I received a wonderfully warm Karibu (Welcome to) Kenya last Friday evening. After 20+ hours of travel, I was grateful to meet Lee, a staff person from Deliverance Church – Kahawa Sukari, at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. I was also warmly welcomed by Pastor Peterson & Anne Wang’ombe when we arrived at their house, where I will be staying this week. Though it was late – nearly midnight when I arrived at their home – they had a delicious dinner prepared.
The biggest news story in Kenya on Friday was the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding the country’s recent presidential election. I first saw the news while waiting in line to clear immigration and customs at Kenyatta Airport. Citing irregularities in the reporting process, the Supreme Court declared the recent presidential election null and void and ordered that a new election be held in two months. That a court would declare an election null and void is a first, not only for Kenya, but also for Africa. Given the violence that followed the 2007 presidential election, people are anxiously watching and waiting to see what happens. So far things have been calm. Things appeared quite normal when Peterson and I drove through downtown Nairobi on Saturday afternoon to pick up Africa Study Bibles for the participants at this week’s School of Preaching.
This morning I preached at the English and Kiswahili (with a translator!) services at Deliverance Church – Kahawa Sukari. The church is currently decorated with the red, white, green and black colors of the Kenyan flag. Pastor Peterson explained that especially during election seasons people are easily divided along tribal lines. Politicians are known to exploit these divisions. The church includes strong supporters of both presidential candidates and members of many tribes. The national colors are meant to encourage people to identify themselves as Kenyan before they identify themselves with their particular tribe. Especially after the violence of 2007, people are anxious to promote national unity and peace.
The English service also featured two Egyptian missionaries who are visiting Kenya. They both currently live in Muslim-majority country in the Persian Gulf region. I was very convicted by their deep appreciation for the freedom of religion in Kenya. Both noted how openly Kenyan Christians talk about their faith, something I rarely experience in the United States. They also spoke about how privileged they were to be involved in street evangelism and crusades in Kenya, something that could not happen in their country of origin or their current countries of residence. Such things could surely happen in the United States. Why don’t they? There is so much we can learn from our Kenyan brothers and sisters!
I will be at Deliverance Church this week Monday through Thursday for the School of Preaching. Sessions will be held each morning (8.30am-12.30pm) and each evening (6.30pm-8.30pm) from Monday through Thursday. The topic is: “Dictators and Dreams: Studies in the Book of Daniel.”