Missionary Update: The Tates in Kenya [January 2016]


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

December 27, 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I like living in Kenya. Most of the time. I think.

Ok, I can’t really make up my mind. I guess most of the time I get beyond tolerating living here to liking living here. Other times I desire the comfort of the familiar that I experience when I’m in the States. As we approached and passed the Christmas season here in Kenya, a couple of things I desire were brought to the forefront of my mind based on a variety of experiences. Those have to do with law enforcement and travel. I desire the familiarity and trust I have with law enforcement and travel that I experience while in the States.

Last month I was traveling back home from Nairobi with the family in tow when I was pulled over by police officers. They told me that they had clocked me speeding somewhere around 20 miles ago. I was incredulous because, first of all I was being very careful of my speed (not wanting to be arrested) and second of all because I had no idea where I had been clocked, what the speed limit in that area was and the speed they “clocked” me at far exceeded the maximum speed I had been going the entire trip. Although I argued my case, I was still arrested, paid a cash bond to be able to leave and had to appear in court the next day.

I was not happy.

I arrived in court the next day early and was sitting in an empty court room when I heard people shuffling around in the hall outside the courtroom and dropping a container that sounded like it contained a hundred gallons of water. Subsequently, a river of liquid came rushing down the center aisle of the courtroom near where I was sitting. As it turned out, however, the liquid was not water but a local brew of alcohol that had been confiscated and unfortunately dropped right outside our courtroom. The courtroom smelled like a brewery for the rest of the day as I waited (with a hundred other people) for my case to be heard. When my case was finally heard near the end of the day I plead “Not Guilty” and my case was immediately arraigned and rescheduled for two weeks later.

I was not happy.

When I returned to court two weeks later I sat all day and waited for my case to be heard once again. This time, however, the police didn’t show up and the case could not be heard. The judge told me I could either plead “Guilty” and have my case done with or reschedule my case for another day. I told the judge I could not plead “Guilty” as that would be lying to the court.  My case was arraigned and rescheduled for January 14th.

I was not happy.

Then, last weekend we were all back in Nairobi to take Emily and Igor back to the airport and as I stopped the vehicle to wait and cross three lanes of traffic, Julie was attacked by a thug through the window. He grabbed what she had in her lap and ran off but when he realized it was just her pillow and valueless he returned, threw the pillow back into the car and grabbed Julie instead. A short scuffle ensued that included a lot of screaming, a water bottle being smashed into his head by Julie and Emily leaving a fingernail or two in his face as Julie fought him from the front seat and Emily from the back seat. I was helplessly sitting in the driver’s seat trying not to get hit by oncoming cars. Julie and Emily were able to fight him off and he fled into the darkness. We were only three minutes away from our guest house in Nairobi so we quickly escaped that area and hurried to our destination where tears, anger and some trauma followed until all our adrenaline subsided.

I was not happy.

Finally, to cap the weekend off, I returned Emily and Igor to the Nairobi airport. I found their terminal and pulled into the area clearly designated “Drop Off Area”. There were four lanes designated as drop-off and I pulled into the second one, dropped off Emily and Igor, and proceeded on my way. I only got ten feet down the path when two police officers again pulled me over. They told me I was being arrested for “Obstructing Traffic”. No amount of arguing would convince them I was in the right place, doing the right thing in the designated area. They spent the next few minutes intimidating me, threatening me with going immediately to jail where I would pay a large cash bond and be forced to appear in court the next morning. They insisted that they get in my car and I drive them to the jail. On the way they also insisted that in order to be set free I would need to give them “kitu kidogo” or “a little something”. In other words, I had to “grease their palms”, “buy them coffee”, give them “chai money”. In short, they needed a bribe to satisfy their corrupt demands.

I was not happy.

But on a different note, one thing that did make me very happy was Emily and Igor’s two week pre-Christmas visit. It was wonderful having all our children together for the first time (including Chloe) and celebrating the birth of our Lord together. I will focus on the fond memories of their visit instead.

And that makes me happy.

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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