Snellville Church of Christ
Saturday, January 20, 2018
Loving God, Loving People


The Nicholas' work in Kenya is now divided into two major areas: the Meru work and the South Kikuyu work. Their recent move to Nairobi was in part based on their desire that the churches be forced to grow in the Lord, to stop leaning on others to help them with their problems, to gain more spiritual maturity, and to take care of many things on their own that the Nicholases used to do for them when they lived in Meru. The hope is that by Mark making periodic trips there to teach and encourage the leaders the churches will still grow, but that the majority of the work there will be done by the Christians themselves.

Upon the Nicholas' arrival in Kenya, they received a very encouraging report about the women there. Each year in August the women from all 40 of the Meru churches come together for a two-day meeting filled with lessons, singing, and fellowship. A different church is in charge of planning it each year. However, although a particular church is always in charge, the reality is that Debbie (and other missionary women, in times past) has always played a major role in the planning and organization of that meeting. But this past year, the Meru women planned and carried out the meeting completely on their own.

The South Kikuyu work involves starting new churches in the area just north of Nairobi. It is an area that is growing very quickly, and in the past there has been only on church of Christ in that area.

The first step in beginning that work is to start learning a new language. The Nicholases are learning the national language of Kiswahili. It will be useful in this new work, but also will be something they can use in many parts of Kenya. They had hoped to taking private lessons from one of the Christian sisters at a church in Nairobi but were unable to do so. As a result they have been working on learning some vocabulary words and a little grammar by using son Daniel's textbook from school, as well as daughter Rebecca's. Beginning Kiswahili is offered as a high school class in Kenya, so Daniel has been able to take it. The whole family is learning a little by studying with him in the evnings. There are also many good books available to help learn Kiswahili, which is actually the language Americans know as "Swahili". The grammatically correct way to say the name of the language is "Kiswahili", but "Swahili" is commonly accepted as correct. In the language of Kiswahili, the names of all languages, begin with the prefix "ki". So, we would say Kimeru (the language ofthe Meru people), Kimaa (the language of the Maasai people), Kifaransa (French), Kilatini (Latin), Kigiriki (Greek), and Kingereza (English).

Mark made a trip to Meru in October and met with leaders from many churches throughout the whole Meru area. The churches seem to be doing well and continue to grow. He even received news about several new churches that have been started since the Nicholases were in America last year. This was especially encouraging since it showed maturity and initiative on their part. Mark made another two trips to the area in November to preach to some of the churches and see how the Christian training center was going. The churches were doing well but the center's management continues to struggle. The Nicholas family has asked their Snellville church family to pray for the center that it will be used well as a place where the Meru Christians can come for meetings and training.

In November, Mark also made contact with one of the church leaders in Thika, a town bigger than Meru (Approximately 60,000-80,000 people), which will very likely become the hub of his new work area. He located the main teacher of the small, struggling church there, David Karanja, and had a good talk with him. David said that there are about 25-30 members of the Thika church but many are students so it does not have too many strong leaders. Mark also found out about two or three other small churches within 10-15 miles of Thika, with which he plans to work.

The Nicholas' telephone was out for the entire month of March, as it was for much of the month of September, which was agin very frustrating and inconvenient. Because of this, they now have cellular telephones, which were made avilable to them in Kenya at an affordable cost. To call their cell phones from the United States, dial: 001-254-733-747-684 (for Mark), and 001-254-733-761-281 (for Debbie).
They also have a new email address. It is:
Mark Nicholas
The Nicholas Family