Monday, February 27, 2012

Hunters Special:Walk & Stalk Antelope & Gazelle

Bow Hunting
For those of you who are hunters, let me preface this blog entry by saying that I am
 #1 a fisher of men and
 #2 an inshore angler from Florida who has little experience with bow hunting.
 So please keep that in mind as I pass through your court of hunting judgment.
Also, keep in mind that we are using traditional bows hand made by the Pokot tribe and that this hunt was as much about the fellowship with my hunting buddy, Chad Harris, who I am only able to go hunting with one time per year.
He has become a good friend and is the only friend I have here in Kenya that is willing to spend this type of time doing something we thoroughly enjoy together.
Day One: The first area we hunted was very rocky with steep hills covered with scrub brush. We probably violated every rule of effectively walking and stalking on this first day as we were just learning how and where to hunt for the animals. For example, we must have had 8 men and a dozen curious children following us as we made our way to the top of the mountain to glass for antelope and gazelle.  
In addition to the large hunting party, we had the wind at our backs the entire time. Needless to say, we saw nothing other than a stray calf that I almost accidently shot after climbing and trekking many miles through this rocky and rough terrain. Remember, this is the first time we have ever hunted in this area and we were learning,
............... even if it was what not to do!
I think the only thing we had correct was that we hunted in the late evening until it was dark. With that said we did not fully understand how difficult it would be climbing down the steep rocky paths in the dark, but once again this is something we figured out the hard way. 
Day 2: Started before dawn and we decided to change strategies by looking for a water source to hunt and by going out alone without all the observers. We had a local guide take us to the closest watering hole since it had not rained in several months and the land was parched.   Hiking
Once we arrived at the water hole we found it is was not atypical as it was a man made reservoir with 8ft. high banks that did not lend access to what we hoped would be herds of animals. We stalked around the water hole for about an hour only to see two small gazelles and one rabbit running away from us at break neck speed.
This was definitely not what we expected.
After another hour I told Chad that we needed to move to a different area as this is the only experience I have from inshore fishing.
If I am not catching fish, I am moving to a place where I am.
The move was mid way up the mountain we had climbed the day before but this time we found a huge valley that was full of green vegetation. With the wind in our faces we found what we had been looking for, both antelope and gazelle.
They were not in herds but individual animals hiding amongst the scrubs in this valley that we would flush out and then stalk to get a shot.
My opportunity came when my guide flushed out a nice gazelle that surprised me by walking into the area I was waiting with a 30 yd. broadside shot.
I am not sure what I was waiting for but I was not ready in such a short notice and by the time I decided to draw my bow, he moved on.
Little did I know that would be my only real opportunity to take a shot at a gazelle.
For me, it was just exciting to be in God’s creation with a friend and having the opportunity of life time to bow hunt gazelle and antelope in wild Africa.
We stalked several more nice Antelope on this day but could not get close enough for another shot.
 Day 3: This last hunt we returned to the same valley where we had seen the animals in the morning but they were nowhere to be found. Desperate to shot something we stalked monkeys and guinea fowls for several hours to no avail. We learned a lot on this hunt, although unsuccessful, but rest assured that this for me was as much about the fellowship with a friend as it was the hunt.  Overlook
It was also an opportunity to come apart from the Work as I learned a long time ago the hard way that if you do not come apart from God’s work from time to time, you will fall apart. 
          MRE'S......Military Ready to Eat
Thank you for allowing us to share this unique experience with you.
In closing, if any of you are real hunters, you are more than welcome to visit Kenya and show me how to do it. 
God Bless,
Bro. Chuck Fernandez

