Marian Baker

Board member Marian Baker sends Thanksgiving blessings from Africa

On the 11th, I had a restful day at Agneta’s sewing- incluiding repairs for Agneta and grandchildren. In the afternoon, Haggai her son took me on a slow ride across the rural, green Kabras countryside to Matete, where I met with Elizabeth Makhoka, coordinator of Kenya Friends National Sunday School Teachers. She invited me to visit their national gathering of teachers in early December to observe who were the most active ones.

The next day Agneta and I went by piki directly to Elizabeth’s. After lunch, Agneta continued on a piki back to Kaimosi to FTC. Four women from Elizabeth’s church came to visit, as she had not been to her church during the busy funeral preparations. They wanted to know all the details about the death and asked me about how we prepare the bodies for burial in USA. I explained that I was brought up to remember the time the person was active and thus have memorials (rather than funerals to which the dead body is brought and viewed). I had not seen a dead body, until I first came to Kenya as a young adult. Heavy rains poured that night.

Monday, I went with Margaret Musalia and we visited FTC in Kaimosi. Afterwards we visited the home of Miriam, a Tanzanian woman who had graduated from FTC, but married a Kenyan. She is now willing to accompany us to Tanzania for their womens’ conference and take the place of Margaret on that journey. (It is a way of encouraging women in Tanzania to continue learning as well as see how healthy her baby is when births are spaced out more).

Tuesday, I went with Eileen and Elizabeth Odera to visit Rasoah Mwashi and Respah Indagwa.

Rasoah had lost her daughter recently and her husband and herself are housebound. They perked up when we arrived. Respah had broken her leg (multiple surgeries) plus lost her husband last month, but was amazingly positive and joyful. After the visit, the male pastor who drove us asked that we have him drive us again, he learned so much from these older women. Both of these women had attended conferences in the States several times.

At the Executive committee of USFWK the next day, I walked and took a Tuktuk (motorcycle with small jeep body to carry 6) over to Handidi. The women all by themselves (no support from men or Friends overseas) have built a very large three story conference center overlooking the Nandi Hills. We met in the dining hall that was not yet finished, but useable for a brief meeting.

They plan to have at least the bottom floor with dining hall, kitchen, office, and bedrooms up and working in time for visitors to the 2020 USFWI and FUM Triennial. I was asked to lead the devotions. Jennifer Wafula reported from USFWI and they worked on preparations for the USFWK Triennial in April.

The next day, I helped Elizabeth sleep off a cold by taking care of all who came to visit. In the evening, five of her sisters arrived and brought fresh Tilapia, greens, and boiled maize (corn on the cob) on which to feast. They all took Elizabeth to another sister’s home right in town, so they could all go to Nairobi together on the 6am shuttle bus.

On Friday, the 17th I met with my full support committee. They expressed support for our work in Uganda and Tanzania as well as joy over the occasional visiting of housebound Kenyan women the pastors have started doing. They decided for the USFW Pastors to set up their own bank account so as to make the funding of their travels and any grants and donations received for it more transparent, and not confused with either the USFWK accounts or FUM Africa Ministries office accounts. We planned out the intended travels for the rest of this year and plan to meet again on 8th of January to plan for 2018 ministries. I prepared them a typical USA lunch (peanut butter/jelly sandwiches and bananas and juice/water, since we had no way to cook up tea. Then travelled north to Agneta’s and sang with her grandchildren for an evening.

Saturday I went to Eldoret to visit Claire, the daughter of the late Priscilla Makhino with whom I used to travel to Uganda. It turned out three of her sisters were also visiting, so we had merry gathering together and I helped cook Indian chicken and chapatis they wanted.   The next day I went with her husband, the preacher for an International Outreach Church (a large glass mega-church). I was asked to sing a song with my banjo. Then he encouraged all to remain peaceful during these election times, and to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and listen to God’s teaching rather than blindly follow the various political leaders. I then travelled on to Gladys Kangahi’s near Kitale where she shared with me more about the history of Kwela and Mwanza meetings in Tanzania. I also enjoyed singing with some of her 24 grandchildren who are spending the school holidays helping her.

Today, as the court announced their decision about the elections and violence was expected I quickly returned to Elizabeth’s home to avoid any potential violence in the cities. We are all upset this week over the random police shooting of a staff member of FTC who was just buying her vegetables at the local market near the college. Do join us in praying for Kenya to remain peaceful.

This week I leave for Uganda to meet with women and help out Friends in Uganda.

Thanks for all your prayers and support.    Marian