Update from Africa Nazarene University

June 20, 2008 at 8:31 am Leave a comment

Jambo (Hello)!

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God for he will freely pardon. ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither of your ways my ways,’ declared the Lord” (Isaiah 55:6-8).

Though most of the US is heating up for the summer, we are in the cool days of winter here. The skies remain a lot cloudier and the temperature has dropped considerably. It would not be cold by the midwestern standards I was raised in for winter, but these houses and buildings are made of stone and there is no heat in them so we get used to sitting around in sweaters and blankets. I understand more at this time of the year why the Kenyans drink so much hot tea.

Our Father’s Day celebration was a quiet one. I really feel like doing much and our Internet was down so we couldn’t communicate with the outside world. Mary Jane taught a Sunday School class and I preached in the morning service on campus and then we just relaxed the rest of the day. It was not a bad way to spend a holiday.

Thursday of this week was the one-year anniversary of the first time Mary Jane and I ever set foot on the campus of ANU. It’s amazing how much things have changed since that time. I have found that each new location produces its own sense of strangeness initially. I remember the smells, the awkward feeling, the general disorientation and the feeling of great fatigue all mixed being together in those first few days. Everything seem more normal now, though I can’t say that it feels natural yet. I am still a mzungu (white guy) living in a Kenyan world and will probably always have a certain amount of western baggage along for the ride. Though many customs are more understandable now, all it takes is a short drive in Nairobi traffic to remind me I am not in Indiana anymore and that I have a lot to learn.

This has not been a very good week for me health-wise. For the second time since we came back to Kenya in March I have picked up some kind of throat ailment and have lost my voice again. It begins each time as a cold, but then settles into my throat leaving white blisters and extreme soreness. Because of the congestion I have slept in a chair or propped up on the couch since Sunday. I have been to the clinic and had a culture done, but the results won’t be back until Monday. Hopefully by then I will feel a lot better. A friend of mine used to say that predicament was when a frog was on a highway with his hopper out of whack. I feel kind of the same way as a preacher who has no voice.

Eleven guests from the Denver, Colorado area are in the area with us right now. They sang and spoke in chapel yesterday and had an opportunity to see ANU up close and personal. They are working on a building that will house married students in the coming days. It is about a mile from campus and is not directly connected to the university, but we will gain the benefit from it down the road. It’s always nice to have folks “from home” come by. Meeting new friends from all over the US is one of the blessings of being in this kind of ministry.

We are offically halfway through this trimester at this point. Midterm exams are being taken and the reality of school life has settled in for those who are in their first session here. The faculty is preparing for internal moderation of final exams before they are send to and external moderator to see what kind of work we are doing. It’s a bit different process than we are used to, but I guess it is normal here.

This is the time when I am beginning to schedule speakers and chapel services for the next trimester. It’s an ongoing process and keeping the services lively is ever a challenge. Students get bored easily – and it’s no different here than in the USA in that regard.

Though there aren’t as many wild animals around as there used to be, we get the little ones here on a regular basis. As I type this I see the parade of ants the just continually want to move in with us. I’m not sure what is attracting them, but we sure seem popular. Every once in a while I hear a scurrying and a thump from the ceiling area and I know that the lizards are alive and well. Maybe if we let some of them in and made pets out of them they would help us with the ant problem.

I thought I would update you each week with information about some of the people who work here at the university. Let me tell you about the guards. We have about forty of them, male and female, who operate on twelve hour shifts as they patrol the twenty-five acre compound. (We have 125 acres here, but only 25 are developed.) The ladies work at the gate and are usually there during the day. Each guard is assigned to a particular section and they are there day and night to see that all the students and staff are kept safe. The night guards carry homemade bows and arrows for protection again any stray animals (or people) that might venture onto the ground. In addition to the manpower we have forty-three German Shepherd size dogs that roam the grounds from midnight until 5:15 a.m., seven nights a week. No one dares to go outside once the dogs are on partrol. Added to this is either an eight-foot fence or a similar sized concrete wall topped with barbed wire all around the grounds. I don’t think we would be any more secure if we had machine-gun towers on the corners of the campus.

We have a new sports director here now and he has asked me to help get a softball and baseball program going among the students. Those who have played this game with me in the states know that I am no Mickey Mantle, but in the coming weeks I will do what I can to see if we can help these young Africans enjoy an all-American pastime.

Plans are in place for our return to the USA in December and early January to speak in churches and raise awareness for ANU scholarships. Our goals are threefold. 1. We would like to raise awareness of the work of missions and help create personal involvement through the local church. 2. We would like to help empassion the youth and children of the local church with the worldwide need for laborers and make them aware that God may be speaking to them about their role in missions. 3. We would like to ask people to look into their hearts and wallets to see if scholarship support for ANU students is possible. The plan for this third part is very simple. We are looking for 12 people in 12 churches who would be willing to give $12 a month for 12 months to help provide African Nazarenes students with a holiness university education. If you would be interested in having us come where you are and share the ANU adventure, just drop us a line and we will be happy to work something out. We ask for no deputation offering during this trip. Our focus is on the youth and church leaders of tomorrow. We believe you will be blessed and many others will be helped by what such a service can bring about.

Well, that’s about all the news of the week. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Be blessed and enjoy God’s best.

Kuwa na siku njema (Have a good day)!

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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