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Friday/Saturday Conference Update ~ Africa

"Get ready, get ready, get ready, Nairobi!!!"

Banner hanging outside of the church advertising the conference...that's yours truly in the center there...  :)

Becca giving her testimony...she did a great job!

With my interpreter, Susan...she did an amazing job too... I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this woman!!!

These two ladies mean the world to me...they are Jane Tembu, co-pastor at East AG, and Jane Nuthu, co-pastor of Mathare Valley AG.  Jane T.  is also the district superintendent's wife, and Jane N. is the district treasurer's wife.  They were co-hosts of this conference and were the ones who invited me to come.  When it comes to the African leadership these are those I am closest to.  I love all of these people with all my heart, but with these ladies my heart literally rips out when I have to leave them.  I think of them all the time.  They are truly my soul sisters.  I will see them both on Sunday but started crying profusely today when Jane N. expressed her love to me at the close...

I saw my spiritual son, Peter for the first time on Saturday when he came to see me at the conference.  Becca saw immediately why Peter is so special. I adore everyone here in Kenya, but this young man stole my heart my first year in Africa.  Becca captured our reunion perfectly on camera...

I gave him the gift I brought for him from America...his dream has been to have a camera.  Keep in mind this boy lives in the slums -- the worst slum in Africa.  He has NOTHING.  No electricity, no running water, and to him this camera might as well be a million dollars.  Someone at Celebration Church fulfilled his dream and got him this camera.  I am not posting the person's name here - not sure if they want it revealed - however I did reveal it to Peter and let him know about the person who was so generous as to do this.  He wept...tears of joy.  Moments later he put a gift in my hands...something he has worked on for MONTHS.  A family gift for my home, and also a gift for each of my family members. I won't say here what it is - he wants me to surprise them.  

I don’t know where to begin in talking about the services and how amazing they have been.  On Saturday, the gifts from Celebration Church were distributed to the African women. Our people at the church collect them for me to bring to show our love. Lots of the gifts were scarves and the ladies literally put them on, some waved them in the air while dancing around the building. They were SO excited. (We got some of that on tape.)  Over and over they expressed their appreciation to Celebration and wanted us to convey that to the people.   

At the first service on Saturday, I preached about honor.  I invited all of the pastors and pastor's wives to come forward and we honored them and gave them bottles of anointing oil with "we honor the anointing of God upon  your life" inscribed on them.  (Provided by Celebration Church)  Again there were few dry eyes in the place.   We prayed for the leaders.  Then the ladies sang to them, "I Need You to Survive."  Again all of heaven just came down over the place.  When you get in those moments you hardly know how to move on to the next thing -- you just want to stay there forsever. 

In the next service, I preached on being anointed for leadership. At the conclusion I invited all of the leaders to come to the altar with their bottles of oil. They made two lines forming a “tunnel” of sorts, and then I asked all of the ladies present to walk through the “tunnel” as they were anointed by the leaders, to rise up and be leaders in their home, church, community, world. Again, the Holy Spirit just moved mightily all over that place.  We went into the song again, “I Need You to Survive” since it had become the conference anthem of sorts.

When it was time to dismiss, it was hard for me maintain my composure as Pastor Jane N. came to the pulpit and presented me with a beautiful dress and said such amazing things, I can’t remember it all. It was one of those surreal moments where I was crying into my hanky. But, the gist of what she said was how much they love and appreciate me and then she said, “Pastor Deanna, we need you to survive.” (At that I couldn’t keep my composure anymore at all…)  They also presented Becca with a lovely dress and jewelry. The only way I was able to emotionally hold it together as we left the conference Saturday was the fact that I knew I was preaching in Buru Buru at East AG Sunday morning and would see most of the Kenyans that I am close with, and then as far as the rest who live in Mathare, well, God worked that out!!! Becca and I are headed to the slums on Sunday afternoon!!!

(Becca and I with Pastor Jane Tembu ~ conference host/co-Pastor East AG)

We were not going to be able to go to the slums because Thursday was the day we were supposed to go but we got stuck in London. The main reason I was upset when that happened was not only fear of missing the opening of the conference, but also the fact that by missing Thursday we would miss our time in Mathare at the slums. Having us come today does not go well with Pastor Jane N’s schedule as she has a service Sunday afternoon but being the good friend that she is, she is graciously accommodating us and said, “bring your shoes you don’t mind getting ruined, and meet me after you preach at East AG and I’ll take you on a tour of the slums.” I was so excited I would have jumped up and down when she told me but I was too exhausted from preaching. We are headed to the slums after service Sunday with a whole lot of gifts for the children there, again…donated by Celebration Church people. I explained to Pastor Jane N. what the silly bands are and how much I think the kids will love them. It might be the only toy many of them ever receive. How sobering to think about. Thanks to all of you who prayed that we would be able to go to the slums. It means so much. It’s a major part of my trips here and I also get to go to Peter’s home as he lives there. I know this tour will be LIFE CHANGING for Becca. You don’t come out of the slums the same and have a whole new worldview when you are finished there. I have never been able to take a bath or shower ever again without being SO grateful to God for what I have. Also some amazingly Godly people live in the slums and they are so JOYFUL. Why can’t I be joyful sometimes? My focus is all off. My perspective tainted by my Western view of things. God help me.

I will get up Sunday morning at 5:30 am to prepare to preach at East and am very excited about what God will do. I’m giving it ALL I’VE GOT in these two last services – ready to be drained of all that’s left… pouring it out til I can’t pour anymore. Monday we are headed to beautiful Nakuru as some downtime before we return to the USA, as a little R & R with our missionary friends to celebrate what God has done. I am in anticipation of being up close to the monkeys.

I am so grateful to everyone who is continually praying for us and all that concerns this trip. You have made a major difference in the lives of the precious people of Kenya.


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