I would like to thank all of you for your prayers and encouragement these last few months I’ve been on deputation. I just wanted to drop everyone a note on my plans for the next few weeks. I leave this morning out of Springfield MO, fly to Chicago, then Paris, then to Nairobi. Please pray for safety as I travel. I will be settling in Eldoret Kenya and hope to have e-mail there within a week.
My parents are taking over my E-mail account here in the States and will forward any mail that comes to this address. You can look me up on the web at http://www.bwanabob.org. My friends have done a great job of setting up the page. All I have to do is finish writing the information to go into it. I will try to give many more details on the web page as to what I am doing when I arrive in Kenya.
All of my bags are packed and my laptop is one of the last things to go into my carryon. I have three check through bags and all of them weigh 70 lb.. , pray that I can get them there without much trouble.
God bless each of you and I’ll be e-mailing within a week or so, hopefully from a new address in Kenya. Finally, I would like to praise God for his goodness and provision, when you pray thank the Lord for supplying my needs and watching over me.
I’ve arrived safely in Eldoret. What a trip, very long and tiring. My bags didn’t make it to Kenya with me. I figure they are in Paris, but should find out Monday exactly where theory at.
On the trip out to Eldoret we saw Baboons and Zebra, then locked the keys in the car at a gas station. There ended up being about 10 people around the car working and giving suggestions, wish I had taken some pictures. You wouldn’t believe how beautiful it is here, clouds and rain, but the sun is so bright when it comes out.
I’m really tired and will try to stay awake till around 10 P.M.
Things are going well here. Jet lag has been a little tough on me, am waking up at 3 am and going to bed at 9 P.M. Please pray that I will get my bags soon and that everything will be in them. I was trying to figure the replacement cost on all of the things that I have in them and believe that it would be pretty high. Pray about me getting a vehicle. It seems that I should try and find a 4 by 4 truck. The Mohlers and Stirewalts have 4 vehicles but none are a 4 wheel drive truck. They said that this would be a real asset to all of our ministries. A good truck will cost about seven to ten thousand US, more than I had planned, but know that it will be worth having.
- Am doing a little laundry by hand till my bags come in.
- Met my friend Moses from Nairobi, he is now living in Eldoret.
- Found some rhubarb at a stand and will plant it in our yard, mmmmmm…
Miss you all, hope some of you can come some day to see the works going here.
In Christ Bwana Bob
Dear Friends and Loved Ones,
I’ve made it to Kenya! Am settled into my home and am trying to get things packed away. My bags were lost in Paris, (now I know why they call it Air Chance instead of Air France). The Stirewalts and Mohlers did a fantastic job of getting the house cleaned up and ready for me to move into. It is a 2 bedroom place with a nice living room and kitchen. I have hot water and electricity (most of the time). My phone was to be hooked up two months ago, but, hey, this is Africa–these things take time or a bribe.
My surroundings are beautiful. Anyone who likes to take pictures would go nuts here. It is the beginning of the rainy season, but has been mostly sunny since I’ve come. The clouds that come through are just magnificent. The only ones that I’ve ever seen like them were in Alaska. On the trip to Eldoret we passed by baboons and zebra right next to the road! Just like driving through a game park.
Most of the people here are very nice. They tell me the country people are much more polite than the people here in the city. Many people try to butt in line if you haven’t crowded the person in front of you in a que. It really bugs me but that’s part of culture adjustment. We went to the open market today. That was something! We bought many fruits and vegetables. Most of the kiosk owners gave me extra things as a first time gift, and a couple of guys tried to cheat me–what a country. The market aroma was quite interesting as well. One area smelled just like a feed lot or cattle holding pen. It reminded me of my milking days–the only problem was I wanted to buy food.
I haven’t started my language studies yet but I hope to by the end of the week. Am working on it myself and trying to pick up common words that you use shopping and greeting. Jonathon Mohler and I have been visiting quite a bit about his current ministry and my joining him as part of my training. Jonathon works with about 30 churches in the Busia area which borders Uganda and is very close to Kakamega district in Kenya. Most of these churches were started some time ago. Jonathan visits with each of the pastors and encourages them and gets an idea of how he can help them. Even though many of these churches have been started over eight years ago the pastors have difficulties and need encouragement to grow. I see this ministry as almost the same thing the Apostle Paul did by writing to the early churches. Although there are 30 churches in this area many villages have no church at all, especially the ones off the main roads. It would be like having 30 churches in the area of three or four counties in the US. This ministry with Jonathan should really help me learn the best way to start a new church, help it grow and also give me an idea of the areas of greatest need.
Please pray for my safety as I drive and patience as I stand in line. Pray that the Lord will direct me to the right vehicle to buy. God’s deal is the best. Pray that I’ll learn Swahili and be an effective witness.
Thank you all for your prayers and support.
May 5, 1999
I’m sorry to keep sending these generic e-mails but I have quite a backlog of ones to respond to. When I finally got online this evening I had 18 messages waiting! Thank you for all of the encouraging mail. I believe that the jet lag has finally been whipped. Spent about two hours this morning trying to get my phone turned on (government owned company for you). Had to go stand in line at the post office for an hour to get new keys to the P.O. box. The others were lost before I arrived. Went to the Bible institute today, what a ministry. Young men and women come for about one week a month the train as pastors and church workers. It is free and doesn’t take them away from their farms for too long.
My baggage is being held in Nairobi waiting for a flight to Eldoret. They cannot release the bags until they clear customs in Nairobi or Eldoret. The problem with getting them here is that Kenya Airways doesn’t follow their schedule. Flights were to come every day this week, so far none have come in. Air France assured me that the bags were locked in a secure cage and safe, that was very reassuring. Thank you all for praying in this matter. Pray that I can get to Nairobi or the bags will be sent here soon.
I am finding out more and more how much work there is to be done. They are already planning on me working in the Turkana region after training in the Busia region.
I had better close for now, thank you all for writing, it’s great to receive so many messages.
May 9, 1999
I arrived in Kenya on Saturday May 1. My luggage didn’t arrive with me and I just received it on Thursday. I want to thank all of you who were praying on this matter. All of my things were intact and I was given absolutely no trouble by customs. As a matter of fact, the only paperwork I had to do was write a handwritten bill of receipt for the baggage worker to keep on file in Eldoret airport. God is so good!
This past week I’ve spent much time working on getting to know my way around Eldoret, hook up phone, get keys to P.O. box and basically make my house livable. Am working every day at Swahili trying to write out verses I want to memorize and words that I need to know and ones that I’ve picked up. Will start formal studies next week.
Here is a little of what I experience in Eldoret. Coming out of a bread shop a small boy stops me to beg for money, I immediately see his glue can he has been sniffing from. I tell him this is bad and he should quit sniffing the glue. Speaking through my Kenyan friend Moses, he asks me to take him to America and I tell him that the America would only cause him more problems. I told him he didn’t need glue but Jesus. He really didn’t seem very responsive, so I told him if he would get rid of his glue I would give him some bread. He gave me his glue can but I gave it back and told him to smash it. He took few minutes to do it, but when he did we immediately gave him some bread. I then told him glue would never make him truly happy and only knowing Jesus would. He took the bread and walked away singing a little. I see many of these children when I am downtown Eldoret, the worst thing I could do is give them money, their only hope is Jesus.
I have already had many people come and ask me for money and favors. Most of them I could help, but if I helped them all I would quickly spend every dime I have here. The Kenyans aren’t very bashful about asking for money from any American. I don’t plan to hand out money to every person that comes by. Please pray that the Lord would give me wisdom on how to deal with each situation. Just today a street boy came and pushed my bicycle up a little hill and then ran beside me asking for money. After about a quarter mile I stopped and told him he looked like a fine strong young man able to get a job. I told him there was no honor in a strong man begging for money and that I would give him none. I told him he needed Jesus and that was the only thing I would offer him. He then motioned he would go, but before leaving gave me the street kids sign. Not sure what it meant, but hope he remembers my words.
Had a juakali carrier made for my bicycle today. Juakali means something like, hot sun worker. So, now I have something to carry loads on my bicycle in the hot sun. The place that made the carrier was off a back alley with several men and boys working with antiquated tools, no gloves and no face shield for welding. The guy doing the welding would hold the mettle pieces with one hand and weld with the other, that’s tough. The carrier cost $2.80, I had them paint it for another .30 cents.
Please pray that the Lord would give me wisdom and discernment in dealing with every person I meet. Pray specifically for my friend Moses, his child is sick and his wife doesn’t want to live with him in Eldoret.
Thank you all for remembering me and checking up on me.
