Andraé Crouch

The music world has lost a legend. Gospel singer and songwriter Andraé Crouch died Thursday after being admitted to the hospital last weekend following a heart attack.

He was 72 and had earned the title “father of gospel music”.

here is an excellent article about him then watch probably the most popular song he ever did, “Soon and Very Soon”. He is singing with Cece Winans among many others.

Tuendelee kuongea

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Happy new year! Jubilee Ride updates

Day 16. 27th December 2013. Johannesburg to Nottingham Road via Newcastle. 521kms

This day was bittersweet. My wife was to leave Johannesburg and fly back to Nairobi (the bitter part) and the ride towards Cape Town would resume. I enjoyed and thank God so much for the time he allowed us to spend together (the sweet part). Since the day we all arrived in Johannesburg, so many things had happened. Moses had headed out to Cape Town via Durban the next day.  Mbeche’s wife could not arrive on 25th as we’d hoped so he flew back to Nairobi planning to fly back in with her around 3rd January. John and his wife spent time with family and left for Durban through Swaziland. Mburu and his wife rode (on their bike) off to Durban together with Mwongela and his wife (in a hired car). So on this day it was going to be just Nick and myself. Nick’s wife Jush was also leaving Johannesburg for Nairobi together with my wife.

We had a good ride and when we stopped for breakfast at Heidelberg we got advice on how we could use a more scenic route and also avoid tolls. This is how we ended up using the Newcastle route. It was awesome.

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This country has a lot of beautiful landscapes and great roads. We passed through Ladysmith (the home of the legendary Ladysmith Black Mambazo singers) and got to Nottingham Road around 6pm. One of the support vehicles had arrived and had found accommodation for us. The other support vehicle arrived later and now had Wangui and Nzisa (ride doctor) who had arrived earlier from Nairobi. Nottingham Road is an expensive town and is a beautiful retirement sort of place. Rich older people have settled here and many have guesthouses they operate. Though expensive, the quality is very good. That evening before we slept, Nick got an email from a guy in Port Elizabeth called Kevin who said he had been following what we’re up to and would be glad to meet us when we get there and would organise for us to meet some Kenyans living there. We called him and promised to get in touch on arrival.

Day 17. 28th December 2013. Nottingham Road to Butterworth. 536kms.

Nick had also been in touch with Mburu and the others who had left before us. These guys really had issues in Durban. There was no accommodation anywhere in Durban and they ended up sleeping in Mwongela’s car. Mburu had problems and had to replace his tyres. They had also met with a leader of the Christian Motorcycle Association there and wanted Nick to go meet him. We then decided to split up. Nick would go to via Pietermaritzberg to Durban then East London while I and the support team would go to East London directly.

So now it was just one bike and the two support vehicles. 10 kms into our journey we found the spot where Nelson Mandela was captured. It was a great stop. SA really treasures Mandela. There is a small museum at the spot and a wonderful optical illusion sculpture.

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This might not look like anything, but move back and look at it again from the right angle and you get this
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Please tell me you can see Mandela’s face in the sculpture. Made me think. A lot of times we see our lives as just a mass of illogical and unrelated events, but step back and see the big picture and you’re totally blown away when you see what God, the master sculptor has been up to. Wow!

This day ended up being Mandela day for us since we also passed Qunu, pronounced Q(click)unu (!) the village with his home and and where he was buried barely two weeks before. When we got to his house, it was guarded by very friendly cops who politely told us we could not go in since it was private property but they we could take pictures from across the road.

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As you can see, I’m in my rain gear. It was a rainy and very windy day but in the background you can see Mandela’s house. In this picture, the focus is me and my bike (!) But if you look at what’s really important you’ll see the home of a real African legend, hero and global icon. So in this picture and in life, perspective is everything.

