Introducing Victor

The Tates have served the Lord in Kitale, Kenya since January 2008. Their main ministry is church planting.

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ,

In my newsletter for this month, I would like to introduce you to Victor. He is the one in the picture that I have sent. It will be difficult for me to describe Victor to you because he is a complicated individual. However, although he is complicated, he is a special man and worthy of us knowing him.

One of the reasons I wanted to introduce you to Victor is because of his faithfulness; faithfulness to God, to me, and to the Upper Room Baptist Chapel. Victor is the only person I know will be at the Chapel’s services each and every week. In fact, there are some weeks that Victor is the only one to show up. I may not know who else will show up, but I know Victor will be there, encouraging me, supporting me, and teaching me things about Jesus.

I have said Victor is complicated. This is true. He is quirky and strange to the point of being annoying, in his own world, oftentimes unintelligible in his conversation, and misunderstood. Victor hasn’t always been like this, however. I have spoken to people that have known Victor for a long time, and apparently he used to be more of what we would consider mentally “normal” – a bright and intelligent young man. After a visit to Mombasa, however, he came back “changed”. The consensus is that Victor probably contracted cerebral malaria while in Mombasa, didn’t receive the proper care for it. The disease left him permanently “brain damaged”, at least to some extent. When Victor returned, he returned as I have described: “quirky and strange to the point of being annoying, in his own world, oftentimes unintelligible in his conversation, and misunderstood”.

When Victor first started attending the Chapel this was the only thing I saw about him. He would interrupt me while I was preaching and ask a question that was mostly unintelligible and completely unrelated to what I was saying. Or, he would get up in the middle of my lesson and start sweeping and mopping the back of the room. He would do other quirky things that usually annoyed me, and I would find myself trying to “manage” his behavior.

However, in describing Victor in this way (which is true) I am not giving you the full story about him. Here is the other half of Victor. He is one of the kindest, most trusting, gentlest, giving, and self-sacrificing men that I have ever met. And, more than anything, Victor teaches me about Godliness and Christ-likeness. From the beginning of his attendance at the Chapel, Victor would come early or stay late in order to clean the building. He would always try and do nice things for me like packing up my stuff after service while I was talking to other people (even though I didn’t want him to) or refilling my water bottle (even though the water he used wasn’t clean), or stacking chairs and moving them to the side of the room (even though I just had to move them back later). In all of these things Victor was not trying to be annoying (even though he was) but to be helpful, loving, and giving. He did these things from a pure and loving heart.


Later, as I spent more time with him (mostly because he wouldn’t leave me alone), I saw even more of his self-sacrificing heart. If we were walking through town together I might buy him a banana or a small bag of potato chips. Inevitably, he would stop and share his banana or his chips with a street boy, or a small child sitting with his mother, or a beggar, all the while speaking to them softly, lovingly, humbly and blessing them in Jesus’ name. When we are walking home together after services at the Chapel, everyone we pass on the road gets a wave from Victor, or a greeting, a handshake, or a blessing in Jesus’ name. When I take Victor for a coffee and “cake”, his coffee always gets cold before he drinks it. Why? Because he insists that I drink it and eat his cake (even though I have some of my own). When we moved the Chapel out of town and into its own building, Victor automatically volunteered to be the building and grounds caretaker. After a couple of weeks I noticed that he was tearing up some of the grounds and planting seeds where I didn’t want them. I asked him to stop (even though he didn’t). Now there are plants growing around the Chapel compound. Do you think they are for Victor? Nope. Every week someone who attends the Chapel goes home with some food: A pumpkin, some beans, sukuma (greens), kale.

He oftentimes tries to send me home with a pumpkin, a bunch of bananas, or avocados even though most times I am able to convince him that I don’t need them. Most Sundays Victor will come to the Chapel (he is always early while everyone else is always late) and he reads to me the Bible verses he had been reading that morning. He shows me his Bible which is all marked up with notes that he understands but I don’t. He and God are probably the only ones who understand those notes. But do you know something? I think God DOES understand those notes. And I think Victor understands something about God that most of us, including me, don’t.

Victor has become one of my favorite people in Kenya. God bless Victor.

Blessings to you all,
Roger, Julie & Chloe


Roger & Julie Tate
P.O. Box 96
Kitale, Kenya 30200

For ministry donations:
Pastor George Sledd, Treasurer of BFM
P.O. Box 471280 | Lake Monroe, FL 32747-1280
or click here to donate to BFM online.

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