It is a privilege to write to you all again and to share with you some of the Lord's dealings with us here in Kenya. The year is moving on fast, life seems very busy and very hot. The temperature is often in the mid 30’s, and because of the humidity it feels like over 40 degrees. Even at night the temperature does not go below 28 in the house! It is very draining, especially doing any manual work and preaching; even walking anywhere brings out a sweat. Thankfully as I write this the rains have come, making it more bearable, or ‘cold’ according to the children!! We have had some visitors from the UK since January; Sam Kingham and James Jempson then my (James’) parents, then Lois Gudgeon and David Cottington, our last, left on March 29th. On March 28th David took an opening service at the mission house, dedicating the place to the Lord, thanking Him for His provision, care and protection. About 40 local people came to the service. It was a blessed time of rejoicing and thanksgiving. On Friday 31st March we moved from our flat in Ukunda to the Mission house. Although unfinished, we both felt the Lord had called us to that area and to delay moving was wasting money on rent and traveling costs. We felt we should move as soon as the house was in a liveable condition. However, getting the house in a liveable condition has been harder than we had expected, but not without its blessings. We have been through a time of great teaching and have proved the Lord's faithfulness once more. We have come to see that we must often be emptied before being filled again, like Jacob when he said ‘all these things are against me;’ he was first brought to nothing, before the Lord brought him to Egypt to see Joseph in all his splender. The Lord's hand is always working for the good of His people and often we seem to find, the bigger the blessing, the greater the trial before and after it. On 5th January I wrote to my brother Tom asking if there was enough money in the account for the roof sheets for the house. I needed £3000, there was £2700. I replied, saying I would write to the church and request £3000 and that we would pray that the Lord would provide before the church meeting was held. That evening we held a family prayer meeting, we all took turns in asking the Lord for the provision of money for the sheets. After praying my brother contacted me, saying, “Your prayers have been answered”. £1460 was given to him for the mission and an extra £250 was given for our own use that same day. ‘And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.’ Isaiah 65:24. What a privilege it is to fall into the hands of the living God and to be able to live by faith, to see His hand guiding and providing for us and the people here. This has happened three times this year already. On 14th February, due to an extra expense we ran out of money in our own account. Again, we held a family prayer meeting. After praying I got a message from my mum (who, with my dad, was traveling that night to visit us), saying she had received a message from my bank that I was overdrawn by £2! (we didn’t know she received texts from the bank!) She wanted to pay some in for us, so again the Lord had appeared. My Mum and Dad, unknown to us, had with them gifts of money from various people and they arrived the next day. All this has been done so we may testify of the Lord's goodness and faithfulness, that even today in this modern world of self sufficient, independent people, God is the same and His love to His people in unchanable. The house is now almost finished and we hope it will stand as a testimony to us all that ‘God is able’. What has made things seem harder to us is that the muslims are now building another mosque in the main village of Mwangulu, a few miles from us, with a school attached. This is the 3rd mosque they have built in two years, but we are thankful for the words of Jesus to Peter, Matt 16:18 ..’I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’. My class in the pentecostal church is still going well. Every time I teach there I feel really helped by the Lord, especially in answering their questions, many of them relating to the wealth and health teachings of the pentecostal church, also trying to mix the ceremonial law with the New testament. There is also a new class this year at the mission with 13 men and 2 women. Already I am seeing the same problems of trying to mix the law and the gospel. One question last week went like this. “Our pastors say when we bring a baby to church the first time we have to bring an offering of two chicken or two goats or two cows, is this right”? There is such confusion relating to the work of Christ, His one sacrifice for sin, the cleansing of His Church, even down to the eating of pork. They say that women should not go to church during their monthly cycle and after the birth of a baby are then unclean for 40 days! One or two people said to me before I came here, “the Gospel has been preached around the world, we do not need to go any more and preach elsewhere, it has been done”. I think that attitude has caused the problems we see here in Kenya, those of the reformed churches have (generally) closed their eyes to the rest of the world, which has left the door open for many false teachers to go out into the world and preach the false gospel. Now, with the Lord’s help, we must set it in order. These rural Kenyan people have a love to the Lord. They want to learn. They give up one day a week (9am until 2pm) so that I can teach them. One was heard to say after the class, “we are really learning now”. Please pray for these dear people that the true gospel may be sown in their hearts; that they may know the truth, and the truth may set them free. Titus 1:5 ‘’For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee’’ All the children are keeping well, but because of the heat they have been getting small boils, this happened last year at this