We (Richard, Lydia and Doug) spent Sat night in Nairobi, had lunch with friends Albert & Nancy Mulemi and flew to Eldoret in western Kenya. We were met by our hosts Bishop Ben Bahati and Joseph Omondi who lead Global Field Evangelism. After a catch-up-on-things-supper, we crashed in a jet-lag fog.
The driving commitment of GFE is We Go to Them! While many ministries focus on the urban areas, GFE establishes bases in the urban areas to reach out into the small towns and villages where evangelism and leadership training area sparse.
So we ‘went to them’ on Monday. We drove 33 miles to the rural village of Moiben. The trip took 90 minutes–the final 13 mile stretch of ‘road’ taking an hour. The rains are on and the dirt roads morph into muddy bogs that would make the Swamp People feel right at home.
We met Pastor Alfred at the GFE Spiritual Life Center – a new church meeting in a partially completed tin building. Because of weather delays we didn’t get started until 11:30 (what? a meeting starting late in Africa?) and taught a group of 70 people packed into the small building. Many had walked in the mud long distances to attend. Several area pastors came as did many women and children from the area.
The pastor enthusiastically welcomed us saying, “Never since the creation of the world have white people come to this church in Moiben!” True. However, the church is only two months old, so that’s understandable.
The people were extremely attentive and responsive–even the young children. We distributed some important resource materials and joined Alfred and Jesca in their tiny flat for a wonderful lunch of Kenya fare: rice, cabbage, chicken, chipati (tortilla-like bread) and fresh fruit.
Pastor Alfred is a former soccer star whom God drafted for evangelism and church planting. We were received like rock stars by the local kids who cheered our coming and going. The meeting ended positively with everyone looking forward to the next day.
After the grueling return trip, we got settled into our rooms at the Poa Hotel where we cashed early. For the second morning we all awoke between 3 & 4 a.m. Good early prayer times for all, but jet lag is a drag.
The Holy Spirit warned me we should attempt our second trip to Moiben only in a 4-wheel drive vehicle. So, arrangements were made for that. We got off very late and arrived in Moiben at noon. There had been heavy rains overnight and we arrived only with difficulty in a 4-wheel drive Toyota, taking almost two hours to make the 33 mi journey.
The meeting didn’t start until 12:30 PM because the people also had great difficulty getting there in the flooded roads. One lady was so determined to attend she walked 13 miles through the mud!
The teaching was well received and five people testified at the end of the transforming work the Spirit was doing in their lives. One pastor testified that there was a new unity among the leaders present and they had determined to approach every Christian leader in the area with the goal of forging a bond of unity in the work of the Gospel.
After the two-hour return trip (with more rain) with four passengers jammed in the back seat (you just can’t say NO in Africa) we arrived back at the hotel. We had supper with Willie and Janice, a young couple with extraordinary ministries. Janice ministers to homeless women and their children on the streets of the city. A very difficult ministry.
Willie leads a music evangelism ministry that has ministered to and shared the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ to 1 million students in over 2000 schools. Hundreds of thousands have come to Christ in this shoe-string-budgeted ministry. And their vision is growing to reach the young people of surrounding countries in Africa.
Wednesday we traveled to the Uganda border area to the village of Nzoia where we spent the day with 55 area pastors, hosted by Pastors George and Jackie. We packed four days of conference teaching into one (!) and were well received.
Testimonies at the end spoke of new thinking, repentance and a fresh direction for them in life and ministry. A growing unity among the area church leaders was a blessing to behold.
We raced back to Eldoret stopping at the GFE orphanage for a brief visit with orphans our families and friends support. The love and care of the Christian staff was evident in the smiling faces of the children who are maturing rapidly. The joy we have being a part of this amazing ministry far exceeds the actual financial contribution. (GFE wonderfully cares for and feeds more than 1000 orphans and would like to double that number as additional support materializes.)
Back at the Eldoret church, we had a final meeting was with the 30 member class of 20-somethings training in Transforming Prayer under the able tutorship of Joseph Omondi. They are bright, beautiful Jesus-centered young adults who are committed to sharing the Gospel in their area and throughout Africa. The prayer training provides them a state-of-the-art ministry tool for evangelism and church Planting.
Welllll……while my dad and Doug were off transforming the church one-pastor-at-a-time, I (Lydia) was roaming the western Kenyan coutryside visiting orphanages (and breaking down some sweet dance moves) with Mary Bahati. For three days we dominated pothole after pothole, managing to make it to our destinations without having to get out and push the van out of the mud. (Amen!)
The Bahati’s have done a remarkable job in creating a home for the hopeless. Upon entering each of the orphanages, I immediately felt the love that is abundantly poured out to each child. Together, the three orphanages are home to 175 children!
The purpose behind each of my visits was to document the stories of the children: where they came from, how they are now, and who they want to be in the future. It breaks my heart to hear the stories of abandonment, abuse, death, disease, and hunger; however, it reminds me of how beautiful our God really is. These stories break His heart too…but now, God is taking the pen from the enemy, erasing the curse and writing the progressive love-journey that culminates in a glorious end that is to come. …take heart, my friends, He has overcome. –Lydia
Today we (all) are off to Tanzania for four days of ministry in the bush. We will be in a communications blackout until next week. We’ll post the Tanzania report as soon as possible.