(This is a post by Phil Spradlin, a member of last month’s team to Eburru)
Reflecting back on our (Dustin, Louis, Anne, Becca and Phil) two weeks in Eburru, Kenya we saw many assets in and many needs.
The church, volcanic climate and vision are some of the assets that can be used to address the needs of courage, skilled labor and discipleship. Will you join us in praying that God would use these assets in Eburru to meet the needs for his glory?
We were first drawn to Eburru by God’s work through Steve and Mary, a native Kenyan couple who loves the Lord and has given their life to the building of God’s kingdom.
God has brought alongside them many people gifted in education, medicine and farming so that now the body of Christ shines brightly as the church serves the community.
God used Steve and Mary to start a school that provides high quality education and two hearty meals a day to the students. The sixth grade class invited us to join them for their daily chapel hour. One of the students rounded up all of the students and got them in order. Then the students took turns leading each other in signing songs praising Jesus and reciting bible verses.
We were blown away with the leadership and organization of the students.
Eburru sits 9,000+ feet above sea level, atop the Great Rift Valley.
According to Eburru residents the first people to come to Eburru were drawn there by the high altitude volcanic soil that was ideal for growing pyrethorum, an insecticide.
Sitting atop the valley provides magnificent views that have generated a tourism business at nearby Rift Valley Lodge which provides gardening jobs for local residents.
The nearby town of Naivasha has a climate ideal for growing roses, providing additional jobs for Eburru residents. Steam coming from the volcano is condensed by residents for drinking water and recently the KenGen power generation company opened a geo-thermal site to generate electricity.
Everyone I have spoken with in Eburru has a vision for the future.
Steve has a vision for the church in Eburru growing so vibrant that it sends out missionaries all over the world.
Elijah has the vision to serve God wherever God puts him (what awesome humility and devotion).
Others talk about visions for starting a bible college, attending agricultural school, being a tour guide, starting an import/export business, eco-tourism, building a hospital and an airport.
For a community where many work as subsistence farmers and live in mud-walled homes, these compelling visions of a better future are amazing! Since my first trip to Eburru three years ago, I’ve seen God work through people’s dedication to make progress towards their dreams.
A medical clinic has been expanded showing a hospital could be possible. A farm has broadened to test many new crops including passion fruit, avocados and dozens of other varieties of vegetables no one else in the town has attempted, showing that attending agricultural college could be possible.
Please pray that God would use the church, volcanic climate and vision to meet the needs of courage, skilled labor and discipleship.
Lack of Courage
During our trip when hard conversations came up I found myself shrinking back as a coward. I asked God for courage and he was faithful to supply.
Unfortunately some of the men in Eburru are cowards and don’t ask God for courage.
They see the struggle of working long days in the field to provide for their families and cowardly back down, preferring instead to drink their days away in the bars.
Some men are afraid of commitment and kick their wives and children out when times get tough. We heard of one man who has been married 4 times this year.
Some of the pastors of other churches don’t have the courage to submit to the Lord, so they preach lies focused on getting their followers to donate money in exchange for the promise of answered prayers.
Need for Skilled Labor
Many of the people we met in Eburru have high aptitude and are hard working, but have only had access to elementary school education.
This level of education enables them to provide for many of the basic needs including food and shelter, but not many elements of hygiene.
Looking to the future shows the scary reality that if the community continues to focus on farming careers then the standard of living could drop as the plots of land are divided smaller and smaller among heirs of each generation.
Thirst for Discipleship
Praise God that people continue to confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that he rose from the grave.
The church already provides a 6 month discipleship class for new believers, yet many thirst for deeper discipleship.
While sharing dinner with a friend he constantly was borrowing our bible to read stories and discuss God’s word. One of the church elders talked about his desire to attend bible college.
Many young children get the head knowledge of the bible at school, but don’t have a father to model for them the life of Jesus.
Will you pray that God would use the church, volcanic climate and vision to meet the needs of courage, skilled labor and discipleship?