Dear praying friends,
We are having a “Rip Van Winkle” experience!
No, we have not been asleep, we are very much awake. But we are seeing things that were not even dreamed about when we first came to Africa 64 years ago. For example, this picture from the 7th floor (or maybe it was the 9th) of the Kenya Immigration Service. At rush hour, this round-about is jammed with traffic. We have waited over an hour to get through in the morning and again between 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. The streets were designed for a city of under a million, and now Nairobi is somewhere between 5 and 8 million!
Sixty years ago, we wrote about mud, dust, ruts, and crossing rivers without a bridge! That was missionary life then. But we live now! The deep missionary experience and challenge has not really changed, just the packaging of it.
Nairobi can be beautiful. It can also be devastating for the 50 - 60% of its population who exist below the international poverty line, that is, living on less than $1.00 per day. In the “old” Africa, they had gardens, cattle, and community. Seldom was anyone hungry. Churches were often full, hymns were sung joyfully. Of course literacy was very low, cars were an exciting novelty, schools were mud-floored and thatched roof with no windows. And the missionary was often welcomed, not ignored or scorned.
Now, in the cities, there are modern classrooms and huge office buildings that are architectural marvels. But there is no room for gardens or cattle, so the “little” people go hungry. Congregations don’t participate, they listen to worship teams. Preaching often gives only the ‘prosperity gospel’, to a people eager for a way out of economic hopelessness. Kenyans laugh at the 80% Christian of census figures. “It’s more like 10 -15%,” they correct,“That 80% only means they aren’t Muslim or Traditional. They really are Nothing.”
So we live among an unreached people - who wear suits, compete successfully in the Olympics, attend the new universities, jam the streets and highways with Toyotas, BMWs, frequent Mercedes, and live in gated estates. That’s the upper 10%; the next 40% crowd the 15-passenger ‘taxis’, live in massive apartment buildings miles from where they work. Then there is the 50% who walk to work, or are seeking a non-existent job, surviving in the biggest slums on the African continent.
We are ashamed of the nation’s place as one of the 10 most corrupt nations in the world. But that can be forgotten watching the incredible building boom and a 5 to 6% annual economic growth rate. It is said that the growth rate would be 10% or more - if corruption could be contained.
What does all this mean? The Gospel is just as desperately needed now as it was 64 years ago in a very different Africa. Missions have succeeded in evangelizing, but failed tragically in discipling the crowds that responded. The image of missionaries is of out-of-touch Westerners. A huge challenge is before those Africans who truly love Jesus, to tell of Him.
That is why we are here - to help encourage and prepare them for the critically needed role of disciple makers. And that is why Daystar University is here, equipping many among the 5,000 students to clearly teach His Word and live for Him.
Will you pray with us, and with Daystar’s godly student leaders? Daystar was begun with the vision of a university of discipleship. Many of our students are here for that purpose, many are here only for careers. Pray that good leadership will put us fully back ‘on track.’
So often it seems those who have the greatest desire to know and serve Him are the ones lacking support. The ones coming from the bottom 50% (economically) are often the most committed to the Lord. We try to share and help, but medical bills have greatly reduced our ability to help those with real and urgent need.
Just this morning, one young man came before breakfast. I groaned inwardly, just another one requesting help. I waited for the inevitable, but was I ever surprised! He said that he had come a month or two earlier for help, and I had explained that we had nothing more to give. So we prayed. And now his tuition, board and room were all paid. He didn’t know how it happened - “It was just God!” he rejoiced. He had just read in his devotions about the ten lepers, where only one went back to thank Jesus for the healing. He did not want to be one of the nine, so he came to share his thankfulness.
That was a great way to begin the day! May God give you such joy in your day - perhaps as you join us in the delight of giving in His Name.
For His Kingdom everywhere,
Don and Faye
Gifts can be sent to
Daystar US 8011 34th Avenue South C50 Bloomington, MN 55425