Kings Family CMS Link Letter 2, Dec 1985

by Graham Kings

Date added: 22/12/2023

Happy Christmas to you all. Thank you for keeping in touch with us through your letters and parish magazines.

Amazingly, there is still snow on the equator even as the temperature begins to rise in December! Mount Kenya is a fascinating sight and it is easy to understand why the Kikuyu people used to pray facing it. There is a certain spiritual gravitational pull towards the mountain, which has sent us back to the Bible looking at the importance of mountains there (Sinai, Carmel, Transfiguration etc.).

In September our local church, St Andrew’s Kabare, celebrated 75 years since the arrival of the good news of Christ in this part of Kenya. About 2,000 people came into the Institute’s grounds, next to the church, for a long open-air service. This included fund raising for a new dispensary and a brilliant dramatic presentation, by the Mother’s Union, of the arrival of the first missionaries in 1910. It started with some of them dressed in traditional costume and dancing: then a young woman became ill and the witch doctor was called for. He failed to cure her but when Crawford, a CMS missionary, arrived he preached and healed her with medicine and prayer.

The first convert in this part of the Highlands, Gitura Nginyi, died only a couple of weeks ago. It seems from the ages of his children, some of whom are still alive, that he was well over 100 (the newspaper gave the figure of 130). He was the father of the vicar of Kabare and helped the first missionaries in their medical and preaching work. In looking at the health of the Diocese now, it is staggering to consider how much has happened in the last 75 years. Yet there are many parts of it where primary evangelism is still going on among various tribes.

In October, President Moi (was it Louis XIV who said, L’Etat, c’est moi ?) was the guest of honour at the fund raising event for the new Cathedral at Embu. These events are called harambees, which is a Swahili sea-faring word meaning, ‘Let’s all pull together’ and which became Kenyatta’s slogan for nation building. The total raised and pledged was over the target set and the nearly completed Cathedral can now be properly furnished as well.

The land here is so fertile that when the Principal, Gideon Ireri, a few years ago, put up wooden posts for his washing line, one of them sprouted and is now a fully grown tree! Isaiah 11.1 – very suitable for Christmas. Our garden is fast taking shape with frangipani bushes, a paw paw tree, bougainvillea and morning glory on our back fence, cabbages, tomatoes, onions, sweet potatoes and sukama wiki (‘pushes the week’), which is kale, a cross between spinach and cabbage. Rosalind has her own patch of garden and delights in cultivating it. Miriam is more interested in the two college cows. ‘Cow’ was the fourth word she learnt so say, so she is becoming quite African. One of the cows, the fatted calf, is going to be slaughtered for our graduation celebrations at the end of term. A week later, there will be an ordination service, when our third-year students will be ordained Deacons or made Deaconesses.

I have enjoyed teaching immensely and am becoming a sort of GP theologian, covering various subjects, rather than a specialist. This term I have taught ten one-hour periods per week: two each on ‘Romans’, ‘19th and 20th Century World Church History’, ‘Mission and Evangelism’, ‘Worship and Liturgy’ and ‘The Doctrine of the Last Things’. Marking exams has been interesting: some were internal to the college, others were set centrally by Nairobi University or by the Church of the Province of Kenya. It is odd to see some of your own teaching coming back to you, sometimes not entirely as you thought you were presenting it, and it has given me ideas for improving my lecturing next term.

As a family we have settled down well now: Miriam is at last sleeping through the night. Rosalind is getting very fit as we go for walks up and down (or rather down and up) nearby valleys and ridges. Alison is enjoying getting to know some of the local women and being a country housewife. She has learnt how to cook local foods such as ugali, similar to dumplings, and mataha, a mash of maize, beans, potatoes and greens. Her teaching of Rosalind is going quite well, but she feels rather daunted by the responsibility of it all. On Tuesday afternoons, there are joint art and craft sessions with the Benson children.

We are looking forward to having a family Christmas here with Carole Fallowes, a CMS mission partner who works in Juba, in the Sudan; but at the same time we feel sad at the prospect of not seeing our families in England. We would value your prayers for this and also for the large new intake of students in January, 23 in all, including one from Tanzania, one from Zaire, and several from other Kenyan dioceses. The electricity company has still not connected our house to the mains, however our fridge is on in the Benson’s garage and Faith Wanjiku, who helps us in the home, does the ironing at their house.

Have you bought your Christmas presents yet? If not, then the newly published Lion Handbook, Christianity – A World Faith, (£11.95), is an excellent buy, which has exciting and articles about the Church in all six continents. Certainly, a very valuable resource for a missionary prayer group!

May our God, who became poor and vulnerable at Christmas, give you his love and peace, now and for ever.


The index page of our 17 CMS Link Letters, 1985-1991, is here.

Graham Kings

Graham Kings

Wood panel

A bronze


Wood panel