Hello friends and loved ones,
Sorry we have not been able to write sooner. We had some difficulties with our e-mail, but all is well now and we have a ton to tell you about. I, Ericka, will start it out with all of the experiences, experiences of a lifetime, that have come at me within the last three weeks.
Ahhh! Now I must sit back and decide on where I should begin to tell you how life has been here in Kenya, Africa...Starting out from the beginning always works best.
We arrived safely the 13th of January. All five of our bags arrived with us, made it through immigration and customs without a problem, and our ride was there waiting for us. Praise God, He certainly knows how to take care of His children. We spent the rest of the day in Nairobi buying a refrigerator and a few other supplies. We left for Eldoret the following morning. It was promising when Bob left that the roads would be repaired, but they haven't been and they were worse than before. So much so that a shock blew out and a leafspring broke. In Eldoret we finished buying supplies and groceries, had the truck fixed and had a wonderful fellowship time with missionaries of our group.
The trip to Lodwar was a usual bumpy one but nothing to complain about. After arriving and unloading, begins the process of cleaning a house that has not been lived in in four months. Creatures love to live in places that are not inhabited by people. Well, it was our job to convince the cockroaches (size of your thumb), mice, scorpions, Hunter spiders and mosquitoes that we are living in this house now. We are not chasing all of the creatures out, we are keeping the lizards and some smaller spiders to take care of the insects that come in. It is a daily (and nightly) battle, but after two weeks I believe that we have the upper hand!
We were both concerned on how the drastic temperature changes would affect us. Within the first few days of being here it rained four times. Praise God! This brought the temperature down to high 80s. Since then it has warmed up to between high 90s and some 100s. God again has provided and taken care of us and we have adjusted well!
After cleaning and setting up house, I had been having fun baking and cooking with our gas range, but there was a leak from the transfer of the gas tank (size of a propane tank for a grill) to the range. So during the second week the tank was completely empty. Now to refill the gas tank one has to go to Eldoret, seven hours south. So, I have been using the Kenyan stove, a jiko, which is a charcoal cooker. It has been quite interesting learning how to start it up first thing in the morning for tea and keep it going throughout the day. I have learned it and have been able to make a pot roast with carrots and potatoes, griddle cake (johnny cakes), strong tea, chai, coffee, along with many other things.
Then come Sundays, the Lord's day, a day I always love no matter where I am. It is amazing to hear all of the beautiful music that the Turkana can make with just their voices a drum and their clapping hands. After the service our first Sunday, the pastor came up and asked if I would attend the ladies meeting on Wednesday morning and share a "word of encouragement" with them. "I am sure, I'd be glad to!" Little did I know what I said yes to. I was thinking a "word of encouragement" to be like in the states. You get up say a few words of how great it is that they are meeting together and share a testimony of God's work in your life. When Wednesday came I was excited to see what would be taught and who would be there. The meeting was held in a hut about eight feet in diameter filled with about 20 ladies. Let's say it was a little cramped! We all sang for a while, said a prayer and then my translator says, "It is now time for the teaching." I looked at him wide-eyed and repeated "time for teaching?" "Yes." And they were all looking at me expectantly. So, I gave them my testimony and tried to quickly make up a lesson from the Scriptures I had picked to share. It lasted for about 15 minutes, they are used to about 40 minutes to an hour.
Later, I learned from the pastor that the ladies had said that all I had given an introduction. The following Wednesday morning I was talking with the pastor and he said that it is customary for the visitor to teach the lesson, or with Bob, preach the sermon. Then the pastor asked if I was going to the meeting that day, I was, then he asked if I was ready to teach. I was wide-eyed again. He said a person can be a visitor up to ten times. While on deputation, Bob and I visited some missionaries and the lady had given me some story lessons that she had used. Praise God that she had given those to me because I was able to use one to prepare for a lesson quickly. I could not have done this meeting by my own power, it was only through God's direction that He led me to the lesson, which the ladies enjoyed, but He also gave me the words to speak and the length that they liked, 45 minutes.
