Thursday, November 03, 2005

More from Ben about the trip in Western

Dear Friends--

A couple of additions to yesterday's entry.

Therese's full name is Therese Mutopa Tshisuaka. She is from Kinshasa MM in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She has an accent egue on the first e, an accent grave on the second e, and no accent at all on the third e.

Also, the "Rondo rainforest" is actually called the Kakamega rainforest. Rondo is the name of the set of cottages we stayed in in the Kakamega rainforest.

I also skipped entirely one of the more interesting stories of our trip. Driving back from the Kakamega rainforest, we began to notice that there was a sense of unrest in the people around us. People were telling us that we should turn our car around--that it was not safe for us to drive into Kisumu. The car right in front of us was carjacked from its owners. We turned our car around and drove through crowds of people to get to a deserted part of the highway outside of Kisumu.

We waited there for quite some time. Children gathered around our truck, shouting pleasantries at us, climbing on the truck, and eventually poking their hands into the windows. Even the children seemed menacing after what we had seen in front of us on the road. In the covered bed of the truck, we waited for what seemed like an eternity, as the Graces consulted with a private security agency and between the two of them sorted a way to get home.

We drove all the way around Kisumu, about an hour out of our way, and finally made it home in time for a quick repack and then a dash to the airport. Raul observed wisely that it is the custom in Africa to dash to transportation--the mad taxi dash to the train, the mad truck dash to the bus (which I don't think has been mentioned), and now another mad truck dash to the airplane.

As with the bus, we made it to the airport in plenty of time. By that point, we had shaken off the fear of being trapped in the car.

In the back seat were Holly, Therese, Rachel, Raul, Jesse Grace (seven year old son of Eden and James) and I. Eventually we realized that this was more matter-of-course to Therese and Raul, as they had lived perhaps half their lives in the midst of civil war.

We found out later that four had died in the riots, all the result of police fire into the crowd. The reason for the riots was an intense political issue here in Kenya. They are debating whether to approve a new constitution. Apparently twenty years of work went into drafting a constitution that would be acceptable to all parties. But that constition is not the one that will be voted on--instead, they are voting on one drafted by one of the senior politicians here.

The groups in favor of approving the new constitution have the symbol of bananas--they sell bananas, they wear yellow, etc. Those opposed to the new constitution have the symbol of oranges--they sell oranges, they wear orange, etc. Central Kisumu is very much orange territory. The riot occurred because the bananas decided to hold a rally in Kisumu, which the oranges didn't like at all.

It has seemed very safe here with the exception of that drive around Kisumu, though. The election is occurring right before Thanksgiving--may God keep Kisumu safe until and after then.

In the light,



FWCC -- Africa Section has posted some great photos from the WGYF - Africa on their Web site. Check them out!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

of homestays and departures

Dear Friends--

I am writing from the African Ministries Office of Friends United Meeting, located in downtown Kisumu. As far as I know, I am the only international Friend who attended the conference in Kanamai who is still in Kenya. Jason and Mark flew away on Thursday;
Grace, Holly, Raul, Ru, and Therese flew away on Saturday; Lomuria took a matatu home on Saturday (a matatu is a nine-person minivan which can be hired to provide transportation--these things are *everywhere* here); Rachel flew home on Sunday.

After the conference ended in Kanamai, we took an overnight bus to Kisumu. It was a grueling trip--road quality varied from very good to quite bad; temperature went from the dry heat of Mombasa to the bitter cold of the mountains near Kisumu; some of us fell ill right before the voyage. But we got to Kisumu in one piece. After a long rest at the house of the Eden and James Grace (and Jesse and Isaiah Grace, too), we met with the leaders of all of the Yearly Meetings in Kenya. We talked about the WGYF in Kanamai, about youth leaving the Quaker Church (which is a difficult problem here in Kenya), about gender roles, and about a great many other things. All were pleased by this chance to meet, even for such a short period of time.

