Sunday, August 30, 2009

50th Wedding Anniv., Graduation Day, Baby Carlos, New Village(Sikhendu), 16 Profess Christ

This week has brought so much activity I am not sure where to start. Well maybe I do. My hope is that you give me the liberty to wish my Mom and Dad a Happy 50th Anniversary. Words cannot begin to express
how proud I am of my parents for both enjoying the many years in Holy Matrimony as well as enduring the trials that occur during 5 decades of life. They are a great example to our generation of what God’s plan is for a husband and a wife to love each other till “death do us part”.
As I write this they are on a cruise ship somewhere in the Caribbean with many of our family members celebrating this joyous occasion. We wish them a Happy 50th Anniversary and we wish we were there but we know that we are where the Lord wants us.
This week we completed our scheduled 6 months of language school.
It has been a blessing to learn the language as well as the culture.
While we still have a long ways to go with regard to hearing and fluency we have achieved what is known as conversational Swahili. It has been well worth the investment of time and money as we have connected with the people and the culture in a way that is only possible when you learn their language. Our teacher, Wycliffe, has done a great job of teaching us Swahili
as well helping us understand his culture. Over the last six months we have grown to know each other and to love each other through him teaching us Swahili and us teaching him the Bible. His wife, Eunice, had a baby boy on Wednesday that they named “Carlos”, which is my given name. That is one of the highest honors you can give a person here. Needless to say, we have impacted each others life’s in a great way.
With one of our main priorities being Bible education we continue to invest in printing and distributing Bible Study material. Along these lines this week I received an invitation to visit with Bro.Randy Stirwal who is a Bible Baptist Missionary here in Eldoret,. He and his wife Phyllis have been serving in Kenya for over 30 years.
Not only is he a wealth of information from His vast experience here
but he also opened his entire library to us for use in teaching and training. His library is so comprehensive that is takes up an entire room and the best part about the offer is that it is all on computer which he let me download onto my flash drive.... Anything I want and in Swahili and English.... Now I am not sure if you understand the magnitude of this offer but to have someone of like faith and doctrine open us his life’s work to be shared and copied puts us years ahead of where we would be trying to rewrite and translate what has already been done. Having it in English helps us review and verify everything that is in the lessons and having it in Swahili makes it available to those in the interior and remote regions where we are working.
I cannot tell you how big of a blessing this is. Already I have downloaded: Basic Bible Studies in discipleship, doctrine and How to interpret the Bible. Not only is there an extreme shortage of Bibles here in Kenya but there is also an extreme shortage of Bible study material. It is fair to say that now it is only a matter of
reviewing the material and getting it into the hands of the people who are so desperate for it.

Yesterday was the start of new evangelism campaign in a village called Sikhendu. It is located approx. 60 km from Eldoret and approx. 10 km
from Mawe Tatu (3 Stones) which is the first Church plant we have been blessed to be a part of. This new campaign is a result of the Pastor and members of Mawe Tatu, which is still a new Church plant in itself wanting to reach a neighboring village with the gospel. If you are counting, this is the 5th Church plant the Lord has allowed us to be a part of in 8 months. We dare not take credit for what God is doing but it is so awesome to observe what He is doing through His people. It is one of those times where the Lord is moving in the hearts of His people in a mighty way. People are getting burdened, people are getting saved and people are getting right with God in a way that tends to reflect a wildfire spreading throughout the land.
It is one of those times that you just try to hold on to God while He is moving and working in the life’s of so many at one time. The people that God has united us with during our time here in Eldoret are totally: On fire, committed and so in Love with Christ that they want to share it with others.

