November 2017 - January 2018 Update

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Thank you for your prayers for the country of Kenya and our family during these past few months.  We are writing to you today with a quick update since we have been delayed in getting a regular Prayer Letter sent out to everyone. We do apologize for being late on our normal communication with you, your family, and your church.  This is not a regular Prayer Letter, but more of a personal update until we can get our Prayer Letter completed and ready for both regular mail service and email.

For those of you who follow our family and ministry closely on social media, then you know that there have been some unstable conditions within Kenya (especially in the region where a majority of our churches are located).  Even though the political situation has been unstable, the work of the Lord has continued.  Of course when politics are unstable, then the basic services of electricity, internet, water, and food supplies are also affected; making each daily task either more difficult to accomplish or sometimes even impossible to get accomplish.  Since August (when the original elections took place), we have only had electricity for about 2 weeks per month, water 1-2 days per month, and internet only part of the 2 weeks that we have had electricity!  As far as food...sugar, maize meal (corn meal), dairy products, and many other items have either been rationed or non-exisistent in our area up until this month.  But we thank the Lord for His protection and for His provision for our family!

Since October, we have had a re-run of the Kenyan Presidential elections; with the opposition once again losing and continuing to demand to be put into positions of power.  They have boycotted various services across the country (one being the major cellular network in our area, of which they destroyed many cell towers causing communication issues), continued to hold public demonstrations whenever they feel like it (causing road closures in many areas).  Thankfully, these things are getting better now!  But it seems that they are better just in time for the opposition to cause more trouble.  The opposition party plans to swear in their own leader as President of the People's Republic of Kenya on Tuesday, the 30th of this month.  This ceremony is supposed to take place about 1 1/2 hours from us, and we are already seeing an influx of military and extra police officers in our area.  Prior to this ceremony, the opposition party plans to hold a major rally right here in Kisii Town on Sunday!  We are praying that things stay safe for us and all of our church family here.  We would appreciate your prayers as well.

During the months of October and November, our regular weeks of Bible College classes and Pastoral Classes had to continually be shifted around in order to allow all of our students traveling safety.  All of this shifting around of schedules can cause things to pile up rather quickly!

In November, Tonya was in the USA for her regular medical tests.  During this visit, she was officially diagnosed with Lupus.  Her doctors are working with her and allowing us to try natural options first.  They are giving her six months to try diet, supplementation with as many natural options as we can find for her.  If her blood work is not better at the six month mark (April), then they will insist on traditional medication and treatment plans.  Rest is very important, but the past few months have not been very conductive for the rest needed.  So, we ask for your prayers for her health.

December started off with College Days at our Calvary Baptist Church branch of our Bible College.  We had over 50 students and prospective students in attendance for a week of preaching, fellowship, and fun!  The second week of December is always a fun week here; as we had an amazing week of Youth Camp at Calvary BC in Kisii Town. Our theme was Fear Factor...Fear not, Only BELIEVE!  We had 92 teens in attendance, and 9 were saved!  We also had 10 young people commit to joining our Bible College for 2018!  Exciting things are happening among our youth, and we praise the Lord for the work He is doing here.  Then finishing up our first semester of homeschool for Caleb and Kay-Leigh right before Christmas.  We enjoyed a couple of days of rest, time with family, and church family over the holidays.  We were able to close the year with a Western Kenya Pastors' Fellowship at our church in Rongo (Bible Baptist Church of Rongo) on December 28-31st.  And a wonderful in the Lord's house at Calvary Baptist Church in Kisii Town on Sunday the 31st.  We had a wonderful day with our church family with dinner on the grounds, fellowship, games, preaching, singing, testimonies and more as we stayed all night to usher in the New Year together as a church family.  We had 75 in attendance at midnight!  And started our New Year off right with one baptized at our sunrise service on the 1st!  God is so good!

And in January really almost over already?!?  My, oh, my!  How fast the time is going by.  The first week of January we were out in the village of Sidundo with our church and orphan home there.  We enjoyed our fellowship with this church family, and are excited about the goals of this ministry for 2018.   January has also been a time of sorrow for our ministry, as we have seen 3 precious people go on to be with the Lord in Heaven.  Three people from 3 different churches; but even in this, we are thankful that we will see them again one day when we meet in heaven.  One funeral is taking place today; please pray for souls to be saved.  We ask that you pray specifically for a young lady in our church in Kisii Town, who lost her husband suddenly, and now has 2 boys to raise on her own.  Please keep these three families in your prayers.  

Our Bible College got off to a wonderful start this month with almost 50 enrolled for this year!  This week Luke, Caleb, and several men from a few of our churches worked on the building site at Bible Baptist Church in Rongo.  This project has taken a long time to get off the ground, but it is exciting to see this church growing and working together!  Monday (29th) begins Pastoral Classes for the new year, and we have 16 enrolled in these classes!

We appreciate your love, prayers, encouragement, and support; we could not be here without YOU!  Thank you! 

Serving Him in Kenya,

Luke and Tonya Shelby
(Written from the perspective of a missionary wife.)
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