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!)
29th to 11th February 2016
Friday 29th Jan. 15.55: Leave for SA
Accommodated by Peter & Gayle Peter Staegemann at Midrand
Saturday 30th: Eldorado Park conference (one-day conference)
Sunday 31st: Birchleigh Baptist Church Preaching in 10am and 2pm services
1st – 3rd: Tembisa conference
Thursday 4th: Travel by road to Welkom in Free State (4 hour journey)
5th – 6th: Welkom Conference
Travel back after the conference
Sunday 7th: Birchleigh Baptist Church in 10 am service
Constantia Baptist Church 4pm service (TBC)
Monday 8th: Free Probably visit Jo’burg
9th -10th: Mamelodi conference
Thursday 11th February Fly back to Kenya at 15.05
At the end of October I returned from a 12 day visit to encourage the ministry in Pokot North. It has been difficult to write this as there is too much! I hope to put more details on the website sometime. Cliff Barton, a Deacon from Belvidere Road Baptist in Liverpool, England, and Johan Mortensen from Denmark, accompanied me. Once again it was a very full time as we were able to visit 10 of the 12 places where there is a church and this involved some quite lengthy walks through the beautiful Kenyan bush. We continue to be thankful to God for devotion of the 5 trained leaders and their continuing unity. This has been one area of ministry where the work has progressed without any great problem since we officially got involved in 2000.
Every day there were many opportunities to minister the word of God, amongst the churches and the schools, both publicly and privately.
MINISTRY IN THE CHURCHES
I did all the preaching in the churches (22 times). It is all done through translation, something I have become very accustomed to. I take very basic themes, Imitating Christ, Prayer, Spiritual Warfare, Salvation by Grace. Because of the prevalent false teaching about the Holy Spirit I was asked to preach to help counter the errors – Being Filled with the Spirit, Work of the Spirit (Rm. 8:1-14), Fruit of the Spirit. There were some special evangelistic times – Prodigal Son, Call of Levi, Jn. 3:16. The last Sunday I was bold enough to seek to preach through the Sermon on the Mount in 3 messages, one chapter each time. The Lord was so gracious in helping me, giving me good health throughout, and receiving much appreciation from the hearers.
Although this is a remote area of Kenya the competition among churches is great. For example, we were the first to go to Wasat a few years ago. Now 4 other groups have come, and not content to put their building nearby, they also speak openly against Trinity. We are often a target of attack that we ‘do not have the Spirit’ because of our reverent worship style, something rare in Kenya today. I trust it is because of the solid teaching we give that none of the 30+ Wasat members have so far defected, yet they are all young Christians.
Kasepa ‘circle’ after preaching
Kasei church new building
Kapkewa joint Sunday service
Preaching at Kwirir
Joshua Sitet, Samuel Ng’etich & Isaiah Juma
Wazee (older men) at Wasat
Mzee at Chepkinagh Traditional Ladies at Kwirir
Apur church building and nursery school
Preaching at Kwirir
Andrew Chemolok’s house at Chepkinagh
There are 12 churches but only 3 trained church leaders and 2 others who have particular responsibilities in the Schools. Lord willing, we hope there will be 2 more who can be trained here in the Nairobi PTC beginning 2015. The brethren there also have the plan to start a training based on the Kamketo church. This can cater for those who do not have enough English facility to be in the Nairobi course. The church at Kasepa does not have a leader at all, as all the men eligible are polygamists. A new church has started at Kwirir near Wasat. We heard from the men at Kwirir that they have seen the change the gospel has brought to people in Wasat, and they would like to be brought such a good message. So the gospel is slowly penetrating and changing lives. There are yet more places that are calling our brethren to go with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
A church building project is underway at Kasei. The foundation has been laid and the walls are beginning to rise. A larger and more permanent building is needed, seating up to 300 because this is where we sponsor a Primary School and Secondary School. All the boarders attend the service. The Pokot brethren have pledged to provide about one-quarter of the cost and are praying that well-wishers will help them with the rest.
