Wednesday, September 23, 2009
1st Month at NEGST
God bless you all!
I am sorry it has been so long since I have written. I have now been at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology for about a month. It has been absolutely amazing! I am learning so much in classes and in my general interaction with so many people from all over the world.
When I first got to Kenya, I moved into my flat. I was the only one there for a few days, but was blessed to have met my neighbor, Helen, who took me in as her own and showed me the ropes! After a few days, my friend, Rachel, from Malawi, moved in! We began our orientation together and learned everything you would ever want to know about NEGST (www.negst.edu). We also met all of the other first year students from all over the world, Nigeria, Ethopia, India, Tanzania, Rwanda, etc... It was so amzing to see how God brought us all together for His glory- we have many differences but are united in Christ!
The following week, classes started! I am taking Hermenuetics, Early and Medieval Church History, Comparitive Studies of Religion, Post-graduate Research and Writing, and Evangelism. I am learning so much from my professors and classmates. In Hermenuetics I have really had to dive within myself and see how do I view Scripture- what are some of my biases and beliefs when it comes to the Word of God? Church History has been amazing- I am learning so much from the failures and successes of the early church. We are currently learning about Hinduism and Buddhism in my Comparitive Studies of Religion course which is very interesting especially because my professor once was a Korean Buddhist himself and now he is a Christian missionary! Research and Writing is giving me an opportunity to research any aspect of missions that I want to- I think that I will be looking at the effect of service based missions on the community served. And Evangelism class has created great discussion and has challenged me in sharing my faith with others.
Outside of class, I was elected the student council representative for 1st years which is very humbling. I thank God for the position and ask that you pray for me as I represent other students. I have also joined the praise team for chapel which is great, but challenging since I dont know most of the songs. We sing a lot of Christian Contemporary, hymns and songs in Swahili. I have also been teaching the children at Bible Club on Saturdays. And as a teacher, I get frequent visits in my flat from all of the children- I really love it!
I am still praying for and looking for a church in the community where I can worship and be fed and eventually serve at. I have attended many great churches so far and have met many great people at each one.
The first week, I went to church with a friend named Karen. We met up with our friend, Mary, a refugee from Sudan. Mary has an amazing story about the faithfulness of God. (which I might write in a later post) But now, through the grace of God, she is teaching young, single HIV positive mothers how to make paper beads. Through this teaching she is able to share with them Christ and they are able to make a little bit of money to support their children. (if you would like to help support this ministry, the jewelry is fantastic, just email me and we will see what we can do!!!)
God is great how He turns what we may have considered bad luck into a blessing. Last weekend my room flooded- but my friend, Lucy, and I were able to move into family housing which is really nice!
Also this past weekend, I was able to attend AFLEWO (Africa: Let's Worship), an all night praise and worship extravaganza! I felt like I was back home going to a concert with so many young adults! The only thing different was they kept switching back and forth from English to Kiswahili. It amazed me that thousands of people were completely fluent in the same two languages! Crazy! Pray that I learn more Kiswahili!
Well, as hard as it is, that was my attempt to sum up a whole month. But I will leave you with this: a list of things that are different from the US- not better or worse, just noticably different.
1. Matatus- public transportation- they are small 14 passengers vans in which they squeeze about 20 people along with a guy who collects money who just hangs out the door as we speed down the pot-holed roads weaving in and out of traffic.
2. Food- lots and lots of vegetables (bought from the open market) all of which are eaten with chipoti (simular to tortillas, but way better), ugali (simular to nothing... mushy goodness) or rice. Most food is eaten with your hands- dont worry everyone washes their hands before meals. Meat is not the center of every meal... but you can go directly to the slaughter hosue to purchase it (and step in all the blood and... )
3. Showers- there's no hot water, so instead of taking a cold shower, I boil water and put it in a basin and basically give myself a sponge bath.
4. Laundry- done by hand and hung on the line
5. Hand Shake- in the US, I might greet someone that I have never met before with a hand shake or maybe someone who is of great importance. Here, they shake everybody's hands everytime they see them.
6. Mosquito nets- have you ever woken up in the morning forgetting where you are and look around to see that you are entrapped in a large white sheet! Yea, me too... but its good because I hate being bitten by mosquitos, its just funny because you can hear them running into your net all night!
7. Technology- I have no TV, no microwave, no internet in my house... but guess what I am still alive! In fact its great!
8. Language- Mostly everyone here is fluent in 2-3 languages. And even english is a bit different. My friend asked me the other day when my "bathday" is. I responded, "everyday." She said, "Your bathday is everyday?" I said yes. She said, still in disbelief, "You were born everyday?" "Oooo... birthday!!!"
There is so much more, but thats jsut a quick list... and in reality, because of the diversity at NEGST, it is even a different culture within Kenya!