Author Archives: Rev. Dr. Douglas Richnow

About Rev. Dr. Douglas Richnow

Sr. Associate Rector of St. John the Divine Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas

Safely landed in Tanzania

We arrived at Mt. Kilimanjaro Airport late Saturday evening after a 9-hour flight from Amsterdam.  We were met by Evans Munanga, our outfitter and friend, and taken to the Mt. Meru Hotel where we will be staying until Wednesday.  After a late dinner everyone got a good night’s sleep (with the help of Ambien) and everyone is well with the exception of one of our group who is suffering from stomach distress.  We’ve put her on some medication and are hopeful she will be better this afternoon.

We will have lunch with Dr. Lazaro Mongoi and plan our next few days of teaching.  Later today we will do some sightseeing around Arusha and shopping, then meet with Dr. Moses Pulei and Archbishop Valentine Mokiwa.

Our real work starts tomorrow and we are looking forward to returning to see the children we met last year.

Blessings to all of you from Africa!

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Proud Mama

One often wonders if you are in the will of our Heavenly Father. My experience in Africa is a prime example of knowing that God is in control. Last year my Africa trip was overwhelming  and new. This year I had the St. John the Divine Fellows. All 5 taught at the rural school in the bush of Kimana. All 5 Fellows were outstanding. They were prepared and on top of their game. The time spent on Houston practicing giving the Sex, God & Me talks slowly and knowing their material paid off in spades. The kids were engaging and loved learning from the young Americans. I am a proud mama.

My “room boy” at Kimana was a young pastor named Joseph. When he asked me if I was a missionary, I said, “sort of”. I the told him about Sex, God & Me and gave him a Leaders manual. He asked me to come and speak at the staff’s Bible Studyof the lodge. I agreed saying our friend Moses could tranlate. When I realized Moses was busy, we had to rely on God to proved. After a long day of teaching at the high school we went back to the lodge and immediately met Joseph to be escorted to the staff meeting room.

At this point I knew I wasn’t in charge. Prayed and asked for God to supply a translator. The answer was Ferdinand and precious young man with a sweet Spirit. The audience looked like something out of National Geographic. Mostly men but a few women. The crowd rose from 20 to 40. I started speaking and for the life of me cannot remember a thing I said. It was an overview of God’s will for our lives inn regards to sex. Then I took another step of faith. I asked each Fellow to speak from their heart. Each one responded not through their own power but the power of the Holy Spirit. It was amazing. We sang to them “Our God is an Awesome God’ and He is.

Asante (thank you) Heavenly Father for your faithfulness and for the Fellows. It does make me a proud mama.

Meg

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They Shall Know Us by Our Love

If there is one thing I will take away from this trip to Africa so far, no matter where you go, a man or woman who is desparately in love with Jesus Christ pervades the sweet smelling aroma of Christ. When I met Joeseph Mpute Murero and Daniel Manjo, I had no idea that these two men, one a housekeeper and another a waiter at our hotel, would touch my spirit in a way that only the body of Christ can. 

Daniel came up to me while I was sitting alone at breakfast reading my Bible. He was picking up the table after all of us had eaten and I could tell he was looking at me. I looked up, and he had this huge, broad smile and said to me as he pointed to my bible, “very good.” I would find out later that among the 40 people we met with at the hotel a couple nights later to talk about Sex, God and Me, Daniel was the only one who had a bible. The day after we spoke with all the staff at the hotel, Daniel came up to me and handed me a piece of paper with three verses:

 Micah 7:7 “Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.”

Luke 10:20 “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”

Acts 16:25 “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.”

The last verse struck me as a read the rest of the story in Acts 16. The joy, passion, and faith of these men we met in Africa had something so akin to the faith that you see in Paul, Silas, and the other Christians in Acts.

