Posted by: Rev. Dr. Douglas Richnow | July 18, 2012

Heading Home

God is so Wonderful and Awesome!  There is no way to describe our teaching today in Kibera!  We taught the older boys and girls in Forms 2,3 & 4 (equivalent to our High School) and we were blown away by their courtesy and attentiveness to the Sex, God & Me training.  The team came through with flying colors and Meg and I are so proud of them and the hard work them have put into this trip.

Rev. Moses Maguro and I went to Manna Bible College where I did a “cram” presentation on Church History for two hours.  Actually, I only taught for one hour but with the Swahili translator it ended up taking two hours to do the presentation.

It is 5 pm in Nairobi and we are all cleaning up and packing to leave for the airport.  We will stop along the way for dinner and then arrive for our 10 pm flight to Amsterdam.  We all are anxious to get home and look forward to giving everyone a personal report of God’s mighty work here in Africa.

Children in the Kibera slum

Posted by: Rev. Dr. Douglas Richnow | July 18, 2012

Kibera Slum in Nairobi

We spent all of Tuesday teaching at St. Michael’s School in the Kibera slum of Nairobi.  Just when you start to feel sorry for yourself because of being so tired, so homesick, so emotionally depleted from the tasking nature of this trip, you walk into the Kibera slum and you are stunned by how “good” life is for you.  There is no way to describe, film, or share the feeling and the enormity and the poverty of the slum.  You cannot come close to capturing the stench, the squalor, the crowding and the total poverty of these children…most of whom are orphans living with relatives.

But what a joy it is to be with them!  They are so filled with singing, smiles, playfulness, and appreciation for us being there as their visitors.   They are gorgeous, energetic children who love Jesus and want to learn.  Expecting that we would have about 60 girls we ended up having 98 girls in the classroom that was, literally, 15 by 20 feet with 1 naked light bulb for illumination.  They were sitting on top of each other and we ran out of materials and gifts (pens and wrist bands) that we had brought.  In addition, we had 78 boys who came to the teaching.

Our team did a fabulous job!  A couple of the team members were struggling with gastro/intestinal distress but got better after some Cipro and other meds we had.  It had rained the night before and on the walk into the slum we became covered with mud and who knows what else.  This was the second visit to Kibera for Meg, David Russell and me but the first time for the others.  It took about two hours to get emotionally situated with the conditions around us but God blessed us with what we all agreed was the highlight of our trip in terms of teaching.

The team (minus Lori and Emma Gobillot who returned home last night) goes back to Kibera today but I will spend the morning teaching the students at Manna Bible College.  After lunch I will join the team in Kibera to close out the day before we head back to the hotel for a late checkout, showers, an early dinner and then a drive to the airport to catch our 10:10 pm flight to Amsterdam.  We arrive in Houston tomorrow at 1:50 pm and are anxious to see everyone and share the stories of how we have seen God work so mightily THROUGH our team and ON our team.

Bwana Asafiwe!  (Praise God!)

Posted by: Rev. Dr. Douglas Richnow | July 16, 2012

Maasai Mara

We saw a beautiful black-maned lion in the Mara

Posted by: Rev. Dr. Douglas Richnow | July 16, 2012

Return to Nairobi

We finished our time in the Maasai Mara and Sunday evening held eucharist with our team…at exactly the same time that worship was being held at St. John the Divine.  We felt the spiritual connection and the lesson for this Sunday (as only God could have planned) was from Mark 6 as Jesus sent out the disciples to carry the gospel message to the world.  Emily Hunt’s fiancé, Rev. John Newton, was preaching at SJD as we were celebrating eucharist in Kenya.

We drove back to Nairobi this afternoon and met with Rev. Moses Muguru about our plans to teach in the Kibera slum tomorrow.  Last year we had such an incredible experience working with the beautiful children in Kibera and we are looking forward to our work tomorrow.

Lori Gobillot and Emma will leave us tomorrow evening for a flight back to Houston.  The rest of us will teach on Wednesday before we take a late evening flight out for Amersterday/Houston.

We are all physically exhausted and ask for God’s provision for the next two days to have the energy and stamina to do His work and His will.  Please pray for us!

