In August we had the joy of hosting a volunteer team from Franklin, KY. While many of the team members were from First Baptist Church in Franklin, there were actually 4 different churches represented on the team; but it was obviously a team that God pulled together as they worked together so well.
The team worked in the Gankamba area in Tharaka-land with a preaching point that had been meeting under a huge tree for 3 months. The goal was to do evangelism and help increase the number of people attending the church, to encourage the work and people in the area, and to open the work as a new church.
The first day was spent in evangelism training and visitation. Folks from the Tharaka Association came to help during the week and formed teams of local people, Associational people, and American volunteers who worked together in learning how to do evangelism and preparing for an afternoon of visits. After lunch the teams were sent out - some on motorcycle taxis - to cover the area and make visits. God blessed and many people heard the gospel that day!
Day two began with Vacation Bible School activities for the children. By the end of the morning session around 90 children had arrived to take part, along with several adults. In the afternoon classes were offered for the adults. Women talked together over issues concerning women’s health and men began the afternoon talking about challenges in raising livestock and finished the time together talking about men’s health / HIV issues. The children who came with their parents enjoyed a little side fun with puppets and stories.
That night the JESUS film was shown and over 160 people came to watch - several prayed to accept Jesus after the film.
The last day Vacation Bible School was held again and around 100 children were on hand to enjoy it. This was interesting as no one would have thought 100 children lived within walking distance of our location in that rural area! The gospel was shared with the older children and fun was had by all. The afternoon was spent talking about general health and hygiene and water purification. At the end of that session the group circled around the tree and prayed, and the Association officially opened the preaching point as a church: Gankamba Baptist Church.
All in all around 60 people accepted Christ and many in the area heard the gospel. God blessed and it was a successful trip! The Associational Leadership has promised to follow up on those who made decisions and work to provide leadership in the new church.
Ogembo Cow Project
September 12 marked the closing of the year-long Dairy Cow Project sponsored by Baptist Global Response in the villages in the hills outside of Ogembo. Last October the first training session was held and over the past year 10 pastors completed the ‘Starting a Biblically Based Business’ course, received funding to build a shed and purchase a pregnant milk cow, and begin their dairy business. It has been an interesting year! Some successes, some failures, some blessings, and some disappointments - but in every case some lessons learned and experience gained.
Out of the 10 cows, 8 are still living and thriving - two were lost to unsuccessfully treated sicknesses.
Out of the 10 calves that were born, 6 are living: 3 heifers and 3 bulls. Three were lost either by miscarriage or after birth and one more is due in November.
Six pastors are currently selling milk and making a profit and we hope that the calf in November will bring that number to 7. Over 80 people (family members) are being supported through the enterprise.
Because of the stir in the community, interest and curiosity, people stopping by to inquire, etc., the pastors have seized the moment to witness and 19 people have accepted Christ, 8 Bible Studies have begun over the year, and 3 new churches have been started. Praise the Lord!
Each pastor has plans on how he intends to use his business training, experience, and new resources to continue to grow in business and provide for his family; and many of them are expressing how this has blessed their ability to minister as well.
In June of this year a team from Parkway Baptist Church in Goodlettsville, TN came to work in Tharaka. The 9 members on the team were from 4 different churches in 3 different states. This was the first team to work in the Tharaka area with us so there were a lot of unknowns going into it. God Blessed! It was a great group of volunteers who represented Christ well in their efforts and a new relationship with Tharaka Baptist and American Baptists was formed. This Kenyan - American team was able to accomplish a LOT during their days of work.
One of the projects consisted of training for delivering BGR Home Care (Hospice / AIDs) Buckets to homes of people bedridden and cared for. Teams were formed and training given, then some On-The-Job-Training took place as each team headed out into the community to place 9 buckets in homes. The 9 churches then had the number of buckets they requested left to take back to their own communities and their own visits to make.
Another day was spent at a local school. There were around 30 teachers who came from that school and the 9 churches for some teacher training and gifts of resources given to each of the schools represented. Meanwhile, the rest of the team went from room to room and spent time with the children, sharing the message of Jesus’ love for them and Scripture for them to take home.
The last day there was a mini-clinic held that treated over 200 patients for external health issues. Each one leaving was prayed with and witnessed to. All in all, 450 people heard the gospel during these days of work and 51 accepted Jesus as Savior! And the two countries’ believers coming together to work for the Kingdom shared a witness across the area and strengthened / encouraged churches left to minister there after the team left. To God Be The Glory!