From Deb Burich:
As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of our Kenya Partnership, I pause to look back at the foundation of it. In those days, Maynard Beemer and Samuel Chepkonga shared letters – letters that were handwritten, taking weeks to travel by air and land to a postal box in Eldoret, Kenya. Pastor Samuel, who lived in the Kerio Valley, traveled another day to Eldoret to retrieve the letter. The same process repeated after he hand wrote his response to Maynard, possibly by the light of a kerosene lantern.
We are thankful for the faith-filled sharing of lives and hopes in those letters. We are grateful for relationships that grew and flourished, for cultures shared, for prayers and love that abounds. What began as handwritten letters crossing the ocean every few months has grown into a strong partnership that embraces many.
We give thanks to Pastor John McFadden, Pastor Maynard Beemer, Professor Samuel Kip Elolia, Pastor Samuel Chepkonga, Mildred Chepkonga, Jeremiah Kibor, Pastor Job Kisang and Pastor Richard Cherop for their leadership in the foundation of our partnership. We give thanks to those who have chaired the partnership at First Congo – Jack Harris, Elena Earl, Wayne Lannoye, Wanda Van De Hey and Aimee Eubank.
Today, Pastor Kathryn and I use WhatsApp to text Mildred Chepkonga and others. They can respond instantaneously due to widespread cell towers and cell phones throughout Kenya. Yet the content of those letters 20 years ago and the texts today are similar. They contain words of faith, hope and love. They share stories about our lives. They open hearts and share prayers.
From Pastor Kathryn
It is truly a blessing to celebrate this partnership today, and dream about its future. As six of us prepare to travel to Kenya in January 2019, we look forward to visiting students, learning more about the culture and country, and also spending time with our friends. These friendships are rooted in Christian love. Our partnership is a community built of prayer, perseverance and deep faith. Thank you, Deb Burich, and all who are leaders and supporters of this partnership, and the blessing it is to all of us.
Bwana Asifiwe, Praise the Lord!