Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day, Eldoret Street Evangelism & Sadaka....Offering

While Kenya does not celebrate the same holidays as we do in America our hearts and minds are always thinking of what is taking place back home. We are keenly aware of the holidays we are missing with our family, friends and Church. Memorial Day is very special to both Terry and I as our fathers are both Viet Nam Veterans who lost friends in action. Also our Son Chuck III who is a Marine lost friends in combat while serving in Iraq. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom and the American flag proudly flies in front of our house today. This week we held our second street evangelism campaign here in Eldoret.
The first one was attended by the Pastors we work with from Western Kenya but this time the men of our weekly Bible study also participated. For many of these men it was the first time in their life they have ever shared their faith with others. We prepared this day with months of prayer believing God would delivered in a great way. There were eleven men who united for a day on the streets of Eldoret to share the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. After meeting for prayer and dividing up into four groups representing four sections of the city we fanned out into what would be the busiest day in Eldoret I believe I have ever seen.
Eldoret is a central city where people come from all over for business and supplies.
There are days when it seems like a ghost town and there are days when it is so packed that you cannot move. Tuesday was one of those days when the city was absolutely packed with humanity. That is a real blessing when you are out on the streets witnessing for Christ.

At times we were surrounded by what seemed like one hundred people as we gave out gospel tracts, the book of John and Romans and preached on street corners.
 It is a far different atmosphere from the quiet country farm setting where we go house to house in the interior of Western Kenya or on Mt. Elgon. Nevertheless it was an answer to prayer as our hearts desire is to reach as many people as possible with the “Good News”.
While there were hundreds that took time out of their busy schedule to hear God’s Word proclaimed we really needed the power of the Holy Spirit to cut through the noise from vehicles, construction and even mockers. The day was blessed as there were twenty four precious souls who made professions of faith and there were dozens more that I cannot even began to speculate who prayed publicly to receive Christ and whose names we did not get. Only the Lord knows, but time and heaven will eventually reveal the faith of those who accepted Christ on Tuesday.
                                                                          The day was both blessed and wild.

Ater evangelism we held two Bible studies for those that wanted more teachings and we were also blessed to have the Mayor of Eldoret stop in and thank us for the evangelism efforts we put forth in her town.

Sunday, we attended one of our
Churches that was holding a special offering for the purpose of building a laboratory. While the restrooms here may look very much like an outhouse they are a necessity for every new Church. The thirty foot hole is dug and I was told that they raised enough funds to start building this week. Offerings here are a real blessing as they contain the best of what the people have to give to God which obviously includes coins and bills but also includes chickens, bananas, beans and avocados. We need to give special thanks to F.I.S.H. Ministries for providing the John and Romans books that were given out this week and all who support our work with prayers and finances for we know it would not be possible without either.

May God Keep You and Bless You,        

Chuck & Terry Fernandez
Mt. Elgon and Western Kenya

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Wind bloweth where it listeth...

The reminder of John 3:8 says:
".... and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."
This week’s Bible Studies were very much tied into preparing the people we work with to share their faith through the gospel of Jesus Christ. While soul winning and discipleship go hand in hand, it is evident that if no efforts are made to fulfill the great commission through preaching the Gospel then eventually there will be no one to disciple. With that in mind I taught the Welders, Fabricators and Mechanics of our men’s weekly Bible study and outreach how to share God’s plan for salvation.
The timing is crucial for these teachings as we have planned a huge day of street evangelism here in Eldoret this upcoming week. This is a big step of faith for these mostly new and young converts who will be amongst their peers sharing God’s Word.
Saturday we did evangelism on the outskirts of Mawe Tatu.
As we shared God’s Word with people in their homes and the fields where they were working, John 3:8 (above) became so real because you never know when God’s Spirit will move upon the hearts of the people. While there were fourteen people who made professions of faith in Christ it seemed like an uphill struggle throughout the entire day. Some days the Holy Spirit is so strong and free and other days it seems as there are many hindrances.
For Terry and I it is not about the numbers but rather seeing people genuinely coming to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and through that relationship living a life of peace, love and joy so that God might be glorified. We never know when the Holy Spirit is going to move and prick the hearts of the people but we do know that when we go in the name of Jesus we are being obedient to His Holy Word. Contrastly, in today’s services at Landmark Baptist of Namarambi there was freedom and liberty for God’s Spirit to move so that even during Sunday school there were many who came forward and kneeled before the entire Church to receive Christ. The blessings and victories that come in the ministry are so much more precious when it is clearly the work of God.
Our hearts desire is to see the hand of God in all that we do and give him the praise, honor and glory for His grace. Worshipping under the tent provides a very unique experience.
While there are no creature comforts like padded pews and air conditioning we had a spectacular view of Mt. Elgon which is located within 15kms of where we were. At various times throughout the service my heart and mind was on our two sister Churches on the top of the mountain who were worshiping at the same time. I prayed that God would be in their midst and was reminded once again of how great God is.
Following the service we proceeded to the river for Baptism.
Terry said that while we were preparing for the baptisms the candidates were scared to death as the rivers in Western have swollen from the recent heavy rains.
Normally I prefer that the Pastors baptize their new converts but Pastor Daniel was not feeling well so he asked me to baptize all. We baptized ten new believers who were scared, cold and happy all in one experience.
The blessings of God continue to amaze me but then again we do serve an amazing God.
Please pray for this Tuesday’s street evangelism as God is doing some exciting things among his people here in Eldoret.
God Keep You and Bless You,             

