Kenya Journal February 11 2023
SABOTI – Only Jesus bring out “the good stuff” at the end of a party! The Mississippi team taught/preached/trained in the Kitale main church today. Pastor Richard and I made our way to a new church plant in the “bush” in a village called Saboti. God has a habit of leading Richard to unreached/unchurched villages. Richard has a habit of doing personal evangelism in that village to see if the Gospel will be accepted. When the Gospel is received, Richard raises up a pastor and plants a church in that village. Then, Richard has a habit of inviting me to come preach in the new church. I have a habit of answering yes, without reservation.
I seldom know where we are going. I did not know today. I just assume Richard is taking me as the advance scout to see if se might be able to send others here in the future. Once we left the tarmac road, the pace slowed to a crawl. 3-5 MPH was all we could go on this rub board road. The countryside was amazing! Pastoral rolling hills with large expanses of farm land punctuated by the occasional umbrella Acacia tree. The farmers were busy at a work with the rainy season bearing down on us.
When we pulled into the compound housing the rented church the pastor was waiting for us under the tree. His elder grabbed my backpack and the pastor grabbed my hand as we made the brisk walk down the hill to the church. The pastor gave me the insight Richard had not. This building was built by the Colonials in 1952. It was a tavern filled with drunks, thugs, and prostitutes. This morning it is a church of God filled with former drunks, thugs, and prostitutes. And, there are a few who have not quite made the conversion yet. I assured the pastor I would feel right at home. This was not my first visit to a tavern!
With our arrival worship transitioned into welcomes and testimony. The pastor’s wife stood to greet us and tell us of her joy. Her tears announced her joy before she could open her lips. I learned later that she and her pastor husband came very close to quitting not long ago. They were reaching no one. No one was coming to worship.
The village was filled with violence and danger. The police station experienced three drive-by shootings. They dared not walk the streets alone. Finally, her emotions took her voice and breath. Richard took the microphone to finish her story. He went and prayed with them. He told them that God would move if they would not faint and quit. He took them by the hand that day and walked the streets with them. Richard shared Christ with one of the local thugs. God saved the young man on the spot. The next day the man
went to the pastor’s house for prayer, surrendered his gun to the pastor, and came to church with him.
Richard called him forward. Joseph was his name. As Joseph shared his testimony the crowd listened wide-eyed. This man had a well-earned bad reputation. I sense the sentiment in the room was, “did God really save him?!” Followed quickly by, “if God saved Joseph, could He save me/“
I preached the simplest version of the Gospel I have ever delivered in my long preaching career. I have never had more clarity. Never more unction. Never more connection with a foreign speaking congregation. Never an easier sermon delivery through a translator. NEVER! The Gospel did its work. Many were saved. We made our way to the car to the sound of worship and prayer as those receiving Christ were counseled and prayed over. I asked the pastor to send me the photos of the baptism in a few weeks.
Oh, I forgot to tell you—after Richard encouraged the pastor and his wife, and after Joseph accepted Christ and was baptized, the church grew to 70 members. They have baptized all 70 of those in the past three months. There were over 100 present to hear the Gospel this morning in the tiny tavern church. Upon my return to Kitale I got the report that the Mississippi team had a great ministry morning as well. Souls were saved, the Gospel preached, leaders trained, and the church encouraged. That’s a good ministry day.
I told Richard to keep listening to God and keep finding new villages filled with Jospeh’s. I promised him I would keep climbing into his vehicle and crawling down these bumpy bush roads as long as God gave us breath and energy.
There was a header at the beginning of this writing. “Only Jesus brings out the good stuff at the end of the party.” That is my paraphrase of the miracle at Canaan. Today, it was my take on God’s favor on our ministry schedule for this trip. Just when you think the “party” can’t get any better, Jesus reaches into his bottomless vat of blessing and pours us one that surpasses the others. I am so glad I was invited to this party. It has been quite the God-adventure.
your prayers = our fuel.
God is great!
By, grace, your brother,