Vol. 3. Issue 1
To be added by Lee
Missions in History
William Carey (17 August 1761 – 9 June 1834) was a British Christian missionary, Particular Baptist minister, translator, social reformer and cultural anthropologist who founded the Serampore College and the Serampore University, the first degree-awarding university in India.
Carey is known as the “father of modern missions.” His essay, An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens, led to the founding of the Baptist Missionary Society. The Asiatic Society commended Carey for “his eminent services in opening the stores of Indian literature to the knowledge of Europe and for his extensive acquaintance with the science, the natural history and botany of this country and his useful contributions, in every branch.” He translated the Hindu classic, the Ramayana, into English, and the Bible into Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Marathi, Hindi and Sanskrit.
Evangelical Ministries Ukambani
– Strengthening the Local Churches –
On 21st April Rev. Dunlop travelled to Eldoret for a three-day conference of the East African Christian Association (EACA). The company and the fellowship of Ian Rimmington, the visitor from Canada, and another Kenyan friend, Stephen Kameti on ten-hour drive was enjoyable. Aaron was invited to speak at the conference on two subjects; “The Ecumenical Movement and Liberation Theology” and also on “A Biblical Response: The Glorious Fellowship of the Gospel.” On the way to Eldoret, we spent the night at Lake Naivasha. Grace was thankful for the company of Ian’s wife, Francie.
– …through simple and compassionate tasks we have established an acceptance of the gospel of Christ. –
On 3rd of May the Children’s Office in Mwingi brought two little children to our Cole Baby Unit (CBU), Zipporah aged three and her brother Samuel aged nine months. The circumstances of this family are unfortunate. They are the youngest of five children, the oldest three having been left alone to care for themselves, because the mother is mentally unstable, and the father had gone to Nairobi to find work.
The father had been forced to sell his land to pay for hospital bills when his wife took sick. Now, with no money, and no land, the family is living in rented accommodation in the town, and the mother remains mentally ill.
The youngest two children were rescued for their safety and protection, while the father has secured a job and hopes with some government assistance to stabilise the family.
An Inconvenient Obedience
– Grace Dunlop –
It’s been a while since I’ve written anything. We’ve had a crazy few months! Thomas became very sick and we ended up in hospital twice, first with a severe viral infection and stomach bug which led to a bacterial infection. He’s doing well now, and we are thankful for the prayers of all our friends, family and church. We are also very thankful for the health care he received, God has provided every step of the way.
It sounds so simple when I put it like that, but navigating each step is quite a difficult and scary process…..the path God gives us is not always easy and the obstacles seem insurmountable at times.
As I was in hospital with Thomas—a total of 10 days—I felt overwhelmingly homesick, wanting familiar friends, family and doctors. Navigating new hospitals, new payment methods, new pharmacy processes, even the bedside approach of Kenyan doctors, is inconvenient and rattling. I kept thinking this would be so much easier and convenient at home. It’s easy to think to oneself in tough times, “Why me Lord, why did you want me here, with all our complicated health issues, how can I be a help on the mission field? How can I serve you and the people we live with when all my time and mental energy is taken up with looking after my kids and taking them to the next checkup, or doing another breathing treatment?”
It’s not so much a complaint as a query, I hope!
But obedience is rarely easy or convenient, sometimes it even appears illogical. While I sat there in the hospital, I had a lot of time to think, and I began in my mind to scroll through a list of Bible characters, all who were asked to step out in faith to do seemingly illogical things.
Abraham was told to leave his home with no clear destination in mind; he was later asked to take his only son—the son who was the promise of a new nation—and sacrifice him on an altar.
Moses’ mother, raising a family in some of the darkest days of history of the Israelites, gave birth to a son under the threat of infanticide. In an act of faith in God she gave her son to the river … literally sent him down the river in a basket to the providence of God! Years later, Moses, after fleeing Egypt for his life, was told to return there, not as the apologetic son of the Pharaoh, but as an advocate for his people, the slaves. He was a Prince of Egypt, but identified himself with slaves!
I thought of Elijah also, who was told to go ask for food from a destitute widow suffering in a famine. It seemed unfair and unfeeling, but the widow of Zarepheth obeyed, she shared her portion of food with Elijah, while her own son was in need. I wonder what was going on in her mind as she baked that cake: “what will the neighbors think, feeding this man when there is so little even for my own child?
