September-December 2014 Prayer Letter

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Dear Prayer Partners,

Happy New Year, 2015! We want to thank you for your prayers and support over this past year. God has enabled us to get so many things done this year. We are excited to be in our new building in Kisii. We have been using the new building since the first week in November, and we have already seen around 30 saved in services and during Youth Camp. We were able to host over 100 youth and counselors on the church compound for an entire week, because the church building is now able to be used. We also had one of our members plan a church wedding in December, and we had over 500 people attend; the building was bursting at the seams! It was great to see it full and to see the enjoyment of our members as they watched their church get filled to capacity. It shows what we will be capable of in the coming years, as we continue to build this church in Kisii.

We were helped a great deal by Bro. Phillip Smith and his CLAIM Team with BIMI, who came for just two weeks. They helped us get the building enclosed, so we could have the first service in the Church on November 2 before they left. They were a great blessing to us and to the church members here. It is amazing to see all the work that they accomplished while they were here. People were stopping by everyday, because we are on the main road, amazed at the progress; and we were able to witness to them. It was a great testimony for the church. The Team helped us finish up a lot of the work that we had started in March this year, and it was wonderful to be able to get into the building before the end of this year. It is such a great blessing. Thank you for all the help that you have been, both through prayer and finances, to make this project a possibility. It has been such a blessing to our family and the church here.

We still have more work to do, and we will resume work in January. The Calvary Baptist Church members here have raised over $5,000 that has been used in this project, and they have committed to continue to raise funds to help do the finishing work. We have been able to help with nearly $12,000 from your offerings and our regular support. The finishing work that needs to be done will be close to $3,000. Please pray for the funds to finish the baptistry, sidewalk, doors, windows, vents, flooring, lights, gutters, plastering the walls, painting, and some other things I am sure I have left out of this list.

Besides the building project, it has continued to be busy in other areas of the ministry as well. We have finished the girls dorm building at the orphanage in Sidundo, and we are ready to bring in the girls who are ready to start living there starting on January 5, 2015. We are excited about this, and we have been eager to get this stared. We will be meeting with their guardians and their caretakers to work out the details over this holiday break. Thank you for your prayers and support for this project. God is blessing the children, and they are growing both physically and spiritually.

We have planted corn in Sidundo, that will be harvested in January. This harvest will help with the expenses of the running of the orphanage during the time that we are on furlough. Pray that it will be a bountiful harvest, that it will meet the needs, and that is will even go beyond to help others as well who are not able to stay at the orphanage at this time. God has given us nearly 20 dedicated men and women at this church and orphanage in Sidundo, Siaya, who are helping to take care of the children on a rotating basis. As they are being led by Pastor Joseph and other men, they are helping these children with valuable lessons in life from the Word of God on a daily basis. Lessons that will be more beneficial than all of the material things that we can give them.

This year we have also been able to help a few of the orphans in paying for their school tuition, books, and uniforms; but there are so many more who need help in this area. We need more support for the Orphan Ministry. We have been able to help a few young men with work and with starting their first semester of university. And we are looking forward to seeing what the Lord is going to do in the lives of these young people!

A lot of times the work seems overwhelming, and it does not seem like there is an end; but if we can influence even a few with the goodness of God, it will make a huge difference in their lives. And it will go a long way in the ministry of the church, as they give their lives to the Lord to Preach the Gospel. I know that we are in the beginning stages of this ministry, but our prayer for these young people is to change Kenya through the preaching of God's Word.

God has enabled us, through the South Nyanza Baptist College, to have another 12 men and women graduate in 2014, between our two branches in Sidundo and Kisii. Please pray for these graduates, as several of them have made it known that they are called to preach; and they are looking for areas where they can start new churches out of their home churches. The majority of the students that graduated were from Sidundo (about 5 hours from Kisii), so we went with the whole student body and teachers from Kisii to hold the graduation at the Sidundo branch at the end of November. It was a great day! And it was something that had never been done in that village by any church or college. Also for many of these families there had never been anyone in their family who had graduated from college until now. It was a great testimony to the Gospel and the work of the Calvary Baptist Church in Sidundo.

Please pray for the area around Sidundo. There are three other villages and markets that are being looked at for starting preaching points and Bible Studies by our graduates in the near future.

We are finalizing our plans to begin furlough the end of April. We have already started booking meetings toward the end of May; just after the high school graduation of our second daughter, Breanne. We have several that have already contacted us about setting up meetings and some of the dates are filling up. If you have not yet contacted us by email, please do so: Please pray with us that the Lord will open doors to get into some new churches during this furlough, since we need to raise our support level to help with the constantly changing economy and the growth of the ministry that the Lord has entrusted to us.

Thank you so much for your support, prayer, special offerings, and love that you have shown to our family in 2014. It is greatly appreciated, and we will always be thankful for your goodness and your faithfulness to our ministry here in Kenya.

Serving Him in Kenya,

Luke and Tonya Shelby
Your Missionaries to Kenya
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