Merry Ululations

Weddings of Christians are joyous moments in a pastoral ministry! I had the great pleasure of officiating another wedding in Kenya. Juma and Valerie are the fifteenth couple I have officiated in Kenya. The customs and practices of the Kenyan weddings are quite similar to American weddings yet quite different. Each tribe in the country have several marriage rituals. Some of these ancient tribal traditions have pagan roots and thus are shunned by many Christian couples. But majority embrace their tribal customs and modify the rituals to be acceptable as per the Word of God. There is a Dowery ceremony which is literally the traditional wedding ceremony that usually precedes the actual church wedding. The government of Kenya regards these traditional marriages as being legitimate marriages. So we request couples to wait to have this ceremony once they are done with their premarital counseling with my wife and I.

 

Among the young Nairobi couples we have counseled the wedding rituals are as follows: the man usually proposes marriages to the woman. This is followed by the man approaching the father of the woman and asking his permission to marry her(Called Introductions). If all goes well and he is granted permission, this is followed by the groom’s family visiting the bride’s family, during this time they discuss the dowery that requirements that are made by the bride’s family. Yes, the groom has to pay the bride-price! To raise sufficient funds to meet the dowery requirements, the groom and bride’s friends and relatives gather together and have frequent fundraising meetings. During this time they cheerfully give toward the dowery and the wedding. Then marks the time of the Dowery ceremony. The groom along with his family, relatives, and friends arrive at the Bride’s home while singing joyous traditional songs. The bride is usually hiding in a room in the house while the dowery negotiations go on between the parents. As per Kikuyu tribe in Kenya, girls can be valued at 99 goats. But among the Luhya tribe, the dowry demands are payment in bulls and cows (4 goats = 1 cow). The Groom and family can choose to pay for it monetarily. Rarely are the Bride’s parents satisfied with the groom’s payment of dowery and usually demand more. This ceremony is very jovial and filled with plenty of food, dancing, and singing. If the requests of the bride’s family are met this is followed by gleeful ululations. And the grooms family departs the Bride’s home before sunset.

 

On the morning of the Church wedding day, the groom comes bearing gifts with his greater family to the bride’s home. The grooms family sings traditional songs requesting the doors be opened. There is often a sing-song exchange between the ladies on either side of the gate, this eventually leads to payment of the remainder of dowery and giving of the gifts. Finally, the bride’s family will joyfully give the bride away to go to the church to be married. The mood is always exuberant during the exchange of vows and rings and the merry ululations, tribal singing, and dancing of all the wedding guests continue for hours during the wedding. Thank you for taking your time to read our newsletter, for your prayers and financial support for our ministry!

 

Please Pray:

  • PLEASE PRAY AS WE PLAN TO HOST A TEAM IN FEBRUARY NEXT YEAR.
  • C.C. NAIROBI’S WORSHIP TEAM.
  • PLEASE PRAY FOR ELIZABETH, THAT GOD WOULD PROVIDE FOR ALL HER NEEDS AND THAT SHE WILL FIND HER TRUE CONTENTMENT IN CHRIST.

 

In Christ,
David Zavala

Favor and Blessings

For many years, at Calvary Chapel Nairobi, women’s ministry was one of our biggest ministries. The men would have a Bible study but the attendance used to be sparse. This year, we have held Men’s Breakfast events once every two months, on Saturdays. We have had many men show up! Men both young and old. Single and married. Men have taken turns teaching the Word to the other men, singing worship together and praying for one another. These events have caused splendid friendship and fellowship among the men! Dave has also been inviting these men to our home once or twice a month to come over to have a meal together and discuss Christian Doctrine, living a godly life and such. This has been a terrific avenue for Dave to speak into the lives of these men and to disciple them. Please pray that this Ministry to men would continue to grow.

We hope to start Home fellowships among the homes of the people in our church soon. Please pray that God would give our Church leadership wisdom on this.

Our elder daughter, Bianca,  won the best solo dance in the junior category at Kenya Dance Competition earlier this year. This led her to gain some recognition and she was invited to attend Central School of Ballet, London’s Intensive Summer Dance training course. We were pleasantly surprised to receive such a golden opportunity but we did not know how this was going to be possible financially. As we live off a humble Missionary income. We knew there was no way we could afford to send her to London. But Dave’s parents offered to help to pay for the expenses for Bianca and Twinkle to go to London for 10 days, so she could participate in the Intensive dance program. So, earlier this month, Twinkle and Bianca were in London. The training was very intensive, as she trained from morning until evening. She says she learned a whole lot of new technique and skill. Twinkle also met up with some of her old school friends who had relocated to England. It was a sweet reunion with her friends. She also got to explore and see London and some parts of England that she had not visited before.

