December 2013 - Christmas Greetings from Kenya
We greet you in the name of Emmanuel -
“God With Us”
And ask His blessings upon you for the New Year
as we give thanks for your support and
encouragement in our service.
Emmanuel, “God with us.” At our home, and in the village. God with us on muddy roads and inside grass-roofed huts. God with us in new cultures and new languages. New families, new celebrations, new understandings. God with us in every sick patient and every lonely prisoner. God with us in every person who comes to our door asking for help. God with us when we try. And God with us when we fail. God is with us through our families, friends, and faithful supporters. God with us is Jesus, who came offering forgiveness and reconciliation, and who promised he would never leave us or forsake us. We pray that you know Jesus, Emmanuel, and are able to recognize him with you everywhere.
“So the Word [Jesus] became human and made his home among us.
He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. "
John 1:14, NLT
|Merry Christmas from Steve & Alene|
News... from South Africa!
Sharing with other African Cancer Researchers
The biannual African cancer conference was held in Durban, South Africa in November. I (Steve) joined Dr. Russ White (Chief of Surgery at Tenwek Hospital) and Dr. Mike Mwachiro (recent graduate of the Tenwek Endoscopy/Research Fellowship program) in presenting our esophageal cancer research results. Drs. Dawsey and Abnet, two of our collaborators from NIH in USA, also made presentations at the conference. We received many compliments for our research work. I found it especially rewarding to interact with esophageal cancer experts from throughout the world and to make some new contacts for collaboration in Africa. We continue our research emphases at Tenwek Hospital to diagnose and treat pre-cancerous abnormalities in the esophagus and to identify factors that may explain the high rate of esophageal cancer for people living in this area of Africa.
|Steve with Drs. Mike and Lando, Tenwek Endoscopy/Research Fellows, at our poster presentation|
Our trip "down south" in Africa was not all business. We had a chance to see some of the sights and see some animals that we do not have in Kenya…
|Yes, that actually is Steve with others at the top of Victoria Falls!|
|Beautiful tram ride to Table Mountain in Capetown, South Africa|
|Lighthouse at Cape of Good Hope at the tip of Africa|
|Greater kudu with beautiful horns and markings|
|OK, we also have cheetahs in Kenya, but this one came close to us!|
|You can see that the zebras came close to our lodge!|
|African penguins reside in this area of South Africa|
|We were in South Africa one week before Nelson Mandela died, but the people's affection and concern for |
"Madiba" ("The Lion") was clearly evident in one of the churches that we visited.
Correctional Ministry in Kenya -
Changing people & communities, one life at a time
Alfred had served over 10 years for a murder to which he had confessed. He had accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior after visiting with a Correctional Ministry chaplain working at his prison, and he was eager to go home and make peace. The village elders (including Alfred’s father) were insisting that he undergo a traditional “cleansing ritual” involving the blood of goats before he would be allowed to live in the community again.
But Alfred took a stand. “I am a now Christian, and I will be cleansed in a church.” The Correctional Ministry chaplain gathered a group of Christian pastors from that community, and they organized a church service to receive Alfred back to his village. People turned out in droves to see what a “Christian cleansing” was all about. Alfred’s father also came, and was the first to greet him when he got out of the car. Alfred fell on his knees in front of everyone, and cried out, “I know that God has forgiven me because of the blood of Jesus, but now I ask forgiveness from all of you.” The pastors escorted him and the people to the church with singing and tears, then anointed him and prayed over him. The father invited everyone to a feast at their home. Alfred continues to do well, and his church is preparing a fundraiser to help him build a welding shop, which will empower him to use the training he received in prison. His life stands as a testimony to the power of the Cross of Christ, which can restore a man’s life and change a culture.
|Alfred’s village came to greet him, and his father was the first (at left).|
The prison officials had recognized the change in Alfred after his conversion, and supported him through all the release arrangements (see right).
Progress for Correctional Ministry
Correctional Ministry chaplains continue to encourage churches and communities to
turn away from traditional norms of rejecting those who are (or have been) in prison.
World Gospel Mission has launched an information page for this ministry on its website, with a link for online, tax-deductible donations
Thank you for visiting the web page, and considering support for this work, which is changing lives and communities.
Please help us to end 2013 well and have a great start for 2014!
We are so grateful for those who stretched to provide additional support to allow us to keep up with our ministry expenses during these past 4 months. However, as of the start of December, our ministry account balance has fallen below our average monthly expenses. As you consider year-end giving and plans for your contributions in 2014, we would appreciate your support at any level.
Thank you so much for your partnership with us!
Donations online: www.wgm.org/burgert [Click the “Donate” arrow for special or recurring donations.]
Mail a check made out to “World Gospel Mission” [memo line: “Burgert ministry-02273”] to this address:
World Gospel Mission, PO Box 948, Marion IN 46952
To provide support directly to Correctional Ministry in Kenya, use this weblink: https://www.wgm.org/donate-correctionalmin
or use the address above, with a note designating the funds for Correctional Ministry.
Please thank the Lord with us:
• For productive networking at the cancer conference
• For some times of relaxation in South Africa
• For new partners and increased financial support in August and September
• For health, strength, and safety in our travels
• For GI endoscopy coverage for most days of Steve’s meetings in April/May 2014
Please pray with us:
• For a successful corn (maize) crop in this area of Kenya after 2 failed seasons due to a blight
• For adequate financial support for our ministry and for Correctional Ministry in Kenya
• For protection over the Correctional Ministry Team
• For celebrations of the true spirit of Christmas, with many coming to know Christ as their Savior
Thank you for your partnerships with us.
Blessings on your Christmas celebrations and throughout the year to come!
Steve & Alene