Hello dear friends and family, it’s been a while and I wanted to celebrate with you this special time of the year, the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
As we see another year coming to a close, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you all for your continued support of the work that Paulette and I started in Kenya, as well as to provide an overview of the ministry that continues. God is still moving and doing wonderful things through incredible people, and I wanted to introduce you to them.
Bukuria Bible College (BBC)
Bukuria Bible College was founded in 1993, and has grown to now include two campuses: the original one on the mission at Taranganya and the other at Karatu in Tanzania. Both campuses offer training for people already in ministry or those who are feeling the call into ministry. We have two full-time teachers in Kenya and one in Tanzania, and an Administrator who oversees both. We have reached students from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Several of our graduates have now gone on to start other Bible Schools including one in Uganda. Others have gone on to become leaders in their communities.
Let me Introduce Our Team
Iranda Jackson Matiko
Jackson joined BBC in the first year of the school in 1993. After graduating, he stayed on to become part of our staff. He began working as a translator for us, and is now running our correspondence department, and is full-time administrator for both campuses. As well, he is also a full-time pastor of a growing church and serves as Manager of Bukuria Mission. He also has 5 kids!
Sammy Chacha Nyangaga
Sammy was a young Sunday school teacher when we first got to Kenya, then became a night watchman at the Mission before attending Bible school in Nairobi. When we started our school, he joined us as an interpreter before stepping in to teach classes on his own. He is now the Principal in my place at BBC as well as a full-time pastor. Sammy also has 5 children.
When Sammy stepped into his teaching role, Joshua joined our team as a translator, believing he didn’t have teaching ability of his own. However, when the need arose for another teacher, he stepped up saw his God-given gift flourish; he has really become the Pastor of the school, providing counsel and guidance to the students. Joshua also pastors a church and overseer of a district of about 15 congregations. He’s also a father to 8.
From our school we have sent out several missionaries to various parts of East Africa. They have started churches, denominations, and Bible Schools. We will single out a few for you at this time.
Nick attended BBC, and after graduation decided he hadn’t had enough so he wanted to stay around. At the time, I was teaching carpentry to the students so that they could help to support themselves. Nick had taken to it quickly and became a great furniture maker, he said he would help to instruct the students if we would let him stay with us. He became a very dedicated disciple. After ten years we saw that he was ready, so we sent him out to Tanzania to work as a pastor in a private primary/secondary school. He is now building a shop and hotel (café) to help to support his family.
Banam grew up beside the mission, playing with our children. As an adult, he wanted to come to Bible School but couldn’t afford it, so he became our watchman to support his education. I used to be called out all hours of the day/night to pray for people for healing or deliverance, and Banam would go with me to translate for me. God really anointed him and after a while I would send him to do the ministry himself. He became a pastor, but that was not enough for him, so he would go on to plant another. Soon he had churches across several regions in Kenya, and has continued in this ministry while also growing his family.
Others who we’ve walked with through the year
In the early years, Gladys assisted Paulette with managing our household, as well as leading a women’s Bible study. Gladys would go with Paulette when she started doing seminars and teaching in churches as an interpreter. Although she had never completed schooling, Gladys has an affinity for language, and is fluent in 7, making her an amazing translator. Gladys is a dear friend, a valuable part of our family and ministry, and we are blessed to still be able to support her.
In 2005 a young girl came to our gate asking us to help her deaf sister who was trying to end her own life. Obviously, we couldn’t let that happen! We discovered the two girls were orphaned and were in the care of an older woman who mistreated them and intended to sell them into marriage at a very young age.
Through a long story, the courts gave us the guardianship of the two girls, Praise the Lord! With your support, Paulette and I were able to cover the girls’ expenses and see them through school, and Gladys stepped in to provide a home and raise the girls as her own, as her own children were grown up and out of the house. Those girls were Susan and Veronica.
Susan was the girl that came to our house that morning. We were able to find a great school for her that allowed her to be close to her little sister. She finished school and is married now with two beautiful children, and a nice husband with whom she owns a bookstore.
Veronica is the little sister who needed a school specialized for the deaf in order to receive an education. We were able to find one close by that allowed her to stay in her familiar surroundings near her sister. After school we found a place that would train her in hair dressing. She now, with the help of good friends, has her own salon. She also recently got married.
After we took in Susan and Veronica a friend in our neighborhood came and told us about a boy that lived close by who was also deaf and was being mistreated by his family and kept out of school. So, we also became his guardians. We got him into the same schools as Veronica. During school breaks he would come to work with us on the mission to learn some trade skills. I was able to teach him some carpentry and masonry and found out he was had a natural gift. We were able to find him placement at a carpentry school for the deaf, where he excelled. He graduated and with help has set up his own shop making furniture.
There are so many stories, and so many people I want to share with you, and I hope to do so in the coming year. People in the community who continue to be blessed by your support and prayers. Until then, enjoy your festivities and families in the presence and love of God.
To remember the ministry financially
Dear Family and Friends,
Thank you so much for your love and support over the years, and especially in these past few months. As many of you are already aware, my beloved Paulette passed away on July 27 at the Rosedale Hospice in Calgary, Alberta. Our last update had mentioned that we were hoping to get her into Rosedale, and we were so blessed that her last two months were spent in such a beautiful, caring space. The staff went above and beyond to care for Paulette and our family, becoming a real support for us all. From spa-like baths to bird feeders right on her window so that she could enjoy the birds up close, she truly was nurtured and treated like a queen. She loved spending time in their beautiful chapel, surrounded by the incredible floor-to-ceiling stained glass windows. Her room was decorated with all of her favourite art of hers, Mike & Keeley's and the grandkids, and everyone who entered the room said it was "brimming with life" right up until the end. She was able to have incredible, life-changing conversations with many of the staff, who joined us in mourning her passing.
