A letter from Brenda Harcourt in Kenya
Where do I begin to tell you all the things that have been happening here in Kenya?
I will first begin at the national level. There had been lots of conversation and rallies about a new constitution that was being proposed. There was the “yes” camp and the “no” camp. The churches tended to be in the “no” camp, and most events that took place for the past six months became platform rallies for speakers to voice their opinions on the pending vote for the constitution. The vote finally came and the “yes” won, and so the new constitution was voted in. Now arrangements are underway to sign the new constitution into law, and the process of implementing the changes that will take place. I am so thankful that there was not violence like after the presidential election. The “no” people succeeded when it was apparent that the vote was so heavy in favor of the new constitution.
On the denominational level, the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) is having meetings and gearing up for a Kenya International Partnership Network. What that means is that like in the PC(USA) where we have networks for those involved in mission in different countries, the PCEA now wants to have one for Kenya that brings all their partners from many parts of the world together so that we can share and support each other’s ministries. It began with a team that started putting bones on a network meeting to happen in February 2011. The team has now included missionaries in the field serving here in Kenya to help organize the network. Since I have been a part of the Kenya Network in PC(USA) for a number of years I have been able to give them some insights. Kenya currently has missionaries serving here from Ireland, Scotland, Korea and the United States. They also have other countries that are just beginning to work here and so I am sure that the network will grow quickly. Our meeting in February will be in Mombasa on the beautiful coast of the Indian Ocean. There is a link on the internet through the PC(USA) webpage if you are interested in more information.
My work is suddenly really taking off and growing very fast. The beginning of January found me now working for the Eastern Region which includes eight presbyteries and many parishes and many churches. I currently have contracts for classes on evangelism as well as about being church school teachers, evangelists, pastors and elders. Suddenly Meru is the not the center of my work and I find that I am traveling most days just to get to the locations to do the training. Taxis remain very costly and so I need to continue praying that a vehicle to help me with my transportation will be financially viable. The problem is that I need a four wheel drive because most of the parishes are not on decent roads and take me into some remote areas that regular cars are not high enough to travel in. But we continue with the work that is set before us. I continue to be assured that when a challenge comes my way God opens doors and windows so that the challenge can be met.
I have one taxi that I use for most of my training work. The driver is a lay preacher in the PCEA. Many times we spend hours driving to get to our destination and we talk about our faith for the time we are together in the vehicle. God has truly blessed me with this driver for we each grow in our faith as we talk about the “hiccups” in our work and try to find solutions so that the driving time is not wasted.
I celebrated with two parishes as we began partnerships with two churches in the United States. It is so good to be on the ground here and able to help with the arrangements as parishes here and churches in the United States begin their journeys together as partners in Christ. I have been to many dedications including an irrigation water system that the American ambassador dedicated in the Gaitu area. I have been able to help partners with presbyteries and churches as they plan and implement retreats, leadership development and mission projects. I visit sites where I can take pictures and interview folks to try to find solutions for partners in the United States. I have started a bimonthly Bible study in my home for people that help me in my ministry here. God never ceases to continue to use me to help in the work of the church. My beginning here felt like, “When will I get a chance to do the work I have been sent to do?” and now I pray for a few days to clear on my schedule so I can take some rest.
Please pray for my leadership training events and the people that God sends for me to train. Also pray for the people of Kenya for a smooth transition as they begin the challenges of a new constitution. May God bless each of you as you do God’s work wherever you are planted.
The 2010 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 52