Phases of Ministry: Planting, Parenting, Partnering

There are different phases of ministry.  Missionary pioneers begin with the Planting phase:  proclaiming the gospel, making disciples, and planting new churches.  In the late 1970s, CMF was kicked out of Ethiopia by the new communist dictatorship.  Some of the CMF-Ethiopia team came to Kenya, starting pioneering church planting work among the unreached Maasai and Turkana.  When we affiliated with CMF in 2003, the ministry had reached the Parenting phase.  As a result of CMF’s work, today there are strong churches in both Kenya and Ethiopia.

Moreover, our team is blessed to have entered the Partnering phase of ministry with the Community Christian Churches of Kenya.  At the end of 2015, there were 201 congregations.  As of this writing (April 2016), there are at least three new church plants for a total of 204.

Check out this short and exciting video, in which our teammate Joe Cluff explains what’s going on:

Moloi Nkurma

On our way to Olepishet (all seven of us) for the DTS graduation this past weekend, we stayed the night at the CCC / CMF training center in Ewaso Ng’iro.  While there, we had an opportunity to meet with Moloi ole Nkurma, our brother in the Lord and one of our three primary co-workers for our children’s curriculum development projects.  (The others are Jackson La Sang’urukuri, a Samburu, and Harrison Kyalo, a Kamba; Moloi is Maasai.)  He is currently working on a Masters’ degree in child development and truly has a heart for the children of Kenya.  His day job is as a teacher of the children in some of the programs at the center.

He is currently on sick leave, however, from his work and his studies.  At first he was diagnosed with anemia, but no treatments seemed to help.  A week or so ago, he had a colonoscopy, and the doctors found some sort of problem.  On May 27th, he will be checking into the Tenwick Hospital for some type of surgery.  Please pray not only for our work together, but also pray for the restored health of this faithful ministry partner.

Elijah Moloi ole Nkurma

Elijah Moloi ole Nkurma has three children. Here he is with David, who is four, just like our son Zerachiah, who was impressed that his new friend had the same name (was a “paarna” with) as that David who slew Goliath.

166 and counting …

As of last month, there are one hundred and sixty-six CMF planted congregations in Kenya (together with their daughter and granddaughter churches).  While concentrated among the Maasai and Turkana, these congregations are spread across 9 regional districts and represent at least seven tribes in addition to the Maasai and Turkana among whom CMF began our church planting ministries.

They are organized into 27 geographical clusters for mutual support and cooperation. This number does NOT include many teaching and preaching points.  It also does not yet include congregations which Turkana missionaries are striving to plant in unreached areas of the Turkana desert.  It DOES include four congregations inside of Tanzania, which have been planted by churches in a cluster adjacent to the border.  (Maasai land is artificially divided by the Kenya-Tanzania border.)

Praised be to our Lord for these many Kenyan co-ministers of reconciliation with Christ Jesus!

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[These churches are known as “CCC” or “Community Christian Church.”]

Home & Homesick

We’ve been “home” in America since April … and consequently, we are homesick for our home and life in Kenya.  Being able to reconnect with family and supporters has been great, but we also miss our life and work in Kenya.

To read more of our adventures, both stateside and in Kenya, see our latest update.

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Oh, the mailed update included a nifty fridge magnet.  So if you’re on our mailing list, start checking your mailboxes later this week.  For the rest of you, here’s a digital copy.

Telling the Story

Storytelling is an important part of East African cultures.  But often in the churches this cultural strength has been exchanged for the lecture or yell-a-lot methods of teaching and evangelism.  We recently held a storytelling workshop for the Narok Central cluster of congregations to help church teachers and youth workers (re)learn how to be good storytellers of the greatest Story.

Read more …

a brand new church!

I just heard that CCC has begun a church plant in Maai Mahiu (“Hot Springs” in Kikuyu).  Last Sunday was there 2nd worship there.

Maai Mahiu is at the base of the Escarpment on the way to Narok at the junction of the Narok and Lower Road to Naivasha. It is on the border between Maasai and Kikuyu areas, and there are other tribes there as well.  It is also a “truck stop town,” which tends to bring several sorts of unwholesome activity, so another church there to shine the light of Jesus brighter is wonderful.  Maai Mahiu was also a centre of violence during the post-election crisis in 2008.

(Thanks to our teammate Lynn Cazier for sharing this news.)

Mainosa! Tunakula! Let’s Eat!

The rough draft of the Swahili adaptation / translation of our Enkinosata Ororei le Nkai (“Eating the Word of God”) curriculum has been finished.  On February 16th, I went to Narok to meet with our editorial committee.  We were able to work through a number of important issues.  I am particularly excited because the adaptation of this project was begun at the initiative of the leaders of our CCC congregation in Narok town.  It is also wonderful that my five christian brothers working on this with me represent four different tribes (Maasai, Kisii, Kamba, Meru).

Let's eat the Word of God -- in any language!

L-R: Joshua, David Kamunyu (Meru), Matthew Ngomo (Kamba), Daniel ole Denkel (Maasai), Samson ole Dikirr (Maasai). Not pictured (taking the picture): Elijah Ombati (Kisii)

This curriculum has not yet been taught in the Narok congregation because, being a multi-tribal congregation, Swahili is usually used rather than Maa.  But as they have gone through the material, this group of leaders has been greatly encouraged by it and are excited about the potential it has to make a great impact on the maturity and growth of the church.  This is especially true as the CCC is expanding across tribal boundaries.  So, let’s eat!  (Mainosa – “let’s eat” in Maa; Tunakula – “we eat” in Swahili)

Speaking of eating, Alitzah and Hannah Gail really wanted to come with me on this trip.  While I was in this meeting, they were at the Ombatis’ house playing with their two daughters.  After the meeting, they ran errands around town with me.  (One of those errands involved making arrangements with a brand new christian bookshop to distribute our Maa language materials.)  At the end of a long day, they were very hungry and happy for me to take them out for a Daddy-Daughters date at their favorite “hoteli” – Kim’s Dishes – for some traditional Kenyan fare.