Thursday, November 13, 2008

Prayers for God's Mercy for Our Nation

In these post-election days, Martha and I are in deep prayer, lamenting the results of the presidential election. We are asking the Lord to forgive our nation of our national sins, and to have mercy upon us. These are dark days, and recognize that this is but one major step in the moral demise of this great land. Our only comfort is knowing that the LORD is in control of all things, and that our responsibility is to be faithful to the mission God has set before us.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The football player Ben Shaw

Our second son Ben stands proudly before his first football game of the season in Post, Texas. Ben is on the Michigan Wolverines in the Tiger League (10 and 11 year old boys).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Six Wayland Kenya Graduates

Six of our Wayland Baptist University Kenya 2008 graduates: Japheth Wekesa Wetoto, Aggrey Mubabale Lime, Joel Kang'alyika Kyalya, John Maundu Nzibo, Francis Aziavula Midega, and Harun Muchugia Miatu. We are proud of you, Kenyans!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Widow Mourns

Kikuyu widow Teresia mourns at the burial

Day #9 in Kenya, a Christian Kikuyu Burial

This day begins a cold, rainy, and foggy morning, with heavy mist leaning toward spitting rain. As I step out of our little cottage here at Kenya Baptist Theological College, I ponder the task that has been set before me. Pastor Linus Kirimi, of the Imani (Faith) Baptist Church, and Deputy Principal of KBTC, has requested that I conduct the burial service for a gentleman who died of AIDS this past Friday. The gentleman was a Kikuyu tribesman, husband of at least one wife, and father of several children. One of his wives, Teresia, is a member of Imani Church, though her husband was not a believer. Although reticent about such a daunting task, I recall the now famous words of Dr. Keith Parks to Martha and me, upon our interviewing for global mission service, "The key word in missions is 'flexibility.'" I've conducted many a funeral service, including some cross-culturally, but an African burial service is quite an alien beast.

Our Wayland mission team piles in the vehicle with Pastor Linus and Ministry Director Humphrey, and we head toward the Misiri slum, where we have been working these nine days. We know it like the back of our hands now, having visited the HIV+ clients, the Miracle House orphanage, and those persons who have come to faith in Jesus Christ through the power of God's Spirit, and our witness. Micah, Jessica, and Kelsey have begun to find their mission niches in this place. Kelsey, whose heart is burning to be a nurse, is giving injections to clients in the ghetto. Micah always has his eye on the economics of families and the community, and is struggling with innovative solutions to the demonic cycle of poverty. Jessica told us on Sunday, "Kenya is beginning to hold a special place in my heart." She has a history here, and, I believe she is finding it. (Her grandmother tutored one of the most respected and wisest pastors in Kenya.) The muddy, slippery, and unmanageable roads prevent us from making it all the way to the cemetery, so we are forced to walk the last kilometer on foot.

As we approach the large group of mourners, standing in the now driving rain with umbrellas in hand, we realize the service has begun. The Master of Ceremonies (perhaps similar to a funeral director?) is instructing guests where to stand. Pastor Linus and I approach the coffin, which stands far removed from all present. "The people do not stand too close, because the man was not a believer," the Kenyan tells me. "But you can stand close to it, Dr. Shaw, because you preach to the living, not to the dead."

Obedient to the national's request, I move toward the head of the red-stained wooden coffin, outlined in goldleaf, with a sliding door above the deceased's face. A simple framed photograph stands on the sliding door, with the gentleman's name printed below the picture. The man's widow, Teresia, sits approximately 30 feet away, alone, clothed in black, with a white lace drape.

As soon as Linus and I approach the coffin, a round-faced, rotund woman begins to sing, in the Kikuyu tribal language, a song in pentatonic tones. As she finishes the first phrase, the rest of the mourners respond. The Kikuyu woman continues with a second phrase, and the rain-drenched chorus responds. The lining out continues for several moments. Soon after, Pastor Linus begins the same process, and I notice that several strong voices line out, and then the majority of folks respond.

Following the music, Pastor Linus speaks to me, and asks me to preach.
The sermon I preach, translated by associate pastor Shadrach, is drawn from Jesus' dialogue on the Bethany road with Martha, who had two days prior lost her single brother. "I am the resurrection and the life . . . whoever believes in me, yet he dies, shall he live," Jesus declares. The sermon is for the living, many who believe, and many who do not. I address Teresia (or Mama Susan, according to Kikuyu culture, the mother's identity enveloped in that of her firstborn child), to give her hope for her grief and sorrow. And just as Martha in the New Testament narrative surely found solace in the Jesus' words, I trust this Kikuyu woman finds encouragement in the Gospel story.