So when we got to a town called Idutywa we tried to get accommodation but it was so difficult because there was some major event at the town (kinda like the story of the birth of Jesus eh? No room at the inn? …) so we went about 30kms further to Butterworth which was even worse. At least in Idutywa there were a few rooms. Here there was not a single one. We had dinner and we had to make a decision, either go back to Idutywa and make do with what we had got or head further out towards East London. We chose the latter and barely 5kms later we found a beautiful place called Nzovuyo Lodge. Yet another spiritual lesson. Sometimes we get discouraged and wanna go back to where we know and are comfortable with, but if you take just a few steps into the unknown you find wonderful things God had in store for you. All it takes is a few little steps of faith.

Day 18. 29th December 2013. Butterworth to Port Elizabeth via East London and Port Alfred. About 390kms

This was a very cold, drizzly and foggy morning. Visibility was so bad I chose to drive in between the two vehicles till I could see more. It was a relatively short ride given what we were now used to. To put it in perspective, it’s like for the last few days I wake up every morning and ride from Nairobi to Mombasa and shine days even Malindi.

It was great to enter East London. We were reunited with Mburu, Mwongela, John and their wives and also with Nick. We left for Port Elizabeth after lunch but Mwongela and his wife were left there. Their plan was to drive to Cape Town the following day.

Entering Port Elizabeth was awesome
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We hooked up with Kevin. A very very kind guy. It’s like God had an angel for every portion of our trip. Kevin was our Port Elizabeth angel!

Stop press: let me post this then I’ll try do more later

Tuendelee kuongea

Merry Christmas. Jubilee Ride updates

Day 6. 17th December 2013. Full Day of rest.

This was a full day of much needed rest. We enjoyed swimming, snorkeling and meeting new people. Many washed their clothes or had them washed by the very kind staff at the beautiful Mayoka village.
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I had been so tired that I decided that day I would not even look at my bike. We took a boat ride and were able to see two big beautiful fish eagles named Condoleezza Rice and Tony Blair! Our boat ‘driver’would just whistle for a while, then throw three small fish on a stick into the lake and the Eagles would hear him and very quickly locate and fish them out and fly with them onto a tree for a feast
We then had fun jumping off a cliff into the water, played beach football with some local kids and generally had a good time.

Day 7. 18th December 2013. Nkhata Bay, Malawi – Katete, Zambia

Malawi is a very poor country. I must say it’s the poorest country we’ve been to. Very beautiful but very poor. We did not even see a single bodaboda. From my interaction with the locals, the AIDS scourge really wiped out a large part of the working population. A lot of Malawians, once they move to the cities looking for a better life never return to their home in ‘shags’ except to be buried. I think the greatest resource is the big Lake Malawi. In fact it felt like half the country is the lake. It has beautiful hills and roads from which we caught fantastic views of the lake.
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We crossed into Zambia at a town called Mchinji. The plan was to go as far into Zambia as we could before dark. We stopped briefly to fuel at Chipata, a very modern looking small town in Zambia. Zambia is an expensive, very expensive place to live. Apparently the government has just recently revalued their currency, basically knocked off three zeroes from the Kwacha. 1 dollar was now 5.5 Kwacha.

We stopped for the night at Katete, another small sleepy town about 500km from Lusaka. I had an Airtel Malawi line that seemed to work, but it was very difficult and expensive to top up. It was very important for me to talk to Victor our last born son who was turning 11 in the 19th and I was not sure how long the Malawi line would be usable in Zambia. After quite a struggle I managed to talk to both my sons and I wished Victor happy birthday in case I didn’t manage to talk to him the following day.

Day 8. 19th December 2013. Katete to Lusaka

We set out early, around 7am for Lusaka. Zambia is clearly a richer country. Must be from the copper mining industry. Though it was a very long ride to Lusaka, the pace was good and by about 1pm we were in a town called Chongwe about 10km from the city. There we saw a very interesting delicacy on sale; caterpillars
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I tasted about 2mm of one and decided it was enough experience!
We stopped for a while to regroup so that we could avoid anyone getting lost. The support cars could not be reached so we decided to find a mall and get food while they catch up. It is amazing how God works. We set out to look for a mall and when we turned left into a smaller road which one of us thought was the way into a mall he knew, it turned out we took a wrong turn and traffic moving in the opposite direction was heavy. We decided to try and ask one of the drivers for directions. I’m not sure how the discussion went, but the driver asked “are you the Jubilee Riders? I’m from the Kenyan High Commission and I was looking for you! ”  how amazing is that?

