Follow this link to the Brothers in Kenya blog which has pictures from the first Kenya missionary trip, supporting project information, mission travel tips and all the up to date pictures and emails we receive from our brothers in a Africa.
Updates from Kenya
Things have been going great we preached today at 4 churches and one nursery school. There were five baptisms. The trip is so rewarding but very tough on your heart. Their love for God is so rich yet they are so poor. Wycliffe continues to do a great job and many of these churches were the ones we first visited last year. Continue to pray for our brothers and sisters here and for our safe journey. We are to preach to two denominations on the way to Malaha so keep is in your prayers.
I just had a call from Frank Calloway in Kenya. He wanted to let everyone that they are fine. This morning Dow Hix had a study with 500 kids. They are now making their way back to Franco’s parents’ town and along the way they have schedule 3 more studies for tomorrow and 2 more on Saturday. They will stay in Franco’s parents’ town holding studies until time for them to return home. Let’s keep these men in our prayers for successful studies and a safe trip home. (Yes Frank got his suitcase.)
I wanted to relay the greetings of the church here and tell everyone that. Everything is going good. Our trip here was hectic but without any trouble except Franks bag did not make it. It is supposed to arrive late tonight or early tomorrow. The teachings are going good we are having an attendance every day of 75 – 100.
They have baptized 6 people and one of them was a church of God preacher. Let’s continue to remember David Thompson, Frank Calloway and Dow Hix in our prayers.
March 2, 2011
Editor’s Note: This is a letter I sent to a lady named Joyce Bennett, a Christian from Rockford, Illinois. She is the one that sent a copy of Upon the Rock to Wycliffe Afuma in Kenya. The letter will explain more. It just goes to show you what can be accomplished by Christian women.
Dear sister Bennett:
I hope this letter finds you doing well in the Lord. My name is Mark Reynolds, and I preach for the Charlotte Avenue church in Rock Hill, SC. I moved here from Indiana a little over a year ago. I was also the editor of Upon the Rock until January of this year. Anyway, I want to let you know about a wonderful work that you helped make possible, although you may not even realize it. As you know, you grade courses for some WBS students in the area of Butere, Kenya. We have a Kenyan who is a member here at Charlotte Avenue from a little village called Malaha, about 45 minutes from Butere. His name is Franco Wakhisi. Franco was converted to Christ while he was a student at our local University. His dream was to go back home and establish the church in his village, but with no contact there, we were struggling with how to make this a reality. Evidently, you sent a copy of Upon the Rock to one of your students, Wycliffe Afuma Odwori, who in turn sent me an email asking for us to come visit them. He “begged” us to come saying missionaries never come as far as their town, and they truly need help. After we found out that Wycliffe was only about 45 minutes from Franco’s home village, we began to formulate a plan.
To make a long story short, we made a trip to Butere and Malaha last August. During that trip, we held a Bible seminar in Butere, established the church in Malaha by baptizing two older men, as well as preached at several denominations converting five denominations to Christ! I, along with three others, just returned from another trip where we established the Butere Bible School, visited those churches that gave up denominationalism on our last trip, and visited several other denominations converting several of them to Christ. We also visited with the church in Malaha, which now has over 50 members! Several of the WBS students preach in that area, strengthening the many churches of Christ that are now there.
I could go on and on, but I just wanted you to know what you started! You have brought more souls to Christ than you’ll ever know! God bless you, dear sister.
Yours in Christ, Mark Reynolds
We had another great day today. It is incredible the attitude the people have here. Lessons are going on for over two hours in a crowded, hot room, but people stay engaged the entire time listening and asking questions for as long as we’ll stay. This afternoon Mark, Mindy, and Teresa went to a school to teach while I was teaching my class. (That sure sounds odd to Americans, but many schools here welcome and seek the teaching of God) They spoke to hundreds of students and came back with wonderful stories. The children here are great. Every one that I’ve seen has been respectful, polite, and especially happy.
The feedback from the men and women in the seminar is extremely positive, even when their beliefs are being challenged, which is the case for many since probably close to half are not members of the church. Wycliffe invited many of them directly, but news of the seminar also spread by word of mouth to others. Many from the denominational churches are asking us to find time to come speak to their congregations. They are very hungry for good teaching. Wycliffe and others will be following up, but someone could be kept busy going to speak at different churches literally every day.
Paul, Dow, and Franco, many have asked about you and are looking forward to you coming back.
Thanks again for your continued prayers.
