“August 7th, 2018, we left our motherland for a 10-month exchange program in Norway that would see us participate in student ministry work with the Norwegian International Fellowship of Evangelical Students movement called LAGET. The Norwegian word ‘laget’ means team. We got to Oslo; Norway’s capital on the morning of 8th August 2018 and were treated to a very pleasant surprise of meeting a Kenyan working at the airport. He helped us know our way around the busy Gardermoen airport.
On arrival at Kristiansand, we were received by 3 trainees from HALD Internasjonale Senter. This would be our home for 6 weeks as we take a course in Cross-Cultural Communication and International Work. HALD is without a doubt a multi-cultural haven, with students and volunteers from across the world.
We continue to make the most out of the rather rare opportunities to share the gospel. We met a Kenyan man who lives near HALD. He has lived here for about 6 years. Besides getting to share the gospel with him, we were glad to benefit from his hospitality which included the much-missed Kenyan food- pilau. He has taken time off his busy schedule and dropped by HALD several times to check on us. Even though he has heard the gospel, he has not believed it yet and we hope to keep sharing it with him and praying for him. We also share the gospel in many small talks we have with students here at HALD. Caleb, for instance, had a rare opportunity of hiking with two students who shared their story with him.
We had a gospel conversation with another student who grew up in a Christian family but later decided to be agnostic. By God’s grace, we were able to put meaning to many of the questions he asked, notably, the authenticity of the Bible. We agreed he would think about the perfect sacrifice of Christ on the cross and hopefully, start reading the Bible together. He is going on exchange to Uganda though, we hope this will be possible despite the distance. Pray for utterance for us as we seek to make known the mystery of the gospel and for him, that God would be pleased to draw him to Christ for salvation.
The context of Christianity is a bit different from that one at home. The stand of many Christians on some critical discipleship questions is interesting, at times worrying. We settled at being intentionally available in the common places and have conversations with our fellow students. Pray for us, that these opportunities will bear fruit.
On Friday 28th September, we moved to Bergen, a city on the southwestern coast of Norway where we are working with LAGET for 6 months. We are putting in efforts in introducing the work of LAGET to immigrant/international churches with the aim of having as many youths as possible participating in LAGET programs especially at school.” Caleb Lemayain and Ancent Mutua are the immediate former STEM SM staff. We continue to pray for strength as Ancent and Caleb continue with their mission in Norway.
FOCUS Leadership development strategy is strengthened by several partnerships with like-minded organizations. The Norwegian Christian Student Ministry (NKSS) is one of those organization that has enriched FOCUS Kenya’s work through an exchange program that has existed for 20 years. Through the partnership, At least 40 participants from Kenya have gone through the training in Norway with the same number of Norwegians in Kenya.
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Joining the university, as exciting as it is, can be very draining especially if one has no one holding their hand. On one end there is the feeling of ‘rushing’ the days so that one finds themselves in this highest institution of learning in the world, while on the other, uncertainties arise of exactly how life is going to turn out; mixed emotions!
I always looked forward to the time I would join the university. “Hadn’t all my teachers in high school told me that I was a university material?” I would at times contemplate. Well, they exuded confidence, and I had to live up to that, at the very least. I toiled, prayed, carefully sat my exams and finally the results were out. Things seemed to have run pretty fast since it was not long before the Joint Admissions Board (J.A.B), now Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) notified me of my admission to the university. I was elated. (more…)
“Sweet hour of prayer, Sweet hour of prayer…” When I think of this hymn, I find immense joy as being drawn nearer to God and reminded of prayer.
Many Christians testify of the answered prayers more than those yet to be answered. Well, I testify of an unanswered prayer for I have faith that God will surely answer in the fullness of time. I have been praying and trusting God for healing for a long time. I have had back pain since 2016, which rendered me immobile sometimes. At other times, the pain would not allow me to sit through a lecture. I yearned to honour God so I continued praying. However, with time, I grew weary of praying and resolved not to pray anymore for I felt that God had heard enough from me.
However, my resolve did not work as I found myself still praying for healing. I had not given up on God, so I chose to be persistent in prayer. I got reminded of the all-powerful God through His word: reading and meditating on it. Going through my journals reminded me of God’s faithfulness and got me motivated to continue praying. I constantly share my journey with my close friends who are always praying with me spurring me to hold on.
I have witnessed God’s faithfulness. The back pains have now subsided, and I can sit through a lecture unlike before. It has been a long journey but I still trust God for total healing. I’m certain that my full healing is underway, I’ll still hold on. The Lord is faithful, and though it tarries it will surely come to pass.
This experience has taught me to be steadfast in prayer; opening up to Him and finding satisfaction in Him. I find fulfilment in praying for others suffering from long-term illness. But the greatest lesson of all is learning how to exalt God amidst suffering. His name is Emmanuel: God with us, and even in our sufferings, He’s with us.
By Mercy Lena Nekesa Sunguti, Karatina University
The events of April 2nd 2015 in Garrisa University College when terrorists attacked the Christian Students will forever be engraved in the hearts of many, particularly those who experienced them first hand. The healing process for the students has not been an easy journey for them, and those around them too. FOCUS has continued to walk with the students, supporting their healing. Together with the students, FOCUS led by the Deputy National Director and the North Rift Region staff held a thanksgiving service on the 27th July 2018 at the Moi University-Main Campus to celebrate God’s faithfulness.
The students’ counsellor, Mary Magugu recalled the day the students arrived at the campus to continue with their academic journey. It was a day filled not only with mixed emotions and feelings of doubt but with hope too. The students joined Moi University wounded; mentally and physically, and ahead of them was a long journey towards healing. Three years later, the first group of finalists completes their studies. They leave the university better, more optimistic about life and what the future holds for them. Many attest that the journey towards healing has not been an easy one, but God has been and is faithful. He brought His people to walk with the students on their journey, sharing in their pain, and struggles.
On this day, the 27th of July 2018, the survivors celebrated God’s faithfulness. Their songs of thanksgiving, tears of joy culminated into infectious smiles and hopeful laughter. They have risen up despite the pain and aches and won against anger, nightmares, feelings of forgiveness and painful flashbacks … all not easy. ‘Every struggle that comes our way should make us stronger and more resilient.’ As Ms Magugu would assert during the meeting.
Our desire is that these students will continue to testify of God’s faithfulness. To help appreciate the past offer a considered appraisal of the present and an informed march into the future, FOCUS published a book recounting the events of the day and aftermath of the Garissa University College attack, When the Sparrows Fell. You can obtain a copy of the book from the FOCUS bookstall. We continue to pray with the survivors and the families of the sparrows that fell and for the Nation that God may bring about an enduring peace.