Wednesday, August 19, 2015

African Shepherds Alliance (A.S.A.) Seminar

Madeya  A.S.A. Seminar

Leaving bright and early last Wednesday morning, twelve of us loaded up in an eleven seater ‘Matatu’ (commercial van driven by our very own Njeroge, the bestest and safest driver in all Kenya) and traveled six and a half hours across the beautiful Kenyan countryside. Our destination...  a small village in western Kenya called Madeya. We had been requested to conduct a leaders training seminar for pastors from Kisumu, Siaia, and Madeya.

After sometime, we stopped and stretched our legs by what we found out to be a mass graveyard. The horrible tragedy took place over six years ago. 

In January of 2009 a gasoline truck overturned by the road and hundreds of people rushed to collect the ‘free’ gasoline leaking from the truck. Then… someone lit a cigarette. The massive explosion was devastating.

The Plaque reads…

“The Sacwang’wan oil tanker tragedy directly affected some 347 victims. Some 130 victims whose name are engraved in this plaque were burned beyond recognition and 78 of them were laid to rest in this mass grave. 69 other victims died in hospitals and were buried by their relatives. The rest of the victims were badly maimed by the fire and were hospitalised and later released.” 

I personally witnessed an overturned gas truck in Nakuru three years ago. People were frantically running up to the overturned truck with cans and bottles trying to get the ‘free’ gas. Thankfully the police arrived and drove the people away until the leakage was stopped.

Four hours later, we ate our brown bag lunch in Kissumu by beautiful Lake Victoria  ( Lake Victoria is the biggest lake in Africa and producing some of the best tasting tilapia in the world. 

Outside the city we stopped at the equator and snapped a few more fun pics.

We finally arrived at Madeya and off loaded eight of our brothers and sisters at Vincent’s newly built house where they would be spending the next three nights. The fellowship they experienced was worth the drive itself. They said the seminar began that night with them sharing with each other into the morning hours.

James, Beatrice, Haviylah and I continued to a missionary friend’s house situated close to Madeya. Terry and Leslie Balcom’s family has been serving in Kenya for some years and have become friends with us and the StoneHouse family.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that Glenn Roseberry happened to be there visiting with the Baucoms. We had been trying to connect with Glenn for over a year. Although he had to leave shortly after we arrived, it was good to spend a few minutes with this wonderfully crazy man of God. We hope to connect with him again soon. For more about this precious man of God and his adventures advancing the Kingdom of God…  visit him on Facebook. Here’s the link…

Next morning we arrived at the little mud church building where we would be teaching about 30 pastors and church leaders for the next few days. 

The first half of each day we taught everyone together in the church building...

 and afterwards we taught the men inside…

… and the women outside. 

Eventually, even the men had to meet outside under a shade tree due to the excessive heat coming from the tin roof.

We all appreciated the dedication and hard work of our cooks. We ate good.

During our last session, Vincent, a shepherd in the StoneHouse Nakuru church, jumped up and began, with much passion, telling everyone how his life had changed and what they could expect if they would put into practice what was being taught. It was amazing.

Their response was very encouraging as both men an women said how much they desperately needed what was being taught. John Gilbert Osur, the hosting pastor, said that his attendance last year during the A.S.A. (African Shepherds Alliance) seminars in Nakuru, had completely changed his understanding of God and empowered his church to grow. They made us promise to return the first of next year and promised to bring every church leader they could find to the next seminar.

We said our good byes, contented that the StoneHouse family had grown both physically and spiritually. We went to sleep that night very tired, but very, very filled. We left early Saturday morning somewhat spent but eager to get home.

As we left the area we passed by the huge Kissumu land fill and watched people scavenging for food… we all wondered… what more can we do?  How can we establish more church families to reach the masses? Our hearts cried out together…Lord send us more workers! 

The rest of the trip home was filled with fun, fellowship and capturing Kenyan life as it went by. 

Close to home we also stopped to purchase some vegetables for dinner that night and as was expected, were mobbed by mama’s selling their wares. 

As we dropped each person at their house, we thanked God for the opportunity to serve Him and a safe trip home. I think when we dropped off our brother Karanja’s  (a shepherd in the StoneHouse Kamwahura church) his face says it best! 

Please continue to pray for us as we labor to advance His Kingdom here in Kenya. Much love and thanks for all your prayers… our Father surely answered them. 

Dave, Cyndy and the rest of the StoneHouse Family