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1962 - 2020
It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of one of our Peacemakers’ Team. Rob served the non profit making Christian charity with his great technical skills in computers, showing prayerful commitment, always edged with love and compassion.
My late husband Dennis and I have known Rob since he was an adult single man who attended the church that Dennis was Pastor of in Stevenage. Unfortunately Rob had an inherited genetic illness that was beginning to show itself physically. It was a progressive disease and over time his health would decline. He met and fell in love with Ruth and they decided to get married. Together they made their commitment before God to love “for better, for worse, till death parts us”, and we had the privilege of marrying them and witnessing their love and commitment to each other throughout their married life.
Along came three children Tom, Becky and Ellie and they moved into a bungalow to accommodate Rob’s increasing disabilities more easily. As Rob was getting weaker his faith was getting stronger and he wanted to serve the Lord more. Dennis invited him on one of his mission trips to Norway and Rob was soon found to be a man of prayer and faith. It reminds me of that song we sing “when I am weak Lord, you are my strength” and this showed very much in Rob as a husband, father and co-worker. He was a wonderful disciple of Jesus Christ, he was blessed with the love that Jesus loved His Church with, unconditional, sacrificial love. Jesus gave His life for us, He was selfless, as was Rob. I never heard a word of complaint from Rob about his situation, just words of love and encouragement. His prayer times always revealed words of wisdom from the Lord which he so lovingly shared with us.
He would loved to have come to Kenya with me and they would loved to have met him. Indirectly, through his intuitive prayers and practical aid in the form of computers and computer training, he has changed so many Kenyan lives and he still remains part of the mission.
On their 25th wedding anniversary, by chance I just happened to be visiting Rob, and Ruth said to me, “Brenda can you remember what you were doing 25 years ago today?” I thought for a moment and said “yes I was marrying you”, “that’s right”, and then Ruth took Rob’s hand and said “we love each other more today than we did 25 years ago”. “When we are weak, God is our strength”, He is sufficient.
Because of the restrictions upon us all through the coronavirus crisis, we are unable to attend his funeral, which I know, out of love and respect for Rob, many of you would love to have been there. I can tell you that Ruth is allowed just 10 people, which will obviously be taken up with her and Rob’s closest family. The Committal Service is booked at Harwood Park Crematorium for Wednesday 15th April at 2.45p.m. Please put that time aside to join with the family in spirit in remembering and committing Rob to the Lord.
The Lord has prepared a place at His table for Rob. Rest in Peace dear Brother in Christ.
Brenda, Christine and all the Peacemakers Team
May the God of Hope fill you with Joy and Peace this Christmas.
‘Hope’ is the joyful expectation that something Good will happen.
Humanly speaking, it’s not surprising that the ‘Hope’ in us seems to be gradually disappearing into a depressive, fearful state, when you witness the strife and turmoil all around us today.
‘Who can we Trust?’
We are in the season of ‘Goodwill to all men’ bringing and exchanging gifts with one another. We remember and celebrate the Birth of Jesus; let us too receive from Jesus the gifts he brings to us of Love, Joy and Peace. This releases us from all the fears consuming this world.
Merry Christmas Everyone and a Blessed New Year from Brenda and all the Peacemakers. Thank you for being a part of changing lives in Kenya.
Christmas bulletin from Kenya:
We are sending our prayers and wishes for a wonderful Christmas over there (in the UK).
Here the searing daytime sun belies the approaching nightly torrents. This rainy season is now predicted to last to the end of December. I spend restless nights listening to the incessant downpours. Remember, most of the house has a tin roof and the noise is deafening; the raucous chorus of the jubilant frogs in unison with the dogs howling at the lightning flashes. You can almost imagine you are on board a ship in a stormy sea… The gutters can hardly cope with the roof water gushing down; the water tanks fill to overflow.
We have been waking up to flooded areas, spending hours mopping up and scooping the soil back up the slope. We have been hacking out extra channels and planning digging more slow-down ponds. The Kenyans call the rain “Blessings”, of course! We did not have any rain in March this year but this November season has made up for it! For us, it hopefully means a good harvest is ahead.