As I am constantly assessing our role in these works, I can only say , it is a blessing to come along-side of these sold-out and surrendered Christians and to be able to provide transportation to these remote areas, bibles, educational materials, teaching and to participate in what we call
Acts 20:20 Evangelism.
"And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house."
There were 16 who professed Christ as personal Lord and Savior yesterday while visiting in Sikhendu. Before I close I want to personalize one of those visits for you. One of the houses we visited was the home of a man named Daniel. It is very rare to find the men home on visitation
as they are usually away farming or on business. Daniel was an exception to that rule yesterday as he was at home and welcomed us to visit and share God’s Word. After thoroughly sharing the love of Christ through the plan of salvation there was a moment when we asked Daniel, his wife and Sister in-law if they could recall a time and place in their lives when they had trusted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior?
The pause and conviction in that house was overwhelming as they each said a word that has come to break my heart:
BADO” which means “not yet” in Swahili.
After asking Pastor Peter to pray with them, we rejoiced with them and explained that our efforts there would ultimately result in a new Church planted in their village. As we walked back to our rally site Daniel walked with us an explained that he has been wanting to know the Lord and was so excited about the prospect of a Church being planted in his village and that he wanted to be first to offer the Land for it to be built on.
We explained that it will be some time after the start of a weekly Bible study to build a church but he let us know that he and his family will be followers of Christ and faithful members. As we parted ways he said that after living in that same house for over 40 years he had never had a preacher visit his home and he said that God has not only given him salvation but the start of new life. We are truly humbled and blessed when we think of those converted and born again.
Since we traveled yesterday we stayed local and attended Bro. Randy’s Church at Kapsoya Baptist here in Eldoret. We brought along the young man named Kennedy and his nephew who is the young fabricator I recently lead to Christ, baptized and is doing a Bible study. While our commitment to preaching the gospel is first and foremost we also want to make every effort to disciple and mentor those that are saved.
Sorry I have been a bit long winded, but just had so much on my heart
I want to remember and share. I also apologize for the poor quality of the pictures but my Pastor has said that our Sunday school class at Ft. Cooper Baptist Church has bought us another camera and it will be here soon.
Thanks for all who take time to allow us to share this priceless experience with you.

Chuck and Terry Fernandez
Kenya, East Africa

Sunday, August 23, 2009

School and Saying Good-bye

We have completed another week of school and it is hard to believe we have almost finished six months of language schooling with only one more week left. PTL!!
With Terry feeling under the weather we stayed local in Eldoret this week.
We made more progress on printing and distributing a Bible study program to some of the folks we are working with and actually had material translated into Swahili by our language teacher Wycliffe.
Since next week will be our last week with Wycliffe, we are looking to use him to help translate some more Bible study material for students and Pastors who are wanting to continue their education. Again ,none of the materials are intended to take the place of seminary training but instead intended to help those that have a desire to learn and cannot attend a seminary. This week we also said goodbye to a couple of young folks that the Lord has brought our way. The first one was a young lady named Sarah who is a housekeeper at the mansion that we live next door to in their guesthouse. Sarah has become friends with Terry over the last six months. During that time Terry lead her to Christ, we baptized her at Mawe Tatu (3 Stones) and Terry has been mentoring her as well.

She has decided to return to her village to help her parents with their family farm. Sarah always has a smile on her face and she was so happy to be saved and start her new walk as a Christian. She will be missed here in Eldoret but we know we will see her again one day if not here in heaven.

The other person we said goodbye this week to was young man named Geoffrey. He is the brother- in -law to our landlord Noah Ngeny who is the Olympic Gold Medalist and current world record holder in the 1500m. Geoffrey showed up at our compound while waiting to leave for the USA.
He introduced himself as a born again believer who was going to the USA on a four year track scholarship to the University of Arkansas in Pine Bluff.
He said he knew nothing about the USA and did not know anyone but his track coach.
After discussing his spiritual condition I told him I knew of a Pastor in Pine Bluff that would welcome him to his Church. The Pastor is Roger Stewart of Olive Branch Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, Arkansans who we met on our deputation tour.
To make a long story short I put the two in touch with each other.
Bro. Roger was so glad that Geoffrey was coming to America for the first time and was willing to meet him, bring him to Church and become his friend.
Geoffrey could not believe he already had a Church home and Pastor waiting for him.
He was so grateful to have someone in America that would look out for his Spiritual welfare.
I asked Pastor Roger, What are the chances of me meeting a young Kenyan National that would be traveling to Pine Bluff, Arkansas looking for a good Church?
I have to agree with Bro. Roger that it is surely a “God Thing”.
Late last night I received an email from Bro. Roger who said that they were so pleased to have Geoffrey attend church with them and feed him his first Big Mac and Pizza.
Please pray for Geoffrey as he adjusts to the Land of Opportunity and for Bro. Roger as he teaches and disciples Geoffrey. I am looking forward to hearing of the great things that God is going to do through this relationship which was started thousands of miles away. Thank you for the many prayers and for allowing us to be a part of your life.

