Exposure to new places and new things is good. Sometimes it opens our eyes to a world unlike anything we’ve ever known. Such was the case last week as I made my first trip to the coastal city of Mombasa, Kenya for a Secret Church conference.

From an outward appearance, Mombasa resembles any port city, much like you would see in other parts of the world. The vast Indian Ocean opens up as far as the eye can see. Cargo ships coming into the port, or headed out to other ports in the world.

The Mombasa port receives shipments not only for Kenya, but also the countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Congo, Sudan and others. The port business as you can imagine is a vital resource for this area of the world. Security is at its highest as the opportunity for theft and corruption are ever present.

As you drive along the beachfront, you find 5 star hotels as well as private mansions. Yet, just one or two streets over, the scene changes and you find yourself in the midst of the drug world with prostitution and all of the other heartbreaking lifestyles that accompany such things. These scenes are not isolated, as in all areas of our world including my own country of America you can discover the same type of areas. Yet, for me, on this trip I had exposure to much more.

Being in areas at times where I could feel I was not wanted. Our first stop after arriving in Mombasa was at the grocery store to purchase bottled water. From the moment I stepped out of the car until I returned, I was met with unkind eyes. No matter if I smiled or spoke, most often there was no return of the gesture. Driving along the city streets, being told we must keep our windows shut due to crime. Walking with someone in front of me and behind me to protect me.

Yet, in the midst of this world of unknowns and uncertainties for me, I found beautiful treasures of Christians that are faithfully serving our Lord amidst the ungodliness of their surroundings. People who haven’t given up hope for winning their city for Jesus Christ.

Pastors who have labored there for many, many years are still on their knees praying for the lost world around them. Godly laymen and women are participating in training others how to share the gospel with their neighbors, their co-workers and others. Churches have strategic plans in place to reach the unreached population around them.

The Secret Church teachings were much needed and the Christians are longing for more. The In Touch Messengers were sent out with those who will have the opportunity to share them in settings where a Bible or other Christian material could not go. Simply because its an electronic gadget creates curiosity and people will sit and listen to what it has to say.

As I was sharing in our conference as we usually do about the persecution in our world, I looked around and realized that in this place, you don’t have to explain persecution, they know it by their own experiences. I’ve not posted pictures within this update of our conference in order to protect the identity of the Christians. Please join me in praying for our Christian brothers and sisters in Mombasa who are fighting the good fight, completing the course God has set for them.

My driver Sezi and Pastor Tom had a lot of first on this trip. They took their first plane ride,

Sezi and Tom getting ready to board their first flight…

rode on a ferry, saw/walked in the ocean

Tom and Sezi’ first steps into the ocean…

and ate their first salt water fish.

Tom and Sezi first time to eat seafood…

This was an exciting week for these young men who grew up in the bush!

This completes our 2012 conference schedule as well as completes our team of 3 traveling together.

One of our last pictures together as God closes out this chapter of our lives….

Sezi will continue to live in Uganda with his family as Helping Hands has hired him on as their full-time driver. Sezi will always be family to me and we will visit often, yet, it is not easy to think of our travels without him.

In July, 2010, a team from my home church, Blackshear Place, was doing bush church services in the evenings. Sezi was one of the drivers for our team that night and my missions Pastor, Kevin Ross witnessed to Sezi. When he told me about this driver surrendering his life to the Lord, Holy Spirit spoke clearly to me, that this was the driver God was sending me. Since that time he has been my only driver, we have traveled all over East Africa together. He has been a loyal and devoted friend and African Son. My family and I are forever grateful to him for his care of me over these years.

These are just a few of my favorite memories with Sezi.

Easter Sunday…we are stuck and Sezi is out in his suit, pulling up grass so we can pass through the mud

Sezi….trying to determine the whats next in the process of us getting unstuck…

Sezi makes new friends everywhere we go. When he disappears, we always know we will find him surrounded by children he is sharing the love of God with.

An afternoon on the shores of Lake Victoria with Sezi and his sweet family…

I would ask all of you to take the time to thank our Heavenly Father for every moment Sezi has kept me safe from harm, and taken me where God told us to go. Ask our Heavenly Father to bless him and his family abundantly for his faithfulness to me.

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary-East Africa