Monday, July 25, 2011

The Heritage of the Lord & A Heart Like a Burning Fire

Terry & Mama's Ministry
We are ever mindful that life is but a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. But from time to time God shows us just how fragile the silver cord of life is through the experience of death. It seems all too often, here in Kenya, we are attending funerals and burying precious little children as was the case this week. I was asked to preach the message of a little three year girl named Michelle who lived near Mt. Elgon. It is heart wrenching to watch the mother and father grieve over the loss of their child and had it not been for the Lord Jesus and the Word of God it could have been unbearable. We do mourn, but not as those who have no hope. There was great strength and comfort knowing that the Word of God teaches us that Children are the Heritage of the Lord. It is this thought that I shared with the family as well as hundreds of village residents who attended the funeral. While the burial methods and procedures are very different from our country, the faith in our risen Savior brings us back to common ground in which we find comfort. The attachment Terry and I have to these villages are growing well beyond the visitor realm and our relationship to them is becoming more like residents after laboring in them for what is turning into years instead of a day, a week or month. Sharing these types of experiences with the people God has called us to minister to opens so many doors of opportunity to share the love of God through the gospel. Please pray for this young family during the weeks and months to come as there is a huge hole in their heart from a little empty chair at the dinner table. Most of the time we share and document our work through pictures but we just did not have peace to take pictures during the funeral service out of respect for these two young mourning parents.

Our travels also took us to the village of Mawe Tatu/Nzoia to deliver the new sign to Pastor Shadrach and the members of the Landmark Baptist Church (LBC) in preparation for building.  New Sign for Landmark Baptist Church
It had rained all night so the interior roads were nearly impassable but we thank God for four wheel drive as I do not believe it is possible or wise to travel anywhere into the interior of Africa without it. This church was our first Church plant and it is going exceptionally well.
The members and their young Pastor have really grown in the Lord and it was a blessing to be reunited for the cause of Christ with both old and new members alike. It seems as if they are not sure if missionaries will ever return when they go home for furlough so needless to say, the people were so happy to see us again.
                    Terry and Women Ministry
We brought two young men with us who have been attending our Eldoret men’s bible study. Since LBC Mawe Tatu is our closest church to Eldoret it is here that we baptized those who are saved through the Bible Study and it is here that we take these young men for additional training under the leadership of one of our finest National Pastors (Shadrach).
One of the young men whom I led to Christ over two years ago has surrendered his life to the ministry and is asking the LBC at Mawe Tatu to send him to his home region near Lake Victoria to reach his tribe with gospel of Jesus Christ.
While I taught on the early church, Kennedy preached a very powerful and personal message from Exodus 4 where God called Moses to bring forth the Children of Israel out of bondage.    Kennedy Preaching 
I have seen and experienced this type of very personal call by God Himself to go and preach the gospel. It was clearly apparent through the preaching of God’s word that Kennedy has within him what Jeremiah described as a burning fire; Jer. 20:9 But His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones.
Please pray for this brother as he will be traveling to Lake Victoria the first week of August to continue a work that we started in a fishing village called Wichlum back in 2009. There are a group of fishermen there whom we led to Christ and are now assembling themselves on a weekly basis for Bibles studies. They have grown in numbers and now are in real need of some leadership. We have taught, discipled and mentored Brother Kennedy and now God has called him to reach his people. Terry and I are truly blessed to see what is described in the book of Acts as
 "God’s hand with us, many believing and being turned to the Lord." While on furlough I was somewhat challenged at a mission conference that we should be working in large cities rather than villages, however, after seeing what God is doing in our lives and in the lives of many others I am certain we are exactly where God wants us. For it could be out of one of these villages that God can call the next apostle Paul.

In His Service,

Bro. Chuck & Sis. Terry Fernandez
                 Bike Tow Kenya Style

Phil. 4:13

Monday, July 18, 2011

“On the Hook” and “In the Valley”

