Thursday, February 20, 2014

Exit Benya...Enter The Warrens!

Hello my friends!

Things have changed rapidly over the last few months. I am now a married man, and therefore comes an end to my adventures as single “Benya.” However, I can be assured that Anjela Omondi, along with her father, Dennis, will forever call me Benya. 

This will be my last update on the Benya blog, and Abbie and I will create a new one for our new Warren Family with the double entendre - “The Warren Commission”. The link is there for whenever we will get around to forming said blog. 

God has been so good to us. He has given us a time of rest through travel, as well as a time of rest through getting established into our transitionary home in Argyle. Abbie has done a phenomenal job at setting up our quirky little ‘bungalow’.

I’d like to answer a few questions we get asked about 3-5 times per day ;)

“Are you going back to Kenya?”:

ABSOLUTELY! The Warrens are committed to the work of Serve Kenya and the discipleship of the leadership of the Kenyan church!

“Great! When?”:

That is up in the air right now. For now, we’ve just been saying Fall at the earliest. Could be winter, could be after the missions conference in January 2015. That’s a bit hard to grasp for us as we are in February 2014. In the end, we will do what is best for our new family, our mission, and our team. And besides, all of that belongs in the category of tomorrow, so it doesn’t really matter does it? :)

“Wow, that’s a long time! So what are you going to be doing in the meantime?”:

The Serve Office has three main categories in regards to the goals of home service time. As many of you know I have been overseas through my first term of 4 years. It is the recommended practice of Serve International to spend time home after every term for these three main purposes:

1) Rest - Personal & Spiritual
2) Renewal - Involvement with Denton Bible Church
3) Reconnection with Supporters

Along with these things stateside, we will also maintain our communication with our people in Kenya and serve the field from home in unique ways. 

Thank you very much for all your prayers and of course for everyone who supported us on our wedding day and gave such generous gifts! 


Feel free to stop reading. But for those of you who like the details…carry on!

1) Rest - Personal & Spiritual

We have been getting a fair amount of rest recently, post-wedding of course, and still seeking to spend a generous amount of time together so that a solid foundation for marriage is laid in this first year before heading out to the spiritual battlefield of Kenya. Please pray for us and our marriage that it would be centered on Christ, thriving in the Word and prayer, and grounded in Colossians 3:12 - 
"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, 
compassionate hearts, 
meekness, and 

We also desire to get as much quality time with our families as possible. Pray for us to continue to make that a priority throughout this year. Abbie’s family will have to transition to the idea of seeing her go much more permanently overseas rather than for a specific, short period of time. Pray for them.

2) Renewal in the Denton Bible Church Body

Since Serve is the missions arm of Denton Bible Church (DBC), Serve Missionaries have a unique ministry to the members of DBC. We are tasked to connect the congregation to what Christ is doing in the world, and how we all as a local body of believers are a part of the work of making disciples of all nations. Our desire is to reinforce the importance of missions as well as seek to involve the members in the work that we do in Kenya through information, prayer requests, and other teachings to individuals, small groups, or larger groups from within the church. 

DBC, our sending and home church, also has a unique ministry towards us as well. Personally I have been gone from the states for such a long time that I really have missed the fellowship of the believers in Denton. While I receive lots of fellowship from the Kenyan church, as a missionary you are often looked at as the one who should constantly be pouring out…which is true. However, our time at DBC and in Denton, can allow for the pastors and church members to be pouring into us. Small groups, Bible studies, Church services, One on One meetings with mentors, our renaming of ‘pre-marital counseling’ with ‘on-the-job training supervision,’ and of course the fellowship of the Serve office. 

Abbie will be heavily involved with Janis Seville’s ministries of BTCL, Women Serving God, and Missions Women. Abbie desires to grow as a teacher of women through the “Bible Training for Church Leaders” curriculum, and there is no one better to learn from then Janis who takes the BTCL training to a higher level then most of us men do. I’m looking forward to learning how the Ladies conduct their classes and apply some of those things to our men’s classes!! 