Bwana Bob, Your Juakali missionary
May 12, 1999
Dear Friends, Brothers and Sisters,
Things have gone smoothly since I received my bags on Thursday. So much happens in just a few days I hope I can remember all of the details. On Saturday we went to the teaching and referral hospital here in Eldoret. It is supposed to be the best one in town, I have to admit it was a scary experience. From the moment we walked in I could tell that the place was not at all clean. The floors throughout the hospital were dirty and didn’t appear to have been swept in about a week. The smell of the place was not a sanitary one. I truly hope I never have to be taken there.
Today we went to a Church in Kapsabet, it was about an hour drive from Eldoret. Most of the road there was paved (tarmacked in Kenyan terms), then we turned of onto a dirt road and made several other turns, every time the road got smaller until it was just wide enough for the Toyota we were driving. The church was made of mud mixed with cow by-product, ( it holds the mud together). The church had a coat of paint, inside and out, so it really looked nice. There were about 80 people there, this little church was about a mile or two from the town of Kapsabet, but there were plenty of people. I must say that it was a real blessing to be in a Kenyan service, the people love to sing and there were many testimonies given as introductions. I didn’t preach but was given a seat in the center of the little podium behind the pulpit. Talk about being treated well. During the sermon I looked up the scriptures in my Bible to be able to follow the message. Brother Stirewalt preached on living a consistent Christian life, his main text was Colossians 3. After the service several people came forward to pray, but none came to accept Christ. After the service we sang several more songs and the Church presented the Stirewalts with gifts of one gallon of cooking fat and about 30 eggs. Now that’s a country church! Then we had dinner at the pastors house next to the church. Dinner was boiled yard bird (chicken), rice and Coke. It was pretty tasty.
I will be preparing to preach in the next week or two, as all of the pastors around find out I’m here they will begin to invite me in. I look forward to it, but preaching with an interpreter is a little tough. Pray for me on this. Daily life is a little different here. Getting the most simple things done takes much more time. Installing a telephone into my house has been a two month ordeal and it’s not completed yet. For entertainment we work in the shamba (garden), or torch termite holes with gasoline (it’s pretty safe Mom).
Pray for me as I seek a way to minister to the street children in Eldoret. Most people say they have run away from their homes and orphanages and that is why they are on the streets. I wouldn’t want to do anything to reward or promote their rebellion or glue sniffing, but I must find a way to connect with them while telling them about Jesus.
Pray for me as I begin Swahili lessons. It will be very important to learn to speak and preach in Swahili.
Thank you all for your prayers, e-mail and support.
May 17, 1999
Dear Friends and Family,
This past week has been filled with many new and exciting experiences. For beginners I have started Swahili lessons. My teacher speaks what is called pure Swahili and often laughs at my Missouri accent when I try to say the Swahili words. Please pray for me as I learn.
On Friday we went to a village north of the town of Eiten (Hill Ten). There is a new work there and has already started to flourish. On Friday we held a crusade and had six saved in the outdoor service. It was a great time of singing, testimonies and preaching (most of the preaching I didn’t understand, I haven’t learned enough Swahili). Altogether the crusade had an evangelistic theme. On Saturday we went house to house, or shamba to shamba inviting people to the crusade that night and also presenting the Gospel to people for the first time. I went with the pastor Titus, we had 9 or 10 people accept Christ in a little over 4 hours of witnessing! We had to leave that area on Saturday afternoon, but I received a call today, and they said that nearly 100 accepted Christ over the weekend and 30 were Baptized after the service today! What a harvest! Please pray for the pastor of that young church, his name is Titus and I know that our wicked adversary will do anything to hinder his ministry.
Today we traveled to the area of Busia and visited a church that had been planted only 3 years ago. Their attendance this morning was around 160, with close to 80 adults. God has truly blessed that work. This young church has also started another work about 3 miles away. About 7 men from this new work walked all the way to the service this morning! What faithful men, I’m sure if they continue in their faithfulness they’ll become pillars in a new strong church in Busia district!
With all of these meetings and fellowship there was a lot of food involved, all of it was really delicious, but at one point I found a chicken head in my dish. My Moma taught me to eat what was on my plate, and I was prepared to do so, but all of the men started laughing and one of them grabbed the head before I started eating it. Whew! Getting to the launch part. I truly feel like I have been launched into a ministry that is waiting for me to catch up. I really need to learn Swahili before I will be effective. There are currently 109 churches that Brother Stirewalt has had a part in starting or maintaining. Out of these churches have come over 100 young men currently being trained as pastors. All of these young preacher boys have the goal of starting new churches in their home areas or wherever God leads them. The potential for new churches being planted from this ministry is a testimony to the greatness of God. Pray that God will give me strength to help continue this great ministry.
Apart from feeling launched, we were physically launched today. Let me explain, in Kenya there are speed bumps in most towns as well as at unexpected places on the highways. We have joked that these should be called launching pads rather than speed bumps because of the size of some of these things. Anyway, today we had just such a launching encounter. It had just started raining and visibility was poor, we never saw the launching pad until we were on it. We figured our speed must have been 80 – 90 km/h when we hit. It was a real wake up call, everything hit the ceiling (including us), the poor little Isuzu Trooper was airborne and for a second I thought we were going end over end. The front hit first and Jonathan managed to keep us on the road. I know the Lord was watching over us because none of us were hurt and nothing was broken.
It’s a real blessing to work in such a fruitfull ministry, thank you all for praying and making my work here in Kenya possible.
Bob Clark, flying missionary.
Monday. 17-5 I’ve found an older Toyata Land Cruiser. It looks about mid 60′s. Is 4×4 and diesel. The engine runs pretty good and the price is right. The Land Cruisers are known to be some of the toughest trucks in the world. It needs lots of work to be ready for a long trip, but labor is cheap and Toyota parts are readily available. Pray that God would lead me on this.
May 23, 1999
I want to thank all of you for your prayers these past few weeks. I have had many experiences, some a little frightening, but God has kept me safe.
Where to begin! My daily life is pretty busy, but not a rat race. I have Swahili lessons from 10:30 to 12:30 every morning. I usually ride my mountain bike to class, it’s only about 3 miles to the place. I go into Eldoret either before or after class and take care of whatever business I have for the day, check snail-mail, buy groceries, etc. Several times I have met street boys and have been burdened for them. I have only given them food and if they have bottles of glue I take their glue in exchange for food. I had thought of trying to start some kind of close ministry with them, but just today, Sunday, I saw two truck loads of street boys headed to church. In Kenya you’d call it a local “Lorry Ministry”, (lorry meaning large truck) instead of bus ministry.
I’m getting a good dose of culture lessons here. Kenyans have many of the same aspirations as Americans do, but for some reason many go about obtaining their aspirations the hard way. For instance, a man working closely with me has lied to me several times, not seeming to be bothered in the least about it. The times he lied to me, he got what he wanted. It was a minimal loss on my part and I wondered why an adult would even lie about such trivial things, but in the end I have learned not to trust him and will be wary when he asks for or tells me anything. This is part of the culture.
For fun and relaxation we have a garden in our front yard. I’m very grateful for the seeds that I was able to get at the Aurora Agri Center. Several missionaries have expressed extreme interest in the sweet corn that I am growing. It should be a real treat.
Also this last Saturday, my friend Moses and I went to Kisumu for a fishing trip. It was about a 2 hour drive there and we were able to hire a boat and “guides” for the day. I’ll have to tell you about our bargaining for the price of the boat and crew. I told them that I wanted to fish until 3 PM and asked how much they wanted to charge me. They Hmmd. a little and said 6,000 shillings (about $90 US), I countered with an offer of 300 shillings, ($5 US). This went on for a bit and we settled on 600 shillings, ($9 US). Don’t think I’m cheap now, a good daily wage for workers is $3 or $4 US, so these guys actually made good money on top of their catch of fish from earlier that morning. While we were fishing Moses and I presented the Gospel to the fishermen and they both accepted Christ! We didn’t catch any fish, but can honestly say that we caught two on that trip! It’s incredible how God works things out and directs our steps.
This Sunday I was in a very new Church that was started back in September of last year. They are meeting in a rented room that couldn’t be any larger that 12′ by 12′. The attendance this morning was about 40 adults and children. It was something to see everyone packed into this tiny little room. Most of the women were holding children and the larger children had smaller ones on their laps. I was very grateful for the sitting space that I had been given. Brother Stirewalt brought a great message on how we can’t mix works with Grace. His illustration was a woman trying to mix dirt with ugali, ( corn meal mush). She was trying to make more ugali, but ending up with something terrible. The later part of his message was on how our works show who we really love. “If you love me keep my commandments.” I was able to grasp bits and pieces so that I knew the gist of the message, it was very encouraging to understand a little. At the end of the service we had four or five people accept Christ. There wasn’t even room for them to kneel down and pray, but they accepted Christ anyway!
I will be going to a Bible Institute in West Pokot tomorrow. I haven’t a clue where it is, but have learned to try and remember my way there and back.
Thank you for your prayers and support. God bless you all.