That night we also spent at the Graces'. The next morning we split into two groups to travel to all of the many yearly meetings in Kenya's Western Province, where the lion's share of Kenya's 140,000 Quakers live. (See,_Kenya for more information.) The first group, consisting of Holly Baldwin, Grace, Eden Grace, Mark Sailor, and Jason Tres Reyes, travelled in the south. The second group, consisting of Ruadhan Barry, Ben Guaraldi, John Lomuria, Raul Perez, Rachel Stacy, and Therese (whose last name I don't know), travelled in the north. Then the two groups met up in the Rondo rainforest for some closing time before folks took their planes home.

The northern group had stops at the FUM hospital in Lugulu and the yearly meeting offices in Kitale. We had homestays each night. I think Raul enjoyed going to the hospital the most--he repairs hospital equipment in El Salvador, and so was pleased to be in a place like his home.

Not much is coming to me from that trip north--hopefully others will be able to fill in some of the details. What I remember best is travelling by matatu, and the wonderful hospitality provided by our many Kenyan hosts.

On Saturday, when Grace, Holly, Raul, Ru, and Therese flew away, Eden and I realized that these were five people from five continents boarding the same plane from Kisumu to Nairobi: Grace from Australia, Holly from North America, Raul from Latin America, Ru from Europe, and Therese from Africa. They were all Friends and they were all friends. It was a lovely sight.

In the light,



Dear Friends, this is Robin writing from Nairobi. It was really great to meet you all and it was sad to see you go. I hope everyone got back to their respective countries ok.
I am attempting to upload the updated FWCC-Africa Section website, which includes several pages on the WGYF-Africa, under the Africa YF heading. Should be up today, but net is SLOWWW!
Chris and I selected what we thought were the best and most appropriate photos all those who contributed photos (thanks guys!). I would also like to make a link to this blog page so that African YFs can be invloved in the dialogue. Would that be ok?

Love and light, Rob and Chris (Nairobi, Kenya)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Post-Gathering Travels

Dear Friends,

Many of the international delegation have arrived in Kisumu, in the Western part of Kenya. After an adventurous 15 hour bus ride, we've had a restful stay at the Graces' (New England family working here with FUM.) We're heading out to visit local Quaker meetings, projects and families. Most Kenyan Quakers live in the western part of Kenya. We feel very blessed to have this opportunity to prolong our stay and continue learning and sharing.

We can say that the gathering was a success. It was an honor and privilege to be there. We were all challenged at times, and also rejoiced in praise and worship, song and dance.

I wish I could write more about the gathering experiences, but this blog is being hand written with a marker in a short amount of time. Friends will post their experiences soon when we arrive home.

With love from Kisumu,

on behalf of Mark, Grace, Raul, Ruadhan, Ben, Jason, Rachel, and new Friends Therese from Kinshasa Congo and Lomuria from Turkana Kenya.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

WGYF-Africa Epistle


Greetings from the World Gathering of Young Friends – Africa. It has been nearly two months since the World Gathering of Young Friends held in Lancaster, in the United Kingdom. During this gathering, God led Young Friends around the world to work for a post gathering, to be held in Kenya, Africa for those Young Friends who could not make it to Lancaster, mainly due to visa-related difficulties.

The WGYF-Africa was held in Kanamai, Mombasa in Kenya from 20th – 24th October 2005. 81 Young Friends gathered together, both from around Africa and representatives from the regional groups that participated in the Lancaster gathering. These Friends were from 27 Yearly Meetings and communicated in five different languages though more than twenty languages were represented. The gathering in Kanamai shared the same theme with the gathering in Lancaster – “I am the Vine, you are the branches”…now what fruit shall we bear? (from John 15).

It was a collective idea of the WGYF in Lancaster that the representatives should take with them all the experience they witnessed, and pass it on to Young Friends who participated in the WGYF-Africa. This WGYF-Africa was another great opportunity that brought joy to Young Friends who represented most of the Quaker Community and enabled us to exchange our different traditional backgrounds of faiths and practices, cultures and spiritual journeys. Our presence together helped heal the deep hurt that was felt at the denial of visas for the Lancaster gathering.

