Missionary Update: The Tates in Kenya [May 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,

I pray that this letter finds you all joyful in the Lord as “the joy of the Lord is our strength”.  Like you, I am not joyful in the Lord at all times.  Like you all back in the States, we missionaries in foreign fields struggle with that fruit of the Spirit sometimes.  However, just as Paul wished the following blessing upon the Roman believers, I say concerning you all “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

So, let me try and keep this joy in mind as I describe a couple of things concerning our ministries.  The first concerns one of the groups I described to you last month.  This group was the one that was expecting us to give them things, build buildings for them, support them financially in their ministries, etc.  After we had explained our model of ministry to them, there were some who questioned the wisdom and rightness of this approach.  From the outside, the next couple of weeks looked “OK” as we continued to teach and see how God would lead.  From the inside, however, certain things were happening.  Some of the members of this group started rumors and accusations that the owner of the house in which the group was meeting was receiving financial kickbacks and support from the missionaries so that we could meet in her house.  This was not true as we clearly explained to all those who attended the group meetings.  The accusations didn’t stop there, however.  We also found out that our small house group was being accused of witchcraft.  Yes, witchcraft!  Now, I know that our approach is different than what the Kenyans are used to, but anyone with an observant eye whatsoever would easily be able to discern that no witchcraft was going on within our group.  We get together, pray, sing, and study the Word of God.  Everybody that walks by knows that this is what we are doing.  But this did not stop the accusations, however.  This was the first time I have been accused of witchcraft.  I think somebody is trying to run us off and out of this village.  Nathan and I have talked and prayed about the situation and want, more than anything, to just have the wisdom and guidance of the Lord concerning this group.  We want to know and follow his will concerning this group, no matter what that will is.  The next day, as I was contemplating these events, a friend of mine approached me and said, “Congratulations, I hear you’ve been accused of witchcraft”.  I thought he might be out of his mind but he just stood there and smiled at me.  He said, “You should be joyful.  Satan is opposing you strongly.  He must not like what God is doing in that group.  That means God is doing something great”.  Upon further reflection I decided I had to agree with him, even though I told him I still thought he was off his rocker.  How would you take accusations of witchcraft?  Ought I not to be joyful in this situation knowing that God is on our side and that no weapon formed against us can prosper?  I guess the answer is “YES.”

Now, fortunately, there is something else that I can easily find joy in.  One of our group members, after hearing our teachings and encouragements, was empowered by the Lord to start another group in another village.  I have spoken of his group before.  He started with three people, then it grew to seven, last I heard it was ten, and this morning found out it was sixteen!  They filled the house where they were meeting!  He has taught them all the basic lessons we taught to him and has proceeded to the next step of teaching them inductive Bible study.  They are going passage-by-passage through the book of Matthew.  He told me that this is the first time any of these people had ever studied verse-by-verse through any book of the Bible and that they were learning so much from the Word of God.  This has all been done without missionary presence in the group.  As you can see, this was something I could easily find great joy in.

Until next month, beloved.

May God’s peace and joy be with you.

For the glory of God inEast Africa,
Roger & Julie Tate (and Emily, Amy, & Josiah)

P.O. Box 761
Kitale, Kenya 30200
Visit their blog!

Click here to donate to BFM.