Her bold act of faith defies logic, but her obedience led to never ending provision throughout the rest of the famine. I ask myself what would have been the logical outcome if she had said no…..if she had followed her own human reason instead of divine request? Faith enabled her to live out the daily miracle of provision direct from God her maker.
Esther’s story is similar. Her older cousin decided she should sign up for a beauty pageant in a foreign land in order to marry a foreign king! She agreed, not knowing what was ahead. She left the security of all that was culturally familiar to go to a secular household—because she believed she was called for a purpose at that particular time. Mind you she got a pretty good spa package in the deal—eighteen months of pampering and beauty products to prepare for her interview with the Persian King. Her obedience to God’s plan led to the saving of her people within the Persian empire.
I thought of the disciples also, who left their careers to follow Jesus, of Jesus himself, who left heaven and descended into hell, according to the Apostles Creed. I thought of Paul who was willing to go up to Jerusalem and leave the outcome to the providence of God.
So, as I mused on these, and many others in biblical history, I began to understand that I don’t have to understand. Illogical steps of faith are a common denominator among Christians, the defining hallmark of our calling. Perhaps Christianity does not appear strange enough to the world because we follow human logic rather than exercise faith.
When Jesus calls us to Himself, he is calling us to a yoke that is light, and easy to bear. If it feels heavy, we are probably trying to bear it ourselves. It may not be logical, but it ought to be light.
If I’m honest, I struggle at times to shift the weight off my own weak shoulders to his mighty shoulders. But I’m learning, just as the saints of old learned through their sufferings.
I’m also learning that obedience is more about what God wants to do in us and for us, rather than what he wants us to do for him.
Sending Forth Service
– Grace Chapel Markham –
On all accounts, the Sending Forth Service on Sunday evening (25th Feb.) was a great blessing. The singing was tremendous with a special piece by Mary Karas called “I Will Go.” Pastor Habib Sakr brought a pointed and powerful challenge to the missionary pastor and his family and then to the congregation. He exhorted Aaron to remember, first, his accountability to God; secondly, the priorities established by God (to take heed to himself, his wife and family, and the ministry of the Word); thirdly to cultivate the disposition mandated by God (ie. a servant’s heart, a realistic dependence on God) and finally, the absence of the fear of man.
Pastor Sakr then directed his remarks to the congregation and challenged them to maintain a climate in the Church that will not grieve the Holy Spirit. At this point, he emphasized the interconnectedness of the people of God. What the people of God do at home, he stressed, either for good or ill, has ripple effects that will break upon the shores of Kenya. He then left the congregation with a three-fold charge. First, a determination to be faithful in intercession for the missionary family; secondly, to maintain a commitment to care for the temporal needs of the missionary family; and finally, to maintain frequent communication with the missionary family.
You can hear the message on the video of the service or an overview on the “Five Minutes of FAME” podcast on SermonAudio.
Five Minutes of Fame Podcast
– Sending Forth Service –
Rev. Dunlop enjoyed the fellowship of fellow believers as he travelled around to raise awareness and support for the new college and his family as they prepare for the field.
At the end of January Rev. Dunlop travelled to churches in Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria, to Sunnyvale in California, and then to Cornerstone Chruch in Singapore, where he renewed fellowship with an old friend from Northern Ireland, Rev. Paul Ferguson. While in Singapore, he spoke at a number of evangelistic meetings for Filippino workers. Here a podcast here reporting on the visit to Singapore.
Pray that out of these meetings the Lord would grow a body of believers with a heart for missions in Asia and Africa.
News from the Field
- Rain – People in the area of the FAME Centre are excited that rain fell today. The short rains have come which gives hope for a successful harvest. Pray to this end.
- Graduation at the Bible college graduation on February 3rd. 19 students graduated. Some of these students have already enrolled for the new full-time courses.
In the Reformed and Evangelical tradition, FAME is a “word and deed” ministry bringing the hope of the gospel into the poverty and famine of eastern Kenya. Water wells, famine relief, child rescue and medical facilities constitute our main humanitarian work, through which we have won the confidence and ear of the people. This, in turn, has enabled us to carry on an extensive program of evangelism in remote villages, local schools, and in prisons across the Eastern Province of Kenya.
At our Resource Center and FAME Reformed Theological College, we come alongside local pastors, elders, and Sunday school teachers, helping them to establish local Churches and strengthen the body of Christ.