West Kenya February 2017

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.

2.    Siboti

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.

3.    Chwele

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.

5.    Mumias

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?

6.    Funyula

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.

8.  Bumala

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.

9.  Siaya

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!)

Trinity Christian School

We thank the Lord for giving us Neli, one of our younger church members as a teacher at Trinity Baptist Classical Christian School. Being Reformed, she is well placed to help the church in outworking Biblical principles on Christian education at the school. We are already seeing fruit in this regard in areas like Bible study and catechism and yet this is coupled with good academic rigour.

The school is still at Kindergarten level only. We are using a christian classical education approach and thank the Lord for a good curriculum that He has provided for us.

We pray that the Lord will help us in a number of areas:

  1. That we will have a stronger school committee at this start-up phase.
  2. That we will be able to fully comply with government requirements and as a result then open our doors to the public. This needs money for which we pray that the Lord graciously provides.
  3. We presently have one class with 3 pupils. May the Lord help us to faithfully educate them for godliness.

Medical Emergency

Tonny’s brother had recently been in Nairobi hoping to do a driving course. Because the Karwa’s were moving to Donholm they were unable to assist him with the fees at the moment. The brother (Jack) then went back upcountry where he’s been a motorbike rider. The bike is not his but he – according to Tonny – would use the proceeds both for his livelihood and future education needs.

Last week, after coming back home from work, three people came to their homestead at around 9 p.m. asking to be transported to a neighbouring village. Jack really resisted the request. They said that they had a motorbike but needed a second one for the 3rd passenger (who was a lady). Jack finally, but reluctantly agreed to offer transport services.

These three were sadly going to attack someone. On arriving, Jack, who didn’t know what they were planning, dropped them and then waited on his bike by the gate of the homestead so that he would ferry his passenger back.

It is while waiting on his bike that the person whose homestead had been attacked by Jack’s passengers come out with a machete and a sword. He had overpowered his attackers and had now come out to attack Jack who he thought was one of them. His aim seems to have been to hack Jack’s neck but he missed and slashed him around the check. It was a 15 cm. cut from the ear to around the jaw. Jack fell from his bike and then his attacker stabbed him on the back left side with a sharp sword. He missed his heart but the injury was really bad. The attacker – who apparently operated a changaa den (illicit alcohol) in that homestead – then ran away.

One of the eye witnesses at the time recognized Jack and using his phone called Tonny’s mother. The mother phoned other motor-bike riders who came to the scene. Because the bleeding was really bad, the riders could not wait for Tonny’s parents to arrive. They preferred to dash him to Bondo for treatment. At Bondo, because of the doctor’s strike, Jack could not be treated. The doctor who was there offered to treat him at his private hospital in Siaya (30–45 minutes drive from Bondo). His condition was that an ambulance – which required 10k – be used to ferry Jack. The motor-bike riders didn’t have the money. Tonny’s Dad only had 6.5K and the motorbike that had been bringing him to hospital had ran-out of fuel somewhere between a small town called Akala,and Bondo.

The riders, seeing that they were stuck with no further assistance from Bondo hospital and the possibility of losing Jack because of profuse bleeding, decided it was wise to ferry him back to Akala – the small town where he had been bandaged before being taken to Bondo. A van was available in Akala but there was no driver.

They resorted to ferrying Jack on a motorbike to Kisumu, more than 60 kms. distant. At Port Florence hospital in Kisumu, Jack could not be treated. The medics there said it was beyond them and with Jack now already kicking on the stretcher they requested that he be taken to a private hospital.

Jack was then taken to Avenue Hospital in Kisumu at about 1 or 2 a.m. They needed a deposit of 40k before any major treatment could start. One of Jack’s customer (a teacher he transports to school regularly) gave a loan of 33.5K, which together with the 6.5K which Tonny’s Dad had, made it possible for Avenue to start treating Jack. It was at about 2 p.m. that Jack’s head could now be un-bandaged. They had bandaged the whole head only leaving the nose at night. He fainted at this point and the nurses thought they had lost him. The doctor however found out he was still alive and proceeded to surgery. A CT scan showed a fractured cheek bone. He seems to also have lost hearing on the side of the head that was not attacked.

