Kenya Ministry Report
Put This Money to Work
"So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. 'Put this money to work,' he said, 'until I come back'" (Luke 19:13).
1. God's work in 2010
In 2010, the key verse for Kenya UBF was 1 Timothy 4:15, "Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress." On December 8, 2009, Kenya UBF celebrated its 20th anniversary. We discovered that for 20 years Kenya UBF had laid a foundation for God's work through 1:1 Bible studies and testimony writing and sharing. Initially, students did not appreciate personal spiritual care due to cultural differences. However, through patient and humble care, most of our leaders came to understand the spiritual benefit of personal care through a 1:1 relationship. From last year, they began helping their Bible students through 1:1 Bible studies, and now our mission center is overcrowded with 1:1 tables every day. God also blessed many of our leaders to bring tithes to the Lord. Since 2008, we could hold all our conferences with no financial support from the missionaries, and from the 2009 Easter Bible Conference, we were even able to save some money.
Based on this spiritual foundation, in the year 2010, we prayed for our spiritual progress. We prayed especially for all our leaders to grow from their old human self to a new spiritual self. In order to achieve this, our thinking had to change from human ways to biblical ways based on the truth of the Bible. How is this possible?
In search of the answer to this question, during January, we studied 1 Timothy. Paul advised in 1Ti 2:8, "I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing." We prayed to grow as men of prayer. 1Ti 3:1 says, "Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task." We prayed to grow as spiritual leaders for this generation. 1Ti 5:1b-2 says, "Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity." We prayed to grow in holy living and in pure spiritual fellowship.
In order to support such spiritual growth direction, we studied Luke's gospel from February till the end of the year. So far, we have studied almost 42 lectures, but we still haven’t finished Luke's gospel. This is because we designed the Bible passages to be as short as possible to avoid increasing our head knowledge only. We want to put at least one key verse into practice until it changes our way of thinking.
In addition, in order for the ministry to grow in number, we realized that the making of a holy vessel among fellowship leaders is very important. So, we strengthened the fellowship leaders’ meeting that takes place every Saturday. We discussed all the spiritual matters going on in each fellowship and prayed for them with one heart and mind. God blessed our struggle to be united in prayer so that most of the fellowships grew in number, and each and every member was spiritually taken good care of. One good example is a student member from the Immanuel fellowship. Musili had suffered for some time from the fear of death. This was due to a wrong diagnosis from a general practitioner in a public hospital he had visited. He had gone there due to some pain in his shoulder, but the doctor told him that his lungs were enlarged. He said to him, don't exercise heavily and don't eat meat; otherwise, you will die at any moment. Because of the fear of death, he was tempted to commit suicide. But when our leaders heard about his trouble and checked his hospital records, we realized that the doctor hadn’t even done a basic medical test such as an EGC. We all agreed to fund him to go for a professional check-up. Finally, the expert cardiologists declared that his lungs were more than normal. Since then, he has become alive from death. His returned joy and life has brought our fellowship great joy too. This also enabled the Kenyan leaders to appreciate the use of the offering and commit more to the Sunday worship offering.
Next, we prayed for our senior leaders to grow in the ministry of the word. We emphasized that our senior leaders participate as messengers. One of our Kenyan leaders, Kevin, joined the Sunday messengers group. This included M. Mark and Joshua. We struggled hard to prepare Sunday messages, from at least two weeks before, and to practice enough to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. At first, Kevin had great difficulties in keeping the time. But through this training, he showed a great improvement in time keeping and exposition of the passage. M. Joshua also overcame his weakness in English and showed great and significant improvement in serving the English messages. He also developed a spirit of deep meditation that enabled him to serve deep expository sermons. Meanwhile, M. Livingstone took leadership of the 5-minute messengers group. These messengers served the members’ prayer meetings every Friday and Saturday. By serving Daily Bread messages every Friday, M. Livingstone trained himself and made great progress in serving messages. Under his good influence, morning devotion was revived. Also, our growing leaders, like Otieno, Wekesa, and Juma, made spiritual progress in preaching by serving Daily Bread messages for each prayer meeting.