During our time in Kenya we were able to visit various local attractions, and we were enriched by our wonderful surroundings. We worshipped and danced together, worked together in much valued workshops and heard three valuable talks by our guest speaker Dr. Esther Mombo. We also enjoyed regional and yearly meeting presentations and an exciting cultural night.

Similarly to those who participated in the WGYF in Lancaster, Young Friends at WGYF-Africa felt that we had an opportunity to explore different interpretations of the theme as mentioned above. We believe this opportunity has revealed to us the diversity that exists among us, and it has challenged us to always recognise this diversity of religion and faith, not only among the Society of Friends, but among all people.

Young Friends at this gathering also felt that the following were the challenges and opportunities that will help us grow in our faiths and practices in various ways:

Experiencing different forms of worshipping among Friends was an opportunity for Young Friends to share, understand, and accept each other no matter how we relate to God. We believe this has led our minds to be more liberal on our faiths and practices, thus challenging us to always promote love and unity among Friends regardless of different traditional and faith backgrounds. Young Friends experienced what we believed to be Quaker Faith in action as we experienced the Love of God working through us in different ways.

We felt, however, that we are faced with some challenges. We had to think of how to question others without seeming challenging. We felt challenged to carry the theme of this gathering, along with our experiences here, to other Young Friends across the world. We find the world’s socio-economic & political barriers increase the weight of this challenge. Young Friends also found the leadership and structural conflicts among Friends in their different Meetings to be a great challenge facing the future of Quakers.

We recognised that we have no right to judge each other, but leave judgement unto God. We call for love and unity among Friends worldwide as we are all branches of the one True Vine.

Saturday & Sunday

By Michael Nambafu

The Theme message of the World Gathering of Young Friends held at the Kanamai beach resort was “I am the vine and you are the branches”. The task of exploring the text has been on Dr Mombo, Pastor Moses Murenga, Ntahuba and Pastor Wamboka.

Quoting from the book of John (chapter 15) all delivered a captivating, challenging and inspirational message to the participants.

Commencing with a brain storming session the speakers engaged attendants in participatory methods on the issue of who is a real Quaker and disciple.

Various answers were given from the participants but the speakers urged the participants in the gathering that though they are divided in views, they are united in striving to achieve the will of God.

They urged the participants to give Jesus control of their life as He wants them to confess their sins and follow him, as this will make them grow into strong, faithful disciples.

“A new born baby desires the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby”, said Ntahuba. “We have been given the means of spiritual nourishment for the true disciple, through God’s Word, the Bible, as one should read and memorise, practise and hear it taught and preached.”

Mombo used the example of breathing to symbolise prayer, as one should spend time talking to God about his needs, problems and his family and tell God how much he loves him.

She also elaborated on spiritual resting as worship, meaning physical and spiritual renewal.

Pastor Murenga stressed that Jesus wants his followers to experience victory over sin in their daily lives as the Bible says that whosoever is born of God overcometh the world.

Christian life is difficult, but victory is assured because “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world”, said Murenga.

Dr Mombo said that a true disciple follows what Jesus commands him or her to do and “abiding in the vine” calls for obedience to what He has taught.

She further said that a disciple can only abide by God’s Word by reading the Bible, praying, singing and abiding by His testimony, for it will strengthen one’s faith in God.

Ntahuba elaborated that Jesus is the rock on which Christianity faith is built on and He symbolizes peace and prosperity amongst the Christian faith.

At night there was a cultural night where different Yearly Meetings presented their cultures’ diversity, which was captivating, as most participants joined other cultures in dance and songs.

Arguably, the most captivating song was from T.S. Phori of Central and Southern Africa Yearly Meeting who presented a Zulu song which made other participants wild as they joined him in the dance and praise.

Other groups that grabbed the attention of the audience was the Burundi and Rwanda group led by Beraino which really made other participants focus on what had happened in these two countries where innocent people were killed.

It really pulled my heart as I recalled what happened in Rwanda in 1994 but I thank God that peace has prevailed. “I will continue praying that God gives them courage and wisdom to live in peace”, said Shikuku.

Most participants were very happy at the end of the performance as they said that it really taught them about different cultural diversity and reminded them of the need for the preservation of their culture.

