Tag Archives: Andrew Lettome

Getting Started

 P1060826 The kids are back and school is in session (actually it has been 3 weeks already, I am just late writing this entry ). Since we live on the school compound we hear kids at all hours of the day now, and I love it! Here is what a typical day at Mt. Kenya Baptist School looks like for us…

At 8am we join the teachers for devotions in the staff room. This goes until classes start at 8:30. Now, let me add that during this half hour, the students are in their classrooms already working on assignments for the day, without a teacher! There is one teacher during the devotion time that is “on duty” to make sure that students are behaving. But that is about 250 students with 1 teacher! I am seriously impressed by these students behavior and motivation.

Normally after devotions, Andrew and I go back to our house and study for Swahili. We have our Kiswahili class every day somewhere between 9am and 12 (It changes every day). I’m in Standard 1, and Andrew is Standard 2. I typically study from devotion time until class. We both have great teachers who are also working with us individually outside the classroom. I am so thankful for this!

Every day at 10:30 is tea time. I have come to really look forward to this time each day! All the students and teachers cross the street to the dining hall and get a cup of tea and a snack. The teachers then go back to sit in their favorite spot in the grass to enjoy their snack together. This time of fellowship is fun as we are getting to know the teachers.

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Now, let me tell you about the tea. The Swahili word for tea is “chai.” I have never enjoyed chai tea in the states, so when we first came I was very hesitant. But it is incredible!! (It makes Starbucks look really bad!) They serve it really hot, which is always nice because mornings are VERY cold here, so we are normally just thawing out at this time. My favorite snack is called mandazi. It is basically a baked pastry, with a slightly-sweet taste. It is simple, but so delicious!


The kids eat lunch at 1pm. A typical meal is rice with beans or lentils. We ate with the kids one day during the first week, but realized we were a huge distraction to them! Their lunch time is about 45 minutes, and all 250 kids have to get in and out of the dining hall in that time. Which means that each rotation of kids have to eat quickly. About 10 minutes after we sat down with them, one of the cooks came out saying “Eat quicker, eat quicker” (in Swahili). So we decided that we should not eat with them during lunch because we seem to slow them down. J Now we eat with the teachers across the street. But we do eat dinner with the kids every Sunday, which is more relaxed.


After lunch varies every day. Sometimes we have meetings set up with teachers, or we go into town, or we study Swahili, etc. I normally come back to cook and clean. I have been experimenting in the kitchen a lot! But that will be another blog all to itself! 🙂

Wednesday and Sunday nights the boarders have a bible study time, kind of like youth group. We have been able to attend those times, and it is so much fun! The kids LOVE to sing and act. We spend a while singing songs (which many are in Swahili, so we just clap and try to follow along), and then the kids act out skits for bible stories. They are very creative in what they do, I have been impressed! It is also incredible to see how much these kids know of the Bible. It is obvious that they are being brought up in the Word of God, and you can see it in how they act and talk. It has been very encouraging!




Filed under By Abby

Passage to Manhood

When does a boy become a man? This question is played out in every males life, but it has new meaning through my time spent in Africa. To many tribes the answer is around age 13, when they are circumcised.

To most Americans the idea of a boy being circumcised at 13 years old sounds crazy and even cruel, but it is a day that many boys look forward to; it is a time of deep tradition and celebration.

The proceedings can vary by tribe. For the Maasai, the boys begin with a period where they parade through the village. Circumcision marks the time where they become a Morani (warrior). During the circumcision, the boy can show no sign of pain. If his face cringes, he may be viewed as weak for the rest of his life. For the Ndorobo man doing the circumcision, his goal is not to make the procedure as quick and painless as possible… He has a reputation to keep as well.

Other tribes follow different proceedings but one thing seems to be universal, it takes about 3 weeks to a month for the boys to recover and during that time the boys are taught by the community elders what it means to be a man. Another aspect that seems to be generally universal is that the teaching is not very biblical.