God also blessed our growing leaders to serve the Easter Bible Conference as main messengers. Our EBC was held from April 1-4. The theme was chosen from Luke 23:34, "Father, forgive them!" In order to learn what a sinful world we are living in and find the way to live according to God's will, we studied Genesis 3 (Otieno) and Genesis 6 (Juma). We also wanted to learn the meaning of Jesus' crucifixion for sinners like us (Fred). God blessed our conference with 65 people in attendance. Out of the 65, 25 were freshmen. Compared to other conferences, this conference showed that we progressed in terms of our freshmen ministry and financial management. Except for only a few, most first years who attended had been having 1:1 Bible study and attending the Sunday worship service. Most of all, out of the 25 freshmen, 12 were challenged to prepare and present a musical drama by faith. Through doing so, the first year members created a holy vessel even after the conference. In addition, in financial management, whereas previously we used to cover the deficit through the missionaries' support, this time we recorded a surplus.
In May, God also helped us have a workshop. We had a book symposium for our leaders with the title, "Growing toward Spiritual Maturity." We were reminded again that spiritual maturity is to bear spiritual fruit both internally, by organizing our thoughts and way of life according to biblical truth, and externally, by raising disciples. God helped all our leaders to grow through taking care of God’s flock through 1:1 Bible study.
In October, through much prayer, all the leaders joined the outreach ministry. Most of the leaders were able to have 2-3 Bible students, and every night, due to a huge number of 1:1 Bible studies, we could not but expand the mission center to create more space for 1:1 tables. During this period, our fellowship leaders came up with a prayer topic that we may build our own mission center by our own hands by the year 2020. Otieno, an architect by profession, volunteered to draw a blueprint for our future center. We agreed to create a special offering for the funding.
Personally, I took Gal 5:16 as my 2010 key verse, "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature." I prayed to learn how to control myself in serving God’s flock, ministry, and my private life and bear the fruit of self-control. I thank God that he enabled me especially to overcome the early morning temptation to sleep and attend morning devotion regularly. When I devoted myself to morning devotion, God also moved my two sons to join me in attending morning devotion regularly for half of the year. Most of all, God gave me grace to bear the fruit of patience toward one Bible student. When he stood firm in his ways, I didn't know what to do. But God helped me to trust him only and pray and provide him words of God faithfully regardless of his human behavior. Through this, I learned the beauty of a shepherd's loving patience. Finally, he came back to his spiritual senses and repented. And in December, God blessed him to get engaged.
2. Spiritual vision for 2011
While praying for 2011 spiritual direction, God touched me with Luke 19:13, "So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. 'Put this money to work,' he said, 'until I come back.'" The news of disasters, weather changes, and rumors of wars and strife are telling us that Jesus is coming soon and very soon. I wondered what we should do. Jesus gave me an answer, "Put this money to work until I come!" This year, I pray that all our leaders may grow as good managers of God's gifts. I pray that we may all identify our one gift from God and maximize on it to make our ministry grow and become fruitful internally and externally.
Personally, in 2010, I was tied down too much by my self-supporting job. In the meantime, our student ministry became stagnant for almost two years. I really pray that God may revive me first and then revive our leaders to be fruitful. How can I do so? I look to 1Sa 7:3, "And Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, 'If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.'" The answer is repentance.
In 2011, I want to do one thing with devotion. I want to write Bible testimonies every week without fail. Even for our ministry, though we have many prayer topics, such as to send one missionary to a nearby country by 2013 and to build a Bible center by 2020 by our own hands, in 2011, above all, we pray that all our members may devote their heart to writing Bible testimonies and sharing them every week absolutely. In this way, I hope in God that we may grow as a community through repentance and that our ministry may have spiritual revival and double in number.
One Word: Year of spiritual revival through repentance