Public Floggings, Stabbings, Baptisims and Saying Goodbye!

19 01 2014

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It is just a day in my life as a missionary. I woke had coffee and a milk yoghurt drink from the shop next door.  All packed up with bibles and some other books I set off to walk to this mornings scheduled baptisms in Kayole. I have recently moved to an African neighborhood that is very centrally located so I can travel cheap.  My rent is less than my transportation cost in the city used to be. On my way I see crowds running towards a fense.

Now when I see them running in East Leigh I run with them.  It means something has happend and you need to get away.  Last month a bus was blown up and another day there was some gun fire.  Folks ran my way, I turned and ran with them till they felt safe.  Just some gunfire.  No one ever new why. The police were there shortly and they could find nothing.  All is well.

In Kayole people were running to look at something.  I walked over and peaked around the long blue fense.  I was just in time to see some mean beating another with a rubber hose.  I saw the crowd smiling and knew what was going on.  I confirmed a theif had been run down and caught and locals were beating him with a rubber hose.  He started crying and they slowed and every now and then whacked him when he stopped crying just to please the crowd. They were also calling the police.  I was glad of that.  In Kenya in the villages a theif can be caught beaten and then burned to death by a mob depending on the value of the property or perhaps his repeated behavior of stealing.  With the police coming I knew he was safe from death.  I moved on.

I arrived and greeted my dear brother Fred and later brother Wilson showed up and we visited and fellowshipped.  My baptismal candidates were a mere  three hours late.  Yes three hours.  That is even late for Africans.  Honestly, I gave up on them and we had turned our waiting into productive time reviewing ministry fruit and challenges.  I learned long ago, rather than just get frustrated to use these times to study swahili, read the word, intercede, teach or even better, learn. We divided up some raw Uji I had just bought in a far away village.  A porridge made with 12 different grains, lengums and nuts it is extremly healthy but most locals consider it peasant food for the poor.  I love it.  Then my baptism people come in.

I am a bit dissappointed to learn that I am only baptising one as one of the two have sick children and the other seems to be vacillating.  She was baptised as a child but thought she was saved, but admitted that she did not really walk with God till she came to us.  That is something the brothers will deal with.  She is a precious sister and we need this resolved right away.  She is a widow with a humble spirit.  I honestly think she is terrified of the water.  But that is just something I sense, though brother Fred agrees.

We get to the baptismal pool.  What a place, a half finished hotel with two big swimming pools. Not something that is a nomal addition at a hotel in Africa for Africans.  To top it off it is owned by Muslims.  The last time I was hear we baptised several and the Muslims and Africans alike gathered to listen.  I preached the Gospel as I baptised and we lay hands of the new believers and pray for them concerning the Holy Spirit. The Muslims charge me 100 bob for this use and that is about a buck twenty.  I get to baptise and inadvertently share with about 50 Muslims sometimes.  What a deal.  The last time I was there the water was crystal clear.  Today bright green.  I had to change and since little girls were wandering in the mens area I had to get in a toilet stall to change.  Nudity here in this society under these situations is not the taboo it is in most of the world.  In the dry season  a quick  rain that yealds a pond or flowing river, even if it is right near town may soon populated with many women right on the road side bathing in full view.  Men might be in another pool just a hundred meters away.  People just politely divert their eyes and move on.  The toilet stall is horrific.  I do my best to stay out of the feces. On to the baptism.   David  has come to Jesus from alcoholism and great issues of anger.  He is a construction worker and a good provider.  We led  him to renounce drinking again and make a public profession of his faith and determination to obey Jesus.  He renounces sin, self, satan and the world and under he goes, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  We all rejoice loudly.

As we leave the building I walk with the new brother David. He takes my hand and we walk quite a ways holding hands.  This is done among close friends here and perfectly normal.  For them.  Not for me.  I do it regularly now but must say it is still something I am never comfortable with. But everyone views my participation in this practice, done only among close friends, as a sign I am with them. It does not mean I am one of them yet.  But it does mean we are together.  It matters. No body thinks you are gay. If they thought that you would be in grave danger in some parts. Let me just day that President Obamas speeches here seeking tolerance for homosexuality were not received.

I board a bus and head downtown.  A disciple from the Muslim community that has come to Jesus and walked with us the last year was granted asylum in Canada.  This is his last full day in Kenya. It is a happy and a sad day. I am writing this at 12 noon.  He left at 7 AM.  I no longer have to hide his identity nor change his story. It was hard for me and Abraham to say good bye to Kamaal. I was sad to see him go because there was so much I wanted to share.  Poor Abraham has lost his father figure \ friend\ Pastor, Imam, a couple of months ago, and now another friend from his own area in Ethiopia.  He is left with an old Mzungu and a handful of new friends.  Abraham tells me I am all he has left.  We all three hug.  I assure him that is not true, we have the Father and many new friends and brothers.  But I understand.  You see Kamal and me  in the picture at the top. This was a great day. I enrolled the young men in English school.  Kamal never got to start since the UN called soon after.

Here is another picture, not so happy.

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Kamal was beaten and stabbed leaving a house church meeting. The sisters with him escaped with a few blows I was told, but Kamal got a broken nose a very painful bruising on arms and torso from being kicked and of course the stab wounds. This was taken in the hospital. It happened about 7 months ago. I prayed for Kamal standing on a street corner. Gave him some money to buy a cheap bag for his things, some food for the trip and got his email address and gave him my card. I will most likely never see him again.

Later at home, my neighbor Dennis and friend Davy came to the door. Hodi! Karibu! Hodi is the request to enter a place and karibu  means welcome and so much more. Dennis commented it was nice to meet an Mzungu that could speak some proper Swahili. Later in the conversation Dennis pointed out to me that I referred to myself and Africans as us, and Wazungus, white people,  as them.  He smiled. I did too. That is the way I see it here.  I live here. Now this is my home as is my little clay house in Tanzania. I dearly miss my people in America. My family is precious to me. But I am here. I am with the Africans in every way I can figure out to be.  I am not one of them, yet. Don’t know that I will be.  But I was adopted by the Wameru in Tanzania.  But I am with them, and they know it.  It is my prayer and my hope to stand on Judgement day surrounded by Africans and Americans, former Muslims and Animist, all together. As one, we will worship our King. Till then? Karibu, Thy Kingdom come Thy will be done.

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2 responses

19 01 2014
Elizabeth (Liz) McEwen

This so ministered to me. I praise God for one such as you. I don’t have all the right words, but I thank you anyway for your love and commitment, and for just being such a blessing. ~Liz

14 02 2014
neilingall

Encouraging blog! How true it is that just the more we humble ourselves to people the more they accept us in as we are. Your reaching a mixed and worthy people!

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