“We just finished our first day of teaching and things went very well. There were at least 80 men in the classes from all over western Kenya, with about half being denominational preachers. In addition between 30-40 women are in attendance. We are teaching one combined class and one separate class of men/women in the morning and afternoon. It is so gratifying seeing a group of people so interested in learning truth, and the results of the last trip are still being seen. One preacher that is here was baptized one week ago along with eleven members of what used to be his denominational church. We will visit his congregation on Monday. This has been a fairly common occurrence over the last several months as there are many people interested and open-minded, but have lacked teaching.
We haven’t found an internet location to upload to the blog and post pictures, so brief emails from the cell phone will have to suffice for now. Thank you for continued prayers.”
– Mark, Mindy, Mike and Teresa
Lord willing, Mike, Teresa, Mindy and I will be leaving this afternoon for Kenya. I wanted to give you a tentative schedule of the work we plan to do. Some of these plans may change once we get there, but this schedule should be close.
· February 13 – Depart Charlotte at 3:15 pm to Nairobi via Newark and Zurich.
· February 14 – Arrive in Nairobi at 7:10 pm and stay at Franco’s parent’s house for the night.
· February 15 – Depart Nairobi for Kisumu (by plane) arriving at 2:20 pm. Travel about two hours by van to Butere where we will be welcomed by the church, greet them, and get settled at the Guest House.
· February 16-19 – Begin teaching the first classes ever at the Butere Bible School! Mike and I will teach four classes during these days; Galatians, Church Organization, Biblical Interpretation and Sermon Preparation. Mike and I will take turns teaching from 8-4 each day with an hour for lunch, and teach again from 5:30-8:00. Teresa and Mindy will teach the ladies each afternoon as well as teach the children at every opportunity. We have also been invited into the schools in Butere, which we will have to fit into this busy schedule.
· February 20 (The Lord’s Day) – We will worship with the newly established Soweto church of Christ, one of the churches that gave up denominationalism on our last trip, from 9:00-12:30. After the worship, we will travel to Malaha, Franco’s home village where the church was established on our last visit. We will worship with them from 1:30-4:30 pm. We were told, “The people are ready and prepared, just waiting for you.”
· February 21-22 – We have appointments with several denominational groups that have invited us to come to their congregations and preach the truth. Mindy and Teresa will most likely teach the small children while Mike and I teach the adults at these denominations so the mothers can be in the classes.
· February 23 – Travel back to Nairobi at 8:20 am arriving at 9:10. Our plane leaves Nairobi for the United States (via Brussels and Munich) at a little after midnight.
· February 24 – Arrive back at Charlotte Airport at 3:35 pm.
We give you this information, not only to allow you to follow our plans, but more importantly so that you can pray specifically for the work each day. Thank you all so much for your love for the lost and support for this great work!
Study Books for Kenya
As we announced earlier this week, the brethren in Kenya received the Bibles that you purchased and sent to them.http://brothersinkenya.blogspot.com/, the blog dedicated to the work in which we are engaged, has new pictures showing the brethren receiving and distributing the Bibles. They have never received such a precious gift! Thank you for your generosity.
It is our belief that the thing that is needed there the most is good Bible education. The evangelists, many of them having only recently left denominationalism, are doing the best they can, but need to be more grounded in the Word of God. With this in mind, it is our plan to establish a Bible School in Butere, Kenya to help train men to preach and teach. As part of this, we are going to try to help them build a basic library to assist in their research of the Bible. Books that help every Bible student dig deeper into God’s Word; such as, Strong’s Concordance, Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Vine’s Dictionary, Church History books, Christian Evidence, etc. These are books they will need to complete their assignments for the school. Mike, Teresa, Mindy and I will take the books with us when we travel to Kenya in two weeks. We also want to purchase Bibles printed in Swahili, a common language in Kenya, to help those who cannot read English. We can purchase the Bibles once we get there.
If you would like to help in the project, please place a check in the contribution with a notation for Kenya, or give it to David Savage. We will purchase all the books we can carry on the plane, and use any other money towards the purchase of Swahili Bibles once we get to Kenya. We realize that you are already so generous in your support of the work here at Charlotte Avenue, but if you are able to give towards this work, it will be appreciated both now and for eternity. Thank you for all you do!
The work in Kenya continues to grow and prosper to the glory of Almighty God. There are two exciting items we know you will be interested in.
