1. The Journey to Western Kenya
I picked up the following brethren from TBC:
- Bor Manases
- Hassan Noor
- Kahure Eric
- Teka Nickson
- Malande Huston (on his way to visit his parents in Eldoret)
- Odock Sospeter (on his way to lecture at Kaimosi University)
But we began the journey late because one of the tyres was seriously damaged so that we had replace it at 6,000/-. As we fuelled, we discovered that the car had not been serviced and had done more than 500 km over! This took some time to do but eventually by 2.30pm in the afternoon we had already picked up Huston in Kikuyu.
There was a warm fellowship in the car as we spoke about ministry to the Rendille and thought further about the drought situation. We also discussed the mitigation measures being proposed by the church members at the TBC Fellowship WhatsApp group. We thought that the relief will be best delivered by the deacons and members instead of the elders who go there regularly. We still lamented over the entitlement spirit that bedevil the community. Later on we sang heartily for more than an hour before we arrived in Eldoret and parted ways with the two brethren.
Ruth Jahonga and Mark Mujivane had made arrangements for us to be fed by their family in Turbo. We passed by and we had sumptuous meal of chicked, ugali and chapattis. We also discussed with the two twin brothers, Matthews and Henry about election and predestination. While Matthews appreciated the sovereignty of God in salvation, Henry adamantly rejected them with the tradition objections such as questioning God’s justice, that it is untenable with evangelism etc. We learnt that the two are pastors in Eldoret. Sadly, when we came out we discovered that the back left tyre was flat! We still believed that we had to proceed with the journey because Benson Waswa was waiting for us and we had an early engagement for training pastors on matters of eschatology. But by the time we got to Kanduyi I was so exhausted that I was almost sleeping on the wheel. I decided to contact Martin Mukoyan but his phone was off. We had to proceed to Mwiyenga, where we met Benson Waswa and Edward Simiyu waiting for us on the road. The dirt track was very bad. Thankfully there was a very refreshing cup of tea and mattresses had been spread on the floor for us. We gladly slept.
The following day, we went to a place called Siboti, by the foot of Mt. Elgon where we spoke with a sizeable group on matters of last things. I divided the subject into three things – death, intermediate state and second coming of Christ. The men and women gathered as one man to drink from the fountain of truth in God’s Word as if very thirsty of the truth. They did not argue but very patiently asked questions in a manner that showed good understanding.
The meeting at Siboti was a great blessing to me, even though they meet in a bush since they were denied access to use a nearby church building. They need to put up a place where they can be meeting which could also serve as a church building for a potential church planting effort in the area. Benson believes that even if he were to be released by Mwiyenga (since Edward is there) he could put all his efforts towards this new work.
Benson has been reaching out to the pastors as a way of spreading the doctrines of grace to this needy community. But the church building of Mwiyenga where he is the pastor is down in ruins after the building was demolished by a heavy storm a year ago. They are in great need of another building. The church needs a plot that cost not less than KES, 200,000/-. They have recently begun another congregation with another brother called Immanuel who has embraced the truths we hold.
We travelled to Peter Marisia’s home at Walala five kilometres from Bungoma town. After a late lunch, we went into Bungoma town. We divided up for accommodation purposes – Eric and Nickson were left at Marisia’s while Manases, Noor and I went to be with Martin Mukoyan’s family.
On the 18th we joined up together with Peter Marisia, his wife and two sons, together with another member and travelled to Chwele. The church meets at Chwele Academy, which is a private primary school that has given them a meeting place for free. Since the school was in session we could not hold the meeting there, so we met a home of Nickson and Veronica who are part of the church. After the usual tea, mandazi/unbuttered bread, we had beef, ugali and vegetables as the lunch. In between the meals I was able to speak with Morris who is part of a charismatic church who had joined us with his wife. I asked him how he became a Christian and he explained that it was through baptism! This presented me with an opportunity to explain what is salvation and how we receive it. He is a school lab technician and listened well. I took 1 Timothy 1:12-17 and explained what salvation is from Paul’s own testimony. The listening was good and the Lord gracious gave me a level of liberty and unction as I spoke. We pray that the planted seed of grace may germinate in the hearts of those who heard it.