Right now I am learning Swahili. I know that we said I would start with Turkana but we had no way of getting a hold of the teacher when we first arrived. I needed something so I could talk with our workers and soon be able to get around on my own. I have already learned about 150 words in Swahili and am doing well with talking primitively. Maybe in July Bob and I will take lessons together in the Turkana language.
I will now sign it over to Bob:
Ajok! All is good!
Thanks all of you for praying for us. As Ericka has said we arrived safely and have found things intact. The Turkana pastors finished last years Bible institute and persevered through some difficulties. I was very encouraged by their faithfulness and dedication to the Lord's work. We held our Bible Institute this last week, there were the classes for our second-year students and then classes for our new first-year students. We lost two of our students while I was away, one moved down-country, the other took a woman by "shacking up." We ask the students when they begin the Bible Institute that when or if they take a wife they do it before the church in a way that sets an example. Not for them to become good "American Christians," but to be examples in their churches that marriage is to be taken seriously and not a matter of deciding to begin living with a woman only to one day decide not to live with her. We hate to loose any students for any reason, please pray for our remaining 8 second year students and for our 3 new first year students.
The churches in Turkana are doing well. The small church at Juluk is already wanting to begin putting up concrete block walls. I had a block form made and took it along with some cement to the pastors house for them to begin making the blocks. The churches are eager for me to schedule times to be having crusades, youth camps, ladies meetings and pastors seminars. I'm starting with a pastors seminar in March and moving on from there. I want the pastors to be fired up before we being working to uplift the church members. I've also began talking very seriously with the churches and Pastors about Missions. Pray they will have a burden for their own people and not see it entirely as my job to reach the rest of Turkana.
Matters to Pray for:
- We'll be going to Nairobi tomorrow to work on getting Ericka's dependants visa. Pray that the Lord goes before us and makes a way.
- We are seeking to buy a plot of ground in Lodwar to build the Bible Institute on. Pray for the Lords guidance.
- Pray for Ericka and I as we adjust here in Kenya and also grow together.
- Pray that we will be effective in living the Love of Jesus Christ and telling others about Him. Jesus changes peoples lives!
Thank you all for your prayers and we hope to be hearing from you now that we have E-mail.
E-mail: We have an account where we pay for the amount of time it takes us to download and send e-mail. We are charged right down to the second by the server along with having to pay for a long distance connection. Could you help us by sending fresh e-mails each time you write instead of Replies, if you send us a picture make sure its as small of a file as possible. We like receiving forwards and updates, just try not to send us things that are big or junky.
Love and miss you all, Bob and Ericka Clark
We just finished our second month of Bible Institute classes here in Lodwar. All went well, but I believe we've lost another student.
Ericka seems to be having a great time speaking at ladies meetings and the ladies love her. Yesterday, I dropped her at one of the ladies huts to speak and she was to walk back to our house. She didn't show up on time, so I went to pick her up, but they said she had left with 6 other ladies to walk to our house. Needless to say she showed up just fine with those six other ladies. I felt very confident about her safety and was glad the ladies were willing to go with her.
Tomorrow we are going to visit the village of Lokapel. We have Christians there from other churches and also from the ministry of one of our pastors. We are going there to encourage and hopefully begin work to bring the Christians together for regular fellowship. Please pray for our endeavors there. Pastor Areng is the one who knows most of the Christians there, but Lokapel is about 60 miles from his village. Pastor Apeot is only about 4 miles from there and we hope he will be willing to make the visit to Lokapel on a regular basis.
Pray for Ericka and I, we are constantly having guests at our house and need some time to ourselves. Pray we will balance ministry and personal time.
In Christ, Bob Clark
It's been a couple of weeks since Ericka and I have written anything so I'll try to catch up a little on what we've been doing.
