Category Archives: Newsletter

15May/17
Rosalie and Sam

Newsletter April 2017

Newsletter April 2017

Much of Kenya has been very dry, with some places experiencing a serious drought. However, in western Kenya it has been raining and many places are lush and green, especially where good care has been taken of the soil. The photograph below shows Rosalia and Sam in the medicinal plant production area in our own farm near Kisumu, where we practice what we teach. The Vetiver Grass hedges (you can see one running across the plot in the photograph) completely stops soil erosion. The trees which you can see growing abundantly in the background are carefully chosen to fit, and also contribute to a cooler environment. The mulch (which can be seen between the plants) protects the soil from the hot sun and heavy downpours. These are all important components of our teaching on caring for the soil by working with God’s creation.

Photo of Rosalie and Sam in Newsletter April 2017

Tree planting in memory of Mama Alice Akoth

On the 5th April 2017, the REAP team visited Kaminogedo Primary School in western Kenya. We went to plant some trees in memory of Mama Alice Akoth, who was one the teachers at the school and a faithful REAP contact person, who went to be with the Lord last year. The REAP team took trees from the nursery and helped to plant them. The Year 8 students, who had been Mama Alice’s students in year six, assisted in the planting. The REAP team were able to share some practical teaching with them about tree planting as well as caring for God’s creation. The students have committed themselves to making sure that the trees survive, by watering and caring from them out of respect for their former teacher.

Photo of Unloading the trees at Kaminogedo Primary School from Newsletter April 2017

Unloading trees at Kaminogedo Primary School

Photo of Rosalia explaining about the purpose of the visit from Newsletter April 2017

Rosalia explaining about the purpose of the visit

Photo of The Head Girl planting one of the trees from Newsletter April 2017

The Head Girl planting one of the trees

Photo of The Deputy Headmaster planting a tree from Newsletter April 2017

The deputy Headmaster planting a tree

Easter Tree planting as a practical part of Creation Care

REAP continues to be active in promoting Biblical models of caring for God’s wonderful Creation. We have recently linked up with Margaret Oluoch, a CMS Africa Champion, in promoting Tree Planting and natural medicines through the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK). In March we shared the challenge of Creation Care with Rev John Mark Oduor, the Provincial Director of Mission. His response was that he could not promote what he was not doing himself, and as a result invited us to his home near Siaya in western Kenya. So on April 7th we had a day at his home church, planting trees and Natural Medicines, so that John Mark, as he commented, could lead by example. This fitted in well with the Easter Season tree planting where we combine the practical teaching on planting and caring for trees as part of creation care with a spiritual message from the Bible. The central imagery is the Tree of Life in Genesis 2 and Revelation 22, with the tree of the Cross at the centre of history.

Photo of Roger explaining about planting Vetiver Grass to the youth, with Margaret Oluoch looking on from Newsletter April 2017

Roger explaining about planting Vetiver Grass to the youth, with Margaret Oluoch looking on

Photo of Rev John Mark Oduor planting from Newsletter April 2017

Rev John Mark Oduor planting

Natural Medicine Training at the AIC Missionary Training College, Eldoret

For number of years REAP has given one week of Natural Medicine Training to the students at the AIC (African Inland Church) Missionary Training College in Eldoret. Rosalia and George went to Eldoret from 20th to 25th of March and had a very productive week of training, with a lot of practical emphasis. The students were very responsive and very appreciative of the training which they say will equip them for ministering in remote and difficult locations in the future.

Group Photograph of the Natural Medicine training at the AIC Missionary College, Eldoret

Group Photograph of the Natural Medicine training at the AIC Missionary College, Eldoret

01Mar/17

Newsletter: February 2017

Newsletter for February 2017

We want to share with you how the year has got off to a good start in REAP. As we pick up work in 2017 we look forward to a year of taking our teaching forward, and reaching out to new people and new areas, and want to share some of what we have done already. It has been very dry over much of Kenya this year, but in western Kenya we have been blessed with some rain even out of season. We have realised that one important factor in our teaching is the need to include crops that will benefit from rain whenever it falls. In the picture Samuel Ouma is getting ready for the rains preparing a variety of plants in the nursery.