Shortly after my homily, Pastor Linus calls for strong men, and these Kenyan pall bearers come forward, with a Kenyan pastor and a muzungu missionary at the head of the coffin. We move toward an open, freshly dug grave. To my astonishment, six men jump into the pit, and the simple coffin is lowered gingerly down, to their waiting hands. I wonder how this pit, dug to fit the casket precisely, will accomodate the box without a jolt to the grave floor. But no sudden thud is heard, and the six men are pulled from the hole, without ever stepping on the wooden box.

"Grab a handful of dirt behind you," Pastor Linus instructs me, and those persons immediately around the pit, including widow Teresia, pick up rich, red Kenyan soil with their right hands. And then as Pastor Linus speaks, each one throws the dirt onto the coffin deep within the hole.

"Get a spade," the instructions continue, "for you are the preacher, and must fill the hole."

So I begin to shovel dirt into the 12 foot pit, in the driving rain, with hundreds of Kenyans watching. I work for several moments, and then many African men join me. The work continues, and as it does, the Kenyan women sing. As I shovel and listen, I ask Shadrach the meaning of the words.

"I am a watchman, waiting for the Savior, listening for the trumpet call . . . one day I will go to glory, to be with my Jesus," the Kikuyu song declares. The song, pitched in Eb major, lined out by strong women's voices, and antiphoned by the remaining hundreds, is in open fifths, in pentatonic scale. After several moments, there is a modulation to F major, and the fervor of the multitude increases. We dig, and we sing, and we stand in the driving rain.

When a mound stands atop the grave, Pastor Linus calls to me, and says, "Take the cross, and place it at the head. Tell them what it means." And so I give witness to the cross of Jesus Christ, explaining the sacrifice of our Lord for all peoples on the earth, the victory over death and sin and the grave, and the witness of the Church here in this place. And then, as instructed, I plunge it deep into the red Kenyan soil in front of me.

I am asked to pray, and the swirl of the novelty and alienness of this experience grab me. The mourning widow . . . my American students . . . the pandemic of AIDS in Kenya . . . the deprivation and poverty of Misiri slum . . . the cross of Jesus Christ . . . the mission of Wayland . . .

God is here, and has always been here. Christ's love for these people, and for all peoples, encircles us all, and we thank the LORD for the community of faith--even in the slums of Kenya. By his stripes we are healed.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day #5 in Kenya

I have asked our eight potential graduates to write a short piece for publication, articulating their experience in Wayland's BA program here in Kenya. I have written two of their responses below.



I am one of the eight graduating students in the WBU Kenyan Program on the 25th of July 2008. I enrolled in the Wayland Degree Program in October 2003 as a freshman, with a focused mind of using what I will learn for the glory of God in my call as a Pastor. Serving God and his people has been my delight and drive in life, but I didn’t have in depth biblical understanding and technical skills to lead well.

I thank the Lord for having enabled me to be enrolled in this Program that has positively impacted my life and ministry. This program has prepared me to handle the current issues that our people are facing in providing relevant ways of tackling them. My leadership styles have changed and now I’m a better servant leader who cares for the people he is serving. I have been able to balance between being a task oriented leader and relationship oriented in that our church can now thrive in its task as well as relating and caring well for the people.

I have also started a process of discipleship of nurturing believers to be effective in their walk with Christ in our church for the past four years. Also through what I have received from this program, has enabled me to start a leadership empowerment and development classes in our church for the past five years. Evangelism has become not only a process of getting new converts but also of nurturing these ones to have a Christ like character.

I have an outstanding balance of 37,779 KSH that stands as a great hindrance for me to graduate on the 25th of this month which I have eagerly waited for a long time. I intend to pursue my education further even after graduating with BA in Religion.



I am one of the 8 graduating students of Wayland Baptist University – Kenya Campus. I joined this program in October 2003 for an Associate of Applied Science Course with a major in Religion. I am currently in the last semester of my BA course.

The Wayland Program has been of great benefit to me and the ministry God has entrusted upon me. I am gifted as a preacher/teacher and currently serving in a church at the Coastal town of Mombasa as an Associate minister. The knowledge I have gained through Wayland has helped me become increasingly competent in handling God’s word especially when ministering in a predominantly Muslim town of Mombasa. I have since helped my church in setting up discipleship classes to help ground members in Gods word. Through the managerial skills acquired, I have set up effective Home Bible Fellowships (HBF) throughout the coastal town that are running effectively. I can boldly assert that the Wayland program has equipped me with necessary tools to be able to handle the doctrinal corruption which is increasingly sweeping across our country.

