On Mission . . . in Kenya

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Kenya is located in the eastern part of Africa, covering 591,971 square kilometers. It borders Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Sudan to the north; Uganda and Tanzania to the west; and the vast Indian Ocean to the east. Kenya’s population of approximately 48 million is composed of 43 tribes. Nairobi is the capital of Kenya, with a population of about 4 million.

Kenya is predominantly a Christian nation (approximately 80 percent), though the Muslim and atheist populations have been steadily increasing. Catholics, Anglicans, Adventists, and other Protestant denominations make up the largest share of the Christian population.

Kenya has a rich cultural heritage and is the home to the world-famous Maasai tribe, known for their bravery and traditional way of life. Kenya is also famous for its rich wildlife, natural forests, and scenery. It is largely a peaceful nation, save for spontaneous violence triggered by pastoral communities that clash over grazing, farming land, water, and politics.

History of CoG7

It is thought that the Church of God (Seventh Day) arrived in Kenya in the late 1960s and early 1970s, though the government registration records show that the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day) was formally registered in 1981. Since then, the Church has had her own share of success and challenges. Through immense support from the General Conference in the United States and Canada, she has experienced steady growth and better organization over the decades. Because of local divisions, membership growth has suffered occasional blows. But by the grace of God, a better, clearer, and more participatory leadership is being witnessed.

Present state of the Church

Kenya has a total of 91 congregations, with approximate membership of between 3,500 and 4,000. The size of individual congregations varies, from less than 50 members to more. Administratively, the Church is currently subdivided into twelve districts. Our church has yet to reach many regions, especially the coastal areas in the southeastern and northeastern parts of the country.

Under the leadership of the national board, the Church in Kenya is focusing on her mission and vision, which is to reach out to all people with the gospel of Jesus Christ and to share the love of God. We are focused on helping this restless world find rest in Jesus Christ. We are committed to one another in fellowship and evangelism, and we are committed to equipping and preparing all members for the work of ministry through training and discipleship. As we pursue our vision, our core value is love. We share the unconditional love of God to a world lost in self.

To achieve this, each district of the Church of God in Kenya has a robust plan for evangelism with crusades, outreach, and door-to-door evangelism. Pastor Abrahams Wanda Odongo, the president of the national conference, has been involved in radio ministry through the support of GC Missions. This ministry has seen the Church grow rapidly since 2001, from two churches to 29 currently in the South Nyanza District alone! Most districts have organized evangelism and outreach teams. Though we have yet to form a training strategy to equip all of our members, we realize how necessary this is to achieve our vision.

Ministry projects and international support

Kenya is grateful to the General Conference for support in projects such as the Orphans and Widows Ministry, which covers areas hard hit by AIDS, war, and strife. Areas where this ministry has wonderfully blessed the lives of orphans and widows include the South Nyanza, Gucha, Bureti, Bomet, and Turkana districts. This support also includes the education, health, and wellness of those who are sick and of the vulnerable.

GC Missions has also supported two mission schools in Kenya with staff salaries for the Kesitah Academy in South Nyanza and Chesoen Academy in Bomet. Several new classrooms have been built in Bomet, and older ones renovated. These schools provide quality education for orphans and other area children.

Our National Conference is working on a program for self-sustainability projects. This will help empower members economically and, in turn, help the National Conference achieve its mandate through the offerings, tithes, and other manners of support to the Conference. Agricultural projects are a good venture for some of our districts, while other districts are considering other alternatives. As it stands now, apart from the local churches participating in evangelism activities, some churches have been raising money to help build their worship structures. We thank God for the effort that the members have always made.

Ongoing challenges

The greatest challenge that we face in Kenya is the menace of HIV/AIDS, which has infected and affected the largest population of the Church. The aftermath of this has caused poverty, illness, and lower productivity levels. Lack of training for pastors, evangelists, and other Church workers is also a major setback in the Church’s progress. We request that our brothers and sisters around the world pray with us over these challenges so that God may open the way for us.

We covet your prayers for the Church in Kenya because most of the areas with large memberships are those worst hit by HIV/AIDS. A high percentage of members in areas like the South Nyanza District have lost family members or have become infected. This high infection rate is attributed to wayward cultural practices that promote immorality and promiscuousness. Wife inheritance and rituals, poverty leading to youth prostitution, and negative cultural elements have contributed to an all-time high infection rate in western Kenya. This is especially true among the Luo community, where these customs are rampant. However, the Church has been in the forefront in the fight against these traditions and has been helping the victims.

Despite the challenges, the Church of God (Seventh Day) in Kenya is committed to our mission of reaching others with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Kenya remains a strategic nation in reaching other neighboring countries like Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Burundi, and DR Congo.

Mission in Kenya

We thank God for the privilege of being in His church and of serving God’s people at this point in time. We trust God that through prayers, evangelism, and outreach efforts, we will double the membership in ten years’ time.

Kenya offers many mission opportunities because some areas are totally unreached by the gospel, especially northern Ken–ya. Our strategy is to train and send missionaries to these parts.

This and other opportunities worldwide are made possible through your prayers and financial support. Please contact GC Missions (gcmissions@cog7.org) for more information on how you can assist evangelism and training efforts in Kenya and other countries. Write a check with “GC Missions” on the memo line or donate online at cog7.org/giving.

 

Pastor Abrahams Wanda Odongo lives in Obuya, Kenya. In addition to his role as president of the General Conference in Kenya, he is a media (radio) evangelist.

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