Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Graduation in Georgia, the Sunshine State & First Impressions

Much has happened over the last two weeks and I have come to realize that those who are part of our ministry are as much a part of our life so I feel compelled to continue to keep a journal from time to time while we are states side as well. Our flights from Kenya to Atlanta went well with all of our luggage arriving intact. We were greeted by all three children as well as their spouses and/or significant others. Additionally, our grandchildren were waiting at the last check point. As we came up the escaltor our four year old grandson Chucky burst past the security check point when he saw us to jump into our arms. No national alert was issued but we have never been happier to see someone pass security. While our children are grown adults now it meant so much for us for them to take time out of their lives and drive to Atlanta to meet us. Our son-in-law Kevin put all of us up at one of the most posh hotels in downtown Atlanta.

We can’t thank him enough for making our first night back in country so special. Our first week has been spent in Georgia and we were able to attend our daughter’s graduation in Thomasville, Georgia. We are very proud of her accomplishment graduating as a surgical nurse while being a wife, a mother as well as helping her husband runs a very successful business.
After spending a week in Georgia we traveled back to our home state of Florida for some needed R & R. While we know our bodies are adjusting to the change in time zones there is definitely some reverse culture shock involved after living abroad for one year. I wanted to record the following
impressions of our first week back in country for the sake of remembrance and to share what it is like to transition back to our great country for a short break.
#1. The first noticeable differences are the roads. We have grown so accustomed to roads that are in total disrepair or no roads at all that we can’t believe how incredibly smooth, organized and well marked our roads are here in America.

 #2. After being on an African diet it is like being a child in a candy store with the choices we have in restaurants and at food stores. There are so many choices that it is hard to choose and you just want to try one of everything. It is also weird not to have to worry about bleaching vegetables or the meats that you eat. #3. There is a real adjustment after being around Africans the entire year and with limited contact with other white folks from time to time. We love the people that God has united us in Kenya to Work with. We Pray with them, We worship with them, We Cry with them , we laugh with them and we have become so much like them in many ways and now we find ourselves almost feeling like an outsider among our own people. It is something that is very hard to explain.

#4. I realize that our country is in the worst recession since the great depression but even though we are going through difficult times we are still a most blessed nation. Today my son Chucky dropped me off at Wal-Mart to pick up a couple of things and proceeded to Lowes. I told him I would walk to Lowes instead of him having to drive back to pick me up as we have grown accustomed to walking in Kenya.
As I walked the quarter mile to Lowes I was taken aback by the number of vehicles on the road. It is rare to see people in our country walking unless it is for pleasure or exercise while in Kenya 90% of the population do not own cars and have to walk everywhere. These are just a few of our first impressions after being gone for a year but in any case we are glad to be back for a break. This weekend we will start visiting and preaching in local Churches again to continue raising funds for the ministry. As always we ask you to pray that God will bless our meetings and that we will be a blessing to the people we worship with. Thanks for allowing us to be a part of your life as well.

Chuck & Terry Fernandez
Kenya, East Africa
Currently In Brooksville, Florida

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Eldoret Evangelism, Stolen Generator & Mawe Tatu Baptisms

          Baptism of a young Muslim man, named Mganda, who was saved at our Bible Study...

The word “busy” would be an understatement if you used it to describe the week that we have had. With our return to the USA growing closer we used this last week in country to finish on a strong note. Tuesday we did street evangelism in Eldoret. Pastor Peter and Pastor Shadrach have been wanting to travel to Eldoret for some time to do Street Evangelism and attend the weekly Bible Study we have with the Welders, Mechanics and Fabricators. We spent much of the day sharing God’s Word in areas that are somewhat removed from the mainstream of the town.
                   STREET EVANGELISM                                                                
                                                                  BIBLE STUDY  

Most of the time was spent sharing the gospel one on one although there were times when  large crowds gathered to hear God’s Word proclaimed. In the end there were eight who made professions of faith. They were invited to the Bible study where Pastor Peter taught at one and Pastor Shadrach taught at the other. Remember these preachers are farmers from Western Kenya who live in very rural areas. Now they have come to the city to preach. They kept on saying the whole time, “I can’t believe how many people there are here”. After a great day of street evangelism and Bible study we returned to the truck only to find that the truck had been broken into and the small generator we had planned to use to build pews the next day was stolen. Now keep in mind the truck was locked and was parked in the middle of town in broad daylight. The guys were really bummed out after a great day in the city. So to cheer them up I shared with them, II Cor. 4:8 "we are troubled on every side, yet not distressed, we are perplexed but not in despair".

Wednesday we traveled to Mawe Tatu (3 Stones) to build pews. After Pastor Shadrach help build pews at Namarambi last week he begged me to build them at Mawe Tatu before we left. We spent the day building pews with a chainsaw instead of a circular saw because we were missing our generator. God always provides and the pews turned out very nice. It was a good thing we built those new pews at Mawe Tatu because Sunday services was the biggest crowd since the Church was started last year. Sunday services were also one that really helped me leave with a cup that was running over. To start with, the young Muslim man named Mganda who was saved at our Bible Study a couple of weeks ago wanted to be scripturally baptized.