We were down country a couple of weeks ago to look at buying another vehicle. The whole time we were praying that if it was the Lords will it would work out and if not that we wouldn't buy something the Lord wouldn't want us to have. To make a long story short nothing panned out and I feel completely at peace about not having another vehicle. With the pickup and motorcycle, Ericka and I are always able to get where we need to. As for having transportation when our group comes to visit, we'll simply lease a matatu (minivan).
We hauled back a good load of building supplies from down country and are getting them into place to be used in the coming months. Getting cement and gravel to the Church in Juluk was quite fun. The track we use to go to Juluk leads us to the Turkwell River, if there is too much water in the river we park the truck and wade across. Well, this is what we did last Sunday morning when we went to visit the Church, but unfortunately we were trying to get 900 pounds of cement there too. After the service about 30 of us went back to the truck carrying empty buckets, cans or corn sacks. We opened the bags of cement and divided it among all of the church members that had come to help. One man carried a full bag across the river, put it in a wheel barrow and took it to the church. Another man carried a full bag across and put it on a bicycle. The rest was divided in varying amounts among the men, women and children. Ericka and I did our part and we all had a good time watching Ericka carry about 30 pounds of cement on her head. What a woman!
Later that day we took a load of gravel to the river, (there is only sand at this riverbed) thinking that we would have to unload it there to be carried in the same way on to the church. Fortunately, the water in the river had gone down, (water is released through a hydroelectric project upstream about 15 miles) and I was able to drive across and take the gravel directly to the church.
Don't think that I take crossing the river lightly. If we were to get stuck the only feasible option for pulling the truck out would be to get as many people as possible to come with ropes and shovels. There are no towing services in Turkana.
Ericka and I have been working on language and trying to fix up our house. Language is going well, but our arrangements with a teacher for Ericka have not worked out. Ericka is using one of the books I learned from and we are still planning for her to get a teacher soon. Speaking of teachers and lessons, Ericka was given lessons on goat milking by some of the ladies in Lopur. I didn't get to see it but the ladies told me she did a fine job.
Fixing up the house is another story. Once we have what is needed for work everything goes well, but finding supplies and getting simple things done in town is very time consuming. I had 7 pieces of pipe threaded today and it seemed to take ALL DAY LONG. I don't even want to try and relate the chain of events that took place in the process. Ericka has been working on painting and will soon tackle the curtain project, I hope she doesn't have as much trouble as I do with the plumbing.
The churches and Bible Institute students have been a blessing. They are all growing number wise and it seems they are maturing. The pastors are always talking of their preaching points and how we can evangelize new places. When a church is in need of anything, the pastors have begun by telling me the need and how much the church has given toward the need, then we discuss what part I might be able to help with. This is a major change from the way things were approached just a couple of years ago. We thank you for your prayers and ask that you just pray the Lord will use us effectively here in Turkana.
God bless and Keep you all.
Bob and Ericka Clark
At the end of last month we were able to go ahead and buy a plot of ground that is next to our church in Lodwar. It's close to an acre in size and should suit our needs perfectly. All of the pastors were so excited that they want to have Bible Institute Classes there in May. So, I've been doing a lot of work on the new plot. We've started with an outhouse, and bathing area and hope to have some shade above by next month.
We now have one church building and the Bible Institute construction underway, with three church building projects ready to begin. When I first came to Turkana district, I told the churches that if they gave and showed a willingness to have permanent buildings I would come with them and help. Well, now it's time for me to live up to my end of the deal. Pray the Lord will give me strength and wisdom as we seek to build with limited resources. I truly believe that buildings are much less important than preaching the life changing Gospel of Jesus Christ. We only hope that our efforts strengthen the churches.
Our Bible Institute classes went well in March. My Swahili is coming back and seems to be improving little by little which makes it easier to teach classes. We ran short on some lessons and couldn't find a "working" copier in town, so we had to break out the scanner and printer. Praise the Lord we were able to make copies ourselves. Imagine, a town of about 10,000 people, the district headquarters and no working copier available to the public.
