Efforts in one rural area have resulted in community improvements and many baptisms.
Published on: 01-28-2019
As the Total Member Involvement (TMI) initiative catches the fire of the Holy Spirit in the East-Central Africa Division, church members are getting more and more inspired for mission. At the Nairobi Central Adventist Church, the members concluded that only Christ’s method will rescue the perishing world around them. With this conviction, the church members organized a wholistic evangelistic campaign in the county of Siaya, which yielded 273 baptisms.
Senior pastor Jean Pierre Maiywa-Massai said that his church members decided to try active evangelism by combining the word of God with compassion ministry. This, he said, called for mingling with the community. After choosing the county of Siaya, they dispatched a commission that went and assessed the needs of the people there. With their report in hand, the church had an informed planning session.
Prior to inviting people to events, church members became involved in the community. Each one, according to their talents or profession, had to tackle a need. One woman trained villagers in how to grow vegetables. She brought a full set of equipment, including water tanks and irrigation hoses. With the local people she was doing experiments in planting, and the beneficiaries were impressed and ready to apply the methods for their future sustenance.
The initiative was so much appreciated that another church member bought a transformer and installed it in the village of Nyapiedho, which was the planned site of the evangelism to come. Through the church member’s generosity, some people enjoyed electric light for the first time. For the Nairobi Central Church, that was a good analogy of the darkness of sin that would be dissipated by the word of God.
Furthermore, the church worked in tandem with local government leaders. They identified the poorest people in the region, and that resulted in one of the most memorable experiences: the distribution of goats to destitute families. Tugging the tethers of the newly acquired animals, those who received them had faces gleaming with joy, a sign of hope for the future. Praying over those gifts, Joel Okindo, ECD evangelism coordinator, congratulated the Nairobi Central Church members for their understanding of TMI and encouraged them to continue availing themselves of the Holy Spirit, who will reveal to them more talents for mission.
Sarah Maiywa, wife of the senior pastor, ministered to the children in the community for two weeks. Coming from Nairobi with a group of 20 children and teenagers, she led them door to door, inviting children and their parents to the meetings. In their visits they were also assessing the needs. They brought clothes and food to give away. What touched the children from Nairobi, she said, was the high level of poverty they saw in the rural area. Some were shocked when they saw that the toes and fingers of their counterparts were so infested with jiggers that they were not able to hold things. The church had come with nurses to help the rural residents, and the children from Nairobi were instrumental in inviting those other children for treatment. Every day, more than 20 were treated. In a nutshell, 350 children were attended to, and eventually 60 were baptized. Sarah Maiywa affirmed that there was hunger and thirst for God’s word among the children.
Brian Ajua, a youth who was part of the planning committee and who visited the site, said that God led him to Nyapiedho. “I feel like I am home and do not want to leave!” he said. He was happy to be involved in helping the needy, he added. “When God is first, there is no difficult place to preach.” He was able to witness for God after bringing a football (soccer ball) and playing with the youth whom he later invited to the meetings.
Another Nairobi church member, Gilford, was involved in his capacity as a veterinary doctor. As the members were visiting with the people of the village, he assisted a family whose cow was delivering. When they saw the healthy calf and the mother in good shape after they had despaired of it happening, the owners promised Gilford that they would attend the evangelistic meetings.
The efforts of the Nairobi Central Church in Nyapiedho did not end with baptisms, as Peter Nyagah, one of the pastors, declared. He reported that preaching went hand in hand with construction, and a church building is now ready. He recalls that they sent a missionary six months before the campaign, who remains stationed there for follow-up. He adds that elders have been assigned specific Saturdays (Sabbaths) to visit and minister to the new members. Finally, Nyagah reveals that his church will organize seminars and training on various aspects of church growth.
Said senior pastor Jean Pierre Maiywa-Massai, “This is overwhelming. We did not have the picture we have today, and TMI is not a theory in my church. Nyapiedho has been our laboratory, and now we know the secret to succeeding.”
The original version of this story was posted on the East-Africa Central Division news site.