I met Richard and Lydia Cazzell in Dallas and we flew out for Kenya on July 4th. The flight to Amsterdam was uncomfortable and tedious. Coach seats these days are designed to elicit a confession from the most hardened criminal.
We caught a nice breakfast in Amsterdam before boarding our flight for Nairobi.
A few hours into that flight, a passenger began to have a severe nose-bleed. Four doctors tried unsuccessfully to stop it and the man appeared to be dying. Richard and I went and prayed for him as he was stabilized enough to be carried to a seat.
All that to say, we made an emergency landing in Cairo where the man was offloaded for transport to a hospital. We learned later that he had survived the ordeal, but we got into Nairobi two hours late and didn’t get to bed until 2 a.m. Friday the 6th.
Friday afternoon we had a ‘divine appointment’ with a missionary from Tanzania at the
Methodist Guest House – Steve Lyons – who gave us a two hour orientation into their ministry of evangelism. They tell 37 narrative stories which take the listener from Creation to Christ. They are having great success among people groups that ordinarily resist a conventional Gospel presentation. So looks like we’ll soon have another arrow in our ministry quiver.
On Saturday we had meetings with three ministries with which we have had long relationships regarding future joint ministry activities. One looks especially promising, so it was a productive day.
On Sunday we each went to a different church to preach.
After an hour drive through Nairobi, I arrived at the GFE Spiritual Life Center buried in a wretched slum in the Tassia area. Tassia is wedged between the Nairobi-Mombasa highway (to the north) and the Nairobi Game Park (to the south).
I was met by Harrison and Christina Mmaitsi who have pioneered a dozen congregations amid the urban squalor. Harrison works full-time in evangelism and leadership training. Christina works as a customer service rep for a regional airline.
The church building is a ramshackled metal building with a thin veneer cement floor. Some 150 worshippers were packed into the 3rd service of the morning when I arrived. The worship was exuberant and the presence of God in the meeting was apparent. I always enjoy the worship hear. There is such a spirit of joy—the music rocks—the people clap and shout and dance—and everyone participates.
The visitors were welcomed with hugs and kisses, and then my turn came to speak. I introduced myself, taught the “5 Minute Bible” and then ministered to the emotional pain in the people. Africans live with a high level of emotional pain, but they talk little about it and seem to have limited language to do so. Perhaps the lack of a ready remedy makes it pointless to try.
Afterward I ate lunch with the pastors. We discussed their hopes for constructing their own building and a primary school. Although the couple has very little financial income, they have managed to open a ‘feeding school’ where they do pre-school education with 50 slum kids and feed them one meal a day. Several of the kids are surviving on this one meal. When funds are available, they plan to go to twice daily feedings and increase the number of children they are able to care for.
After a side trip to a local housing project with our host Ben Bahati, we arrived at the airport with one minute to spare to catch our flight to Eldoret. As soon as we got in the hotel Sirikwa, we hit the hay, knowing we’d be up at 5:30 a.m. Monday to prepare for the first day of the Bible School.
It’s good to be here.
It’s hard to believe that a year has already passed and now I find myself back in Kenya for yet another God-breathed adventure. I am a blessed woman. With each conversation I have, whether around the dinner table, in the car, or at the church or an orphanage, I recognize even more how blessed I truly am.
The high caliber of people that I am constantly surrounded by continues to blow me away. Their otherworldly passion and extreme determination to see the lost found and God’s kingdom established on earth is just…wow – there are no words. I soak it all in, learning from each person that I encounter.
Saturday night, while having dinner with the world-changing Mambeleos, my dad nonchalantly tells me that Ben Bahati has arranged for me to preach the next morning during a GFE church’s Sunday service.
Most people would freak at this moment, being unprepared and all; however, I have learned to be thankful for just an hour’s notice let alone a full night heads-up that I will be preaching. After dinner, I simply prayed for God to speak to me and speak through me. God, being the kind gentleman that He is, granted me my request and within an hour and a half I had my sermon ready.
The following morning, Ben and I took off in the opposite direction of Pop and Doug, out of Nairobi just past the national park and to a small town that I, unfortunately, cannot remember the name of.
When we arrived at the church, Ben warmed up the (tiny) crowd with a couple of his original songs, then introduced me and I began to preach the Word God gave me. The people were very enthusiastic and received the Word. Forty minutes later, 2 girls gave their hearts to Jesus and 7 people received prayer.
Being from a large American church, it is refreshing to experience the Spirit of God move in such a powerful yet uncomplicated way within a simple church of 25. One thing I have seen is that at the core of all humanity across the Earth, we all crave the same thing – “For He has set eternity in the hearts of man.” Ecclesiastes 3:11.
Bwana Asifwe. Praise the Lord.
The flight to Kenya was another test of physical endurance which is just a requirement to reach the prize, not unlike hiking up a mountainside at 8000’ elevation to shoot a bull elk.
We had a nice 3-day stay in Nairobi at the Methodist Guest House (MGH) which was a large compound with a nice restaurant and decent internet. We all “jet lagged” through Friday by sleeping until 2:30 P.M. That meant we cat napped through Friday night and yawned our way through 3 separate meetings with friends on Saturday. Fortunately we crashed Saturday night and got some really nice sleep.
Friday night we had a very nice dinner at a restaurant in the Westlands shopping mall with Daddy Owen and Willie Andabwa plus other friends. Daddy’s Christian music ministry has propelled into real fame throughout Kenya, although he remains one of the most humble guys you’ll ever meet.
A waitress recognized him from music videos that are played frequently on national television, and got his autograph. It’s nice to know these Christian entertainers, and exciting to see their impact.
The Saturday meetings started with breakfast with Nancy & Albert Mulemi who pastor Faith Chapel church in Nairobi. We are doing a pastor’s conference with them in Webuye, western Kenya, on our final 3 days in the country.
A little before lunch we met with our long-time ministry partner Bishop Emmanuel Chai from Mombasa along with two leaders of his church, Simon Menza and Anderson Musyoka. At supper we had George & Susan Mambeleo over to MGH to dine with us. George is getting gray hair in his beard but is still travelling all over Africa and Asia training pastors and leaders with Life Ministries International.
Sunday morning Bishop Ben Bahati met us for breakfast at MGH, and we loaded our luggage in one of his GFE vans and smiled as Joseph Simiyu drove on off to Eldoret with our stuff. Ben took Lydia to one church to preach, and took Doug to another to preach.
I remained at MGH until 11:30 when Albert Mulemi picked me up to preach in his church. He had suggested that I teach about “the family as a Christian witness”, which after praying about it, decided to go with that. The message was a curious combo of raising kids according to the Book (Ephesians 6:1), coupled with doing the Jesus stuff found in Ephesians 4:12 and Luke 4.
Being that this was the church’s second service for the day, coupled with my finishing in 55 minutes (including the Swahili translation), the group received the message really well. Albert then led a powerful prayer time.
Of course I had a lovely Kenyan lunch after the service and then greeted all the kids in the church with some sweets that Albert had bought. By 3:30 we were off to Jomo Kenyatta airport where I bought Jetlink airline tickets for our flight to Eldoret.
While waiting for Lydia and Doug to arrive I had a restful time sitting on a sidewalk with a bottle of water enjoying a gentle cool breeze like we might see in early November in Arkansas. The temperature was about 67.
The real work begins Monday morning at the Bible School, and we’re ready to jump in.