Lake Victoria Outreach, Home Grown Preachers & Bow Hunting

                                  This week we traveled to Lake Victoria to continue to encourage the two works we started there at the fishing villages of Wichlum and Got.
The Church at Got has been organized and is being led by their young Pastor named, Jackson, whom we brought to Christ two and half years ago. In addition to ministry, this trip was also our annual hunting trip which I take with my hunting buddy Chad Harris who is from Ohio.
    Hunting Buddies and Fellow Missionaries
For three days we held daily teachings for these young preachers as well as the young believers who have been saved through this outreach.
      Solar Bible For Believers
Given the long distance from Eldoret we are only able to visit these works on a quarterly basis but it is awesome to see the spiritual growth that is taking place between visits. It has been said that, “sometimes you cannot see the trees because of the forest”, however, I can assure you that is not the case with these works since we do not see them on a weekly basis. We are so happy to see the seeds we have planted over the last few years continuing to grow and bear much fruit. There are now five young preachers between these two villages who have surrendered to the gospel ministry and who we are currently in the process of teaching and training.
Pastor Jackson & Wife & Family  
One of the benefits of this trip was to drop off Bibles as well as Bible Institute materials for these young men to continue their education while serving the Lord.   
It does my heart good to hear them ask for their next set of study materials ie: The Life of Christ Part II, Pnuematololgy or Eschatology. Keep in mind that these men are bi-vocational fisherman and herdsman whom we are encouraging and equipping to do God’s work. 
      Preachers With Bible Institute Material
           Kennedy Teaching Children
Their personalities are magnetic and their love for the Lord is contagious. I thank God for bringing us together. One of the benefits and blessings in training these men is that they are like our Timothy’s to the Apostle Paul. These are men whom we have brought to Christ and men who have been called by God to preach His Word. This blesses our heart as they are truly “home grown” preachers.  
                  Pastor Shadrach Preaching
We are not building on another man’s foundation but rather building on the foundation which we have laid with God’s help. During our three day campaign we saw six more receive Christ and we baptized four of them.
Peter Baptized
In addition to the aforementioned ministry work we took to the woods and hills to bow hunt gazelle and antelope. We must have hiked ten miles of rocky hilly terrain to get to the animals. The Luo tribe hunts with dogs and spears and they have never seen anyone stalk hunt with bow and arrow. I will send out a separate “hunters special” report to let you know the results. For now, know that I had a 30 yard broadside shot at a gazelle. But as Dr. Jimmy Williams, our Prophecy teacher at Ft. Cooper Baptist Church used to say to Terry and I; you’ll have to tune in next time to see where this goes. Please keep us in your prayers and I kindly request that you add my Father to your prayer list with an unspoken need.  
God Speed,

Bro. Chuck & Sis. Terry Fernandez

Phil. 4:13

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Heart of An Evangelist, The Pattern & Our Missionaries

Mt. Elgon has dominated our ministry efforts this month as we are trying to make the most of the window of opportunity which comes to a close with the start of the rainy season within the next couple of weeks. Once the daily rains start we are only able to climb the rocky, slippery roads in the morning and we generally have to be off the mountain by 2 pm as you can just about set your clock by the daily rains.
This severely limits our ability to do God’s work there.
Just when I think we have experienced the hardest part of these extreme roads and trails we find a new one that takes the cake.        Mt. Elgon Aquaduct
Such was the case this week when we visited the village of Cheptandin to do evangelism with a young preacher named Bernard who God has called there to reach this village.
He is currently leading a weekly Bible study there with 30 adults and 35 children.
It is our honor and privilege to come along these young preachers to encourage and assist them in their work and growth.
Now I'm not sure how I can adequately describe just how difficult this trip was in terms of ruggedness and steep terrain while crossing two rivers, but we definitely pushed the limits every step of the way. The pictures surely do not indicate the extreme angles of the trails we had to climb but after three years of working on Mt. Elgon, I believe it is safe to say that this was the toughest climb yet.
With all of that said, we would make the trip a thousand more times to see one more soul profess Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
Once God gives you a great burden for the lost there is generally nothing you would not do or nowhere you would you not go to help someone come to know the Lord.
The heart of the evangelist is fueled by a love for God,
                               a call of God
and a faith that believes that we are truly rescuing the perishing.
Jude 1:22 "And of some have compassion, making a difference:" 
Jude 1:23 "And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire."
This passage brings to mind our son, Vinny, who this week has become certified as an EMT and Firefighter. 
We are proud of him and the fact that in the future he will be rushing to the aide of those who are in distress and in need of help.
As his parents we know he will do his best with urgency and care to bring them to a place of safety. The type of service rendered by our hero first responders is something we can relate to.
The preaching of the gospel, also, needs to be done with a sense of urgency and care.
We do this knowing that we stand between Heaven and Hell with the message of Love that can save anybody, anywhere and anytime.
I say, “Thank you Lord for giving us this burden, for equipping us to deliver Your Word and for empowering us through Your Spirit to go in Jesus Name.”
There were eighteen precious humble and contrite souls that had enough faith to repent of their sins and trust Christ as their personal Lord and Savior in Cheptandin during our evangelism efforts.
                 New Converts
Please pray for these new converts and for Bernard who will help them to grow in their faith as they travel through this journey of life.
At one point during our evangelism as we were beginning to pray, I looked up at our team to give God thanks and saw a definite pattern in our ministry.
                             Evangelistic Team Praying
This is the 'pattern'  that we find as a theme throughout the New Testament in which we are to reach people for Christ who in turn are supposed to reach others.
                                      New Converts
As I see it, I am investing all that I have been taught over the years into Pastor Peter,
who in turn is pouring his life into Pastor Alex,
who now is putting all that he has been taught into Bernard
and is now teaching the people of Cheptandin. 
                                Cheptandin Meeting Place
Then I looked at Terry as she leads her team of women and realize that the same thing is happening in her personal ministry as she is teaching the older women to teach the younger women.
                               Terry's Team
 New Converts and Terry
This is the exact pattern that Paul was teaching Timothy in
2 Ti 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."
            To God, be the glory! Great things He hath done!  
Something else that continues to be a great source of encouragement to Terry and I
 is the lasting fruit that we are seeing from all of these evangelism efforts.
For example, even in Mama Eklas’s death, God was glorified as there were three visitors at her Church this week who said they were saved at her funeral from the preaching of the gospel.
Also, at yesterdays service at the Landmark Baptist Church of Mawe Tatu there were two women who were saved this week in the neighboring village of Soysambu and walked a dozen kilometers to worship with us at LBC Mawe Tatu.
The evangelist lives and loves for people to be saved but after salvation there is the growth process of discipleship that helps equip these young saints to glorify God until Christ returns or until God takes them home.
We thank God for every new convert and we do not take lightly the responsibility of building a relationship with these young converts through their local New Testament Church that goes beyond salvation and into discipleship.   
Please continue to pray that God will help us be what we need be for His honor and glory as there is a great weight that we carry with this responsibility.
This is clearly defined again and again, as these fine people refer to Terry and I in a deeply personal way when using the title........ “Our Missionaries”.  