MINISTRY IN THE SCHOOLS
There are thousands of children registered in the Schools started by Trinity Baptist Church and we have a wonderful opportunity of ministering to them. The Kenya Government is unable to provide enough teachers so it is left to us to make up the shortfall. As a result we support over 30 teachers and in addition other staff.
New school buildings at Kasepa
Chepkinagh Primary School
Kasei Primary School
Kasei Boys’ Secondary School
Cliff & Johan spoke to the children in the 6 Primary Schools we were able to visit. 4 of these Schools have reached class 8, the final year of Primary education, when a very important exam is taken. All over the country a special time of prayer is arranged for these exam candidates and parents are expected to be present. It is of course a prostitution of true Biblical prayer. I asked the students what they wanted me to pray for – success was the obvious reply! I told them that I cannot do that as success also depends on how they have worked over the years, and what native ability God has given them. When you ask them what they want to grow up to be, for most it is a doctor, a lawyer, and engineer, because they know these are the professions with the money. I sought to warn them against the love of money.
The Government, through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is slowly putting up some permanent classrooms, but this is way behind the needs. The school at Kapterema has the full 8 classes but only 2 permanent classrooms, and another 3 of mud and iron sheets. Above everything else what is needed are the teachers, even if they have to teach under a tree. This is why we seek to make sure each class has a teacher.
We were encouraged in our visit to the Secondary School in Kasei although the boys were on half-term break. We were met and shown round by the Principal who is a very co-operative man who seems so interested in the school. There are more than 100 boys, and with the addition of the final class intake in 2014 it is reckoned there will be around 200, as the school is becoming popular. A dormitory is now complete, and a science laboratory nearing completion. But the best thing was to go into the ICT room and see 10 computers and all the equipment needed to use them! And this is a place that has no access to electricity, and the network is only a few years old. Isaiah Juma has a special responsibility to minister to these students. We suggested that we organize a special weekend of ministry for the students next year, and the Principal was encouraging for that.
The Lord continues to be so gracious in adding to our number.
· 8th. September. 3 young men were received into membership at the Lord’s Supper.
Tedd Atsulu Anyanzwa was born in a Christian family but later in life, by the grace of God, came to discover that he was not converted. In December 2007 he came to trust in Christ but struggled to locate a biblical church. When finally introduced to TBC he says it is the church he had all along wanted. He has been an avid listener of Al Martin and Paul Washer on the internet. He has recently graduated from University and is job hunting.
Edwin Kabui Karuga thought he was a Christian since he had responded to an altar call while in High School! He got very troubled one afternoon when he came to see us as the questions asked unsettled him in his ‘faith’. On 9th. June 2013 he was pierced in the heart by the preaching from 1 John 1:5-10 that “God is light”. He was so convicted of sin that he could barely sleep. There was no peace until he repented of his sins. He has also graduated from College and is looking for a job.
Johan Mortensen is a young man from Denmark who is spending some months with us here in Kenya. His father is the Pastor of the only established Reformed and Baptist Church in Denmark and who has had a great interest in the work here in Kenya. We are happy that he takes commitment to the local church so seriously that he wants to be a formal member although he will not be here a whole year.
Sarah Kane has grown up in the church and is now in High School (her mother is a long-standing member, and her father is a regular attender). At the beginning of the year her grandmother died in the Lord and she was greatly challenged asking herself what would happen if she were to die? The Lord used this to save her. She has to wait for baptism and reception into the church as she is at boarding school.
· 13th. October Kennedy Ooko Kitindah. He was converted August 2007 and came to know of the doctrines of grace through the internet. After studies at University and because of his interest in the dissemination of the gospel, he took a year of internship reaching out to students. After his recent relocation to Nairobi, he has continued with his passion for Christ to be known and so he is preaching to the Africa Nazarene University as well Kenyatta University students. He is passionate about missions and is considering theological studies.