Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Greetings and New Year's Blessings

Christmas Greetings and New Year's Blessings!

"This first Christmas away from home is going to be really hard!" one of our newly-arrived missionary colleagues recently shared with us. We nodded our heads, with memories from our arrival in Kenya 5 years ago flooding back. But the memories are joyful ones - we remember how many of you from the US sent cards and care packages and photos. We also remember how Kenyans included us in their celebrations and worship, shared food from their gardens, and invited us to their homes for a cup of Christmas chai. So we answered our friends, “Don’t worry - by next year, you will feel like Kenya is home - because the Kenyans will not let you be lonely!”
We are also thankful for a Father in heaven who will not let us be lonely - and who sent His Son to forgive, heal, and fill our empty souls. We are thankful for a Savior who could leave heaven and be at home in a dirty manger, or an imperfect heart, and who died on a cross to make it possible for us to welcome Him. Have you made room for Him yet? Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock...” (Revelation 3:20)

First Christmas in Kenya celebrated with Charity & Wesley Koech, 2009
Correctional Ministry sharing its vision with many new Kenyan churches
Every prisoner transformed by the love of Jesus Christ and welcomed back to his or her home community, supported and mentored by a local church and pastor - this is the vision of Correctional Ministry chaplains as they work in the prisons. They also work with youth offenders with the goal of giving them hope and new direction before they become adult criminals. Recent opportunities to speak about this outreach have come through leadership meetings of the Africa Gospel Church of Kenya (the denomination which helped to launch the Ministry), as well as numerous other denominations and independent churches. What a joy it is to see the larger Kenyan Body of Christ respond to His call to visit the prisons, and offer a hand in fellowship and reconciliation to those who want a fresh start with their families, churches, and communities.

Presenting the Ministry, left to right: Chaplain Geoffrey, Chaplain Wesley, Ministry Administrator George, & Assistant Chaplain Peter (ex-prisoner)

“ If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together. ”
African Proverb
Many thanks to each one of you for partnering with us that we may go far together. There are many ways that you have joined us and encouraged us in our journey: through your prayers, notes of encouragement, financial support, gifts, service in USA, service here in Kenya, offering hospitality, and inspiring others to also partner with us, to name a few. We say to each of you, “Asante sana.” [“Thank you very much” in Swahili.]

We had a practical example of “going far” together with the delivery and installation of a super-cold freezer (minus 80 degrees Celsius!), which is needed for storage of our Endoscopy research tissue samples. The freezer was purchased with funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in USA [THANKS!] and weighed 704 pounds plus the additional weight of the shipping crate. The freezer in its reinforced crate was delivered to the basement level at Tenwek Hospital and we had to transport it up one story, around the Theatre (Surgery) Building, across sidewalk drains, through hallways and doorways with low ceilings and finally into the Endoscopy Suite. Let’s allow a few photos to tell part of this story of GREAT teamwork! Thanks to all, from donors to movers.






    First there were three......then five.......but every new obstacle brought more hands, more muscle, more helpful strategies.... (even a jack from the hydroelectric dam project!)...until at last, the job was done and the team could celebrate going far together!


End-of-year giving
We know that for some of you, it is convenient to make extra, charitable contributions now at the end of the year. Please note this information for one-time or ongoing contributions. THANK YOU!
Online: https://www.wgm.org/burgert   Then just click on the "Donate" arrow.
By mail: You can send a check made out to "World Gospel Mission" and on the memo line state "Burgert ministry - 02273" and mail it to: World Gospel Mission,  PO Box 948, Marion, IN 46952.

Please thank the Lord with us:
• For Kenyans assuming more of the leadership and ministry roles in Correctional Ministry, including the new Ministry Administrator, George Odhiambo, who is really helping Alene!
• For the opportunity to share about the esophageal cancer research at a Nairobi cancer conference in November
• For approval of 2 more esophageal cancer research studies to be conducted at Tenwek
• For sufficient support to permit us to purchase a “newer” 2007 vehicle for use in Kenya
• For continued health, strength, and safe travels within Kenya

Please pray with us:
• For the December outreaches to Narok Prison (for a medical clinic) and Bomet Prison (for Christmas fellowship)
• For our current term of service to close well in April
• For good preparations and productive time during our Home Ministry Assignment in USA from April to September 2015 before returning to Kenya
• For additional endoscopists to fill-in the remaining coverage gaps at Tenwek while Steve is in the USA from April to September of 2015
• For the many patients, healthcare workers, and their family members affected by the Ebola crisis in the countries of west Africa

With love from Kenya,
Steve and Alene

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