After Sunday worship the participants set out for trips within the vicinity of Mombasa. The first stopover was at the animal orphanage farm, where they were amused to see a hippo staying together as a mother and child with a tortoise .

“I haven’t seen such supernatural phenomenon as this the work of God. It has never happened before”, said Maryanne Nafula.

The participants were able to see different species of animals like buffalo, monkeys, and giraffes. Some took pictures to take back to their respective Yearly Meetings.

They proceeded to Fort Jesus and then to the Likono ferry where each participant was longing to board the ferry.

“It was my first time to board the ferry and I feel glad and proud. I give my thanks to the World Gathering committee for organizing the conference here in Mombasa”, said Wafubwa.

The exciting moment came when they landed at the Kenyatta public beach where participants took the centre stage by involving themselves in many activities like camel riding, swimming in the ocean and meeting with other Kenyans, who were at the beach enjoying the day after attending their respective Sunday services.

“The trips were captivating, educational, entertaining and a good way to interact with each other. We really enjoyed it and I am very glad and give thanks to the organizing committee”, said Maureen Obede.

After the trip there was entertainment by gospel singer Imanuel Machichi with his inspiring gospel songs and dance troupe. This aroused the participants’ faith as the songs were really educational. Even those who did not understand the meaning of the songs that were being sung in Kiswahili, really enjoyed the tunes and the way those who did understand the songs were dancing.

Participants longed for more songs from the singer even after the programme was over as he was forced to repeat the songs three more times to satisfy them.

“The songs were so inspiring and really motivated me as it made me have hope and strengthened my faith”, said Amina Adan.

Monday, October 24, 2005


By Michael Nambafu

Since more than eighty participants for the World Gathering of Young Friends- Africa arrived at the Kanamai conference centre, young friends have expressed their gratitude and joy about how the conference is being conducted and have praised the organizers for the work well done.

They singled out tireless effort being made by the organizers led by John Fitzgerald and Bainito Wamalwa in making the conference accommodative to all.

Participants said that the conference will come up with the means of uniting the youth and older generation from all different walks of life thus strengthening the church and spreading Quakerism.

They said that the conference is open to all types of Quakers and has created space for exploring what is intangible, but important to their faith.

Participants stressed that various topics that are being raised at the workshops and base groups, have provided them with spiritual nourishment which will be a major bearing in their Quaker faith and growth.

Most participants were challenged by the different styles of worship and their theology, like unprogrammed Quaker worship which is not common among African Quakers.

They said that the gathering has made them discover a common language and vision that has made them feel united through their differences and have made contacts which they will nurture. They hope to put their faith into action by becoming brave and adventurous in trying to realize their vision.

The participants also said their interaction with other friends has given them an insight into their worship system which will be cultivated or incorporated in their own system for the purpose of rediscovering the basic foundation of Quakerism.

Ben Guaraldi said that he has been in North America and England but the Kenyan conference has taught him the difference between culture, eldering and faith.

“What I have learned from the conference has really strengthened my faith by defining to me who is a true disciple”, said Moses Sasaka.

Patrick Savagaji said that he has learned how faith and practices from different parts of the world on Quakerism had divided their faith and on the other hand how it has unified and strengthen Quakerism.

But Christine Sabwa suggested that the conference has given her greater opportunity to interact with Friends from all yearly meetings and she is looking for spiritual inspiration and being enthused by things she has not thought about before.

T. Phori said that he has experienced diversity among Friends from a different tradition of worship and how Friends exercise the spirit of love, truth and peace among themselves.

All participants agreed that after the meeting they will go back into their different yearly meeting and instil to other friends what they have learned so that they can strengthen their faith and spread Quakerism.


Compiled by Michael Nambafu

Twenty seven participants for the World Gathering of Young Friends - Africa left Nairobi, Ngong Road, Friends International Centre at 10.30 am on Thursday for Mombasa, one and half hours later than the scheduled time.

The participants enjoyed the journey as for some of them it was their first time to travel to Mombasa. You could just see from their smiling faces as the bus rolled down the Nairobi –Mombasa road that most of them were really enjoying the trip.

