On Friday we left for Maralal on one of the worst roads in Kenya. There were times I could hardly hang on to the steering wheel because it was so rough. There were a couple of pleasant sites on the way as we saw giraffes and zebras. This is also a region where there has been much fighting over the years between some of the local tribes over cattle and land. It took several hours of driving until we finally arrived in Maralal, which also included a flat tire on the way, getting stuck in the mud, and covered in dust from the journey.
What a blessing it was when we arrived in the town, as we turned onto one of the streets and were greeted by our brethren, with a celebration of praise in the middle of the street! They led us on to the church, where we were warmly received by the two churches. It was also a blessing after a long day of travel and nothing to eat all day that a hot meal was waiting for us as soon as we arrived. After a couple of hours of fellowship we went into the evening service and had a great time of ministry with about 30 or 40 people in attendance. It was a blessing to see the hunger that the flock had for the things God.
The next day there was good attendance and we broke up into groups. Pastor Peter from Kwanjenga and Fred were meeting with the married men. Mildred and some of our ladies had the married women. We had the other groups going as well. Pastors Elijah and James both sat in with the married men.
Later in the day, we had a crusade in the town, with at one point several hundred in attendance. The team did a great job in bringing the ministry. In all the places we had been, the tribalism skit had been very powerful and touching the people right where they live. It was also very grievous to hear that some of the pastors were the ones responsible for sowing strife and hatred between the tribes.
As I was ministering in the crusade I saw a woman a distance away in the midst of a few hundred people and noted that she was listening intently to the message. When the crusade was over I looked for the woman but she was gone. Several minutes later Mildred showed up with this woman. I later learned that after the crusade that the Lord had impressed this woman on Mildred and that Mildred had gone several blocks to find her. At first, she was trying to get away from Mildred, but finally she realized that it was the Lord who was after her. She then shared with Mildred that she used to be an evangelist in South Africa. But while she was in South Africa her son had died. As a result, she became bitter and walked away from the call of God. Mildred then told her that she should come and talk to me. When Mildred brought this woman to me and shared her story, then we all knew that God had hunted this woman down to comfort her. We saw the presence of God touch this woman as she began to weep and the Lord began to heal. The next day this woman came and sat through both services and most of the time was weeping as the Word of God was continuing to heal her. In the afternoon she came and shared with us that the Lord had revived her and she was going back in the ministry. Truly the Lord is good.
On that Saturday after the crusade, we took the team to pastor James’ church outside of the town, which is about 4 or 5 km from Pastor Elijah’s church. Though the churches seem relatively close by distance, the reality is that one is a town church and the other is a country church and you had to walk about half a mile up a hill to get to the church. It was a fairly good response from the flock and a good time of ministry.
Sunday was our last day of the mission and it was a good day of ministry all day. We had good services in the morning and good meetings in the afternoon with the various groups.
The next day, we left on a 12-hour journey from Maralal to Nairobi. The night before we left I became ill from food poisoning, so it made for a challenging trip back home. By the grace of God, we made it back to Umoja and received a very warm reception from the people of God. I was very proud of our team and felt that they did a great job in representing the vision of who we are as a ministry. This was the most challenging mission that I have taken and some of the living conditions were very difficult, but I never heard any complaining from our team.
Pastor Rob Hendrickson
On April 1, I left with a team of 11 people out of Umoja on a mission to Kwanjiko, Container and our two churches in Maralal. It was important to see firsthand what was going on in these churches to help us in bringing better oversight and care to these pastors. We had a strong team to bring good ministry to these churches and to represent the vision of our ministry. Our first destination was Kwanjiko, where pastor Sammy, one of our regional leaders, is the pastor. We left on Sunday afternoon and almost had a tragic accident just outside of Nairobi that could have killed many, due to a disregard for human life. We are so thankful for the Lord’s protection throughout the trip.
