Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Kenya Email Update #10

Wow. It feels like I haven’t written in years. Life has been a bit crazy around here. I didn’t really grasp just how busy I was until I looked at the time the other day, realizing to my dismay that it would be the third day in a row that I’d be eating lunch after 3:30pm!

I have now stopped counting how many months I’ve been here, and have begun the big countdown for my return home! As I’m writing this, I have less than 4 months left! It’s crazy to say, because it feels like I just got here. Only 112 days left until I get on the plane…

It’s been really tough recently, because I’ve been missing home a lot. As much as I love it here, I’m really feeling the loss of my family and friends! I think that after the GCC team left, I was vividly reminded of how much I missed everybody!

Oh, and even though I’m getting used to life here, I still can’t wait to enjoy all the conveniences of American culture again! My own car, a microwave that makes perfect popcorn every time, television with more than four channels… I’m probably going to weep the first time I load a webpage in under a minute! Yeah, it’ll be nice to live once more in a land where you actually have to work out to stay skinny (here, you just have to exist).

Of course, everything changes when you put it into perspective. Joy, one of my great friends from Moody, came to Nairobi for a few days after a short term trip to the north of Kenya. We got a chance to talk and hang out before she left for home. Her experience here made mine look so cushy! I mean, I’m “roughing it” by walking everywhere and drinking boiled water. She lived for two months in a hut, ministering to a people group that treats women like cattle, trekking through the desert to end an inter-tribal conflict with day-long prayer services.

I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had said that they lived off scorpion meat and rainwater. When she asked me what the toughest part of my experience has been, I was like, “Well, um… It’s been really tough, um… to work with people that aren’t as concerned with being on time… And when our electricity goes off I can’t use the microwave… Oh, and I can only check email once a day…” Hehe… You get the picture.

In other news, our church plant has finally taken off! We’re having our services down in South C and we have a new name... “Mavuno Church.” Mavuno means “Harvest” in Swahili. It reflects our desire to reach the surrounding community with the gospel. This challenging vision was made even more clear on our first Sunday…

After our service, we were taking a group photo on the bleachers of the soccer field (our venue is a sports club). As the congregation was getting assembled, the nearby mosque began blaring the mid-day call to prayer. When everyone finished their nervous laughter, other mosques in the area began adding to the call. I don’t know who else thought this, but I was struck by such a tangible reminder for our purpose in the community.

The following week, a large group of fully garbed Muslims began playing soccer and having relay competitions outside during our service. We clearly have our work cut out for us!

There are an average of 420 people attending each Sunday, but we hope to see that number double by December. We actually have a goal of bringing 400 people to salvation by the end of 2005! That, of course, would be completely impossible without God’s help. Here’s another lesson I’ve been learning here… how to be a faithful visionary. I’ve learned to stop asking God for little things and to start expecting big results instead!

Quite a departure from the way I used to pray (if I prayed at all)… “Dear God, can you please help John to become a Christian, or at least to maybe be nicer? If you have the time of course…” Now the same prayer would be more like “God, I know it’s your will for John to be saved. But I want you to go farther. I want you to make John into a pastor!” Definitely a step in the right direction…

One of the coolest new ministries at Mavuno is our involvement at a nearby prison. The Nairobi Remands Prison is a dilapidated, colonial era jail built to hold 300 inmates. It holds 5000. The most depressing thing is that over 60% of the prisoners have not yet been convicted. Because the legal system in Kenya has so many issues, people thrown in jail without money for bail can wait even years to go to trial. That’s right. Hundreds of innocent men wallow in this run-down jail under inhuman conditions, simply because the courts are so slow and inefficient.

Even in this dark place however, there is a spark of light that provides the prisoners with hope for the future. The light I’m referring to is the inmate-led school that seeks to teach prisoners elementary courses and basic technical skills (computers, mechanics, etc.). To support this school, Mavuno has donated hundreds of textbooks and materials for upgrading their classrooms. The other day, we took our new believers class to paint the classrooms and pray with prisoners. All I can say is ‘wow.’ Mavuno Church is going places that nobody can imagine!

So, yeah! My time in Kenya is still intense and life-changing. Even if I am pining for Starbucks coffee and meals with cheese in them! Ohhh… Cheese… How I long for thee! Before I know it, I’ll be home, wishing I could be back in Kenya! Funny how life works isn’t it?


Hey! I almost forgot… I have a big request to make of you! Since I will be home for six months before finishing school, I need to find a job! Maybe some of you know people (or are people) that are hiring. Here’s what I’m looking for:

-Contact with people (I need to be somewhere that I’ll be able to work a lot with other human beings… a.k.a. no courier or janitorial work!)
-Decent pay (Starbucks was awesome, but I didn’t make enough money! I’m looking for perhaps $9 or $10 an hour)
-Consistent schedule (I’d really like a reliable schedule that will allow me to practice my new disciplines, maybe 30-40 hours a week. Again, Starbucks was great, but my schedule was so random, I could barely convince my body that I was actually alive!)

I don’t know if you have anything in mind, but I’d love any suggestions you might have…


Ooh… One more big announcement:

I will be having an Instant Messenger chat session this Saturday, September 3. I’ll hop on at about 8:00am Indiana time and go for about an hour and a half. It’ll be open for anyone to join. My AOL IM name is ISlayWombats (I’ll try using the same name for MSN too, but I can’t guarantee that it’ll work). Hope to see you online!


Well, I’m on the home stretch now. If things keep going at this pace, the rest of the year will fly by, and in no time I’ll find myself on a plane bound for home. I’ll do my best to update my blog (www.barryrod.blogspot.com), though I’m pretty bad at it when work is busy.

Have a wonderful September, and always remember… Stay Hydrated!


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My favorite thug...

Here are a couple more pictures of Wangai that I thought you’d enjoy… Tell me that he wouldn’t make the best gansta ever!

Oh, and here’s one of us going a little crazy with the camera… He cracks me up!

And how cute is this little one??? She’s Wangai’s younger cousin. Adorable!!!

Heads up for my latest Kenya Email Update! It’s in the works as we speak!