My future plan is to pursue my education to the doctorate level and be able to offer service to our Kenyan Campus. The major challenge I am facing is difficult in paying my fees balance that currently stand at Kenya shillings 40,321. This is becoming a major hindrance to my graduation scheduled for 25th July 2008, and to my future plan.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I ask for your prayers for our Kenya students, as they continue in this session. They are currently studying in the fourth semester of New Testament Greek, and music appreciation. Our eight potential graduates are also enrolled in graduate seminar, preparing portfolios, CVs, and taking exit examinations.

* * * * * * * * * * *
Our Wayland Plainview students, Jessica Young, Micah Evans, and Kelsey Beggs, have been ministering in the Misiri slum located approximately four kilometers from our campus here near Tigoni. The ministry appointed to us by the Kenyan church is to counsel with persons infected with HIV, to lead in seminars and other activities with orphans, and to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ through home visits in the neighborhood around the church building.

The greatest joy this day was that we had the remarkable privilege of leading two Kenyans to faith in Jesus Christ. Micah Evans and I were working with three indigenous Kenyans, making home visits near the Imani Baptist Church. Along the road, a woman and a man approached and asked if we might share the Word of God with them. Their lives were horrific, their family was experiencing tragedy and crisis, and they needed to find hope and encouragement, this couple declared.

Shadrach, Joyce, and Isaac looked at Micah and me, and asked, "Dr. Shaw, Micah, will you share the Word of God with this man and woman?" Micah and I told the story of God's great love for all of the world, humankind's great need for salvation and guidance, and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for all people, including Kenyans, and including this couple. To our great astonishment, Ezinah and Patrick immediately asked, "Might we receive this great news for ourselves?"
And the LORD provided us with the miraculous privilege of seeing this married couple come to know Jesus Christ through personal faith.

I am grateful to each of you, who is supporting us in prayer.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

HIV Client with new baby boy

Although this precious Kenyan woman is HIV+, she expresses joy in that her newborn son, Kamau, is not. Esther expresses joy in the LORD, and testifies that only through Jesus Christ is she surviving.

Micah and Rick counsel Alice, a young woman with AIDS

Micah Evans, WBU senior, and I counsel a young woman with AIDS in the Misiri ghetto.

Kelsey, Jessica, and Kenyan minister Humphrey

Kelsey Beggs and Jessica Young work alongside Kenyan minister Humphrey at the Imani Baptist Shade Ministry. This ministry's clients are those persons from the slum who are HIV+. Humphrey teaches the young women how to counsel the clients.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Arrival and Day #1 in Kenya

Our trip from Plainview, Texas, to Limuru, Kenya, has been quite uneventful, except for the loss of one of my suitcases in London. I trust it will show up here at KBTC shortly; it holds Greek textbooks and my clothes!

Our first day here in Kenya was learning and ministering at the Imani Shade Ministry, located in the Misiri ghetto ("Misiri" is the Kiswahili word for "Egypt.") The Imani Shade Ministry serves the clients of the Misiri ghetto who are HIV+. The ramshackle, turquoise corrugated tin and 2x4 building, which normally houses the robust and sprawling congregation of Imani (Faith) Baptist Church, on Mondays houses the Shade Ministry. This afternoon, we saw ten persons, nine women and one man, each of which is HIV+.

While Micah Evans worked alongside Kenyan minister Kevin distributing food staples and arranging transport to local clinics and hospitals distributing ARVs (anti-retroviral medications), and Kelsey Beggs and Jessica Young counseled these persons alongside Kenyan minister Humphrey, I had the privilege of learning counseling from Dr. Rosemary. Dr. Rosemary is a professional counselor serving the HIV community in this area. Trained in federal HIV/AIDS programs, this older Kenyan woman gently and warmly greets each person, she offers a handshake, a hug, and a smile.

These ten persons, ranging in age from 20 to 70, often smile back. "Our goal should be renamed 'Smile Again,'" Dr. Rosemary tells me, claiming that the real goal of the UN-backed, faith-based, program, is "to reduce the number of Kenyan orphans." Dr. Rosemary's intent is to see each of her clients smile again, realizing that being tested positive for HIV is not a death sentence.

