On Eagles Wings

Isaiah 40:31

Stories of Africa from Greg and Deb Snell, missionaries serving in Kenya, East Africa with International Christian Ministries We could do ministry anywhere. Greg could teach in a seminary in the US. He could be on staff at a church—as he was. Deb could do women’s ministry, serve on committees, help non-profits—as she did. But God led us to Africa. To our life of ministry here. And what an eye-opener it has been! What we have discovered has opened our eyes and more importantly our hearts to the “ministry within the ministry”—the ministry in the daily stuff of life as well as the well prepared for specifics. Greg teaches what he knows and was prepared to follow his primary focus and call of leadership development in Africa. Deb helps with strategic planning in a small African school. But underneath is the more human factor—the discipleship, the mentorship, the surprise learnings, the “mutuality” of service to one another; the GodIncidences, as Greg calls them. We discover that ministry is also living our lives as God intended us to. Ministry happens when we are surprised by opportunity and even more surprised by the “heart call”. It doesn’t take any preparation other than listening for God’s small whisper… “this is the one, this is the way”. Listen for it, live it!

Greg’s Views
I have always had a special place in my heart for the people and land of Kitale, Kenya. There was a time we thought hard about building our final home and place of ministry there. My friend Darryl Bowe has been the right hand man for the Principal, The Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Chemengich (photo below), but now the Bowe’s term is coming to an end and I have been asked to step in and fill Darryl’s shoes as best as possible. It will mean that in addition to teaching at the campus five times in 2011, I will also be making short trips to Kitale to perform my duties. I will work with the directors of five departments to help them take the school to the next level. Fortunately with the recent addition of a new used car (see Godincidences on last page) the trip should be a lot safer and less eventful than some of our recent past travel escapades. For me, the most exciting part will be getting more and more connected with the churches and students we serve, teach and disciple. I am going to be 61 this year, and while ICM and our school ATS continue to grow and expand, there is something very special at this particular season of my life about the thought that I will be able to serve in this way. The adventure continues…

Deb’s Views
I can see it now! So can others. Our vision for ministry through and at Eagles Wings! You know, to be honest, I had no idea what ministry would come our way in living in a fairly remote but accessible rural area of Kenya. Our hope is that someday Greg will be able to teach ICM classes here and I could facilitate Women’s ministry in a retreat setting, and we believe that will happen. But I am way too much of a “Type A” to settle for occasional formal ministry. Would I be bored? Would I resort to knitting in my rocking chair wearing my granny glasses? WHOA! God is chuckling. Not THIS woman! But then I am always looking for ministry in daily moments of life and hoping God will use me. Greg has wonderful gifts—gifts he was trained for, as well as his gifts from his heart that are just Greg. I don’t have any formal training in ministry, but still...how would God use me? I remember what I heard once and tell others so often as we prepare them for their mission trips to see us; “God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called”. For the trips on the dusty roads, for the students in a new secondary school, for the workers building Eagles Wings, for divine appointments in unexpected places, for serving each other and learning about love. The discovery continues...

Teaching Preaching in Kitale ATS
Greg taught Preaching in Kitale in February to 12 BA students at the ATS campus. His sitting at the feet of Rev. Dr. Arthur Rouner and hearing his sermons for the past 50 years has helped Greg to influence and the students definitely benefitted from one of America’s great preachers. Every student in the class pastors in a church in Kenya, making the impact of the course special. There are many, many wonderful parts of our work but nothing is better than the opportunities that come from one on one ministry and teaching in this setting. Greg will be teaching in Kitale five times this year and so spending more time in Naivasha is closer to Kitale but only 2 hours from ICM Nairobi.


ICM Burundi Marches On!
Some years ago Greg challenged Painito and Rose Ambuka, two of our ICM/ATS graduates, to start ICM Burundi. They prayed about it and accepted it as a calling. With the help of Rev. Dr. Roger Anderson and his wife Dotti, and Rod and Mary MacAlister the journey went to the next step. Greg knew that he could help launch the vision, but it would only last if others joined in. God has provided. Painito won the heart of the president of Burundi and ICM was given 25 acres of prime land. You can see in the photo the dedication of the land in 2009. Today there are buildings built and more going up. Teaching and training has gone on and their first graduation is about to take place. A very special couple for ICM, Dale and Melinda Peterson (see photo below) have gone to work for Painito and have tried hard to support the work there. Recently they shipped 53,000 books for the ICM Bujumbura library. Maybe you want to build that building? Dale and Melinda have grabbed the vision and now spend much of their time in Burundi making it all happen. For Greg, it means a lot to see others take things far beyond anything he could have ever done. It is worth the ink in this newsletter to give a special thanks to the first to step in, especially the Andersons and the MacAlisters and now the Petersons.

