Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A very rewarding 1st day in Bomet, Kenya

Our first event with the women of Tabitha Ministries was yesterday in a church at Kitoben, near Bomet.  Many of the 150 Bible study groups were present at this seminar.  The ride to the church was, as always, an adventure of its own, but Linda Spreigel, my host and the founder of Tabitha Ministries, is quite good at driving these impossible roads.  The countryside is beyond beautiful, and we arrived at the church after an hour or so.  Around 10:30 there were maybe a dozen women there.  By noon the church was totally packed with women sitting on the outside.  Our best estimate is 500 women crammed into a church built to hold maybe 200. 

The preliminaries are always lengthy, with many introductions and many welcoming speeches.  I began my first message, Growing Up in Christ, at about 12:30, with Peris translating for me.  We ended at 1:45, then lunch was served—rice and beans, cooked outside.  Each woman was advised to bring her own dish and spoon, and they enjoyed sitting outside and eating together.  It was a beautiful sunny day, about 75 degrees, I think.

After lunch I gave my second message, showing the women ways to read their Bible and pray scripture, and allow God’s Spirit to make them more and more like Jesus.  We gave each woman a notebook and pen for the purpose of journaling.  There were several pastors present from nearby churches, and they took it all in.  In fact, the lead pastor asked me to please come back and give the same message to the pastors in the area.  You see, many pastors have had no training at all, and they have never been taught some of the most basic disciplines of the Christian life.

 Most of the women had won a Bible in their language by memorizing 16 verses of Scripture, and they quoted the verses many times during the conference.  For most of them, it is the first Bible they have ever owned, and learning to read and apply what they read is a totally new idea to them.  But they are willing learners.

Almost every woman walked to this conference, and some walked for three to four hours, up and down hills and valleys.  I never cease to be amazed at their willingness to walk so far, many with babies on their backs.  The room was full of nursing babies and crying toddlers, but it’s part of the scene and you get used to it!

Linda is very excited at the results for the day, and has given me good ideas on how to improve it.  I arrived back where I’m staying at 6:00 – a very long day, but a very rewarding one. I look forward to another day of service today. 

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