Missionary Update: Roger & Julie Tate in Kenya [January 2012]

The Tate Family has served the Lord in Kitale, Kenya since January 2008. Their main ministry is indigenous church planting.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Our new year has started off well even though it is very hot and very dry. It seems as if the roads are always treacherous to traverse on my little motorcycle. They are either very muddy or very sandy. Either way we always have to be careful.

Ministry with Nathan is progressing nicely. We have started up two new Bible study/worship groups this month. Obviously, our hope and prayer is that these groups will eventually become churches of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one group has four members in it, three men and one woman. The second group has two members, both men. These are small beginnings for the new year but are definitely seeds of new churches. To become churches is what we will train them and teach them to be. This is what we are modeling for them as well. We are trying to teach them to obey what they have learned from the word of God, even if they only know a very little. The great challenge for me is to conduct these meetings in Swahili. It is still very difficult for me to understand Swahili but we want to speak in the heart language of the people. But speaking and listening to Swahili for two or more straight hours at a time can be exhausting. There are many other challenges as well. In our second group, it dawned on me while I was teaching that the young man sitting next to me was illiterate. This poses difficulties that are hard to overcome. I wanted to teach him how to share his faith and present the gospel to his friends and family. I had some simple points I wanted him to write down so that he could easily remember them later. However, he couldn’t read or write. I suddenly had to change my approach to teaching him. The most prevalent and biggest challenge is still the problem of dependency. We still do not want to do anything that a) they will become dependent upon or b) they cannot reproduce on their own. So, when Nathan suggested that we bring some books to the meetings for resources, we quickly decided that it wouldn’t be a good idea because later the group members would want those same resources (from us) when they went to start new groups. It is also why we are meeting in group members’ homes. Even though their homes may be very small and made of mud, I believe it is still the best place for us to meet. Later, when they go to start new groups or churches they will be able to reproduce quickly and not be tied to the model of a church building (The picture I have included is the small house that the second group meets in. We hope this little house later doubles as a meeting place for a new church).

The small house one of their groups of believers is meeting in to worship. They hope this house later doubles as a meeting place for a new church.

This whole non-dependency approach is still definitely swimming against the current. Most Kenyans just don’t get it or understand why we are here. Just for example, 10 minutes before I sat down to write this update I received this anonymous text message. I will reproduce it for you complete, with no corrections for spelling or grammar: “Hi pastor we are really suffering of u come in kaenya to help the poor but nothing u have done Nathen is telling wrong things that’s our crises as Church”. Of course, what this person has said about Nathan is a lie but the whole message reveals the common mindset: Missionaries are to come to Kenya in order to give handouts to all those who want them. Most people want the handouts but not the gospel. Beloved, if you pray for nothing else, please pray for us in this arena.

On a lighter note, I did attend a wedding this past Saturday. I was told the wedding started at 10:00am. When I told the pastor that I would be late because I had a Bible study group from 10-12 he told me to just come when I could as the wedding would probably start late. I arrived at 12:45pm. The bride still had not shown up to a wedding that was supposed to start at 10:00am. She didn’t show up until 2:15pm. Then, when she arrived, it took her and her entourage a full 20 minutes to dance down the 50 foot aisle from the back to the front of the church. I left at 3:45pm. The pastor was just beginning to preach. Anyway, I thought the whole thing was kind of funny.

Until next month, beloved. May God’s peace and joy be with you.

For the glory of God in East Africa,
Roger & Julie Tate (and Emily, Amy, & Josiah)
P.O. Box 761
Kitale, Kenya 30200

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