requiem

It is perhaps not unfitting that it was on Epiphany (6 January 2019) that the great Lamin Sanneh breathed his last in this life. In his life and scholarship the light of Christ was revealed to many. He passed on only yesterday, yet already he is 

We grieve, but we do not grieve as those without hope.

Born in The Gambia in West Africa, raised as a Muslim, after his conversion to Christ he became a preeminent Christian scholar and missiologist.  If you haven’t read his books or articles or heard him speak, you should. His books are widely available and you can still find him on youtube.  Here are two of my favorite of his quotes:

“People receive new ideas only in terms of the ideas they already have.”

“Conversion is the turning of ourselves to God, and that means all of ourselves without leaving anything thing behind or outside.  But that also means not replacing what is there with something else. Conversion is a refocusing of the mental life and its cultural/social underpinning and of our feelings, affections, and instincts, in the light of what God has done in Jesus.”

~ Lamin Sanneh, Whose Religion Is Christianity?  The Gospel beyond the West (2003).

If you’re a buyer and reader of books, that text is worth acquiring.  But if you only buy or read one of his books, I recommend that you start with Translating the Message:  The Missionary Impact on Culture (1st edition, 1989; 2nd edition, revised, 2009).  Though you’ll run across a lot of books before you find anything that would surpass his Disciples of All Nations:  Pillars of World Christianity (2008).

Professor Lamin Sanneh (24 May 1942 — 6 January 6 2019), may your memory be eternal and may you rest in peace until you rise again in the Resurrection.


Update (15 January 2019):  Christianity Today has just published a collection of tributes, “Remembering Lamin Sanneh, the World’s Leading Expert on Christianity and Islam in Africa.” This article would be a great place to start to learn more about this great man.  Also … anyone interested in World Christianity should read not only Prof. Sanneh’s works, but also should listen to the voices of those who give him tribute here.

first graduation! (Ewaso Ng’iro)

On 30 November we reported the beginning of our CCBTI graduation season in Maasai Land, as the first cohort of pastors from Kajiado County celebrated completion of the CCBTI program. This past weekend saw the graduations of the smaller cohort from Narok County at CCC’s training center in Ewaso Ng’iro, on 8 December.

Join us in celebrating with Peter Otuma Nanteya, Walton Tumate Nkowua, Peter Lerionka Pion, Wilson Ntinana Kuyoni, Maina ole Salenoi, Peter Talata Parkesui, and their congregations!  Ntinga Sam Tome (on the right in the first picture) attended both graduations.

 

first graduation! (CCBTI – Kajiado)

Sometimes you plant carrots.  In two to four months, you get a harvest.  Sometimes you plant avocado trees.  Tend it diligently, and you’ll start to get repeated harvests each year — but not right away.  There will be a few years with nothing to show for your labors.  But slow, steady growth will be occurring nonetheless.

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Ministry & discipleship is often more like growing trees than growing carrots.  Results don’t always come overnight.  Patience is required.  Some of you may remember that we returned from our first home assignment for our second term in 2010 to discover that the Maasai Discipleship Training School had not had any sessions while we in the States.  It had a five year drought before we were able to help Francis Yenko and the CCC relaunch it in 2014 at a new campus, during our third term.  Then in 2016 the newly rechristened Discipleship Training Institute (DTI) went mobile, reaching new areas of Maasai land.  Since we began in 2010 to work to reestablish this ministry, the harvest has been tremendous.  But we had to wait longer than for carrots.
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There was a similar story of a slow wait and long work for the establishment of and harvest from the Community Christian Bible Training Institute (CCBTI).  First the Turkana Bible Training Institute (TBTI) was transformed into the initial campus of CCBTI.  Then in 2016 we were able to help the Community Christian Churches (CCC) to successfully establish two branch campuses of CCBTI in Maasai Land.  This year sees the first graduations of the Maasai branches of CCBTI.  Today, 30 November 2018, believers gathered from miles around in Ng’atataek in Kajiado County to celebrate the CCBTI graduation of a group of Kenyan and Tanzania Maasai pastors.  The CCBTI graduation for the Ewaso Ng’iro campus is scheduled for 8 December 2018.

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Here are some pictures from today’s graduation in Ng’atataek.  Those who are kneeling are the graduating pastor-students being ordained.  The washing of feet was a public demonstration of the nature of servant leadership.  As we are still abroad in America, Ntinga Sam Tome, our colleague and the administrator of the two Maasai CCBTI campuses, sent us these pictures.

EDIT (28 January 2019):  I just realized that I forgot to include the names of the ten graduates.  They are:  Joshua Papa Kimeshwa, Joshua Sinkira Lekoke, Nchoke Kakeu Naipenyu, Jackson Moikan Laisa, Moses Ntete Laisa, Leimaduk ole Solonka, Philipo Naisango koole, Jackson Kapaito Mayiasek, Noah Ikayo Nkoye, and Musanka Sakaya Korema.

2013–2017: An Overview

Successes and failures and ongoing challenges. During our first eleven years in Kenya, we’ve seen our share in each of these categories. In this update, we want to share with you some of our key successes from our third term (2014-2017) as we continue to work with our support partners in the work of expanding Christ’s Kingdom in Kenya.

To learn more, read our August 2018 update here.

new church plant: Oltarakwai CCC

new church plant:  Oltarakwai CCC — 2018 June 10th
photo credit: Thomas ole Pesi

expanding influence

Most of you know that our Eating the Word of God curriculum has been published in three languages:

Enkinosata Ororei le Nkai (in Maa)
Kujilisha kwa Neno La Mungu (in KiSwahili)
Akinyam Akiroit a Akuj (in NgaTurkana)

(Maa, the language of the Maasai, is spoken in Kenya and Tanzania.  KiSwahili is the primary second language of most Kenyans and Tanzanians, and is spoken across East Africa.  NgaTurkana is the language of the Turkana people, who live primarily in Kenya’s northwest, between Lake Turkana and Uganda.)

Just to remind you, this is the textbook for the Eating the Word of God course of the Community Christian Bible Training Institute (CCBTI; there are three branch campuses).  The highfalutin academic title would be “Equipping Congregations for Biblical Understanding,” but we keep it simple.  The books are also used for teaching grass-roots level seminars.

Today some missionaries to the Tonga in Zambia (in Southern Africa) have asked if they can adapt our materials for the Tonga churches.  (We said “yes,” of course.)

CCBTI update

We may be in America, but we continue to be engaged with our ministry in Kenya, mostly behind the scenes.  The two CCBTI branch campuses in Maasai Land are still going well.  Last month (June 2018), Sam Ntinga Tome was in Ewaso Ng’iro to teach Life of Christ and Gospel of Mark.  Here are a couple of pictures.