Doug+

Posted by: Rev. Dr. Douglas Richnow | July 15, 2012

Fabulous experience at Oloile Secondary School

We finished our teaching at Oloile Secondary School (Wednesday through Friday) and were so blessed by our time there.  The new girls dormitory that was funded by St. John the Divine was open and receiving your female residents who were so excited to show us their new rooms and the dormitory.  I was blessed when they unveiled a plaque that acknowledged that the dormitory was dedicated by the Rev. Dr. Douglas Richnouw (yes, that was the spelling…remember, this is Africa) and the dorm was named the MEG RICE HALL.  What a wonderful treat and honor for both Meg and me.  On Friday, when we finished the SG&M teaching and I finished the Pastors’ Conference we had a formal dedication of the dormitory with all the pastors and the Oloile students.  I was an unbelievable celebration with all he pastors praying in unison (it was like Pentecost with voices singing praises in Swahili, English, and Maasai) and the students sang a song of dedication.

On Saturday morning we drove from Oloile to Nairobi and then to the Maasai Mara National Preserve.  It was a long, hard, 10 1/2hour drive and we were whipped when we got to the Sarova Mara Game Hotel (look it up on the internet to see what a wonderful place it is).  We had a Saturday evening game drive and two drives on Sunday.  We saw (and this was perfect for our SG&M team) a male lion mating with a female (three attempts..but we’re not sure if there was any success, just lots of growling), a female cheetah who had killed a gazelle, and lots of other animals.  Unfortunately, the wildebeest had not yet arrived in full force as we had hoped they would on their migration.

We leave to return to Nairobi tomorrow after a morning game drive and will teach in the Kibera slum on Tuesday and Wednesday before we board our flight home on Wednesday evening.

Peace and love…we hope to be able to communicate better once we get to Nairobi.

D0ug+

Posted by: Rev. Dr. Douglas Richnow | July 9, 2012

Teaching in Arusha

I got a call at 7:30 am this morning from Archbishop Mokiwa who had been driving all night from Dar es Salaam to Arusha to join us. He had a blowout near Moshi and was being delayed for about another hour.  The team had a great breakfast (the Mt. Meru hotel is FINE) and left at 9 am for teaching while I awaited the Archbishop.

The Archbishop and I spent the day with Bishop Stanley Hotay at the Diocesan Office, had lunch at The Golden Dragon Chinese restaurant.  It was pretty good…we’ll wait until later to see HOW good it actually was :)  We then toured several Anglican churches in the area.  My visit with the Bishop was wonderful and he will come to the hotel tomorrow to meet with Meg.  It looks like there are some good possibilities for our working with the Diocese of Mt. Kilimanjaro on our Sex, God & Me program and for that I am thankful.

The team has not yet returned from the Marangu School but I am anxious to hear about their day.  I will join them in teaching tomorrow.

The Archbishop has “crashed” in his room for a well-deserved nap.  More to come later!

Bwana asifiwe!

Posted by: Rev. Dr. Douglas Richnow | July 8, 2012

A Day of Rest and Sightseeing!

We had a wonderful day of relaxing at the hotel, enjoying lunch, and later int he day we went shopping/sightseeing in Arusha!  I am happy to report that our one team member who was ill (she shall remain nameless so that no parents get worried) rebounded quickly and is at the head of the class now!

After a leisurely morning we had lunch by the hotel pool in a beautiful setting and everyone had pizza (travel all the way to Africa for good margharita pizza…go figure?).  Dr. Lazaro and Dr. Pulei joined us and we visited about our next two days of teaching at the Mirangu school…the same place we taught last year.  Dr. Lazaro has arranged for an additional school to be transported to Mirangu and join in our Sex, God & Me teaching.

We went tot he Maasai Market and found lots of genuine/well priced art work including beadwork, carved ebony, etc.  We then went to a wonderful place that I had not previously visited called Shanga.  It is a glass bead factory/craft shop that was created to give jobs to the handicapped in Arusha.  It currently employs about 57 people and they create fantastic beadwork and other artistic crafts.  It specializes in using recycled wine bottles and other glass to make their products and we were all so impressed with the ministry they have to the disabled and the beauty of the gifts they make.  Needless to say, everyone spent a few dollars and felt that the gifts we bought were not only beautiful but for a great cause to support the people who work in this factory.  They have a motto that was painted on the side of the building: “Kindness is a language that the blind can see and the deaf can hear!”  WOW!!

We’re back at the hotel now and getting ready for dinner.  Everyone is fine and experiencing Africa in the “big city” setting.  In a few days we will leave for Kenya and they will get to experience Africa in the “bush.”

Thanks to everyone for your prayers and support of our mission!

