21 February 2012

Blog 2 from Kenya - Preaching

While we were in Kenya in January, I had the opportunity to preach twice. The two congregations and their situations were quite different.
In the first situation, we were way up in Samburu country. This is a pretty remote place, reached by nasty, and sometimes non-existent, roads. But there is a church there. The building itself is a concrete block structure with holes for windows, but no glass. There is only one room.I wore a kikoi (which I mentioned in my previous Kenya post), because it is what the men wear in that place.  During the service the congregation was attacked by a swarm of wasps. Interestingly, the ladies who were at that time singing never flinched. They just kept singing.
The building was full, including young people, some of whom were sitting in the windows. I preached, through an interpreter, on Micah 6:6-8. For me it was a pretty brief message. The congregation was attentive throughout and gave verbal affirmations at times.
The second congregation in which I preached was entirely different. It was in the city of Nairobi and meeting in a private school. The pastor, a native Kenyan, graduated from the same seminary (Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis) at which I received my M.Div. degree.  
The congregation here was diverse. There were Kenyans and Europeans (I include Americans in this category) and Asians. There were young and old folks. In fact, the congregation was in its second week of having families worship together. It was a grand sight to see.
As the pastor had just begun a series in Galatians, I was able to fit right in as I preached from Galatians, chapter 2. The theme was “Practicing What We Preach.” Again, the congregation was attentive and appreciative.
Christianity is not new in Kenya. It was introduced by missionaries in the 19th century. It is claimed that more than two-thirds of all Kenyans are Christians.

06 February 2012

Blog 1 from Kenya

So, there I was in a manyatta in the middle of the Northern Frontier District of Kenya. A manyatta is a small village made up of huts of stick covered with whatever is available.  
I had preached at a small concrete block building that morning and we were invited to the manyatta later that evening for roast goat. The church was filled to overflowing, by the way.  The picture below is of the ladies group after the church service!
Well, we showed up later, after an exciting ride from the compound where we were staying to the manyatta. There we watched the goat get chosen and killed for the meal. The Samburu people who were our hosts do not slit the throats to kill the goats. They grasp the jugular vein firmly and hold it until the goat is dead. Then they touch an eyeball to check morbidity. Then they slit the throat and drink the blood before butchering. Here’s a picture (below) of the man who was cooking our goat. Dressing in traditional garb is not a tourist thing (tourists are few and far between in this region), it is everyday wear.

So, as I was writing, there we were, the goat’s getting cooked, we’re looking around trying to absorb everything that’s going on around us. Then, wait for it.....

The cook’s cellphone rings!

That’s right. Hanging from the fabric belt of his kikoi (a sarong-like garment worn by men), was a cellphone. Two things to notice here. First, the seeming anachronism. It just seemed out of place. Second, he had coverage! Out, almost literally, in the middle of nowhere, the guy was making and receiving calls every few minutes while he cooked the goat.

So this is just one of many amazing and wonderful happenings during our recent three-week trip to Kenya. I’m sure I will be writing about more of them. 

And, oh yes, the goat was most tasty.