VOTE (pronounced votey)

The weekend of 25-26 January I went to Vote to constitute a new church. I went with our oldest church member, Jonathan Kioko, who speaks the language of the area, and Johan who is accompanying me everywhere.

Vote is a little centre about 4 hours drive east to Kitui then 60 kms on a dirt road south. It is not remote like north Kenya. There are mobile phone networks, schools and medical facilities. Christianity came into the area in the 1950s, first of all the Catholics, then the Protestant Gospel Tabernacle, then Trinity Baptist, and last the Redeemed Gospel, a noisy charismatic church. Like so many areas, as far as we can tell, there is little genuine Christianity. Two ladies from the Gospel Tabernacle Church greeted us and said that most of the 100 attendees are just nominal Christians. When you read that 80% of Kenyans are Christians you will know how to interpret the figure, i.e. they are not Muslims.

The work has been here a number of years but was almost extinguished by a bad leader. Benson Nyamai then returned home from Nairobi to seek to build it up again. They had a brick building but the wind blew off the roof and the walls were destroyed. They now meet in this small corrugated iron structure and up to 20 gather. You might note the large trunked baobab tree to the left of the structure.


We arrived midday on Saturday, and had to wait until 4 p.m. to start the meeting. Such lateness is typical in Kenya. I took them through Acts 2 about what the Church is, who is a Member, and then what a Christian is. Then we interviewed the 7 prospective members. As is so common, some found it difficult to Biblically express their faith. Then we have to make the difficult decision whether to go ahead with them or not.


On Sunday things again got off to a slow start and in the service I preached on 1 John 4:7-11. There were 16 adults and youth present with a few small children. I chose this passage as I wanted both to preach the gospel centred on the work of Christ, and show the central pursuit of love in this newly established little church.

Six were due to be baptized so I gave instruction on what it symbolizes, especially that it is a means of grace to the one who believes. We waited for a lunch of rice and beans and then proceeded to the place of baptism. In such drier communities where there is much livestock sub-surface dams have been bulldozed out. They are simply a catchment area for when it rains so that animals can have a consistent access to water. The bottom is either rock or just mud. You can see how muddy the water looked!


These three teenage girls were baptized upon profession of their faith. They are each hoping to join Secondary School (probably boarding) this month. I exhorted them to be faithful amidst the many temptations they will face. May the Lord keep them faithful and help them to be witnesses of His grace!


Benson Nyamai is the leader in the church, and he is pictured with his wife Christine. May the Lord enable him to preach the gospel of Christ in season and out of season.


Vote is a dry area where so often there is little or no harvest reaped. They had planted ‘dengu’ (a very small pea) on the church land in an effort to raise money for the church building but they will only get a few kilos.

I went to sleep contemplating the journey back to Nairobi the following morning, thankful to God for how He had led us through the day, and thinking of all the work that lay ahead in the week. After an hour I was awoken by Benson saying that someone had been ‘bitten’. I knew immediately this would mean a visit to the hospital over half an hour’s drive away (at Mutomo). It was his mother-in-law, and it turned out it was a snake bite. She was hospitalized and the last report was that she was still in pain but recovering. I got to bed after 2 a.m. thankful for the opportunity to show mercy.

The work is much and the labourers are few. We ask you to continue to labour with us in prayer.

Pastoral Theological Course (PTC)

We had the first of six trainings for 2014 from 15th. to 22nd. January.

The students come to Nairobi for 8 days bi-monthly. The first and last 3 days are full time in class, where they are introduced to the studies they will take home to complete before returning for the next session. There is a lot of reading and writing to be completed, and it can only be done if they learn to organize themselves. Then I have 2 months to mark their work so they receive it back when they return! My approach is that the discipline of thinking through issues, and accomplishing the work faithfully is as important as learning the facts.

This time we devoted ourselves to two courses.

· Unit N is Preaching. Expository preaching is rare in Kenya. Few preachers pay attention to context, even to whether it is in the Old or New Testaments. Going through books or large portions of the Scripture is rarer. But we are not merely interested in expositors, but those who preach persuasively in the power of the Holy Spirit.

· Unit T is Missions. We start with the history of Christianity in Africa from apostolic days, then to the modern missionary movement, particularly as it impacted Africa. We finish with an in-depth consideration of our country of Kenya. I lay particular stress on the so-called 10-40 window of the world’s least evangelized people, and the 22 people groups in Kenya amongst whom less than 2% are considered Christian (many less than 0.1%, i.e. almost none). We are convinced that unless a person hears the gospel of Jesus Christ he cannot be saved.

· One of the students leads devotions each morning. We have introduced a ‘Debate’ in order to encourage ordered and concise thinking and presenting persuasive arguments. The motion was, ‘Christians ought to be involved in politics’. I am looking for them to define what they mean by the terms. Interestingly, no one carefully defined ‘involved’. Judging by a later discussion with them, it seems to have been very profitable, and enjoyable! Saturday afternoon they go to evangelize in the area. Sunday they are expected to be fully involved in all activities in order to learn about the local church in practice.


1st. year seated [left to right]: Caleb, Geoffrey, Willis, Benson, Stephen.

2nd. year standing [left to right]: (KU), John, Erick, Peter, Noah, Vincent, Hezbon.

3rd. year standing right: Dominic, Barnabas.

We admitted 5 new students, making a total of 13.

(1) Caleb Jaoko – He is from Upendo Reformed Baptist Church, Oyani near Migori, in the far south-west corner of Kenya. He is a Pastor together with the former student Fred Lodeki. The 2nd. year student Erick is in the same church fellowship and ministers in Nyamanga.

(2) Geoffrey Isambo – He is from the Church called Gospel Missions Agency in Mumias, the same as 2nd. year student Noah. Geoffrey is a mature man, and has gone through the ‘School of Wisdom’ run by Pastor Elly Achok (also a former student) in Mumias. He makes bricks to support his family in the morning and then will devote himself to studies for the rest of the day.

(3) Willis Okello – He is from a Seventh-Day Adventist Church near us. We have warned him that if he begins to receive the teaching it will probably give him difficulties in his church. In particular we cited Arminianism and the Investigative Judgment. But he seems determined.

(4) Benson Kambi – He is from Trinity Baptist Church Boyani, near Mombasa. The Pastor there is George Mwanjisi, a former student of many years previous. Benson supports himself by growing vegetables on his land.

(5) Stephen Ongulo – He is a member of Trinity Baptist Church Kasei, Pokot North. He is from Soroti in Uganda, and works in the building trade in Pokot. At the end of the studies he wants to return to church plant in the Soroti area.

Please pray for all these men as they study the word of God.