We went with them to the High Commission and they were prepared to meet us. Though the High Commissioner and many of her staff were away on home leave in Kenya, we were very well received by the acting High Commissioner Mrs. Karugu and Sally Tanui and Mr. Kinoti. It really felt like home.
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We met a Mr. Kariuki who runs a motel in Lusaka. The embassy people were very kind and generous. They hosted a dinner reception in our honour at the motel and we spent the night there. 

Day 9. 20th December 2013. Lusaka – Harare

The embassy vehicle was at the motel at 6am. They wanted to show us the way out of the motel so that we could proceed to Harare which is just over 500km from Lusaka. We reached the border town of Chirundu into Zimbabwe. That was so far the most troublesome and complicated crossing. But even through all that, God still hooked us up with a Zimbabwean called Sean who is a biker, heading to Harare. He gave us his number and asked us to call him on arrival so that he could hook us up with a place to sleep and a garage where I could get my bike looked at. It had developed an oil leak that I needed checked. How amazing is God? That in the midst of a complicated border crossing he was still working things out for us.

We arrived in Harare around 7pm in a lot of rain. I think this was the most we’ve ever been rained on. We stopped at a deserted mall called Westgate where we had some tea and made contact with Kenyan Embassy officials. Once again they were expecting us and had prepared a dinner for us. We were so wet but had fun and lots of food. Another interesting coincidence is that in the same compound was a bikers club and there we met Sean and a group of Zimbabwe bikers. We made arrangements for the next day and decided to make it another rest day. I could then get my bike sorted out.

Day 10. 21st December 2013. Full Day rest in Harare

While the rest of the group went to the embassy, I went to me Shane who was to look at my bike. Shane is a great guy who also rides an Africa Twin. How cool is that?
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We couldn’t do very much on the bike as most spare shops were closed till January but we did a bit of diagnosis and first aid.

Day 11. 22nd December 2013. Harare – Lion & elephant lodge.

We started the day meeting with a very large group of bikers from Zimbabwe who wanted to meet us, pray with us and see us off. One of them was Danny who had an interesting t shirt
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We also just enjoyed zoobing (staring in amazement) at their bikes
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We handed them a Kenyan flag and they led us through the best route out of Harare heading out towards Bulawayo.

Remember how I said you learn a lot when you travel with John? Well, do you know why the country is called Zimbabwe? John knew and he took us to the historic site of an ancient stone city called the Great Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe means Stone House.
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After the detour to the monument we ended up doing our first night ride since we had about 200km to cover so that we could spend the night at lion and elephant lodge which was 80km away from Beitbridge, the border crossing into South Africa. We got to the lodge around 12:30am. We were so tired but felt fulfilled! It was only the 2nd full day riding with no rain since we left Nairobi.

Day 12. 23rd December 2013.  Lion and Elephant lodge – Midrand South Africa

This ended up being the longest yet the fastest ride we’ve had. We covered close to 600km. God is good and though the border crossing took long, for me, it was not troublesome. None of the problems we anticipated cropped up.

South Africa is just great. Beautiful infrastructure and the epitome of affluence.
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So many posh expensive cars all over the place. We had lunch at Polokwane about 300kms from Johannesburg and I was able to talk to my wife on phone. She had just arrived from Nairobi. I couldn’t believe that in a matter of hours we would be together. Again God hooked us up with a two bikers who took care of us all the way to Midrand where we had booked rooms at a nice inn called Sun1. We got here around 11 pm and it was wonderful to meet Carol and two other “biker wives” 

The plan is to hang around Pretoria and Joburg till 27th then head out to Cape Town

Day 13. 24th December 2013.

