Craig in Kenya
One of our pastors, Craig Loibner, is in Migori, Kenya. This email was received on Sunday. He will be returning to Arkansas at the end of this week.
Yesterday was a full day. Since it was Saturday, all the children were out of school and hanging around the compound. It also was a good day to visit widows since they were more likely to be home with their children. We went by both Pamela’s house and Florence’s house. They are two widows that are new to our widow’s program. We were able to cut Felicia and Consolada loose after giving them two years support. They are now able to make their own way since they have been able to repair their homes with our help. We are hoping it only takes one year for Pamela and Florence to become self-sufficient so we can use that money to help other families. There is no shortage of need.
After that, Fred and I went all around learning about many different situations. I saw Maurine’s place of business. Maurine has about 10 other women that she employs and they take the fish carcasses from the local canning company and have developed a cottage industry. They render some of the fish remains into oil and prepare some of the remains for local consumption. There are about a hundred large scavenger birds that hang around hoping to get in on the action. From there we visited Romanus’ extended family who have homes on the company grounds. Romanus is a gifted preacher that FN helped go to seminary. He has recently graduated and is doing wonderful work. We then drove several miles to get to an outdoor crusade where Gordon was preaching. Fred wanted me to hear Gordon because he aspires to go to seminary someday and Fred wanted me to have a chance to access his potential. We are currently supporting Robert and John by paying their seminary school fees but they will be through at the time Gordon is ready to begin. I already knew Gordon from his help in the clinic. He served as Julie’s translator and they became good friends. Julie, in fact, had recommended Gordon to Pastor Fred as someone with leadership potential for the Lord two years ago.
Did I mention that Fred had secured a small motorcycle for me to ride so that we could be the “easy rider” pastors for the day?
Last night as Fred was reminding me that I had told him I would preach this morning, I told him that I was ready and I felt like I had a word from the Lord for his church. Fred told me to “just be Craig” as I preached this morning. My style is a bit different from these Pentecostal preachers and Fred might have thought I might see the need to bump it up a notch. I appreciated that he wanted me to just be who God had made me.
We met in the new worship space this morning and we had quite a service. There were at least 5 different choirs and we had been meeting for an hour and 45 minutes before I finally got the microphone. No one seemed to be in any hurry. It was a privilege to teach and I felt like it went good, but it is hard to tell. Then we all went to Fred’s house for a lunch and a meet and greet. John, Robert, Romanus, Gordon and their wives were all there. Fred and Maurine and Fred’s mother and some teachers and children for a brief program. It was a great opportunity for all these old friends to meet Cary and Robin Nail and their two children, Josh (16) and Katy (14). I have spent a lot of time with the Nails and I am very encouraged with how competent they all seem in every way. I think there are good things in store for Kenya Relief.
I finally got over to Irine’s this afternoon. I have seen her many times but have not seen her children. So I got to see Faith and Diane and Beatrice and Samuel and Craig. (The two older children were away.) It was fun to see how much all the children have grown and to have a brief time with them.
Tomorrow, Michael and Sandy and I are leaving early in the morning to drive the three hours to the Masaai Mara. I will spend one night at a lodge before catching a small plane to Nairobi. Michael and Sandy will stay one more night before returning to Migori for their final three weeks. A brief time away will help the Nails see what things they still need to learn. The three of us are looking forward to being on our own for a brief time. It is amazing how much their responsibilities involve seeing and helping someone hundreds of times every day. We seldom are able to complete conversations. They will miss Michael and Sandy here. It is a privilege for me to see them at work. The Nails have gotten a good look at the challenges that are in front of them, but they are also responsible and spiritually mature people and I believe their children will also be an asset here. But they will need our prayer support.
Hope things went well in church today at FN. I’ll be back in church next Sunday, God willing. I have surely missed it. When I am away, God reminds me of how blessed I am to be in such a church.
Together in Christ,