Chuck & Terry Fernandez
Kenya, East Africa
PS: Terry sends a sincere thank you for all that made her birthday special with cards, emails and calls

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bible Study Materials and 36 Baptized on Mt. Elgon

Over the last eight months we have put much effort into getting the Word of God into the hands of the Pastors and people we have been working with. These efforts have included printing Swahili gospel tracts, buying and distributing English and Swahili Bibles, giving out solar audio Bibles for those that cannot read and this week we started printing Bible Study material for those in leadership positions so they can be better equipped and educated to teach their people. We have met only a select few that have been able to attend a seminary so that leaves the vast majority of Pastors, Preachers and Leaders without any formal Bible training and education. This week we put together a comprehensive Bible study comprised of old material that we shipped and have used over the years.
To people that have nothing for study materials it was more precious than silver and gold.
Many said that they have been praying for years that God would provide them with the needed materials so that they may teach others. In the USA we certainly take it for granted that you can go to any Church on any Sunday and be handed a Sunday school lesson and/or a Bible devotion book. These materials or rare here in Kenya. So it was a blessing to see people so hungry and happy to receive teachings from God’s Word. A big part of our mission work here is to help the Pastors and leaders reach their potential through education so that they may reach others. These materials are not intended to take the place of a seminary but simply intended to help those who are unable to attend.
2 Tim. 2:2 "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. "
Yesterday we met with the Landmark Baptist Church of Mt. Eglon. I was asked to teach on scriptural Baptism as there were 36 new converts who were ready for Baptism. While we have been assisting in the evangelism efforts there for several months this was our first opportunity to worship with the Mosaai’s of Mt. Elgon. We meet under a make shift building covered with tarps, tin and corn stalks.
There must have been around 100 in attendance and we had a great service of worship and preaching. We have been blessed to work with three different tribes thus far: The Luua, The Turkana and now the Mosaai’s of Mt. Elgon. All three have a very distinct and different ways of worshipping through singing and praising but these folks really sang very well.

After services we probably walked several Kilometers down a steep trail to the stream of very cold water coming from the top of the mountain. Among the many new converts baptized was a man named Simeon who is the husband of Terry’s translator Mary. She had been praying for over five years for her husband to trust Christ and become a Christian and now he has been saved and scripturally baptized. They both were so happy about becoming a Christian couple with a Christian home. After a long hard trek back up the Mountain accompanied by drums and singing we had to leave before it rained. This will be our last trip up Mt. Elgon for some time as it starting to rain daily and is impossible to drive to the top when it is the least bit wet. It is amazing to see what God is doing there now

with two simultaneous Church plants taking place on each side of the Mountain. We have been privileged to be a small part of the work there while attending language school. We thank God and give Him all the praise for what He is doing. Each week our language studies are paying off as we are able to speak, hear and communicate a little more. Thanks for allowing us to share our ministry with you and to be able to share the blessings of God’s work.

Chuck & Terry Fernandez
Kenya, East Africa Children of Landmark Baptist, Mt. Elgon

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Slippery Slopes on Other Side of the Mountain, Police Garrison & Accident

This week we traveled back from Lodwar without any problems and resumed the home stretch of language school. While we are getting more comfortable in conversation and able to hear much more it is going to take considerably more time than 6 months to be at a level of fluency that we need to achieve. Nevertheless we are learning everyday and are very happy with where we are. Yesterday we returned to Mt. Elgon to contribute to the Church planting efforts there. The trip up the mountain was no problem but when got to the top it was very wet from a late evening rain the night before. It was so muddy that we were slipping and sliding off the road in 4 wheel drive. The area we visited was on the other side of the mountain from where we have done all the previous evangelism. Word has spread throughout the region that we have been visiting and there was a group of 30 believers who have been meeting without a Pastor or Church.
They had gotten word back to Pastor Peter that they wanted us to visit. Just getting to the site where those folks have been meeting was a chore as the steep slopes where like ice from the mud. On the way there I saw a donkey loaded with beans sitting on the trail unable to walk because of the mud.