June 1, 1999
So much goes on here in one week its hard to think of a starting place. On Wednesday evening I was in the yard pruning the orange trees. I was using my knife and slipped when cutting a branch. The result was a trip to the hospital and four stitches. All the years of filleting fish working in the canneries and whatnot, I never cut myself as badly as trying to prune that orange tree. I’ll appreciate oranges a little more now.
On Friday we held a crusade in an area that is having some real problems with their youth. The churches that are there do not preach the Gospel nor disciple the people. Some people in the community asked us to come in, but they weren’t sure how we would be received. The crusade went very well and we plan to go back. Pray for these people and that we would follow God’s direction.
On Sunday we visited a church in north Busia district. It is one of the older churches in the area, but has struggled in recent years. Churches here are much the same as in America, (people wise). Poor leadership from the pastor and elders has taken the focus of the church from preaching the Gospel to just maintaining what they have. Without following what we have been commanded to do how can we expect to be blessed of God. We tried to encourage the pastor to do what he is called to do and hope that our trip was a blessing to the people there.
Right now I have hired two men to dig the termites from my front yard. You have to catch the queen or they will just repopulate and start over.
There are so many wild things that go on here that it always keeps life exciting. I preached at the Busia Church this Sunday, it was a real blessing, but the distractions during a Kenyan service are a little different. Many babies don’t wear any kind of diaper, so you can imagine the accidents that occur.
Pray that God will continue to direct in my ministry and everyday decisions.
God bless and keep you,
June 1, 1999
I arrived safely here in Kenya, my luggage came about a week after. Thank God everything was intact. The Mohlers and Stirewalts had set up a house before my arrival and I was able to walk in and go to sleep (jet lag you know.) Currently, I am taking Swahili lessons from a private teacher here in Eldoret. I practice what I have learned with my Kenyan friends and pastors I work with.
Every Sunday I have been in a different church. Jonathan Mohler and Randy Stirewalt have been taking me with them to visit churches around Eldoret. Their ministry here concentrates on planting Local New Testament Baptist Churches. Their method is to encourage the churches that have already been started. Train the young men who are called to preach. And finally assist in planting new churches by holding crusades and working with the new pastor. The potential for further growth is so encouraging; it’s hard to say how many new churches there could be in the next 10 years. There are about 86 young men being trained as pastors in the Bible Institutes. There are about 30 young men who have graduated from the Institutes and are working in their local churches. The teaching staff of all three of the Bible Institutes are veteran pastors from local churches. From these numbers you can see how God is calling men from Kenya to further the Kingdom. Praise God I am able to train in such a ministry as this!
So far I have helped at two different crusades. The first was with a new church south of Eiten. We figured that in three days nearly 100 people accepted Christ as their Savior. In one morning the pastor and I led 12 people to the Lord going house to house, field to field. At the second crusade we were invited into an area where two other established churches had failed to preach the Gospel and were loosing many of their young people to drugs and AIDS. Pray for God to give us wisdom as we proceed there.
I was allowed to speak at a local school’s Christian club, it was a real blessing to listen to them sing and afterward we had 19 children come and accept Christ!
Please pray for the following needs. A video projector to use during crusades. Showing a video on the life of Jesus has been very effective in evangelism here. Brother Stirewalt currently has one, but I have already seen that another one is needed. Secondly, pray for God to supply the right vehicle as well as funds to buy it. If you would like to help with either of these needs please contact my Pastor, Lee Parsons.
Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. I count it a privilege and an honor to be doing Gods work here in Kenya.
Sincerely, In Christ,
Web Page Address: http://www.bwanabob.org
Snail Mail: Box 6909, Eldoret Kenya
June 11, 1999
Last week and this week have been rather exciting. On Sunday we traveled to a church in Busia district. It wasn’t very old but had about 60 members total. The church is wanting to buy a plot of ground to build on, the plot they are meeting on has been offered to them for 13,000/ Kenya Shillings. At the current exchange rate that’s $185 US. If needed I will help to buy the plot with the condition that they pay for the permanent building.
It was very encouraging to be with the young pastor and congregation, but on the way home the care we were driving blew the head gasket in a little town called Harambe. We didn’t make it home until 11 pm that night. We spent all of the next day towing the car into Eldoret. On Wednesday I was went to speak at Chebisas Boys High School. There were about 400 students there, ages 12 to 19. I spoke on making Jesus the foundation of your life and then building from what is written in the Bible. The students were very attentive and we had a few saved. The headmistress told us later that since they had begun bringing in pastors to speak on Wednesdays the boys attitudes, grades and discipline had improved greatly. Oh, what the American education system could learn from the Third World.
Speaking of Third World, the fiscal budget for Kenya has just been passed. There have been riots in Nairobi the last two days with several people injured and looting. This hasn’t affected anyone here in Eldoret, but do pray for our safety, the people and nation of Kenya.
Last night I attended a Bible study in Kapsaret Village. The village is in desperate need of a Gospel preaching church. Our study concentrated on proper leadership and conduct of Christians in the Church. We dealt with some very strong scripture about what our Lord will do to wicked servants and those that mistreat or abuse their fellow servants. I believe that the study dealt directly with several of the people there. Pray that God will direct us in Kapsaret.
I have arranged to buy a truck in Nairobi. Another missionary went and checked it out for me suggesting that I go ahead a buy it. The truck is a 93 Mitsubishi L200 pickup, 4×4, dual cab. It only has 55,000 km on the odometer and is in very nice condition. The price is right and the owner has thrown in a good set of used tires, new tires here in Kenya are about $200 each. I plan to get it on Wednesday, so pray that all goes well and the truck will be the right thing for the ministry I’m in.
Tomorrow, Saturday, I will be escorting some ladies to a women’s meeting in Busia. Please pray for me. Thank you for all of your prayers and E-mails. Remember to pray for the Kapsaret community.
God bless you all.
June 13, 1999
We’ve had a good time this weekend serving and traveling. On Saturday I escorted 6 ladies from churches in Eldoret to speak at a ladies meeting in Busia district. We had a safe journey and the meeting went very well. Here in our area there are more women in the churches than men. It is only right to train these women to minister in areas that God has given them talents. There are some churches that don’t have Sunday schools or visiting programs. The ladies meeting helped encourage women in these areas as well as spiritual growth.
While the ladies were meeting I was able to speak with the pastors of the area. It was a very good time of fellowship and discussion. They told me of the problems they faced in the rural areas. The greatest problem seemed to be polygamy. We discussed from scripture how to deal with this and lessons from the lives of Adam, Abraham, David and Solomon in relation to having more than one wife. Another problem we faced was the pastor sponsoring the meeting had asked me to pay for some of the food. That opens a whole different can of worms. I’ll try to explain from the beginning. Most Kenyans in our area never plan ahead, they don’t think that what you say you actually mean and lastly all white people are rich. With this in mind try to understand the situation I faced on Saturday, being asked to pay for food at the ladies meeting. For two months we had been telling the churches that sponsored the meeting to make provisions for paying for the food. We had given suggestions on how this could be done and we know that the churches had the ability. But when I arrived it was the same old thing as before, none of the churches or women had brought money to pay for the food and they just figured the missionary would pay. It put me in a hard place, but I believe that I did what the Lord would have me do. I explained that the churches wouldn’t always have a missionary, that we had told them we wouldn’t be paying for the food and that this was how they were going to become Local and Independent. It wasn’t an issue of weather I had the money or not, it was an issue of teaching them to take responsibility. We left on good terms and the ladies told me on the way home that they had a wonderful time teaching with great results.
On Sunday I was given the opportunity to preach at Kapsoia Baptist Church. It was really different preaching in the English service, I think many of the more educated Kenyans are becoming too much like Americans. When I began preaching there were about 50 people in the congregation, by the time I finished there must have been 300! They just kept coming in all service long. It was a blessing anyway because there were two that accepted Christ in that service. I stayed afterward for the Swahili service, the attendance had to be over 1000, and most all of them were on time. After both services they asked me to baptize. I had been practicing how to baptize in Swahili and was very glad that I remembered. I was allowed to baptize 23! Two were very old men, 63 and 65. Three were Sudanese, the first ones to be saved and baptized in that church. It was such a blessing!
The ministry here is filled with many wonderful blessing as well as many difficulties. I count it an honor to be doing God’s work here in Kenya. I thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement. Pray that the Lord will give me wisdom and understanding to face the difficulties here and praise Him for the blessings he has poured out on us.
Sincerely In Christ,
June 21, 1999
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My week started with a run to Nairobi to buy a truck. Unfortunately I hadn’t been told the truck was a left hand drive, (made for driving on the right hand side of the road). Trying to travel in a left hand drive vehicle while driving on the left hand side of the road is really making your guardian angels work overtime and holidays. I had to pass on the truck, but pray that the Lord will direct me to the right one.