We had a wedding in between the showers… thank God for helping us. From 4 am we were re-erecting tents, decorating everywhere and we managed to get everything done in time. It was great to see Isaac’s photography team Siera having the contract for the photos.
This time, the actual marriage took place in our thatched building and the reception down in the garden. The caterers cooked all night. Typical wedding fare includes beef stew, “mukimo” (mashed potatoes, yellow maize and greens, chapati and rice with grated carrots.
We have also hosted three graduation parties.
We thank God that a group of ladies and a few gents from our community want to start the Peacemakers Outside Catering Team. We already have a growing market in catering for groups and we need to do more by enlisting a full team. We are praying how to go ahead with repairs to the kitchen and extra equipment. As we begin to have guests to stay in the house, it will be all the more necessary for me to have a qualified hospitality / housekeeper employee as I find myself stretched in many directions to present a quality service.
Our nearest neighbour Mama Eric has been longing to start it but has been caring up until last week for the mother of the late Patrick Kavungura, one of the original Kenya Peacemakers. Mama Kavungura passed on at the age of 94 years; we attended the burial on December 4th. According to custom, most people travel to the mortuary to view the body then return to the homestead for the burial in the garden of the home.
The youth dig the grave at dawn the same morning and return the soil at a spectacular speed after the committal.
We have now planned to start new registration of members in January 2020 with a nominated committee. We had a marvellous Prayer time where the Lord really spoke to us all about forgetting the former things (Isaiah 43) and marching forward, finally reaching our hope and future (Jeremiah 29;11).
I am looking forward to stepping back a little to see the Kenyans organise and manage more. The new committee will plan regular activities including the start of a Bible Teaching base, monitor the Youth projects for tree planting, poultry and livestock. We will revive our Craft projects and extend training activities for nutrition and health. We plan to do a lot more marketing of our accommodation and facilities. We have seen how God has taken us on a journey to where we are now and are excited for the next stage.
Our real needs at the moment are to get the greenhouse up and running for planting more sensitive seedlings like avocado and macadamia and rotating to capsicums again but by constructing soil tunnels as the soil we have has wilt. We would be getting new soil from Mt Kenya Forest. This will be another Youth project, along with the poultry rearing. At the moment, there are hundreds of idle school leavers around, without funds for further education and few opportunities for any employment. We also need to make
money from the B&B business and catering. Our profits return to the vulnerable. We really have to see God getting all the glory when we see this place prospering. Here are some of the rooms for you to stay.
We are all thankful for your wonderful support. The students continue to be able to attend school because of regular gifts. The Terrington Ladies have been stars in contributions for beans for the Disabled children, and lovely knitted jumpers, the Swansea Ladies the same. Thanks to Lifewell for money for food distribution for needy families this Christmas and the Orphans’ Party. Thanks to the Taylor Davids for moving us so far forward with water projects. Thanks again to the Beadles who have enabled us to help so many people. Thank you for all your gifts and prayers.
Much love from all the team here and from my new addition of a Cardigan corgi, Evie (AMAZING, I know)
Happy Christmas from Kenya!
In the last two bulletins, I have been informing you about our current transition period to make the Resource Centre a self-supporting project. We now have our two Title Deeds naming Peacemakers Community based Organisation as the absolute owners of the land and its assets. All of our facilities on-site are now up and running to develop our commercial projects.
May I take this opportunity to invite you to come to Kenya, maybe en route to a safari, or otherwise, to stay in our beautiful Resource Centre and experience the real Kenyan way of life. Our centre is deliberately built in a poor rural area, endeavouring to create a better standard of life to the local communities. We will, of course, continue to work in the mission field of teaching and training while, at the same time, bringing employment and casual labour to the local people, as they serve you through the commercial side.
Take a look at “Peacemakers’ Homestead”, or this Air B&B link, for our accommodation ‘on-site’ in Embu County, Kenya. You will see Isaac and Christine who are the co-hosts and now husband and wife, ready to welcome you! Christine is Peacemakers’ Director on-site and Isaac, the Projects’ Development Manager. We currently have five bedrooms but we are looking to increase that capacity. We will be ready on October 1st to take your bookings for an overnight stay or longer. Isaac can also help you organise your visit and walks on Mt. Kenya and is even available to escort you, if you wish. We can also offer to meet you at the airport in Nairobi to guide you on your way to visit us.