Often times the boys are taught that they do not have to respect women. Being a “man” means they can do what they want and they are in charge of their own lives. Understandably this can lead to a lot of problems. In modern society, it is common for circumcision to take place when a boy graduates 8th grade. In high school, many female teachers have a difficult time because some of the boys believe they no longer have to listen to any woman.

Imagine what it would be like to have teenage boys going around thinking they are in charge (I know it sometimes seems like boys in the U.S. act this way too). It leads to a lot of problems, but churches are coming up with a unique way to utilize this transition period for the Kingdom.

Many from the church outside African culture have wanted to eliminate the tradition of circumcising boys so late in life all together. They see the ritual as pagan, which it often is, but some African pastors have embraced the culture and now use it for the good. Churches are starting to host “passage to manhood” ceremonies, where the church hosts the transitioning boys, providing a clean safe environment for procedure and then using the three week downtime to teach what the Bible says about being a man.

The boys do not leave thinking they are independent men. They leave knowing that the power of a man is not gained through strength and dominance, but that it is in respect earned through respecting others. Their graduation day marks the beginning of their passage into manhood as they desire to be godly men, following the humble example of our Jesus Christ.

I was able to visit the passage to manhood camp at Timau Baptist Church. They hosted over 120 boys this year. They had so many that they had to knock down a wall and extend the room just to fit all the boys! 102 of the boys professed Christ as their savior for the first time during the camp!!! This is not a service just for the church members, but for the community, and it grows each year.

I was able to speak at the camp on two occasions. One Sunday I visited the boys and encouraged them from 1 Timothy 1:5, “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and a sincere faith.” I taught them that being a man means serving God and others in love from pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith, just as Paul charged the young Timothy.

The second time I spoke was as the guest speaker for the graduation. It was an honor and a privilege. I spoke to the boys from the end of Ecclesiastes where King Solomon encourages young men to enjoy the fullness of life, but to always remember that they must answer to God for their actions. Solomon says to remember God before your youthfulness and strength start to fade.

Then, I was able to challenge around 500 parents and relatives from Deuteronomy 6:4-9 which talks of the responsibility of parents to teach their children about God. At the end I shared about Jesus Christ and gave an invitation for salvation finishing with Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:

“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”

View Graduation Ceremony


Filed under By Andrew

Welcome to Nanyuki

Shops at the equator entering Nanyuki

We arrived in Nanyuki Saturday evening. The trip from Nairobi took about half an hour longer than the usual 3 hours due to holiday traffic, but I was kept satisfied by my bacon quiche and cheese and onion flatbread made by a pleasant French lady.

Nanyuki was founded in 1907 by British settlers, and the region still shows much of its colonial influence. The urban population was estimated at 31,577 in 1999 (that was the most recent stat I found), but the missionaries estimate that today there are around 100,000 people in the town and surrounding farms. It is one of the fastest growing areas in Kenya. There is a Kenyan air force base in Nanyuki and the British also have a military base (The British use to use the base only part-time for training, but the past couple years they have kept people there all year).

Nanyuki  is situated just .01 degrees North of the equator (basically on the equator). It sits to the Northwest of snowcapped Mount Kenya on the Laikipia plateau. The elevation of the plateau keeps the weather comfortable year round, ranging from an average 80°F in the summer to 76°F in the winter from what we’re told. At night the temperature drops to the upper 40’s lower 50’s (Needless to say, as a Florida boy, I needed a warmer blanket…). For those of you who are worried, the elevation and cooler temperatures keeps the mosquito population down, lowering the risk of malaria and other diseases 🙂

Our home is on the property of Mt. Kenya Baptist School a 25 minute walk from the center of town. The school has a nursery and grades 1 through 8 (known as primary school in Kenya). Across the street are dorms for the boarding students and the church. Jerry and Sherry Daniels, the missionaries we are here to work with, live on the back side of the school across the street and another missionary Tracey Williams lives just down the road.

Nanyuki is a beautiful place and for now it is home. Karibu (Welcome to) Nanyuki!

Our New Home!

Driving down the main street of Nanyuki

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Filed under By Andrew