OFF THE GRID — Jesus Sightings in Tanzania — Blog 2

The Moiben and Nzoia meetings completed, we packed up and headed for Tanzania. We left the hotel at 9:30 am and after only three hours of Just-In-Time-Planning in Eldoret. We jammed everything into two vehicles and headed south.

After side trips to Kisumu and Kisii, we reached the border after dark. The narrow, dark, pot hole filled road was beyond hazardous. The border crossing took about an hour during which a drunk thief tried but failed to pick Doug’s pocket.

Then on to Terime where we spent the night in the Gold Land hotel, an oasis of civilization in northern Tanzania. Well…almost. The power was out all night so the fans didn’t work and there was no hot water in the morning and there was no internet connectivity. But breakfast was good, so all was well.

We rebounded and headed for Kitenga.  If you read the earlier blog reviewing our 2010 trip to Changuge Hills in Mara District, you know we landed in the middle of a tribal war. God was present and gracious and peace came between the Luo and Kuria tribes at our church conference last year.

Now we are going into Kuria-land for the first time since the war.

Kitenga is a 45-minute (depending on the number of cattle herds) drive into the bush along the ‘Chisom Trail’. Kitenga is the market place for 4000 people in that area. It sports a dozen mud buildings and a vacated government grain shed (out of grain) which they generously loaned us for the first day of the meeting.

Pastor Patroba from Changuge was there to greet us. He is pioneering the work in Kitenga and we arrived during the breakfast he provides for the area children.

We worshipped and taught Intro to Jesus 101 all day. About 150 people attended – half those school children. The Good News of Jesus Christ was enthusiastically received. At the end of the day, 35 people made an initial response to follow Christ. To our amazement they reported that before that day that had never heard about the Bible and had never heard the name Jesus! (They had never seen white people in the village either.)

 We walked about twenty minutes to the place where lunch was prepared. Richard called it the Hard Rock Café. After a brief rest the meeting went on.

The second day the hot water heater was on, but no water actually came out of the tap. Back to Kitenga the leaders made a command decision to move the meeting into the market-place which we did. We worshipped and preached the basics of the Gospel with a crowd of people gradually gathering around the fringes of the market.

After Ben shared the plan of salvation, about 75 people came forward to accept Christ. Two young men rushed down the hillside waving their arms and shouting “Wait!” fearing they would be overlooked. We all had opportunities to speak and Joseph Omondi did an excellent job of making us understood in Swahili.

Afterward the men and women divided into groups. The guys perched on rocks up the hill and Richard delivered the Sermon on the Mount which was a lesson on marriage and family. Lydia also spoke to the ladies and was well received. (Her preaching education in Australia the last two years really paid off.)

That evening some of the team stayed behind to have an additional outdoor crusade. Some 500 local people gathered and 175 came to Christ.

Sunday morning we met for the final time. The government representative welcomed us and expressed government pleasure that the Gospel should be preached in all of Kuria-land. He also announced the government’s decision to grant a church plot for the construction of the first church in Kuria-land. Truly amazing favor God has given us with the local socialist government.

The service climaxed as we prayed for the more than 30 people who composed the first baptismal group in Kitenga history. We were so gratified for the more than 300 people who had publicly committed to follow Christ after hearing the Gospel for the first time.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Peter and Colleta Onunda came forward to greet us. They became new believers in Christ as a result of the 2010 Peace conference. They showed off their new son – named Doug Davender after guess who –  and presented me (Doug) their prize chicken as an expression of gratitude for bringing the Gospel to their home.

After rescuing the chicken from Ben (who had culinary intentions!), we bade everyone one farewell and  dropped back by the hotel to collect our laundry (which had been drying for two days) and to present my chicken to Washington (the guard who had befriended us) who looked like he could use a good meal.

Back at the border we met some local evangelists and ended up visiting and speaking briefly in their little church while Ben cleared the car through customs.

Another night-time run brought us to Kisumu where we spent the night before flying out to Mombasa the following morning. We tried a new short-cut out of Kisii (my kids would have been proud) and wandered around the darkened countryside for some time before stumbling on road to Kisumu.

We said goodbye to Ben and Joseph and flew to Nairobi and then down to Mombasa for the third leg of the Jesus Adventure.

Thank you all for your prayers – God is honoring them.

More tomorrow.

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