Saying ” tuonane tena”

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2018 has flown by, and now it is 2019.  What a whirlwind it has been from December 2018 to now, Feb. 2019.  Below is a summary of what has taken place.

In December we concluded the 2017 cohort at the Springs of Hope Free Methodist Bible School with final classes and then graduation.  It also concluded our time with Springs of Hope Free Methodist Bible School.  We believe the school will continue strongly with its renewed focus and system under the direction of Director Lillian Musigali and Chairperson Dr. Angela Savala.

We had to opportunity to join in the wedding of our friends Evans and Rebecca at the beginning of December, join with our University Bible Study one last time for study and fellowship, and finish the month with our friends Rev’s Martin and Zippora Amani on Christmas day worshiping with them and having a meal with their family.

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In January 2019 we began our time to wind down saying “tutaonane tena” (we will see you again) to all of our friends in Kenya and enjoyed our time with my Father, Rev. Tom Cahill, Sr. and our daughter, Katelyn Cahill as they came and visited with us for one week.  At the end of the month, we traveled to Geita, Tanzania to join in the opening celebration of Evart Bible College, a Free Methodist ministry for training leaders.

 

In February 2019 we traveled back to the United States, where we are staying with our son and daughter in law, James and Michelle Cahill, in Platteville, Wi.  We where meet with bitter cold and snow, snow, snow.  We also began partnership connections for our next journey in missions.

Christmas 2018

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 usmeansofgrace 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.

 

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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.

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Turkana

One of the areas we have not been able to visit in Kenya is Turkana County. One of the pastors in Eldoret was recently sent to Turkana for a few months for his job. He is a good friend and has sent me some pictures of the ministry in Turkana. He is from there and has a strong heart and vision for the FMCK in that area. Here are some pictures and information (click on pictures) of a new church plant, and other ministries he recently sent me. Please continue to pray for this ministry.

 

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Trip to Tanzania

On Saturday, April 29th, we had the opportunity to travel to Tanzania, Africa where Mike Reynen (Africa Area Director FMWM-FMCUSA), Sherry and I (Thom) meet with some of the leaders for the Tanzania National District in Mwanza, then joined them in worship Sunday, April 29th. However, Sherry and my luggage did not arrive with us.  After we traveled to Geita where a new Bible School is being built. FB_IMG_1525757935580.jpg

Monday, April 30th we joined in a welcome service from the churches in the Geita district at the Bible School. It was a joyful time as different churches provided “dancing choir’s” in worshiping the Lord.  We were presented with cloth gifts and a goat. The cloth gifts where used to make the men shirts and the women dress that were matching.

Tuesdays, May 1st, Sherry traveled with District Pastor Conrad and a few others back to Mwanza, about three and a half h0ur drive one way, to retrieve our luggage that finally arrived.  I was thankful for my shirt was on its third day of use.  Rev. Mike Reynen held a Village Church Planting (VCP) seminar for those pastors involved in this ministry.  I was invited to share the devotional.

Wednesday, May 2nd, we concluded the seminar in the morning then traveled out to a very remote village to visit a new VCP.  The people where very welcoming and excited to share with us in a short worship service where I shared a brief devotional.

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Thursday, May 3rd, we meet with representatives of the new bible school to give consultation and advise on structure and curriculum as they begin to prepare to open the school. Later in the afternoon, we traveled to another remote VCP, and again enjoyed a wonderful welcome, short worship, and brief devotion.

Finally, Friday, May 4th, we traveled to Mwanza airport to return to Kenya.  it was a great opportunity to partner with others for the Kingdom of God.

Christmas 2017

2017-12-25 07.27.30I sit here on our first Christmas day living in Kenya, Africa. It is a little different from years before.  We do not have our children around to laugh and enjoy in a face to face setting, nor do we have snow on the ground or cold weather.  We do however ever have new wonderful friends we can visit with and seek to bless them as Christ blessed humanity with His birth which we celebrate this year.

“In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn” (Luke 2:1-7; NRSV).

We thank the Lord this Christmas season for so many blessings. We are blessed by those who pray for us each and every day as we seek to embrace the Mission of God where He has placed us in our ministry.  We are blessed by those who write notes of encouragement, as there are days we become discouraged and receiving those notes reminds us of God’s call upon our lives and the friends who think of us.  We are blessed by the those who support us financially, without your financial support whether a church, group, or individuals we could not serve our calling and ministry.

Over the past few months, we have enjoyed spending time ministering throughout Kenya.  Two weeks we spent in Mombasa where we enjoyed spending time with the Staff of the Karwengware ICCM Free Methodist School working together on Teamwork and Leadership building. We followed this by enjoying time with 150 youth from the Highlands Conference where Thom taught bible exposition. We then traveled to Nairobi where we enjoyed attending the Highlands Conference Annual Meeting.  After the time in Nairobi, we returned home to Eldoret for a few days then traveled to Shiru, Kenya for the Trans African Annual Conference which concluded our month in November.  In the first week of December, we traveled to Soy, Kenya where we joined 200 youth from the Trans African Annual Conference where Thom was the Bible teacher.  After this week we traveled back to Eldoret where Thom taught at the Bible School and Sherry worked in the Library.

We are so grateful for the opportunities to serve our Lord and partner with the Free Methodist Church of Kenya along with the Free Methodist World Missions/Free Methodist Church USA.

May our Lord greatly bless you this Christmas and grant you a Joyous and Wonderful New Year.