"We want to give these people hope," Pastor Linus Kirimi informs me, "and we do that through the hope of Christ."

I realize that what this bush church is doing is missions--the Gospel--in a nutshell. As I listen to Dr. Rosemary counsel these nine women and one man, I realize that the Gospel on to which we cling so tightly, and the story we proclaim so boldly, is the same message and the same power that these ten HIV+ live on.

"I am no longer bitter," one of the women tells me. "When I first arrived here, I knew I had been infected by my husband, who had never told me he had HIV." "I wanted to commit suicide." "But I found the first hope in my life in this program--the hope I live by--the hope of Jesus Christ."

The church provides counseling; it is unashamedly and unabashedly evangelistic. "This is the Gospel," Dr. Rosemary asserts, "because it is about saving people's lives."

After the centre closes for the day, I meander through the bush church's compound, realizing that the Kingdom of God is broad and wide and deep. Stirred by the faith of these financially poor Kenyan Baptists, I look in the distance at the grand Mount Kilimanjaro, and am profoundly and deeply grateful that I have the privilege of serving in this place, at this time. I come here so full of life and joy, ready to share, and I realize that I am the one who needs the fresh touch of God. As I listen to Dr. Rosemary proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a woman who is hopeless and full of despair, I realize that this church is the instrument of God among a hurting people, ravaged by the pandemic of AIDS.

Oh, my friends, we have so much to learn about the love of Jesus Christ. I saw His face today, as I watched an old Kenyan woman proclaim His love to people without hope.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Kenyan Mission Trip Imminent

Our Wayland Baptist University African Mission Team is scheduled to depart the USA this coming Saturday, July 5th. We so appreciate your prayers for us as we travel.

Traveling with me will be Jessica Young, Micah Evans, and Kelsey Beggs.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Learning about other faiths

One of the most intriguing ventures of our recent Wayland Baptist University Balkan Mission Tour occurred at the central teqe (Sufi Muslim worship space) in Gjakova, Kosova. A very good friend of mine, Baba Rexhepi Mumin Lama is the cleric of this teqe. In the past he helped me extensively with my dissertation research. Baba Lama helped our students understood the basic beliefs of Sufism, especially of the Bektashis. With me in the front row are Denise Hopper, Khrystyne Eckerd, Flamur Gojani, and Duane Gray. Behind me is Taylor Phillips, Melanie Vasquez, Baba Lama, David Enegren, and Micah Evans. Standing behind Taylor is Amber "Desiree" Hamilton, Dot Taylor (mainly hidden), Mary Ethel Wade, Rev. Kevin Burrow, and Doris Ramsay.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Between Macedonia and Kenya, in Chicago

I write this sitting at the annual meeting of the American Society of Missiology in Chicago, Illinois, listening to missionaries and missiologists discuss the mission of God in the world today. Caught between the mission experiences just enjoyed in Macedonia, Kosova, and Greece, with 18 (now seasoned) mission volunteers, and anticipated mission in Kenya, beginning July 5, I reflect on what God is actively doing in the vast and vigorous world in which we live.

God is not "finished" with the mission work in Macedonia and Kosova, as at least one has said. On the contrary, God (despite the the contentions of some) continues on, moving actively and robustly in Albanians, Macedonians, Bosnians, Serbs, Turks, and Roma. As the 18 Balkan mission volunteers have experienced first-hand, Muslim peoples are responding to the salvation good news found singularly in Jesus Christ. The hope and forgiveness assured through the cross is being enjoyed by some in the Balkans. But God's desire is not completely fulfilled. Rather, God desires that all people share in the intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.

I have read my students' reports about their mission ventures in the Balkans. A common theme permeating the reports is the love and hospitality and authenticity and transparency of the people whom they have met. Believing that all love begins with God, can we not assert that this love and embrace and warmth and truth (little "t") began with the work of God? Furthermore, the absence of such values and qualities demonstrates not the failure of God to work, but rather the cultural disobedience and self-absorption we experience in the West.

We look forward to Kenya, and seek your prayers for our mission there. The LORD has blessed us richly with indigenous Kenyan students, and eight of them are potential graduates. I wish to thank many, many persons who have contributed to the financial needs and prayer needs of our missionaries. Always, I am thankful to our home church, the First Baptist Church of Plainview, for consistent and abundant support.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pastor Eliza with Mary Ethel Wade

Pastor Eliza D, Kosovar Albanian Baptist leader, with Monroe, North Carolina, volunteers Mary Ethel Wade and Dot Taylor.