After last months classes we had our friends from down country come to teach a Pastors Seminar for us. Missionary Jonathan Mohler taught a series of lessons, "How to Pray," Rev. Oyangi, a wise and faithful leader from Busia district taught lessons on "To Know God", then short term missionary Daryl Adams preached "Moto - Moto" (really good preaching - like fire). I was able to soak it all in and have meeting times with the pastors. The pastors were able to have great fellowship and discuss future plans and meetings.
Hi, everyone, this is Ericka. Things are going well here. I am really enjoying teaching a ladies Bible study on women of faith. The ladies of Lodwar seem to enjoy the lessons. I am learning much from the ladies about their culture, ways of respect, and new Swahili words. I have been working on translating a chorus in to Turkana and teaching to the ladies. They love it and we all have a blast. The ladies have asked me to teach some lessons at an all day seminar in Lodwar at the beginning of next month. I will also be teaching 3 lessons at two other ladies seminars. I will be teaching on a woman's responsibility in her church, how to raise her children in a Christian home, how to be a witness and example to her unbelieving husband. Pray that God will give me the words to speak that will transcend both of our cultures.
Our plate will be very full this coming month. We are planning a ladies seminar, then a church leaders meeting, then a youth meeting. Pray that we will be able to do a good job of teaching at each endeavor. Last but not least we are preparing for a group to come out for the month of June, please pray that we will have all of the supplies needed, that everything will go smoothly at each village, and that people's hearts will be ready to receive them.
Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement, God bless and keep you.
In Christ, Bob and Ericka Clark
We haven't written in some time so I hope we can fill you in on the last months news. We've had no lack of work to do and Jesus told us "Occupy till I come." We are definitely set into the occupation of Turkana.
After we bought the plot of ground for the Bible Institute we began right away trying to get it ready to move classes there, but we'll have to see how the students and pastors feel about meeting there with minimal facilities. We were able to finish the choo (outhouse), we also finished the gash (brush-arbor / shade area), we also have a bathing area minus doors, but most folks bathe after sundown anyway. The plot also came with a small mud house that we can use for a classroom. Along with the mud houses at the church plot right next to the school we might be able to accommodate everyone there. If not we'll just have to meet in our house again this month.
Last month was also a month for meetings. School was out and everyone was home, so it was the best time to schedule our mini seminars. We started with a church leaders meeting for the men of our southwest churches. There were about 15 men in attendance from three different churches and one mission/preaching point. Our guest speaker was Benjamin Oyangi, a veteran evangelist from down-country Kenya. Benjamin gave lessons on how good church leaders make for a strong church and help the pastor do more work for the Lord. I taught lessons on temptations men face in our churches like greed/money, power struggles and "chasing women." While we were teaching the men, Ericka taught the ladies of the area a couple of lessons.
Next we had a meeting for the ladies in the southern three churches. I taught one lesson, Benjamin Oyangi taught a lesson and Ericka taught the rest. I'll let her fill you in on the details.
After the Ladies meeting we traveled back to Lodwar and were able to speak for a youth meeting. I taught a lesson on Gods plan for us taking a spouse and how we can defeat AIDS by following Gods plan. Again Benjamin Oyangi taught a lesson and so did Ericka.
All of the meetings were short, but we were able to help teach in each one and also provide a little assistance toward putting on the meeting. Although, this time I tried to decrease the amount I put into the meeting and tried to have the churches increase their part in the meetings. I believe that it's all part of giving the churches confidence that if they ever find themselves without a missionary they will be able to say, "Hey, the missionary was helping in this small way while he was here and we were doing all the rest. Why don't we go ahead and keep doing what we did before without what the missionary brought." This is our goal anyway, to have the churches be completely indigenous and self sufficient, looking to the Lord Jesus for their needs.
All the churches are showing a willingness to give offerings and work toward their goals. Three churches have given offerings now to start new buildings. Pray that the Lord will provide enough funds for us to help them in their endeavors to build. Also, pray for the building of the Bible Institute, that we will do things in the Lords time and that resources will be there as needed.
