So right off the bat let's paint the picture.
The GFI team is hard at work packing all the tents and gear that we need for our next outreach in Northern Kenya. The Unimog is getting a fast overhaul from our last outreach. Everyone is busy, fixing, tinkering, welding, packing and preparing. The GFI base is a hive of activity.
We have some wonderful guests from Germany who were unable to carry out their travel plans due to various countries locking down that were now going to join us in preaching and teaching, what a great opportunity to develop new relationships. When I next go to Germany, I plan to visit them, as they promised to take me to the Dolomites for some Via Ferrata, and that is an opportunity not to be missed.
There was an air of excitement all around us. Over the last year or so, the world seems to have stopped spinning and ground to a sudden halt. But God seemed to have opened a door for us. We had to be bold, we had to be wise but there was an opportunity to go and tell people about Jesus and we were going to take it!
Unfortunately following my last adventure I am lying sick in bed sick with Malaria. Jessie is taking amazing care of me but there is just no way I am going to make it on this trip. I secretly planned to recover then head out at the end of the week and take Jess and the kids with me, but even that was just a dream. I was still stuck in bed and in no position to be out in the bush sleeping under the stars, and I didn't want to be a drag on anyone else who had more than enough on their plates already.
Boy oh, boy did I miss out on an amazing trip.
The team had an amazing week of sharing the gospel. In the morning's Peter would meet with the leaders and elders and run leadership training seminars while Hamisi, our children’s leader would train Sunday school teachers. In the afternoons Becky and Hamisi would run a children's outreach, full of fun and games with a solid gospel message. After that, we invited local singers and musicians to perform gospel songs and draw huge crowds with singing and dancing laughter and fun. When the crowd was at its peak Peter would come and preach a mighty message to thousands and thousands of people. Many gave their lives to the Lord for the first time, many recommitted their lives and many were healed!
Youth ministry in the mornings and afternoons (📸 Deren Franz)
The Spitting Cobra
One night a lady came up to the platform and shared a testimony of how she had been attacked by a cobra, the snake had spit its venom in her eyes from across the room and she immediately felt a burning pain on her face. She was rushed to a local hospital where the doctors told her they could do nothing for her. She had lost the use of her eye and was now fully blind in one eye. That is until she was prayed for, and her sight was fully restored.
Isn't that amazing?!
Check out the first part of this video, as Peter describes what happened.
On the last day of the meetings, the team went down to the river where Peter was originally baptised as a boy. Fast forward more than 40 years and now the team along with the local church leaders baptised over 70 new believers that morning. Man, I wish I was there, but praise God all this can happen while the majority of the word is on lockdown.
God is not on lockdown.
Baptism in river Turkwell (📸 Deren Franz)
They say on when climbing big mountains the most dangerous part is the descent, not the accent. So it was with these meetings, but for very different reasons...
After several hours of driving, the team pulled over to get a cold drink and escape the sun. They took it in shifts so that someone would always have an eye on the vehicles while the other got some refreshment. As it so happened a few other shady characters were keeping an eye on the vehicles as well. Once the majority of people had crossed the road the gang made their move. It wasn’t long till there was a full-blown street fight 5 on 1!
Amiel, a bible school student doing an internship with us, looked up to see something was wrong. He jumped up and started to run across the street, as did the rest of the team. Slowly they all got stuck in, a large crowd was forming, people were picking up stones, some had blades, the situation was not good.
Surprisingly enough after a real scuffle, our team was able to give the gang a proper hiding and send the thugs running with their tails between their legs.
The local community was overjoyed and thanked our team, as this gang had been causing many problems and the locals couldn’t do anything about it as they lived with these hoodlums, and didn't want to have to face the consequences later.
It might be easy to ask yourself in the safety of your home what would you have done in that situation, I know I did.
How would you have reacted?
Turn the other cheek? but then what, let all our tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment be stolen, not to mention being stranded miles and miles from home, equipment that has the sole purpose of preaching the gospel?
Would we get stuck in and fight to defend our friends and teammates and equipment?
Perhaps there was a third or fourth option.... It's a tough one but I'm glad no one got seriously hurt, and our stuff didn't get nicked... maybe it's a conversation we can have next time I'm round for dinner?
A rough night in prison
Unfortunately, this was not the end of the team's troubles. After 6 more hours of long driving, the team pulled in to a motel for dinner and bed.
Well, that’s what they were hoping for...
Once they had all placed their food orders and were sitting at their tables about 10 police officers stormed the restaurant, armed with machine guns and armour. This was not a friendly visit. They began to arrest some of our team, the people who worked at the restaurant the hotel managers. Arguments broke out, people were begging to be rereleased.
Getting into jail is one thing, getting out is quite another.
Some of our team were able to talk themselves out of handcuffs while others were dragged off for a night in the cell. The remainder of the team (The guys that didn't get locked up) biggest challenge was finding out which police station and which cell. You see Kenya is facing a 10 pm curfew to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 so no one was supposed to be out after 10. This as it happens was also the reason they got arrested, though it was around 9:30 pm...
(we later found out there was an order for all restaurants and bars to be closed by 9)
It took the team the rest of the night to hunt down which police stations other team members were taken to, talk to the police, pay the fines and have them released, all in all, a rough and sleepless night for everyone, arriving back at GFI base at around 5 am.
We thank God for the amazing team he has given us, as gentle as doves, as wise as serpents as hard workings as ants and as fearless as lions.
Our team does an amazing job allowing us to preach the gospel in some rough and tough places. It's hard and expensive work. But as a wise man once told me...
"Doing Gods work is expensive"
Wow, what an outreach - I cant wait for the next one!!!
Well until next time, ride easy and remember God is only a prayer away.
Josh, Jess & the famalam here in Africa.
*Ps we are just about to send out our GFI newsletter, if you would like to see it keen an eye out here over the next few days. Or better still send an email to request a physical copy sent to your address so you can have some of our wonderfull photos on your coffee table.