Enjoy the Slide Show from the past two months

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Being Thankful

What are you thankful for today?  I have been thinking of this since I preached a sermon three weeks ago on blessings from God.  Many times, we only think of the big-ticket items to be thankful to God for in our lives.  Yet, God blesses us each and every day with the “simple” things we take for granted and neglect to thank God and recognize them as blessings from Him.  So, what might be some of these types of blessings for you.  Last night I thought about this as I tried to go to sleep and then woke up with the thoughts running through my mind.

I am thankful for all these and many more blessings as I would not be who and where I am today without you in my life.:

  • For God – maker of heaven and earth and all that is in it through the Father -who I see through creation every day, personal through Jesus Christ – who came to earth, lived and experienced all that humanity experiences, provides salvation through the cross and resurrection, and intercedes for me each day, and continuous through the Holy Spirit who provides wisdom, strength, counsel, guidance, protection, and much more each day even when I do not recognize or see it.
  • For waking up each morning
  • For my father – Tom Cahill Sr. and mother – Verna Lee Milliken (with the Lord now) – your patience, love, and continual prayers and care are part of me in so many ways today.
  • For my wife – Sherry Lynn Irwin Cahill – who changed my world from the day I saw here and is my friend and love each and every day.
  • For my Children – Jon, Katelyn, and James Cahill – who are so precious, loving, and compassionate. They have grown into wonderful adults – I would not trade them for the world.
  • For my daughter’s in law, Jocelyn Frederick Cahill, and Michelle Clough Cahill – you two bring a smile to my face every time I see and talk to you with your love and compassion you have for life.
  • For my sisters – Lori, Melinda, and Wendy – for your love and care for me from childhood forward.
  • For all my relatives and friends in my life from childhood to adulthood, throughout the world, you to have made me who I am through your kindness, and encouragement, and I am a stronger, more blessed person because of your friendship.
  • For all the people who I have had the pleasure to pastor and students I have taught – whether good experiences (for many) or bad (there’s always a few) thank you.
  • For all my teachers from childhood to yes even today – the time and knowledge you have invested in me, without your guidance and teachings I would not be where I am today. Your patience with me, allowing me to learn, bit by bit, finally clicked somewhere in life.
  • For all those who pray for me – your prayers comfort and protect me even when I do not see or realize it – thank you for being faithful in prayer.

It’s the “Simple” Blessings in Life that make me Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

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In the Midst of God’s Beautiful Holiness

When you travel throughout a country that is new to you, sometimes you find God’s gem’s in the midst of places you do not expect. You would think as a pastor of over 21 years I would know better, yet in my humanness, I forget to have great expectations from God each and every day.  It is my prayer that God will help me in my failure of great expectations to learn to embrace each and every day with His great expectations no matter how I feel emotionally or perceive mentally.  During the month of September, I continue to see the beauty of God’s Holiness all around our time in Kenya.

On September 6th, we had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Dr. Buconyori Free Methodist Boy’s High School.  We waited an hour at the stage for the Matatu left.  Upon arrival, we walked a mile to the school.  What a blessing it was for us to spend time with these young men who are learning and the staff of the school. We had the opportunity to also meet Principle Vincent’s new baby and the opportunity hold a prayer of blessing for her.

From September 14 – 17 we traveled and spent time with the Central Rift District for the Trans African Conference, Free Methodist Church – Kenya.  We stayed in the home of Pastor David and his wife and three of their adopted children along with Pastor Martin (Conference Superintendent).  What a blessing and wonderful hosts they were.  We would walk about two miles each day to the church where the seminars where being held.  There was a good turn out of men and women.  We had a great discussion on biblical marriage and family as well as leadership. There were many questions regarding cultural issues from traditional tribal cultures with scripture.  We were very thankful for Pastor Martin Amani who helped guide the discussion when those questions would arrive.  Our position is what does the bible teaches and how does it fit in your culture.  We allowed them to discuss and come up with ways the biblical teachings fit their cultural context.  On the 17th I had the opportunity to preach and we have about 20 people come forward to accept or renew their relationship with Jesus.

To finish the month our daughter Katelyn come to Kenya on her return to the US for a week.  We greatly enjoyed our time with Katelyn.  We stayed in the guest flat of the Church of the Nazarene compound.  It was great to meet other missionaries and local staff in Kenya.  We spent one morning on a Safari where we saw many animals including two lionesses with their cubs feeding on a kill from the night before.  This is very unusual to see, so we spent some time taking pictures and enjoying nature. We continued on seeing many other wildlife sights.  One day Sherry and Katie went shopping while Thom went to the local Java House. We spent another day at the Elephant orphanage as well as good quality time enjoying each others company.  We were so blessed to have Katelyn with us for a week.

At the end of our time with Katelyn, we learned that my work permit was ready, we only had to procure a bond.  We were told that to get the bond we needed a file number from Kenya Revenue (like the IRS in the US).  We figured this would be an easy and quick task. Yet, that was not to be, it took all day to travel to various places to try and get information and what was needed.  At the end of the day, I did not get my permit for I was told that we had to submit our documentation that was requested and then wait another 7 days to be contacted which meant another trip to Nairobi.  Needless to say, this was not one of my finest hours.

While during these wonderful times, there were challenges, sometimes very frustrating ones, especially when you deal with the red tape of government. Sometimes one can lose sight of the beauty of God’s holiness in the midst of these times.  I must confess I did at some points of difficulty.  Yet, God in His gracious mercy provides us with the ability to reflect, confess, and embrace all the wonderful beauty He provided in all the circumstances of life during the month of September.

We continue to seek to learn,  grow, and enjoy the beauty of God’s Holiness in Kenya.