Scott and Barb Harbert work with Africa Inland Mission (AIM) in Nakuru, Kenya. Scott serves as Prayer Coordinator and Trainer for the Africa Inland Church (AIC) of Kenya. Barb coordinates the HIV/AIDS partnership between our church and the AIC Nakuru Region, our Heart for AIDS Initiative. The Harberts are currently in the U.S. on Home Assignment through the end of February.
In August they became empty nesters as they took their youngest son, Matthew, to Florida Southern College in Lakeland. Jeff, their middle son, is finishing his last year at Valparaiso University in Indiana, working on a degree in Sports Management and News Media. Josh, their oldest, and his wife, Sarah, who live in the Chicago land area, are expecting their first child in February. Scott and Barb are very excited to be able to meet their first grandchild before returning back to their mission field in Kenya!
God is at work in Kenya – On October 31, the Harberts shared these updates on what’s been happening:
Heart For AIDS Initiative
Recently Kenya went to war with the Al Shabab terrorist group in Somalia. That has made Kenya more insecure, especially since terrorists do not fight fairly. In spite of this insecurity, the Gospel is going forward as our Kenyan partners catch a missionary vision from our Wheaton Bible Church GO Teams. Last week Josephine, a partner who oversees Hope For Life in Nakuru, made a difficult and dangerous trip into Turkana with three others. Fueled with compassion for the unreached people of Turkana, their mission was to assess how transformational development* might have an impact in Northern Kenya. Her team met many who were barely surviving the drought—their only source of sustenance was sorghum, a leading cereal grain produced in Africa.
Josephine wrote, “In this desert region, people walk holding a gun just like it is a shepherding stick. The place is very dry, people are naked, and many grieve the loss of family members. They do not care about life and they thirst for comfort and someone to tell them that God cares. All they know is that they are God’s rejects and that is why they live in such a place and life is meaningless to them. However, they told us that even if this God is uncaring, at least the enemies have not swept them.”
The team taught and preached, and led over 100 people into a relationship with a loving God. While there, they visited many homes, discussed ideas for income generation, and advocated for schooling girls, who typically are married off at a very young age. Their visit made a big impact. “We have had visitors, but you people have shown us the promised love of that God who protects us. Your love is God’s love and it has touched us as a community. We thought we are God’s rejects but now your love has shown us that we are God’s best.”
On December 16, Josephine and a small team of church leaders will be returning to Turkana for a follow-up visit.
“In Your solemn presence, O God, I remember all my friends and neighbors, my fellow townsfolk, and especially the poor within our gates, asking that You would give me grace, so far as in me lies, to serve them in Your name.” —John Baillee, Scottish theologian
Prayer Renewal Area
The Lord is also using the Prayer Renewal Area teams. In one meeting of 40 pastors from an area where there has been a lot of division over the last couple of years, they were challenged to stop quarreling and come back to the Lord and each other through prayer. During the time of prayer, many with tears of repentance confessed their sins and asked for forgiveness from the Lord and from each other.
Other area teams are also beginning to meet and carry out their plans—with a commitment to starting at home. One participant, Caren, shared that her family’s devotions have been enriched by new ways of praying. Interestingly, she said she loves to kneel when she prays and had encouraged her children to do the same. She finally realized that in their culture, when children are disciplined, they are forced to kneel. Once she freed her children to worship in the style that suited them, they began to love these times of family worship.
Will you pray for the Harberts?
- Pray for the work in Nakuru, Kenya. Pray that God would continue to raise up and develop Kenyan leaders who are passionate about transforming their communities. That families affected by HIV would be healed and restored and come to know Christ.
- Pray for discernment on next steps in helping the Turkana people realize their potential as God’s image bearers.
- Pray for the Prayer Renewal Area teams as they implement their two year plans to mobilize and train the church regarding prayer.
- Pray for God’s protection over Kenya, and also for Barb’s brother, Scott Gration, who is US Ambassador to Kenya.
- Pray for daughter-in-law Sarah to have a safe delivery and for a healthy baby Harbert.
What is Transformational Development?
Barb Harbert comments below…
"God created man in His image. He made us to be creative, to love, to have dignity, and to have choices. He also created man to be in four key relationships: with Himself, with others, with self, and with creation. With the fall into sin, however, these relationships became distorted. Our mission is helping restore these distorted relationships.
We want people to understand that God has gifted them with creativity, relationships, natural resources, health, time, and many other resources. In addition, as God's image bearers they have a God-given mandate to be stewards – using their God-given resources to begin to solve their problems, rather than waiting for the next hand out – and in Christ becoming agents of reconciliation.
For this to happen there needs to be a paradigm shift in worldview (or understanding who we are): created by God and redeemed through the blood of Christ. Transformational development is holistic, transforming communities through restored relationships.”
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