Felt great to sleep in. Woke up around noon. Rode around the area. Had lots of fun and later in the evening had dinner with two more “biker wives” joining us.

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I’ll upload all these pics and lots more on Facebook as soon as I find cheap (free) internet!

Tuendelee kuongea

Jubilee Ride. Updates

So where were we? Well, we met the President! Yippee. This was amazing. Who’d have thought that one day I would ride my bike in jeans and the same t shirt I was wearing the day before, into State House? Well we did.
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Day 1 – 12/12/2013. Nairobi – Arusha. 281 km

In my excitement about beginning the ride I woke up about 3am and found it was raining so so heavily. I knew it was gonna be fun! As you grow in your bike life (!), small things like heavy rain cease to be a big deal. You just put on your rain gear and just ride.

It was a big day. A lot of music and dancing at Nairobi Chapel.
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My wife was in her element. She really loves dancing.

The next stop was at the Junction. We were joined by close to 100 other bikers who in solidarity had offered to escort us to Kajiado and Namanga but not before doing a nice lap of honour around town.

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We crossed the border around 5 pm and the Tanzania portion of our ride began. We arrived in Arusha just past 7 pm and were pleasantly surprised to find that there was a dinner hosted by the Kenyan community in Arusha, to celebrate independence day. We were treated like celebs. It appears that all embassies of the countries we will pass through are aware of our visit.

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Pastor Nick spoke on our behalf and prayed. It was awesome. But we were a bit tired after spending such a long time at the border in Namanga.

Day 2. 13/12/2013. Arusha – Dodoma 561 km

We set out around 7am but we actually left Arusha around 9am. Let’s just say one thing led to another.

After about an hour of riding it became clear who the fast riders among us were. Though we were trying to stay together, our different speed preferences began to show. Soon the big bikes were clearly ahead of the others.

Here are the riders and their bikes ordered by size (engine size, not body size)

Mbeche – Yamaha FJR 1300
Nick – BMW GS 1200
Moses – BMW GS 800
Danzo – Honda Africa Twin 750
John – Yamaha Tenere 660
Mwongela – Yamaha 660
Mburu – BMW GS 650

This has pretty much been the order in which we’ve been reaching places. We have been trying to enjoy the ride as well as seeing things of interest. If all you do is just ride fast and not see anything in this trip, you might as well fly ama? Another reason to not go so fast is that all of us realised that riding fast costs a lot more in fuel. For example on my Africa twin, the consumption seems to double at 121kph.

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Mburu and I took some selfies with some interesting rocks just before Singida on our way to Dodoma.

Just after Manyoni, John got the first, and so far the only puncture on the ride.

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We then took so long to repair the puncture since the tools were all in the support vehicles which were so far behind. But eventually they came and weer proceeded to Dodoma. One of the most interesting things I saw on arrival in Dodoma was this fully dressed dog
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We really struggled to get accommodation in Dodoma but we were able to, thanks to Mbeche, Moses and Mwongela who arrived a lot earlier than the rest of us. There was a CCM (ruling party) delegates conference in town. What was a bit frustrating is that there seemed to be no water in the rooms. In fact on of the crew members referred to it as ‘indoor camping’!

Day 3 – 14/12/2013.  Dodoma to Iringa  554km

In the morning we had a briefing to avoid the problems of the previous day. Pastor Nick stated with such authority the need for us to stay together and not pull in different directions. Nick speaks in a very “Pastor Oscar” manner, firm but respectful and serious. There is a certain way he can look at you and you just have to listen, or else…  and then his bike at 1200cc just exudes authority. Anyway, we set out with new resolve to work together.

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We passed through the Tanzanian parliament, no pictures allowed but the building was beautiful. Tanzania also has very good roads. And the country is huge. We had planned to spend two nights but it became clear that we had underestimated and another night was inevitable.

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Somewhere on the way we stopped and John blacked out for a few minutes. Sleep is valuable!

This turned out to be the first full day without rain.

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Nick ‘discovered’ a nice nyama choma joint on the way.