We came back to Bungoma where I had a meeting with the two men – Martin and Peter over how we were going to divide up for ministry on Sunday. The team was prepared to take up the preaching engagement which worked out well. Nickson and Kahure were left with Meshack Wanyonyi (Marisia’s eldest son who is also the preacher) at Walala.they divided up the service, where Kahure took the Sunday School and explained what is salvation from Ephesians 2:1-10. Nickson preached from 1 John 1:1-10 on walking in the light. Manases and Marisia went up to Chwele. Manases preached twice the first from Romans 8:1-10 on the doctrine of salvation. He also preached from Luke 14:25-33 explaining about a true disciple of Christ. Marisia also taught from Matthew 18:1-35 about the greatest in the kingdom of God.
4. Bungoma town
It was joy to join up with Martin Mukoyan and his family and others for worship at Bungoma town. A young man called Joshua from Uganda taught the children. I took the Bible Study session and explained 1 Corinthians 13 which turned out to be an effective dose for those recovering from the word of faith influence. I took a plagiarised division – Love is essential (1-3), Love is effective (4-7) and Love is Eternal (8-13). I exhorted them to use the gifts they have and be content with serving in the church without exalting oneself.
I then preached from Ephesians 2:1-10. I explained what we were before salvation (1-3), that we dead in sin in three ways – Obeying the world, the devil and the flesh; how are sinners saved (4-9) it is by God’s mercy, love and grace which comes through Christ who we are to believe; What we become when we get saved – God’s workmanship, created in the image of Christ.
There are 15 adults who meet in a rented room where they pay 2K per month. They desire to put up a structure at Martin’s home before they are able to have their own plot where they can develop. They are very determined and desire to make Christ known the area. Martin is looking after two orphans, Blessing (10) and Ben (9) and is also caring for Enos who just did his form 4 last year, as well as Joshua. Their business is not doing very well and the church by and large depends on him and his wife to pay the rent, which has not been easy. He asked if he could be helped to clear arrears amount to 5K.
There is a man called Emanuel Hassan who came with his wife from Sirisia. They were part of the church but were unable to come regularly because of the cost of fare. He had beginning Sunday meetings but Martin said that he did not approve since he knew that he is not on the same page with Hassan doctrinally. He desires to do the TPC. We tried visiting the home in the afternoon to meet up with the rest of the group, but it rained so heavily that we could not manage through the dirt road.
On Monday , 20th we left for Mumias. Tedd Atsulu came to see us and spent the night with us. He has reconsidered his being away for so long and has decided not to renew his contract which is coming to an end this month. He has been attending the church in Mumias and Elly said that he has been useful in the youth ministry.
Elly is doing well in health and his family is well. It was joy to be reunited with them. We spent most of the evening chatting. It was also a great joy to see the boy who was abandoned at his gate last year has so grown.
Tuesday morning we went to Wisdom Training Centre but left Manases to do his own studies. I found it a delight to teach the doctrine of salvation to eager students. Beginning from the covenant of grace in the eternity past, I took them through to glorification. What a joy it is to know that the salvation which we have is secured in the past and the present and the future, not because of anything we have done, either good or evil, but because of God who is so full of mercy, grace and power. The questions asked about elections are the usual, questioning the justice of God. But there is no injustice with God – He is the standard of justice! Others tried to the unthinkable, of trying to reconcile good old friends – the sovereignty of God and human responsibility. I simply told them that the God who is sovereign has sovereignly appointed the means. If we believe and receive that God is sovereign then we should equally believe and receive the means He has appointed to execute his decrees. At some point I taught them the catechism questions – what is adoption, justification and sanctification?