                                 Young Preacher Thomas
 Keep in mind we are from Florida, and in boating terms, “On the Hook” might mean to be anchored somewhere in a body of water but in automotive terms it means to be broke down and being towed in by the tow truck. That is precisely what happened this week as we traveled to a village in Western, Kenya known as Mawe Tatu. Our plans were to secure trees to be cut and processed for the new sanctuary there but about half way into the trip the front driveshaft came apart ripping out the main wire harness as well as severing the fuel lines. Needless to say, it was a huge mess that left us stranded for hours while waiting for the tow truck.
                                  Waiting For Tow Truck                   
Then when the tow truck arrived it left us wondering if it was capable of towing the Rover back to Eldoret. (Refer to Pics)
In any case, we made it back safely but had no transportation for several days.
As always God knows what we need and this set back actually forced us to take a few days to rest our bodies and particularly our backs after the rigors of moving back into the country again. Once the Rover was repaired it was immediately back on the road carrying us deep into the Kerio Valley to visit the Pokot village called Chepsabei.
We thoroughly enjoy working in this hot and rugged land and we praise God for leading us to work there. Every trip there has moments of sheer joy. For example there is the descent into the valley from an elevation of approx. 6000’ to desert semi-arrid elevation below 1000’. Just at the peak of this descent we can look miles out into the valley with great anticipation knowing that God has called us to this region to reach the lost and He is doing a work in the lives of many people who live there. There is also great joy in seeing these young believers and followers of Christ praising, learning and growing in their faith. 
                                     Terry With Old Mama 
The work with the Pokot tribe was the last work we started before we left for furlough. Needless to say, we were anxious to worship with these new believers and to see how they were progressing in their walk with the Lord. A young Kenyan national preacher from the Mt. Elgon region named Timothy has been leading this work in our absence and has done a great job of teaching these young believers the Word of God. He loves them dearly and they love him so much they have given him a Pokot name. His Pokot name is “Loquardo” which means: LIGHT.           Tim & Tom....Pokot Tribe
Not only has he done a great job of continuing the work but God has blessed him with two young men from that village who have surrendered to the gospel ministry. This is an answer to our prayers. As I have explained to Timothy, our mission with the Pokot is to bring them to Christ and to train up leaders and God called preachers from Chepsabei so they will eventually have a Pokot Pastor and Pokot Missionaries to carry the gospel further and deeper into areas which are inaccessible to us. It was a thing of beauty to see these two young preachers inter act as they led the people in singing and teaching the Word of God. There is something special about two young men purposing in the heart to be living sacrifices for our Savior as they fulfill God’s will for their lives. What a powerful team God has formed as it is apparent that their souls have been knitted together to do God’s Work as they minister to the Pokot tribe. God is an awesome God!
I preached from the book of Acts on Why and Where they were first called Christians.
Over the next few month’s we will teach on baptism and basic discipleship to prepare those who have professed Christ to be baptized and organized into a New Testament Church. While the numbers were down due to a large village wedding, this village is being transformed by the love of God through the gospel one person at a time.
                                    People of  Chepsabei
We were able to supply the most recent converts the Word of God by giving them solar powered audio Bibles thanks to the special offerings given by our brethren in the USA. Your sacrificial gift has blessed these new Pokot believers.
     Asante Sana = Thank You Very Much.
We always depart with great joy in our hearts over what the Lord is doing in this large somewhat obscure village in the Kerio Valley known to us, the residents and God.
                                  Circle of Prayer
The climb out of the valley is very hard as the mountainous road is rough and rocky but at the peak of the climb we are always rewarded with a blast of cold air from this high elevation. It is so refreshing after working in the 100 degree heat.
We say thank you Lord. 
Please keep us in your prayers this coming week as we do have trials ahead of us but we know God’s grace is sufficient.

  2 Co 12:9 And He said unto me,
 " My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness."
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. "

God Bless You,

Bro. Chuck & Sis. Terry Fernandez

Kenya, East Africa
     PS: Special Thanks to First Baptist Church of Eastbay and Anchor Baptist Church for supplying 100 Solar powered audio Bibles.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Foreign but Familiar...Hitting the Ground Running