On Friday Jonathan Mohler and I packed up and headed to Juluk in the Turkana district. This was our first trip there so we were pretty green about what to expect. On the way our vehicle blew a rear wheel bearing. God provided a great “fundi” to fix the bearing for us. He was a real-live-bonified shade tree mechanic, he even had a sign hanging from his shade tree. Traveling for parts and then repairing took about four hours, but we were able to get into Juluk before dark. If you are wondering where Juluk is, you won’t find it on a map, (at least any map I’ve seen). To get there we traveled north from Kitale, then through Nasolot Game Reserve, pass the Turkwell Gorge Power project, turn north and travel along the west side of the Turkwell River for one and a half hours and your there. The last part is a real Safari ride, the trail goes through several dry riverbeds, heavy brush, crosses an Elephant Highway and finally goes into Juluk.
The Baptist Church at Juluk has met for four years under an Acacia tree, recently they have constructed a brush shelter. On Saturday we met in the village for a “crusade.” The singing started long before we got there, but we could hear them from where we were staying about 1/4 of a mile away. A veteran pastor here in Eldoret preached the message, he really is a great preacher and knows how to connect with Kenyans. After the service there were 26 that came forward to accept Christ! The following morning we had a regular service under the tree because there were too many people to fit inside the brush “building.” The people love to sing and when they do they get pretty involved in it, even to the point of making a big cloud of dust. All of the preaching was done in Swahili and then interpreted into the Turkanan tongue. In Turkanan “Aejoka” is the greeting and “Aejok” is the response. After the service we walked about a mile to the Turkwell River and had a baptism service. It was a real African setting and was such a joy to see people baptized in the “wilderness.” After the baptism they told my partner Jonathan ( he was the one baptizing) that there were Mombas (Crocodiles) on the other side of the river! The church is doing quite well in Juluk and the pastor has been a faithful man, working hard to spread the Gospel in his area. All we plan to do is firstly, get some discipleship material to him to teach with. Secondly, help train the young men who are called to preach. We plan to begin a Bible institute in January. Thirdly, assist him in building a permanent building. The termites in the area destroy anything built from wood. There is a great deal of work to do there, but the encouraging part is that the Lord has called men to preach in Turkana and all we need to do is help train them.
Am planning to go to Nairobi on Wednesday to look at another truck. Please pray that things will work out according to God’s will. Also, pray for our safety in traveling.
God bless and keep you all.
Dear Friends and Partners in Prayer,
The Lord is so good to us. This last week the Lord blessed me with a truck to use here in Kenya. I traveled to Nairobi with a couple of missionary ladies as their escort since they had business and shopping to do and I needed to look at the truck. We had a good time visiting but when it came to their shopping the Lord put me through some tribulation. I guess my patience needed to be worked on a little. I was able to purchase the truck that I had considered buying before, since the owner had converted it from a left hand drive to a right hand drive. It really fits the bill for what I will need. It is a 1993 Mitsubishi, 4×4, double cab. I will be able to take pastors and fellow missionaries when I go to visit churches in Turkana and Busia as well as carry building material. The bed of the truck is somewhat shorter which limits the load, but I plan to have a rack made for the top to haul mabati (tin for roofs), and timber for building rafters.
Our time in Nairobi was nice, but I must admit I’d rather spend a month in Turkana than a day in Nairobi. On the way out of the city I was stopped by a police woman at a road block. She immediately said I would be getting a 2000 shilling fine for having bad tires and would have to appear in court the next day. That announcement concerned me a bit so I said a little prayer and tried to start speaking as much Swahili as I could remember. I told her all I could about why I was in Kenya and that I was a missionary. Finally, she asked if I were single and then asked if I would be willing to marry a Kenyan woman. Hmmmm….! I did my best to be diplomatic and told her that Moses married an Ethiopian. All turned out well. I was allowed to go on and didn’t have to marry a mean Kenyan police woman. Later on the way home the missionary ladies came to my rescue. My new truck had a flat because the tires were really shot. The lock on my spare wouldn’t open. I ended up using the spare from their pickup and we were able to get to Eldoret before dark.
On Sunday we visited a church in central Busia district. The church is doing very well and the young pastor is a real fine man. The church is located in a predominantly Muslim area and has experienced some difficulties from their group. For instance, church members have been threatened for attending the church, the Muslims have tried to block access to the church, and a Muslim lady starts a fire outside the church every time there is a service so that smoke goes into the little room they are meeting in. The Lord has been so good to the little church there. He has blessed them with a plot to eventually build on and the church has seen three Muslim men come to accept Christ in the past few months. It was such a blessing to be in the church, even with a little smoke coming in. We had two different preachers, the children’s choir came marching in singing “Praise to Our Creator” then the adult choir sang several songs. There were about 25 adults in the church and close to half were in the choir. The service lasted for about 3 hours and was a real blessing.
Many thanks to those of you who have prayed for and given to the truck fund. It has already been a great blessing. Just today I had six people in the cab on the way back from Kapsaret. We had a little meeting there on the first phase of starting a new church. We are also planning to travel to Turkana with a load of cement for a new church building at Juluk. This truck will definitely be put to use in the Lords work. Thank you so much.
Dear Friends and Loved Ones,
Things went very well in Burnt Forest this last Sunday. The church is actually closer to the town of Kipkabus than Burnt Forest. The church has been there for about 4 or 5 years and the attendance was around 250. We had the usual 3 hour service which is really a blessing because we stand and sing, then have the different choirs sing, and then have at least two different preachers. Every time something different happens we stand to sing. I’m not sure how many people were saved because I always turn the invitations over to the Kenyan pastors. Several people came forward after the service, some for baptism and others to accept the Lord.
After the service we had dinner on the grounds. We had potatoes and carrots, meat and soup and Chipatis (flat bread). I always go away stuffed to the gills. We even had fresh milk (boiled of course); it really reminded me of home. After dinner we had a baptism. On the way we bought potatoes for the Bible Institute students. I got about 300 pounds for $14.50, and I thought it was a good bargain.
I was allowed to baptize 22 people that Sunday afternoon! I’ve learned how to say the baptism in Swahili which is a real blessing. The lake we baptized in was high up in the hills and reminded me so much of lakes in Alaska. It took care of my homesickness for places I frequented in Alaska. God is So Very Good!
I will be teaching a lesson at the Bible Institue this week, “The Temptations Men Face”, please be praying for me.
I need to get started on this months prayer letter so had better go.
Love in Christ,
The Lord is blessing and has plenty of work for me to do here. I will need to keep this short and let you know what I will be doing this week.
I am preparing to travel to Turkana District next Monday. I have told the four pastors I work with there that I will be bringing them the book, “ABC’s of Christian Growth”. I started working on this a month ago, by turning over an English copy of the book to a pastor for translation. I still haven’t gotten any of the Swahili translation. Please pray that the Lord will move people to help get this translated, entered into computer and printed before Monday morning. It’s quite a task here in Kenya to get this accomplished, but my God is a BIG God and He gets things done. Pray that He will intervene that I may take some part of this discipleship book to Turkana with me. This discipleship book touches on almost every subject that young Christians struggle with and is very solid on teaching the basics of growing in Christ. Our adversary will do anything to hinder us and the longer that old snake delays us getting this book to the pastors the longer it takes Christians to learn many wonderful things about serving our Lord.
Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement and please pray with me on this translation.
In Christ Bob Clark
Things are fine here in Kenya. The rains have come regularly in Eldoret and many days the dirt roads become a gooey mass of slick mud. It makes for fun driving and reminds me of driving on ice back home.
Most of this week was spent having tracts printed and part of a discipleship book translated. I have 800 tracts explaining God’s simple plan of Salvation, these will be given to the four churches I work with in Turkana. My friends were also able to translate the introduction and first two lessons of the book “ABC’s of Christian Growth.” We had fifty copies printed and will divide these among the four pastors. Please pray that the Lord will bless the translation and let it be a tool for further Christian growth among the Turkanans.
We leave early Monday from Eldoret and then pick up another man from Makutano, Gitao. Julias calls himself a missionary to the Turkana. He once walked 250 miles into Turkana and spent six weeks visiting pastors and preaching there. We hope to assist Julius in planting a church and are seeking the Lords direction on this trip.
You might find some of our preparation details interesting. Because of drought in Turkana we are taking enough food for ourselves and then some, we don’t want to be a burden to the churches we visit. We’ve stocked up on medical supplies and will most likely need them to treat some of the people we are visiting. Even the cure for malaria which only costs $1 US is not available to many Turkanans, and if it were available many couldn’t afford it. The truck is loaded with extra fuel cans, spare parts, spare fluids, two spare tires, two spare tubes and even a kit to repair flats. We’re taking water and when we run out we have a small purification filter. Most importantly we are taking the tracts and discipleship books and seek to further the Kingdom of God. We don’t have a set schedule for holding services, but the custom is that when missionary guests arrive a meeting is expected. Please pray that many would come to know the Lord and that we would be an encouragement.
