Introducing Victor

The Tates have served the Lord in Kitale, Kenya since January 2008. Their main ministry is church planting.

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ,

In my newsletter for this month, I would like to introduce you to Victor. He is the one in the picture that I have sent. It will be difficult for me to describe Victor to you because he is a complicated individual. However, although he is complicated, he is a special man and worthy of us knowing him.

One of the reasons I wanted to introduce you to Victor is because of his faithfulness; faithfulness to God, to me, and to the Upper Room Baptist Chapel. Victor is the only person I know will be at the Chapel’s services each and every week. In fact, there are some weeks that Victor is the only one to show up. I may not know who else will show up, but I know Victor will be there, encouraging me, supporting me, and teaching me things about Jesus.

I have said Victor is complicated. This is true. He is quirky and strange to the point of being annoying, in his own world, oftentimes unintelligible in his conversation, and misunderstood. Victor hasn’t always been like this, however. I have spoken to people that have known Victor for a long time, and apparently he used to be more of what we would consider mentally “normal” – a bright and intelligent young man. After a visit to Mombasa, however, he came back “changed”. The consensus is that Victor probably contracted cerebral malaria while in Mombasa, didn’t receive the proper care for it. The disease left him permanently “brain damaged”, at least to some extent. When Victor returned, he returned as I have described: “quirky and strange to the point of being annoying, in his own world, oftentimes unintelligible in his conversation, and misunderstood”.

When Victor first started attending the Chapel this was the only thing I saw about him. He would interrupt me while I was preaching and ask a question that was mostly unintelligible and completely unrelated to what I was saying. Or, he would get up in the middle of my lesson and start sweeping and mopping the back of the room. He would do other quirky things that usually annoyed me, and I would find myself trying to “manage” his behavior.

However, in describing Victor in this way (which is true) I am not giving you the full story about him. Here is the other half of Victor. He is one of the kindest, most trusting, gentlest, giving, and self-sacrificing men that I have ever met. And, more than anything, Victor teaches me about Godliness and Christ-likeness. From the beginning of his attendance at the Chapel, Victor would come early or stay late in order to clean the building. He would always try and do nice things for me like packing up my stuff after service while I was talking to other people (even though I didn’t want him to) or refilling my water bottle (even though the water he used wasn’t clean), or stacking chairs and moving them to the side of the room (even though I just had to move them back later). In all of these things Victor was not trying to be annoying (even though he was) but to be helpful, loving, and giving. He did these things from a pure and loving heart.


Later, as I spent more time with him (mostly because he wouldn’t leave me alone), I saw even more of his self-sacrificing heart. If we were walking through town together I might buy him a banana or a small bag of potato chips. Inevitably, he would stop and share his banana or his chips with a street boy, or a small child sitting with his mother, or a beggar, all the while speaking to them softly, lovingly, humbly and blessing them in Jesus’ name. When we are walking home together after services at the Chapel, everyone we pass on the road gets a wave from Victor, or a greeting, a handshake, or a blessing in Jesus’ name. When I take Victor for a coffee and “cake”, his coffee always gets cold before he drinks it. Why? Because he insists that I drink it and eat his cake (even though I have some of my own). When we moved the Chapel out of town and into its own building, Victor automatically volunteered to be the building and grounds caretaker. After a couple of weeks I noticed that he was tearing up some of the grounds and planting seeds where I didn’t want them. I asked him to stop (even though he didn’t). Now there are plants growing around the Chapel compound. Do you think they are for Victor? Nope. Every week someone who attends the Chapel goes home with some food: A pumpkin, some beans, sukuma (greens), kale.

He oftentimes tries to send me home with a pumpkin, a bunch of bananas, or avocados even though most times I am able to convince him that I don’t need them. Most Sundays Victor will come to the Chapel (he is always early while everyone else is always late) and he reads to me the Bible verses he had been reading that morning. He shows me his Bible which is all marked up with notes that he understands but I don’t. He and God are probably the only ones who understand those notes. But do you know something? I think God DOES understand those notes. And I think Victor understands something about God that most of us, including me, don’t.

Victor has become one of my favorite people in Kenya. God bless Victor.