In His Service,

Bro. Chuck & Sis. Terry Fernandez
              Local Scene......LOL

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mama Eklas Funeral, Sanctuary Dedication & 6th Plot Purchased

Our beloved Sister in Christ, Mama Eklas went home to be with the Lord this week.   God’s perspective on death is what we always share when preaching a funeral:
 Psalms 116:15 "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. "
While we rejoice that she is now at peace and perfect rest in the presence of her Lord and God, we will miss her on this side of eternity.   The funeral was well attended and the casket we purchased was a beautiful fit for a beautiful person. 
We remembered the life of the saint, we claimed the promises from the Word of God and comforted one another with His Word. 
Mama Elkan's Sister & Terry
In addition to Mama Elkas’s funeral this week, we also dedicated the now completed sanctuary at Landmark Baptist Church of Kipsigon which the first church we planted on Mt. Elgon.         Dedication Message
This sanctuary has taken the longest to complete as the special type of sand and rocks needed for building had to be transported up the mountain by trucks.   Needless to say, it was also our most expensive sanctuary and it has taught us how to build our next sanctuary on Mt. Elgon which is currently under construction at Cheptabrubru by using iron sheets for the entire building instead of stones. 
We live and we learn.
The day was special in so many ways as we dedicated the sanctuary for God’s use, God’s honor and to proclaim the name of Jesus throughout Mt. Elgon.   The members did a great job of decorating the interior walls with hand painted murals.   It was also a special day for Terry and I to see what God has done through our efforts to reach the lost on Mt. Elgon.
From the beginning to end, the service lasted five hours, that is not a misprint, five hours.  However in retrospect it did not seem like more than an hour or so because God’s  Spirit was so powerful through all the singing, testimonies, teaching and preaching that it  culminated with a full alter and people on their faces before God. 
                            Powerful, Powerful, Powerful. 
Part of what also made the day so special is that there were many believers who walked mountain miles to join us in this special service.   They came from the neighboring villages of Chepguruguru, Cheptandan, Chemta along with the members of the Landmark Baptist Church of Cheptabrubru which is our second Church plant on Mt. Elgon.
I know these Maasi names are all strange to pronounce but what I want to share is that they are all part of the vision I have tried to share with the Men of God with which we work. Our vision is that if we plant one Church, we pray God will give us at least four more neighboring villages where we can plant Churches that will create a strong fellowship of regional transforming scriptural gospel preaching churches.
For lack of a better slogan and creativity, I have called this our “Five n Five” goal.
That means five Churches planted in five years in one region. 
From the looks of the preachers God has called and the bibles studies started, it appears by the end of this year we will be at five Churches in four years on Mt. Elgon which is ahead of the Five n Five goal.  
                            Pastors & Missionary Chuck
                                        Praise the Lord!  
There is something to be said for a group of Churches that are like minded and of like faith that can encourage one another through strong fellowship.   Needless to say, it did our hearts good to have all these folks join us for service and to see what God is doing all over Mt. Elgon. 
                                 Ladies of Mt.  Kipsigon
From the foreign Missionary’s perspective, when our life’s work is over here in Kenya we want to leave behind a work that not only doctrinally sound but also one that is strong in faith and fellowship.    We realize that there is a certain degree of dependence on us during the early stages as these are young Christians and young Churches but our responsibility is to teach them to have ultimate dependence on the Lord alone.  With that said, it is also nice to have other Christians of like faith Churches to depend upon who will be there long after we are gone. 
One of the most powerful testimonies during the service was that of the
                                     Chief of Kipsigon.
He recalled our first visits to Kipsigon in 2009 immediately following the tribal clashes on Mt. Elgon where over twelve hundred were slaughtered. 
He shared the impact that Terry had on him personally as she visited His Red Cross tent with her team of ladies after his house was burned to the ground. He said that he was also touched by the fact that we were the first Christians who returned to Mt. Elgon bringing the message of hope after the tragedies.   He closed his testimony by publicly praising the Lord for the impact the Church has had on His village and His people. 
                  Terry's Blessing Squash
This week we also reached the milestone of purchasing our sixth plot in the Pokot village of Chepsobei which is located in the Kerio Valley.   We serve an amazing God who is doing an amazing work and we are truly are humbled to be a small part of His great work.   We covet your continued prayers as we have so many needs and so many more people to reach.  
Serving the King of Kings,
Bro. Chuck & Sis. Terry Fernandez
Phil. 4:13

