From 22nd. to 28th. November I went west with Johan (from Denmark).
(1) Chebang’ang’ (near Kericho). Here David Ng’etich ministers in Glory Baptist Church. He used to be a member in Nairobi when he was at Bible School 15 years ago. He called around 10 local pastors so I could talk to them on ‘Tongues’. I decided to look at the issue more broadly by considering 1 Corinthians 12-14 as a whole. I was struck by two things. Hardly any of these men brought their Bibles with them. When provided with them they did not seem to know their way around the various parts. There is so much ignorance! In talking, some of them admitted that they get their teaching from listening to preachers in Crusades.
(2) Nyaguda (near Bondo). Here on Saturday afternoon we drove through Kisumu, Kenya’s 3rd. largest city. Nyaguda is on Lake Victoria so there is much fishing and eating of fish! I had never been here before but the father of the man leading this church planting work I first knew in 1979. Gilbert Opany had met us in Nairobi and it is he who gave us contacts so that work in west Kenya began in the early 1980s. His now old wife is still alive and had heard much about me and was so delighted that I finally came to their home.
This is the Sunday service meeting under a tree outside someone’s house.
On Sunday I preached on Galatians 6:14 in the morning, and after lunch on Ephesians 5:1-2. The background of these people is very much Old Testament as shown by some of the many questions afterwards. Why don’t we stone rebellious children (Deut. 21)? Should we remove shoes on entering a church building? Are there priests today? So many of the questions are about externals, but this always gives an opportunity to preach about the things that really matter.
On Monday Nathan had called local pastors for a meeting in a Community Resource Centre where he wanted me to deal with Justification. Once again I decided to go through the Scriptures, Romans 1-5.
A few pastors and young people from the church plant discussing about Justification
There were some good questions that were provoked by the Biblical doctrine. What happens when we sin after being justified? What is the relationship between justification and baptism? Was there faith in the Old Testament? How can I know my sins are forgiven? One man publicly admitted that although a long-standing preacher he has not properly understood the Old Testament.
Nathan Opany, his wife, 6 children, and mother, at the home in Nyaguda.
Nyaguda is a hard area to work in. His father had tried to start a church but it came to nothing. There is much false teaching and traditionalism. In addition, to support his family, Nathan drives a motorbike for more than 12 hours 6 days a week. This has become a common form of public transport in the rural areas of Kenya. May Nathan clearly preach the true gospel message and we are sure the word will not return to the Lord without a harvest.
(3) Siaya. A bit to the north of Bondo is the church linked to TBC and whose leader is Charles Abwok. We had a morning meeting here on Tuesday as we passed by, and I preached to them about the armour of God from Ephesians 6:10-18. Only 5 were able to be present although the church is quite small.
(4) Funyula (near Busia on the Ugandan border). In this small town Simon Ochieng’ is seeking to plant a church. After arrival he was eager to show us the 100 chickens at the back of his house, a project we have helped him to develop so he can become self-sustaining. Simon is finding the work in the town difficult, with people showing interest and then going away. There are 12 members, but only 7 are resident. On Wednesday we went outside the town for a few kilometres, to Dhila, where there are some interested people. Around 20 people, mostly women gathered in a large living room, and I preached on, What is a Christian, from Acts 2:37-42. After being provided with lunch, I was given a complete stick of bananas, mangoes, maize cobs and a live chicken. Such is Kenyan hospitality, from people we would consider poor. In the afternoon we visited the homes of one former PTC student (Eric), and one who has just completed his first year (Hezbon). Hezbon supports himself, wife and 4 children, by selling second-hand men’s trousers/jeans at local markets. He is finding things very difficult and is considering giving up ministry for a while so he can concentrate on business and studies. His wife clearly told him, Whatever you do complete the studies!
(5) Mumias. One the way back to Nairobi I took 3 young people from Funyula for the High School Camp. We stopped in to have a cup of tea with Elly Achok, who finished the PTC in 2012. He agreed with me that our Reformed Pastors think they have done enough when they expound Scripture, sola Scriptura! They do not seem to emphasize the central issues of depravity and grace in order to expose the false man-centred gospel. The Elly showed me the draft of a book he hopes soon to publish, Hell’s Best Revealed Secret, Reflections on the Invitation System. He was a totally devoted practitioner of the system for 17 years until the Lord revealed the doctrines of grace to him. This is the sort of writing and preaching that we need here in Kenya.