A lot has changed since our last prayer letter. TransformD was suspended in the middle of March and everything here was abruptly stopped. All young people travelled home to their various parts of the country and the British contingent also left without knowing if TransformD would resume without them.
Thankfully, coronavirus has spread slowly. Life was immediately different as soon as a handful of cases were confirmed – schools, colleges and churches closed, people were advised to work from home and handwashing stations popped up everywhere. After more than three months the reported number of deaths is still under 200 which is such wonderful news. We have heard reports of testing being charged expensively (£50-80), with some results being given after very long delays -so many people would likely choose not to be tested even if they suspected they had the virus. However, we know that significant numbers of people being seriously ill and dying from the virus would be impossible to hide and we are relieved that, so far, Kenya hasn’t been too badly affected.
The most significant impact on the country is probably the economic one as life has become based more on essential activities. As a result, people have lost jobs and there aren’t government interventions to support those suffering. We are looking forward to attending church again although our church has moved online in much the same way as the UK churches have. We know it may be quite some time before such gatherings are allowed as the cases are still rising here and quicker than previously.
The TransformD staff has been keeping in touch with the participants on the phone and Gerald has been recording and sharing video sessions on the book ‘God’s Big Picture’. This would have been covered in the final phase of TransformD if things had continued as normal. A group of six students from this year’s team, based in Nairobi, came back to iServe Africa’s premises for a day’s catch-up at the end of June. The idea was to hear how they are doing but also to launch the bible study materials on Galatians that we have been working on. We chose the book of Galatians to act as a reminder to stick to the one and only gospel that we have been teaching them. Paul reminds us in Galatians 1:8, ‘But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!’ It is our desire that they will continue walking in the truth in a context where many people pervert the gospel for personal gain.
The twins walked at 13 months and it is really nice for us to enjoy them being a little more independent and to see them growing and changing. In the photo Daniel is on the left and Jeremiah on the right. Their understanding is developing nicely (in both English and Swahili!) and they have their own ‘twin language’. They enjoy playing together and making each other giggle. Unfortunately it is very hard to get out with them due to the virus but we are thankful for a large living room for them to run around. There aren’t really parks or open spaces in Nairobi for running around.
Louise is hoping to finish a few materials before our new arrival at the end of August/early September. She is working on a Swahili workbook for the gap year students who come from the UK, a bible study on the book of Romans and another on Ecclesiastes for the ladies’ mid-week church bible study when it resumes. Each week she has been meeting a friend from church, called Doreen, whose husband is an elder at our church. They have read and discussed Titus and James and have read together a local book on parenting. She is also meeting with and mentoring on the phone Lucy, who is a ministry apprentice working with TransformD. They have just started reading the book ‘Too busy not to pray’ by Bill Hybels together.
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