Happy New Year to Friends near and far,
I am sorry that I missed my December letter to you all. My heart was with you but my days somehow got swallowed up in the rush of attending USFW gatherings and Pastors Conferences. The time was well spent though. For example, I was able to speak at the Chavakali YM Pastors Conference on the topic of “The Pastor as Diagnostician” and we compared the church to a hospital where sick people go for help and treatment. Many people in our Kenyan communities still feel, on some level, that our churches are for respectable Christians but I had the opportunity to teach on how our churches are not just for the well and that a pastor can have the tools to help detect when members go through strife or are stressed out.
Along with Academic Dean Rogers Wakesi, we visited and greeted the Pastors Conference of East Africa Yearly Meeting Kaimosi. While FTC is physically located within EAYM Kaimosi, they are least in enrollment and we shared about the benefits of having more pastors who are theologically trained and challenged them to participate more. Speaking at a number of yearly meetings also gave me the opportunity to invite enrollment in our new chaplaincy certificate program. We are working to harmonize our program with the new National Teacher Service Commission standards for school chaplaincy and will soon be nationally recognized. It is always my joy to represent Friends Theological College among our yearly meeting gatherings
On December 21 we ended the term well. Before leaving for the break I became “Father Christmas” and delivered gift baskets to all of our faculty and staff to be shared with their families. I wanted them to know their work is appreciated and that we care about the welfare of everyone.
Residential students returned on January 7 for January semester which will go through June with an Easter break in April, when the modular students will fill the gap. Enrollment continues to rise with a total of 205 and more to come with the modular courses in April. This term we are excited to have launched intensive evening classes for our chaplaincy program. We have started with 5 full-time theology students and 2 from within the Kaimosi community. Praise the Lord!
On January 1 we were happy to welcome a new Campus Minister, Martin Simiyu Masinde. He is a graduate of FTC (1990), and Kenya Highlands Bible College (now Highlands University). Martin acquired his bachelor of Theology degree from East Africa School of Theology (now Kenya Assemblies of God University) and Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Africa International University. He brings over 26 years of pastoral experience with Nairobi Yearly Meeting. He is also deputy Administrator in our FTC-Nairobi satellite campus. It should be no secret that pastors need pastors and at FTC we want to model the spiritual care and nurture of all of our students and employees.
January 15-19 we were honored to host the QREC (Quaker Religious Education Collaborative) on our campus. The conference was facilitated by Marian Baker and Beth Collea from New England YM and Melinda Wenner Bradley from Philadelphia YM and brought together 25 active Sunday School teachers from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda to learn together about Godly Play and Faith & Play styles of storytelling with our children. The FTC students were able to share in some worship time together with them one morning and I was honored to remind our pastors that successful pastoral ministry begins with our children.
Due to rising numbers in student enrollment, we have been compelled to seek technical advice from the County government of Vihiga to grant us permission to renovate the condemned dormitory for male students. They sent specialists who came and did an assessment to the building and a “go ahead” certificate was granted to us in November 2018, and with authorization from the FTC Executive board that met on January 11, 2019, we engaged Pontech Services who began works on the building on January 14, 2019. We anticipate the renovation works to be complete by end of February and the building will be ready when modular students return on March 31, 2019. It is estimated to accommodate 80 students. We are forever grateful to you for the support you give to FTC to enable noble projects such as this to be accomplished.
Blessings on each one and the various ministries you serve in. Again, thank you for serving with me through your financial support, prayers, and encouragement.