He traveled with us to Mawe Tatu and it was such a blessing to see him with a Bible in hand and singing praises unto Jesus. What a testimony to the power of God through the preaching of the cross. Sitting next to him was a very old man who we had witnessed to over 9 months ago. He finally decided to attend and has been attending faithfully for the last 4 weeks.
                                                                                                                         YOUNG BUILDERS

He is part of the reason for the record crowd as he brought his wife, children and many grandchildren. He was a joyful reminder that God grants the increase in His time.


In addition to Mganda coming for baptism and the old man coming with his family, I sat on the sidelines and watched Kennedy who was saved only a few months ago give the teenagers a devotion for Sunday school. Lastly, the Lord reminded me during services today that Jeffet who directs the service and is Pastor Shadrach’s right hand man was one of the first people we lead to Christ at Mawe Tatu evangelism last year. He was a man before salvation whose life could be equated to the prodigal son. A man who lived a riotous life without God. Since this will be our last service in Kenya for a while I believe that God through His infinite grace and mercy gave me a real lift by reminding me that our first year in country was time well spent. We know that the Lord Jesus makes a difference in the lives of people but from time to time it is awesome when He shows you that He is making a difference in their lives through us.

What a privilege and what a blessing. We ask you to pray for the Churches and Bible studies while we are gone but I can assure you these folks are so totally sold out and surrendered to God that they will continue with or without us. Terry and I leave for Nairobi tomorrow to start a month vacation as well attending our daughter Carla’s graduation in Georgia. Our plans also include two mission conferences and a prison revival at Cross City Correctional Institute. We are so looking forward to seeing our Children and holding our Grandchildren whom we have not seen in one year. Please continue to pray for us.
On a parting note, I do not plan on making journal entries while at home but I will resume them after our conferences and revival. Thank you and may God keep you and bless you.

Chuck & Terry Fernandez
Kenya, East Africa

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Happy New Year! Building Pews and Sunday Services

As I write this weekly journal entry it is hard to believe that the New Year 2010 is here and that Terry and I have completed our first year of mission work here in Kenya. So before I forget, let me wish everyone who reads this a Happy & Blessed New Year! With our return to the USA planned in just 11 days we are trying to accomplished as much as possible before we leave. Attendance was down a little for our weekly Bible Study here in Eldoret due to the fact that many have traveled to their home villages to spend Christmas and New Years with their family. However, we had two good meetings that resulted in another young man, named Kennedy, getting saved by God’s grace. This young man visited last week and had no idea what it meant to receive Christ as Lord and Savior or to be born again. After the meeting I spent time with him explaining the gospel step by step then sent him home with a Bible and a gospel tract. I asked him to study God’s Word for himself and then ask God what he needed to do. He came back this week and told those in attendance that he made a decision to receive Christ and follow the Lord’s teachings. Praise the Lord!

Also, one of our first time visitors named Sammy asked us to pray for his boss to allow him to attend these meetings. The only reason he was able to meet with us this week was because his boss was out of town. We united in praying that God would soften his boss’s heart to allow this sharp young man the opportunity to study his Bible and fellowship with us. Yesterday, Terry and I traveled to Western Kenya to build pews for the Church plant at Namarmabi. Three weeks ago they were able to purchase a plot, last week they were provided with a tent and I could not leave the country knowing that these precious folks were either standing or sitting in the dirt the entire service. With that said we purchased enough lumber to build seven pews.

It rained all day but thanks to the tent we set up we were able to build the pews so God’s people would have something to sit on. We enjoyed a great time of fellowship with the three Pastors who came to help build as well as Missionary John Wanyonyi from Sudan who was visiting his family in Western. As you look at the pictures be thankful for the padded high back pews God has provided for you at your Church but also keep in mind it was the best we could give them with the limited finances we have to work with. Today we traveled back to Western to attend Church with Pastor Peter and the Landmark Baptist of Ndivisi. God has truly knitted our souls together with this Pastor and His Church. While we will miss these dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ during our break it was comforting to know that

 we are only going to be gone for short period of time. During the service our hearts were truly touched when they presented Terry with homemade cards and two necklaces for our daughter Carla who is graduating as a Surgical Nurse in Three weeks. The people we have worked with over the last year are some of the most wonderful Christian folks we have ever met. They truly love the Lord and others with a Love that I can hardly explain. We praise God for his plan to unite us with such Godly people to carry out the Great Commission. Before we departed for Eldoret we had the opportunity to visit Terry’s Translator Mary who gave birth to a baby girl on New Year’s Eve.

It was a foregone conclusion that her last born would be named after Terry which is the fourth child named Terry or Teresa this year.

Terry and Mary have teamed up over the last year to share God’s love through his Son Jesus Christ in hundreds of homes, even when Mary was 9 months pregnant. They have developed a bond through a kindred spirit with a burden to reach the Lost. This connection while very rare in this day and age it is one of the strongest bonds because they experience one the most powerful moments in an individual’s life, that being when a person believes by faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. There is nothing I know of short of the band of brothers in combat that produces that kind of unity. We covet your daily prayers and we also want to take this opportunity to give a special thanks to all those who have partnered with us in prayer and finances over the last year. God Bless you all!

Chuck & Terry Fernandez
Kenya, East Africa