Newsletter: Christmas 2012

image006Dear Friends,

Once again we have entered December and Christmas will soon be here. Let us start by wishing you a very Happy Christmas and God’s blessing in 2013.

We look forward to celebrating as a family this time of year when we remember God’s wonderful gift to us, and how Jesus humbled himself to come and live amongst us.

image005Emmanuel and Grace and Naomi will be with us for Christmas, before proceeding to England for their ‘home assignment’, having just finished their time in Yei with Across. Grace and Naomi have been with us for a couple of weeks now and we have enjoyed spending time with them, and getting to know our granddaughter as a person. At 2½ she is full of energy.

Since getting back from England at the end of August we have had a busy time and have been seeking to fit in many different things. We had a good time in England in the summer, and enjoyed watching the Olympics on TV, as well as catching up with many people.

Encouragement in the work

Our work in REAP has been continuing to attract interest and spread slowly, though over the last year or so we have been rather restricted by lack of funds. We have not been able to reach out as much as we would have liked but this has also meant we have been able to develop the plot near Kisumu so that it is a very positive place to teach from.

Over the last few months we have been consolidating our teaching so that we can more effectively offer it to others. We continue to focus on the three core areas of sustainable agriculture, teaching through women’s fellowships and Natural medicines. We now have clear packages of teaching on each of these, and have been able to link the practical teaching clearly with spiritual teaching from the Bible. This holistic approach sometimes makes it difficult for us to attract the funding we need to expand, as so many see the spiritual aspect that we see as central, as being a diversion!

In November we had a grant to run a workshop on the Biblical approach to agriculture. We had 20 of our keenest contact people together for five days and were able to positively consolidate the teaching. One thing that we have been able to work on well this year has been getting Vetiver Grass out to many more people through encouraging small nurseries on many farms. This is something that is now a major focus of our extension work.

We have also been able to continue to do some teaching for others with Rosalia and George teaching in Pokot, and Domitilla teaching on stoves in South Sudan, both this last month.

Visits to South Sudan

2012 is the 40th anniversary of Across. While we were in UK it was wonderful to meet up with so many former Across friends for the day celebration in August at ‘All Nations’. In September both of us were able to travel to Juba for the celebrations there. It was a time of giving thanks to God for all he has done through Across and also an opportunity to look ahead.

The Executive Director of Across is not extending his contract after the end of the year, and so effectively left the work at the end of October to spend time with his family in Australia before returning to a new ministry in Juba. As one of the board members based in Nairobi, Roger has as a result been spending quite a bit of time in the Across office in this transition period. An interim ED has been found for a period from January 2013, which should reduce the time input needed.

Roger also made a visit to Leer in Unity State for an evaluation of a Community Midwives Training School with the Presbyterian Church. It was good to visit a new part of South Sudan and, as well as looking at the project there, to be able to get a feel of the development of the new nation from a remote part.

Jos was hoping to visit Mundri in November to move forward her vision for starting a nursery school near our home. She has some funding to start building and was hoping to get things started. However, her eyes have been giving her trouble and she had a cataract operation in one eye at the beginning of November, and since the eye is very dry it is taking time to heal. So she is now hoping to go in the new year.

Family News

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We are looking forward to catching up with Manny when he joins the rest of his family here next week. They have finished their time with Across, and are looking to the way God is leading them in the future, probably in further sports ministry in South Sudan. They are still with Pioneers.

While we were in England in July and August we were able to catch up with Jenny and Tich. Since we came back to Kenya, they have moved to our house in Reading and both of them have new jobs, which build on their experience and lead more towards their career expectations.

Becca continues to enjoy being at Braeside School in Nairobi and is preparing for her IGCSEs next summer. This is an important year for her, and she does not find it easy to commit herself to study.

Prayer Pointers

· We continue praise God for the new country of South Sudan.

· Please pray for Roger’s continued input into Across, and for wisdom for the board in appointing a new Executive Director.

· Please also pray for Jos’s vision for a nursery school in Mundri, and for the resources to take it forward.

· Please pray that we may find more resources for the work of REAP, so that we can continue to move out with our teaching and build on our vision.

· Please pray that as we continue to found our practical teaching on Biblical teaching, others may pick up the vision of the importance of taking Biblical teaching into every aspect of life.

· Please pray for Manny and Grace as they seek the right way forward for their ministry.

· Please pray for Kenya at this time of build up towards the elections. The elections are in March and politics is central to all discussions and news. There is apprehension after the violence following the elections five years ago. Please pray especially that Christians will stand firm and that faith will be seen in action

We very much appreciate all the interest in our work and the prayer and other support. We are at this stage very much looking for more financial resources for our work. If anyone has links with trusts or foundations that may be able to support our work, we would love to hear from you.

With love in Christ,
Roger, Jos and Becca (Sharland)