Monday, February 6, 2012

Following Footsteps, Confirming Souls & A Backslider Reclaimed

Woman with Audio Bible from POKOT Tribe and Terry,
 Praising The Lord! 
Chuck demonstrates Audio Bible
Audio Bible
Audio Bible
This week we helped Pastor Timothy Loquardo move to the Kerio Valley to be closer to the Landmark Baptist Church of Cheposabei where God has called him and to continue his work with the Pokot Tribe.
Pastor Timothy Loquardo~Sharah Moving Day
He has been working with the Pokot from our initial survey trips into the Kerio Valley when we started this outreach in 2010. Instead of traveling each week from the Mt. Elgon region he now feels it is time to move his wife and two children to assimilate with this tribe.   
It is truly humbling to move a young man of God, his wife and two young children whose total sum of possessions fit on the luggage rack of the truck.
During this experience I really wrestled with his safety and ability to adapt to the harsh semi-arid region but God reminded me that he is following in the footsteps of His Lord and Savior as Jesus would travel to places like Samaria, Bethany, Capernaum and Gadarenes to do His Father’s business. Then I was also reminded that he is following in footsteps of his old brother, John, who has been a pioneering Missionary to the Turkana Tribe in Northwest Kenya and now to the Toposa tribe in Southern Sudan.
The last struggle I had in my heart was answered when the Lord reminded me that Terry and I have moved a lot farther away from our family, home and country and God has faithfully provided and protected us through His infinite grace and mercy.
Any concerns for his welfare or his family went out the window when we arrived at the house he is staying at which happens to be located at the quarters in the Chief’s substation.  
                                           New House 
God has provided Timothy with what has turned out to be the safest place in the entire area and is located just a few kilometers from the villages where he will be preaching.
As Bro. Tom Willis, (One of our Mentor’s at our Church)
 always says, “Ain’t God good all the time”?
The Chief assured him that he is under his protection and to let him know if he has any problems. Make no mistake about it, Pastor Timothy and his young family will face trials and challenges with the heat, lack of water and adjusting to the culture but his great faith and love for the Lord will see him through.                 New Bow
In addition to relocating Timothy, we were able to follow up on the evangelism we did in the neighboring village of Katuperot during our time with the Mac Team three weeks ago.
                      Chuck Evangelism
            Evangelism Team ~ Mungu Ni Mwema = God is Good......
It is a great joy to confirm the souls of those that professed Christ as we help them grow in their faith. We were also able to share God’s Word with some new folks who had gathered in a dry river bed to dig for water.    Water Hole
At one point as I was sharing the gospel with the men, I looked over my shoulder and could see Terry sharing God’s word with the women and children.     
Words cannot describe how thankful I am that God gave me a soul winning help met that has such great love and compassion for the lost.
                                    She is an amazing woman.
Many made professions of faith on Saturday and joined us in services at LBC of Cheposabei on Sunday, what a blessing!
In closing, God has answered our prayers with regard to young preacher named Peter Lonyong.  
Peter was our first Pokot translator, the first villager to be saved and baptized in Cheposabei and the first young man to surrender to preach the gospel.
However, he was also the first to become backsliden.
After about a year we noticed that Peter was no longer being faithful. 
We would ask the other members where he was and they would tell us he was in Uganda with his herds.
It turns out that during his last visit to Uganda he stole something from somebody.
He was captured by those people, hung upside down and severely beaten.
He was then held as somewhat of slave until he worked off his debt.
While those who beat him where not Christian they asked him what Church he went to and then told him to return to do God’s work.  
It may have not a large fish that swallowed Peter, but it had the same affect on his life as he is now faithfully doing God’s work again with us at Cheposabei.
We serve an amazing God who loves his children enough to chasten them back to His loving arms. Please continue to pray for us to have strength, wisdom and love as we try to reach the lost and disciple the saved.
God Bless,

Bro. Chuck & Sis. Terry Fernandez

Phil. 4:13