If you have the desire to work voluntarily within the local community, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me about the range of activities you may be interested in. It will be a very rewarding experience as so many of our volunteers over the years have found; email: Brenda Marshall
We were so blessed by the donation from the Richard Taylor family in Swansea, for the purchase of a solar panel to power a water pump which would irrigate the shamba and tree nursery and for the cleaning of the animal sheds. The solar pump continues to improve our sustainability and save us so much money on electricity bills. They also kindly donated money for 11 Bibles and 5 water filters!
We are truly thrilled and blessed. They also sponsored one room to be painted ready for drugs counselling sessions.
At last, the chicken-shed, named after our Australian visitor, is in full swing and people are coming to buy the chicks at 1 month or older; the price goes up according to length of stay at the Cameron chickhouse. This is a great project. It is so profitable and Cameron has helped us enormously to focus on sustainable activities.
We were happy to have a visit from the Embassy of Ireland again this month, to monitor our progress and use of the piggery, greenhouse and incubator. They were so happy! We are praying they will allow us to apply for funding to put soil bags into the greenhouse so that we can overcome the challenge of the wilt!
The solar lights in the house are working well and have reduced our bill dramatically, although we are still waiting for Kenya Power to install a tokens meter for sockets use. Isaac Munene continues to manage our development and to acquire the best quality and deals for all our needs. His heart remains fixed on our total success.
I was so blessed at my grandson Nathan’s marriage to Debbie this summer, by the interest shown in our Charity Peacemakers by some of the guests. Nathan and Debbie decided to get married in May at the most beautiful venue named ‘Abbazia di San Galgano’ in Northern Italy. After the actual marriage in the ruins of the Abbey, we had the reception in the adjacent buildings.
During the groom’s speech, his guests rallied round and had a wager as to how long his speech would be (2 minutes?… maybe a little longer with thanking everybody for coming). No, Nathan excelled himself by having something special to say about most of the guests present, including a mention about the work of Peacemakers in Kenya. One of his friends, Tom Mills and his wife (who were the professional photographers at the wedding), actually won the wager by being the nearest in guessing 26 minutes. I don’t know whether he had some inside Information or not but was duly presented with the winnings of £125.00.
During the evening celebrations Tom and Sarah came to me and donated the £125 to Peacemakers, to meet whatever need I chose in Kenya. Also, another couple,Sheridan and his wife Georgiana who are lawyers, wish to visit our Resource Centre some time next year while holidaying. They love Kenya and wish to photograph the wild life and serve the community with their skills. Lastly, another Uni friend of Nathan’s, Sherri, wants to find out more information about us, to pass on to friends who are already working in Kenya. Maybe there will be some ‘networking’ with them in the future.
I have already transferred the £125.00 across to Kenya and bought a Battery for our solar panels, so thank you Tom and Sarah, your generosity has already made a great difference to the sustained running of Peacemakers Kenya.
I just want you all to know, that this work and development has only happened because of your faithfulness and support over the many years. Please continue to pray for us and the ongoing work of the Lord at Peacemakers in Kenya.
With Love and Appreciation,
I’m pleased at last to be able to inform you that we are moving into the next stage of our commercial development, and to report that the Peacemakers’ deeds have been registered in the new name of Peacemakers CBO (Community Based Organisation).
I want to acknowledge and thank Pastor Sammy, Grace Kaumer and Lucy Njiru for standing in the offices of acting trustees over the past few years. We are now at the stage of getting a management team together to be responsible for the various projects that are already underway. Christine has given a report of some of the activity at the present time.
Peacemakers Kenya, March 2019.
Last night, we had the first rainfall in months. We have been trudging in thick dust and my hair was stained orange from the red-soil. Our bore hole is empty; the shamba is dry. Today has been hot again but people are thanking God for the looming clouds and the promise of the long-awaited arrival of the March rains. There has been the usual frantic diversion from all other activities other than preparing the plots for planting.
