Let me introduce our newest missionary in Kenya, Pastor Tonny Karwa. When Sam Oluoch started talking about Grace Baptist Church Kisumu sending him to plant a new church in Nairobi, I had mixed feelings. Of course I was excited at the prospect of a new Reformed Baptist church in the massively needy city of Nairobi. And I knew that Sam was the sort of strong leader needed to pioneer that work. But Sam had helped plant GBC in Kisumu and had been their pastor for over 10 years. The church was healthy and growing. How would they handle the transition?
My concerns were quieted knowing that GBC would still be in the capable care of Elder Ken Owiti. But Ken is a very busy attorney with a prominent law practice in Kenya. The church still needed a fulltime pastor. We were filled with joy and relief when Tonny answered the call to shepherd Grace Baptist Church Kisumu.
Tonny is married to Olivia and is a mechanical engineer. During university days, he served as a leader in a Christian student organization and served in a Pentecostal church. Tonny later came under the ministry of Trinity Baptist Church, the ‘mother’ Reformed Baptist church in Nairobi, Kenya. There Tonny was exposed to the doctrines of grace and became convinced. He has served in various ministries at TBC and recently completed his training in their theological school.
To read more about Tonny, his conversion testimony and call to ministry, go here.
In Tonny’s first report, he shares about a couple that visited the church, giving us a glimpse of the religious context in Kisumu:
“Recently a couple began attending our church. From what they have shared, it seems that they had grown tired of the prosperity preaching that has swept Kisumu, and Kenya in general. The wife took it upon herself to go online and hunt for a church. Her aim was to find if there were biblical churches in Kisumu that have not caved in to the prosperity syndrome. Providentially, the Lord led her to our church’s online information.
That week, she and the husband tracked down our location, and joined us for worship on the following Lord’s Day. They have consistently continued coming to hear the gospel proclaimed every Sunday, as we slowly engage them to learn more about their faith.
Last month they invited Elder Ken, myself, and our wives to visit their new home. In Kenya, being invited to a new home as a pastor means more than just a visit. You are often required to ‘dedicate’ the new house in prayer. The prosperity preachers have turned this so-called house dedication into one more way to fleece money from their members. In the ceremony, they offer prayers accompanied by sprinkling of ‘anointing oil’ or ‘holy water’ in and around the house to secure protection and blessing for the family. We used our visit, however, to expose and explain such wrong practices and teach them biblical truth.”
Before his current role at HeartCry, Robert served several years in pastoral ministry, and a few years in Zambia, Africa as a missionary. He is also a veteran of the Marine Corps. Robert and his wife have been blessed with 3 children and 4 grandchildren. They live near Christiansburg, VA in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains, where he enjoys deer hunting and fly-fishing for trout.More By Robert Shepherd