After lunch we drove on to Bukhalalire where we met Carlisto at the church premises but only to greet him. We went on to Funyula where we had snacks before visiting Benedict Baraza and his family, who so well received us. Simon and Mary are really fighting hard not to be auctioned since they have been unable to clear the bank loan they took. The guarantor’s salary is being deducted. They begged us to do all we can to let them off the noose. They are both working so hard in the small business, making and selling tea, mandazi and chapatti on Thursday which is the market day. They think that Phoebe could take another course instead of waiting up to September for the teaching job.
On Tuesday morning, Lameck Otieno, a pastor with the Repentance and Holiness movement of Dr. Owuor came to see me. Simon has been reaching out to him with the gospel truth. He now desires to do the TPC and has even sent an application for 2018! I told him point black that he may struggle with the course (he dropped out of school in form 2) but that he may be rejected by his denomination because what we teach is incompatible with the error of their leader, Owuor. I wonder whether we should actually only receive him if he would leave the movement. I gave him a lift to Nairobi and gave him accommodation for two nights because his brother (who is also a pastor with the same movement is getting married). He makes his living by farming tomatoes.
On Wednesday morning we left to see Cynthia Asingwa (TBC Nairobi member) who is working with the Kenya Bureau of Statistics in Busia County as they went to Port Victoria to collect data with other colleagues. She has attended a small AIC church twice and then went to Eldoret to see her parents the other weekend (she has been away for three weeks now). I encouraged her to either come to Bumala or Funyula. She was so pleased to see us.
7. Ogina & Bukhalalire
We travelled to Ogina, to the home of Christopher Oduor who has been requested by Bukhalalire to revive their church plant in the area. I met him the last time I visited as he carried us to Carlisto’s home. We went to his home where they so well welcomed us. He has a married son who is a believer, and who has married Carlisto’s grand-daughter. We then visited the church where we met the widows of the man who gave a piece of land to the church but died earlier in the year. Both Helena and Grace (the widows) are believers and love it that they are Baptists and not charismatics! A third lady who is also Grace’s sister also came to thank God that ‘their Baptist church’ will now be revived which is an answer to the prayers of the late mzee. They had began construction before the man died and would so desire to see it completed.
We spent the rest of the day in Bukhalalire with Carlisto’s family and members of Bukhalalire who visited. Carlisto is knowledgeable with the Scriptures, Baptistic, openly opposed Pentecostalism. He might not specifically be reformed but he is definitely a man who loves the Scriptures – yes a Sola Scriptura man. He is a Bible expositor and cannot see any other way to feed the flock. He also delights in the sovereignty of God is salvation (he spoke of election so fondly!) He is looking after a number of orphans, and his own daughters have children at home. Baraza, his son, is a believer and closely involved in the life of the church. He has sent him to help Simon in Funyula every Sunday.
On Thursday morning we visited Ngala at his home. They had not only prepared breakfast for us, but also had many arrowroots packed for us to eat as we travel! He said that there is a need for us to meet with Simon and Ngetich, to chart the way forward, now that the name RBAK would not sail through for registration. I thanked him for visiting Ngetich at his home. He is seeking financial help because the person who had sponsored the Mukhanyo students has serious family problems and they are yet to pay for the final set of modules so that the students can graduate.
We then picked up Lameck and went on to Siaya. We found Abwok, Jeremiah, Eric, Yohannes, Bob and Pamela. They have not been able to proceed with the work on the buildings because the money they had collected went to pay fees for the children of two members who had been sent home.
We spoke about the need to preach the gospel more fervently especially with the many churches in the neighbourhood. It is absolutely necessary that they would be different. They requested that we strengthen their hand by making sure that the evangelistic meeting that we have planned for years took place this year, as this will boost their efforts.
With Abwok and Yohannes, we went to the man who had taken the measurements and paid the down-payment for the work to commence – he said that the windows and doors will be completed in a month. We then travelled with Abwok to his home in Kisumu. I asked him what were the long-term goals of the church but he did not have much to say. He still desires to pastor the church and we agreed that there is a need to have a man totally devoted to the work on the ground. I asked whether he would be interested in beginning some work near his home especially on the Maseno side and he said that it would greatly help him because his wife only goes to Siaya once a month (the second Sunday for the Lord’s Supper!)