Dear friends and praying partners,
I have good news. Last night I received an email from my missions director giving me the green light to begin my transition back to Kenya. Since just after last Thanksgiving, I have been working hard to assemble the support team that would make my return to Nairobi more than just aspirational. I have watched week by week as an astonishing number and variety of people have let me know they are praying for me, while others have given towards my mission support or made pledges to give. Some days I was tempted to think it was just too much to hope it would ever come together. On other days, especially when informed that another someone I had never met had given a substantial amount of money, I began to allow myself to think that maybe, just maybe God really was in the middle of all this and that He was in the process of doing something special.
Well, God has been doing something special! Let me take a minute and tell you about the financial support team behind my return to Kenya so that I can help train the next generation of Christian leaders at the Makarios III Orthodox Theological Seminary and at St. Paul’s University. There are 77 individuals, couples and families who have given towards my support. This is out of 350 who have indicated they want to receive my prayer updates. In addition, seven churches have come along side me financially. About 40% of my support has come from monthly or quarterly giving. The other 60% has come from one-time gifts. My supporters come from 18 different states, with two from Canada and one from Greece! Ten of my supporters are people who were supporting our ministry when I was still a Presbyterian pastor and a Protestant missionary. Fully half of my supporters are people I have never met, who either heard my interview on OCN radio or read about me on the OCMC website or even the Ukrainian Orthodox Church website, or who heard me give my presentation at one of the many churches I have visited this past winter and spring. I received $3.00 from one source, and more than $8,000.00 from another. Just this past Sunday, a seven year old boy slipped me an envelope during our fellowship hour, and when I got home and opened it there were 13 one dollar bills and a note that said ‘for Dr. Bill’.
|The Markios III Orthodox Seminary where I will live is in Riruta on the left midway down|
Every gift given for God’s work is precious in God’s sight. Each of these people has not given to me or to my project, but to the Lord. They enable me to offer my gift to the Lord, the gift of going and giving my education, my experience and my life to these young men and women in Nairobi. It’s like the Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians: we give out of our abundance now to help those would otherwise be struggling. But the time will come when they, the Christians in Africa, will pay a return on our investment in their leadership and churches beyond our wildest dreams. We are part of something bigger than all of us that God is doing with His people there. Thank you for being willing to join with me to make my little part of that possible.
|Road trip to a new Church in Maasai country with our clergy and choir|
I am in communication with my friend, Fr. Evangelos, who is the Rector of the Makarios III Patriarchal Orthodox Seminary in Nairobi, letting him know that the way is clear for me to return. When he consults with His Eminence Archbishop Makarios and his other colleagues, he will then be in a position to let me know when the best time to return will be. I am also communicating with my friend Professor Joseph Galgalo (we were students together at Cambridge), who is the Vice Chancellor of St. Paul’s University, as well as with my Dean, Dr. Sammy Githuku. I have let them know that I am coming back and am available to teach in the fall semester. As soon as I hear back from my friends in Nairobi, I’ll be in a position to set a date for my journey back home. I am guessing this may be early to mid-July, but this is just a guess.
|St. Paul's University Library in Limuru, Kenya|
Keep praying! This will be a full month as I begin sorting out my life in Crozet, divesting as well as packing, and saying my farewells. One huge blessing from having unexpectedly to spend the past two years of my life in Virginia is that I have had some wonderful time with my older daughter Linnea and her husband William, as well as with my newly married (two weeks ago!) younger daughter Caroline and her husband Will. And yes, I am a William, too. I try not to think about it too deeply. That being said, this tender-hearted dad will miss his girls and their beaus to pieces.
Those of you who have made pledges, please keep giving. The decision to allow me to go is based on the trust that those who have made pledges to support me will in fact do so. Also, there is still plenty of room for additional giving if you would still like to join my support team. In terms of actual funds received, I still have a ways to go. You can become a sustaining member of my support team by giving a monthly amount of $100, or $50 or $25. It’s easy to do. Just go to my page on the OCMC website here: http://www.ocmc.org/about/view_missionary.aspx?MissionaryId=41
and click on the ‘Support’ button at the bottom, and you will be led through the process of making your gift.
There are so many verses in the Bible that trend towards hope:
David writes: ‘You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.’ (Psalm 30:11)
Paul quotes Isaiah: ‘This is what the Scriptures mean when they say: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.”’ (1 Corinthians 2:9)
And again Paul writes, ‘And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.’ (Romans 8:28)
|My spiritual father, now His Grace Bishop Innocentios of Rwanda and Burundi showing some joy in Bujumbura|
Many of you have ministered hope to me during these past difficult years. It’s my prayer that you, too, are finding these things to be true in your own life.