It was about a 4 1/2 hour journey to Kwanjiko. By the time we arrived, it was dark and most of the members had gone home. Pastor Sammy has only been in Kwanjiko about a year. It’s a new work with a much larger community numbering several thousand people and more diverse in tribes than Gatero, which is where he had been for many years. Pastor Sammy’s deacon and his family were there for everything. One of the highlights was the crusade that we did in the middle of this community. There must’ve been between 200 and 300 people in attendance. The skits were very effective. Pastor Sammy’s wife Tabitha is a godly woman who is committed to the Lord and her husband. Pastor Sammy and Tabitha showed their hospitality and put all of the team in their home. The conditions were quite primitive, but we were well taken care of. The day before we arrived, we were told that a bull elephant had broken into the shamba next to Sammy’s house. That made some of our people a bit anxious.
After two days in Kwanjiko, we headed on to Container, which took over one hour to get there. On the way to Container, we passed through the town of Rumiruti. It’s the last serious town before you get to Maralal which is about 65 miles away and the entire distance is a very rough dirt road. Just minutes before we arrived in Rumiruti a young man had been hit by a truck and his head splattered on the road. We were forced to drive within a few feet of the body and you couldn’t help but wonder was this young man ready to face eternity.
It was about a 30 min. drive from Rumiruti to Container. It was like driving from civilization to the middle of nowhere. It was funny when Pastor Sammy told us to turn at the junction. Everybody was wondering what junction and then we saw a narrow dirt path virtually hidden and that was the junction. Mama Christine (aka Mama Container) is the Pastor of the Container Church. It is a rural area with the members living many miles away and in some cases having to walk several hours to get to church. At one point we had about 30 children in the church with just a few adults . There was some good ministry that was brought to them. The church building is next to Christine’s home. Both buildings have mud walls with a metal roof.
The next day we ended up doing a crusade in Rumiruti because everyone in the area of Container goes to market on Thursdays. So we went to the market and held a crusade. It was a great time of ministry with many lives being touched.
The first day that we arrived in Container, Christine took us on a hike of the area. As we were coming back to her house I asked her if there were any lions in the area? She said that they were “not much of a problem”. She said they normally walk on a path next to the house about two o’clock in the morning. Christine has an inner perimeter fence and an outer perimeter fence which is nothing more than sticks next to each other. In between the inner and outer perimeter fence is where the toilet is. It was interesting the first night as we were going to sleep we heard all of this laughter outside, it was the hyenas in the area. That same first night I woke up to go to the bathroom and when I looked at the clock it was 1:58 am. Talk about bad timing.
Pastor Rob Hendrickson
An interesting beginning to the day –
Early this morning, within 5 minutes of each other, we received 2 pieces of news. We heard that a long-time missionary here in Eldoret had passed away; then we heard that less than 200 meters from our house a man had been beaten, dismembered, and burned to death.
Death is a way of life in much of Kenya and Africa. Whether by sickness, disease, or violence, death comes early (and sometimes often) to Kenyan families.
The circumstances of today make us to stop and ponder the brevity of life. The Bible tells us that “it’s appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” With every passing away, there comes either a step into the joy of the Lord, or a step into eternal damnation and separation from God.
If we would remember that our days are numbered, then we would walk circumspectly. We would live our lives to honor and glorify the One before Whom we will stand – the judge of eternity. We would also give ourselves more in the service of others.
A believer in Jesus who believes that they are living for eternity will be quick to encourage and edify his brothers and sisters in Christ. He will serve them with the hope of seeing them finish life’s race for the glory of God.
A true believer in Jesus will also live his life as a shining light, desiring that those who don’t know God will be brought to the light and also decide to follow Jesus as their Lord.
Life is short – how are you going to live today? Tomorrow may find you awakening into eternity.
Pastor Forbe Carlson
We give thanks to the Lord, for He has continued to enable us to press ahead in a great work. The security wall around the Eldoret church plot continues to rise, and we are beginning to erect the frame for the new dormitories/classroom building.
Although the rains have pounded Eldoret since early July, we have been able to press ahead. We have lost only two working days to the rain.
Several workers have come to help us in this endeavor. Our churches from around Kenya and Uganda have sent faithful members of their own flocks to join in the labor.