I knew we were in for a tough day of trekking. We arrived at a site covered with two tarps where the group had been meeting. Their leader, a man named Alex was one that had lost his home and many members of his family during the clashes. Alex said that he had been praying that God would help him reach his people in his village for Christ. He has no denominational association and asked Pastor Peter to lead him and teach him Baptist doctrine. So what has started as a Church plant on Mt. Elgon could potentially turn into two Churches, one on each side of the mountain God willing. I know I have said it before but I don’t know that I have ever seen people who are so hungry and desperate for God.
Last week when we were in Turkana they baptized 22 where we started the original efforts on the mountain. I think it could be summarized best by a man who said: “After what people saw last year with the clashes how can people say we do not need God”? So after meeting with Alex and his people we divided up into 6 teams and started hiking, slipping and sliding. There were 19 people who made decisions to receive Christ as Savior and many that were encouraged in the Lord. I constantly have to thank God for a wife that is willing to go into intense hiking areas and be covered with mud to share God’s Word. Her heart and dedication to God never s ceases to amaze me. Before leaving I needed to find a police officer named Fred who is stationed at the Police Garrison on top of the mountain as I had promised Him a KJV English Bible when I meet him several weeks back. Upon visiting at the garrison we received a request from the base commander to come back and share God’s word. What a blessing to have the police welcoming God’s Word. So after another amazing day we started home. As we approached a small town a man on a bike came off a side road without stopping and ran into the side of the truck. I did all I could do to avoid him by braking and swerving but I could not leave the road because of pedestrians. Bro. Eddie Williams gave me some good advice before returning to the USA for this situation. He said no matter what the condition of the person; take them person strait to the Police Station. So that is what we did. Fortunately the hospital was located next to the police station so the man could get aid but he was hurting for sure. Nobody was injured in the vehicle and the only damage was a broken mirror and a scratch on the door. The police did their investigation and said I was not at fault and could not have avoided him hitting the truck but you still hate to see people hurt. We ask you to pray that the man will have a full and speedy recovery for people do not get good medical care here at all.
As I prayed this morning, I made a commitment to the Lord that I would not let Satan discourage or distract us from doing His will in our life. Today we attended Church locally here in Eldoret so we could get some rest from mountain climbing and the moving the previous week. Thank you for your prayers and for traveling this journey with us.

Chuck & Terry Fernandez
Kenya, East Africa

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mission Accomplished, Stolen Camera and Happy Birthday!

We have accomplished our objectives by traveling to Turkana this week. The house is secure: we have installed over 400 ft. of barb wire, chain link fence covered with mabati (palms leaves) and security lighting. We also installed the steel door and window we brought from Eldoret and have guards 24/7.

In addition to all the security measures we moved our household items into the house so when we finish our last month of language school we have everything in Turkana to begin our ministry work here. During all of the moving, construction and cleaning the replacement camera has come up missing. I told Terry, digital cameras must be the hottest ticket on the black market here in Africa. Fortunately, we bought a very inexpensive replacement for the first one that was stolen but still it is very discouraging. So the pictures that are attached were taken from my phone camera again and not good quality but better than nothing. Needless to say we are exhausted from the physical work and heat but we are glad we took this opportunity to make preparations for our move.
Today we celebrated my birthday by visiting a village called Nakechichok.
By the way, Thank you for all the warm birthday wishes!
We had great services and enjoyed teaching, preaching and worshiping with God’s people.

As with virtually every trip to remote areas we usually return with the sick from the village to bring them to Lodwar for medical treatment. Today we hauled coal for some of the Church members to sell in town and also brought back a baby who has been severely sick for almost two weeks now. Before we made it to town we stopped at an old Momma’s house named Mama Samson. We delivered meds to her in February as she was suffering from TB. She wanted to greet the missionaries who brought her the medicine that helped cure her. She has made a full recovery thanks to the great physician, the Lord. She asked for special prayers as they have lost their entire herd of goats due to the drought they are experiencing here in Turkana. It has not rained here since March and they only get around 10 inches per year. Prayer is important no matter what the subject is or where you are in the world but when it involves the life and death of people with very basic survival needs it tends to get your fullest attention. The people are really suffering here and are in desperate need of rain and relief. Before we left, the old Mama offered us some camel meat in appreciation for us stopping by to greet her and for bringing her medicine. Keep in mind that these are people who are starving wanting to give very healthy Americans food.
What a humbling experience.
You may be wondering if I accepted the gift?
It would be extremely disrespectful and offensive to decline something that is intended to be a blessing so we traveled back to Lodwar with a bag of camel meat.
God will bless the giving spirit of those that are in need.
The Bible says give and it shall be given unto you.
We will be traveling back this week with a different vehicle as I need to be bring the radiator from the Land Cruiser to Eldoret to be repaired. The Discovery Land Rover is much newer than the Toyota but has been sitting for a year.

So we covet your continued prayers for protection and provision. Special thanks to the Eddie Williams INN of Lodwar and thank you for taking time to remember us in prayer as we continue what is truly an journey of faith.

Chuck & Terry Fernandez
Kenya, East Africa