Missionary Update: The Tates in Kenya [December 2014]

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

December 5, 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This month’s update will be difficult to write, not because the subject matter is difficult to write about, but because I have so much to say in only a little bit of space. So, here it all comes, whether you’re ready for it or not. I will be as brief as possible.

Something extraordinary has happened in our family and in my heart, something I could never have anticipated nor previously wanted. The story probably goes back a few years. For five or six years now, Julie and Emily (especially Emily) have tried to get me to think about adopting a Kenyan child. There are 2.6 million orphans in Kenya, so the need for adopting families is very great. However, my response has always been, “NO! Absolutely not”. Emily would say, “I think you should think about it”. I would say “No!” Emily would say, “I think you should pray about it”. I would say, “I don’t need to”. Emily would say, “I think you should consider it”. I would say, “The conversation is over”. Ahem…have you ever noticed that God has a mysteriously, wonderful way of changing your heart?

Now, back up about 3 months ago. I was walking into a little dive of a restaurant in town where I go regularly to eat beans and rice for lunch. As I entered the opening into the “restaurant” where streamers hanged down from the lintel acting as a door, I looked down on the ground and saw a kitten that couldn’t have been a week old. It lay there in the dirt squirming and meowing, eyes shut tight, crying for its mother; I stood there looking at it. My heart went out to it because it was so weak and pathetic; I wondered how he got there, where his mother was, and why this innocent creature had to suffer so much. It was too little to take home as it would certainly have died in my care, thus, I left it there. I thought about it all day, continuing to wonder where his mother could have been. I returned for my beans and rice the next day and the kitten was gone. For the next three days the kitten kept coming into my mind. I wondered what happened to him, if he had lived or died, if his mother had returned or abandoned him. After the fourth day, a thought struck me so suddenly and severely that it set me back. I believed, even then, that the thought was from Almighty God. The thought from God went almost exactly like this: “Roger, for four days now you have been ultra-concerned about the kitten you saw suffering in the dirt. How could you be so concerned about this kitten when there are millions of people all around you that are made in my own image who are innocent and suffering and need help”? Can you see why this thought threw me for a loop? This thought, unspoken by me to anyone else refused to leave my mind, and I continued to ask God what it meant to me and what he wanted me to do.

Chloe Baby PictureNow, back up to seven weeks ago. I was sitting in my office doing some work and minding my own business when Julie called me. There was a baby, she said, that had been committed to a nearby children’s home. The baby was premature and needed care the children’s home was not able to provide her at that particular time. Julie asked me if we could take her in and care for her until she was a little stronger and the children’s home was in a better position to take her full time. I told Julie I would need to think about it. Within the hour I called her back and told her we could temporarily take the child if it would be beneficial to the child and the children’s home. The children’s home assured us it would be an answer to their prayer if we were able to take the child for a few weeks. The baby, Chloe, came to our house the next day.

The shock of her arrival overwhelmed me. She was definitely the most pathetic and weak thing I had ever seen, and my thoughts immediately went to the message of the kitten. She was already one month old, but she still weighed less than three pounds. She had been abandoned by her mother at the hospital and had been fed by a feeding tube at the hospital for a month. I don’t know if she had been held at all during that time period. I looked at her and wondered how she had even lived so long. She was gaunt, she had no meat or substance to her at all, her skin hung off of her. He arms and legs were skin and bones only, her fingers as thin as toothpicks. Later that night when I changed her diaper for the first time I wondered as I looked at her, “where is the rest of her”? She did not know how to suck from a bottle and we initially had to feed her from a syringe. Julie and I have raised three babies of our own but this one scared me to death. I wondered if she would live through the night or if she would die in our care. This was a very serious and legitimate thought. Well, she lived, and not only did she live but she very quickly began to respond to the love and care we gave her. She learned to suck, started to put on weight and would even occasionally open her eyes and look at us. She wasn’t exactly what you would call “cute” (Amy even said so verbally),but we thought this little girl made in God’s image was beautiful.

After we’d had Chloe for about two weeks I knew exactly what God wanted us to do. He clearly revealed to us that, just as he took us when we were weak, pathetic and helpless and loved us and decided to adopt us into his family, we should do the same with Chloe. However, I was resistant. I had plenty of excuses why I should not adopt her. I was too old. I didn’t have enough money. The Kenyan government won’t let us keep her. I should think about saving for my retirement someday. I was happy with my current family situation. I was glad to not have to change diapers and get up in the middle of the night, and so on. But God showed me that all the reasons to go ahead and adopt Chloe were good while all the reasons to not adopt Chloe were selfish. One by one he stripped away the excuses, and what was left was the realization that I loved her and I wanted to keep her. The last step was to verbalize this to Julie which I did the night of my 45th birthday. This was the decision she had already made in her heart and was just waiting for me to make as well. We wept tears of joy together and thanked God for this little blessing he had brought into our family.

Chloe RecentYes, we have made the decision to adopt Chloe! But there are many obstacles yet to hurdle before it will be legally finalized. One of the biggest hurdles is financial. Our research has found that it will cost about $5,000 to do a local, Kenya adoption (as opposed to a $25,000 international adoption). Right now we are about $5,000 short. If you feel led to help us financially in our adoption process we would greatly appreciate your assistance. You can send any financial assistance to the BFM treasurer and label it “Chloe adoption” (or click here to make a one-time donation securely online and put “Chloe adoption” in the Memo field). The biggest obstacle, however, will be the Kenyan government. I could write a couple of pages more just on this subject alone. Let it suffice to say that legally adopting Chloe is not a sure thing based on the current and past governments. But we know God wants us to pursue this and we are trusting God with the final results. Please pray with us, beloved. Pray that God would open all the doors for us to adopt Chloe into our family. Pray that God would bless our little girl and that someday her name would officially be Chloe Thamani Nasimiyu Tate (Chloe is the name given her by the children’s home staff, Thamani is the Swahili word for “precious”, Nasimiyu is the last name her mother gave for herself at the hospital).

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)

Visit their blog!

Click here to donate to BFM.