A Little Girl Named Jane
Last week I (Deb) was driving an impossibly dusty dirt road—very fine volcanic dust, swirling huge clouds
that cover cars and people who have no choice but to walk the 11 km from where we live, (the longest driveway in the world!) to the main Nairobi-Nakuru-Naivasha road. The dust from a car in front of me covered a small girl as though to whisk her up to a place far from Kansas! As my car approached she was covering her face with her hands. I stopped, motioning her to get in the car but she was so small (about 6) she couldn’t open the door. As I helped her she shyly sat in the front seat and smiled. Asking in Swahili what her name was she replied “Mimi Jane”. I thought of my Jane? My little girl that arrived home from school at that age, safely transported on a shiny orange school bus with stop signs for safety, with her lunch box in hand and her homework in her little back pack? My Jane who would never have to walk like this, to possibly not have anything for lunch, to not have books to bring home, who would NEVER have accepted a ride from a stranger, much less be walking alone that distance? My Jane, whose mother wouldn’t have to wonder when she would get home that day and hope it was before dark? My Jane, who unlike this little girl, would have cookies and milk waiting for her? I am so glad that I live here, and that God used me that day to treat (yes, treat) a little girl for at least one day to a ride home. Serendipitous ministry for sure.

Encouraging Future Leadership
In the last issue of On Eagles Wings we wrote about the group that came from Massachusetts and Connecticut to help install a rain collection system on St. Andrews secondary school. Because of Deb’s continuing interest in the school she was invited to join the Board of Governors and will be doing a strategic planning session with the Board and teaching staff soon. But we have found a way to help Sebastian, a form 3 student (11th grade) who comes from a slum called Kasarani, a single parent (father) family, with twin sisters and a brother (the other brother killed by a hippo while fishing in Lake Naivasha). His father is an unemployed flower farm worker who is a casual laborer and with his meager, erratic income tries to pay school fees. Sebastian comes to work at Eagles Wings during the holiday months from school (3 times a year), and with what he earns, he can pay his school fees. He is proud of being able to support himself, even at this young age, and excited about some day going to University.


The House that They Built and Ministry Moments
Although Eagles Wings would never have come true without the prayers and support of so many of you, these are only some of the hands that have helped bring it to completion soon! It takes a team. And the African team has learned about what it means to do something well, and to ask for help when things are not clear. Greg and others of you who have come have been great teachers, and not always about skills but also about expectations, thinking critically about perfection, and not looking to a “jua kali” (just get by) fix! Eagles Wings is something that they take pride in and have felt encouragement and reward in doing things right. They want to do it right, they just need encouragement and patience and explanation. The next recipients of their work will be blessed for sure. We have been. It has been a tough journey, made even more so by language and culture. But we persevered, and all of us will celebrate with a “nyama choma (barbecue) when we dedicate it soon! Ministry? You bet! But they will have to slaughter the goat.


God’s surprises

Like the rainbow over this little church in Africa, God’s promises to love and shelter us are true

We have been in Kenya now for 15 years, and over the years it is amazing how God brings people and circumstances and opportunity together. Recently Greg received an e-mail from a visitor who was here 10 years ago and after meeting with Greg, he became involved in missions. Not having heard anything for those 10 years, out of the blue he wrote and would like to explore opportunities with ICM or other organizations. Africa grabs your heart sometimes and will not let go. Our friend Ward Brehm, wrote and has connected Dr. Walker (our ICM President) with an Ethiopian on Phil’s recent trip there to explore possible partnerships in training pastors, possibly opening more doors. God is good! Pray for Greg and Deb and Phil and Debbie as they expand ICM through opportunities like these.

I (Greg) have always said that other than your Bible the two most important tools a missionary can have are a reliable car and a portable computer. The old 4WD had 300,000 kilometers on it (185,000 miles) and those are Kenyan road miles so maybe double the wear and tear. In the last 2 years we have had it in the shop for about 4 months and spent thousands of dollars on rebuilds and repair. The scene in the photo with me walking and hitchhiking for rides (they still do that here) has been repeated many times as I go back and forth to the repair shop, at times 40 miles away. Deb suggested we send out an appeal to help us get a more reliable car. To be frank, I was skeptical. Economy in the US isn’t back yet, and we have been working hard and raising funds to finish our home and ministry center we call Eagles Wings. We plan to finish our lives being able to minister here living in the mountains near Naivasha, Kenya. But low and behold, people did respond and very generously. We were able to purchase a medium size 4WD station wagon that was just brought into Kenya. It is 7 years old but with only 28,000 miles. A real blessing to our work here. A special thanks to all of you praying for and believing in us. ICM is a 501(c)(3) and receives charitable contributions on our behalf, for which you are sent a receipt. An equal monthly amount is sent to us based on estimates of gifts given so that in “lean” months there is hopefully a reserve balance. We cannot receive designated gifts, so all contributions must be earmarked for our personal support. Eagles Wings is a personal support ministry, so gifts may also be given through ICM, however, receipt of those gifts are subject to the maximum determined monthly amount as well. Our support goal for 2010 is underfunded and we could use your support if we are to accomplish all God has for us! To support us please consider an annual personal support gift which can be given monthly or in any distribution making it easy for you. Make a check payable to ICM and attach a separate note for personal support of Greg and Deb Snell Mail to: ICM, PO Box 9071, Bakersfield, CA 93389 You can also donate on line at www.icmusa.org or through an automatic transfer from your checking account. Questions? Call ICM USA at (661) 832-9741

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