Natural Medicine Workshop in Butere

The first two days of February found us in Butere in western Kenya for a two day workshop with about 26 participants all of whom are active in Natural Medicines. Most had attended a previous training seminar. It was a time of sharing together and learning from each other, and a significant amount of time was given to learning how people had used and built on their training. A strong list of successes and challenges was produced as well as specific questions.

Photo of Group Discussion at Natural Medicines Workshop.
Keith Lindsey leading a discussion at Natural Medicines Workshop

There was also some new teaching including Keith Lindsey presenting on Non Communicable Diseases, also known as Lifestyle Diseases. This led to talk about healthy lifestyles and challenges of the modern world. More and more our teaching focuses on how to keep healthy, motivating people from the Bible.

Roger teaching on the use of Frangi Pani for Shingles

We went through many of the specific questions raised with responses coming from both the participants and the facilitators, depending on the topic.

It was a very valuable time of mutual learning.

One of the questions related to how Natural Medicine teaching fitted with Biblical teaching. This gave an opportunity to share some of what the Bible says in relation to the wonder of God’s creation as well as to challenge participants to read the Bible in such a way as to learn new things.

Roger shared ways of managing HIV and the wonders of Frangi Pani in helping alleviate the symptoms of Shingles.

Extending teaching on Creation Care

We have started the year in trying to reach out to different churches and challenge them in relation to Creation Care and the Gospel. We have had some useful meetings with significant people in some of the main churches in Nairobi and the Kisumu area. Ed Brown who is one of the movers on the Lausanne Creation Care movement was visiting Nairobi, so we were able to organise a get together one evening with some church and government representatives. The meeting was designed to open the eyes of church folks to our Biblical call to care for creation, and also to open the eyes of some government folks to the potential of the church in motivating for change. Ed Brown gave the Keynote speech.

Photo of Informal Setting of a Creation Care Meeting

Informal Setting of a Creation Care Meeting

Photo of Dr Alice Kaudia and Ed Brown at Creation Care get together

Dr Alice Kaudia and Ed Brown

The REAP Centre in Kajulu is developing into a Visitors’ Centre

The REAP team based in Kisumu have been working hard at the REAP garden in Kajulu, developing it into a Visitors’ Centre where, as well as trying new things, modelling what we teach and producing planting materials, we can teach visitors. The building is a good meeting place, and the garden has been streamlined so that visitors can move round and the team can point out the main teaching points.

In the middle of February we had two groups visiting and learning from the team. Domitilla has incorporated all our teaching on kitchens into the mud kitchen, and also produced tea and food for the visitors from there. The garden is full of different teaching points, both relating to medicinal plants and sustainable agricultural practices. Whenever we have visitors they are always challenged by the wonder of God’s creation.

Photos of visitors walking around the garden
Photos of visitors walking around the garden
Photo of visitors in the REAP Centre
Photo of visitors in the REAP Centre

Thank you for your support

We are very grateful for all the support that we receive. We could not achieve what we have without this support. We are however facing a deficit, and want to reach out more and with extra support we could reach many more people with our teaching. We have much teaching ready to share but need more resources to get it out to more people.

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04Apr/16
Photo of the Cross

Newsletter: Easter 2016

Newsletter – Our news for 2016 up to Easter 

Photo of the CrossThis newsletter was supposed to come with our wishes of a very Happy Easter to you all as we remember the significance of the empty cross and the empty grave at this time of year. Although late this theme is still very much central to our faith and very relevant!

We have had a busy couple of months since we returned to Kenya in January, and as it were hit the ground running with work.

Kisumu Trip

Roger has only managed one visit to Kisumu but it was encouraging to go at a time when everything was green after late rains, and to catch up on all that had been happening while we were away. We are very encouraged by the growing interest in our teaching, though challenged on how to reach more people. We are still very short on funding but are able to follow up on what has been started and continue to promote our core teaching. We desire to train more people on being good stewards of God’s world!

Financial Help / Fundraising

As we are short on funding we would like to take this opportunity to ask for assistance. If anyone is in a position to help us in fundraising or has contacts with trusts who may be willing to support REAP, please get in contact with us. Maybe someone would like to run a marathon for REAP or organise a fund raising event. We need to look at new ways of increasing our income if we are to continue with what we are doing.

