Since our last letter, we have had some ups and downs. In Kenya, we had a slight surge in COVID cases, so the government closed churches in five counties, one of which was ours. Since we could not have church, we visited the families in their homes. The second week of shutdown was Easter Sunday. We were able to give an Easter food gift to each family, and we met for the service at a member’s house. I taught a Bible study on the week of Christ’s Crucifixion.
We were not allowed to conduct regular church services for more than a month, yet God’s blessings were still on us. During this time, we would not have had anyone to teach Junior Church because Elizabeth had just had the baby. Because of the shutdown, we did not have to worry about filling that need. We were also able to set the money aside that we were paying for rent. We continued meeting for home church, which created an intimate learning and bonding experience for the church.
Eric and Florence are a young couple in our church. They had their first baby about a month after ours was born. We all joined together as a church and gave them a baby shower. They were very surprised and happy. I was encouraged by the willingness of the church people to give. Liam was born several weeks after the shower, and I was able to visit Florence in the hospital. She was in a room with seven other mothers and their newborn children. I was able to pray with Florence and praise God for the safe and healthy delivery of her baby. The doctors gave Florence no instructions on how to care for her baby. We have enjoyed being able to help her and Eric with the example of our own newborn baby.
A young man named Frederick, whom I invited to church on the street, came to visit awhile back. After the service, I spoke with him, and in that conversation, he mentioned he was getting married in a couple of months. He messaged me just two weeks before his wedding, requesting me to preach at the wedding. After praying about it, I felt certain that it was a God-given opportunity. With the 15 minutes I was allotted, I preached the Gospel. I focused on the command for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. I used Frederick in an illustration, showing how salvation is a gift and not of works. I gave him his wedding gift in the illustration. There were about 200 people present that day who heard the Gospel.
We have been actively looking for permanent church location. The county that we are in is the wealthiest in Kenya, and land is very expensive. It is not uncommon to find one-quarter acre of land selling for $300,000. I have been praying for many months for God to direct us. This week I went with a realtor to view three lease opportunities. Right now, we only have a few tithing families, ours being one of those. Giving has been up lately, but it is not where it would need to be to pay for the lease. Please join me in praying for God to bring faithful, tithing people to join us. I am eager to get into our own space, but I do not want to move ahead of the Lord.
Mark Thomas was born on March 12. He was a bit later than we expected and was born the smallest of our six children. Like babies do, he is growing up fast and is a chunky, happy little baby. He gets a lot of attention in our home, and all of his siblings seek him out to hold him and talk to him. He is a happy baby, whose favorite thing to do is smile.
In His service,
Corey McDonald and Family