Week 13-1: Ringiti Island, Preaching on Mfangano Island, and Open-Air Meetin’s

On Saturday, Cosmas took me around the rest of Mfangano Island. We first took a boat to the Wazungu camp (white people camp) as it is lovingly called here. We were shown around an extremely nice resort that cost $500 a night which made me feel sick to my stomach and I was glad when we were able to leave. (hard to explain in words unless you’ve been living in my shoes the past 3 months/25 years) We then continued walking along the beach through beautiful tropical forest paths. It was breathtaking and I kept trying to comprehend where I was and that it was December. We finally caught a boat which took us to another very small, very crowded island called Ringiti Island (it is part of Mfangano Island, but a separate island, I never fully grasped how this worked). As we pulled up it looked like a bald man’s head popping out of the water (because of lack of trees) that was covered in sheet metal houses. We walked all the way around the island. The problem with this wee island is that it is so small and so populated without plumbing, so people bathe and washe their dishes in the same water from which they drink. Cosmas told me that one of his hopes is to start an awareness program here so that people can understand the advantages of being more structured with where they bathe, drink from, and so on. It was an interesting experience I am glad that I had.

Ringiti Island
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On Ringiti Island
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Preachin’ and Teachin’

The morning after arriving on Mfangano Island I was told that we were having devotion so I grabbed my bible and when I sat down the pastor said “welcome, Robert, would you lead devotion today?” So, I did a on the fly rendition of a devotion I had done previously. I then realized/learned that I would be preaching and teaching much more than I had anticipated (none had been the anticipation). I was asked to lead a few Bible Studies, speak to a few different groups, and preach on Sunday morning. Welp, no electricity so no old sermons or typing out a manuscript. So, I just went the good old fashion bullet point way and it turned out very good. I preached the lectionary text because I found great strength and comfort knowing that the same text would be read back in Broken Arrow, Sherman, Allen, and Austin. The sermon lasted for 35 minutes! Don’t worry, everything I said was translated into Luo so you can cut that in half which is still 17.5 minutes of preaching! The best part for me was that I went through 3 translators. I started out with Bill and then Samuel came up and finally Silas. I think if I would have gone 30 seconds longer I could have gotten 4 translators which would have been awesome!  Translating is tiresome, especially when the person you are translating from has an accent and speaks with a different word structure than they’re used to.  I was still proud of my 3 translator record thus far.  Furthermore, during sermons here, preachers will say “Bwana Asifiwe” which means “Praise the Lord!” and everyone responds “Amen!”  My sermons are not usually interactive, but since it is very hot here and I wanted to make sure they understood what I was saying I through it in every now and again.  The only problem is a I would chuckle after saying it…  So, all in all, it was a good day!

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Bwana Asifiwe
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We left the church we had stayed at for 10 days and went to the other side of the mountain to stay with Cosmas’ sister Tuesday morning. Cosmas had been invited to an open-air meeting. I didn’t know this until we were walking to it. It was very organized and impressive. Cosmas and I were the oldest, while the others were all highschoolers. They had a generator, speakers, and an amp which they set up right in the middle of this little town’s center.  They sang some songs and then Cosmas preached. I was asked to introduce myself and give a sermonette so I did that as well.  Cosmas said that when he had taken another person from the states to an open-air meeting they had said if you were to do this in the states people would think you’re crazy.  I looked at him and said, “Yep.”

Cosmas Preaching

From Mfangano

Random Arnold Poster in a Diner on Mfangano Island
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Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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