Trip to Turkana

Midwifery Training School in Northern Kenya

The first day back in the office Roger received a phone call asking if he would be willing to do an evaluation on a midwifery training school for South Sudanese girls. This is a project he had been involved with before so they were keen to get the continuity, and was happy to accept it. It has been good to be involved again in a project based on South Sudan even if the visit was only to Northern Kenya where the school has been relocated.

The fighting that broke out over two years ago particularly devastated the area where the school was located in Unity State. As a result the Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency (PRDA) decided to relocate to Lokichoggio in Northern Kenya. It is a testimony to the hard work and dedication of all involved that they will soon be graduating 20 enrolled midwives with a strong sense of service and self worth from the school. It was a pleasure to once again be involved in this type of work. The picture shows a focus group with some of the graduates from the school.

Echo Symposium

After two weeks in Northern Kenya we had an ECHO symposium on good practices for pastoral area. Roger was asked to give a presentation and Jos was also able to attend. The presentation was on a topic that I have given much thought to in the past, but not much recently. I gave a presentation on how we need to understand the clash of worldviews between agricultural and pastoral peoples if we are to help with transformation. I based this partly on the experience we have had in Mundri over the last few years, and also what it means to love our neighbour when he or she is from a very different culture. God understands things in ways we sometimes find very difficult. It was good once again to be involved in such teaching and to have good interaction with others during the symposium.

Natural Medicines Seminar

Photo of Natural Medicines SeminarWe had to return to Nairobi immediately after the symposium without going on the field trip as two days later we started our Natural Medicines Seminar. We had had a good number of people showing interest, but unfortunately more than half of them cancelled within the last week. As a result we had a much smaller group, but made up for in the quality of participation. Jos was able to join as a participant this time, so is fully up with the teaching. The seminar covers the normal teaching that we give, but every time we find new insights and feedback. We had plenty of opportunity to discuss issues relating to Creation Care and teaching through the church as we had a varied group of Christians from different backgrounds. The picture shows a practical session on making ointments


Kisumu Building Project

Building works in Kisumu Meanwhile in Kisumu George and Rosalia have been able to move the building forward and the doors and windows have all been installed and the building is now secure and usable though finishing touches are still needed. They are waiting for my input on my next visit early next month, and we hope then to be able to start making good use of it. We are getting more visitors to the farm and we hope that the building will add value to those who visit as we are always keen to share our holistic approach. We believe the garden is showing good production and many of the wonders of God’s creation in the way we approach things.

Mama Kezia Nursery School

Things in Mundri are beginning to improve now. The road has opened so it is no longer completely cut off and medical and other help is possible. People have begun returning to the town and the schools have opened. Mama Kezia Nursery School was able to open again about three weeks ago with about 35 pupils, though others are still returning and the school is filling up again.

Family News

We left one set of grandchildren in England, to have the other two, Naomi and Faith, Photo of Naomi and Faith waiting for us here in Nairobi. We have had a full house with Grace and Emmanuel, and Naomi and Faith with us as they are unable to be in South Sudan. They will be going to England next month for three months home assignment and then the house will no doubt seem very quiet!

Becca is well settled into her university course, and is keeping abreast of her studies. She has been with Jenny and Tich over Easter. It is good to be able to talk to them all on Skype and to follow the development of the children.

Prayer Pointers

We want to give thanks to all those who remember us in prayer, and we are very aware of the importance of this, as we look back and see God’s hand in leading and providing:

  • We PRAISE God that we have adjusted to being back after the time we had in England, and for having time with the other part of our family.
  • Our work permit is in for renewal and seems to be taking a long time to be processed. Please PRAY that this may soon be out so we can continue in confidence.
  • Please continue to PRAY for Becca in university as her exams are coming up, but her thoughts are already focusing on coming to Kenya for the summer.
  • Please continue to PRAY for new sources of funding so we can continue with the work and expand to new areas. Please PRAY for our wisdom in this.
  • Please PRAY for the REAP team, for good health and safety as they are involved in travelling and training.
  • We continue to seek PRAYER for South Sudan; that real peace that is dealing with the causes of the fighting may prevail. Please PRAY especially for the situation in Mundri and for Manny and Grace and the family as they decide on how best to move forward while in UK.
  • Please continue to PRAY that the process we are involved in with others may wake the church to our responsibility for our Father’s property in relation to the environment, and for concerted effort as we seek to spread the message. Please also PRAY that the holistic message we teach may get across and those we work with may see their responsibility to God in all they do.
05Feb/16
Tich, Jenny and baby Christian