Thank you all for your encouraging e-mails and forwarded messages. Please continue to pray for us and especially this week as we work to minister in some out of the way places.
Sincerely in Christ, Bob Clark
Thought: How far have you walked for Jesus.
The last week of this month has been filled with many sights and experiences that the Lord has used to help me plan for the future. First, let me tell you what I’ve been doing in the weeks previous. The second full week of July I taught a class at the Bible Institute here in Eldoret. The lesson was first in a series titled, Temptations Men Face. It should be a very good course for helping pastors here deal with sins that have destroyed many pastors in America i.e., pride, power, money and adultery. At the beginning of the class I asked the pastors if these were problems they faced, they unanimously agreed that they were and we concluded that all men the world over are merely flesh subject to attacks by the same adversary.
During this month I have continued learning Swahili and also worked at practicing it on folks around me. Some friends and I have also worked very hard on translating the book, “ABC’s of Christian Growth.” The Kenyans were the ones doing the translation of course and my fellow missionaries are proofing it, I am simply coordinating and having it printed. We took 50 copies of the first two lessons to the pastors in Turkana. We sat down with the pastors and dove into it explaining that they were to work through the lessons with their own people just as we were working with them. Please pray that this will encourage growth and maturity in areas where there is immaturity and ignorance.
This last week we visited churches in Turkana. We spent much time preparing and packing for the trip because of the distance and extreme conditions. It took over 10 hours to travel less than 300 miles, for 50 miles we had to drive on the shoulder of the road because the pavement was so broken up. The first church we visited was in Lorogum. Upon arriving we found that the pastor had left to meet us further south and we had passed the matatu he was riding in that morning. All things work together for good and in his absence we saw great maturity in the church he had started just a year ago. You can’t imagine how encouraging it was to see deacons take charge of us being at their church and arranging for food, comfort and security while we stayed with them. While at Lorogum we met an old man sitting in the desert. We went to greet him and he told us that he was sitting there waiting to die. The Pokot raiders had stolen all his flocks, all of his family had died and he had eaten nothing in two days. Jonathan Mohler and I walked back to the truck to get him some food while the deacon from Lorogum and pastor Thumbi shared the Gospel with him. After hearing the Gospel he told us that the world had left him with nothing and he was ready to accept Jesus as his Savior and give his life to God! What encouragement! (See October 4, 1999)
Later we traveled to visit churches around the village of Katilu. There is a large irrigation project there funded by many aid agencies and assistance programs. Because of the development many missions have come and built churches and given assistance. This has gone on for at least 25 years and fostered an attitude that if a church is in need of anything they should ask the missionary to give it, now matter how small. The result is churches that are stagnant, immature, lacking vision and a burden to missionaries. By this point in time those churches should be planting other churches and fulfilling the great commission. By God’s providence we were able to see the wealth of our pastors in the area and learn that their cries of poverty are simply lies. Please pray for the Lord to give us wisdom in dealing with these churches to help them become indigenous and self-supporting.
The most encouraging part of our visit was finally meeting the pastor of Lorogum, Moses Areng. He is truly a pastor who loves the Lord and has a burden to see the lost saved. We discussed plans for a Bible Institute in Turkana, planting a new church and ways to minister to the nomadic Turkanans. We also visited with a young Kenyan, Julias Gitao. He walked for six weeks all over northwestern Kenya, into Sudan and even to the East Side of Lake Turkana. His burden is to evangelize and see churches planted in areas where others fear to go and the people have never heard the Gospel before. I know that the Lord has led us to work with this man who has a burden for the unreached people groups. In our conversation he named several people groups he met which are considered unreached. Please pray for Julias and the work God would have us do with them.
If you are wondering what Turkana is like I’ll try to give a few facts to enlighten you. Turkana is just north of the equator and at a low elevation, this makes it very HOT. They wear as little clothing as possible and sometimes none; most Christians will dress modestly. There is little rainfall and when it does rain most seems to flow off the sand into washes. Many hostile neighbors surround Turkana; the Pokot of Kenya, raiders from Uganda, rebel groups in southern Sudan, and warlords from Somalia. Anytime you see a large heard of camel, sheep, goats or cattle you will see the herders with AK-47′s, G-3′s or just about any kind of automatic weapon that will spray lead. It has become very common to greet men carrying automatic weapons, I only wish they would learn to point the rifle away from you while they shake your hand. Many are receptive to the Gospel, but because most are nomadic planting churches is a little difficult. Missions and churches exist in many settled areas, but for the most part the nomads have no contact with a Gospel witness. This is where the Lord has directed my steps and I pray to be worthy of His call.
Pray for the Following:
- Pastors in Turkana; Moses Areng, William, Daniel, and Moses Larot.
- The young Kenyan missionary, Julias Gitao.
- A new church to be planted.
- Wisdom in dealing with spiritual immaturity and confronting lies.
- Traveling safety and safety in general.
- The crusade to be held at the end of August in Lorogum.
- A video projector.
Thank you for your prayers and support.In Christ Bob Clark
This last week has been filled with much traveling and new experiences. I’ve met some of the best Kenyan pastors and workers and also some of the most immature. Turkana was quite unlike any part of Kenya I had seen. Many people who live there say they are going to Kenya when they leave Turkana district. I had to become accustomed to herders carrying automatic weapons, extreme heat and constantly seeing malnourished children. We even met an old man sitting in the desert who told us he was waiting there to die. Thank God He directed our steps, we were able to give the man some food and lead him to Christ!
I’ve written a little in more detail about Turkana earlier, if you didn’t get a copy it should be posted on my web page at www.bwanabob.org .
This Sunday I traveled to Makutano Bible Baptist Church. After tribal clashes 4 years ago their attendance fell from 400 to 25. Now they have an attendance of over 400 again. I was given the privilege of preaching and four accepted Christ! Another 15 came forward to commit their lives to serving the Lord in the Church or in missions! After the church service we went to the river and I was given the privilege of baptizing 31! The pastor and I were in the water for over an hour and I know the water had to have been from an underground spring as cold as it was. Of those baptized about 10 were grown men and one was a man 49 years old! The ladies ranged in age from 15 to about 60, the oldest being a Turkanan woman. It was truly a blessing to be there and gave me quite a lift after a tiring week. I was able to spend some time with the pastor and was so much encouraged by his desire for Kenyan churches to be as missions minded as my sending churches.
Please continue praying for my language studies, I believe that they are going well, but I have to really work at it. Also pray for Julias Gitao, he is the young man who spent six weeks walking and preaching all over Turkana, into Sudan and even to the East Side of Lake Turkana. He has a zeal for spreading the Gospel to the unreached and I plan to work hand in hand with this great Kenyan pastor.
Thank you all for your prayers and E-mail. God bless each of you.
In Christ, Bob Clark
Am doing fine here in Kenya, staying very busy and always trying to focus on the Lord’s work rather than “good projects.” The devil is really slick in presenting us with innumerable projects that are worthy of our time, yet they pull us away from what the Lord has called us to. This in turn makes us so busy that we are no earthly good. That’s the way I see things.
Went to visit a young pastor in Busia District this last Sunday. The pastor is Joseph and what a fine job he is doing. He has taken a troubled church from 4 to over 40 in about three months. We were there to encourage him and find out how we could assist, just letting him know that he isn’t out there all alone in the ministry. We were blessed to baptized 7 that Sunday!
Am preparing for teaching lessons next month at the Bible Institute here in Eldoret. Am teaching a series on Temptations Men Face. Please be praying for the Holy Spirit to lead as I prepare the notes. The first lesson went very well and I pray the lessons are a blessing and help to the pastors here.
Our next trip into Turkana is just over two weeks away. We’re planning a two day youth camp and then crusade. Have quite a list of supplies to take and am trying to start early. Let me tell you of Kenyan crusades. Just about any group here in Kenya that has enough money for a cheap sound system will travel about holding crusades. The only problem is that most of these groups have little or no follow up. They blast in and blast out. Our crusades are only held to assist a local church or plant a new church. Those who accept Christ will be called on by the pastor and if we are working to plant a church then those who are saved become the beginnings of that new church. It’s Bible procedure and it works.
A few notes on life in Kenya. I’ve found my favorite shopping place in all of Kenya, no not the malls in Nairobi, it’s the Jua Kali district of Eldoret. There you can buy just about any handy item for the price of a coke. For instance; gas cans, bungies, tire shoes, drums, truck parts, flats fixed, you can even have your vehicle custom painted there. The only place more fun to shop is Bass Pro, that is if your using someone else’s credit card.
Thank you all for praying for me. Here are a few everyday things that need prayer.
- Safety from buses and matatu’s while driving and also safety from those who want to be hit by a white man so they can sue you.