We arrived in Iringa in the afternoon and met and interesting father/son bike duo who we touring, Cape Town to Nairobi in about two months. It was interesting and I thought hmmm, I’d like to have a trip like this with my son one day.

Day 4 – 15/12/2013 Iringa – Mbeya (Tanzania) – Karonga (Malawi) – 468km

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We set out early as we wanted to cross the border into Malawi early enough. The ride was quite nice and relaxed as we were now more realistic in our speeds and more careful not to push the bikes too much. Another reason is that Tanzania has many, very many speed guns and traffic cops.

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Mwongela and Mbeche at the first beach resort we visited in Malawi. Very very expensive, so we kept looking.

We stayed at another place which was also a beach resort but as we discovered later, there was no running water.

So we bathed in Lake Malawi in the evening and also the next day in the morning.

Day 5. 16/12/2013. Karonga – Nkhata Bay. 263 km

Riding with John is such a good thing. He notices interesting things on the way. Like this canoe in the making
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Or this bamboo bridge built in 1904

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We arrived this afternoon at Nkhata Bay. A very beautiful resort on Lake Malawi. Very very beautiful. It is such a good thing that this is where we will spend our rest day tomorrow. Another very good thing is that we have Internet. Working wifi for the first time. Yippee!

I thank God for a very safe journey so far.

Tuendelee kuongea

10 days to Jubilee Ride

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Hosea 2:14-16
New International Version (NIV)
14 “Therefore I am now going to allure her;
    I will lead her into the wilderness
    and speak tenderly to her.
15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
    and will make the Valley of Achor[a] a door of hope.
There she will respond[b] as in the days of her youth,
    as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
16 “In that day,” declares the Lord,
    “you will call me ‘my husband’;
    you will no longer call me ‘my master.[c]’
Footnotes:

a)Hosea 2:15 Achor means trouble.
b)Hosea 2:15 Or sing
Hosea 2:16 Hebrew baal

A friend shared this passage with me last week. I took it and decided this will be my prayer for myself during the time I’m away. That God would speak to me tenderly and restore my vineyards.

Plans continue. Here are some highlights

Program for the next 2weeks:

Wed- 4th visit to Heritage Insurance to pick a cheque for their contribution to the fund

Thursday 5th – a ride to kitui to test bikes. This started a bit like a joke when I said I wanted to ride and say bye to my parents. So far 4 out of the 7 riders have confirmed they’ll join me!

Sat 7th Nairobi Women’s Hospital will give us a full medical checkup in the morning. Then in the afternoon St. Johns Ambulance will give us some first aid training. The support vehicle drivers will also go to CMC to prepare their vehicles.

– 8th Bring the bikes to church by 8.30 prayer and dedication for the riders and thereafter a cookout for family and stakeholders

-9th financials just to make sure everyone has their money. Venue to be discussed.

-10th State House woo hoo!….meeting at engen at 12.00pm till 5pm then dinner at Pastor Faith’s house

11th- meeting at Nairobi Chapel for packing stuff

12th take off- meet 8am for flag off at church

9am junction parking. This is billed to be the largest gathering of bikers ever in Nairobi

Between 9am and 10am lap of honur within town.

Lunch in kajiado by 1pm the proceed to Namanga.

I thank God for all He has done so far.

Tuendelee kuongea

Here she is!

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So the deed is done. This 1999 Honda 750cc Africa Twin is now in my possession. The decision is beginning to look irreversible. This whole thing is a great spiritual experience for me. God is ordering my steps. I wish I could say it is because of the good things I’m doing for him or my immense faith that is causing all this to happen. Faith! Ha! I have had near sleepless nights worrying about whether this will actually happen and wondering whether I’ve bitten off more than I could chew. Someone asked me yesterday whether I’m feeling as though I made a mistake to get into this. It made me think about it for a while. 

