Sunday, 16 December 2007

AN ABLAZE CHRISTMAS - 1 - The birth of Jesus foretold

The Christmas Gospel is brightened with lights and Good News. Isn’t it an ABLAZE record of God’s love through His Son Jesus Christ?
The Africans adapted the Christmas Story to the local reality. I like these pictures. Lídia and I are sharing them with you as we wish you a BLESSED AND ABLAZE CHRISTMAS and a NEW YEAR IN THE CHRISTIAN HOPE! (This is our Christmas Card for this year; we say "Thank You" to all who sent us Christmas Card).
Feel free to share this message with your friends and relatives. As many people hear about Jesus, the Savior, as many can be saved!
Thank you for having us in your prayers as we are ministring in Nairobi, Kenya.
Pastor Carlos Walter and Lídia Winterle
The Birth of Jesus Foretold - Luke 1:26-36 (NIV)
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God." "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

An ABLAZE Christmas - 2 - Mary and Elizabeth

Mary Visits Elizabeth – Luke 1:39-56 (NIV)
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"
Mary's Song
And Mary said:"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers."
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

An ABLAZE Christmas - 3 - The Birth of JESUS

The Birth of Jesus – Luke 2:1-20 (NIV)
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels (NIV)
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

An ABLAZE Christmas - 4 - The Wise men

The Visit of the Magi – Matthew 2:1-12 (NIV)
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi
from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: " 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel."
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

An ABLAZE Christmas - 5 - The escape to Egypt

The Escape to Egypt – Matthew 2:13-18 (NIV)
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."

An ABLAZE Christmas - 6 - The return to Nazareth

The Return to Nazareth – Matthew 2:19-23 (NIV)
After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead."
So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene."

An ABLAZE Christmas - 7 - The boy Jesus at the temple

The Boy Jesus at the Temple – Luke 2:41-52 (NIV)
Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."
"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.


Pastor Carlos Walter and Lídia Winterle

Monday, 10 December 2007

Several Activities (F) - Services

The December 9th Services in English and in Swahili were very special ones. - At the English service were dedicated 50 Pew Bibles and 170 Lutheran Worship, received as a gift from Immanuel Lutheran Church in Riverside, California, US, through Mrs. Carolyn Elfman, member of that church.
People received the Hymnals when they entered the sanctuary; the Bible were on the Altar and on the first pew. During the Dedication Prayer, all raised the Hymnals.

After the Dedication Prayer, the Bible were passed to the people on the pews. -"Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." (Psalm 119:105)

The Hymnals at the entrance of the church with the Bulletin and the Advent Order of service, and the Usher Rosalyn. -
"Sing to the LORD a new song." (Psalm 96:1)


During the Swahili Service on December 9th, Pastor Omodhi celebrated the wedding of Norah B. Oino and Zebedee N. Mosongo. Zebedde is one of the leaders of the Swahili Service. -On the picture: Norah with her Maid of Honor Judith Njoroge, the Flowers Girls Shiley, Janice and Rebeca; and her Brides Maids: Elinipe, Daish. Elisaria, Stenkah, Ruth, Purity, Priscah, Lillian, Asenath, Jacquiline and Naom.

The groom with his Best Man Raymond O. Mabeya and the Grooms Men: Martin, Kennedy, Benard, Jones, Daniel, Eric, John and Elias.

Norah and Zebedee at the Service, waiting for their wedding.
"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).

Several Activities (F) - Sunday School Rally

On December 6th the children of our parish were gathered at a Sunday School Rally. The venue was the UHLCathedral and the Traffic Children's Park behind the Cathedral. 80 children and 14 Sunday School Teachers from UHLC, Kawangware and Kibera were together from 10am to 3:30pm. The theme of the Rally was: I AM GOD'S ANGEL (MESSENGER) TO PROCLAIM CHRIST TO THE WORLD. It was an ABLAZE RALLY!!! The "Conquerors" performed a nice Christmas drama about the message of the angel to the shepherd; and some teacher told the stories how the angel announced Christ to Zachariah, to Mary, to Joseph and to the shepherd. So, we can proclaim Christ to the others too!!!

Several children led the other children in songs and poems.

Some Kawangware's children performed the Christmas Story while a teacher was reading the Gospel.

At 2pm was a break for lunch, prepared by two mammas: pilau (rice with meat), some salad and a soda.

Lunch time: a happy time! - After lunch the children had activities inside the church.

The children, with the help of the teachers, made little angels with the inscription: "I AM AN ANGEL/MESSENGER OF THE LORD TO SHARE THE GOOD NEWS". They sang and prayed before they went home, and received little gifts and sweets.

At the end of the day Deaconess Mary, in charge of the Sunday School, and the Sunday School Teachers of the parish were happy and thankful to God for this blessed day! "TRAIN A CHILD IN THE WAY HE SHOULD GO, AND WHEN HE IS OLD HE WILL NOT TURN FROM IT" (Proverbs 22:6).

Several Activities (F) - World Aids Day

On December 1st, 2007, World AIDS Day, the Churches United Against HIV/AIDS - CUAHA, organized and Ecumenical Meeting at "Spring of Life Lutheran Church" in Kibera. "Full Gospel Church in Kenya", "Orthodox Church of Kenya" (Greek Rite), "Coptic Church in Kenya" and the "Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya" are members of CUAHA. Evangelist Sylvester is the ELCK representative at CUAHA, and Mr. John Maina, Nuru Media Ministry Director, was the Master of Ceremony on that day. Dr. Kenedy Ondede, from Kenyata Hospital, and CUAHA Kenya Working Team Chair, opened the event, after Pastor Dennis Meeker's opening prayer.
The "Conquerors" performed a drama about HIV/AIDS and led songs with the people.