Kosovar Albanians Believers worshipping

Kosovar believers worshipping the Lord Jesus

Monday, June 16, 2008

Wayland Balkan Mission Team

Wayland Mission Team in Kosova

The Wayland Balkan Mission Team has arrived in Kosova, after a blessed nine days in Macedonia. The cold weather of this mountainous new country has surprised our students, prepared for a sunny, sultry climate. I ask you to pray for Taylor Phillips, who has been ill today.

Our work in a Macedonian village has ended. This work included teaching English as a Foreign Language (Melanie Vasquez, Micah Evans, Taylor Phillips, and Amber "Desiree" Hamilton), sports camp (Kevin Burrow), and art class (Khrystyne Eckerd). Our young men also dug the foundation of the English Language Library. The director of the primary school (K-8) in the village was especially delighted to see such well-behaved young men and women care so deeply about forgotten, abandoned children and youth in a Muslim context. As I sat with this Albanian woman, engaged in conversation about these six young people, and their callings from God, I realized that this middle-aged principal was attempting to communicate something to me. While our conversation continued, the woman told me, "Une jam njohur me krejt ata qe punojne neper kisha evangjeliste ne shkup" (I know all of those people that work in evangelical churches in Skopje.) She listed their names, and I realized that all of the evangelical pastors and church leaders were well-known by this woman. We were having a conversation in a room with other people listening, and the woman was hesitant to go into great detail about her knowledge and relationships. However, she continued to give hints about her faith and her connections to the churches.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Please pray for our mission to the Balkans

One week from tomorrow, 29 May, our mission team will head toward the Balkans. Many of our team members are working diligently in their respective tasks. Amber Hamilton, a Wayland University junior, is preparing for music performance and worship leadership as she practices the flute. Ricky Nations and Duane Gray are working on designs for the Buddy Wagner English Language Library. Kevin Burrow and Will Nations are planning sports camp schedule and securing equipment. Pray for these as they seek the Lord's guidance and wisdom.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Thank you to Leota Hardgrove Sunday School Class

I continue to marvel at God's work among followers of Jesus Christ here in Plainview. While sitting at my desk working this morning, I was greeted by two women, Leota Hardgrove and Gwen Andrus, representatives of the Leota Hardgrove Sunday School Class of First Baptist Church of Plainview, Texas. The class has gathered a large amount of money to be used for the most pressing needs in the village where we will be ministering in Macedonia. Thank you to these ladies. Thank you to the LORD for moving these women to sacrificial giving!

Ben's Performance, First Baptist Church of Plainview

The Children's Choirs of First Baptist Church of Plainview lead in worship. Ben is serious about his music.

Grace and Ben's Music Performance and Awards Night

Grace is such an expressive singer, enunciating every word. What a unique child!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Shaw's New House in Plainview

Our new home in Plainview. Closing date is May 28 . . .

Shaw's New House in Plainview

The garage . . .

We are Buying a House in Plainview!

Here is the kitchen. Martha especially likes the stove.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Apostolos students at Students/Community Leaders Forum

Jessica Young and Melanie Vasquez await community leaders at first students/community leaders forum. Students engaged with community leaders about the most pressing needs of people in Plainview.

Apostolos group at Shaw's for cookout

Martha shares with Melanie Vasquez and Amber Hamilton about life in the Balkans from a woman's perspective.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Balkan Team Prepares for Mission

The Wayland Baptist University Balkan Mission Team prepares for mission in Macedonia, Kosova, and Greece. Melanie Vasquez (in red), Khrystyne Eckerd (in green), Amber Hamilton (in dark brown), Kevin Burrow (in baseball cap), Micah Evans (in light blue), and Taylor Phillips (in grey), prepare music and drama. Dr. Rick Shaw is at the piano.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wayland Students Prepare for Mission to the Balkans

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Leading Wayland Students on Mission to the Balkans