“I really enjoyed the beautiful scenery along the way. I especially liked the sprawling Tsavo national park” said Sikuku.

Although the participants enjoyed the scenery, they encountered some problems, which ranged from tiredness to frustration on their way to Kanamai beach resort. Despite some complications with transport everyone arrived safely. The location is beautiful and everyone was happy to be all together.

At the venue they were received by the organizing committee members led by Bainito Wamalwa , John Fitzgerald and Rachel Stacy among others.

The participants gathered for introduction at the conference hall where they met other participants from different parts of the world.

A total of eighty one participants are attending the conference with the theme I am the vine and you are the branches.

The sermon was delivered by Beatrice Mutali who ministered on the topic true vine and the branches. She reiterated on the need of Quakers being the branches and Christ the true vine.

She urged the participants to stay away from doing evil and to assert their righteousness before the Lord. She also appealed to young Quakers to utmost humble themselves, for the punishment of the ungodly is fire.

Mutali reiterated the youths not to sow the furrows of injustice among themselves as they will not reap a sevenfold crop.

She said that those who abide in the Lord will be pruned by the Lord hence bearing spiritual fruits. Quoting from the book of John 15 she challenged the participants to change their lifestyle as it’s the only way they can strengthen their faith and become true believers thus getting the spiritual inspiration.

Mutali went on to elaborate that one can only get spiritual blessings by abiding in the word of God thus by doing no evil . She further said that God gives directions and blessings in everything you undertake if you only abide by his word.

She urged the participants to transmit God’s word on the earth by challenging the evils in the society, and to be generous and be mindful about other people with whom they reside.

Mutali lastly warned the gathering not to enroll in the ranks of sinners as they should remember that the retribution does not delay.`


Compiled by Christine Dunn

At 6:30am Wednesday morning a group of five participants for the World Gathering of Young Friends – Africa, left Nairobi in one vehicle. Simultaneously a group of 15 participants traveled the same route by bus and the two groups raced to see who could make it to Mombasa first. We discovered that public transport beats private, as the bus came in a few minutes ahead of the car!

Wednesday evening a group of 9 people of all different nationalities attempted to catch the overnight train for Nairobi to Mombasa. Losing track of time over dinner, the international team found themselves arriving at Nairobi train station just as the train was leaving the station… without them! The people at the station had the amusement of seeing Christine (of Australia) running after the train, yelling “stop the train”. Noone had a clue how to do that, so it was time for some quick back-up planning.

Taxis to Athi River were the go. Race the train and try to get there ahead of it at the next station. The taxi drivers sensed their urgency and a haggle entailed, while precious minutes passed by. Finally they headed on their way in two taxis.

Meanwhile Ishmael Chanzu and Phillip Masibo who made it to the train in time, were wondering where on earth the rest of us, and their tickets, were and then were praying like mad that we’d make it to Athi River in time.

The international travelers had a hair-raising experience as one taxi overtook cars where there was no space to do so and the other driver was so blinded by the lights he lost track of where the road was. But thank God, Chanzu, Masibo and Ruadhan Barry (of Ireland) from the first taxi load were able to hold the train till the others arrived and boarded.

What a relief and what an experience! At least they could laugh about it afterwards, and the rest of the journey was “boringly” normal by comparison!

Whatever you do, don’t let anyone tell you that Kenyan trains don’t run on time!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Joy, Struggle, and Tasty Quakers

Dear Friends--

We are here safely in Kanamai, and the Africa chapter of the WGYF is now under way. Kanamai is 25 km north of Mombasa, the largest city on the east coast of Kenya. For our conference, 81 Friends are gathered here from 28 yearly meetings and two monthly meetings, 15 countries, and 5 continents.

I believe some Friends wrote from Nairobi, so I will pick up from there. We traveled from Nairobi to Kanamai in three groups--one in a car, one in a bus, and one in a train. The car and the bus left at the crack of dawn on Wednesday; the train left later that day.

