Power in Prayer
It’s what we pray for and work toward in establishing indigenous churches – that those churches will catch the vision and heart to reach out and establish more churches. This is happening in the arid and primitive northwestern part of Kenya among the Turkana peoples.
In 1996 UWM established a pioneer church planting ministry with four families in the central part of Turkana known as Chokichok. After several years of building strong relationships and learning the language, the team was ready to begin introducing the Gospel. The only “missing ingredient” was a Christian Turkana man to work with them.
Graciously, the Lord answered our prayers far beyond our expectations. Erus Ekitela was young but trainable, and willing to be an integral part of building the Kingdom in Chokichok. With focused discipling and mentoring Erus matured faster than the team could have anticipated. He seamlessly grasped the concepts of sharing the gospel through Chronological Storying.
With this aspect in place, the team launched into sharing the Light of Christ to targeted groups of men over the next 12 months. Mark Dye and Jeff Osborne spear headed this effort, which resulted in an initial 32 men accepting Christ. However, the 32 quickly became several hundred as these men shared the gospel with their families and others in the community of Chokichok. The Spirit of God moved in an incredible way and in 2000 [the year] about 660 Turkana believers were baptized. Four churches were established in the area with Turkana men leading from the very beginning. Mark, Jeff and Erus continued to disciple and develop leaders for the young churches.
God’s ways are not our ways, and it was at this ‘critical’ time in the life of the church that a series of events transpired that led to the UWM team moving to other ministries and locations. In the midst of this, Erus felt strongly compelled to continue leading the churches and working with the leaders. His commitment and heart for the Church bore more fruit: the four churches became six within a few years, and the number of believers swelled to close to one thousand! The six churches joined a denomination, and Erus soon was overseeing 35 churches! How wonderful to see that young and willing man back in 1999 grow in such marvelous ways.
A few years ago the churches in Chokichok felt the burden to be reaching their own people who had not heard the Good News of Christ. They identified an area about 80 miles north, Nabwel, and began sending teams to minister and share the gospel, along with demonstrating the love of Christ by providing food and other needs. For the extremely poor Turkana, this was a tremendous show of love and care. Today there are about 30 believers in Nabwel and a small church. How exciting to see a second generation of believers and churches, bringing Light and Hope to the Turkana people of northwest Kenya.
By: Mark & Annemarie Dye, Serving in Kenya as East Africa Regional Leaders