Preacher and Mrs James Tan

We thank God for the passing of our second semester in the year, opening on 4th May and
finishing with the final exams on 21st July. Another 13 students enrolled in our second intake in
May, bringing our total student body to 80, with most of our students from Kenya, and some
from Tanzania, Rwanda, and South Sudan.

The break was filled with tension, due to the national elections on 9th August. There are two
main political parties that are largely backed by tribal allegiances striving for presidency. From
as early as 5am, the campaign trucks would round the neighbourhood playing songs and
messages from the politicians throughout the day. While the current situation is relatively
peaceful, there is worry about a repeat of the post-election tribal violence in 2007, where the
disputed results saw over a thousand killed. We have done what we could to prepare and stock
up supplies, and we thank God for peace thus far.

We have just reopened our final semester on 5th September, the same day that the supreme court
has announced that the election results would stand. The narrow winning margin of just 1.72%
was hotly contested, but we thank God that the dispute has been settled in the courts, and not
taken to the streets in bloodshed. As for now security and tensions remains tight, and we pray for
peace to continue until the transition of power happens next week.

Our hope is that all in the country, especially the professing Christians, would submit to God’s
sovereignty: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of
God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” (Rom 13:1)

The Waters of Life
Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I
shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13-14)

We thank the Lord for His provision towards us, especially through many that have given, as we
finally completed the borehole project. The longest part of it was the months spent applying and
waiting for the permit. We have been rationing our supply carefully, and spending about $200
USD weekly throughout the year to fill all our water tanks in the compound through water
tankers. The drilling process took a few days to reach the depth of 250 meters, and we thank
God for a good supply, with even better quality than our previous borehole. We have installed
the pumps and solar systems, and with good sunlight, we are able to have the pump running
well. In Singapore, while water is also a precious resource, we easily take it for granted, where at
the turn of a tap, we get a seemingly endless supply of drinkable clean water.

During this whole process, it provides a good illustration for us and the students. The Samaritan
woman in John 4 drew water from the well, a daily necessity for survival, and likewise, we have
to pump water daily, filling all our water towers and tanks that our compound of a hundred
people rely upon. It requires constant monitoring, and even our old borehole of over 30 years
would fail to sustain us. While we might have a fresh supply of water (which might last for
another decade or two), our daily thirst remains.

In contrast, there is a limitless, abundant, and Divine source of life drawn from Christ, and it
should quench the thirst of our souls. It should make any worldly pursuit dull and lifeless in
comparison. It is sad to find professing Christians having an unquenchable thirst for food, travel,
and a lifestyle of the world, but having little desire for Christ. Our hope is that the students
would grow to draw upon the living waters of Christ, and to have their churches supplied with
the living Word. It is all too often that a church is seen as “lively” and “energetic” because of
its contemporary music, activities, and the personality of the pastor that entertains and satisfies
the congregation, instead of having Christ.

The Church
During a term break in July, the Sunday school organised a one-day programme for the
children, with the theme from Psalm 23, “The Lord is My Shepherd”. We thank God for the
children who came to learn of the Gospel and the Word. It is our constant prayer that they
would come to believe in Christ and learn to walk in the Lord’s way at a young age. A good
number of them do not stay in good areas, and left to their own devices, it is easy for them to
pick up all kinds of sins even from a young age. While we can do little to change society,
culture and their environment, the Lord can change, and keep their souls.

In the past months, due to world events, and inflation, the cost of living has risen significantly,
with the basic prices of flour and oil almost doubling. While the church has exercised charity in
distributing some supplies to the families and helping with some medical bills, these are only
short-term aids. We can only pray for the economy to improve and for the government.
Thankfully, the government has implemented some price controls for a month, and we can only
pray that the elections will be smooth, and for the new administration to come.

God willing, as the effects of the pandemic fade, we hope to resume evangelism, weekly
visitations, and also our “chai” or tea fellowship after the service. Despite the hard situation, we
still thank God for new faces added to the church, and both young and old who continue to come.

While the Kenyan campus resumed most of her operations this year, accreditation works in
Rwanda continued. A week after the 2nd term in Kenya, we headed to Kigali on 1 August to assist
with the preparation of accreditation documents required by the Higher Education Council of
Rwanda. Our initial plan was to return to Kenya on 7 August, that we may be around for the Ken-
yan General Elections (9 August). However, by the end of the first week, we perceived the Lord’s
leading in extending our stay for another week. There was still much work in Rwanda. Importantly, the situation in Kenya seemed peaceful despite the Elections nearing. This time, we
changed our flight tickets to 12 August. The works persisted. Eventually, we extended our stay
again, and we finally returned to Kenya on 25 August, a few days before an academic meeting
was to be held in Kenya for the 3rd term. A week’s trip turned out close to a month. At times we
wondered if we should have been more considerate and prayerful when making the initial plan. In
discerning God’s will and leading, we still have so much to learn. Man proposes, God disposes!

In addition to the accreditation documents, we assisted with the solar borehole pump installation
in our stay there. It is by no chance that a similar borehole work was just completed in the Kenyan
campus. Even the Kenyan contact person provided us with a Rwandese managerial contact when
we experienced difficulties with the workmen in Rwanda. Undeniably, the sovereign hand of God
was at work. We also had the privilege to serve in the Lord’s Day ministries over the 3 Sundays
we were in Rwanda. 2 worship services were held (8am and 11am), and children Sunday School
was conducted at 2pm weekly. The campus church in Rwanda was much larger in size compared
to the one in Kenya. There could have been easily more than 400 adults for the worship services,
and more than 1500 children for the Sunday School. We learnt an important lesson through such
an experience. Whether it was to 1000 persons that we preached/taught, or to 100, or even to 1,
the fear of teaching God’s Truth was the same. Why? It is the same fear that would strike us –
have I been faithful in preparing a sermon/lesson that is accurate to the Word of God? The Lord
holds us accountable for what we would declare, not the response we would receive (Ezekiel 3:
16-21). Praise God for such a precious lesson.