Here (left), Phil Whitfield is pictured with Nairoshi, the Massai woman who donated the land for the church we helped complete in Massai Land. She was the consummate hostess, and no doubt is responsible for a great deal of the success of this church plant–though she claims little credit. A great matriarch to this community.
Update: 2/9/12 Visiting several specialized mission programs throughout Massai Land.
Below is a video of a group of girls singing. It may not seem very notable at first, besides the fact that they sound great and are not being led at all by an adult. However, there is something very special about all these girls. Each one of them has been rescued from an early marriage, some of them at the age of 10. Typically, they would be a second or third wife to an older man, even in his fifties, who has traded cattle, goods, and even money for the girl. These girls have been saved from this fate and are living in a safe house. The men who have rescued them are taking a strong stand against their own culture. One of them broke down into tears as he called out a 9-year-old that he had just saved from being sold for a half-dozen cows last week. Even the names of these heroic men capture the spirit of this great effort: Daniel, Samson, and Steven. We salute them.
Update: 2/8/12 Finishing church building in Massai land today.
Here is a picture of Doug Gregory with David, a Massai man who we have been getting to know during the trip. His family is from the area where we are working, however, he works daily with Stu and Linda as a project director. This is the first day we have seen him wearing his full Massai dress. I think he looks a bit like a Scot, and even carries a dagger.
Update: 2/7/12 Among the Massai today.
The Massai are the most colorfully-dressed of the Kenyan tribes. Most of us Americans have images of them in our minds–a symbol of this country as much as images of wildlife or Acacia trees. To the left is a picture of our trip’s organizer, Phil Whitfield, with a 90-year old Massai man named Moses. All Massai men carry a staff like the one he has–most appropriate to his name.
Kenyans call older men Mzee, which is a title of respect for an elder. It certainly applies to Moses, the oldest man in this area. Although he cannot read, Moses carries his Bible with him that is translated into the Massai language. Others read it to him.
Below is a video of an auction that took place just after the worship service, but tied into it for a very particular reason. Many of the members of this church simply have no money, so they bring what they have. In the case below, its a rooster. It is both humorous and outstanding at the same time. The person who buys the rooster is investing in the church and allowing the person who donated the animal to make a offering.
Our Sunday dedication was a rich, rewarding, and lengthy experience. It began at 10:30 in the old “church,” little more than a shed. You can see it pictured below on the left. It ended in the new church building (below on the right) extending into the afternoon, around 1:30. The celebration drew a large part of this
small farming community. The joy of these people, who have so little materially, was contagious.
Below is an interview with Pastor John Calvin Kamau, the young, dynamic minister with whom we are in partnership this week. He pastors six mission churches in this area, one of which has just received the new church building we have been working on this week.
Below is a brief video of school children in Ndali singing during their school lesson. Their classroom is housed in the former church that became available after a prior group built the kind of church we are building this week.
After a full day of work and a good night’s sleep, our team will be visiting a number of sites today, including several places suggested by a key pastor/leader in this area. Yesterday we completed the church building, placing the furniture that SMPC had commissioned and the banners we brought with us. Local carpenters made the furniture for $1000. Unbelievable–beautiful pieces, with very large pulpit, lectern, and massive communion table. That price also paid for all the pews in the church.
An incredible day among beautiful and generous people. Stu, our in-country host and organizer, said that we set a record in the completion phase of the church building–finished in two days! We are making plans for the dedication on Sunday. As you might imagine, the comments are flying at me about the how long the sermon will be, since we’ve learned that the expected length of the entire service is… 3.5 hours. To the left below is a picture of the existing church building in this village. Soon I will post pictures of the new place so you can see the contrast.
We’re having trouble with our wifi. I have a very hasty update video below.
Hopefully tonight we’ll be able to post some pictures from the beautiful countryside where we have been working.
28 hours later, we are here in Kikuyu, Kenya, safe and sound.
Team heading to bed, then hitting the ground running tomorrow.
Check back as there may be time for us to post something more before we
leave. – THF
This page will be the place for video, pictures, and updates during the trip.
If you have been alerted about this page, thank you for your patience as we work out a few kinks through test posts.