Update from Africa Nazarene University

November 21, 2008 at 6:09 am Leave a comment

Hello from ANU!

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because
your faith is being reported all over the world” (Romans 1:8).

I hope this has been a good week for you.  I know that in many parts
of the US the feeling of approaching winter is setting in and cold
weather is becoming the norm.  Here, however, we have days with
sunshine in the 80’s and cool nights in the 60’s.  There is very
little humidity and it is very pleasant to be either inside or out
most of the time.  It really helps to be at 5700 feet altitude when
you live on the equator.

One can always tell when the time for exams is approaching.  Students
talk more about them, pray more about them, and hopefully study more
for them.  I don’t remember being as anxious about them when I was the
age of these students, but then we were not so focused when dinosaurs
roamed the earth.  One of the main concerns is when students can’t pay
their school fees.  They are allowed to go to class all semester and
given grace in the hope that they will be able to come up with the
money, but they can’t sit for their exams until their bill is paid.
It’s always tragic when students have to be told they cannot continue,
but reality is reality.  Somebody has to pay the bills.  We continue
to pray that all will find a way.  There is nothing our God cannot do.

Last Sunday I was invited to speak in Mathari, a slum suburb of
Nairobi.  The word “slum” has taken on a whole new meaning since I
came here.  I have experienced American areas that we call slums but
they would be palaces here.  For those who have visited here and have
gone to our church in Kibera, on a scale of 1-10 – with 10 being the
best, I would put Kibera at 7 and Mathari at 2.  It is an amazing
level of human need and poverty with a population reaching around
500,000 people.

Still, this where we have a church that is being a lighthouse for
Christ.  The sanctuary was about the size of a one-car garage and made
of corigated metal and rough wood planks.  About 50 people squeezed
into the room for the service.  We sat on wooden benches that were
about 10″ wide and 5′ long.  They sat about 1′ off the floor in
height.  When I preached the message was translated into Kiswahili
because many of the people didn’t speak English.

This church is also home to a school during the week.  After the
service I was taken to see two more classroom, which were smaller than
the sanctuary.  This made up the entire school except for one small
office.  In these three rooms 170 students from pre-school to fourth
grade try to get an education each week.  I met with the teaching
staff, had prayer with them, and tried to pass on words of
encouragement.  These people are the real heroes of the faith.  I feel
very much like a pampered American in these settings.

I have been straightened out through a couple of e-mail concerning
which church is the oldest in Kenya.  Though I thought I reliable
sources for my information, I have been told that apparently Nairobi
Central Church is the oldest Church of the Nazarene here in Kenya, not
Ongata Rongai.  I know most of you may not know the difference or
won’t care, but I do want to keep the record straight.  Thanks for the
update from those who are in the know about the early days here.

Tomorrow we are going to be celebrating Thanksgiving Day for with all
the local missionaries and a few local African friends.  We are doing
it a little early because next Thursday is a regular work day here and
next Saturday many of our mission family have obligations elsewhere.
It should be a great day.  Not only will be gathering with friends we
have grown to know and love, but we even get to have American food.
There is a big turkey thawing in our kitchen, a pumpkin waiting to be
made into pies, and I hear tales of dressing, rolls, and other
assorted goodies.  There won’t be any football to watch, but I’m sure
we will find something to do to amuse ourselves.  We all stay so busy
going different directions so much of the time so just getting
together to catch up on the news will be a nice thing.  Everyone is
coming to our place so we get to be the hosts and we look forward to
the honor.

I mentioned earlier that the students were on the countdown.  We are
also on the countdown for coming home.  We have less than two weeks
left now before we board the first of four big metal birds that will
bring us stateside.  I’m down to two classes and one chapel before I
am officially finished with my major responsibilities.  I have a
couple of churches to preach in before I am done, but that is more of
a joy than a job.

Here is our slate:

December 4 Fly out from Nairobi, Kenya to the US
> December 7 (am) Clearwater, Florida First Church of the Nazarene
> December 7 (pm) Clearwater, Florida Central Church of the Nazarene
> December 9 Gathering with friends and supporters at Fort Myers, Florida First Church of the Nazarene
> December 10 Archer, Florida Church of the Nazarene
> December 14 (am) Live Oak, Florida Church of the Nazarene
> December 14 (pm) Dublin, Georgia First Church of the Nazarene
> December 15 Wrightsville, Georgia Church of the Nazarene
> December 16 Albany, Georgia Grace Church of the Nazarene
> December 17 Gainesville, Georgia First Church of the Nazarene
> December 21 (am) Middletown, Indiana Church of the Nazarene
> December 21 (pm) Dunkirk, Indiana Church of the Nazarene
> December 28 (am) New Albany, Indiana Christ Community Church of the Nazarene
> December 28 (pm) Mackey, Indiana Church of the Nazarene
> January 4 (am) Muncie, Indiana Southside Church of the Nazarene
> January 4 (pm) Anderson, Indiana Southdale Church of the Nazarene
> January 5 Fly out from Indianapolis, Indiana to Kenya

Have a good weekend and a Happy Thanksgiving!  Be blessed and be a blessing!

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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