I’m already slated to teach BTCP classes in March where I will be teaching some of the New Testament Epistles. Also, I am starting a Lay Institute Church History class on April Fool’s Day where we will get to learn about both the wise men of the history of the church…as well as the fools ;). This will be an 8 week overview study of the 2000 years of Christian History.

We are excited both to serve and to be served, both to love and to be loved in our time here in Denton.

3) Reconnecting with Supporters and Supporting Churches

As far as work goes throughout this year, this is the one thing that I would be truly disappointed if we do not accomplish. I desire to see every one of my supporters, some who I have not seen in over 4 years! I want to share the big picture overview of my last 4 years in Kenya as well as a big picture projection of where our ministry is going in Kenya & East Africa. 

Also, Abbie has monthly supporters who have decided to join our team on a more long-term basis. Many of Abbie’s supporters have not met me. Many of my supporters have not met Abbie. So it is essential to get together with each one of them so that not only do they know what they are a part of in the work of Kenya, but who we are as The Warrens in Kenya.

This will require a lot of coordination and travel. I know for certain that we will need to spend a little time on both coasts of the United States. We are really excited and blessed to have the opportunity to come see the people who make our ministry possible through their kingdom mindset of money and missions. 

We will also of course be doing support raising as well throughout the year. We will have a substantial amount of one time needs to establish a new home in Kenya, as well as the possibility of language school fees for Abbie, airfare, and just making sure our support account is healthy. 

Thank you very much for all your prayers and of course for everyone who supported us on our wedding day and gave such generous gifts! 

We will see you soon or see you around!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Ready to go down the rabbit hole!

My last update was about the engaging which took place between Abbie Mitchell and I on Canadian Thanksgiving of 2013. Well, now it is 2014. Abbie and I have come back to the U.S., celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years together, met brothers, sisters, nephews, and nieces, and most importantly...the parents. As far as I know [though I'm willing to be corrected ;)], I have full approval from the Louisianan family, and on my side of the family everyone of course loves Abbie.

As we have been living nomadically, battling reverse culture shock, planning a wedding, and doing new thing after new thing after new thing, we have had conversations about 'home'. What is home? Kenya? America? Louisiana? Texas? Neither of us feel that sense of home. That's what being overseas does to you culturally. The other day we were sitting around with blank stares of being overwhelmed by American culture and Christmas and I pulled up a youtube video of rural Ethiopians dancing and singing. It was so oddly refreshing to us. Also I found that the cure to reverse culture shock is going shopping at Goodwill. Huh? That's right. Goodwill. A bunch of old and abandoned second hand crazy junk that is for sale at cheap prices for those who will appreciate it. It's counter-cultural...but feels right at home for Kenya.
Found this excellent rasta banana at Goodwill!

Home will be something different for us, yet the same as many people. Spouses find their home in each other, but they also have a sense of home in country, state, culture, neighborhood, house, etc. For Abbie and I, we will just have each other. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother [his home] and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh" - Matthew 19:5-6. Wow. Talk about a loss of identity, a death to self. I am no longer just myself. I am no longer an individual, but instead half an individual. The other half is Abbie. My home.

We are extremely grateful to be so soon reaching our wedding day. It's only about 10 days away now and we have been so blessed by many people who have volunteered their help, given freely their services, 'showered' us with gifts and cash to help set up our home in Kenya. God answered our prayers for a rent-free house in Argyle next door to some dear friends of ours, the Sanders family. God is so good to us, and we are grateful.

What's next?
Well, we are still figuring that out. But we will be staying in Argyle, involved in church ministry, learning to be married, working on a few projects for Serve Kenya, and very soon seeking to meet one another's supporters and personally update each one about how the ministry is doing in Kenya and where we are headed in the near future.

I am excited about many of you getting the chance to meet Abbie and getting to know, love, and appreciate her as I do.

Blessings to you! And pray for us as we are nearing the day of Covenant Making!

My number while in the states is 318-514-9118. Feel free to contact me, but I probably won't hang out until after the wedding :-)