Wayland group prepares for mission in Macedonia
Release Date: April 18, 2008

PLAINVIEW – In preparation for a two-week mission trip to Macedonia and the region, a group of Wayland Baptist University students is collecting clothing and other items to be distributed in a village on their trip.
The group, headed by Dr. Rick Shaw, director of the WBU Missions Center and assistant professor of religion, will leave May 29 for the area, traveling first to Macedonia, then to Kosovo, then taking in some sights in Greece. Supplies will be delivered to Konjare e Mesme, an Albanian/Bosnian village in Macedonia. The group is collecting gently used children’s clothing and small toys as well as over-the-counter pain relief medications, such as ibuprofen, in sealed packages.
Many of the locations to be visited on the trip are places where Shaw and wife Martha served as missionaries, and the group will be working with many of the pastors and churches he planted while on the field. He is excited to take the next step in the missions journey – taking his own charges to meet those converts.
“It makes me feel kind of like Paul, you know,” he laughed. “My dream is to offer students cross-cultural missions experiences, for our religion majors as well as any students who would like to do that.”
The trip to Macedonia, Shaw said, will do just that as students are exposed first-hand to Muslim people in their own native settings. It’s an experience he said most Wayland students have never had.
“They have very little experience with Muslims, and even a little fear and anxiety about them,” he said. “They’ll come back changed people, for sure.”
That exposure is what interested Melanie Vasquez, a WBU sophomore from Hobbs, N.M., in the trip. A religion major with an interest in missions, Vasquez has participated in missions experiences inside and outside the U.S. But this trip will be different.
“What interested me is the Muslim people,” she said. “I see the need for people to reach out to the Muslim people. A lot of Christians are afraid of them and don’t want to approach them, but God loves all people and we need to reach them too.”
While overseas, the group of seven will be participating in several different activities. Junior Kevin Burrow will be preaching and leading a sports camp in the same Macedonian village; Vasquez, sophomore Khrystyne Eckerd and junior Amber Hamilton will be helping teach English as a Second Language in Macedonia and Kosovo and giving their testimonies at an all-Balkan women’s conference. Other young men, senior Micah Evans and sophomore Taylor Phillips, will be preaching and helping lead in several areas. The group will also be speaking, singing and doing drama in churches around the region, all in Macedonian.
“We’ve been meeting for two weeks for language lessons and Bible study in preparation for the trip, and they are doing very well,” Shaw said. “Some of them have had other languages and are picking it up very quickly.”
The training sessions will continue until the group leaves on May 29. They are set to return June 14. The group plans to take two large suitcases, with one for their personal items and another full of clothing and supplies for the Macedonians.
Shaw said besides hard work in Macedonia and Kosovo, he has planned some tourist attractions for the students, including visits to Thessalonica and Philippi in Greece, touring many of the sites covered in Paul’s missionary journeys in the Bible. The group will worship near the pool where Lydia was baptized, an experience Shaw said is almost surreal.
“These places really make the Bible real to people,” he said.
Shaw will also be leading a group of students, along with two groups from area churches, to Kenya in July. Groups from First Baptist Church Matador and FBC Plainview will join the trip at different intervals, with the charge of building an 8-foot stone security fence around one of the churches in a ghetto neighborhood. The church has constantly been vandalized. The group from Matador, which consists of several contractors, will begin the project and the group of Plainview will hopefully complete the fence. The groups and students will also be working with another church that houses and orphanage for children whose parents have died from aids.
Anyone wishing to donate items for the trip may contact Shaw at 291-1162 or give items to one of the participating students. Anything received that won’t fit on the trip will be donated to local benevolence organizations.

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New Mission Action Group "Apostolos" Formed at Wayland Baptist University

Apostolos student group focusing on local mission
Release Date: April 18, 2008
PLAINVIEW – Born from a request of the student body, the Department of Religion and the Mission Center at Wayland Baptist University has formed a new student group whose sole mission is mission. Apostolos, meaning “one who is sent out,” consists of students whose interest is to transform Wayland into a body of believers who truly work to meet the needs of the community.
The group will hold its first formal meeting at 6 p.m. on April 28 in the University Center Room 211 on the Wayland campus. This forum will include leaders within the community and they will discuss research that the group has compiled over the last few weeks.
Apostolos was formed under the auspices of one of the four main rolls of the Mission Center. According to Dr. Shaw one of the Mission Center directives is to focus on the needs of the community.
“There have been many attempts and ministries by special groups such as BSM, which does fabulous work, and different departments do a lot of great things, but our focus is the get Wayland as a whole body to minister to this community and this area,” Shaw said.
To that end, Apostolos has hit the ground running. The group chose 24 students to serve as leaders. Each of the 24 student leaders was asked to interview a community leader, including leaders within the Plainview Independent School District, law enforcement official, leaders with the literacy council, crisis pregnancy center, the serenity house, Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, religious leaders from various denominations and more. Through the course of these interviews, the group was looking for the major area of need within the community. After reading through all the interviews and research, the group has determined that at-risk youth are the most pressing need facing our community. At the forum on April 28, the group will discuss ideas on how to minister to this target group.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Macedonian Mission, May 29 - June 14

I am in Silver City, New Mexico, at First Baptist Church, meeting with two of our Balkan Mission Volunteers, Duane Gray and David Enigren. We are preparing to do projects in Konjare e Mesme, Macedonia. We will be teaching English classes, doing village public health, building a library, and conducting a sports camp.

