And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!’
“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:13-19, NRSV
Our time in Kenya is winding down, and as we finish our term as VISA Missionaries in February, we are extremely excited that we will transition to Extended-Term service in missions. We will come home for Partnership Building, visiting many of you to connect and pray with you, share about our ministry, and prepare for our return to the field, as soon as our support levels are where they need to be.
As I (Thom) reflect upon this Christmas 2019, I think of what the Advent of Christ provides for us: love, hope, peace, and joy. The meaning of Advent is a focus for us internally and externally. We must allow the presence of the Holy Spirit to infill, renew, and transform us with the love, hope, peace, and joy of Christ for it to flow out of us into the world we are living. John Wesley often spoke of the Acts of Piety (inward) and the Acts of Mercy (outward) when seeking to help ourselves and others in spiritual growth.
It is my prayer to allow the engagement of the Holy Spirit into my life to provide continual renewal and transformation so I can be what God is calling me to be to the world he has placed me. I am not perfect, and I must admit I have failed, I have missed the mark, I have sinned by not listening or hearing the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The beauty of the working of God’s grace upon my life is that I do not have to stay in the same place when I failed, missed the mark and sinned. I can seek forgiveness, be transformed, renewed, and changed to be more like Christ. I can learn and be strengthened to not fall back into those negative and destructive places of failure in my life. I can become an over comer and a new creation in Christ Jesus. I can ask and receive a renewal in my life each day to become more like Christ Jesus.
It is also my prayer that through our travels the Holy Spirit has used Sherry and me to bring the love, hope, peace, and joy of Christ to those we have ministered. Here are places and ministries we have engaged in with the hope that transformation and renewal through the Holy Spirit makes a lifelong change in people’s lives.
In June we traveled to Nyabondo, Kimumu, and Sirwa.
In July we traveled to Kabura and ministered locally in Eldoret.
In August we worked with the Bible School for the modular program where Sherry worked in the Library and helped with Administrative roles and Thom taught two classes.
In September we traveled to Banja, Kelemosi, and Boruma. We also began a bible study with students from the University of Moi School of Law once a week.
In October we traveled to Kericho where I spoke at the FMCK Women’s retreat and continued to hold weekly Bible Studies. Toward the end of October and beginning of November, we traveled to Rwanda for Africa Regional Team meeting.
In November we completed the Africa Regional Team meeting in Rwanda and returned to Kenya. We continued our weekly bible study and traveled to Kericho for the Highlands Annual Conference and then to Trans African Annual Conference where I spoke at both.
Finally, in December we are in the final module for the bible school. Sherry continues to help in the Library, and administrative work as Thom teaches two classes and helps with graduation plans along with preparing to be the main speaker. We also will hold one more bible study meeting with the students from the university before they head home for break.
We want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas as the Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love of Jesus Christ be with you all.