- Wisdom in dealing with street boys high on glue, gasoline, paint or any other toxic substance. By the way, there is a new missionary here in Eldoret specifically working with the street boys, I’ve heard he’s doing a fine job.
- I also need prayer for directing my efforts to what God has called me to and also the strength to accomplish them.
- Pray for my walk with the Lord, this is paramount.
God bless each of you and sorry if it takes some time to send you a personal E-mail.
Dear Friends and Prayer Partners,
We are all packed up and will be leaving to Turkana in the morning. We’re going to visit one of our churches there to hold a crusade, then have a short Bible camp for the kids and also visit people who live around the area.
Please pray for us as we travel, one of the areas we are going through has had a little unrest lately. It’s nothing serious, but we are just going to be cautious. Our traveling group is mostly Kenyan pastors and Bible Institute students. It’s exciting to see the nationals active in evangelism and missions in their own country. Our job is just to help facilitate and push further into areas that have never heard the gospel.
I’m trying to get to bed early this evening. Last night I awoke around 4 AM with a rat in the house. Finally killed it around 5:30. Just another adventure in Kenya.
Will try to post some pictures when we return next week. Remember to pray for our little group and that the Lord would bless as we seek to do His work.
Sincerely In Christ,
We returned from Turkana yesterday and what a fruitful trip we had! I’ll have to start from the beginning so as not to leave out anything. We left Eldoret last Wednesday at 5 AM in an attempt to make most of the trip before it became too hot in Turkana. On the way we picked up 14 Kenyan pastors, assistant pastors and Bible Institute students. Needless to say in collecting everyone we lost our early start and traveled through the hot part of the day.
We arrived at Lorogumu with only one flat tire on the way and no other difficulties. Our purpose in going with the large group was to hold a crusade and youth camp with the church at Lorogum. In the morning we had lessons for the youth or visited people in the village. We held the crusade just before dinner and then we had classes for the youth after dinner. After dark we had singing and preaching at the church grounds.
During our stay there were 107 professions of faith in Christ and on Sunday we had 18 baptized! Jonathan baptized 13 in a hole that was dug in a laggah (dry river bed).
I traveled about an hour away to Kalamenyang taking the youth and church members that had walked from there. The church there had a Sunday School time and a preaching time. Afterward we went to the Turkwell River and I baptized 5 young people!
It’s also great to know that pastor Moses Areng of Lorogum took down all the names of those who accepted Christ and will be following up on them in the coming weeks.
Please pray for pastor Areng, he is an encouragement and example to the other pastors we work with in Turkana.
Another exciting part of our trip was to see God work in our three other Turkana pastors. Before we went we had discussed asking those pastors to have a crusade and youth camp, but had decided it would be best to wait for them to decide they wanted to hold one. Well, lo and behold we had a little pow-wow and they informed me that they wanted to have a crusade and youth camp for their people! We set a tentative date in December, so please be praying for them. I’ve agreed to bring all of the crusade equipment, teachers for the youth camp, evangelists and feed everyone I bring. The pastors will provide food for their youth during the camp and some meat for the guests. It was such an encouragement to see those three pastors take initiative and show concern for the growth of their churches! Please pray for pastors Daniel Apeot, Moses Larot and William Areagae as they make plans and prepare.
Another area of encouragement is our young Kenyan Missionary Julius Gitao. He is not a Turkana but has surrendered to plant churches and evangelize among the Turkana people. Julias feels the Lord leading him to start a Church in Lodwar which is the hub of Turkana district. There are several other churches there, but none from our group. Many of our Kenyan pastors believe we need a church there because most have church members that have been transferred to work in Lodwar town. Julias is there this month meeting the church members from up country and seeking the Lords direction. Pleas pray for Julias.
I’ll try to explain a little of what the area is like. VERY HOT! Most activity occurs very early in the morning or after dark. The Turkana people are well known for being tough and fierce fighters. They are completely surrounded by hostile tribes. Raiding and counter raiding has been a way of life for them and still continues. One man who came to the crusade claimed he had killed many men, he had the appearance of one who would. I’m not sure if he accepted Christ. One night as we were singing some men began to fight behind where we were gathered. In the dim light you could see them slashing at one another with their wrist knives, the pastor went near and spoke to them so they took their fight elsewhere.
While at Lorogum a Samoli boy died, his father came to us and asked to borrow a jembe for digging the grave. I loaned him my shovel and used my truck to carry the body to the grave. The family were Moslem, but our assistance gave an open door to witness. Who knows how the Lord will use those circumstances.
I need to be closer to the churches we work with so I am planning to move to Lodwar before the end of the year. I am also considering the purchase of a motorcycle. Pastor Areng has told me if we had one we could get to manyattas (villages) that have never heard the gospel or seen a missionary of any kind.
Please pray for a house in Lodwar, a motorcycle and for my language studies in Swahili and Turkana. I thank all of you for your prayers and encouraging e-mail. There are many blessings in the ministry here, but there are many hardships and pitfalls as well. Thank you for remembering me.
Things are going well here, I’ve just had a birthday but don’t really feel much older. Received some phone calls from home which was very nice. Friends here gave me some really nice gifts, a great book on Turkana and a Turkana blanket. I promise not to wear the blanket in traditional style.
This last week I spent a good bit of time shopping for a motorcycle and parts for the truck. I really miss O’reily Auto parts and The Big Nickel paper. Trying to find things here can be a real challenge. I may have to make a trip to Nairobi this next week to find what I need. Pray for me, going into Nairobi is about the only thing I dread doing as a missionary here. If I had my choice of eating a chicken head or going into Nairobi, I’d take the chicken head (pass the Tabasco please).
Visited a young church today, what a blessing it was. I don’t believe the church is over a couple of years old, but their attendance was about 80. I traveled to Kitale and picked up a pastor to show me the way. He invited me in for tea and asked, ” how many people can you fit into your truck.” Watch out if your ever presented with that question in Kenya. I think we ended up with 16. Everyone that I took to the church had a part in singing or preaching, it was a blessing to know that I could help. After the service we had Cokes, drank tea, ate, drank tea, ate, drank tea, ate. It’s tough being a missionary. Before I left they gave me two banana trees and four eggs, what a love offering! I thought I might get a chicken. When I was blessing the babies of the church (15), a woman was holding a chicken along with her baby. She didn’t give me the chicken and that was ok, but I’m not sure why she had it there.
We are looking for a new church facility, home and site for a Bible Institute in Lodwar town. I have some leads so keep praying about this. The missionaries I’m following started planting churches in Turkana in 1978, seems odd that I’ll be the first one of our group to live there. The Lord has already shown that our presence is encouraging the existing churches and I also see an open door to people who are completely without knowledge of the Gospel.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.
In Christ Bob Clark
Dear Friends and Loved Ones,
The past week has been very busy and a little tiring. I started last week with a trip to Nairobi to pick up a crate for a missionary and also get some visitors from the airport. Well, the crate didn’t come in and we spent almost three days waiting for it. I was able to spend the time looking for a motorcycle, and buy some sound equipment, so the trip wasn’t wasted. Then when I went to pick up the visitors from the airport some Kenyans had come to get them as well. Me being new, I let one of the pastors go with the Kenyans who said they knew where the pastor was supposed to stayed. I was even told that they would follow me to the house. Sure enough they didn’t follow me and ended up taking the pastor downtown to a not very nice place. When I arrived at our lodging the pastor wasn’t there and I spent about three hours driving around Nairobi from hotel to hotel looking for the poor man of God. Thankfully the pastor remembered the name of the place he was supposed to go and made the Kenyans take him there. Thank God all were safe!
After the first trip to Nairobi we loaded up and held a crusade at Simba Chai which is very close to the Uganda boarder. In all there were over 200 professions of faith in Christ! We had a great stay with the folks there and the pastor was really encouraged by our willingness to help him in starting the new church. We were able to help rent a store front for about nine dollars a month. Praise God we were the first ones to plant a church in that area! The sound equipment was a real blessing, at night you could hear us clearly about half a mile away and during the day we had enough sound to be heard clearly throughout the market area.
After the crusade was over I had to travel back to Nairobi to get the crate that I was supposed to get the week before. While there I was able to purchase a motorcycle that should be very useful in Turkana. I am leaving it at the dealer to have it licensed and registered in Kenya. Will have to go back next week to pick it up.
On Friday I leave for Turkana to visit one of the struggling churches. I hope to begin encouraging them to grow and evangelize, pray the Lord will give me wisdom in this area. After the church visit I’ll go on to Lodwar to try and rent a house.
Please pray for all of the traveling I have to do and praise the Lord for a great harvest in Simba Chai!