No! I’m not making a mistake. The newspaper ad campaign that started on Saturday brought the issue closer home by actually listing by name all the 50 children who will benefit from this venture. Is it daunting? Yes. Is it scary? Yes. Am I nervous? Yes. But I’m not making a mistake. I’m making a difference.

So anyway, I picked up the bike on Friday night. I had been very concerned last week about beating the deadline for having the bike logbook by Sunday. So I prayed and asked friends to pray with me. And in answer to our prayers I got the logbook on Thursday. This experience made me curious on Friday and very anxious when the bike seller called and said that he may have to travel so we would need to wrap this up before he leaves. My rationale was simple. If I had prayed for the logbook and got it on Thursday, why not pray for the bike and get it on Friday? Couldn’t the God of the Thursday logbook be the God of the Friday bike? He was!

On Saturday some Jubilee riders got together to see off Florian who is driving from Nairobi to Brazil (don’t even ask, we’re all crazy, it’s just the degree that varies!)  We escorted him to Naro Moru.

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It was an interesting opportunity to test out the new bike and begin to “become one” with it. It really is a powerful bike but amazingly maneuverable and stable. It is also quite imposing and if you’re not deliberate, humility becomes a struggle!

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In fact the thing that kept me ‘in my place’ was Pastor Nick’s BMW GS1200 new baby.
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This thing is HUGE!

On Sunday we had a documentation meeting at Nairobi Chapel. We met the Faith, our travel agent who is dealing with the SA visas. We met Oyunga Pala and his team from Spielworks, the media company shooting a reality show around the ride. I met the other riders and enjoyed the usual camaraderie and brand bashing. You see, we are seven riders. Three BMWs, three Yamahas and then me, the lone Honda. Each is convinced that the others will struggle to keep up with our brand. Sisemi kitu. But one thing was clear, those of us with the ‘smaller’ bikes ie below 1000cc will require regular self esteem counselling to cope with ourselves and the bigger bikes and their owners.

So today, 16 days to the ride, here are a few things I’d like to ask that you pray with me about.

1. Finances. Thank God for the giving that’s going on. Pledges are now just over 200k but there are many ’emerging’ issues. I need to acquire some more good riding gear, there are some spare parts and tools that also need to be bought.

2. I need to relax. No one will agree more about this than my wife. I find myself sometimes so consumed in the project that it seems to be getting out of hand. I need to remember constantly that this is God’s project and that he will be faithful to complete it.

3. Safety as I get used to the bike

4. Completion of all the deadlines, like today is the final day to have everything on the visa checklist done.

5. Sanity as I put some things in order at work and at home so that all is well in my long absence.

6. AOB

Thanks for all your support. Every encouraging text message (especially Mpesa!) counts.

Let’s do this!

Tuendelee kuongea

The Jubilee Ride

My friends,

After the sermon on the link below, I decided to “Get Dirty”

http://www.nairobichapel.org/NC/Sermons/GetDirty-PstNick-10-11-2013.mp3

This is how I decided to do so. 

I pledged to be involved in the Jubilee Ride (http://www.jubileeride2013.org/) to Cape Town from 12th December this year to raise funds to provide secondary education to 50 underprivileged Kenyan children.

This decision was only made on Sunday, and God has been very faithful. Already, in the last two days, we have raised about 50% of the minimum Kshs. 270,000/- I need to participate in this ride. My desire would be that we raise a lot more than this minimum required. A lot more!

I would like to invite you to “get dirty” with me in the following ways

1. Give both money and ideas and help me raise the rest of the money in the remaining few days to the trip, share this status with your friends too.

2. Pray for the following
a) Item 1 above
b) Thanksgiving for what God has done so far
c) Thank God for my wife Caroline Mutunga, for her support in this project, both financially, prayer and emotionally. For her managing the home and our boys in my long absence.
d) Pray for me to get a good roadworthy bike for this trip. I already have a few good leads
e) Safety and good health for myself and the other riders and crews.
f) AOB!

3. Get dirty with me my friends, and let’s remain in touch as we serve God and our country together.

Thanks

 

Tuendelee kuongea