Chuck & Terry Fernandez
Mt. Elgon & Western Kenya


Monday, May 17, 2010

Hanging Fence, Sand Land Evangelism, Running with Bulls & Reach One

We made the 300 Kilometer trip to Western Kenya and back three times this week.
The first one was to help Pastor Peter and his church members put up a new barbed wire fence because they have been having a few security issues.
Typically, projects of this type we will help the Church with the costs involved if the Church has made an effort to take up offerings for improvements.
Not only did the Church come through with their offerings to pay for the posts but the members of the Church also had to split the wood and then carry the 67 posts from a site several Kilometers away.
I was told that the Momma’s of the Church carried the bulk of the posts.
The ladies here work so hard not only in the house, but they can be seen weeding in the fields and harvesting often with a child on their back. We spent one of the most beautiful days this week planting posts and pulling wire. While it would have been easy to buy the wire and drop it off we would have missed the blessing of working hand in hand with our brethren here in Western. At the end of the day the Church members were like a teenager with a new car. Not only did they take great pride in their workmanship but they were happy to improve the property of God’s house.
As we were working one of the elders of the village stopped by and said he wanted to contribute 100 bricks to the next project, the latrine. I have always felt that one improvement to God’s house breeds other improvements. God’s people should perpetually have something going on to maintain and improve the House of God, even if it is made of mud.
The next trip to the Western province was for evangelism at a place called Sand Land. The name is derived from the sandy soil which is washed down into a large basin that looks like a lake and then collected to make bricks or cement. It is some of the best sand for building and is exported to other parts of the country.
We had 11 folks come for evangelism. The site of this village is approximately 10 Km’s from the Uganda border and is near where we had already done evangelism several weeks ago at a village called Mayanga. This work is lead by a young preacher named Nixon who is hosting a weekly Bible study.  The Bible study
 is now held in a restaurant/ hotel that Nixon and his wife rent.
These folks were very receptive to God’s Word and 20 people made professions of faith in Christ. At one point Pastor Peter and I ended up at the lake basin where all the sand is dug and loaded on to trucks.
There must have been 30 or 40 people working there who all stopped what they were doing so we could preach God’s Word to them. It never ceases to amaze me that so many people will gather in the middle of nowhere to hear God’s Word.
God’s Spirit was so strong as we stood in the countryside preaching the good news of the gospel and many from this group received Christ. We left that meeting with praise on our lips and hearts touched by God’s Spirit.
As we were walking away I saw Pastor Peter running by me at a very fast speed.
I did not know if he was laughing, leaping and praising God with overwhelming joy from the meeting or what? It only took one look over my shoulder to see that he was being chased by a very large angry bull with very big horns. So rule number one when being chased by a large animal is don’t be the last one left behind, I ran like crazy also.
We probably looked like PBR bull fighters running from bulls at the rodeo as we jumped up onto nearby rocks. When out in the villages we walk past hundreds of bulls that are docile but that one had an attitude.
We laughed the whole way back to the truck.
The third trip to Western was today to meet with the Landmark Baptist Church of Mawe Tatu for a baptism Service. We traveled with three men who recently have been saved through the Eldoret Bible Study. Pastor Shadrach welcomes these men as new members of his church as his Church is the closest to Eldoret.
While I have the opportunity to disciple these men through our weekly fellowship and Bible study he able to teach and preach to them on Sunday’s.
 These men truly love this Church and their young Pastor.
One of the men who was baptized was a young man named Rafael.

He is the one who was brought to Christ by the former Muslim name Mganda. I have attached an ABCD picture to illustrate that each one can reach one.
A. I reached Kennedy, B. Kennedy reached Uganda, C. Uganda reached Rafael. One person can make a difference for the cause of Christ!

Reach One!

Chuck and Terry Fernandez

Western Kenya & Mt. Elgon

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mother's Day, Soul Winning, Convert & Founding Father (James Muhanji)