God bless all of you,
In Christ, Bob Clark
October 4, 1999
The past two weeks have been very busy and filled with many exciting things. Sunday before last we visited the Bible Baptist Church in Katilu and the Bible Baptist Church at Lorpur. We arrived there on a Friday and spent two days visiting the pastors in the area and learning more about them. They told me that it has been almost 15 years since a missionary came to visit and eat with them. We had a good time getting to know them a little better and eat lots of goat meat. We discussed building a new building, repairing existing buildings, ways to help their churches grow and starting the new Bible Institute. At Katilu we baptized 13 and at Lorpur 6 accepted Christ as their Savior! I really look forward to spending more time with each pastor and visiting their members in the villages.
After visiting with those churches we traveled to Lodwar to find facilities to rent. The Lord led us to a very large house that we will use as my residence and also for our new Bible Institute. I had wanted to rent a small place for myself and also have another building for the Institute, but the Lord saw best to give us one place to fill both needs. The house is close to 3500 square feet and currently has water and electricity connected. It will easily accommodate the 20 students and staff we are expecting in January and saves me the headache of connecting utilities. You might be thinking, “Bob this house sounds very expensive,” well it’s a whopping $130 US per month rent!
While in Lodwar we met with the pastor at Lorogum and assisted with money to obtain a plot in that village. An acre will cost a whopping $150 US! Not a bad price for desert and thorn bushes. The church in Lorogum is growing and they now have another 15 people ready to baptized, all fruit of the crusade last month. In Lodwar we met one of the men saved at the crusade, I can’t remember his old name, but the pastor had given him a new name, Nathan. Nathan was a raider before he accepted Christ. Raiders are the scourge of northwestern Kenyan and Nathan had been in with the worst of them, stealing, looting and murdering. He now loves the Lord and wants to attend our Bible Institute in January! We also heard that an old man we led to Christ is now a faithful member and really uses his testimony to witness for the Lord. He was the man sitting in the public grave area waiting to die, we had walked by him three times and the fourth we began talking to him and led him to Christ. Don’t pass up opportunities folks.
A few weeks ago I was eating roasted goat and chipped one of my teeth on some bone. I just blew it off and figured it wouldn’t be a problem. Today, the tooth chipped even more and began to hurt a bit. I knew of a dentist that several had recommended, so I went directly to her office after lunch. I walked in, gave my name and age, explained my problem to the dentist and sat down in the patients chair. About an hour later she had repaired the chip and a small cavity with a filling. The bill came to a whopping $13.33 US! I love this country! No the office didn’t have expensive carpet or designer paintings, but the dentist had up to date tools and a very clean place. Now if any of you come for a visit we can plan to get you a great deal on dental work!
I want to thank all of you for praying for me and also for giving to the ministry. I have given a few instance of how I spend the Lord’s money here and I hope it encourages you to see how little it takes to get so much done. God is good and has really blessed here, thank you for being a part of this mission work.
October 17, 1999
In the past few weeks I’ve had to travel more than ever, it was all necessary traveling and thank God there were no serious difficulties. The only problem was being stopped by the police, they began writing me a ticket for no reason and I’m sure were seeking a bribe. In the process they read my window sticker, “Jesus Loves You,” and then some busses pulled up ( a guaranteed bribe) so they let me go, thank God.
I’m now the owner of a new motorcycle, and yes I’m wearing a helmet. It is already saving money on gas,($2.60 per gallon) and when I move to Turkana I’m sure it will really add up in savings along with helping me access interior villages.
Please pray for the Turkana people. There has been drought there since April and there are sure to be harder times if conditions persist. Our churches are doing fine there, although most of the younger men are far away with their flocks looking for pasture. Please pray for Nathan, the converted raider, as he is wanting to attend the new Bible Institute we are opening in Lodwar. His current education may be lacking, so just pray the Lord will help him with his reading skills and spiritual growth.
Not sure if I related the story of the chained man in Simba Chai or not. It was very embarrassing for me, but God used it for His glory. We were holding a crusade at Simba Chai and I was the last preacher on the last night. I was preaching on the bondage of sin and how Jesus can break that bondage and give us eternal life. For an illustration I locked a mans hands together with a chain and large padlock. Through the sermon I asked the man if he liked the chains (NO) and then I asked the congregation if they wanted to see him free. The response was always a loud and enthusiastic YES! When I reached the part of the sermon where I explained how we can repent of our sins and freely accept Jesus Christ as our Savior I tried to unlock the big lock. It jammed, so I continued with my sermon trying not to disclose the problem with the lock. I fidgeted, wiggled and even employed my pocket knife but to no avail. Finally, I just admitted the problem to the pastors behind me and turned the invitation over to a Kenyan pastor. Man, did I feel stupid. We took the poor locked up fellow into a house and sent someone to look for a hack-saw. Thank God we found one and we began working to cut the chain. Praise God the saw was in good condition and the chains came off. The same time the chains came off, the pastor leading the invitation finished his final prayer and so Edwin (the locked fellow) walked outside and held up his freed hands. There was a cheer, much laughter and praising all mixed together. That night I was told about 30 people accepted Christ! Just last week someone told me that they didn’t get a proper count that night, the total number was actually 62!
The moral of this story: Just when you are feeling really stupid and think your efforts are in vain, remember that you’re working for God, that He is in charge and we are just mere men and He will perfect the work. Also, don’t use locks made in China.
Pray for my language studies, I really need to have a better grasp on Swahili before I move to Lodwar. Working and studying Swahili at the same time has been a blessing, but now is the time to really push on the language end.
Blessings: Preached today in Eldoret, four accepted Christ. The Kenyan pastors have told me they are finding my lessons at the Bible Institute very helpful. A church has given money for me to buy better tires for Turkana. God continues to bless with financial support. I have a new glass jar to make sun tea in.
Thank you for your prayers and encouraging e-mail.
October 25, 1999
You wouldn’t believe the contrast we see here. Wednesday was a national holiday, and some other missionaries and I went looking for a rumored trout stream. It was quite an adventure just finding the place and once we were there it was one of the most beautiful areas I had ever seen. “Secret Creek” is located in the Cherangani Hills above 10,000 feet. Once we arrived in the area all of the people were very friendly and helpful to us. We were allowed to park in the Chief’s compound, ( a very safe arrangement), and surprisingly people told us right where we should be fishing. The area looked like something from the Scottish Highlands or maybe even the Ozarks in springtime. It was truly a blessing just being there and enjoying the Lords creation. We were able to fish for about 4 hours and caught one fish. Everyone told us it was a bad day because of the rain and that we should come back once the rain ends. We definitely plan to go back. All in all it was a great time finding the place, meeting the people there and catching the fish, (a 19 inch Brown Trout, small the locals said!)
On the way back we were very excited and refreshed. The area was beautiful and the fellowship was great. Just before we got to Eldoret we had to pass by the Moi University campus. Just before the campus some men had stopped a wagon in the road and tried to flag us down. It was getting dark and I wasn’t sure of their intentions. Since they gave no explanation as to why we should stop, I drove on. As we came up to the campus I could see smoke and some smoldering fires. I slowed down trying to figure out what was going on, and then a mob of students rushed at us from the main gate and began throwing stones. I had never seen anything like it, and hope I never do again. I put the truck into reverse and thank God I didn’t blow the engine driving backward for a quarter mile. It took us almost an hour and a half to detour on safe roads that I knew. When we finally got to Eldoret we thanked the Lord for a beautiful day in His creation and safety in reaching home.
On Wednesday I believe we saw some of the most beautiful parts of Kenya and then we saw the ugly reality of a student riot. Just pray that we will be able to take the Gospel to every part of Kenya and that the Lord would give us safety.
On Sunday I was able to preach at Sosiani Bible Baptist Church here in Eldoret. It was great being with a veteran Kenyan pastor and listen to him talk about how much God has done through the missionaries that have been here before me. Pastor Muthama encouraged me in the work of starting an Institute in Lodwar and reiterated the fact that training nationals has been and continues to be the key to rapidly spreading God’s Word. After services there I was given the privilege of baptizing 17!
We then had dinner and fellowship at he pastors home. After dinner we had a good laugh as to whether we were “Filled”, “Satisfied”, or “Had enough.” We were definitely all three of those after eating the big meal the pastors wife had prepared; cooked cabbage, potatoes, rice, beef, soup, tea and a Coke to top it all off.
Please pray for us this next weekend as Jonathan and I travel to Turkana. We are visiting two churches and then taking a load of supplies on to the house in Lodwar. God has blessed with better tires, so I shouldn’t come back to Eldoret with two flats anymore.
Thank you all for praying; we never know when danger is so very near but God does.
It’s good to get e-mail from so many of you across the country. I’m sorry if I don’t send personal mail back every time, but I’ll try to write you all at some point.