Since January, we have been trying to do some urgent necessary repairs on the site and in the house. The house needs a fair amount of painting and refurbishment as we are trying to make it smarter for accommodating guests. There are currently 5 bedrooms (see the Air B&B website for Peacemakers homestead) and we are creating another one by re-locating the library. The dust has been sweeping in relentlessly through the windows and under the doors. We have yet to complete putting locks on every guest door but we have made a new front door which is more secure than the last. Each room needs furnishing with a simple clothes storage place; each sink needs a good plumber; each light fitting needs replacing.
George, the German Shepherd no. 2 grew so fast that he could not share with his uncle, Jack, so Wahome the carpenter made him his own kennel. It took nights for me to persuade him to get inside! Along with a local mongrel, Suki, the three dogs make excellent night watchmen, barking in chorus when they hear a strange noise in the night. We have also installed security cameras.
My oldest pet, Gus the cat has been joined by tiny tabby Yvette, bought really to chase away the rats from the chicken shed. In fact, we have had to demolish one shed in favour of a new structure with a solid floor. We cannot afford to lose chicks from predatory animals as we so want the poultry project to be successful.When Cameron came last November, he agreed with Isaac which projects should be concentrated on. Cameron left us with an investment for the chicks. So the chicken shed will soon be officially opened as “Cameron House”. Doesn’t it look smart?
Three new piglets arrived 2 weeks ago, chasing behind the previous litter of four. Isaac has bought a new boar with the proceeds to avoid inbreeding.
We still only have one male goat, William, seen her kissing with Suki.
Our cow Mpwenda looks huge but has still not produced…
The whole of the old piglet houses needs renovating for surplus pigs and extra goats, in time.
The greenhouse has suffered from wilt so we need to find a sponsor for soil bags to get back onto our red and yellow peppers project. Meanwhile, we will plant managu (nightshade) which are delicious indigenous greens inside. We have had no water to irrigate and plant our tree nursery. We were thrilled therefore to get a donation from the Richard Taylor Foundation for a solar water pump; to be installed in the next week… just in time to make the most of the rain.
We have been struggling to pay extortionate electricity bills hence our aim is to cut off from mains power. KPL (Kenya Power and Lighting) has the monopoly for supply throughout Kenya. I have spent so much time complaining about high bills like everybody else… We have an outstanding accumulated bill of around £390, they say, and before we are allowed to cut off their supply we have to wait until we can install solar panels.
I stay and live on site in the house. There is a youth called Sam who sleeps in the clinic as he has no family member to house him. During the weekdays, we have Wanjiko to cook and help me clean, Shadrack the computer trainer who also cuts the hedges; Dennis who looks after the livestock. Gitonga works on the tree nursery but helps with everything, Lutigia, alias Songo, digs like a machine, helps with the animals or building tasks; Murimi helps to clean the chickens, sheep and goat. The latter three are mentally and physically challenged.
We continue to host community groups and training. We take bookings for church groups and others retreats and social functions. We have had a steady flow of people both young and old to do computer packages. Next week, our friend Fanta’s daughter is one year old so he has his thanksgiving celebration here with the current and former M.Ps and 7 Members of the County Assembly as guests. We have to call in extra cooks and helpers for such occasions.
We had a meeting to dissolve the former trustees and are waiting for the Lord to raise up a mission led team, committed to the Peacemakers mission. So currently, we are operating under the covering of Sammy Gitungu. In the last prayer time, we drew up a list of 19 people to invite to come to pray for the way forward. We also value your continued prayers. We need the Holy Spirit to stir up Peacemakers to come to our monthly prayer meetings. We are praying that God will continue to bless us and help us prosper to fulfil His plans.
You can see from the report the progress that we’ve made but we still have costs to meet. So, if you feel led in any way to support the various needs we have, particularly in managing the electricity and installation of the solar panels, that would be absolutely fantastic. The easiest way to send your donation, however big or small, is to the Peacemakers’ account using our Donation Form , Standing order mandate or in the post to my home address and I will transfer it across to Kenya.
Love and appreciation as always, Brenda.