The ladies' seminars were wonderful. I taught ladies from each of our 5 churches and also ladies from a couple of the preaching points that the pastors have. I asked God to guide my words and that what is said will reach the ladies and that God would be glorified. During the seminars I taught about the Responsibilities of a Lady in the Church, How to Raise your Children in a Christian Home,and How to be a Good Wife. God truly spoke to the ladies. After each seminar there were ladies that came up and said that they would stop doing the sins that they were in and change. In one of my lessons I taught that we weren't to use bad words, i.e. yelling, calling names, swearing, and fighting. Many women said that from now on they would stop using bad words. Or they said that they didn't know they were supposed to do something and said they would start. Like one lady said, "I didn't know I was supposed to love my children, and now I will." It is amazing to see how God can guide a persons words and make them understood for a person of a different culture and for that person to completely change what they are doing. When they come up and tell me things like that, it makes my heart leap for joy. And it truly shows me that this is where God wants me. This also shows that God's words are true in every culture. Some of these ladies walked many miles and made many sacrifices so that they could come and hear the teachings. They are starved for the Word of God! Total attendance for all of the seminars was more than 100 ladies.
Please pray for me and the ladies' group of Lodwar, we are starting a new series of lessons dealing with how to live a Christian life. Most of the ladies in the church are new believers and are needing as much spiritual milk as they can get. Pray that they will learn and attain much from the teachings and that the words of the teacher for those lessons are from God.
Bob here again.
Thank you all for your prayers. We ask you continue to pray for us in the following areas. That we will have strength and the guidance of the Lord as we preach and teach. That the Lord would provide resources where they are needed. Pray for our group that will be coming in June to help us, that we will all be a blessing to one another and our plans would go smoothly.
God bless you all,
In Christ, Bob and Ericka
Sorry for not writting in so long, this last month we were a bit out of our usual routine. We had hosted a group of college students to help us in Turkana, it was great fun and a blessing to all involved. Our group helped with quite a range of ministry needs and proved very flexible. Each one gave their testimony and taught lessons to the children or ladies as we traveled among the churches. At different churches they helped with small construction projects and at Lorogumu we were able to set "pillars" for a new church building. Everyone stayed healthy while they were in Turkana, although goat meat didn't set very well with them. They were able to see the more difficult side of missions, experience some of the hardships faced by the locals and hopefully grow in strength knowing the Lord was with them every step of the way.
It has been fun hosting a group and having plenty of fellowship. We were treated to all sorts of goodies they brought from the States and even some great new TOOLS. I always love getting new tools. We even traveled together to Maasai Mara to see the animals. In all it was a great experience and I hope in the future we can host more groups. Ericka and I have spent a few days relaxing and getting ready to head back to Lodwar. We will have Bible Institute classes next week and I'll continue working on the trusses for the church at Lorogumu. Thank you all for praying for us and if any of you are interested in bringing a group to Kenya or being part of a group just let us know and we'll see what we can put together.
This is Ericka. We have had a wonderful month. While the group was here I helped them with ladies and children meetings. The college students had great lessons, crafts, and songs prepared. They were able to teach 450 children and 150 ladies from the different villages. I also kept busy with feeding the group and making sure that they were taken care of. I enjoyed having them out. And if anyone would like to come and visit us and see what our ministries are with the Turkana, please contact us. This last month we also ran into a problem of not being able to have e-mail because phone lines were down. We would really appreciate it if forwards, replys, and attachments were not sent to us. When they are sent it bogs down our ability to receive e-mail and will keep us from getting our mail sooner. Thank you.
If you have been a member of our homepage, you have read that we are switching to a different server, yahoo. The address to see and use the new stuff is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bwanabob or you may send e-mail to these addresses, to post a message use email@example.com : to subscribe use firstname.lastname@example.org :to unsubscribe use email@example.com . For those of you who are not a member of our homepage, please subscribe to this. On the homepage you will be able to view pictures of Turkana and us and be able to read more about our ministries.
