Missionary Update: The Tates in Kenya [September 2015]


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

August 26, 2015
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

NO!  This report is not morbid. Although at times it might sound like it is and it does touch on some serious subjects. But I think you will want to read the whole thing anyway.

A few days ago I was praying out in the back shamba (a corn field, for lack of a better term) where I like to go to and pray uninterrupted. One of the things I was praying about, a subject I often pray about, was a certain Pokot village in the bush that I want to visit. Now, most everywhere in the Pokot region is “out there” and “off the map”, and the area I usually go to is even more “out there” and “off the map” but this village that I intend to visit is…well…really out there. From where I usually go we will have to take a long motorcycle ride until the path ends and then we will have to walk (who knows how long) over a mountain to the unreached people that live there. According to my contact, these people are “still wearing their skins”, which I understood to mean they were walking around naked but have now come to know means they still wear animal skins for clothing. While I was praying about going to this village I saw a “vision” (now, don’t freak out on me, I’ll explain that in a minute). What I saw in my head as I prayed was a series of pictures/thoughts/scenes and in these scenes I saw myself walking on the trail over the mountain to this village. Later in the scenes I saw myself getting violently sick, unable to walk, unable to get out of the bush and, ultimately, dying out in the wild. Now, listen. I don’t think these were visions from God. They may have been no more than hidden fears coming out of my own head, of my own making. I think I was just seeing something that my mind sees as a real possibility. But the scenes were real, the outcome of the scenes is a possibility and the fear real. Whether these scenes are from God or my own mind, by attempting to go to this village, this is a real possibility that I must face. Does it mean I still want to go? Nnnnnnnnn, Yes.

Let me clear some things up before I continue. (1) I don’t want to die in Pokot. I want to continue living, serving God and loving my family. (2) I don’t plan on dying in Pokot. I don’t take these scenes as a prophecy of my death and I’m not preparing to go up there and die. (3) It is not likely that I will die in Pokot. There are dangers and I need to be careful but, again, it’s probably not going to happen. (4) While it is not likely it IS still possible to die in Pokot and thus (5) I will take every precaution that I can to NOT die in Pokot. But I still want to go because these people need to hear about the Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation offered to them through His death for us on the Cross. They need to know how to follow Him, love Him, obey Him and glorify Him. If I don’t go will they ever hear?

After having faced the “vision”, I continued praying and as a result I learned many things. These lessons I do believe came from God. I learned that: (1) Life is short. How long do I have left in life? 40 years? 30 years? 20? Less? I can spend what time God has left for me or I can waste it. (2) I can die in a nursing home. That is fine. I can die in my bed at home. That is fine.  But I DON’T want to look back and wish I hadn’t squandered my life in luxurious and safe living. (3) It would be OK to die in the bush. It might be better than dying in my bed at home. (4) I have no guarantee of tomorrow. No one lives forever. I could die in a car accident here in Kitale easier than I could die in the bush. But I would rather die in the bush than in a car accident going into town to get ice cream. (5) Hardship is good. Comfort is misleading. Hardship toughens my spiritual muscles. Comfort lulls me to spiritual sleep. (6) Just because I could or might or should die out on a trip to Pokot doesn’t mean I shouldn’t go. So go I must.

So, why am I writing about this and in this manner? For two reasons. First, I, myself, needed to go through this particular thought process. I, myself, needed to face the decisions and the possibilities. I, myself, needed to decide again whether I would walk with Jesus on the road He is on or not or whether I would hold all the good gifts He has given me in this life with a closed-fist, white-knuckled hand. Second, I figured that if I need to go through that particular thought process, then maybe some of you probably need to do it too. I certainly don’t know what any of you are facing or will face in the near future in your walk with Jesus. Let us set our minds together on glorifying Him by walking on the path with Him that He is walking.

I will keep you posted on any Pokot trips that I have planned. I keep trying to get back up there to that village but all my plans keep falling through. At this point God is blocking the path. I am waiting until He opens the door back up and sends me back in.

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 & Chloe)

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