Tuesday evening Willie and Janice joined me at the hotel for supper . They brought their active three-year old son Goodell. He is about as cute as they come–except for my own grandchildren of course.
I was looking forward to seeing Willie and Janice after more than a year. Over a meal of fish, rice, fresh garden vegetables and fruit, they caught me up on what God has been doing in their lives.
I was struck by the radiance of Jesus shining off this couple. The presence of the Lord at our table had a profound effect on me.
On the home front, Goodell has just started nursery school and is quite unconvinced that his school will not allow his Mom to attend with him. And Willie and Janice are happily expecting their second child in February.
To say that Willie and Janice have been fruitful in ministry in recent years is an understatement.
Willie is an accomplished musician who has produced amazing Christian music videos. The evangelistic teams of which he is a leader present the Gospel in music, dance and proclamation to children and teens in school assemblies.
So powerful and transformative is their ministry as part of Global Field Evangelism that they have been encouraged by a Member of Parliament to share Jesus with every student in every school in Kenya.
To date they have presented the Gospel to almost 1 million students. (There are 10 million school children in Kenya out of a population of 40 million people.)
Willie reported on their activity during 2011.
By count they shared the Gospel with 118,000 kids in 380 schools. He said with regret, “It was a low year, but I’m sure that we will do better in 2012.”
A low year?
Their teams work on an impossibly small budget. They share an old van that frequently breaks down before they can get to their locations. They have enough school invitations to keep three teams on the road full-time.
They are also a sound system short, often forcing them to choose which school they will attend and which one will have to wait.
How they do this is beyond me. They often have nowhere to sleep but the cement floor of a classroom. Sometimes there is nothing to eat after a full day of ministry. How they pay their rent and feed their children is beyond me.
Yet they are filled with joy and their only frustration seems to be their inability—because of logistical limitations– to respond to all of the invitations from schools ready to welcome them.
Right now they have access to most schools in Kenya and everyone senses this moment of opportunity may not last long. Islam, Satanism and secularism are also making their appeals for the hearts of an entire generation.
I asked Willie how the students respond to the message of Christ?
By count last year, he told me, 75% of the students made an initial response to follow Jesus. As did many teachers and school administrators.
A low year.
One school was particularly memorable. Willie had scheduled this school four times previously, but each time they were prevented from going by vehicle breakdowns, no money to buy fuel or sudden strange circumstances.
On their fifth attempt (this past year), their loaded van stopped a few miles out of town and could not be restarted. Nevertheless, they were determined to make it this time.
So they unloaded their equipment, stood on the side of the road, joined hands and began praying for God to intervene to provide a way for them to make the three hour trip through the mountains.
After some time a friend called Willie on his cell and asked, “Are you needing a van for something?”
After another delay, they loaded the borrowed vehicle, made the hazardous trip in the dark and finally arrived at the boarding school at 9:00 PM – ten hours late.
But the students and staff were still waiting for them! So they quickly set up and began to minister.
Soon the Holy Spirit settled on the group and the teens began to weep–began to confess their sins—began to plead with Jesus to save them—until their cries were so loud the formal meeting had to stop.
During that night and the next day, every student in the school but one came to Christ.
Two individual stories from that meeting.
The girl who initially did not respond was Muslim. She wanted to embrace Jesus but rightly feared for her safety should she do so. The team encouraged her pray and ask Jesus what to do.
The next night she slept and to her amazement Jesus came in the night and began to take her fellow students by the hands and lift them into heaven–until she was left all alone.
In her dream she was terrified, realizing that she was about to miss her opportunity to know and live with God.
Finally, she cried out to Jesus not to abandon her–to come and save. To her relief Jesus returned for her, took her by the hand and began to lift her into heaven. She awoke–a new creation in Christ Jesus.
She went home but said nothing to her parents. But they soon began to press her, “Something has happened. You are different. You are not the same person.”
She began to fast regularly and lock herself in a closet to pray for her family. After four months her mother also met Jesus and confided to her daughter that she was now saved.
After a few more months of fasting and praying together, her father announced to them
that he had also met Jesus and was now saved.
Meeting Jesus is glorious. Following him is Life. But new life in Christ is not without its complications. The family had to move to another city to escape the threats of their Muslims neighbors who discovered their new birth.
The second individual story was that of a young girl who confided to the team that she had been a part of a group of students secretly worshipping Satan.
She told them Satan alerted them each time the team was planning to come to their school. Each time they engaged in fierce witchcraft to prevent the team from coming.
Four times they were successful. But the fifth time, when they tried to pray against the team, a wall of fire rose up against them and they were scattered.
So the team arrived safely. The Spirit of God descended. The Gospel was preached. And in the end, every student came to Christ.
What about follow up?
The teams are partnered with Christian Union which is in many schools in Kenya. Together they establish student fellowships in each school where the teams have lead kids to Christ.
The new believers—with official school support—meet early every Monday morning for worship, prayer and Bible study and again every Friday after school for the same. Tuesdays through Thursdays the students meet informally at school for prayer.
Willie says they are hoping for better year this year.
I am hoping for God to rasie up a team of folks with Richard Cazzell and me who are interested in providing proper logistical support, dependablee finances and 100,000 New Testaments to super-charge this ministry and enable new teams to prepare to similarly carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ to neighboring African countries.
The doors are wide open.
The young people are waiting.
The clock is ticking….