Let me preface this journal entry by wishing my wife, my mother, my daughter and all Mother’s a HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY. We continue to enjoy God’s blessings and grace upon our lives and ministry here in Western Kenya. There are five weekly Bible Studies that have been started in addition to the four Church plants which have weekly Bible studies as well. I hold two of these weekly Bible studies in Eldoret with men who are Welders, Mechanics and Fabricators.
In January, there was a young Muslim man named (Mganda) from Uganda who received Christ at one of these meetings. This week he brought one of his co-workers named Rafael to the Bible study who also received Christ.
Now the reality of his conversation is that not only did Mganda get saved but he now has a passion to obey Christ and a burden to reach others. When I think of the gravity of his conversion I am reminded that only God does the redemptive work for lost man and only God could take someone who believed in Mohammad and prayed to Allah and transform him into a “fisher of men”. One of the many things that I believe every missionary wants to leave behind when his watch is over is those who will continue the work of reaching the lost and discipling the saved.
Yesterday we were blessed to experience that very pattern in action.
Terry and I received an invitation to visit a man named James Muhanji.
He currently is the Pastor of the Shirumba Landmark Baptist Church located in Western Kenya.
He is also one of the founding fathers of the Landmark Baptist work here. Not only did he help plant and Pastor the First Landmark Baptist Church of Nairobi along with our first missionary in country, Bro. Lynn Raburn, but for 30 years he has help plant Churches from one end of the country to the other. He is truly a pioneer in our work here. We have had seven missionaries here in Kenya over the years and James Muhanji help lay the foundation that each one has been blessed with and benefited from. I preached on Prov. 22:28, "Remove not the ancient landmarks which thy fathers have set" and was very much encouraged to see the first Pastor in our work still faithfully serving God at an elder age.
After services he shared old stories with us about his missionary journeys from the Southeast coast of Mombasa to the Northwest desert of Turkana and everywhere in between.
As we parted I assured him that he had been a blessing to this missionary. He did not ask for anything but prayer and he said that he is getting old and is slowing down. From time to time along life’s path you hear of great Men of God that are somewhat legendary and yesterday I had the opportunity to share time with one. Please say a prayer for Pastor James Muhanji, Shirumba Landmark Baptist Church.
I am thankful for his great testimony and his many years of faithful service for us to follow!

May God Keep you and Bless You,

Chuck & Terry Fernandez
        Terry with pig...
Got Chickens....

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Women's Seminar, Tent raising on Mt. Elgon & Happy People

This week has definitely fell in line with the direction the Lord has given us to follow our second year in Kenya. Much of last year was spent learning by searching, seeking and planting. While our efforts and focus continue to be preaching the gospel we find ourselves building on what was started last year. Spiritually speaking we are striving to help build up the new converts we have seen come to Christ through increased teaching and training. In addition to building up these new converts in the faith we are building on the relationships with the team members that God has put us together with to accomplish His will on Mt. Elgon and Western Kenya. Lastly we are physically building in a very infantile manner in the places where these young Church plants are worshipping. With regard to teaching we held a women’s seminar in Western were Terry was able to teach the Momma’s from five different Churches. She taught on “How to be a Godly Woman” and “Help for the Family”.
The feedback was tremendous as the Momma’s in the villages are the least educated and rarely afforded the opportunity to receive specific teachings geared to women. A Godly wife is one of my greatest blessings while on the foreign field and Terry fulfills that role so well. She is known as the Missionaries wife who cares for the Momma’s and Children.
At the close of the seminar Terry gave out scarfs as a gift. She said they were so happy that you would have thought you gave them a thousand dollars. Given the success of this seminar and the great need we plan on continuing these types of teachings throughout the remainder of the year.While Terry was teaching solo in the village I took Pastors Pete and Shadrach up Mt. Elgon to set up a tent for Pastor Alex at the Landmark Baptist Church of Cheptabrubru. It is the rainy season on Mt. Elgon but we received a report from Pastor Alex that it did not rain the day before.
The road up the Mountain has deteriorated to the point that it is dangerous and cannot be passed without being in four wheel drive low.It is so intensely rocky, slippery, narrow and steep that not only do we pray before we drive up but we are praying as we are climbing. The road to Turkana used to be the worst I have ever been on but that is taking second place these days to the climb up the Mountain. However stressful the climb is, once we arrive at the village all is forgotten with the warm welcome and appreciation for making the effort to encourage these believers in the Lord.
We met with Pastor Alex and many of the members of the Landmark Baptist Church of Cheptabrubru. They gave testimonies of how they have been staying faithful in spite of having to meet in what can best be described as a cattle stall. They rented this room until the landlord came and took the sheet metal off the roof leaving them exposed to the rain on a daily basis. However insufficient a tent may seem it was a welcome sight for those that do not even have a roof over their heads. We have now set up four tents serving as temporary meeting places for these young Churches. With each one I feel a sense of inadequacy but God reminds me that it is another small step of faith for the Church and for me as well. I know in my heart and have learned from past experience that God’s work done God’s way will never lack God’s supply.
After a prayer of dedication we gave out dresses and clothes to Pastor Alex and his family.
While this is not a rags to riches story it is literally from rags to dresses made with compassion by the Ladies of Ft. Cooper Baptist Church. In addition to clothes we were able to give out reading glasses to the older members of the Church.They were so thankful and happy to receive such gifts from God’s people who are thousands of miles away. In Closing, the ride down the mountain was a wild one due to the fact we could see the rain moving across the valley and I had to push faster than normal because once it rains on Mt. Elgon no traffic, 4X4 or not is able to move up or down. The heavens opened up as we made it to the base of the mountain but it was too close for comfort. We assured the two Churches on Mt. Elgon that God’s people are praying for them so please join us in prayer. I Thes. 5:25 Brethern, pray for us.

God Speed,

Chuck & Terry Fernandez