time, we think it is because of the dust and sweat when they play out in the garden. They are really enjoying their new home, getting filthy daily, making new friends, going on 'exploring' walks, and they hope to begin Sunday School next week. Home-school is back on now after a break before moving. We hope to teach them a few more ‘hands-on’, practical lessons here. Jesse would like to try some woodwork, Daisy, Alf and John want to plant the seeds Grandad gave them so they can have a vegetable garden. So we hope they will really benefit from living on ground level with a bit more space and freedom. Jesse and Isaac are much happier now they haven't all the stairs to climb, and Jesse has been getting around the plot on his quad bike (kindly sent over by friends in the UK). It has really helped because the uneven ground isn’t very easy for him and he falls easily. He gives the local children rides too and helps me (James) by collecting tools I need from the store room. Moving to a rural area has been a big change for Elsie and I, with many challenges. We don’t have electricity yet so there are no fans. The house has been built so that there will be a good throughdraught, and the sun will go over the house, not shining in the windows. That has helped make it a bit cooler. There is also no fridge/freezer, so Elsie is having to plan meals with local food, stocking up at the supermarket once every 2 weeks with things like boxes of long-life milk/tinned and dry food/toilet roll etc that you can’t buy here. We are not having meat because the local butchers are not very hygienic and meat is not fresh everyday. We eat more meals with beans/pulses/vegetables. Breakfast is not cereal because there’s no cold milk! We make mandazi, a bit like a doughnut without the sugar and jam, or have bread and milky kenyan tea. There are markets nearby which sell good fresh fruit (mangoes/bananas/oranges etc) and vegetables (spinach/ cabbage/ carrots/onions/ garlic etc), beans, rice, maize flour, tea. We are having to find different ways to do things! Elsie irons some of the essentials, shirts etc by heating the iron on the small gas ring as she goes. She is learning how to make a cake using the charcoal stove. Another challenge here is dust, and there is a lot of it! Keeping children, home and everything in it clean is very trying. When it rains the dust turns into mud! So, there is a washing plan. 3 sets of dark clothes for each child, 1 set worn for 2/3 days, every 3rd day she washes the clothes, to save water and time. (The smarter clothes are kept separate for Church and trips to town.) The children still have a bath in a tub every night and clean pyjamas! We are trying to save water, so any shower/bath and washing water is used to flush toilets too. So, there is lots to get used to, but we have really felt the Lord’s helping hand in it all and we are slowly settling in. The house has an open plan kitchen/dining room/big multi-purpose room which will hopefully be used for a Sunday school, Bible Classes, conferences and any other function, as the need arises. It will hopefully be a very useful room. Also, there are 4 other rooms in an L shape, the children’s bedroom on the end, then a home-school room, 2nd bedroom, guest room and bathroom. There is still lots of painting to be done and some of the floors etc to finish, but we hope to do that in the evenings when little hands are not there to ‘help’! Just before we moved to the house Florence (our youngest) had an abscess drained on her head. All went well and it healed nicely, however, two days after we moved she became very sleepy and had a very high temperature. Afraid it was malaria, Elsie took her to the nearest good hospital back in Ukunda (over an hour's drive away). After some tests it was found to be septicaemia. She was given iv antibiotics and kept in overnight, but thankfully perked up and was discharged the following day. We thank the Lord she is making a good recovery and as I write to you she is outside playing with the others. We are also very happy to announce the Lord has made a way for us to come back to England for a visit. March 30th was a very special day for us. I arrived back from staying at the land in the morning and, checking my emails, I found one from the Kenyan immigration to say they had approved me another 3 year work permit (I applied for 2 years!). Then Elsie had a phone call from the British embassy, Nairobi, to say they had Florence's passport (7 months in coming!) and that they would be able to send it to our town, having before said they could not send it and we would have to drive to Nairobi to pick it up (15 hours away). After receiving the news of the passport arriving we checked our account, only to find that the Lord had provided the flight money for the trip home. The money had been given anonymously and was more than enough to cover the flights. We, as a family, had been praying for these 3 things for many months and in one day the Lord saw fit to open the windows of heaven for us and to let down these great blessings. God willing, we hope to come back on 24th June, returning 18th September. It’s a bit sooner than we had planned to come, but flights were a lot cheaper in the month of June. It covers the time of the Kenyan elections in August, which can bring unrest. As well as reunions with family and friends which we are really looking forward to, some arrangements have been made for preaching and Mission meetings/presentations about the work here. I will send out an itinerary of our stay, nearer the time God willing. 2 kings 7 v 9 Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the King's household.
We are also pleased to say that the ‘Mombasa Mission’ has been set up as a registered UK charity. To visit the website please follow this link. http://www.mombasamission.com/ Thank you very much for your continued prayerful support and interest,
James & Elsie Gudgeon