Newsletter: January 2016

We arrived back from an extended time in the UK on Saturday, January 9th, and are now adjusting to the familiar way of life, and also the altitude again. We had a very fulfilling time in UK, spending most of the time with the family. We were in Reading so that we were near Jenny and her family. Greyfriars church lent us the curate’s house for the duration of our stay and it proved a wonderful base for which we are very grateful. In September Becca started at Northampton University where she is reading Human Resource Management. She had about a month to adjust to England before we took her up and settled her in to her accommodation on campus. She is enjoying the independence and has settled into university life, and seems to be enjoying her course.

Becca, Roger, Jenny and Christian, Bobby, Tich, Jess, Jos

Becca, Roger, Jenny and Christian, Bobby, Tich, Jess, Jos

After her maternity leave of one year, Jennifer resumed work in September for a couple of months before taking maternity leave again in November. During this time she was able to leave Robert (Bobby) and Jessica (Jess) with us during the day, and they adjusted well to their grandparents! They soon got to know us and it has been wonderful to be there in the transition from babies to toddlers. Now that we have returned to Kenya we will miss them greatly.

Tich, Jenny and baby Christian

Tich, Jenny and baby Christian

Jenny’s husband, Tich had broken his leg so when we arrived in UK he was somewhat incapacitated, but this meant that we had had quality time with the whole family. We knew Jenny was going to present us with a new grandchild in December so we had extended our stay an extra month to be around for the birth. Christian came quickly into the world on Christmas morning, weighing in at 4kg – a wonderful Christmas gift for us as we remembered another very significant birth together. Mother and son are both doing very well, and we are very glad we were around to be with them at this time. Being in England for a longer period enabled us to catch up on the fast changing thinking of the society, especially in the very mixed environment of Reading. As noted above, our focus of time was very much on the family, and we are sorry that we didn’t get to meet up with many folks we would have liked to see during the time.   We are now back in Kenya, picking up again with the part of the family that is here as well as catching up on the work. Manny, Grace, Naomi and Faith have been in Nairobi, living in our house since May last year as the situation in Mundri has been very tense, so we had a warm welcome from them on our return. It has been good to pick up with another part of the family as we have had to leave those behind in Reading. The girls in particular are very excited to have us back.

Photo of Naomi and Faith

Naomi and Faith

While we have been away work has continued through the team both in Nairobi and those based in Kisumu. The rains have been heavy and have continued for an extended period, so this has been a good time for planting Vetiver grass, and the team have been busy helping those who have nurseries to use the grass to protect their land. This has been a good opportunity to extend this teaching. There is a growing understanding amongst those with whom we work that our neglect of God’s wonderful creation is causing more and more problems. The message of good stewardship of God’s world has always been central to our teaching but is now being understood by more and more folks. Climate change is indeed a Gospel Imperative. This is a message we will continue with into 2016 in our teaching. We believe this to be a significant part of practical discipleship as we talk about living as God’s people.

Rosalia has been very active in training on Natural medicines over the time we have been away and the message is spreading both in our catchment area and further afield. She was able to have a week training amongst the Maasai on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in October and has been training in churches round Kisumu the last couple of months. The photo is of Rosalia with some of the Maasai trainees.

It has been encouraging to hear what has been going on and Roger will be travelling to Kisumu next week to spend time with the team there and strategise for the time ahead. We have an intensive one week Natural Medicines seminar planned for March, and registration is underway, and we expect a good attendance.

