Unexpected Blessings

Bible study porch
Looking up to the porch for our bible study.


I had fully intended on writing on the Kenyan health care system, but tonight’s events just won’t allow me to focus on anything negative. So, instead let me tell you about the wonderful evening I just completed. Here at Tenwek, the residents and interns meet for bible study every Wednesday evening. Most of the time, the men and women meet separately. But tonight was one of the occasions where they meet together. Tonight’s format was new and different. They did a quiz game on the book of James with men vs. women. The evening featured chai and biscuits. Translated, that means the preferred Kenyon tea mixture of chai tea, sugar and milk along with an assortment of bread and cookies (biscuits). The room was a second floor screened porch area with a warm fire burning. The setting couldn’t have been more perfect (ok, having my wife, kids and friends along to witness this would have been perfect)!


men at Bible study
Some of the 30 residents, interns, and
consultants (like me) who attended.

The night opened with a prayer and some of the most beautiful singing you would ever hope to hear. The voices were loud, strong, and in harmony. The first song was in Swahili and the second was in English. I couldn’t sing because I didn’t know the words but even if I did, the moment was so moving that I wanted to just focus on taking it all in. The songs of praise were so deeply heartfelt and there seems to be no embarrassment in Kenyan culture. Everybody sings their praises! The woman leading the songs could rival any recording star I’ve heard!


engineer missionary
Todd (far right) is an engineer missionary who
who designed and judged the quiz.

The game consisted of 40 short answer questions and 10 long answer questions. There were points for getting it right, deductions for wrong answers, and also for an appropriate rebuttal. The evening was filled with laughter – not the dainty, polite kind – the bellowing laughter that comes from the heart with gusto! I was happy to contribute a couple of right answers but truth be known I was out of my league. I know a little about the book of James but these Kenyans knew verse after verse after verse. They had a knowledge that was both accurate and instant. This wasn’t just a memorize the phone book sort of thing, they had clearly thought about how each memorized piece of scripture applies to their life. Their knowledge was truly astounding. For the first time on my trip, I saw that we could learn so much from them!


respiratory therapist with African residents
Annette, the only respiratory therapist here
with African residents and interns.


While the judges were tallying up the final score, I shared a bit of my story and how the book of James was responsible for my presence in Africa. James 2:26 says “Just as the body is dead without breath, so also the faith is dead without good works. I shared that the Holy Spirit had guided me here to work with PAACS. My original plans were to go on a mission trip to central or south American. But, God’s plans were different and I’m so glad I listened! These residents and interns have been such a blessing to me. They live each day by James 2:18 “I will show you my faith by what I do.” I once again find that my service here brings more blessings to me than what I offer to them.  So, tomorrow I will begin anew to give more than I receive.  This place makes that task a difficult one!
 Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? –James 2:5