Blessings to you all,
Roger, Julie & Chloe


Roger & Julie Tate
P.O. Box 96
Kitale, Kenya 30200

For ministry donations:
Pastor George Sledd, Treasurer of BFM
P.O. Box 471280 | Lake Monroe, FL 32747-1280
or click here to donate to BFM online.

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Seeking a Place to Meet; Update on Josiah

The Tates have served the Lord in Kitale, Kenya since January 2008. Their main ministry is church planting.

July 20, 2020

Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ,

As you read through my newsletter for this month you will probably say to yourself “haven’t I heard this before”? Well, even to me some of the things I will write about in this newsletter sound like a broken record – skip, skip, skip. I definitely feel like we have been through this newsletter before.

The reason for the broken record this month is because, once again, we are definitely looking for a new location to worship in for Upper Room Baptist Chapel. We started the Chapel in 2018, meeting in a room on the top floor (the “Upper Room”) of a building in town. In August 2019, while I was in the States taking Amy to college, we encountered problems with another church that had moved in across the hall and greatly disturbed our services with their amplifiers and speakers and loud music and screeching preaching. Not being able to resolve the problems with this other church we decided to move out.  In September of 2019 we moved into a house, sub-renting the place from a school that also met there. It was an excellent venue for the Chapel, and we all enjoyed meeting and worshiping there. The Chapel began to grow numerically and spiritually. Then, in March of 2020 the big boom hit – Covid19. The Kenyan government shut down everything as I mentioned in previous newsletters – schools, churches, government offices, etc. This shutdown ultimately caused the school from whom we were sub-renting to financially implode and subsequently go belly-up and shut its doors for good.The shutting down of the school left URBC in a quandary. Now we again needed a place to worship.  Because we liked the location so much, we considered taking over the entire rent of the premises and just using it entirely for the Chapel. We approached the landlady proposing the idea. It would cost us a lot more money, but it would cause the least disruption to the Chapel and since the Lord’s work is more important than money, we thought it was a deal worth pursuing. It turns out, however, that the owner of the building is a Somali lady. Now, I am not disparaging Somalis or putting them down at all, but the end result was not surprising. Somalia is 99% Muslim and the Somali owner is a Muslim. She was not mean about her decision and she was not discriminating against us because we are Christians but she felt like renting her place to a “Jesus church” was against her Muslim beliefs. She thought that her Somali community here in Kitale would persecute her if they found out she was renting her property to a church and decided not to rent it to us. That is her prerogative. But this did leave us in a familiar position – once again looking for a place to worship.

Since then I have been looking for a new place to worship but the available places are severely limited and expensive. I just looked at a place today that could meet our needs and be an OK place to meet but I feel like the property is overpriced.  I hope to look at another place tomorrow but I’m not sure how that will turn out either. Please be in earnest prayer that God would lead us to the right place, a place that would meet our needs at the right price and that could be used to glorify His Name, spread His kingdom here on earth, and provide spiritual and physical growth for the Chapel.

In other news, we were able to get Josiah on an evacuation flight out of Kenya and to the States. He needed to get back to the States in time to quarantine for 14 days before school starts but there have been no international flights out of Kenya since March, and none scheduled until sometime in August.  This didn’t give Josiah enough time to make it to school. Then on Friday, July 10th, we received an email from the embassy about the evacuation flight leaving on Monday, July 13th. Julie and I thought about it for two minutes and decided to get him on the flight. We booked the flight that day, Friday. Saturday, we spent getting everything ready for him to leave Kenya and get back to the States. Sunday, Josiah and I drove to Nairobi. Monday afternoon I put him on a plane leaving Kenya forever. This all happened very, very quickly, much too quickly for his mama and me. One day he was here at home with no idea of when he would be leaving and the next day, literally, he was gone – Flying from Nairobi to Qatar to the United States, flying for the first time by himself, and heading to America to start his new life without the help of mom or dad. Very hard for Josiah. Very hard for mom and dad. Please pray that God would be with him in a very special way, strengthening him, giving him courage, and filling him with His Holy Spirit.  Pray for mom and dad too.