We are still facing serious challenges of funding, and although we made some good contacts while in England, this is something we are still focusing on. We have redone the REAP website, so we would encourage those who can to get on there to get a clearer overview of our current work. We have also been able to establish a link for donations online which should now be working. We are more and more dependent on personal giving for continuing the work. REAP is eligible for Gift Aid claims. Challenges of South Sudan

One of the things that has really saddened us while in England is hearing of the deteriorating situation in Mundri. While on the national front peace negotiations have continued and seem to bearing fruit, in Mundri the situation has seriously deteriorated. The clash in worldview between the agricultural people of Mundri and the cattle people coming from the areas to the north has led to a lot of destruction in Mundri. As a result the population of the town had to flee to the bush, and some people are only now returning. As a result all schools, including Mama Keziah Nursery School have closed. This was only weeks after the nursery school had finally opened, so was particularly disappointing for Jos. However, since the building is out of town it has not suffered the destruction that other buildings have. Manny was in Mundri when the fighting escalated, but was able to get a flight out to join his family in Nairobi, where he is now getting involved in temporary sports ministry prior to home assignment later this year.

Prayer Pointers

We want to give thanks to all those who remember us in prayer, and we are very aware of the importance of this, as we look back and see God’s hand in leading and providing:

  • We PRAISE God for the time we had in England, and especially the quality time we had with Jenny and Tich and their family. We give a special thanks to God for our new grandson, Christian.
  • Please PRAY for Becca as she adjusts to not having us in the same country, and that she may really benefit from the university experience.
  • Please continue to PRAY for us as we seek to find more resources to continue the work, and indeed to expand to new areas.
  • Please PRAY for the REAP team, for good health and safety as they are involved in travelling and training.
  • Please PRAY for Roger as he presents a paper at the ECHO symposium in March, and for the Natural Medicines training the week after that we may be able to maintain the holistic message.
  • We continue to seek PRAYER for South Sudan; that peace may prevail. Please PRAY especially for the situation in Mundri and for Manny and Grace and the family with the challenges of being displaced to Nairobi.
  • Please continue to PRAY that the process we are involved in with others may wake the church to our responsibility for our Father’s property in relation to the environment, and for follow up from last May’s conference. Please also PRAY that the holistic message we teach may get across and those we work with may see their responsibility to God in all they do.
30Nov/15
Kajulu Farm

Newsletter: Spring 2015

Kajulu Farm

Kajulu Farm Pic1 smallREAP has employed a new enthusiastic caretaker. As February was very dry, he was able to make good use of the water abundantly available to irrigate different sections of the garden, while Vetiver grass kept the soil covered with mulch. The many trees planted are now developing and self-seeded leguminous trees add fertility as well as a pleasant environment for visitors. They are experimenting with a new species of Artemisia for hotter areas, also trying some other interesting crops.




Kajulu Farm Pic2 small

Building of the conference centre on the farm is progressing well. Six youths were trained in making the interlocking compressed blocks for the walls. This is a project with the Ministry of Housing, who trained the youth and each received a certificate.

 

Training

February ECHO Symposium Roger attended the Arusha ECHO Symposium and presented a plenary session on ‘A Biblical Basis to Motivate Rural Change’. The presentation showed how the Biblical references are very much used in the REAP program. Many participants expressed appreciation and good contacts were made. Roger sees a challenge of transferring interest into actual relationships and follow-up. March Natural Medicine Seminar Participants came from many countries to a week’s ANAMED Training Seminar on Natural Medicine. Practical participation was excellent and well taken. Closing session comments reinforced the importance that REAP puts on a Biblical background for its teaching. All went home with books, planting materials, seeds and samples from the practical. May Creation Care Conference Preparations for the Creation Care Conference in May have been encouraging. CCC is experienced in running these seminars and will cover the administrative side. It has been very good developing strong links with other Christian organizations with a similar philosophy. Beyond the conference they are looking to set up Creation Care or Christian Environment networks in various neighbouring regions, as well as taking the environmental message to city churches.

Family

Roger expects to return to UK mid- August, to strengthen REAP support and help Becca settle into Uni. Jos continues her support for the new school in Mundri, and Tich and Jenny with their twins Robert and Jessica are happy in Reading. PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray for the success of the Creation Care Conference and follow up
  • Thanks for the involvement of Jenny and Tich who volunteered to assist REAP
  • Prayer for Roger and Jos’ promotional activities during their visit to the UK this summer
  • Praise for the positive responses from recent seminars and the steady spread of REAP teaching
  • Thank the Lord for His faithful provision over many years but funding is urgently needed to enable the work of REAP to continue