Sunday, September 12, 2010

New Contacts in Kenya and Uganda

Wednesday – September 8, 2010

It was another day of traveling for all of us. We all loaded into the van this morning at 8:00am and said goodbye to Mary before we left Mike’s house in Matunda. We drove south to Eldoret on some of the worst tarmac roads in all of Kenya. It took us 2 hours to drive only 40 kilometers! We have heard that they will be rebuilding this road soon, so maybe they will be better when I return next year.

We split up in Eldoret. Russ and Stephen caught a shuttle from Eldoret southwest to Kisii, Mike and I took a taxi west to Bungoma, and Charles continued southeast to Nairobi with Todd.

This map charts our journey from Mutunda (X marks the spot) to Bungoma (the big A) to Busia on the border of Uganda.

Originally I was going to take a bus from Eldoret to Bungoma, but we were pressed for time, so I haggled with several taxi drivers to take us instead. After talking them down about $8, Mike and I said goodbye to Charles and Todd, loaded our luggage into a small Toyota, and were off to Bungoma, Kenya.

About two hours later we arrived in Bungoma, where we met with a man I have been corresponding with by e-mail for over 2 years. It was exciting to finally meet Allen after all our e-mails back and forth. We sat down in the lounge of a hotel and discussed his life and family and what brought him to Bungoma from Nairobi, where he was a year ago. It was sad to hear his story, but at the same time we also saw the opportunities for the Gospel here. Allen told us that there was a great deal of witchcraft in this area. He told us of some very specific local stories that literally sent chills down my spine. What was most surprising was how he told of “Christians” who commonly played with witchcraft as well! As we heard about the situation here, we began to see how the statistics which say that Kenya is 80% Christian are greatly skewed and unrealistic. In this area, “Christians” aren’t even familiar with the first and second commandments and what God says about witchcraft!

We had a very productive visit, and talked more about the Biblical teaching of Baptism as well as a few other topics. Allen has been working through a Bible correspondence course with me, and we will continue that over the coming year to make sure that all his questions have been answered and he has a full understanding of what we teach. When I return next year we will discuss more in depth the possibility of joining in fellowship together.

Allen and his wife Emily on the right, Evanson and his wife on the left, and our driver, Andrew squatting in front.

During our time in Bungoma, we met Allen’s wife and children, and several of his friends. Believe it or not, one of his friends was named Michael Gorbachev! Not exactly a name you would expect in Africa!

After 4 hours of discussion and meeting with others, we loaded back into our car with our driver, Andrew. For an additional fee, he had agreed to wait around for us and take us from Bungoma to the border town of Busia. The roads were good from Bungoma to Busia, so we made the trip in just over an hour. Andrew drove us all the way to the border where he dropped us off and we started into Uganda on foot.

It was at the Kenya Immigration Office that something unexpected happened. While I was getting my passport stamped with an Kenya exit mark, I heard someone behind me call my name! I wondered who would know me here in Busia? I turned around, and didn’t recognize anyone, but someone certainly recognized me. It was Daniel, another man I have been corresponding with for quite a while, and the one I was coming to visit here in Uganda! I was expecting to meet him after entering Uganda, but here he had come through the border to meet us! Once again it was great to meet face to face with someone I have communicating with for over 6 months.

Daniel and I at the Maryland Hotel in Busia, Uganda.

We continued through the border and into the town of Busia on the Ugandan side of the border. Daniel had made arrangements for us at a hotel that was within walking distance from the border, so we followed him through a maze of turns hearing the children of all ages yell, “Wazungu, how are you?” as we walked along. It was a bit of a change, because the common language in Uganda is not Swahili, but English. This was a nice change, but took some getting used to!

After checking in we sat down in the beautiful courtyard of the Maryland Hotel and talked with Daniel. He told us his life story – and it was full of pain and sorrow, but one which led him to where he is today. Much of what Daniel had been through was similar to what we had heard from Allen earlier in the day. More stories of witchcraft and “Christians” who have no foundation in the teachings of Christianity. Daniel has seen this in his own life, and recognized his lack of Christian instruction, and is seeking a mentor to help train him in the Word of God. That was what led him to look into Lutheran teaching and led him to find the Lutheran Missions website.

We will have the whole day tomorrow to meet and discuss more things with Daniel, and we are eagerly looking forward to it! What a joy to see such new opportunities here in Kenya, and to find those who are truly concerned about Biblical teaching and instruction. Thank the Lord!

In His service,


“I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” – Pslam 57:9-11

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