Joeseph, Meg’s housekeeper by the providence of God, was a man of Faith unlike any I’ve met. When Meg told us we were going to speak to a bunch of Masai people who worked at the hotel I was a little leary. When I found out we were not going to have Dr. Moses Pulei, our former Masai warrior turned seminary proffesor, to help translate, I was downright discouraged, but this man Joeseph knew what he was doing when he called us to the meeting with all the staff. The time ended up being one words can hardly describe, the Lord provided a wonderful translater, another housekeeper, Ferdinad, who had the smile as broad as any I have ever seen, and blessed us and hopefully the many Masai people who showed up to hear what we had to say. Joeseph had started the church gathererings with the staff with only three men, but after much prayer and fasting, he had grown the gathering to were nearly the entire hotel staff was attending. One of the most remarkable things about this was that Joeseph did not have a Bible. Maybe one of the greatest things I have gotten to do so far on this trip was to give Joeseph my New King James Bible. The night after we met with all of them, Joeseph came over to our room and shared with us the word and prayed with me and Alex. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to have a man of a God like Joeseph pray over us.

I have been humming to myself the last few days the song that goes: ‘We are one in the spirit, we are one in the blood. We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the blood. And you will know they are Christians by their love, by their love.’ Joeseph, Daniel, and many of the other Christian men and women we have met here in Keny have showed us this truth. Be praying for us as we go to teach a church here in Nairobi on tuesday before we leave. I can not tell you how thankful and grateful I am for the prayers of each brother and sister in Christ. They have cleared a path for us and have certainly strengthened each one of us in our time over here.

God bless you all,

Sam Turner

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Being Blessed in Kimana

The second day of teaching in Kimana was as exciting as the first.  After being wiped out tired and sun burnt  from the first day, somehow God gave us enough energy to keep teaching on the second day.  He gave us another beautiful day to be with the students and talk with them, and teach them, and of course learn from them.

It is unbelievable how so many people can tell you thanks for something, like the Sex, God, & Me course we taught,  but every time they say it, you feel like you should be thanking them for letting you spend time with them and become part of their life for a short period of time.  So after a couple good days of being with them we gave them some of the gifts we brought: cross necklaces (Thank you to Barbara Biel for the girls’ crosses!), and some booklets which recapped the material we went over with them.  So after a tough goodbye we headed off, being very thankful for this opportunity to work with the young men and women of Oloile School.

And after being exhausted physically and emotionally after leaving the school, we had one more unexpected opportunity to share the message we brought with us to Kenya.  The first morning we were in Kimana, Joseph, one of the room attendants, approached Meg and asked her if we would meet with the small Christian community that was living at the Kilimi Safari Lodge (all or at least most of the employees there lived on site).  And Meg being Meg, said yes.

Admittingly, we (us fellows) thought Meg was a little bit crazy (of course we thought she was crazy anyway ;] ) for committing us to speak with little info about the venue, and ready to pass out after teaching all day.  But God blessed us again.  We were taken to this large shack out near where the employees lived and walked into a room filled with about 30 people praising God, and they escourted us to the front.  These were a group of mostly Masai people (the native people of the Kimana region), and they mostly spoke their Masai language, which we had no translator of.  But God provided out of that room a translator from English to Masai.  And we all spoke from our hearts what we had been teaching the past couple days, and we were able to teach them more about how living by God’s standards can help them in their daily lives and help their community.

By the end of this service there was about 45 people.  Words can’t describe how this connection was made.  All we can say is “God provides.”

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we’re here!

We got into Nairobi @ 8pm after 17 hours in the air.. Stephanie and Virginia would like to give a shout out to the baby that was screaming “Hi” over and over and over and the man that felt the need to read with 2 lights on the entire trip.  I [emily] got to watch the sunset, and then rise again 5 hours later.. crazy! We had a 2 hour layover in Amsterdam and then were off to Nairobi. So far we haven’t seen any “live” giraffs but will be up bright and early to scope things out. For now, we are visiting with Moses Pulai at the Nairobi Safari Club, enjoying pizza and malaria meds (which the boys are enjoying with a nice cold tusker lager :P).  We’ll be off to bed shortly, and we’ll be enjoying our “adustment” day tomorrow, before getting to work. Usiku mwema! (good night!)

(note to reader: this was written on May 3rd at about 10:30 PM Kenya time)

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