We have also had the pleasure of hosting yet another summer short-term team at our home. These were our friends from our sending church. We enjoyed a lovely time of fellowship with them.

The Fall semester at our Bible College resumes at the end of August. Even though we only have four students enrolled this semester, our teachers are committed to teaching them diligently. Please pray that it would be a fruitful semester of learning about God.

Thank you so much for your prayers and financial support for our family and ministry!

In Christ,

David Zavala

Eager Ears

 

Its been about two years since our church relocated from Ngong road to Karen Plains area. Being that the Karen area is mostly filled with the affluent population of Kenya. Our efforts to reach the community in our new neighborhood is challenging. We have been tirelessly knocking door to door at every house in the neighborhood. Attempting to reach out to the people. But these are the minority, upper class population of Kenya. Lovely gated large houses usually with a security guard at the gate. We are either turned away by the security guards or no one answers the door. We tried to hand out cookies (with Invitations to the church) to each home in the community but there was no outcome from that effort. Astonishingly, we discovered that among this wealthy community there also live nomadic cattlemen of the Masai tribe! They are very warm and welcome us with a smile and a handshake. They have always been eager to hear what we had to share with them about Christ. Last month, we were able to share a Bible study with the people in that community. They showed such keen interest and listened attentively as the Word was taught. We ask for wisdom, prayer and discernment to reach out to all in our community where our church is located.

Praise Report: As parents, my wife and I experienced an exhilarating event this past month: Our youngest daughter, Sophia, asked to participate in our church Water Baptism! There is no greater joy than to see your child whom we have poured into and discipled since a tender age proclaiming her faith in Christ to the world. Please join us in praying that both our daughters would continue to grow in Christ and would never wander off from walking with the Lord.

In Christ,

David Zavala

Pray:

  • Please pray for the Kenyans who have been affected by the recent floods.
  • Please pray that God would open doors for us to minister to more people in Nairobi.
  • Please pray for healing for Twinkle’s parents who have been ill.
  • Please pray for wisdom and guidance concerning Homeschooling.
  • Please pray for God’s guidance as we make preparations to host summer teams. term mission teams.
  • Pray for many to come to our bible college next semester.

February: The Magnificent Growth

 

In 2008 we had our first ever East African Pastors conference. During this conference, only 8 Calvary Pastors attended the conference. Fast-forward to 2018: a decade later, we now have over 300 C.C. Pastors in attendance at our annual  Calvary Chapel Association of East Africa Pastors Conference! We are so enraptured seeing the movement grow and delighted knowing the word of God is going forth bearing such amazing fruit. This year the conference took place in Uganda. We had a turn out of Calvary Chapel Pastors from Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Burundi, and Sudan. It was so edifying to hear what God is doing around East Africa. As for me, personally, it was a 13-hour drive from Nairobi to Uganda. I traveled with five Kenyan Pastors who were all looking forward to fellowship and being refreshed in the Word. The theme was “A timeline of the End…and what that means to me.” We went over most of the End times themes and passages. 

Some of the highlights were the presentations by Mike Rozelle of Potters Field Ministries: he shared his testimony and presented the Gospel using clay and a potter wheel. Then Jay McCarl presented a re-enactment of the ancient Galilean Wedding and we learned that it symbolized and highlighted the Gospel, and major End time themes. I would highly recommend you read his book called The Best Day of Forever. He has a knack for finding out what the scriptures meant to the people in Bible times and how it applies to us today. We also had the privilege of affiliating 7 new churches during the event. These newly affiliated, Senior Pastors have all been pastoring their churches for about a year. I’m exhilarated to learn that the Word of God has reached some of the remote unreached corners of East Africa!

In Christ,  

David Zavala

 

Calvary Chapel Association regional leaders getting prayed for.

 

Mike Rozelle of Potters Fields Ministries

 

Calvary Chapel Association of East Africa Pastors Conference 2018

Please Pray

  • Pray for Gods Protection over our Family

  • Pray for Gods guidance as we plan for summer teams

  • Pray that God would provide for our family and for our local Pastors.

  • Pray for healing for Jane Kaleche

  • Pray that peace would prevail in Kenya

  • Pray for Twinkle as she home schools the girls.