When the leader of a Christian ministry in Kenya hired laborers to undertake church renovations, he didn’t realize one was an area criminal.
With COVID-19 lockdowns limiting the ministry’s outreaches, the leader thought it seemed like a good time to fix floors and other items at the ministry’s various church buildings.
At one of the ministry’s church buildings under repair, the area pastor got word that one of the workers, Jayson Kimani*, was a known criminal. After a brief introduction, the pastor wasted no time telling him the Good News, asserting that God’s holiness is so awesome in brilliance that no one among fallen humanity can come into His presence.
Christ as the exact representation of God was the only One qualified to pay the price for humanity’s sin, which He did by suffering death on the Cross, winning salvation for those who trust in Him by the power of the resurrection, the pastor told Kimani.
The ministry leader said the pastor’s message gave Kimani not just something to think about, but something he could not stop thinking about.
“When a brother who is in charge of the repairs visited to check on the progress, Jayson approached him and told him the words the pastor had shared with him were burning in his heart, and that he wanted him to pray for him so he could become a believer and be baptized,” the ministry leader said. “Now Jayson is helping us to reach the lost young men in the village, as well as telling them to stop criminal activities. We are thankful to God that inviting non-believers to work in our church bore fruit.”
Other local missionaries from the ministry have continued sharing the gospel in home visits and other small-scale outreaches. In spite of the pandemic, they recently planted three churches of more than 15 members each, the leader said.
Pandemic as Platform
As people have seen their need for God in the face of COVID-19’s devastating consequences, the pandemic has created a platform for proclaiming Christ, the leader of another ministry based in Kenya said.
“We have received reports from different churches how they have received new converts who go there requesting pastors to pray for them because they want to surrender their lives to Christ,” the leader said. “And they are very committed; some have already been baptized, others are on the way to decide.”
The planting and cultivation of gospel seeds has transformed the moral landscape of many areas, he said, as house churches have emerged amid the pandemic.
“Cases of alcohol, robbery, drugs, divorce cases, witchcraft and the like are at a minimum now,” he said. “Three young men and a lady of between 16-23 years of age confessed in one church how they had been ambushing people and robbing them of anything they could find on them. They even brought stolen mobile phones and a laptop as evidence.”
The young men and woman confessed that pandemic-induced poverty had driven them to do what they otherwise never would have considered, as they were jobless and COVID-19 had cut their parents’ ability to support them.
“Now they have joined the youth group projects, and indeed we believe this is their starting point of transformation,” the leader said.
With the few resourcs available to them, ministry workers are doing their best to meet growing physical needs of both church members and others in communities paralyzed by pandemic restrictions, he said.
“We are on the forefront in speaking for our communities, and because of this one voice, the government has been giving some relief aid as we also contribute, and we thank God because nobody has died of hunger,” the leader said.
Though much economic activity is shut down, local missionaries are encouraging young people to learn farming and other businesses, advising them to form groups to which experts on entrepreneurship are invited to speak, he said. The groups are encouraged to save money in order to pool resources from which some youths obtain low-interest loans when they have needs.
“This has really helped many who have started projects to hire those who have not, and in turn they are paid,” the leader said. “This is so helpful to them, and they are excelling in that you find these projects creating more opportunities for them as they support their families. There are some who have been able to join institutions after high school through the earnings they get from the projects they are doing. Also, they fund churches in some ways.”
The ministry that has planted 400 churches with the help of Christian Aid Mission donors over the years is thus finding ways to work around the pandemic even as it strives to keep up with the needs COVID-19 has created, he said.
“We have been affected by so many things that have happened – the invasion of locusts in some parts of the country ate all crops, floods that almost cleared out what remained and now COVID-19, the worst of all,” the leader said. “We intervene with the help from God to give physical and emotional support, and we have been encouraging people to trust God in everything, because He alone is the solution to our problems.”
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*Name changed for security reasons