Kenya is a male dominated society; it has been for hundreds of years. Most men only know one way of relating to their wives. They are bullies! Women complain about this in private, but most of them grudgingly accept the situation as it is. To fight back, women don’t tell their husbands much of anything. If they get money they hide it from him, because you don’t want to show a bully you have money and you don’t want to ask a bully for money. The score is even, however, because men don’t feel the need to tell their wives anything either. Why should he? He is the man and he makes all the decisions. This is just one of the scenarios that separate husbands and wives in Kenya. Most of them manage to stay married but, believe me, their life together is no fun at all.
Here comes Richard and Valerie marching into the breach. For two days now we have taught from the Word on love and affection; open, honest communication; oneness; gentle and loving leadership; and joyful submission. Unlike many visitors from the West, we are armed with just enough knowledge of the Kenyan problem to be dangerous. Valerie and I had great fun teaching together. We don’t do this very often, but it was very powerful. I generally stick to my notes, but Valerie tells amazing stories and boldly challenges Kenyan men to do it God’s way. All through our teaching we could see that we were getting through. At times they were wide-eyed and at others they covered their faces to hide their blushing.
This afternoon we broke up into separate groups of men and women. The women’s session was a rip-roaring time of absolute honesty between the women. They were overjoyed to have a safe place to let it all out. Just before the women went to their room I had a chance to say something to them in private. I said, “Fear not ladies, we are going to give it to your men.” To this there was a great applause!
I warned the men that their wives would probably be more receptive to what we are teaching than they were because women long to be loved. So, because of this, the only way to keep their wives from trying to “push’ them into these things, was to “man-up”, take the lead and go for it as men in charge. I asked if there were a few men who would inspire us with testimonies of breakthroughs with their marriages. Were there any who had defied the Kenyan culture and moved toward God’s plan for marriage? I was shocked at what happened next. Fifteen men stood, one after the other, to tell of how they had finally realized that the “bully” approach was only causing war, and they had finally repented to their wives and were now a team moving together in love. I was so touched by this because now these Kenyan pastors were teaching their contemporaries about the blessings of going God’s way.
The fact that the love of money is the root of all evil is so visibly seen in Kenya that it’s almost ridiculous. Knowing this, I felt directed to really teach on “being a faithful steward of God’s money”. I could feel that they were really hearing what I was saying, so I had them raise their hands and take a pledge. “As God helps me, I will be a faithful steward of money and as God helps me, I will not touch money that is not mine”.
As they all took the pledge I felt a clear direction from the Lord to drive home the point. “Now that you have taken this pledge,” I said, “I assure you! If you keep this pledge God will bless you financially.” And to help you remember this pledge I am going to give each of you $1000 Schillings ($10). Not much money to us, but most of them are dirt poor!
When I said this, the room went quiet. I couldn’t figure it out, because, usually there is a lot of ruckus on these occasions. I found out later that they actually thought I was going to give them the money and then, ask for it back, just to teach them a lesson. When they finally figured out I was serious, they broke out into joyful applause. I think I gave them $640 of my next month’s rent money, but I couldn’t be happier about it.
The feedback from everyone was wonderful. They all said, “There has never been a conference like this in all of our lives.” What a blessing!