Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Big meetings, band, and beauty

Dearest ones,

This blog is slowly becoming less like a blog and more like an impersonal letter which I write to everyone I have ever met, and for that I am very sorry. It has been almost two months since I have given an update on my life and for that I am also sorry. However, life is treating me pretty well. I am still in Kenya and still working hard. Kenya is now receiving lots of rain (much of the county has been having intense drought) which is a huge answer to prayer.

Since my last post, I have been staying busy preparing materials, lessons, and programs for the 2009-2010 calendar year, which began at the beginning of October. This has consumed a lot of my time and has kept me very busy. The youth section has many programs prepared for this calendar year, and it is my honor to of had a chance to be apart of the planning for the activities which will occur this year.
First of all, I want to give an update on PSS. PSS is the program that I have talked a lot about which works among orphans and vulnerable youth who have been affected by poverty, violence, or disease. The TYS and I have been workig very hard to secure funding and trainings for this program and we are happy to say that this program is soon to be fully revived in the Territory. Leaders have been identified, calendars have been prepared, and funding is on its way. We are very pleased with this news, but ask you to continue to pray that everything continues to go smoothly. In the last few months PSS leaders have been able to speak at several youth seminars and trainings, hold way forward meetings, and come together for encouragement and support. I was even able to travel to anoher PSS training in Kisumu in order speak and encourage the young people. At the beginning of October we had a big event which took up most of our time and energy. We had a visit from the Salvation Army International Secretary (IS) for Africa (the bossman for all the Salvation Army in Africa) and it took a lot of delegation, preparation, and work for everything to go smoothly. His visit was a great encouragement to us. He arrived early in the week and had a small tour of the Territory and conducted reviews and interviews. Then, on Saturday, we held a big celebration to officially open the new building. The IS officially opened the building and it was a meeting filled with dancing, singing, tree planting, horn blowing, and the like. It was then my responsibility to give tours of the building. We had a great theoretical system in place where each tour guide would take around a group of 15 people and would be seperated from the other groups; but it turned out more to be just a giant heap of people going whereever they wanted (which is what happens whenyou try to show a building to 600 officers (pastors) within a half an hour time). The next day, there was a big Territorial meeting planned, and this meeting ended up being very intense. I started off at 630am in order to arrive on the opposite side of town to begin the brass processional. The band was to march from one end of town, to the middle of town (where we were met by all the other Salvationists), and then through every single street and alley of the town, onto the final place which was to be Bukhungu Stadium (the soccer stadium in town). So we marched in our matching band uniforms through the whole town playing African tunes. There is no written music, no set duration, just a bunch of people playing drums and horns and 6,000 Salvationists marching behind them with people singing and laughing and dancing on the side of the street as we pass by. Thats right...6,000!!! Thats also right...constant spontaneous dancing!! When we reached the stadium there was a march past in which every single soldier marched in front of the IS. It took over an hour and our African tunes were blaring in the background the whole time. The meeting at the stadium was so good. People came from far and wide to be present for this meeting and were happy to sing, dance, and fellowship together. There was a gospel dance presentation from our youth in Kitale, who danced in bow ties and white socks. Our scouts set up a tent in the middle of the professional soccer field and did all of there scouty things. It was just a great day of worship and fellowship for people from around the territory.
Last weekend, I was the "Chief Guest" at a fundraising for the youth group of an outpost from my corps (church). An outpost is like a church plant which has a building and members, but usually no pastor. This outpost was in an area called Maraba and they were having a fundraiser to raise enough money to get power for the outpost. Praise God, we were able to raise enough to get power for the outpost. Also a keyboard was donated to the church. This means that the youth will now be able to do contemporary worship and gospel dance in their church. We are happy because after receiving power, we are sure that the next step is for them to become a full-corps and receive a pastor.

I have been investing a lot of time into two youth from my corps. I have been trying to invest in their skills and give them jobs around the corps which will help them to grow and learn. I have also been spending a lot of time teaching them guitar and they performed for the first time on Sunday during the morning meeting. They performed "What a Friend we have in Jesus" and are one of the first guitar groups within the Salvation Army of Kenya.

Yesterday was a holiday and we did not have work. Instead the band was hired by the government to travel to a town called Malava in order to do a procession and play in the festivities for that district. We arrived, walked around the town for a while, ate, joked around with the military police, and then marched to a school out in the country. The field where we were was on a hill and was surrounded by mountains in the distance. I remembered how beautiful Kenya is and how blessed I am to be here.

Romans 8:31 - "If God is for us, who can be against us?" - Answer: no one.

Please pray for:
-Territorial Finances
-My spiritual growth
-My Corps
-My family
-For continued rains (against drought)

Much love