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
Every trip to the grocery store is a bit of an adventure here. The cuisine is much different than that which we were accustomed to in the United States, so you expect to see different things on the shelves.
Keith did some shopping for our family this past Saturday while I attended a women’s event.. He sent this picture and asked me if the free spaghetti would convince me to buy the box of cereal. Would it convince you? When you see corn flakes do think of spaghetti? We love that Kenya keeps us on our toes! http://ow.ly/i/znOxs
A common English phrase is that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” This summer we had a lady visit one of the medical camps we were hosting. She had cancer. The sweet lady that came to the medical camp had pretty severe cancer. The prognosis was not good for her. Still, Bob de Groot, one of our co-workers stopped what he was doing and prayed for her. He touched her and spent time with her. He comforted her. This picture of love is definitely worth a thousand words. http://ow.ly/i/znNB7
We journeyed home in late July for our yearly rest while the presidential election took place in Kenya. A few weeks ago the Supreme Court of Kenya, nullified the results. A new election is set to take place on October 26th. Please be in prayer as the entire international community prepares for this election. Please pray for wisdom, peace, and justice across the nation of Kenya. http://ow.ly/uFNt30fljaO http://ow.ly/i/yRGyb
We are safely home in Kenya and settled back into the daily routine. A spirit of thankfulness overwhelmed us as we walked back into our home. Our time in the United States was beyond wonderful! Our journey home went as best as it can with a 2 year old. Cooper’s face says it all! Now, we are about to welcome our fall medical team and head out to the rural for 4 clinics. Life is good! http://ow.ly/i/yRGcf
It has been such a fun season watching Cooper grow these last few months. The exploration, imagination, and learning has accelerated at an exponential level. He is an explorer at heart and desires to touch anything and everything! He has a sweet Little People Noah’s ark set that has caught his attention for now. He loves playing with the animals, learning their names, sorting them by type, setting Noah up, and looking at their unique features.
As we were playing, I was caught off guard at how much I enjoyed this as well. Even as an adult, there is something special about each animal and its uniqueness. The same is true about us as human beings. God has created all of us unique. Literally, no one is alike. Psalms tells us that “we are beautifully and uniquely made” (139:14). Yet, at the core we all have the same desires. We all have the same basic needs. We need to feel love. We need to be loved.
What does that mean as an adult to be “loved“? Maybe that love is found in a family, a spouse, or friends. Maybe we try to find this love in things, goals, a career. But where is love found? Can we search it out? Can we truly know it? The answer is yes. We find this love in the Father. We find this love in forgiveness we do not deserve. We find this love in the sacrifice of the man Jesus Christ on the cross. Is this powerful love for you? Do you know this love? Do you find and see the uniqueness in all around you because of the Father’s love? My prayer for you today is that the Lord would open your heart to feel the fullness of his love, that the Lord would open your eyes to love others with this love. They may look like a Giraffe and you appear more like a Lion, but at the core we are all the same. At the core we yearn for the unconditional, unending love of the Father. May you know love and be love to someone today!
Cooper came streaming into the kitchen the other day so excited for the gift he had to present. He brought me fresh flowers, just picked from the yard. These beautiful yellow flowers, may be considered a weed to some, but to me they were as opulent as the most luxurious of flowers. I placed them in a glass cup with water and placed them on the counter. Cooper beamed from ear to ear. His excitement in his success was contagious. I radiated because he radiated. Then, a few days passed. The flowers were still out for everyone to see, but eventually the flowers began to wilt, and even stink in the water so they were thrown out.
In this moment, I was reminded of the Lord’s promises to us in Isaiah.
“The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8
Did you read that right? “The WORD of our God stands forever” That is a long time friends!! The Holy word of the Almighty God stands forever. That means his promises of provision, love, forgiveness, and relationship are forever. This is not because we are deserving of the promises. He gives them freely to us. His desire for mankind from the beginning was blessing and relationship. Unfortunately, our sin gets in the way. We doubt the promises of God. We doubt that he is truly good. We doubt that he knows what is best for us. Yet, His word still stands. In the midst of trials and suffering, when we have nowhere to look but up, His Word stands. The same peace that Jesus left his disciples is ours to take part in now; His Word stands. We can be confident in His Word when we believe it. When it becomes a part of who we are in our being. When we enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ, we are heirs to the kingdom; his Word stands forever. His mercies are new every morning to those whose faith is found in Him. The Word is alive, real, and relevant to us even today.
This flower bundle that Cooper brought me was the very first of many flower bundles I hope to receive. I hope to have the same attitude that Cooper had presenting the flowers to me in my relationship with the Lord. I want to run to him, longing to be in relationship, in his presence, in his Word, because it stands. I encourage you, take five minutes today to spend in the Word reading the promises of God. Google “promises of God” on your break at work or before you go to bed tonight. Run to Him and rest in the fact that the Word of God stands forever.