Government offices are a part of life here in Kenya. From maintaining resident status, to having a work permit approved, or applying for an identification card, the visits to the offices can seem as if they are many. However, the office in Malindi has radicalized the way that we think about the immigration process in Kenya. Not only are they super knowledgeable, but they are always so kind to assist us. We recently had to go to renew our national identification cards and we were in and out and fingerprinted in 10 minutes time!
Government offices are a part of life here in Kenya. From maintaining resident status, having a work permit approved, or applying for an ID card, the visits can seem as if they are many. However, the office in Malindi has radicalized the way that we think at least about the immigration process in Kenya. Not only are they super knowledgeable, but they are always so kind to assist us. We recently had to go to renew our national identification cards and we were in and out and fingerprinted in 10 minutes time!
Fridays are generally viewed as happy days in the United States. It is the end of the work week and the start of the weekend. On our way home each day, we pass the mortuary. Every Friday without fail, the streets are lined with people, loved ones of the deceased who have come to pick up the body from the mortuary. In Kenya, the tradition is that the person or body sleeps one more time at home, after they pass away. So, on Friday the body is picked up and taken back to the rural home. Then on Saturday, the funeral occurs and all of the family is in attendance.
While Fridays are still happy days for us, we are reminded of those who have lost loved ones during the week. It certainly keeps us grounded as we count our blessings in Kenya and our family in the USA who are still with us.
During Ramadan, we were able to take Iftar (meal taken after sundown during the month of Ramadan) with the young men that Keith is coaching in football. One of the mamas helped to prepare the food, and we sat on the floor and ate together. This was a special night, not only because the food was delicious, but because it was a chance for all of us to fellowship and be united over a meal. We are so thankful for these young men and all of the ways they continue to teach and bless us.
This sweet couple is an example of stamina and endurance. Suzy just completed a 3 month stay in Kenya, serving the people of Malindi. Greg came for the last 4 weeks, teaching and discipling students enrolled in Nairobi in university studies. They are a testament of loving well, living out their faith, and imparting wisdom on others. Keith and I were blessed by their presence and so thankful to spend time with them. You are missed Greg and Suzy Williams!
First Baptist Church Hendersonville, TN continues their support of us and featured Mungu With Us in a video this week.
Mungu with Us is moving! Our family is relocating to the coast of Kenya. We are moving from the coast of Lake Victoria to the eastern coast of Kenya. We recently sent out a newsletter, and we wanted to share it on the blog as well. The newsletter explains the why, where, and what we will be doing in Malindi, Kenya.
The end of this year past year marked the closing of a wonderful chapter in Kisumu working in partnership with Church Missions Network. We are so thankful for the past 3 years in Kisumu. God has poured out his goodness, grace, and mercy upon us. We have grown personally, spiritually, and physically as a family. The exciting part is that this does not mark the end of our time in Kenya. The Lord has called us to continue ministry in the town of Malindi, Kenya.
Throughout our time in Kenya our prayer has been that the Lord would have us where He wills. After visiting friends in Malindi, we began to feel a tug and an urge to serve the people of Malindi. Malindi is located on the coast of Kenya, north of Mombasa.
The town of Malindi is about 83% Muslim. There are currently no organizations working in Malindi town to reach people with the gospel. We believe the Lord has called us to engage and live amongst the Coastal Swahili people group living in Malindi, which is listed as one of the world’s unreached people groups. This engagement will happen in a variety of ways including sports outreach, mentoring of youths, and a potential women’s sewing group. After establishing some key relationships, we hope to open a community center. This will be a safe place for all groups in the community that will facilitate multiple outreach opportunities.
What does this mean for our ministry and for us as a family? We will be working under a new name, as we depart from Church Missions Network to pursue this new ministry. It is actually the name that the Lord brought to mind when we first moved to Kenya: Mungu with Us. Mungu means God in Swahili, and we can feel the Lord’s presence as make this transition. We are in the process of setting up a non-profit under this name. A board will provide wisdom and oversight of our ministry from the United States. The board is comprised of former missionaries, church leaders, and business professionals who are passionate about the work that the Lord is doing in Malindi, Kenya.
This will be a period of huge transition for our family. We will literally be moving from coast to coast across the country of Kenya. It is about a 16-hour drive from Kisumu to Malindi. We would love your help in this transition. We need prayer in three specific ways. 1) Safety – this has been a prayer request since the beginning and will continue to be one in Malindi. 2) Relationship building – The relationships that we will develop with local Muslim leaders are crucial to sharing the gospel. 3) Financial – the move will entail financial resources that go above and beyond our monthly support needs. We will need to cover the cost of transporting our belongings across the country. We will also need financial support setting up our ministry in Malindi. This will entail legal documents and permissions in Kilifi County, an office space for Keith, continued Swahili lessons, and a possible second car. We have constructed a budget of about $10,000 USD that will cover all of these costs. We know this is a big number, but are confident in the Lord’s provision. If you feel led to give, giving can be completed through First Baptist Hendersonville.
Thank you for how you have loved us and supported our ministry the past three years. We can honestly say that your support and prayers have allowed for us to be a part of the life-changing work the Lord is doing in western Kenya. We are so excited for what is to come as we transition to eastern Kenya. We would love to hear from you, so please let us know your thoughts on this next chapter. You can reach us on Facebook or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grace and Peace to you,
Keith, Erin, and Cooper Holloway