In the car were Robin Dunn, a Friend from Australia who is living in Nairobi; John Fitzgerald; Eden Grace, a Friend from New England who is working for FUM in Kisumu; Moses Musonga, who is a Friend from Kenya who works for FWCC, and Bainito Wamalwa, a Friend from Kenya who was the African Coordinator for the WGYF and did much of the work to put this conference together. I think they planned a lot in the car. They arrived in Kanamai in about 10 hours. The bus folk, which included Ben Guaraldi, Emily Ross, Rachel Stacy, and many folks who were not able to attend the WGYF in Lancaster--took about the same amount of time, but left a little later. So all of these folks were in Mombasa at about 4pm and at Kanamai just before sunset.

The train folks had a bit of an adventure trying to catch their train. They arrived at the train station seven minutes late, caught a cab, and *raced* the train, and caught it at the next stop! I'll let one of them tell you that story soon--sounds like a crazy adventure! Holly Baldwin, Ru Barry, Christine Dunn, Grace, Raul Perez Chacon, T. Phori, and Jason Tres Reyes were all in that group. Their train left Wednesday at 7pm (without them, of course), and arrived in Mombasa Thursday at about 9am, and they all got to Kanamai before noon.

Pretty much everyone else arrived Thursday evening around sunset. All of the Friends from Africa who were able to get visas arrived that night.

We have noticed that there is a great joy in reconvening with other folks from the WGYF in Lancaster. In spite of our different traditions, and--more surprising--in spite of not necessarily knowing each other in Lancaster, a deep connection can be felt between us. This gives us confidence about creating deep friendships between us and our Yearly Meetings. We hope that we'll have the same sense of connection with the friends that we meet here.

And how nice it is to meet these Friends! The absence we felt in Lancaster--here it is! There is a sense of deep movement of the Spirit among all of us here--it is joyful to finally be able to share in the presence of these brothers and sisters.

I had been wondering before attending why we had chosen Kanamai for our conference. It is almost as far from the 144,000 Kenyan Quakers as it is possible to be and still be in Kenya. The idea was to give all Friends the opportunity to travel and the sense in being in a place removed from their day-to-day lives. Just in case anyone was wondering, as I was, why Kanamai?

There is a sense of sadness here from Friends who were not permitted to go to Lancaster. But there is also a sense of joy and gladness that the WGYF has come here to Kanamai.

Oh, and I should talk a little about what it's like here in Kanamai. How beautiful it is! We are steps away from the Indian Ocean, and inside a coral reef. The ocean moves a mile with each tide, out to the coral reef and back twice a day. Above our heads, we can often here the clicking sound of rain, but it is actually the leaves of palm trees rustling in the wind. Coconuts are along the ground, crabs are on the beach and in the grass near our bungalows. At night, we fall asleep to the sound of the ocean.

The weather is hot and a bit humid during the day and warm at night. Sunset and sunrise are at 6:30 sharp, and happen very quickly--the transition between bright day and dark night happens in perhaps half an hour.

We live two to a room, six to a bungalow. Mosquito nets hang over our beds. Our showers have no bathtub or curtain and fills the sink-side of the bathroom with water--what a relief not to have to fiddle around with a curtain!

We've had many activities since arriving. Yesterday we had orientations and a programmed meeting for worship. Today we had unprogrammed worship; a plenary session by Dr. Esther Mambo, who is the speaker for the African chapter of the WGYF; the first meeting of base groups; workshops; *all* of the Regional and Yearly Meeting presentations; and another programmed meeting for worship.

Let me talk a bit about the programmed and unprogrammed worship and then sign off for the night.

The unprogrammed worship was organized by Emily Ross. It opened with silence. Afterwards was a description of unprogrammed worship and a reading from Britain Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice about unprogrammed worship. Then we settled into a deep worship in which vocal ministry was given welcoming us to this gathering. We closed the unprogrammed worship with a question and answer session.

In this Q&A, we entered into a lively discussion about how unprogrammed Friends can speak about their faith--how they can help each other towards Jesus Christ, and how that is not applicable to all of their faith experiences. This seemed to be the first point at this WGYF that Friends had truly begun to wrestle with each other's faith.