First, Mike and Teresa Rowand, and Mindy and I will be leaving for Kenya on February 13 to begin a Bible School in Butere, Kenya. Butere is centrally located where students can come from the surrounding areas to attend the Bible school. Our tentative plans are for Mike and me to teach four subjects during the six day session. I will be teaching classes on Biblical Interpretation and Sermon preparation, while Mike will teach the book of Romans and Church Organization. The ladies will teach classes to the women on subjects they requested, such as: Holiness; Obedience; The Role of Women in the Church; How to be a Christian Mother and Wife; How to teach a Children’s Class; and How Widows Can carry on and contribute. Teresa and Mindy will also teach the children.
After the six days of classes, we will travel to some of the churches that have been established and visit with denominations that want to hear the truth. We also plan on worshipping with the Malaha congregation that was established in Franco’s home village during our last visit (we are especially excited about this). Please pray fervently for great success!
Second, we wanted to make the congregation aware of a new blog concerning the work in Kenya. The website is http://brothersinkenya.blogspot.com/. Not only will you be able to read about how the work got started, but you can also view pictures, notes from the preachers over there, and travel information.
We continue to be humbled and grateful for the way God is using the Charlotte Avenue church, not only here, but also in many foreign places, to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. We serve a wonderful and powerful God!
This past Sunday several people worked to prepare 540 Bibles to ship to Kenya. The workers inserted a label on the inside of each Bible with the plan of salvation, contact information for the church in Butere, and a challenge to compare Bible teaching with their church doctrine printed on each label. The Bibles were then repacked and inserted into a large postal bag. The nine bags, filled with twenty-seven boxes were shipped Monday morning, and are on the way to Kenya!
All this is possible because of your extreme generosity! The church was told about the need for Bibles, and you came through in a big way. It would be wonderful if each of us could be there when the men of the congregation go to the Post Office in Butere to collect this huge shipment so we could see the excitement they will be feeling. This will be the greatest gift they will have ever received. When I emailed Wycliffe Afuma to let him know that the Bibles were sent he replied: “We are dearly grateful that you shipped the Bibles to us, which by God’s grace will arrive next year. They will be of great help and blessing to all who receive them.”
Let us all pray that the Bibles will arrive safely in Butere. Many people will be able to own a Bible for the first time in their lives. Thank you for your love and concern, and more importantly, thank God.
Bibles for Kenya
Over the last several weeks the elders have been considering the most beneficial way to support the work in Kenya. The elders have agreed to send monthly monetary support but at the same time we want to allow every one the opportunity to participate individually in the work. In consideration of this we have many ideas as per the request of our brothers in Kenya such as Bibles, Song books, Sunday school materials and bicycles for the traveling preachers. To try and accomplish all of these and allow the individual participation we thought it would be best to do it on a quarterly project basis.
The first project will be to send Bibles. Based on our best estimate we can send two NKJV Bibles for $5. Obviously if you give $10 we can send four Bibles, $20 for eight Bibles: $100 will send 40 Bibles! You may give an extra check in the contribution marked “Bibles for Kenya,” or you can give your money to David Savage or one of the elders. Please have your money in by November 7th.
We will try to keep you updated in person as well as establishing regular updates via our website which will include pictures and emails form our brothers in Kenya. God has opened a big door for us. Please be praying for this great work!
This update came to us this week from Wycliffe Afuma, one of the evangelists from the area we visited. I knew everyone would be interested to hear of the progress.
Receive greetings from me and all the people of God with whom I work and the new found church and all the members of the churches in which we worked. It is a great thing to serve the Lord Jesus.
I thought it necessary to help keep alive the faith of the churches we started at Malaha and Mumias and by doing a follow up on October 16-17. Another church was converted to the truth. The former “Rich Gospel Mission” is now the church of Christ.
During this mission of follow up, I traveled all the places we went with five preachers from the other churches to help me in the work. It was great and I thought to give the update and the pictures of what we did.
At Malaha, the church you people planted has already grown to 25 members. There we taught the church, held a Sunday service with them and baptized 5 people. We clearly praise God for His divine hand in bringing people to Himself.
The church at Soweto, Mumias where Mark and I baptized 3 people during your mission was another place God really worked as we taught and baptized 12 more people, two men and ten women. It was great seeing the hunger for the word of God in these people as they yielded themselves to Christ.
While on the pathway of duty around Malaha area God brought another church which I have mentioned. This is now Emukaniro Church of Christ around the Malaha area. Here we taught 15 adults and 17 children.
During this mission we saw a great open door that God has made for the gospel to move and people to come to Christ. We give him all the praise. I thought to update you on these. When you send the digital camera, let me know so that I can be ready to collect it. It will make the sending of pictures easier via email. I know you are working on the dates of the February Mission. I believe you will remember to send them to us early.
God bless you much. Please greet the church there for us. We love them.
Wycliffe Afuma Odwori