This last week I was in Turkana district visiting churches and moving a few things into my house there. First, I went to the village of Lorpur to visit one of our churches. The folks were very hospitable and I think that I actually put on weight from all of the goat meat they fed me. We had roasted goat, boiled goat, spicy fried goat liver, goat soup, fried goat “parts”, plus all of the trimmings. Actually, all of the meals were quite good and I could tell the Mama’s of the church had done all they could to make me an honored guest. The church at Lorpur has about 80-100 adults and children attending, they have room in their church for many more and I am encouraging them to visit and grow. The church building was built by a missionary in 1979, much of the wood in the windows and doors has been eaten by termites. They have asked me to replace the windows and doors with metal ones, but I have told them it is their church and I will only assist them in the replacement. This last Sunday I baptized 10 people at Katilu! Please pray for their spiritual growth and increased efforts in evangelism, the pastors name is Moses Larot.
From Lorpur I traveled on a thorn infested trail, (praise God for better tires!) to the Turkwell River, waded across and visited our church at Juluk. Upon arriving I was told that the Pokot tribe had raided there the day before, had killed three men and stolen about 1000 head of cattle. These raids have been taken place for many years past, the fact they continue is a testimony to the high level of incompetence and corruption in the Kenyan government. As an added fact, Kenya is now ranked as the second most corrupt government in the world, I AGREE! I found all members of the Juluk church safe and sound, although they were very uneasy about the presence of Pokot in the area. We gathered together at their small brush building and I gave a word of encouragement and let them know that I hadn’t forgotten them. This church has now obtained a plot of ground, ( this process is a matter of paying “fees” to have legal claim to uninhabited desert) and are working to have a permanent building. The church members have already moved about 3 cubic yards of sand from the river, about a mile away, to the church site by hand. This has involved much effort on their part, please pray for me as I work to bring cement and building material to such a remote place. This last Sunday in Juluk there were 8 baptized! Please pray for their safety, evangelism and building efforts. The pastor there is William Aragae.
After visiting Lorpur and Juluk I traveled on to Lodwar to work at moving a few things into my house. The pastor from Lorogum had found a good man to be night watchman and the landlord had helped to connect water and electricity in my name. Please pray for my landlord, Adrian, he is clearly an alcoholic and desperately needs the Lord.
From Lodwar I traveled on to the village of Turkwell, bought two loads of makuti, (palm leaf roofing) and took it to the new building in Lorogum. The church at Lorogum is doing very well and the pastor is quickly becoming a very good friend. Just last month I assisted the church in obtaining their plot and already this month the pastor has a new structure built and waiting for makuti! Nathan, a former Turkana raider, and Thomas, formerly lost and destitute, have now become a great help to pastor Areng! Praise the Lord for changing lives!
After all that traveling I arrived back safely in Eldoret, and thank God not one flat tire this whole trip! On Saturday I am to speak for the Bible Institute here in Eldoret, please pray for me and also for the graduates. They will become pastors in a country that is greatly in need of the gospel and still has many areas that are considered unreached. Please pray for us.
Sincerely In Christ,
Dear Friends and Prayer Partners,
This last week we traveled to Turkan for a crusade. On the way I was delayed by a herd of some forty elephants crossing the road. We went to the Bible Baptist Church of Kalemenyang and held a crusade on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. I’m not sure of the exact number of people who accepted Christ, but I do know that we baptized 29 before leaving. The church at Kalemenyang is one of the oldest Baptist churches in all of Turkana. I noticed the registration paper dated 1972. I don’t claim that it is the oldest, but all of the pastors I had met couldn’t think of any churches that had been established longer, other than Catholic or AIC (Africa Inland Mission/Church). It’s amazing the changes that church has gone through over the years. At one time the church attendance was around 300, but because of poor leadership the church began to decline. The former pastor sold the tin from the church roof, sold the church garden and then took a second wife. TV evangelists are nothing compared to this guy. Anyway, the pastor from the nearby village of Lorogum is helping to strengthen the church and a great deacon is leading when pastor Areng isn’t there.
On Tuesday we traveled to the village of Lokapatet, our pastor Areng is the first man to bring the Gospel to that village! Lokapatet is another 6 miles into the interior from Kalemenyang, it’s located on the Turkwell River. Most of the men of that village have traveled to an area in the foothills of the Uganda Escarpment where they are panning for gold. When we arrived in the village there were about 15 women and children singing in a large manyatta, we hooked up our generator and PA and began to sing and preach. People showed up from out of the bush and I think we ended with about 50-60. I truly wish all of you could have seen the wide eyes and attentive expressions as we sang and preached. One of the most blessed parts was when I told them that many Christians in America loved them and wanted them to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They began shouting, clapping, waving their hands and laughing! It was truly a blessing to see their gratitude for our mission effort. Their message to all of you is a loud “Thank you, and receive our greetings in Jesus’ name!”
After the crusade at Kalemenyang we went to Lodwar and stayed in my house. Unfortunately, I have yet to receive an adequate water supply and have no electricity. Welcome to Kenya, second most corrupt country in the world. We did get water that night at about 1 AM, I lay awake for about two hours listening to the wonderful sound of water filling the reservoir tank. The next morning we headed back to Eldoret and passing through south Turkana we saw it was crawling with Military and Police units. Thank God the government is finally cracking down on the raiding between the Pokot and Turkana tribes.
I was able to get back and have Thanksgiving with some missionary friends here in Eldoret, even the climate change between Turkana and the Highlands makes it seem like autumn. Many thanks come to you from the villages of Kalemenyang and Lokapatet. Your prayers and support make it possible for me to get to the villages and assist the churches. You are greatly appreciated!
This is my first Christmas in Kenya and let me tell you it sure has been different. The Christmas season here is nothing like that in the States. There’s no media blitz for the newest toys or latest dinner at Olive Garden, we just hear Christmas music from time to time in some stores. Many stores are owned by Hindus so there’s no Christmas decoration at all in there. A nice change came when some of the veteran missionaries around invited me to sing Christmas carols and even play my guitar on one occasion. It sure was nice and helped cure the homesickness that was building.
Today I went to the Christmas service at one of our churches, what a blessing! We sang many Christmas Songs, read the Christmas story in Swahili and English, had a play and then a Christmas message, followed by Kool-Aid, Coke and Cookies! The play was great, it was put together by the young adults of the church who did a great job. Every person memorized his part of Scripture to quote in Swahili, they all had great costumes. The funniest part was one of the angles wearing a puffy chefs hat he had found. Also the angles “appeared suddenly” in this play, they came running down the center aisle as fast as they could. It was quite a change from our somber, quiet American versions of the birth of Christ. But what a blessing it was!
I was able to spend the day with fellow missionaries opening a few presents and eating some real American cooking! The Lord sure has been good to give me friends and fellowship during this time I would be spending with my family. He always knows what we need to be sustained.
As for ministry, I had been running quite a bit the weeks leading up to Christmas. My partner and I first went to Turkana District and held a two day crusade/youth camp in Lorpur and Katilu. There were 14 saved in the crusade and the youth were greatly encouraged by the lessons in the camp time. I also used that time to encourage the local pastors to continue planning crusades and camps on their own. In years past they would have never done a youth camp unless the missionary paid and led everything. Thank God for the opportunities He has given me to help these pastors become more self supporting and independent. I truly want to assist these churches to have youth camps and I did carry a large share of the expense, but the Lord has really shown me to help lead the churches to a place where they don’t depend on the missionary.
From Turkana we traveled back to Eldoret and then on to Busia district. We attended a wedding, then went on to another youth camp/ crusade. The first night at camp the youth stayed up singing and practicing drama until 2 AM outside our tent. That was a difficult part of the culture to live with, but the next night we found a quiet place to put the tent and finally got some sleep. I’m not sure of the number saved at the crusade, the local pastor took down the names of those who accepted Christ. That’s one of the great parts of having the crusades, they build up the local church and the local pastor is able to follow up on those who accept Christ. We missionaries are there to simply, “strengthen the hands” of the local pastor.
On January 3rd I’ll be traveling back to Lodwar in Turkan District. This time I will be starting the Bible Institute on January 10th. Please be in much prayer about this. I have many things to prepare before we begin. The Lord is good and has brought together some great Kenyan pastors to teach the first year. We have most of the supplies already at my house, but we still don’t have an adequate water supply. The only way to get the water maintenance people to work is by giving a bribe and I won’t have any part in giving out bribes. Just pray that I’ll be able to get the water problem fixed and keep my testimony for the Lord. Please pray for the students who will be coming, that they are truly surrendered to the work of the Lord and ready to serve Him.
I want to thank all of you who sent Christmas cards and especially for your prayers. The Lord has truly uplifted me and given me fresh energy to start the Bible Institute in January. Pray the Lord to give me wisdom and spiritual strength. I could have never dreamed the Lord would be using me to train young men to plant churches in the “frontier” of Kenya.
God bless all of you and have a Merry Christmas!
Luke 2:30-32. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.