Saturday, we started a visitation program for Karen Baptist Church. We had three men show up and one lady plus BJ, Seth, and I--pretty good for starters. Winnie, the lady who watches Seth for me during Swahili classes, was the one lady who came. She has a heart burning to win souls. Just being around her convicts me!
First, we gathered at the church where BJ taught a lesson and gave some verses to use in soul-winning. Then we went to the Karen roundabout where there are always a lot of people gathered. BJ and his partner, Abel, took Seth with them. Winnie and I went to a small shopping center to talk to people. By the way, here in Kenya, you can walk right into the shops and talk to people about the Lord. They are very open and receptive. I let Winnie do most of the talking because I am still learning the ropes of how to approach peoplewith the Gospel here. These people are not confrontational at all, so if the first thing out of your mouth is right to the point, it takes them aback and puts them on guard right away. First, you must start out with all of the necessary customary greetings back and forth, back and forth, and then they feel like you care about them as a person.
These greetings are something I have to force myself to remember every time I meet someone. It is almost like a ritual or something. Hello. Hello. How are you? Fine. And how are you? Fine. How is your day? Fine. And yours? How is your family? Fine. And they ask you the same questions. The answer is always, "Fine" even if things are not fine. They will say fine, and then if they want to go into more detail, they will pause, and add " . . . but . . . "
Also, Kenyans love passive voice and beating around the bush. If you are too direct, it is offensive. For instance, if someone drops a cup and breaks it, you would not ask, "Did you break the cup?" They will get offended and immediately respond, "The cup fell and broke." Culture--I am still learning it, and will be learning it for the rest of my life probably!
Of course, Winnie is an expert at all these greetings and the passive voice, because she is a natural in her own culture. How I longed to just get right to the point with the Gospel, and do it in the way I am comfortable with! But at the same time, I wanted to learn from her. Soon, though, I am going to have to "launch out into the deep" in their culture and in Swahili, and if I fall flat on my face, I will learn from that too!
The men saw one man trust Christ as his Savior while we were out on visitation, so the day was well worth it!