Doing ministry has been an ongoing question and challenge since I’ve arrived in Kenya. I’m not here only to study; I’m here to prepare for ministry. And doing ministry is obviously one of the best ways to prepare and apply what I’m learning. One of the best ways to do ministry is through the church, but as I have not settled upon a church that is not yet an option. However, this past week, some ministry opportunities opened up here for me.
Contacts are very helpful in any field, and ministry is no exception. Thank you to Rob Welch for sending contacts my way!! I’ve already met several Kenyan pastors through him, and received more invitations to come and preach than I will able to do. This story starts in a cybercafé in Nairobi. Evangelist Emmanuel (www.freewebs.com/evangelistemmanuel) sat down at a computer, and the website that has been left on the screen was For His Glory Ministries, Rob’s ministry’s website, which incidentally I also assisted in updating while I was working for Rob (an evangelist based in St. Louis who does crusades all over the world, www.forhisglorymin.org). Emmanuel said he kept coming back to this website, and he was very impressed and excited by it, and eventually worked up the courage to email Rob and ask him to come out and do a crusade here in Nairobi. Rob forwarded this to me, and I emailed Emmanuel and we had lunch here at NEGST. A week ago I went to visit his church as well, which was an awesome experience. It was very Pentecostal, and the first service was definitely a lot stronger on the message than the second service, which seemed more like an extended pep rally, but it was real and African. Most of the churches I’ve visited near the school have been very American and not as authentic in my opinion. So this was a welcome change.
After church I went to his house for lunch, and this was definitely one of the poorest areas I’ve seen yet. There was sewage running along the road and garbage everywhere. Finally we came to his house, and he had a tiny kitchen, a squat toilet with a curtain in the corner, a couch, and a bedroom. The roof was bare sheet metal. He had a month old son, Dennis, and Emmanuel said I was the first mazungu (white person) that the baby had ever seen.
In addition to his own ministry, Emmanuel also leads a school for pastors called the Anointed Learning Institute. They operate mainly by correspondence, and meet once a month at a hotel in Nairobi to turn in assignments and hear a message. Emmanuel asked me to come and preach/teach for them this past Saturday, two days ago. About 15-20 pastors were able to come, and they all wanted to visit their church and preach. I feel it went well, assuming they were able to follow my English, which I will have to keep working on as I adjust to ministry here. Sometimes English feels like a different language here, and accents and speaking style can make communication difficult both ways. I talked about how to study the Bible and the significance of Jesus’ words at the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me [hint: I don’t think He was actually forsaken]?” That was exciting, and it did wear me out. Next week I’ll be going to a church in Kibera, one of the largest slums in Africa, to preach. That will be a little different setting that I’ve been in before, and I’m not sure what I should say! Any suggestions are appreciated.
I hope to be working with Evangelist Emmanuel into the future, and if I can form something like a Nairobi Evangelist Team (moving from CET to NET) that would be great. I’m very impressed with him and his ministry: he’s passionate, humble and honest. I really hope he is able find more support and ways to bring his goals to fruition. He has many dreams, and would like to be able to come to America and study some day. I’ve glad I was able to meet him.