NOTE: The Yahoo Group replaces the listserv used to this point. It will not replace the bwanabob web page.
Bob and Ericka Clark
We're safely back in Turkana and I must say it's good to be home, except for a minor problem with electricity. The road into Turkana wasn't too bad, they work on different sections from time to time and this month the worst section was really improved. Imagine a once paved road so full of potholes that you prefer driving on the shoulder, which is also full of holes. The improvement is this, a grader comes along and pushes dirt and gravel from the shoulder onto the once paved road surface thus making the original road better and the shoulder a nice smooth gravel lane. It still took us 8 hours to cover 240 miles.
Last week a "Disconnection Crew" from the electric company came into town. Since I was down country I hadn't paid my bill for last month, $15. I usually pay in advance and usually always have a credit carried forward, but last month, not so. Anyway the "Disconnection Crew" came by and removed the meter, disconnecting the electricity. One of our pastors tried to reason with the crew and even my guard told them that as soon as I got back to town I'd pay, but they wouldn't hear of it. So, most everything in our fridge was ruined when we got back on Monday. If you ever wonder why they call countries like Kenya "Third World" well this is a great example, because it's definitely not like the world should be. Anyway, some of the stuff was in vacuum sealed packages so we think its still good. I've just told Ericka to cook the stuff really well. In all I was very pleased at how hard Pastor Gitau tried to help out. He got together enough money to pay the electric bill for us! That really blessed me. Another blessing for us was our worker Esther, when she heard the electricity had been turned off she came to the house and began cleaning up the mess. By the time we got home, the fridge had been cleaned, rotten stuff thrown out, and what we could salvage laid on the table. Thank God for good friends!
Another great blessing that took me completely by surprise was when a Catholic Priest pulled up to our house at lunch time and asked if he could buy a case of Turkana Bibles from me! Whoa!! Not like any Catholic Priest I've ever met, that's for sure. Anyway, I didn't have a full case here, only about half which I offered to him, but he said he would just wait until I could get some more and then he would be glad to have a full case. The priests name is Pedro, he is from Mexico and works in an area where we already have churches to the south. Pray for us that we'll be able to get some more Bibles SOON, and let the Light of the Gospel shine through Gods Word! We invited Pedro in, but he had to go, said the starter on his truck wasn't working and didn't want to shut it down. Pray for us that we would have opportunities to visit with Pedro and know if he truly knows Jesus as his Savior.
Another blessing was when we arrived home there were a couple of small packages from the States with gum and Kool Aid. You can't imagine how nice it is to get small things like that, especially after your fridge gets turned into a road-kill locker.
I plan to have the trusses for the church in Lorogumu finished by tomorrow and hopefully we can get the roof on out there by next week sometime. We are also planning a trip to Lokichokio, the last village in Kenya on the border with Sudan. Not sure if we'll go next week or the following. Pray that we will follow where the Lord is working. Thank you for all of your prayers, they are what help us through difficult and trying times. God has blessed us in many ways in the couple of days since we have been home. Thank you for praying for us.
Bob and Ericka Clark
This last week after Bible Institute classes five pastors, four students, a cook and I traveled to Lokichokio to help start planting a church. Loki, short for Lokichokio, is the last place in Kenya before going into Sudan. It's a world of extremes, on the one hand you have UN offices, cars, airplanes and staff -all the best the west has to offer and on the other hand you have Turkana people, villages and traditions that may be a century removed from how we currently live.
Lokichokio has an International Red Cross surgical hospital for war victims from Sudan, offices for Voice of the Martyrs and countles other NGO's (non-governmental organizations) an airport and runway the same size as the international airport in Nairobi. Most of the services of these places are not offered to the Turkanans, but the Turkanans do benifit from jobs and perks of the UN opperations.