All of the foundations have been dug by hand, including the removal of two very large tree trunks. The foundation trenches are three feet deep by two feet wide, and we have at this point dug about 400 feet of trench. We have had great fellowship with these fellow believers and are grateful for their efforts.
During this time of building, the Eldoret church has continued in evangelism, discipleship, and fellowship. The Lord has given us grace to continue building His kingdom as we work on these building projects. We are thankful for the saints of God who have been praying for us. We believe that the Lord will receive glory for what we are doing. Stay tuned for more updates…
Pastor Forbe Carlson
The Lord continues to guide our steps and prosper our way in the work projects here in Eldoret.
We continue to build the perimeter wall around the church plot, and today (9th August) the steel frame of our classrooms/dormitory building was delivered.
The Lord has really helped us to obtain the necessary quantity of “bush stones” that are used in the project, as well as having several stonecutters daily shaping the stones.
As the work continues on the plot, we are in our 5th week of daily lunchtime outdoor crusade meetings. The church is growing with visitors, the members are beginning to follow up, and we are excited about what the Lord is doing in our midst.
A couple of weeks ago, we had a baby dedication service with 9 babies. Then, later that night, Assistant Pastor George Mungai and his wife Miriam welcomed their first daughter into the family.
The Lord is good! He works in us and through us to accomplish His purposes.
Please continue to pray for us. There are persecutions abundant, and daily trials. But thanks be to God, who always causes us to triumph, and to show forth His presence in Kenya.
Wow, the Lord is good!
We had quite a busy week here in Eldoret. We’ve started building our security wall and our classroom/dormitory building. Also, Pastor Tony Wozniak began an evangelistic outreach in town.
We are currently in the last stages of renovating our church offices. We took a very old brick house that had mud for mortar, a leaking roof, and birds in the attic, and we have turned it into 4 very nice offices and a ministry storeroom.
As we finish the renovations on this building, you can hear the tap-tap of up to seven hammers at once, as a team of stonecutters shapes the stones that will be used in the security wall.
The first section has now been completed. It is on the front corner of the property, and was set to establish where our new dormitory/classroom building will be placed. The wall is ten feet high!
This week, we have finished digging a trench for the entire back wall. We have had 4 men come to Eldoret, faithful members from 2 of our other Calvary Temple churches in Kenya. Before they leave, we will have poured the concrete and set the foundation stones for the whole back of the property.
We have had ongoing evangelism. Pastor Tony Wozniak has been leading a team from the Eldoret church, as they have had morning Bible study in the largest supermarket in town, have had daily lunch-hour meetings downtown, and have held evening outdoor crusade meetings. Then, this week, besides the morning and lunch meetings, we have shifted to the Eldoret church in the evenings for believers’ meetings. We have had a good team effort to reach many lost souls.
We will continue to keep updates coming! Please pray for us in this season, that our lives will honor the Lord, souls will be reached, and we will fully accomplish all that He sets before us.
Pastor Forbe Carlson
We have begun our building projects here in Eldoret. When all of the national pastors were here 2 weeks ago, we broke ground, consecrated the projects to the Lord, and dedicated ourselves to the work.
After beginning to dig (wow, we found where they used to dump trash on this plot!), we laid the foundation of the first section of the security wall. Today (11th July 2011) we set the cornerstone!
We have quite a large project ahead of us. We have stonecutters dressing the “bush stones” and fundis (skilled workmen) laying the foundation and setting the finished stones in place.
We are pouring cement for pillars in the following pictures –
After pouring the cement in the pillar up to the level of stones that we have, then we allow all that we’ve done today to cure.
Shortly, the fabricated metal skeleton and roof of our new classroom/dormitory building will arrive. At that time, we will split into 2 different work crews. Starting next week, we will be having men from our Calvary Temple churches all around Kenya to come and join in the work.
By the Lord’s grace, all of the projects will be completed by Christmas! Pray for us, that the Lord will prosper what we put our hands to do.
Pastor Forbe Carlson