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Friday, February 8, 2008

Kenya Journal #7: The End of the Mission

Today is the last day of this Kenya mission. I have scheduled this day very full, cognizant of all of the mental, spiritual, and emotional processing I will have to do upon my return to the USA . The needs of Kenyans press upon me, and I pray that I have wisely chosen those concerns and issues which are of most significance.

Gwadhimu Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) Red Cross Camp, Limuru Town

As the Director of Wayland Baptist University’s Kenya Program, I have decided to ask our Wayland Kenya students to participate in a hands-on mission project at the IDP camp nearest the campus of Kenya Baptist Theological College . These students have been selected because they are either Baptist leaders already, or because they demonstrate potential leadership skills for the work of the Kingdom of God in this vast nation. Dr Ashley, Linus Kirimi, and I have already been to the camp twice, seeking approval for our students’ mission, and ascertaining the most pressing presenting needs of these individuals.

Luke Loetscher, WBU Plainview senior, has organized a joint chapel service, Plainview-Kenya, for the evening ( Kenya time) of Wednesday, January 30th. I have asked two of our students, Franciska Makusu and Gerishom Kadiri, to tell their stories to the students, faculty, administration, and staff of WBU, plus others from the wider Plainview community. I have asked Harun Miatu to lead all of our students in a time of prayer. Don Ashley and Charles Mbugua, WBU Kenya’s IT manager, work diligently to make this combined chapel service work, from the side of technology. I consider the message that will communicate most effectively and relevantly to American university students.

Although there are numerous minor technological glitches, the chapel service proceeds. The Wayland Plainview community donates more than $3000 to the persons residing at the Red Cross camp in Limuru Town . I receive reports from those present in Harral Memorial Auditorium in Plainview that although there were some problems with the video feed, the American students were more settled and attentive than in times past. Dr Vaugh Ross, the man who established this degree program in Kenya , and now chair of the Division of Math and Sciences, sends me a message that he has never felt the Holy Spirit be so present as during the “Kenya Chapel.”

I plan to buy food, bedding, and women’s personal items for the 650 people present in the camp. Mbugua, Don, and I head to the storefront shops in Limuru to negotiate the purchase of these items. Charles, a native Kenyan Kikuyu, is an expert bargainer, wrangling back and forth with shop owners, in a strange mix of Swahili, Kikuyu, and English. As a price is distilled from the almost polemical bouts, Charles addresses me in English, with shop owners waiting impatiently for a sale. The prices and quantities seem reasonable to me, and payment is made. We head for the open air market, where we negotiate the purchase of whole kernel maize, beans, flour, and sugar—all staples of a Kenyan diet.

We head back to our campus, and find our students waiting for us, eager to engage in mission. We pray together, asking the LORD to guide and bless our words, our actions, and our movements. This is a first for these students; none can remember serving the needs of IDP’s before. I notice anxiety, hesitancy—what will they confront in the camp?

We arrive at the Gwadhimu Red Cross Camp, and much to our dismay, the numbers of persons now seeking refuge at the camp has swelled to over 4000, according to the head chaplain, Daniel Kenyua. Our students enter the gate, and turn to each other, asking, “Is this our country?” “Are these Kenyan people?” I encourage them to engage these other Kenyans in conversation, to listen to their stories, to counsel, and to be the presence of Christ. After a bit of encouragement, the students scatter.

I find a man eating from a metal plate of white rice and sukumawiki, a native Kenyan collard green-type dish. He eats with his hands, eagerly downing the plateful of food. One of the Kenyan student pastors, Japheth Wekesa Wetoto, trails along beside me. I ask Japheth to translate for me. Almost relieved, the young man agrees.

The man is Joseph, a Kikuyu from the town of Narok . 55 years old, with one wife and three children, Joseph looks tired, thin, and without hope. Born and raised a Kikuyu in the Maasai majority city, Joseph’s home and shop have been burned in an act of ethnic cleansing. The family has been here at Gwadhimu Red Cross Camp for more than one week. Joseph instructs me that the men in the camp sleep in one area; the women and children sleep in another. In this way, many problems are averted. The Kikuyu man is thankful for the good food provided in the camp, and that his family is safe and secure here.