350 people attended the celebration. It was a raining day, but people were not afraid to come. Saly, a member of "Spring of Life", who is widow, has 3 children, and is HIV/AIDS infected, gave a nice testimony about her faith in Christ and the support she has received from the church; she is our "Ambassador of Hope".

Several choirs, as the Madare Choir, from our sister church KELC (Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church) were there. ELCK Bishop Richard Amayo Ogosi, from Lake Diocese, spoke in behalf of Presiding Bishop Walter Obare, who was in South Africa on that day, participating at a LWF meeting. Representatives from the other church members of CUAHA gave their message too.

Our prayer is that people who took part at this celebration will follow God's solution for HIV/AIDS: Sexual abstinence for the single and faithfulness for the couples is God’s medicine for HIV/AIDS. God is a merciful God, who accepts all who come to Him through Jesus and forgives our sins.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Several Activities (F) - Visitors

Prof. William Schumacher, from Concordia Seminary St. Louis, MO, after spending one week at Matongo Seminary with some Concordia students, visited with P.Carlos tourist places, congregations and Bishop Obare on November 20th and 21st. From left to right: Prof. William Schumacher, Kara Koschmann, Mark Koschmann, Marcus Breitbarth, and Michael Knippa at the Giraffe Center.
People from Nebraska and from Michigan, USA, visited us on November 25th: Rev. Russ Sommerfeld - LCMS Nebraska District President;Rev. Ray Wilke - President of Orphan Grain Train (Nebraska);Rev. Richard Boring - Mission Executive for Nebraska District, LCMS;Rev. John Deang - African Immigrant pastor for Nebraska District;Glen Ziegler - retired attorney from Michigan, helping with mission projects;Rev. Claude Houge, LCMS-WM East Africa Area Facilitator introduced the team and traveled with them the next day to Sudan.

A team from the World Mission Prayer League (WMPL) visited us on November 25th: (from left to right) John Lorumo Lenareu, Samburu member; Rev. Charles Jackson, Arsim Pastor in Samburu and his wife Anita Jackson, Literacy Teacher; Rev. Chuck Lindquist, WMPL Director; Mike Koski, Africa Program Coordinator; and Gloria Sauck - KRN - Nurse in charge of Arsim Lutheran Dispensary in Samburu for the last 14 years, who introduced the team. The group met Bishop Obare the next day.

The President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Eritrea, Rev. Asfaha Mehari and his wife, visited us on November 25th.

Andrew Ole Ngeseyan (left) brought their friends to the service on the 25th November: Antonin Lourdel and Laura Copini. The day after Antonin and Laura flew to Amsterdam.

Several Activities (F) - 4 - Baptisms

The twins Pauline Akinyi Odhiambo and Nicole Achieng Adhiambo were baptized by Pastor Omodhi at the Swahili Service on 4th November. This was the first time that Pastor Omodhi baptized twins.
Emmanuel Ratemo Mokua and Blessings Kerubo Nyambane were baptized on the same day by Pastor Omodhi. Parents and God-Parents received the blessing after the Baptism of the children.

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these", says Jesus, Mark 10:14.

Silwa Vatula was born on September 11, 2007, and was baptized by Pastor Enos Omodhi on December 2nd. His parents: Sidney and Laura.

Silwa's family was visited by the Pastoral Staff+ Mrs. Clara Omodhi, pastor Zedekiah (from Kawangware) and by his Grandmother Edna Auma on the 28th November. The Bible study was about Baptism.

Several Activities (F) - - Do you know these people?

Osmo Arjula is the Principal Matongo Lutheran Theological College (ELCK Seminary) and his wife Arja Harjula is Principal Matongo Lutheran Teachers Training College. They are from Finland and are working for many years as missionaries in Kenya, supporting the ELCK education.
Sabina Bosibori is working with the Lutheran Heritage Foundation - LHF, in Karen, and has two daughters: Janet Viviane Monyenye and Janice Valerie Moraa

From left to right: Dorcas Mwende (Justus's sister), Irene Nyang'an (Justus daughter), Justus Nyang'an and Annabel Nyabonyi (Justus daughter). Justus is working with Scripture Mission (Langata Rd) and lives in Ongata Rongai.

These are Joseph Mbui, Evelyne, Rony and Monica (Our godchild). They live in Ongata Rongai.

This is Maulyne Awino Agandi, one of our youths.

This is Rev. Dennis Meeker, pastor at "Spring of Life Lutheran Church", Kibera; and his wife Deaconess Lorna.

This is Sizi Lavela, a faithful Christian at our English service and a good singer!
So, we are introducing of our brothers and sisters through this BLOG. Lídia is taking the pictures. Look for her after the Service and let us put your picture in the BLOG too.

Several Activities (F) - 6 - Bishop Obare

Bishop Walter Obare and his wife Eunice visited us at our home on 26th November afternoon. We talked about several projects and about the continuity of P.Carlos' ministry in Kenya. Was very good to share lot of experiences! Thank you, Bishop Obare, for your support!