Blessings to you all,
Roger, Julie, Amy, Josiah & Chloe

Contact Info:
Roger & Julie Tate
P.O. Box 96
Kitale, Kenya 30200

For ministry donations:
Pastor George Sledd, Treasurer of BFM
P.O. Box 471280 | Lake Monroe, FL 32747-1280
or click here to donate to BFM online.

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Update on Tates’ Car Situation in Kenya

For those of you who haven’t been aware or following the saga of the travails Roger and Julie have been experiencing with their bogus vehicle registration [from way back before they bought it from the previous missionary-owners], here is the latest update. Barring an extraordinary intervention by God, this appears to be the final status.

They have played by the rules and done everything they were required to do with integrity. But, obviously, others before them did not.

“But there is a God in Heaven…” [Daniel 2.28], and He can change all times and seasons. All the inhabitants of the earth and the events they transact are in His control. Please help us pray to Him to intervene on their behalf according to His sovereign will. This same God Who is ruling from Heaven is also the One Who commands us to call Him “Our Father in Heaven…”, and He knows all things, cares about all things, and can do all things. He knows what we [and they] need before we ask Him.

We will be spreading the word to everyone we can to help meet this need.

The situation as reviewed by Julie…

Tuesday, 7 August 2012
Good News, Bad News Concerning the Car
[Read Original Post on Julie’s Blog]

Well, Roger’s been in Eldoret all morning working with the KRA (Kenya Revenue Authority).

Good news first. Roger won’t be arrested. That was our first priority after all.

The rest is looking like bad news. The vehicle is almost definitely illegal. Bummer. That means, that the person who okay’d its import into the country was a crook and probably pocketed the duty money. Bottom line is that the vehicle is supposed to be impounded and actually destroyed, so we’re out a very large sum of money.

It seems a law was passed in 2003 that vehicle older than 8 years old were not allowed to be imported into the country. Ours was imported in 2007 and it is a 1991 vehicle. Roger was told that often times, because Kenya is a coastal country, cars come into the country “in transit” to other countries like Uganda, which have no such laws. Then criminals get them and sell them. The first lady Roger talked to at the KRA took one look at our log book and said, “Yup, that’s a fake.” She knew because they stopped issuing that kind of log book in 2006 and the date on our log book is 2007.

At this point, I would ask you to please start praying for a vehicle for us. And start praying for the money to buy a vehicle. They are very, very expensive here because of import and duty taxes (which are 50 – 60% of the value of the vehicle). And even when you buy a vehicle that has already been imported, that duty is rolled over into the price you pay. Single people can get by without a vehicle here, but once you have a spouse and/or children, it gets a lot more difficult – especially with Emily at boarding school 6 hours away. Public transportation isn’t always a possibility, and there are times we have to be in Nairobi – if we use public transportation while in Nairobi, it costs us a fortune. Also, here, to get a taxi, you often have to wait a very long time because they will tell you they are on their way, when they are 45 minutes away.

In fact, we are supposed to take Emily back to school in just 3 weeks and we are supposed to stay in Nairobi and get some medical things taken care of as well as passport things with the Embassy. I don’t know if that will be able to happen now.

Well, that’s the news for now. I know God is still in control. He has a purpose; I don’t’ know what it is yet, but we have to trust Him. It doesn’t mean the circumstances don’t stink though. I’m reminded of a verse in the Bible, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18 I am also reminded of this one, “…but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

Please pray for our attitudes. Roger is discouraged that we’re out so much money (on top of that, he had to deal with dishonest public transportation people on the way home. If you want that story, see the PS down below). It’s not like we have money lying around to buy another 4-wheel drive vehicle. All the money we put into that vehicle is just…gone. POOF. And I’m a little angry at the moment on a couple of different fronts, one being the corruption that allowed this to happen.

Pray that we continue to entrust ourselves to God, who judges rightly. He knows that we are victims in this whole situation. He sees. He will supply our need – maybe not by our definition of need, but by His, and His is the correct one.

If anything changes, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, thanks for all your prayers!!!!

In Christ – Held by His Grip (so glad its not dependent on my grip!)