The actual village we went to start in is about a mile outside of Loki. There are no churches there and although a catholic priest has given out free rosary beads the people had never heard about Jesus. My Swahili was completely useless there because none knew any language other than Turkana.
When we first arrived in the village our reception was quite cool. We started by walking from one cluster of huts to another presenting the Gospel and inviting everyone to a meeting near the local water well. Right away many wanted to accept Jesus as their Savior, others said they didn't want to bother with strangers. At our first meeting near the well/hand pump we had about 30 come to see us. Because we were so close to the pump we had a promblem with noise from the pump-handle, so several of us took turns working the pump to minimize it's noise and allow people to still get water.
While we were in the area we used that pump to get our water, which brought another problem. Some ladies from the area claimed we were "using up" their water and that we should go somewhere else to get our water supply, we were using something like 30 gallons of water a day. The second time we preached there and got our water we had quite a confrontation, thank God pastor Areng was able to talk with one of the village elders. Somehow the elder remembered pastor Areng from Lorogumu, a ten day walk from Loki, and considered him a friend, thus the matter was finished and we were able to get water. Later one of the ladies went to the local chief and complained that we had come with a 5 ton truck and loaded it with water, fortunately we had already met with the chief and he knew we didn't have a 5 ton truck.
We went walking in the village three different times and each time people were willing to accept Jesus as their Savior. We held three different meetings near the well and each time several came forward to accept Jesus. I'm not sure of the total number that accepted Christ, I just pray that those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior will come to a full knowledge of Him.
Before leaving we intorduced the young man who will be leading the new Christians, his name is Geofry Lomchai. When we introduced him one of the old ladies began clapping her hands and saying Lomchai, Lomchai! Come to find out she is one of his distant relatives from years gone by. Please be praying for Geofry, he has been a good student in our Bible Institute and should finish his studies next year. Geofry's home is here in Lodwar so he will have to travel to Loki and back quite often.
Before we left Loki the pastors, students and I had a little goat roast. The goat was good and I don't believe I've ever heard so much lip-smacking in all my life. In all, the trip was a great blessing, it drew our pastors closer and confirmed our calling to plant churches throughout our district. We already have plans to visit another area called Lokori next month.
Please pray that we would use our time wisely and go through the doors the Lord has opened for us. We have three building projects started, the Bible Institute and churches at Kalemenyang and Lodwar. We need to persevere with our Bible Institute classes and help plant new churches. Pray for me that I won't be overwhelmed with the work and will delegate as much work to the pastors and students as possible.
Ericka is doing well, she's been quite tired lately, not sure if it's from the heat, stress or other factors, but do pray for her. Her ladies group is going very well and she has had great opportunities to share her faith with a new Belgian lady here in Lodwar.
Thank you all for praying for us and God bless you.
In Christ, Bob Clark
Sorry I haven't written in some time, we've had lots of things happen since our last letter in September.
I believe in our last "mass e-mail" I wrote a little about Southern Sudan. Just to follow-up on that, you folks in the States will probably hear as soon as I do when or if the US begins military action against suspected terrorist sites in Sudan. We have heard that the US Military will be using an airstrip somewhere in Turkana to carry out strikes in Sudan and Somalia. We have also heard that the special envoy to Sudan, John Danforth, has given an ULTIMATUM to the Khartoum government and the SPLA, to cease fire by the end of January, 2002. Also, the UN refugee camp at Kakuma, in Turkana, has ceased giving out food supplies to the Sudanese refugees, effectively forcing them to go back to Sudan. It seems that the US and UN will be forcing changes on Sudan in the near future. I suspect that somehow they will establish a DMZ dividing the Islamic north from the Christian/animist south. If this comes about it will throw the door wide open to working in southern Sudan. The only problem is I'm spread pretty thin as it is, pray the Lord to send more laborers into his harvest!
