Much Prayer – Much Power
Not a corn field anymore!
Tuesday February 18—Mt. Elgon Training and Conference Center, Mt. Elgon, Kenya Two years ago I stood with a group of pastors and leaders in a corn filed and asked God to bring forth a building to house and care for the young missionary students who would attend this training center.
For 14 years now pastors and leaders have been trained to plant new churches and evangelize this mountainous region of Kenya. We started as under the shade tree. Then, we borrowed the Pentecostal church on the road below. Then God gave us a pot of land…the conference center…and now the dormitories to house our students and faculty.
Our schedule and our outlook has changed. No longer will we meet one day a week for teaching and training. That process takes our two courses of study 2-3 years for a disciple to complete. With the new dorms our students will not have to walk back home only to return next week for one day of teaching. There will be three semesters of 4-6 weeks each of intense training. The students will be housed in the gleaming new dormitory that has risen from the old corn field. They will sleep on comfortable beds (some for the first time in their lives.) The showers are hot. The toilets flush! I must admit, I’m not sure if I was most taken by the gleam of the new dormitory or the beautiful new toilets and showers in the rooms!
Today was another day of celebration. I should have made T-shirts for the U.S. team—the 2/20 celebration tour—-Kenya, East Africa.
Over 400 students, graduates, family, friends and our community neighbors crammed into the conference center. We purchased 100 new plastic chairs to add to our 200 we already owned. Obviously, it was not enough!
The morning was filled with teaching and training from the U.S. team on the practical applications of the Great Commission. Every course taught, lesson planned, and sermon preached in this place leads to the foundational teaching of the Great Commission.
We believe Jesus was serious about it. So, we are too.
I spoke to the graduates today. I reminded them that we were standing in a hard place. The mountain under us is solid granite.
The tribes who inhabit this region have a well earned reputation for being hot-tempered and violent. Outsiders are not welcomed without close scrutiny. And then, never completely. (In my home of Arkansas we say, “You ain’t from around here, are you?”
I told the graduates to enjoy the soft beds, the warm showers, the delicious meals provided by God through the bank accounts of our American partners. For many, once they walk out these gates it will be the last bed, shower or full meal they see for sometime. Their churches are to be planted in the bush.
Alongside a foot path. Under a tree. They will live in a small hut, if they have a house at all. They will eat what God provides. They will only have the fellowship and encouragement of the amazing starts that pierce in inky darkness of the Kenyan night sky. They will often feel alone and abandoned by God and all of their classmates they dance, shout and sing with today.
I reminded them that when Pastor Richard and I came here…it was a hard place then. But, we don’t shirk away from hard places. As one great missionary put it; “much prayer—much power!”
It was a glorious, emotion packed day. My tear ducts nearly betrayed me on several occasions. But, I finally lost it when Pastor Elijah (our dean) introduced the 20 pastors visiting today from Uganda. They had heard of the training center in nearby Mt. Elgon. They had come to see what the Lord was doing. And to enquire…is there room for Ugandans here?
Our students and staff spontaneously rose to their feet clapping, shouting and motioning with open arms….COME! COME JOIN WHAT THE LORD IS DOING ON THIS MOUNTAIN.
So, just like that the training center became an international training center. A visit to Tanzania is already being planned to welcome our untrained but eager pastors there.
There is no human explanation for what I saw today. Our tiny ministry does not have the resources to build what I saw. I have never graduated from any Bible training center or seminary—nor, has Pastor Richard. But here we sit today. Handing out diplomas and making congratulatory speeches at yet another celebration of our graduating students. Truly, He chooses the lowly things to confound the might!
Humbled. Blessed. Excited. Encouraged. Tired. And….broke! We have emptied our accounts in the Lord’s lap. Time to refresh and replenish.
Your partnership is the foundation from which we spring. Your prayers = our fuel.
By grace, your brother,
President/Founder Light Ministries, Inc.