Marian Baker

Board Member Marian Baker: Happy New Year from Kenya!

On 20th I met Carol Musimbi , pastor of Kefinko, Kakamega. She is a pastor who teaches Sunday School and wants to go to the States to attend a conference of Sunday School teachers. She also wants to study psychology in the States, but I told her that was almost impossible these days unless she can prove she has the money to pay for it and full sponsorship, especially with our current president’s immigration policies. That night, Elizabeth and I feasted on the tiny eggplants I had brought from Uganda along with simsim (sesame) sauce.

On 21st I had a great time of sharing with Robert Wafula. He is such a supporter of the women of the church and we are planning to have him help us in giving a refresher course for the  pastors in Uganda and also holding a mass wedding for them and their wives. (In East Africa,   many just start living together after paying dowry, and no legal ceremony is held and we are  trying to get pastors to encourage others to get legally married through their church. I was so tired, I returned to Elizabeth’s and caught up on sleep instead of visiting with Margaret Musalia.

The next day, Agneta came to us, had a wonderful time of sharing with Elizabeth (both are old friends, but very busy women who rarely get a chance to sit down and talk together). Then Agneta and I went shopping in Kakamega to get shirts for her grown boys, locally made simple dump truck toys for the three grandchildren, and a new heavy duty table cloth for Agneta. James, her husband took the extra scraps to cover up the dining room chairs. Elizabeth chose the same color/pattern for her table!

I then made two raggedly ann dolls for Agneta’s granddaughters. As I began making them at Elizabeth’s three neighborhood children came by, fascinated to watch me create people from scraps of cloth. I finished them late on Chirstmas eve at Agneta’s.

On Sunday I went to Shirugu Friends, which had a new keyboardist who could not match a tune to the women leading singing- jarring to my singer ears. However, Agneta gave an excellent sermon on getting reconciled to your family and your neighbors before starting the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.

On Christmas day, I awoke early and prepared yogurt, granola, and fruit breakfast for all, so that the women could get a rest from cooking. Agneta and I decided to go visit Chegulo Friends Meeting, one we had never been to. We expected the day to be mostly children and women’s choirs singing carols in competition, but the male leaders spent three long hours mostly giving reports and talking about church politics and need of raising funds, rather than celebrating Christmas. Finally, at 2PM they allowed the children and mamas to begin the joyous singing. At that same time, the elders wanted me to go eat with them, but I refused, as the reason I had come was to enjoy the music of children. It was a joy to spend the afternoon and evening sharing, singing, laughing, and sharing stories with all the Injairu family gathered.

On Boxing Day (Dec.26), I returned to Elizabeth’s and shared yogurt brunch with her and Marian, my namesake. They had spent Christmas day at the home of Bilhah, her sister who had passed away last month. Bilhah’s two children were very grateful to have visitors in their home. Marian and I shucked groundnuts while Elizabeth packed to go visit her sisters in Nairobi. The next day, Marian cleaned her mother’s room and the kitchen, and discovered a bunch of old photo albums of her mother’s. I had fun showing her what Elizabeth and I looked like when we were young (when my hair was bright red).

Marian took off at 5am, as vehicles were crowded taking folks back to Nairobi. I then went for an overnight at Jennifer and Gloria Wafula’s near Kitale. Gloria was on vacation from WestChester State and was making samosas (meat patties). We took some to Gladys Kangahi, a neighbor, who was glad to see us. On Sunday I expected to attend meeting at Shihendu, but they discouraged me, as they tend to have 4 hour services led by the men, so instead I travelled back to Malava to Agneta’s. I’d picked up white potatoes and a large watermelon, which we feasted on that evening. Baboons were active along road through Malava Forest. That evening it rained- what a blessing in this hot dry season. Everyone, including all animals went outside
that evening, enjoying the cool fresh air. What a blessing to start the new year without a lot of dust.

On the 1st, I went to Amalemba (Eileen’s home meeting) where we sang, prayed, and worshipped joyfully. They had 34 new members- mostly young people who officially joined the meeting that day. We danced with joy as we gave our offerings that day. Moses Musenga, was guest pastor for the day, who was recently back from visiting and ministering in USA. I spent the rest of the day with Eileen, planning and praying for our upcoming work in Uganda.

After errands the next day, I returned to rest at Elizabeth’s. The electricity was off, so we all went to bed early. Elizabeth was still in Nairobi, so I made an American sandwich for my supper. This morning, Elizabeth finally found a vehicle that had space and returned home.

This week the pastors who travel with me will start setting up their own bank account so that funds they raise and which they receive from others for their travels can be more transparent and easily accounted for. If needed, I will show the treasurer they appointed how to write up financial reports using spreadsheets on a computer.

I trust that all of you have started the new year with some joy and hope like we have, (despite the challenges we each face- whether extreme temperatures, disappointing leaders in our countries, or everyday financial or health challenges.) Thanks for all your messages and prayers and support.