Christmas and New Year’s holidays have been a blessing, and we thank you for your faithfulness, which has made that possible. The new year has started off quickly, with our first Pastors’ Practical Training Academy (PPTA) meeting from January 9–13. It went well, and the spirit of the pastors was high. We are looking forward to our next week of training, with about 7 more pastors asking if they can join the academy. That would mean we would have about 20 pastors attending from across the country. They are enjoying the challenging curriculums and new material, which many of them are hearing for the first time. These pastors are really appreciating the training they are receiving, some sadly for the first time.
Culture is always an issue for those coming down from upcountry, but we address the issues directly from the Bible and try to make the difference between God’s Word and the Kenyan culture obvious. This last PPTA meeting, we had an in-depth discussion about marriage and discussed the possibility of having a group church wedding at the end of the course. Many have had a traditional tribal wedding and would like to have a wedding in a local church.
We have seen fruit. One pastor, Gilbert Venesia, has baptized 21 new converts, making a total of about 40-plus added to his church in recent months after attending the academy. He is very excited about the training, and although he says he did not have the money to come last time, he was very apologetic and asked if he could attend the rest of the course and make up for what he missed. Others are seeing additions to their churches. A new Bible study was started in Homa Bay, and the pastor is asking for Bibles for 15 new converts who are now meeting together. He is also wanting to bring another pastor to the training.
I pay for their fare back to their homes, but I ask them to pay their way to Nairobi as a show of commitment. As well as their transport home, I also pay for their food and teaching materials, which are the most expensive items. Fortunately, I have been given the use of a local school building for the PPTA, which has helped me with accommodation expenses in recent months.
I was blessed with having the opportunity to lead 6 people to the Lord at Faith Baptist Church, pastored by Missionary Charles Newton, last Sunday. He had 48 adults and 13 children in attendance, and he baptized 5 new converts. Over half of the adults in attendance were adult men, which is different than the normal situation, where the majority attending are usually women and children. The church is doing well.
Our PPTA training has challenged pastors to change their thinking about many things, including music. They are turning from what their culture teaches them, with a lot of noise and worldly music, to seeking out sound hymns and spiritual songs. Some of the pastors say that it has changed their church’s praise and worship program. We teach them that they need to sing to God, of God, and for God, worshipping Him for Who He is, His attributes, and praising Him for what great things He has done.
We would ask you to continue praying for:
• Our ongoing health – one of our associate pastors had malaria only two weeks ago.
• Our support, for which we thank our supporting churches and friends, has been a great blessing and allowed us to stay here on the field. However, our cost of living continues to increase dramatically.
• Lindsay, who turns 17 years old this month. She has turned into a wonderful young lady but does face trials, as she lives in a developing country with few friends of like background.
• Kenyan men of integrity to be called to teach the PPTA to their own people. Even though they are pastors, they need to grow in understanding, wisdom, and commitment.
• Melody, who continues to teach teachers at the local Christian school how to teach dyslexic children how to read. Recently, she spoke to 70 teachers on this subject, and on February 11, she will be presenting to 600 parents.
• The Lord to connect me with an architect or engineer who can make some simple drawings for a relatively inexpensive, prefabricated steel structure for a small church building that would suit the environment and can be made here in Kenya. I currently have one pastor whose building (45 feet by 25 feet) has cracks due to water damage and is falling down. His congregation has moved back out into the sun, rain, and under the trees due to the danger. I am praying we will have a need for a few of these small church buildings that can be expanded, if needed, for upcountry pastors, who will be graduating from the PPTA in about 14 months’ time.
May the rest of 2023 be a prosperous year for you as you serve our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and partner with us as we endeavor to lead Kenya to the Lord, one soul at a time, while training men who have been called by our Saviour to do likewise.
Thank you and God bless you,
Peter, Melody, and Lindsay Morris