In my foolish naiveté, I ask Joseph, “When do you anticipate returning to your city?”

“How can I return?” Joseph asks me through the translator Japheth. “My wife, my children, and I have been threatened with our lives if we ever return to Narok. “My house and my shop are gone.” “I have a large debt for my shop and all the goods I wanted to sell.” “All I have ever known is that town.”

“Where will you go?” I query.

Another man passes by the large group that has gathered around us, and hears my question.

“Only God knows,” he shouts.

I ask Joseph through Japheth, “May I pray for you?” The bloodshot eyes look at me before the answer is given, “Yes, please.” I pause for a moment, not sure how to pray. The man waits, expectantly. He grabs my hands, and pulls me toward him. I sense the Spirit guide me as I ask the Triune God to comfort this man, to provide for his family, and to give him hope.

Worship and Evangelization at Gwadhimu

Our Wayland Kenya students gather to lead a time of worship and evangelization at the center of the Gwadhimu Camp. Lively singing, clapping, and movement attract many of the residents. I notice the distraught faces of many men and women as they gather, standing. The energy of the blaring music and boisterous community seems to transform expressions of hopelessness into a respite of joy, if only for a brief time.

The children throng around Don Ashley and me. They feel our arms and hands, pulling the hair on our arms. I look quizzically at Francis Midega, one of our student pastors standing next to me. “They have never seen a muzungu up close,” Francis explains. “They want to see if you are human, like they.” I am intrigued by what the student pastor has told me. I realize that Don and I are the only white faces among 4000 beautiful black ones, and for a moment, I am caught up in a sense of euphoric worship and community, as hundreds of Kenyans sing, clap, and move around me. I look up, gaze at the blue sky above me, and am engulfed by emotion. Perhaps this is what it will be like, standing before the throne of Jesus, with peoples of all nations and all tongues praising God.

Harun Miatu, a passionate preacher, delivers a brief, but powerful sermon. As he finishes, several persons move to the front of the human circle. I watch as this tall, lanky, mustachioed Kenyan embraces them, and prays.

At the close of the worship service and evangelization, Charles Mbugua, who is leading this event, tells the children that the white men have candy for all of them. Don and I are mobbed by hundreds of children (and some adults) reaching out for “sweets,” as the British say.

The End of the Mission

After the students, Don, and I have distributed the food, the mattresses, blankets, medications, and candy, we gather, and head back to campus. This mission is nearing the end, as our return flights are only hours away. Don and I will return to places and lives of material abundance, blessed beyond measure, far more than we will ever deserve. In 36 hours, we will rejoin our wives and children, and return to the comforts and accoutrements of American life (the Super Bowl is only two days away!) We will leave these precious souls behind, many, like Joseph, having nowhere to turn, and nowhere to go. Their possessions and livelihoods now gone, they are clueless as to what to do.

But, as I have discovered among Albanians and Bosnians, who, like these Kenyans, have lost it all, God has graced people with a tremendous will and strength to survive. National crises impact individual lives at the most intimate level, but the resilience of the human spirit is most often stronger. It has been my privilege to walk among these God-fearing people, if even for three short weeks, and I come away far better for it. My humble prayer is that they do to.

I appreciate your every prayer and thought.

Christ’s power and peace


Monday, February 4, 2008

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Turkana House, northwestern Kenya

A typical Turkana home in the northwestern part of Kenya. In his itinerant preaching, Wayland Baptist University Kenya student James Ikimat, stays in this home.

Turkana Church Fellowship

A church fellowship meeting at a Turkana church in northwestern Kenya. One of our Wayland Baptist University Kenya students, James Ikimat, planted this church, and is pastoring it presently.

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Turkana Church, northwestern Kenya

Wayland Baptist University Kenya student James Ikimat poses with one of his congregations. James and his congregation are of the Turkana tribe, a nomadic and pastoralist tribe in the northwestern part of Kenya.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Ndumo, a displaced boy in the Red Cross Camp

Ndumo is a young boy from the Western Province of Kenya. Unlike the girl in the royal blue silk dress who enjoys beating men on the legs with a stick, this young fellow prefers to watch wazungu (white men) with big, brown eyes.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Joyce, the church worker, and Rick

Joyce, a church worker from the Western Province of Kenya, stands with Rick. Joyce is a displaced person in this Red Cross camp. Joyce is a minister in her church near the town of Eldoret, where another church was burned recently.

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