|Update From Africa|
|Written by Sam Bryant|
|Monday, 02 August 2010 15:30|
Dear Friends in Christ,
Greetings from East Africa. On July the 19th, Elders Charles Kitchens, Paul Blair and Brother Austin Wouters (the Dutch Boy) left the Atlanta Airport for East Africa. We had an 8 hour layover in Amsterdam Holland, so we decided to take a 2 hour bus tour of Amsterdam. The city is over 700 years old. It is beautiful with many canals running throughout the city. It is called the Venice of the North. It was a special blessing to tour the city because Bro. Austin's grandparents were Dutch and left Holland during WW II. As we prepared to leave Holland, an airport employee asked him why he was leaving Holland since his name was Wouters.
We arrived in Nairobi, Kenya on Wed. Morning at 6:15 am. Elder Martin Onyoni and Bro. Wicliffe met us at the airport and we had a service at the fellowship at Nairobi at 10:00am. About 20 people met us there and it was a very blessed service. A young brother named Peter leads this group. Then we drove to Naivasha, Kenya where we held a late afternoon service with many children in attendance. We stayed in a comfortable round hut with a thatched roof and enjoyed a good meal. In the evening, we were entertained by a group of Masaii tribesmen and women.
The next morning we drove to Kisii, Kenya. We travelled through the Tea country and saw tens of thousands of acres of tea plantations, it was a beautiful sight. Tea is the largest export for Kenya.
We had an outdoor service at the home of an 86 yr. old Kenyan man who is a member of the Primitive Baptist Church there. Following the meeting, one asked for a home in the church. This was a blessed meeting. Then we drove to the Mash Park hotel in Kisii. All of us from America were encouraged by the soundness and sincerety of the three fellowships we have visited so far.
The next day, we did something we had never done in Africa before. We set this day aside to visit one of the wildlife preserves, Masaii Mara. It was recreational, inspirational and educational. It was beautiful beyond words. We saw Hippos, Rhinos, Elephants, Giraffes, Gazelles, Impallas, Warthogs, Crocodiles, Zebras, Wildebeasts, Lions, Etc, all in the wild. During July, one of the 7 wonders of the world takes place (according to our guide, who was a Masaii tribesman, and very knowledgable). The Wildebeasts and Zebras migrate by the millions from the Serengeti in Tanzania, to Masaii Mara in Kenya. We were blessed to see tens of thousands crossing the Mara River. Our guide learned by 2-way radio that there were some Lions on the hunt near the river. To see a lion in the wild would be a rare event, but to see one on the hunt would be indeed rare. We saw a pride of lions attack and devour 3 wildebeasts. It was almost as if it had been staged for us to see. The brethren travelling with me got many videos and still shots.
The next day, we attended a fellowship that meets in a dung building. What an experience this was, to meet with a young pastor named Chris who had become disillusioned with the denomination that he had been associated with. He had been searching the internet and was impressed with the word "Primitive" Baptist. In British English, the name primitive means "original", and he landed on Elder Vernon Johnson's web site just as Elder Martin had done. Brother Vernon sent his e-mail to Elder Martin and they started visiting. Bro. Chris was blessed to see our doctrine very quickly, and he loves it. He is a very gifted speaker. We thoroughly enjoyed his fellowship.
So far, we have only visited fellowships in Kenya on this trip. There are 6 fellowships now, and 5 churches. On Sunday, there was a large gathering at the church where Elder William pastors. All the ordained ministers (Martin, Charles, William, Henry, and Richard) were present with members from 4 of the churches present. Brother Chris and his members joined us for the meeting. It was an open air meeting and was richly blessed. 7 or 8 joined the church on this day.
I am thankful to report that we have found the Primitive Baptist remaining steadfast and unmoveable in the Gospel that is loved by the Primitive Baptist. They are abounding in love and in good works.
In the afternoon, we travelled to Elder Richard's church. It was too far for the members to come to the morning service. The roads in Kenya are brutal, however we arrived safely and had a wonderful service. We travelled back to Mash Park for a night of rest. The next day, we drove to Nairobi through the great Rift Valley, and caught a 10 PM flight to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
Elders Martin and Charles accompanied us on this flight, and have spent the entire week with us in DAR. They are the interim pastors of the church here and have been doing a great job caring for this church since Elder Obey's death. We spent the entire week studying with brethren from Zambia. Within the DAR church, there are 4 brethren with the burden to preach (Bros. Kenny, Moses, Antone and Thaddeus). They met with us also for most of the sessions. Two of the men from Zambia realized that they did not agree with our doctrinal views and left after 2 days. We prayed for their safe return back to Zambia.
We continued to study all the basic doctrines and practices of the Church and found the brethren from Zambia growing more and more fond of the Primitive Baptist Church. One man in particular was exceedingly happy to have found the truth. He is a very gifted man and speaks English very well. It was an extremely rewarding week to us to teach the truth to men who are so eager to learn. The brethren from DAR have grown so much since Bro. Paul and I were here last year following Elder Obey's death.
We had worship services on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and it was so good to see so many old friends in attendance. The church building is beautiful. They have put in a concrete floor and electricity. The building is secured with strong wooden doors.
The sisters in the church prepared 3 meals a day for all the visitors and did a wonderful job. They cooked the food at Eld. Obey's house, which is about a 5 minute walk from the church building, and brought it to the church to serve there. The house is very nice by African standards. The house was built by love offerings from America, and it is indeed a house filled with love. We were all so impressed with Bro. Obey's daughter Jenny. She has blossomed into a beautiful young Christian Lady. She takes a very active role in the church. Jenny and Barnabas stay at the house on the weekends, and a young sister Stella is the keeper of the house along with her children. Altogether, there are about 9 people living in the house, and they are so grateful. Jenny told me at least 3 times, how thankful she was for all the help her family has received from America for the house, and for their education. Unfortunately, we did not get to see the two sets of twins on this trip. They are in boarding schools far away from DAR.
Barnabas is 16 years old, and is 6 feet tall and growing. Obey and Mary told me many times that Barnabas is a good boy. You can see it in his countenance. He is second in his class and loves school. What a blessing.
On Sunday, we had a worship service, which was followed by a Baptismal services, where five new members were baptized. Then we had a communion and feet washing service. I can not find words to describe the joy we felt in this service. It was followed by a meal there at the church, where everyone ate and fellowshipped.
Elders Kitchens, Blair and I, each preached at the 9 services we had during this trip. We also talked for many hours in DAR. Brother Austin learned a good bit of Swahili and has led several songs including Mungu Ni Pendo during the course of the week. He was a great blessing to us and especially to the young people in Kenya and in Tanzania. He became good friends with Jenny and Barnabas.
This is a brief account of my 5th trip to Tanzania. I still miss Obey, but I can see the fruit of his labor everywhere. I closing I want to quote the words of Elder Paul Blair. "I had the thought when we saw the people that are living at Obey's house get up to sing to us last night that -- This is the house that love built, and it is full of love. Obey always asked us if the church at DAR looked like a real Primitive Baptist Church. and I wrote in my last journal entry, Rest well Obey....It does, it does."
In closing, I want to say how thankful I am for Elders Charles Kitchens and Paul Blair, and Brother Austin Wouters. They have been such a blessing to this work in East Africa.
In Christian Love,
Elder Sam Bryant
|Last Updated on Monday, 02 August 2010 15:33|