Encouragements in the work
The last few months have been busy and full of interest. In September Roger spent two weeks in Tanzania with the Diocese of Central Tanganyika in Dodoma. Having helped them plan their present Food Security programme in 2007, the development team had requested World Relief Canada to enable me to return for two weeks training. This was particularly encouraging as it was to train in the area where my heart is, namely on Biblical stewardship as the basis of sustainable agriculture.
We had two weeks with the development team, including two days with the board members and some senior church leaders, looking at what the Bible says about our relationship to God’s creation and how this affects our response. We also looked strategically at the great potential the church has to motivate people. This is a message we keep working with in REAP though for many it is a slow one, so the response from DCT was particularly encouraging.
At the beginning of December I was also asked to spend a day sharing the same basic message at the Africa wide conference of Help a Child Africa (HACA) at which we had participants from 11 African countries as well as Netherlands, Australia and India! Once again the message stimulated interest and much positive discussion, and confirmed that we are on the right line.
Meanwhile down in western Kenya the team have been continuing to encourage churches to respond to the teaching. The last visit I made was particularly encouraging as we visited places where those we have trained are beginning to make a real difference in their area. It was particularly good to visit two areas where the demand for vetiver grass is so great that they have set aside a specific area themseleves for a fairly large nursery so that the grass can be reproduced for distribution in the local area. The fact that this was initiated locally and our staff have then helped them establish the nursery keeps ownership with the local people and is a good sign for the continuing spread of the grass and more important for the protection of the soil that the grass enables.
Natural Medicines continue as a major focus
Natural Medicines continue to be very central to the work of REAP and we are getting more and more demand for teaching. We had a very encouraging training workshop bringing together twenty people for the basic training. Three of these have done a significant amount with us in the past but never been able to attend a formal workshop, but most of the rest are new contacts, so the message will spread to new areas and through new churches. The responsive atmosphere throughout the training was particularly encouraging. We always ask those we invite to remember to bring a Bible. They often think this is strange when they are expecting to come to a technical workshop, but at the end the response was very positive in how the Bible teaching will help them communicate to others.
Visits to Sudan
Both Roger and Jos visited Sudan in October for the annual Cush Consultation held in Yei. As we were very involved in the organisation of the consultation this year it was a tiring time for us but the response was very positive. It brought together a cross section of people involved in Christian work in Sudan and we were particularly pleased to have more from the Christian NGOs working in Sudan. The interaction was very positive, although the challenges are very great as the population of the south comes to terms with the realities of the post-war situation and the church seeks to deal with many of the negative aspects that have come into society as a result of the war.
Jos was able to stay on in Sudan after the consultation and visit family and friends in both Juba and Mundri. She had two weeks in Mundri and as well as catching up with her family she was also able to share her vision of developing a Christian school in Mundri with local leaders. The process is slow but she came back encouraged and enthused. She has been able to share both her vision and her concerns more clearly with many since her return to Nairobi.
- We praise God that as we come to the beginning of 2009 we are in peace.
- We praise God for the very positive response we have had to our teaching over the last few months.
- Please pray for all the staff that they will be encouraged as they are involved in sharing our REAP teaching.
- Please pray for all those we have trained as they take the messages into their home churches and communities. May God encourage them.
- Please pray for our involvement in Sudan, that God will give us wisdom on how to be positive in the difficult situation of emerging from war.
- Please pray for the busy training schedule we have over the next few months. We will have a number of training workshops on Natural Medicine both in Kenya and Sudan.