Myself, Clancey, Keeley and her husband Mike were able to be with Paulette the last day in person, and we were joined by Shahndi and her family and Stryker and his family via video chat. How wonderful to be able to be together as a family in such a hard time.
Through our sadness however, we are truly rejoicing that Paulette is now home with her heavenly Father, fully healed, no longer suffering or in pain.
Our family gathered yesterday, once again in person and via video, to remember Paulette and fulfill her wishes of her ashes being scattered in the mountains. I hope to hold a memorial at some point when more of us can travel without restriction to be together.
I will be continuing the work in Kenya, as long as I am able to from afar. The staff is continuing to run the Bible school and facilitate classes, and the satellite schools are going strong. As tributes from students both present and past come in for Paulette, I'm reminded again of how important the work is that God lead us to start in Kenya. The lives that have been changed, and the communities impacted by the love of God and the truth of the Word has extended beyond what we could have ever imagined. Thank you for your continued support in keeping the vision alive.
Love you all,
Bob & Family
Paulette's Obituary, for those who haven't read it:
Paulette Jean (Riches) McNeal of East Africa and Canada, beloved wife of Robert G. McNeal, went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, July 27th at 6:50 pm in Calgary, Alberta, surrounded by family - both present and online, in the compassionate care of the staff at Rosedale Hospice.Her crazy bunch (family) anticipate the day they can be joyfully reunited: her loving husband Bob with their children and grandchildren;
Paulette was blessed to be called Mom by many, both young and old, in Canada, Kenya, U.S., Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, and South Sudan.
Paulette's life of adventure began in Leamington Ontario on February 6th, 1946, and shortly took her to Oliver, BC (spending part of the train ride on a soldier's knee, as the story goes). She had many volumes of adventures ranging from a plane crash in the North West Territories, teaching in Inuvik, life in Osoyoos and Clearwater, to meeting Bob, the love of her life, and briefly settling down in Cranbrook. Her story took a dramatic turn in 1978 when she met Jesus. This started a whole new chapter for her and Bob leading them to Mexico, Lima, and Taranganya where she found her calling and life purpose sharing her faith and teaching any and all who needed it.
Paulette's greatest pleasure was teaching, among others, her Family Life and English courses in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. She was always willing to give a tea, a soda, some first aid, a conversation, advice, or helpful counsel to anyone in need - or to shoo away a stray cow, or step in with authority to aid in times of crisis. Like when Bob invited 2,500 surprise guests for dinner and she found a way to make it work. If you were one of the many who were blessed to know her, you understand how, in Bob's words, "life with Paulette was never boring!"
Through this whole adventure, she was always up to her jokes, collecting dried lizards to send to friends (adorned with rhinestones of course), creating drawings to illustrate life, and keeping us all laughing. Her art has always given us insight into her perspective of life and nature, her unique style and expression always made us laugh, but never louder or harder than she did. She was always the first to laugh at her own jokes and punchlines, and never missed a beat when we didn't get the joke.
Her poetry and art also brought her visions and conversations with God to life and allowed us all to learn more about His love and to consider truths we would have never otherwise known.
There are so many more stories, jokes, memories, and details than we could ever write. There are many friends who are as close as family, spiritual children, and countless lives she has touched that join us in missing and remembering her. Those of you that knew Paulette know that this has left out much of her story, but we hope it has brought to mind some fond memories to cherish. Please remember the laughter, the tears, the lessons and learnings we all shared with her. We, her family, are always ready to talk and remember stories about her so feel free to call or write.
To remember Paulette, in lieu of flowers, you may contribute to her and Bob's ongoing life work in Kenya, or you may bless those who blessed her at the Rosedale Hospice. Due to current situations, we are hoping to hold a memorial at a time and place that will be more accommodating.
Ongoing work in Kenya - https://canadahelps.org/en/charities/elim-fellowship-canada - select Bob & Paulette McNeal
Rosedale Hospice - https://hospicecalgary.ca
To remember the ministry financially
Or by mail in Canada
379 Golf Road R.R. #6,
Brantford, ON Canada N3T 5L8
For tax receipts:
cheques payable to "ELIM FELLOWSHIP"
attach a note "For Bob McNeal"
Or by mail in the US
1703 Dalton Rd.,
Lima NY, USA 14485-9516
For tax receipts:
cheques payable to "ELIM FELLOWSHIP"
attach a note "preferred for the ministry of Bob McNeal"
Greeting of the most Christmas kind! It's the season and we celebrate the child who came to give us all new life!
This is a brief report: HUGE THANKS FOR ALL THE PRAYERS FOR BOB'S TRIP TO KENYA! and yes, I shouted because he said it's the best trip ever! The travel, the friends, the days at the mission went very well.
The graduation was exciting, students from Tanzania and Kenya have been commissioned and sent into the harvest of souls! 23 graduated, two of whom received their bachelor of theology degrees. The testimonies of their struggles to complete the years required are a tribute to their desire to serve God!
This is very short and sweet. We are thankful for the ongoing support and love you all have shown to this work. God bless you all.
And a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
May the Light of the world, Jesus our Savior, be brighter and brighter in your life in the coming year!..... Bob and Paulette