Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kenya - A Gift of a Maasai Bracelet

Marabou Storks looking for food. (These are real!)
This has been a great day for me. Here in Eldoret, Kenya, at a Roman Catholic retreat center, I’ve been teaching 70 pastors from Kenya and Uganda. I’m teaching them Spiritual Transformation, the same material I’ve taught at Palmer Theological Seminary, Faith Bible Seminary, Payne Theological Seminary, and our Redeemer Ministry School. (As I’m writing this I now hear the sound of the Muslim call to prayer over loudspeakers. It’s a religious world we live in, and Africa is an exceedingly religious place. Everything that I’m reading, including Peter Paris’s …., + my recent talks with African religion scholar Steve Lichty, confirms this.)

My translator, ___, is a beautiful and highly intelligent man from western Kenya neqar the Ugandan border. Today, during the hour of prayer I assigned, God told him: “All my doing comes from my being.” He showed me this and asked what I thought. I said, “That is true.” And, it’s to be the same for us. God wants to morph our hearts in Christlikeness (Gal. 4:19). I found myself thinking how intelligent he is. At lunch I asked him, “Have you studied this idea before?” “No,” he said. He’d spent a little time at a Bible college but could not afford the tuition any more. This man is a theologian who cannot afford to further his studies. That is not right. I’m thinking and praying about how I can assist him. He does not have a computer or access to the Internet.

The worship today was… exquisite, energetic, compelling. A worship leader led a capella. For it, it was everything African. It was the total, pure African sound rhythmically and melodically. It was also (pay attention now) very repetitive. Thank God some American evangelical Christian wasn’t here to protest and mock this “7-11” worship. As I’ve repeated over and over and over before, all tribal worship is repetitive. British colonialism brought, to Africa, “three verses and that’s enough worship for us.” I say: the repetitive worship coming from these pastors aimed at the throne of God was real worship.

Lunch: cooked raw bananas, rice, vegetables, and some other kind of lentil mix. A lot of food, and delicious! A cup of hot tea with lime and honey was given to me as I am losing my voice. My voice is wasting away, yet my spirit is being renewed day by day with the brothers and sisters.

BTW – I have found Kenyans and Ugandans to be welcoming and warm towards me. They are very gracious, quite anxious to help and serve.

We came back to the hotel for a few hours for a break. Our hotel is 7 kilomoters from the retreat center.

Back at the center – I continued teaching my spiritual formation material, esp. about how we cannot change other people so we can let that one go. The pastors seemed to be thankful for that. But we can be changed, and we can be changed. The change is – into Christlikeness. Paul says, in Gal. 4:19, that the metamorphing is into the likeness of Christ, that Christ would be “formed” in us. The orphing happenes as we enter and dwell in the presence of God, as we live “in” Christ.

At the end of this teaching time Al and I prayed for every pastor individually and gave words of knowledge and prophetic words of strength and comfort and encouragement. It was a beautiful time. Every pastor came forward and knelt to receive blessings and impartation. Very humbling, and empoweing for me.

At one point yesterday a pastor of the Maasai tribe came to me and said “I want to give you this. I want you to wear this so you will remember me.” It was a beaded Maasai bracelet. He put it on my right wrist. I’m wearing it now as I’m writing this. It’s Wednesday morning in Kenya.