  Landmark Baptist Church of Namarambi
located at the base of Mt. Elgon.
International travel always leaves something to be desired unless you enjoy being crammed into a plane with a couple hundred people and basically unable to get comfortable for sixteen hours of flying. However as bad as it is, our flights from Orlando to London and then from London to Nairobi went smoother than ever. Even with having to switch airports in London, from Gatwick to Hethrow with ten pieces of luggage worked out better than planned. I say all that to say that God really blessed our travels as we returned to Kenya this week.
There is a strange feeling after leaving family
                               Grandson Chuckie
and country to do God’s work on the foreign field for without a doubt you know you are on foreign soil but you also have great peace in your heart that you are at home in the perfect will of God. It is also comforting to have familiarity with the place God has called us to. While we do not consider ourselves veterans we are also not new to Kenya. The sights, the sounds and the smells had become so common place to us that we hardly notice that we are foreigners in a familiar land.                         Namarambi Youth Choir
Getting settled back in Eldoret has had its challenges but nothing that is unusual with the re-entry process. With jet lag trying to hold us back and with a heart of desire to see our brethren pushing us forward we hit the road to two village Churches in the interior on the Lord’s Day. One thing I learned while in the USA from feedback given by our American brethren was that people who read our reports really have a hard time getting a handle on what villages and churches we are working in. That is perfectly understandable because who could possibly place the village churches in the interior of Kenya on a continent as large as Africa. With that said, I will attempt to be a little more descriptive so people can follow our work when writing my journal blog. Probably more important than the location are the beautiful people God has called us to minister to. We visited the Landmark Baptist Church of Namarambi and the Landmark Baptist Church of Ndivisi both located at the base of Mt. Elgon.
             Ndivisi Baptist Church located at the base of Mt. Elgon.
It was exciting for us to see their continued growth of both churches spiritually and physically in our absence. There were many new faces of people who have been saved and baptized while we were in the states as well as those faithful members whom we led to Christ during our first term which is a solid indication of Churches built on God rather than man. When our life’s work is over we want to leave something behind that God continues to get glory from. During Sunday services we were also reminded how much we love worshipping with our brethren in Kenya.
God’s presence was felt as He was worshipped
from the heart.
After services I was able to spend time with Pastor Peter who I consider my right hand and the best soul-winner I have ever known to make ministry plans for the remainder of this year. Those plans include upcoming evangelism crusades, training seminars, buildings and outreaches. Working with six Churches, training twenty-one preachers with three new preaching points while pushing the gospel into unreached areas provides more ministry opportunities and challenges than we could have ever dreamed or expected. We believe and know that God is with us as He has shown Himself faithful by providing the necessary partners and workers to fulfill His calling on our lives.
Thank you to all who regularly pray and financially support our ministry as it would not be possible without either.
In His Service,
Bro. Chuck & Sis. Terry Fernandez
Kenya, East Africa            Terry & Beatrice
Phil. 4:13

Monday, July 4, 2011

National Meeting, Remembering Joplin and War Hero’s

                                         Pastor Tim & Crystal            
We have logged over 5000 miles during the last two weeks of travel while attending the national meeting of the American Baptist Association in St. Louis, Missouri. We also visited Churches in Alabama and Arkansas on the way up and back. These meetings were kind of the grand finale to our deputation efforts to promote our mission work in Kenya. With over two thousand in attendance it was great to reconnect with our supporting Churches, make contact with new Pastors and Churches as well as have fellowship with other missionaries. We are so thankful for all those who share our vision and burden to reach the lost and are willing to partner with us through prayers and offerings.  
We were also encouraged by the feedback we received regarding work and we know God is going to do great things if we continue to follow His leadership and put Jesus first in all things. On our way back from St. Louis our GPS routed us through Joplin, Missouri which afforded us to see the destruction left in the wake of an F5 tornado.
Our hearts were truly broken as we traveled through neighborhoods which were leveled by what can only be compared to a huge explosion which took out a third of the city. I have attached two photos, one taken the day after the tornado hit and one taken thirty days later in which cleanup is still currently on going.
It was amazing anyone survived the utter destruction brought by the massive storm. Please continue to pray for those who lost loved ones and for those rebuilding their lives as they will never be the same. Words cannot describe the scene as we never have seen anything close to that kind of power and destruction before.
During the course of our travels I also had the opportunity to visit with some real war hero’s. The first one I met was a War World II Veteran named Johnny Bell, who by way of recent marriage to my sister-in-law Karen is now my brother-in-law. Never thought I would ever have a brother-in-law who landed at the Sicily, Angio and Salerno invasions but I do now and I am thankful for His service.   
To sit and listen to the war stories against great odds is a reminder that great men made great sacrifices to make this a great nation. During our time in St. Louis we met some other war hero’s near the Mississippi river who were there for “Marine Week”.  
The young Marines we met were veterans of the Afghanistan War and have also made a great sacrifice for our country. Marines have a special place in our hearts because our son Chuck III is an “Iraqi Freedom” war hero. 
From the time of the Revolutionary War men have been fighting for the many freedoms that we have a tendency to take for granted. Thank God for men that believe enough in a cause that they are willing to fight for with their very lives. 
      Our son, Chuck III, sees his new son, Chuck IV, for the first
time upon his return from war....
On this Fourth of July weekend I need to wish my Mother Happy Birthday!
  She has influenced my life in so ways and is currently instrumental in getting our blog published so others can share our journey of faith.
Lord willing, our next journal will be from Kenya as we fly back on Tuesday, July 5, 2011. Please pray for traveling mercies, our children/grandchildren and our mission work. We say goodbye to our children & grandchildren with heavy hearts but we are excited to see what God is going to do during our second term.  
We have laid a foundation on which we will continue to build and we are looking forward to going further in our faith as well. May God Keep you and Bless You and to God be the glory.

Bro. Chuck & Sis. Terry Fernandez
Phil. 4:13