The programmed worship is similar to the programmed worship that our Kenyan friends led in Lancaster, but here with many others who have similar conviction and passion, it attains an even greater level of spiritual power. We have heard readings, heard impromptu sermons on these readings, shouted out to God, danced, sung, waved our hands, asked our neighbors if they were tasty (because to be the fruit of God, mustn't we be tasty?) at these programmed worships. As the leader of one of the worships said--"You may be tired, but if you call out to God, the tiredness will fall away." How true!

We miss our Friends from Lancaster deeply and wish that you could be here with us to rejoice in the fellowship and faith of these Friends. We feel your presence in our hearts and hold you in our prayers, and ask you to hold us in yours.

Thanks to the Friends who agreed to post this entry in the blog!

We will be in touch again soon.

With love,

Ben (to whom the "I"s refer), Holly, Ru, and Robin

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I have safetly arrived in Kenya along with everyone else. I took a 9 hour bus ride from Nirobi to Mombassa yesterday with 13 other Friends including ben, the climate went from plesent to hot and humid. I saw a great deal of the eastern part of this country, dry poor farms, chickens, goats, small children, unemployment, the poverty was intesnse! Palm trees with coconuts sprouted up closer to the coast, and the houses went from mud and straw to coral and stone. Oh my, so much to say. The food is different, the showers cold, the way of life here is much much different.

Yet extremly liberating! To speak with Eden Grace about living here, and to compare cultures with the Africans I can only start to express the amazingness of this place.

And i don't even get to see where the majority of the Kenyans live, in western kenya, where there are hippos and every inch of ground is used for agriculture.

So what have i been up to? First night in Kenya, ws spent at the JC house, Robin and Christine are amazing people, some of the founders of the Jesus Christian commuity, and totally inspriational to see live out their faith. Then the bus ride, and then much needed sleep. This morning we all met for a planning meeting, and theother 60+ people arrive tonight. I stepped out wiht Moses, Mary and Eden to use the internet and buy some shampoo.

This is the last time till the end of the conferen I will likely be able to access email. Please know that i and all of the internationals are safe and happy. There is much to tell and share when we return.

Keep checking this blog, because with the help of Robin and Jeff Hipp, we will try to post things throughout the conference from a mobile phone!

all of our love

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Dear Friends,

We arrived in Nairobi airport last night-- every few hours more Friends from Lancaster join our group! Ru, Emily, John, Rachel, Raul, Ben and I flew together.
Bainito Wamalwa, and Eden Grace met us at the airport. We stayed with some Australian Friends in Nairobi. Some went on to Mombasa early this morning, and others of us will take an overnight train tonight. We've met Grace and Phuri today, and Jason, Mark and Eric Lungaho will arrive soon.

It is such a blessing to see these Friends again!

This morning Raul, Phuri and I shared some worship in the garden. It is an amazing blessing to be here, and I am so gratefl to have these Friends to keep me faithful on this journey.

Blessings to all!


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Raul y Luis

Dear Friends--

Raul arrived in London today, and was permitted to enter England without a visa in his El Salvador passport. I was quite concerned about this and was very relieved when he arrived.

Luis, after much discernment and many thorny travel arrangements, decided that he could not go to Africa at this time--that it was felt too rushed and too late. So he will not be joining us.

We fly tomorrow. I'm glad. I'm relieved. I'm a bit tired.

In the light,



Querido Amigos

Raul llegue a Londres hoy, y era permitido entrar a Inglaterra sin una visa en su pasaporte del Salvador. He tenido much miedo sobre esto y era relevado cuando él llegó.

Luis, después de mucho discernimiento y muchos arreglos espinosos del viajar, ha decidido que él no podría ir a África en este tiempo -- era demasiado rapido y demasiado tarde. Él no va con nosotros.

Volamos mañana. Estoy alegre. Me relevan. Soy un poco cansado.

En la luz,


Sunday, October 16, 2005

On Our Way

Dear Friends--

We (Holly Baldwin and Ben Guaraldi) have arrived safely in London, England. Tomorrow Raul Chacon Perez, Rachel Stacy, John Fitzgerald, Ru Barry, Emily Ross, and probably others will arrive. And on Tuesday, those of us convening in England fly to Kenya!