When Tonny’s dad noticed that after only two days in hospital the un-paid bill was already almost 100K – and that he was already in a debt of 40K – he requested for a transfer. They could not obtain it without paying this outstanding bill. So the hospital stopped treating but kept charging 8K for the bed on a daily basis. Tonny then travelled from Nairobi to Kisumu (360 kms.). He pleaded with the hospital to either discharge or keep treating but they did not agree. The bill was now rising and no treatment was being offered. Olivia’s relatives had a fund-raiser which collected 13K and Tonny paid it. The hospital then agreed to give medicine but no doctor’s services. A cousin of Olivia then borrowed 100K from her chama and then with this Tonny cleared the outstanding balance. Jack was then taken back upcountry where one of Tonny sisters is taking care of the wounds and observing him.

A number of action points are there for us;

  1. Prayer for Jack. That he survived such a long journey in the middle of the night with so much bleeding is providence to me. Let’s pray that the Lord would preserve him further, heal him and bring him to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. Prayer for Tonny. He is really down.
  3. Jack’s continued medicare. After surgery – especially a head surgery – one needs to be kept from infection. Public hospitals are still a no-go-zone for now because of the doctor’s strike. But I wonder, how about having him checked into a nursing home where a trained person would be the one cleaning the wounds in a more sanitized environment?
  4. The debts owing which are already being demanded is the second area of need. The lady who advanced 33.5K needs it soonest as it was her school fees. The one who borrowed 100K is also asking for it because her chama requires it. As of this morning, Tonny tells me that their game plan was for Olivia to request her boss for a 50K advance which they can use as down payment for the 100K and then strive to pay the rest on a monthly basis. Tony is looking at using his stipend to pay for the 33.5K in about two instalments. It would severely strain the Karwa’s if they took up this burden alone. It will possibly distract him from TPC work and Olivia who is already in a crazy work environment will be in a way handcuffed there. (Note 33.5K = 33,500/=, £1 = 120/=)


Recognition of a Pastor


The journey began from Nairobi to Nyeri for Simon Muriithi’s dowry payment party, which went well, except that it turned out to be further away than we had thought. The negotiations went on up to 7.30 in the evening! Nonetheless, we managed to drive to Meru before midnight!

With Charity, Gaitano, Manases Bor and Mrs. Muketha from Nairobi, and the congregation of Miathene Trinity Baptist Church, the service began at 10.30. We sang three hymns, then Paul read Proverbs 3:1-16 before leading in prayer. Afterwards he made the announcements and handed over the service to me.

I began by explaining that the role of TBC Nairobi is that of helping a daughter church to get to her feet, and denied that I was coming as a bishop. I then explained 1Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. I gave the history of how Mucheru went to Miathene in 2014 and stayed for a year as a member but also labouring in the ministry. Then on 28th August I chaired meeting that discussed the three areas of his life – moral character, domestic and ministerial qualities. But since the meeting lacked the quorum a vote was not taken, therefore the church met again under the chairmanship of Paul on the 13th September and unanimously voted to have Mucheru as their pastor. We were not able to find time to help in his recognition last year and this is why it was put under priority in January this year.

I explained that the matter of his recognition involved 2 things in the presence of God:

  • For Joseph Mucheru to declare his faith and promise to faithfully do the work the Bible demands of an elder, and
  • The congregation promising to do what the Bible requires of them to their pastor.

I asked Mucheru five questions, which he answered in the affirmative:

  1. Do you profess, and believe Jesus Christ to be your own Lord and Saviour?
  2. Do you believe the Bible to be the inspired, infallible and authoritative word of God?
  3. Do you receive as true to the Bible the statement of faith in our church confession (constitution)?
  4. Do you promise before God to preach the word, and all the word?
  5. Do you promise to serve this congregation, “not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain, but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being example to the flock”?

Then I asked the church this one question:

Do you promise to receive the teaching, submit to the directions, provide the support, pray for, and obey the pastor you have recognized?  If so, stand to signify the promise.