Doug+

Posted by: Rev. Dr. Douglas Richnow | July 8, 2012

Safely in Tanzania

We landed at Mt. Kilimanjaro Airport late last night and were met by Evans Munanga, our outfitter, and taken to the Mt. Meru Hotel where we will be staying until Wednesday.  After a late dinner we all got a good night’s sleep (with the aid of Ambien).  Only one member of our team is missing, suffering from a stomach bug, but we are giving her medication and believe she will be well by this afternoon.

Dr. Lazaro Mongoi and his wife Nina are meeting us for lunch and we will finalize our plans for teaching the next two days.  Then after an afternoon of rest, some shopping, and sightseeing, we will meet Dr. Moses Pulei and Archbishop Valentine Mokiwa who will be with us for the next couple of days.

Please keep us in your prayers as we recover from our long trip and get ready to begin our teaching of Sex, God & Me.

Doug+

Posted by: Rev. Dr. Douglas Richnow | July 4, 2012

Heading for Africa

This Friday, July 6th, Meg Rice and I will be leading a team of 10 persons to Oloile Secondary School in southern Kenya to present our 4th year of Sex, God & Me to the students and my 6th year of leading the Maasai pastors from the region in a training conference.  On the team with Meg and me are David Russell (this will be his third trip), Lori and Emma Gobillot (their second trip), Hal Dantone, Cody Andras, Emily Hunt, Rachel Boyd, and Brian O’Shaughnessey.  

We fly into Mt. Kilimanjaro Airport near Arusha, Tanzania and will spend three days teaching students at Maringa Secondary School.  Our arrangements there have been established by Dr. Lazaro Mongoi and his wife.  We will be joined by Dr. Moses Pulei and Archbishop Valentine Mokiwa for our time there.  

From Tanzania we will cross the border into southern Kenya and spend three days teaching at Oloile Secondary School, nested in the village of Kimana near the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro.  There I will present my Sixth Annual Pastor’s Conference for 100 men and women, most of whom have small churches within a 50 mile radius of Kimana.  Meg and the other team members will teach SG&M to the students at Oloile.

We will travel next Saturday, July 14, to the Maasai Mara for a day and a half of safari to see the great wildebeest migration.  Then we complete our trip by traveling to Nairobi for two days of teaching at a school in the Kibera slum.  Our time in Nairobi has been arranged by our dear friend, Pastor Moses Muguro and his wife Ester.  We will fly out on Wednesday evening, July 18, at 10:30 pm and return to Houston.

Please keep all of us in your prayers for safe travel and prayers that we might be used by God in a mighty way as we work with these wonderful children.Image

Posted by: Rev. Dr. Douglas Richnow | June 17, 2011

We’re home…blessed by God!!

We returned home Wednesday afternoon after two 10 hour flights from Kilimanjaro Airport to Amsterdan and then to Houston.  Our final day in Arusha at Miranga Secondary School was a wonderful experience.  More boys and girls showed up than the day before (they are actually on break and have voluntarily come to these Sex, God & Me teachings) and we were again feted to Maasai dancing by some of the studenets and lots of praise singing. 

Dr. Lazaro Ole Mongoi arranged our time at Miranga at the request of Dr. Moses Pulei.  Lazaro has worked on a grant project for World Vision over the past four years to teach abstinence in Miranga as a “test” school.  His grant period has just been completed but he is expecting to go back on the staff of World Vision with another project soon.  He was so very interested in seeing how our Sex, God & Me program would work in this setting and I believe, from his comments and subsequent emails, that he was very impressed with the curriculum.  His wife Nina, an attorney, attended all the sessions and said how well she thought it worked with the students.  This has been a great encouragement and we are excited about the possibility of expanding our presence in Tanzania, but most especially about the possibility of World Vision being involved in our using the program in East Africa.

On the way home I called Archbishop Mokiwa and he reported that everything was “all right” and he was :) “not in jail!”  It was so wonderful to have him visit with us…even if for only a short time…because he has become such a great friend and supporter of what we are doing. 

Tim Arnoult went from Tanzania to Zimbabwe for a few days, Max and Andy Evans stayed in Europe for another week, but Meg, Janet, Meghan, Lori, Emma and I came on home to Houston with an overwhelming feeling that our trip and our work was a great success for the Lord. 

Thanks to all of you for your posts, comments, and prayers.  We could not hav done all this without your support and you were with us during the entire trip.

Some of the Maasai students who performed dances for us

 

Class Photo at Miranga Secondary School

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Archbishop Valentine Mokiwa, Dr. Moses Pulei and Evans Munanga in Arusha

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A pride of lionesses at a water hole in the Ngorongoro Crater

 

Tom, Meghan and Janet pose in front a two lions "lyin" in the road

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Doug Richnow+

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