We are weary from the journey but we are sustained by the love, energy, and prayers from all of you. Particularly the living faith and the living memories from the gathering in Lancaster hold us steady as we have embarked on this rocky road.

We ask for your prayers now. We are nervous about visas, about travelling, and about doing what we have been called do. At the same time, we are filled with excitement, joy, and hope.

Please hold us in the Light that our travels may be easy and that our faithfulness may endure.

If someone could link the site to this one, that would be grand. Also, if someone can volunteer to translate Spanish to English and English to Spanish, that would be great, too. (Please email the list if you can do this.)

Thank you all for helping us along the way!

We miss you all and hold you in our hearts.

Peace and blessings,

Holly and Ben


Queridos Amigos--

Nosotros (Holly Baldwin and Ben Guaraldi) hemos llegado en Londres, Inglaterro. Manana Raul Chacon Perez, Rachel Stacy, John Fitzgerald, Ru Barry, Emily Ross, y probablemente otros personas van a llegar. Y en martes, nosotros quienes estan reconociendo en Inglaterra volan a Kenia!

Tenemos sueno de la viaje, pero estamos sostenido por el amor, energía, y los rezos de usted. Particularmente la fe viva y las memorias vivas de la reunión en Lancaster nos sostienen constantemente pues hemos emprendido este camino rocoso.

Ahora pedimos sus rezos. Somos nerviosos sobre visas, sobre viajar, y sobre hacer lo que nos han llamado haga. En el mismo tiempo, estamos llenados con entusiasmo, con alegría, y con esperanza.

Sosténganos por favor en la luz que nuestros viajes pueden ser fáciles y que nuestra fidelidad puede aguantar.

Si alguien podría ligar el sitio de éste, eso sería magnífico. También, a si alguien puede ofrecerse voluntariamente a traducir español inglés e inglés al español, eso sería grande, también. (Por favor echa correo a la lista si usted puede hacer esto.)

¡Gracias todo por ayudarnos a lo largo de la manera! Le faltamos todo y le sostenemos en nuestros corazones.

Paz y bendiciones,

Holly y Ben

Almost Upon Us

As many of you are aware, the time for the WGYF in Africa is upon us! In less than a week, we will convene in Mombasa.
Please pray for the conference and all of us from the 20th to the 24th. May we continue what we began in Lancaster!

Thank you for all of your prayers and support!

People from the WGYF attending the African gathering, after the Spanish version:


Queridos Amigos--

Probablamente lo sabeis, pero estamos muy cerca del tiempo para el WGYF en Africa. En menos de una semana, vamos a convocar en Mombasa.

Por favor, ruegue para la conferencia y para todos nosotros del el 20 al 24 de octubre. Espero que podemos continuar lo que hemos comenzado en Lancaster!

Gente del WGYF que van a atender a la reunion en Africa:

Grace (Australia YM, Asia & Australia)

Jason Tres Reyes (Philippines YM, Asia & Australia)

Luis Carlos Rodriguez (Guatamala Embajadores Amigos, America central y del sur)

Raul Perez Chacon (El Salvador YM, America central y del sur)

Ruadhan Barry (Ireland YM, Europe)

Emily Ross (Britain YM, Europe)

Holly Baldwin (New England YM, North America)

Mark Sailor (Intermountain YM, North America)

Jesse Ayuya Afanda (Bware YM)

Alaisdair Knox (Central & Southern Africa YM)

Maeileseli Lekalake (Central & Southern Africa YM)

Mbete Nokuthula (Central & Southern Africa YM)

T Phori (Central & Southern Africa YM)

Everlyne Muronji Kataka (East Africa YM North)

Eric Lijodi Lung'aho (Kakamega YM)

Eric Steele Maina (Nairobi YM)

Christina Sabwa (Nairobi YM)

John Fitzgerald (Ireland & Britain YM, European Based Committee)

Rachel Stacy (Baltimore YM, North American Based Committee)

Ben Guaraldi (New England YM, Pastoral Care Team)