One of my favorite things that I do is working with our church planters in Northern Kenya. It feels almost like taking a vacation, getting away from the busyness of ministry and actually doing ministry. To me it is all about preaching the gospel to people who may have never heard before.
Pastor Pokisa baptizing new believers last month!!!
In reaching out to the lost, you see that the scripture is uniquely powerful in different ways in different areas and contexts. In the town of Baragoi, peace and reconciliation are extremely relevant.
Tribal conflicts have been a part of life in Africa for thousands of years. This reality becomes clear as you drive through the center of Baragoi. The left side of the town is Turkana and the right side is Samburu. The main road serves as in imaginary uncrossable line. As we teach God’s Word, we take every chance possible to show that we are ALL created in the image of God, and that Jesus died to save everyone.
Upper Left: The old kitchen for the feeding program.
Upper Right: Women from the church preparing the plates of food.
Bottom: Enjoying a good meal!
Part of our plan is to develop a strategic ministry center in Baragoi. We have acquired 5 acres from the government which we pray will be a key site to reaching surrounding communities with the message of reconciliation. We have started a satellite branch of our Bible institute there to train pastors who can reach into new areas. We are also working on designing the property in a way that will bring the different communities together. We feed children from both major tribes over the weekend and are working on setting up soccer and volleyball on the property.
Youth from the community preparing the ground for volleyball. The are a lot of rocks and thorns in Baragoi.
The first step after getting the plot was building the church building. Since Baragoi is a 2 days drive offroad from where Abby and I live, making sure the leadership was prepared to oversee construction in my absence was an important step. To help, one of the founding, Kenyan missionaries, Stephen Pokisa, moved with his family to Baragoi.
This was a huge step of faith because security is not as good and access to essential resources is much more of a challenge, but Pastor Pokisa was essential in leading the project. In addition to overseeing the church construction, he is providing spiritual mentorship for the local church leaders, and as a Maasai (a sister tribe to the Samburu), he is helping the mostly Turkana leadership reach out to the Samburu people.
The church building is now complete and is really helping boost the ministry in Baragoi. The room that the church use to rent was even too small to hold everyone. I am looking forward to seeing the church in person when we have the official dedication next month, but until then, here are some of my pictures and then ones that Pastor Pokisa gave to me (Note the only camera he has is a cell phone).
A special thanks to Cielo Vista Church in El Paso, Texas for providing the needed funding (www.cielovista.org), and to everyone who has been faithfully praying for our ministry and the work in Northern Kenya.
Mixing the first batch of cement as construction begins.
Paul, the contractor, showing the workers how to do a good job.
Pastor Pokisa practicing taking pictures on his phone.
This elderly lady was collecting stones in her bucket to sell and get something to eat. Life can be very hard in Baragoi.
All the water for the project will be carried up the hill by ladies from the community. It may be faster and less strenuous to use a vehicle, but this provides jobs.
Concrete does not come premixed. You buy stones, sand, water, and cement and mix them all by hand.
With the footers poured, this is the last I have seen of the project. Baragoi town in the background.
Putting the final touches on the foundation.
The walls are starting to go up.
Ready to pour the upper ring beam.
Trusses in place.
Roof on and time to work on the front veranda.
The only hiccup in the project was a slight miscalculation on cement for the plaster. Overall, a very smooth project!
The colored windows add some beauty.
Raised pulpit in the front. No windows in the back to give a good backdrop and a few translucent panels in the roof for natural lighting. (these are some of the finer details I have picked up about designing a church in Kenya)
The completed church from the side.
Completed church from the front.