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International Commission Evangelism Trip to Nairobi, Kenya 2003

Daily journal of Dana and Cindy Bratton

"Bwana asifiwe" - Praise the Lord

Wednesday July 23

We met at our home church Magnolia Avenue Baptist at 11:00 a.m. and were taken by Dave Felts our youth pastor, in a van to LAX., where we had lunch.   We were led by Curt and Vi Estel,  others going from Magnolia Avenue Baptist included Linda Bramell, Lorene Brandiff, Tabith Chenlee, Joni Smith, and Dorothy Vickers.   From LAX we flew to San Francisco and then a few hours later, flew to London.   We were served supper and breakfast on the plane. 

Thursday July 24

We arrived in London and had an 8 hour lay over.  There is an 8 hour time difference between California and London.  We took the subway, they call it the Tube, quite a distance and got off to see Buckingham Palace and had lunch.  We also enjoyed Hyde Park and Piccadilly Circus.  The flight left at 9:50 p.m. that night.  We found out later that British Airways went on strike that night at midnight and all their passengers were stranded in the airport. 

Friday July 25

We arrived in Nairobi  at about 10:00 a.m. and were greeted by a large bus.  About 40 of our group of 76 Americans had arrived together now at this time and Feroohs, who owns and manages Safari Travel, was there to greet us along with Donnie and Juanita Land, the International Commission coordinators.   We were taken to the Panafric Hotel where we would stay the next eight days.   Those going on the three day safari had taken a different flight through Amsterdam and were already there.  Cindy and I had a major case of jet lag and took a nap for a few hours.  At three o'clock a group of us walked about a mile and half down Kenyatta Avenue to downtown and went shopping.  There are many beautiful clothes and animal carvings for sale.  The downside is there were many people begging for money and people who would approach you selling bracelets or something else who were very pushy.   The hotel has a pool, but it was not heated and a bit to cool for me.  That evening we had a very nice buffet meal at the hotel.  There was a variety of food, rice, potatoes, fish, chicken, hot tea with milk and sugar, a variety of desserts and a lot of fruit. 

Saturday July 26

We had breakfast in the Flame Tree Restaurant at the hotel.  Each morning we had made-to-order omelets, pastries, fruit, pancakes, french toast, coffee, juice and tea.   We met as a large group for the first time for orientation from 8:30 to 10:00.  Then the choir rehearsed from 10:00 to 11:30.   Lunch was on our own.  Then at 1:00 we were taken by vans to the opening rally at the Baptist Education Center.   The rally was held outdoors. The weather was moderate the whole time we were there, about 75 during the day and mild humidity.  It was exciting to see a large crowd from the 38 churches we would work with and begin to meet the pastors and leaders.  There was a lot of singing, with speakers turned to their highest volume, so the sound was somewhat distorted and hurt my ears.  There is great energy as the Kenyans worship.  They dance and sometimes have a dancing march.  Blake, who works with International Commission, was the preacher that afternoon.   I gave out a package of seven songs to each of the thirty eight churches for children, while Pastor Mark Owena, Pastor of Kayole Baptist Church and President of the Nairobi Baptist Association gave each of the pastors a stack of tracts from the International Commission.  Toward the end of the rally we got in a groups of three or four Americans, in teams we had already been assigned with our pastor and his leaders and the African team assigned to that church.   Out team was Linda Bramell, Tabitha Chenley, Cindy, and me.



Sunday July 27

All four of our team members were part of the 29 member choir that sang each day in a different church.  Sunday we spent the entire day at Kayole Baptist Church.   There was much singing and dancing led by the church.   When we returned to the hotel that evening for dinner, a common question was, "How many calories did YOUR worship service burn?"  Our choir sang six numbers.  Jim Presswood, a pastor from Central California, was the guest preacher.  He and his wife were assigned to work with Kayole for the week.  After lunch at the church, we took the sound system outside by extension cord about 40 feet from the church, and began to sing for the crowd gathering from the slum village of Kayole.   Charles from Garden Grove, CA shared his testimony.  A number of people responded to the invitation.  One man I prayed with just wanted prayer, another I thought just wanted prayer also, but in further questioning I determined he didn't speak English.  I called for a church leader to interpret in Swahili and was able to lead the man to saving faith.    This would be the first of many who didn't speak English and with the help of an interpreter would come to salvation.    Before the evening service started and the choir sang again, I demonstrated the children's songs we gave away from our business to Janet Owena, the pastor's wife and to several of the children.    The guest pastor that evening was the one the Africans.  86 Africans came from other parts of Kenya and from other neighboring countries to work with us and the 38 churches for the week.   We had a great buffet meal at 7:00 p.m. each night back at the hotel.  Then at 8:30 we met with Dennis Rumbo and Donnie and Juanita Land to hear testimonies of the day's events and receive instructions for the following day.



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