Shayne and Tari Russell

missionaries serving with The Master’s Mission since 1991

Shayne and Tari Russell started their ministry in Rwanda until the conflict forced them to relocated to Kenya in 1994.  In Kenya the Russell’s established a station in Maasai Mara, a village located at the entrance to the National Game Reserve.  Shayne and Tari have had a long term ministry presence in the AIC Church that was started during their ministry, Shayne filling the pulpit and serving as an elder in the church, and Tari investing her life into the local women of the church.  Shayne also serves as Kenya Field Leader.

TRR September 2013

September 2012

Sometimes I get tempted above what I am able to overcome and my more base nature comes out. This usually occurs when a visitor, fresh from the States, wants me to teach them some Swahili. I always agree and this is where I fight my temptation and more times than not, I lose the battle.. “Okay, when you meet people, you want to make sure that you greet them properly. This is what you should say, ‘Jambo, mimi ni nugu mlevi’”. With great effort they try to form the right syllables and inflec- tions. “Try again”, I say until they have it down. Inevitably, after they have it in perfect form, they ask me, “what does it mean?” Now, this is where the battle kicks in between my spirit and my flesh. If I’m feeling spiritual that day, I tell them the meaning before they use it in salutation. And, if not, then they just shook someone’s hand and said, “Hi, I’m a drunken baboon!”

Now, onto more spiritual matters. Let me tell you what’s happening in our Mission, Church, and with the people of the Mara.

Summer 2012 Report

Proverbs 16:1 is a great reminder in how I am not in control but that I know Someone who is. Our next schedule furlough was to coincide or to be near the upcoming Presidential Election of Kenya taking place in March 2013. Returning from a trip to Nairobi this past April, God answered that plan of ours with his own thoughts. Hearing of my father’s ailing health, I boarded the next possible plane for the U.S. to see my Dad, and fortunately, I was able to spend nearly two weeks with him before he passed.

Since that time, Tari and I have been spending time with my mom and family, seeing friends and supporters, kids and grandkids, and speaking in churches from Kentucky to Florida and from North Carolina to Texas. Four months and thousands of miles later, I am now back to work in Kenya and glad to be in one place than for more than a week. I am also glad to be standing in the pulpit of our local church in Masailand and teaching God’s word to those ready to here. The only thing that will make that more complete will be to have Tari by my side again. She is currently in Canada helping our daughter, Cristen, with her last few weeks of pregnancy and her first few weeks of being a mom for the second time. Tari will return to Kenya in October and you may hear the smack of my welcome home kiss for her all the way from Africa.

Church News

Growth is always a blessing, but can also be a challenge. We’ve been blessed to see God really working in our church over the last year. Our Sunday attendance is growing and our building is getting smaller. Even after the younger children are dismissed for their own church under the tree, the sanctuary inside doesn’t seem to be getting any bigger. Our next challenge may be that we may need to weld new benches for everyone who comes. Within the nu- merical growth, we’ve also seen God bless us with new believers in Christ…women, children, and our first tribal elder. That new growth has brought about an excitement in the church that is palpable…folks coming to service on time (this is rare in rural Africa, well, maybe rural America, too), entering the building in anticipation, joyous laughter and fel- lowship bouncing off the four cement walls, and then when the service is over…people hang around outside and don’t want to go home.

Continue to pray with us that the Maasai and other folks in our community will see their great need for re- demption. And, don’t forget to pray that the believers in our congregation will continue to love one another so that the gospel will not be hindered. Make us lights of the truth, dear Lord.

Vacation Bible School (VBS)

Braving the piercing cold Atlanta wind in the winter is normally how we spend a furlough in the U.S. This past summer was a wonderful reprieve from that and, in fact, our first Summer furlough since…I can’t remember when. One of the blessings about being in the U.S. during the summer, other than tubing on Lake Lanier, throwing our grandkids in the swimming pool, and grilling out dogs and burgers, was that we had the blessing of speaking in two Vacation Bible Schools while here. Both were in Florida and both were a blast to be a part of.

One of the things that we aimed to accomplish during VBS was to challenge the young people to give their hearts and lives to Missions. We are firm believers that our young people will rise up to the level of challenge given to them, and that if we only challenge them for short-term missions, that will be the extent of their response. Our challenge to the kids was to serve the Lord in Missions with all of their life. And, if they did so, they would have a missional life with eternal significance for themselves and for those people so desperate to hear the gospel.

We pray that God did use us in both VBS’s to call out future missionaries. But, we also experienced God’s blessing our own VBS in Masai Mara before we left. Having the most kids we have ever had, nearing 200, the challenges were many. Fortu- nately, we had the help of five students from Moffat Bible College, our Emunyani Learning Center Staff, and the hardwork- ing folks from our church. With everyone helping out the entire week went very smoothly. And in the end, we had a number of kids profess their faith in Christ for salvation.

It’s Only Land

The mission in Masai Mara began in the Spring of 1995. Our first two weeks here were highlighted by our family of six sleeping in and on our Ford pickup truck. Keeping the campfire alive all night to keep the lions away, showering in the moonlight from a water bag tied next to the passenger door hoping that no Maasai were wandering about that night, and cooking over three rocks are memories that no one can take from us. This work has been challenging in the least, difficult in so many ways, and rewarding beyond belief. It has been a work of faith…faith that the Lord could use us to do it, faith that it would prosper, and faith that it would continue until the very last day that God would have it to be here. That need for faith has not diminished.

Having come to this area by invitation of the local Maasai elders, and having been given a parcel of land by the same, we set out to build a church and a mission station to bring the gospel to a people in desperate need of it. Trusting in the Lord, we invested everything that we had, including, a lot of our own blood, sweat, and tears. We also prayed a lot!

We haven’t stopped praying and we sincerely need you to join with us to face our latest challenge. Apparently, even after 17 years of presence on the ground, four land surveys, and the application and possession of two separate Proper- ty Deeds, the location of mission property is still in question. According to the Ministry of Lands, our property has been located over 100 meters further south than the surveys determined. This places our church, the Learning Center, and our new permanent house outside the current church property. Pray that God will give us wisdom in rectifying this, that we will get all of the land back under our Property Deed if it be His will, and that our response will be Christ-like no matter the con- clusion.

Nothing But the Blood

Tinges of silver graced the clouds’ edges that hung in a scattered array above the Mission. The setting sun was put- ting on a proud show again as it always seems to do at the beginning of the rainy season. Work was winding down and eve- ryone’s spirits were lifted. Mine, too, even after a rough start this morning. Even the birds were happy, as a dove serenaded the entire event. Then the voices of children at the Emunyani Learning Center broke faintly from a distance, singing in a distinctly African blend of melody…

Hakuna kabisa, dawa ya makosa, Ya kututakasa, Ila damu yake Yesu.

Thank you Lord. In the subtle way of the Lord, He gave us a small reminder of what is really important, what is worthy of song, and even what creation itself falls in rapture to sing…

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Refrain Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Have a blessed day and don’t forget run your race well,
Shayne and Tari Russell 

 

Mailing Address:
PO Box 21028
Nairobi, Kenya
East Africa

 


Please enter the security code:
security code
Security Code (lowercase letters):

Submit