The first 10 days of the New Year I spent ministering in Rendille in north Kenya. It was a whole year since the last visit at the beginning of 2013. I went with Joseph Ochola, with whom I have been together in the church since 1975, and two young men who are members of TBC Nairobi (Mbati & Johan). We do give thanks to the Lord for safety in travel, for good health throughout, and for a profitable and very busy time.
We arrived at 6 p.m. on Wednesday in Korr and spent time there until early Monday afternoon. So we had the Lord’s Day with the brethren.
We visited the surrounding goobs (= villages) of Galdeylan Sulate, Matarbah, Urowween, Dubsahaay Chaule, and Nahgaan, where there are contacts and also took the opportunity of preaching to men at their resting place on a lugga (dry river bed), and to women and children in the goob.
Monday night we spent in the Lekuchula goob and also visited Goob Lethore and Lagarama, where we run a Nursery School.
From Tuesday evening to Friday morning we were centred in Ndikir, the 3rd. place where we are praying a church will be established. We also visited contacts in Sokoteey and Losidan and went to see the Government Education officials in Laisamis, the town on the main road.
Khobocha, and another young man in the church named Diba, both of whom have just completed their Secondary School and are awaiting exam results, have decided that instead of seeking to earn money by working as untrained teachers for the present, they will give themselves fully to the church and evangelism in the coming months. Their decision was severely tested by other opportunities but the Lord has given them grace to exercise self-denial in order to serve Him. May He use them for encouragement and outreach, as young as they are (not yet 20 years of age!).
It is a truism that the young men are the future leaders of the church. 5 of them are children of church members, 4 having attended the High School Camp in Nairobi. Matthew & James are our Nursery School teachers and after the service told me how challenged they were by the word I preached from Ephesians 5:25-27. Please PRAY for their salvation, together with many others.
In Korr there are 3 leaders we call ‘Evangelists’, none of them trained apart from ministry they received when they were in the church in Nairobi.
GODANA DABALEN, wife Gurguru, 6 children, plus 2 of deceased brother. 3 oldest children (back) are in Secondary School, were at High School Camp in Nairobi, Nakuru & Khobocha professing saving faith in Christ. Grace (centre) is deaf as a result of meningitis and is about to go to a special school in Isiolo. Pray for Khobocha as he awaits his exam results and devotes the next months to serving in the church.
RUYGON NADESOL, wife Christine, 5 children. Arobo is oldest and is starting Secondary School.
JOSEPH OGOM, wife Mary, 4 children. Of the 3 leaders Joseph has a few years of education in Primary School and so is literate. His wife has struggled with TB and now he has been infected and so is not as strong as usual.
MARIO GAMBARE is the leader in Lekuchula, and also teaches in the Nursery School. He has no training and we are considering how we can help him and Joseph Ogom considering they only have a few years of Primary School education. He also wants to be a full-time evangelist.
RAPHAEL BULKASH is the leader in Ndikir, is a member of the church in Nairobi and was trained in the PTC. He has a motorbike and is able to travel widely. His younger brother Samuel is now working with him in the ministry and hopes to join the PTC in 2015.
These are the married men who collectively are the decision makers. In the centre of the large circle of huts is a bare piece of ground encircled with a hedge of thorn-bush branches, called the ‘nabo’. Here they will meet in the late evenings to perform their ritual prayers and discuss communal matters. Apart from going to preach to them where they are in the day time at the lugga, playing their game (we call it Mancala), carving, talking or napping, I love to have the opportunity to talk to them individually.
Mzee Limongoi is from Lekuchula, says he is 60 years. I have known him for 15 years and often talked with him about the gospel of Christ. He arrived after I had finished preaching, so I took him through Romans 5:8 – we are sinners, God loves sinners, and has shown it by Christ dying for us. He told me as he has told me before that he does believe in Christ, yet it is so hard for him to leave the traditions. The ‘new moon’ ceremony had been just a few days previous and I asked him if he had performed it. Yes, he had blown on his animal horn, prayed to the moon, ‘God, God, you have come back to life,’ and put special mud on his forehead and chest. This is obviously idolatrous. I asked him, ‘If Jesus Himself were to tell you to leave such traditions would you do so.’ Without hesitation he said he would. Then I informed him that the Lord Jesus has sent me and is speaking to him through me. His answer surprised me: ‘Others have come saying they have a word from God but I do not believe because of their bad lifestyle.’ This of course was just another shift as he knows me so well.
Such men need to be constantly talked with and instructed, but almost no one is doing it – the concentration is on the school age children. One of the most encouraging pieces of information I heard was from Goob Nahgaan near Korr where under the ministry of the AIC 2 Wazee have left the traditions. I hope it is true and marks the beginning of a sincere turning to Christ.
Mzee Lepakio is from Losidan and gave me such a warm embrace when we met at the wells. At the visit last year he is the one who said he wants to be like our evangelist Nadesol, although illiterate, knowing the word of God, so he can tell it to his people. I have encouraged our brother Raphael at Ndikir to visit him regularly to give personal instruction in the faith. A number of such Wazee said they need to be visited regularly if they are to understand and follow this message.
I would like to bring a number of special needs before you.
(1) Wareiya lives in Goob Matarbah. She and her husband Sagante professed faith in Nairobi. When they returned home he went back to the traditions and married a younger wife. He no longer cares much for her and her children and recently she lost all her animals on which she has been depending (disease, straying & hyenas). She is looking to us for help and perhaps we can restock.
(2) Ntito lives in Lekuchula. She has been faithful in keeping the work going there for more than 10 years. The day before we arrived a neighbour lady, with whom she was very close, died. She is devastated perhaps because the lady leaves 5 young children and an irresponsible husband. Ntito herself is very poor, with very few animals, and a very old husband (she is a 2nd. wife), and we feel we must help in some way.
(3) Korr church building. Brother Joseph Ochola has taken over the project. The supporting pillars are in place and I left him behind to work on the lintel in the next couple of weeks. He will then return to Nairobi and we will consider how we can get the roof on.
(4) Lekuchula Church and Nursery School building (corrugated iron).
(5) House for Raphael Bulkash in Ndikir. He also needs a secure supply of clean water that can be delivered from Laisamis (20 kms. away) for about £100 for 3 months’ supply.
(6) Losidan hand pump. This pump supplies water to the School we sponsor and is in urgent need of repair to make it functional again.
(7) Solar MP3 players. Brother Nadesol had gotten hold of an MP3 player with Bible messages in the Kisamburu language (the Ariaal Rendille speak this language). The thought came to me that if we could get hold of solar powered MP3 players then we could record Bible readings in Rendille and other instructional material for the illiterate people.
Thank you for your continued prayerful and financial support for this ministry. We are represented in U.K. by the Alfred Place Baptist Church (Geoffrey Thomas) in Aberystwyth, and the registered charity T.R.A.I.N. (Kenya). In the U.S.A. we are represented by the Emmanuel Reformed Baptist Church (Tom Martin) near Philadelphia. Please also visit our websites www.trinitybaptistkenya.org and www.trinity.or.ke.