Kenya Journal August 2022 Edition 11

KITALE – There’s a mzungu in the pool!

Sunday, August 28, 2022—Kitale, Kenya
Days like today are books, not journal entries. There are multiple “Godevents” that deserve their own chapters. Sundays are long in Kenya. As the sunsets on this day of worship, my body and mind feel that Biblical tiredness promised to laborers. I am believing that the promised sleep tonight will be sweet. I emptied myself today. I preached myself dry. Joined in a joint baptisms service where we saw over thirty
believers profess Christ in Baptism form our area churches.

Spent time consulting pastors over lunch, then wrapped the day with a brief leadership conference this afternoon. The response at church this morning was large. I stole a phrase somewhere along the way that I really enjoy using when I see the kind of public response to the Gospel we had today. Whoever coined the phrase described it as a “traffic jam at the altar.” The altar was packed. And the swimming pool at the nearby hotel was full too. But, it was one particular baptism that captured my heart today.

Mercy is Pastor Richard and Hellen’s oldest daughter. She is 20 years old now. She was 2 the Richard and I first partnered in ministry. She is a law student. That is perfect! She was always inquisitive and analytical. Bright beyond her years.

I was shocked and overjoyed when Richard told me Mercy was being baptized this morning. I just assumed that had taken place long ago. I knew her to be a believer. I have had many in-depth conversations about the Lord and His work with her.

I was eve more surprised the Richard said that she wanted me to help her dad baptize her. I do
pretty good with hiding emotions, but that one nearly took me out.

We started the baptism with Mercy and me in the pool. As always, I taught what Biblical baptism was and meant. Not only did I want those being baptized and the church members in attendance to have this truth “drilled down” one more time, the non-church crowd at the hotel pool was all eyes and ears as the Mzungu (white man) preacher stood in the water with a bunch of Africans. This baptism was a benchmark moment…for me, and for Richard and Hellen.

They have patiently waited and prayed for this day. They knew Mercy was born again. They also knew that her intellect had become her greatest enemy as she tried to understand the mystery of the new birth, baptism, and what her role was in all of it. Her argument with herself lasted for years. In the end, her argument with the Holy Spirit caused her to yield.

It is my custom to baptize no one in Kenya. There is still a great deal of religious superstition and false teaching/understanding in the church in Kenya. History is dotted with stories of those who valued the one doing the baptizing as much or more than the actual act of celebration and obedience itself. I have a huge ego. But, I don’t need it stroked at the expense of the integrity of the Gospel and the ordinance of
baptism.

Pray for the
eavesdroppers
around the pool
today. The
Gospel is at
work.

It is my custom to baptize no one in Kenya. There is still a great deal of religious superstition and false teaching/understanding in the church in Kenya. History is dotted with stories of those who valued the one doing the baptizing as much or more than the actual act of celebration and obedience itself. I have a huge ego. But, I don’t need it stroked at the expense of the integrity of the Gospel and the ordinance of
baptism.

At lunch, Mercy gave me the long version of her struggle with obedience. I assured her that God has plans to use that story for His glory and her good.

Evangelism is a way of life in the ministry here in Kitale/Mt. Elgon. Richard, like me, started as an evangelist. It doesn’t matter what text we preach, there is always a Gospel hook embedded in the preaching.

But, today was different. The worship set the tone. Then, Richard was much more emphatic with his exhortations to the church that I have ever seen him before. I am sure Mercy’s baptism and my presence had something to do with that. It was an intense day. When God is present in power, the intensity level doesn’t get much higher.

I dozed off a moment ago. I’m not a napper. Maybe this is a new phase that is coming with the increasing number of candles on my birthday cake. I do remember my last thought before I woke myself snoring in time to wipe the drool from my whiskers. This ministry is like Mercy…it’s all grown up.

Everywhere I look there are mature leaders. Churches are planted with people groups that a decade ago were declared unreachable because of their tribal clashes and hatred for their neighbors. Every pastor I met told me how God was prospering their small business and their ministry. Our dream of self-sustaining, indigenous pastors is a step closer to reality.

The work is far from done here. My work is far from done here. But, if it stopped today, it is a good work. Oops! That wasn’t a typo. It was a mistake. It is a God-work. What I saw today has no human explanation.

I pray I get to type that sentence again at the end of the day tomorrow. There is an excellent chance that could happen. In the morning, we head to Mt. Elgon and the pastor training center. It is the school of faith God has used to grow me and this ministry to the place it is today.

The rainclouds are settled over the mountain. I hear a bit of thunder. Hope the winch on the LandCruiser is greased up. No sense cleaning the mud from my shoes tonight.

What a good, God-day.

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