Philip's Kenya Blog - Sunday
Sunday evening, bed beckoning.
Saturday we were shown round some of Mombasa. The best and most moving moment was seeing the memorial to Johann Ludwig Krapf and his family’s graves. Krapf was a German (Mennonite?) Christian who was sent to Kenya’s east coast by CMS in 1944. A brilliant linguist, he gave the country its first Swahili dictionary and Bible. There were no Christians here and he started from scratch, preaching the gospel and freeing slaves from the Arabs. Within six months he had buried his wife and 12-year-old daughter, but he simply trusted the Lord and persevered. He was the first white man to see Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro. (They didn’t believe him back home!) You feel that Africa was built on the graves of Christian giants.
Now we are based at the Mombasa Mission to Seamen and staying in the house of the chaplain (‘we’ being Jonathan Milton-Thompson and his wife Linda, from Blackburn, and me). Nice to be staying with an African family and also have a one-minute ‘commute’ to work. We are their first ever Mzungu (white) guests! This morning I preached a mere 12 minutes (I really can) at their service - they call it ‘Mass’, I’m afraid - and then we went to the service in the cathedral. About 2 1/2 hours long and a mix of quite ‘high’ liturgy and formalism and African singing and dancing. Beautifully sung Lord’s prayer. Preaching needs help. Provost a good man. After the service was a big African culture event - huge meal, rather heavy, and lots more singing and fun. Then a classic ‘African moment’ as we waited more than 2 hours for someone who was ‘just coming’. Nice evening with our host, Moses, his wife Winnie and two little girls Sara and Joy. Lovely to have Jonathan and Linda with me so I’m not the only Mzungu. Jonathan lived here until he was 18, so he knows all the ropes. They love him here.
So far health good, stomach pretty OK, no mosquitoes, sleep reasonable, praise God. Please pray for these things as a busy week begins. Please pray that people turn up. You just never know. Pray that I will pitch it right. It will need to be very simple. Preaching needs a huge amount of work here and this is a tiny tip of a large iceberg.
Caroline said it was a good Sunday at St John’s and I trust and pray that it was at CB too. Was very sorry not to be with everyone as the new school term was underway. But it’s not bad being here! Temperature is mid to high 20s, so very pleasant.
So far have got wifi ok - thanks for some lovely encouraging emails. This will probably send on Monday. If you think anyone else would like to hear my news, do forward this. Above all, thank you for your prayers and please keep them going.
Much love to everyone
PS It’s been v difficult getting the wifi to work this time. I’ll send Philip Venables Vicar, St John’s Whittle-le-Woods & Clayton Brook Community Church