Kenya Journal September 2022 Edition 14
THE PLAN – Passing the baton.
Friday, September 2, 2022—Napetet Town/Lodwar region, Kenya
My most common question in America is “what happens to the ministry in Kenya once you are gone?”If you had been with me today in Napetet (Lodwar Region) and heard Pastor Harrison preach and teach, you would answer that question with “it will flourish.” God gifted Harrison to preach. I simply filled in a few gaps at critical times in his ministry in Kenya.
Harrison has maximized his potential as a student of the Word and an amazing communicator. He is easily our brightest and most educated preacher in Kenya. He will begin work on his doctorate degree soon. But today, I saw him preach to an uneducated crowd and he put the cookies on the lowest shelf so all could reach and have a bite.
My Swahali is not nearly good enough to preach with. Today, there were two translators. One to get the message from English to Swahali. Another to take it from Swahali to Turkana, the native tongue of this region of Kenya. Two translators are a challenge for me. I envied Harrison as he preached so seamlessly in his native Swahali. The Holy Spirit joined in and I watched a flow of language that I seldom experience, either as a preacher or a listener.
There is no substitute for indigenous ministry. Long ago I adopted the missionary mantra of J. Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China. He said, “we wish to see churches of believers presided over by
pastors of their own culture, worshipping God in their own tongue in edifices of a thoroughly native style.” I watched it today. Rev. Taylor was right…there is no substitute hearing the Gospel in your native
Our Kenyan staff, like Harrison, can read their hearers. They can tell when an illustration is connecting and when it is not. They know how far they push for repentance without getting the backlash of prideful
resistance. When God unzips a preacher and climbs in to deliver His Word, the conclusion if forgone! Life-change is imminent.
Harrison has a low tolerance for weak or lazy leaders. He does not tolerate them at his church in Tasia (Nairobi). Like most preachers, when he is more than 50 miles away from home, he feels a bit more freedom to get personal with Biblical application. I’m pretty sure he quit preaching and went to meddling more than once today.
I spent the last hour being counseled by Harrison. I have some difficult staff meetings this afternoon. I know my cultural limitations all too well. I needed to know that the Biblical truths that need to be applied, are done so with maximum grace but no license for fear of crossing taboo cultural lines. I needed a Kenyan pastor this afternoon. I’m not one. Harrison is.
The student has become the teacher. That was the plan all along. Harrison and I made plans today to start bringing teams of his young preacher and disciples to this region. It will be a dynamic two-way ministry. The young “city teams” from Nairobi will be pushed as far out of their comfort zones as possible without leaving Kenya. Turkana is technically in Kenya, but trust me, it is a whole other world than the Kenya most know. The Turkanans will see what multi-generational ministry looks like. The young people especially will be challenged as the next generation takes the baton from us old heads.
Oh yes…this ministry will continue. I didn’t start it, God did. I can’t sustain it…God can. Luke 6:40 tells us, “A disciple is not above his tacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be
like his teacher.”
For better or worse, I was looking in the mirror as Harrison preached today. I just pray it is God’s
fingerprints on both of us and not man’s.