters as we worshipped in a church with a dirt floor, no electricity, and seating in plastic chairs for about 75-100. It was a pretty amazing experience. It was about a three hour drive each way to get there, but the Rift Valley is beautiful. I’ll try to get some pictures put on my weblog (https://randyandmaryjane.wordpress.com). I also spoke in chapel this week at our neighboring school, Manna Institute, where I found another group of loving Christians serving the Lord via their own denominational focus. I find African brothers and sisters wherever I go.

Well, that’s about it for this week. Have a wonderful weekend and a blessed Lord’s Day! We look forward to hearing updates from your part of the world also.

Lazima niende sasa. Kwa herini! (I must go now. Good bye!)

Randy and Mary Jane James
Africa Nazarene University
Nairobi, Kenya

 

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Update from Africa Nazarene University Update from Africa Nazarene University

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