“Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” (Acts 15:36)
We were privileged to travel to Kenya, Africa on March 12th as a group of 12 Brothers and Sisters from various congregations across Canada. The Lord orchestrated a harmonious team, with each team member having unique gifts to contribute to ministry. We thank God for His protection, His gracious blessings, the answers to prayer, and the wonderful fellowship we could share with God’s people in Kenya.
Life in Kenya seems harder than it was when we last visited 4-½ years ago. There have been numerous failed harvests due to drought. Generally, our Brothers and Sisters there live in rural areas. Most are not employed, but rather work their small plots of land to provide for their families.
There are presently sixteen congregations of the Church of God that we have fellowship with. We conducted worship services in seven locations. Some of these congregations are in remote areas. The aggregate average attendance of these congregations is 1700 adults plus children. God has blessed His work over the years. To Him alone be the glory. Our Sisters and Brothers are eager to hear God’s Word and are very engaged in the worship services. All preaching was translated into Swahili or a local dialect. We praise God for the working of the Holy Spirit during these Services and for dear souls who sought help from Jesus. The text of a chorus that is often sung at the beginning of the Worship Services is: “There is something today in the house of the Lord….There is power today in the House of the Lord.” And there is! God is not dependent on nice places of worship. He is present where two or three are gathered in His Name. Praise God! We also shared God’s Word in Ladies and Men’s Bible Studies. There are numerous Sisters in the churches and they were greatly encouraged by the Word of God and the fellowship.
Over the last year the Lord provided funds to purchase 3300 Bibles for the Churches in Kenya. Until now, people had to sign out Bibles from the church library. The joyful faces – showing their precious Bibles in one of the services is a picture that will be deeply ingrained in our minds. Thanks to the generous donations of God’s people, we partnered with Gideon’s Canada to launch the Hope Magazine in Swahili. This publication combines God’s Word of Hope with attractive pictures and includes the entire Gospel according to John. Several of our team had the privilege to talk with people in the streets and marketplaces to share Christ, our Hope. One man received a Hope magazine and came to the church the next day, seeking salvation. He shared how he is a drunkard, how his wife cried over him. He expressed his heart’s desire to be set free from the bondage of sin. After repenting, confessing His sins and asking Jesus to cleanse him, a wonderful joy came over him. One of the local Pastors shared how he planned to visit this family for the next few evenings, when the temptation for this new Christian was the greatest. We also had a day set aside for fellowship with Pastors. There were 18 pastors in attendance and God’s presence was with us.
What a privilege it was to also share God’s Word with children. God gave us the opportunity to conduct two days of Children’s Bible Studies in a VBS format in two locations. The children were full of anticipation and joyfully learned new songs and listened to the stories of Jesus. In one location there were 150 children and the second location the Good News was shared with over 100 children.
In addition to the spiritual work, we also wanted to bring poverty relief to our Brothers and Sisters. The last time we visited Kenya, we were able to share a moisture sustainable farming method with them. Using this farming method, they are harvesting 2 to 3 times the crop, providing they get rain. We praise God for this!
This time, one of our team members, who is a nurse, presented sessions on various health topics. Topics included: dehydration, malnutrition, gastrointestinal conditions, and first aid. These sessions were well received as the people have very limited access to healthcare. We were also able to pass along donations from our churches in Canada of over 130 kg of clothing and many school and medical supplies. We were also able to provide them with a computer with ministry resources, a projector, and a camera.
Most of our families cook their food on open fires. This method of cooking consumes a lot of wood, which people have to search for in the forests, and also presents a health hazard because of the extent of smoke. One of our Brothers researched a type of stove called a “rocket stove” because it directs the flame in a very direct manner. He designed a template for this stove and shared this knowledge in a seminar. This stove reduces smoke by up to 90% and increases the burning efficiency by up to 50%. During the seminar, people from the villages came as well. They wanted to learn more about this new stove and our Kenyan Brothers took that opportunity to share the Gospel with the visitors.
Our hearts were touched by the love our Brothers and Sisters in Kenya showed for each other and for us. Even though they have so few earthly goods, they have big, giving hearts. Repeatedly our team members commented that they had been changed by this experience.
In the future, with God’s help, we plan to build additional Houses of Worship, dig wells to provide drinking water in times of drought, purchase mills to support widows and orphans, and possibly also establish a small health clinic. We would also like to support our Pastors more and replace an aging mission van.
Thank you for prayer support during our trip. Please continue to pray for the Church in Kenya!
Your co-laborer in the Lord’s vineyard,