All those present rose up to show their full support of Mucheru. We thank God that the brother has such obvious support from the church. We pray that the brother will continue to enjoy this support and that he will serve the Lord.

Then Paul Kianji, Joshua Kairithia and myself, laid hands on him in prayer as he knelt down before the congregation. Paul Kianji prayed for him to be a faithful and a spiritual man, and to preach the gospel in and out of season. Joshua prayed for his family that they will listen to him as both the husband, the father and their pastor. Then I prayed for the church to be supportive and to grow both in grace and knowledge and numerally, as the ministry of the elders was experienced. I asked the Lord to multiply the church by replication.

Then I gave Mucheru this charge:

This church needs a godly and spiritual pastor – be that man. Watch over yourself and the flock of God, which the Holy Spirit has made you overseer. Covet no one’s silver or gold. Tend this flock with all patience.

Do not account your life as of any value nor as precious to yourself, if only you may finish the course and the ministry that you received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God, in and out of season. Preach the gospel. May you be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus to endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

I went on preach from 1 Peter 5:1-4. I began by interrogating the passage as follows:

  • Who owns the church? It is God, for the church is called ‘the flock of God’ (v. 2) and the Lord is called the Chief-Shepherd (v. 4)
  • Who are the spiritual leaders (under-shepherds) of a church? It is the Elders (v. 1)
  • What is the work of the elder? It is to shepherd the flock by exercising oversight (v. 2)
  • How are the elders not to shepherd the flock? Unwillingly, for money, domineeringly (vv. 2-3)
  • How are the elders to shepherd the flock? Willingly, as God would have them (according to God’s instructions), eagerly, by being examples to the flock (vv. 2-3)
  • What is the reward of the pastor? It is the unfading crown of glory (v. 4)

I laid out the terms of service for a pastor from Ezekiel 34:3b-4.  I pointed out that the work of the pastor involves:

  1. to feed by teaching all of the word of God
  2. to strengthen the weak
  3. to heal the sick
  4. to bind up the injured
  5. to bring back the straying ones
  6. to seek the lost
  7. to rule them with gentleness

Essentially this work requires not just a watchful eye, but a godly eye and a shepherd spirit. A pastor who will pray for the members and preach the truths of the gospel to them so that they may be built up in the faith to maturity, to the measure and stature of the fullness of Christ so that they are no longer children tossed to and fro by the waves of false teachings.

The church had a prepared lunch, so we ate together. We later on went to Muili to see where they have bought the piece of land. It is right next to a stream and road. They have unnecessarily delayed in getting on with the transfer and demarcation. So on Monday, we all went there, and got the lady who sold the land, and proceeded to the lands office and eventually, had the parcel hived. Meanwhile Charity visited an old family friend who was so delighted to hear that we are church planting close to where she lives and so she promised to start attending the church. She has visited a good number of times TBC Nairobi and loves the emphasis on Bible teaching and hoped that the same will be true in the new church.

I exhorted the elders to work hard for the cause of Christ in the area. I specifically asked Mucheru not to devote himself to doing anything else other than what brought him to Miathene. Recently, he began farming tomatoes in the church compound – this I commended instead of going to the market for three days in a week (which he used to do). I think being in the church compound is a good thing because church members or anyone can come to see him anytime. The compound looked well attended, which is commendable. He also had a young man, a university graduate as his right hand man, called Nicholas Mugambi. He came with us to Nairobi to clear at Kenyatta University for his graduation later in the year. He is not a believer and Manases spent a considerable amount of time with him – we hope much good comes out of it. Being from a Roman Catholic background, he did not understand the difference between a pastor and priest – he thought when a pastor has better seminary education he becomes a priest! I explained the difference and took time to explain to him that Christ is the Priest who is to be trusted for the forgiveness of sin by His gracious sacrifice of Himself. I also explained to him the blasphemy of the mass. He called me later to say that he would like to come to church on Sunday.

Generally the church is doing well and I thank God for Mucheru and the men with him.

Murungi Igweta

1st February 2017