Great celebrations were possible this year at Pastor Stephen’s church and orphanage.
As well as celebrating the recovery of so many sufferers, his daughter Susan has given birth to their first grandchild; her first Christmas!
Many orphans who are cared for by God Cares Foundation, led by Pastor Stephen and his wife Rebecca; as well as pupils at the school, enjoyed the feast.
Review of recovery groups
Pastor Stephen continues to regularly visit as many of the groups as he is able in the face of lockdown because of Covid 19.
In general the projects are doing well, including the bee project with which there was some uncertainty initially in many communities, owing to lack of knowledge of harvesting the honey safely. This appears to have been overcome.
In December Pastor Johnstone made an eight hour journey, travelling 260 miles to Lodwar, Turkana, where his sons Michael and Emanuel have been experiencing some challenges as they serve in church mission.
Turkana is a very hot semi-desert region in North-West Kenya, where there is a great deal of poverty, although it is very rich in minerals, including gold; and also oil reserves.
Johnstone found that the culture of the region had changed since he had left 47 years ago, and that the advice which he had given to his sons, with respect to the approach to adopt, was no longer appropriate.
Alcohol abuse proved to be just as much a problem here as elsewhere in the world, perhaps even more so due to the high temperatures (37*C). Johnstone reported that the women were in general receptive to what was being taught, but that the men were more reserved.
A traditional god called Aguchi continues to be a focus for worship.
It is hoped to visit this area on a return trip to Kenya.
Annual Conference of Kenya Church of Christ in Nairobi, December 2020
Pastor Johnstone was able to travel to attend this annual meeting of the network, of which his church is a member.
One of the main agenda items at the conference was the problem of drug and alcohol abuse, in particular how it affects the youth. This is acknowledged as being a huge problem throughout Kenya.
The best solution to the problem was recognised to be the Twelve Step program with reference to scripture.
There was no opportunity for Johnstone to share his experience, as no time had been allocated for delegate discussion; but he was able to speak to many of the pastors present, who had never heard of a recovery program such as the one we are operating.
Clearly there is great opportunity for wider out-reach, and much work which needs to be done.