P.S. So, Roger just got home and told me a heart-warming story of corruption on a much lower level. Roger used public transportation to get to Eldoret and back today. It costs 200/= (that’s 200 Kenyan shillings). On the way back, he sat down on the shuttle and when the lady came by to give him his riding ticket, it was a fake ticket that said 300/= on it. Roger gave it back to her and told her she was a thief for trying to steal from the white people (that’s what they call us, by the way). He told her that he’d ridden this shuttle 5 times in the last 3 weeks and he knew exactly how much it should cost. She denied trying to steal from him and blamed it on another guy who had written the ticket. She went away and then returned with the proper, official ticket with the correct price on it. She even told him it was an official ticket. So, Roger pointed out to her that she knew the other ticket was fake, and so that made her a thief as well. He asked her if she was a Christian, to which she answered, “yes.” He then asked her if she knew what the Bible says about stealing. At that point she started pretending to not understand his English, and another Kenyan man standing there said, “I don’t think she understands you.” So, Roger said, “Oh, you don’t understand my English, well then, I’ll speak in Kiswahili,” which he proceeded to do much to her surprise. She turned and walked away at that point. So, this is just a taste of what we live with day in and day out, and it is why we really need your prayers – prayers for love and patience in our hearts.

[If the Lord is leading you to give to help this need, you can click here to donate online via check or credit card now.]

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Missionary Update: Roger & Julie Tate in Kenya [February 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 want to sum up the last month with the following two words:  Exciting challenges.  That might seem like an oxy-moron to some.  This is true even for me as I have to remind myself repeatedly that the challenges we face truly should be exciting because God is working and doing things and He can overcome all challenges.  Obviously, I would like everything we do to succeed and go smoothly.  That’s my nature.  I really don’t like challenges and difficulties.  But I guess if everything went exactly how I wanted and all things went smoothly then I would be less dependent on God and more confident in my own abilities (which I am learning are quite limited).  Anyway, that’s my pep-talk to you and to me.  So, what are some of the exciting challenges?  They center around the groups that we have started and hope to groom and mature into churches.

In the first group we have difficulty starting on time and having people show up at all.  Last week we waited and waited to start the meeting and by the time we realized only the host couple was going to show up, it was too late to actually conduct the meeting.  But, the exciting thing is what the host couple has been doing.  They have been putting into practice the things we have been teaching them.  The wife has been sharing her faith to multiple people every week and so far has led three people to Christ.  She has exciting stories to relate to us of people trusting in Christ each week.  Now the challenge is getting these people to come to the group meetings so they can start to learn how to follow and love the Lord Jesus.  The husband wants to take the lessons and the model we are teaching him and start another group with some people he witnessed to a couple of miles from his house.  This would be a major goal coming to fruition, to see a group or church reaching out to start another group or church all on its own and without the direct intervention of the missionary.  This would bring on a whole new set of challenges.  We will see how it goes.

In the second group we saw the members who were coming dwindle down to just two.  This was discouraging but the exciting part was that one of the members who was coming faithfully wanted to move the group to his own village (he was coming from about five miles away) so that some of his family could come.  We decided to move the group out to his village and start the lessons from the beginning for the benefit of his family.  I was expecting about four or five people at the most.  There was already that many people there when we arrived and over the next fifteen minutes the crowd grew to sixteen people, not including me and Nathan.  We were crammed into the little house very tightly and I was beginning to get very nervous about my Swahili abilities but God gave us a good meeting and I think many of these people will return again next week.

As of this week we will also start our third group.  This group will meet for the first time this Sunday and I don’t know how many people to expect.  A friend of ours got us into contact with the elderly man in whose house we will meet.  He is a believer but the only church in his village is a church that he says looks a lot like a Catholic church and he doesn’t want to go there.  This is a village of people who are from the Bakusu tribe and I am hoping that they all at least speak Swahili (this is not a given).  The greatest challenge for this week might be in finding his house again.  He lives about 20-25 minutes from my house in a remote village.  It will be difficult to find again and the only way I can see to get there is on the motorcycle as I don’t think the car will make it to his house.  We pray that God will use this man and his household to start another church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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

Click here to donate to BFM.

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