Our building projects are going along well in Turkana, we have three projects underway. Two churches have poles/posts set awaiting trusses and tin. Our Bible Institute project has 1000 cement blocks ready and as soon as we get back home I'll line out some workers to dig for foundations and start laying block. Any assistance on these projects would be greatly appreciated. Also, if there is anyone who knows how to weld and would like to spend their "vacation" in a very "exotic" environment, please contact me.
Last month Ericka came down with Malaria and some kind of GI tract infection. We went to a decent clinic in Lodwar and Ericka began recovering right away, but it being her first time with malaria it really hit her hard. She seems to have recovered fully and I'd like to give a big THANK YOU to all our friends who sent her get-well e-mails.
Our church planting ministry is moving on well. We have three new areas we are concentrating on. The most recent place we started working in is Lokwee. There are lots of people in Lokwee who come in from the "bush/interior" to trade or get relief food. This is a great opportunity to minister to folks we could never track down otherwise. Pray for Pastors Aregae, Areng and Gitao who are working to plant these new churches.
When we came from Turkana down to Eldoret this last time for supplies and cooling off, some of our missionary friends had just left the field. They had some difficulties and needed help, so we spent the last two weeks packing up and moving their things for them. This bit of extra work has set back things in Turkana, but it was necessary and I know the Lord had us here to help.
This next week we are going to Nairobi to work at getting our Alien Registration Cards(ARC). Since the Sept 11, ordeal the government has cracked down on all foreigners living in Kenya, mainly Somalis, but it has forced all of us to get these ARCs. Pray that we have a safe trip to Nairobi and don't have any difficulties with the bureaucrats there.
I have a special prayer request. Ericka and I have made friends with several British folks working around Eldoret. They told us that they were surprised we would be their friends because most of the other missionaries stay to themselves, but the Lord opened the doors of friendship and who are we to refuse. We have had great opportunities to share Jesus with them and work at dispelling their cynicism toward what they knew of Christianity in the UK. Most of us Americans don't realize how embittered many Europeans are toward churches. Their coldness comes from centuries of "religion" and complete lack of faith in Jesus. Pray that we will be good witnesses and that the Lord would soften their hearts.
An added prayer need is for possibly getting a "bush-mobile." I am always overloading our Mitsubishi truck and we have often talked of getting a Toyota Land Cruiser or Land Rover. If you know anything about these vehicles you'll know they're not cheap, but we're not looking at getting the typical US suburbia version. The one's we are looking at are 80's models, don't look great, but still have plenty of kilometers left in them.
Thank you for praying for us. I want to encourage each of you to follow God's leading in your life, it probably won't take you to Turkana, but I know it will bring you a peace you'll never know otherwise. I'll be praying for all of you that you won't be deceived by temptations and will come to know the joy of trusting Jesus for everything.
In Christ, Bob Clark
December 25, 2001
MERRY CHRISTMAS from Turkana! No chestnuts on an open fire around here!!! It was probably near 100 F. today! We got to ride in an AIR CONDITIONED vehicle today, I had the air blowing right on me the whole ride, man was it nice.
Christmas Eve we started an evening worship service at 10pm that continued until 4am Christmas morning. We left after an hour and a half. This morning we returned to the church at 8:30 for a baptism service. We baptized six. Our guard Peter was one that was baptized. Praise God!
The rest of the day was spent fellowshipping with other missionaries. It was wonderful to celebrate the day of our Lord's birth with other Americans. We got together at one family's house and shared the feast that everyone helped to prepare. Even though we are 9000 miles from our families the Lord has provided good friends and fellowship to warm our hearts.
Christian Turkanas usually spend Christmas singing and having a special feast, some will go around singing asking for "donations" to help them have some sort of special dinner in the evening. Ericka made a nice bag of cookies for our church here in Lodwar to share today.
We thank God for his goodness to us and thank all of you for remembering us in your prayers. God bless you and your families, may your televisions, computers and video games all break today. May you come to know the joy of fellowship with family and brothers and sisters in Christ!
Bob and Ericka Clark