In this article, we highlight a second new church-plant work in Kenya. In addition to Nairobi, church-planting was also launched in Nakuru in 2018. This significant work is the answer to years of prayer, as Pastor Naphtally Ogallo gives us some history:
A Field Ripe for Harvest
“In January 2015, Grace Baptist Church Eldoret received a ‘Macedonian call’ through Egerton University students to go to Nakuru and start a Reformed Baptist church, since there was no known Reformed work in the city. Nakuru is located 165 kilometers northwest of Nairobi, in the Great Rift Valley. It is the fourth largest city in Kenya, with a population of over 1.6 million people.
After much prayer and planning, the Reformation Carried Forward by Kenyans (ReCFoK) agreed that the church plant work should begin in July of 2015. This plan, however, did not take off due to lack of the right person for the task. The plan was put on hold while prayers for Nakuru went on. When HeartCry heard about this unique opportunity, they embraced this and graciously partnered with GBC Eldoret and the ReCFoK family to see Nakuru receive the Gospel of Grace.
The Lord Supplies Workers for the Harvest
In 2016, HeartCry took on board for missionary support John Akeyo. GBC Eldoret ordained John as an elder while preparing him to spearhead the Nakuru church plant. God, in His goodness, raised another man from within GBC Eldoret. Joseph Okech’s love for the lost was always evidenced by his forefront position in evangelistic outreach efforts, and he has been a diligent student at Kisumu Reformed School of Theology (KReST), growing in grace and his understanding of Scripture. He was ordained into the eldership at the end of October 2017, in order to send him with John to plant the church in Nakuru in January 2018.
The last Sunday of 2017, 31 December, will remain memorable in the life of GBC Eldoret. It was the commissioning service for our two elders, John Akeyo and Joseph Okech, who were setting off for the church-plant in Nakuru. Pastor Ogallo preached from Acts 13:1-12 on “Missions and Church-Plant God’s Way.” Then he and elder Paul Keno led the congregation in prayer (left)for the Akeyo and Okech families, and for the establishment of a church in Nakuru.”
Reflecting on that day, John Akeyo wrote:
“It is always difficult to say goodbye to those whom you love and have been acquainted with. This was the case with us. It was not an easy moment for the two families, Akeyo and Okech, to leave the GBC Eldoret brethren in order to relocate to Nakuru. That moment was mixed with grief and joy. It was so sad to leave the sweet fellowship of the brethren at GBC Eldoret and at the same time a great joy to obey the great commission of the Lord to go out and reach to the lost souls in Nakuru city (Matthew 28:19-20). On 5 January 2018, the vision that had existed for the past three years in the hearts of the GBC elders finally came to pass. Nakuru city, like Macedonia, needed the true Gospel and it was now time to go.
Field Work Begins
The first gathering comprised of three families – the two elders’ (John and Joseph) families, and brother Morris’ family. Our first meeting (right) was in the sitting room of the Okech home. We were few but God was present with us. Pastor Akeyo preached the first sermon from Matthew 13:31-32, the Parable of the Mustard Seed. God’s kingdom is being built and expanded by the preaching of the gospel through new church plants. Nothing can stop the church from spreading and growing.
Within three months, a fourth family was added to our fellowship, as well as more children. A Friday night home Bible-study was also started in the Morris home, with the purpose of evangelizing their neighbors. With growth also came challenges. The owner of the apartment complex where we live was not happy. Some of the neighbors were complaining about us holding the Sunday morning meetings in our homes. Pressure mounted for us to cease meeting for worship. There is great need to find a public place to meet for worship. Please pray for a more suitable meeting place to be found.”
Planting Seeds and Waiting for the Harvest
In September’s report, John wrote with encouraging news: “Finally the doors to evangelize at two places we have been praying for have been opened. This has made our hearts to rejoice. It has taken time since we began knocking at the doors of these places seeking opportunity to share the gospel. The two are Naka Primary School and Medi-heal Hospital.
The Medi-heal Hospital ministry is progressing on well. We visit the hospital regularly and share the good news with the sick. We cannot gather the patients together to preach to them, so we engage them one on one. We have also managed to issue out evangelistic tracts to some of the hospital staff and security guards, and invited them to visit our Sunday fellowship.
Naka Primary is a Roman Catholic-run school. It is located almost in the middle of Naka Estate where we live, and is less than ten minutes’ walk from our house. Only the Roman Catholics initially have been teaching God’s word to these pupils. We thank God for the new headmaster who gave us the go ahead to begin the ministry (right) after the former headmaster rejected our request.
Park evangelism is a new effort that we began in September. We simply meet people at the park and share the gospel with them. It is an environment where people from all walks of life come to relax and pass time. Some have come to town in search for jobs and end up resting here, some are in transit and find time to relax here before proceeding on their journeys, some make appointments to meet friends here, while others come when they are on break from their workplaces. There are two parks in Nakuru which we have been targeting: the Lions Gardens and Nyayo Gardens. It is a relaxed atmosphere to engage people in conversation and lead them to a presentation of the Gospel (as John is doing in the photo left). Please pray for the fruit of true conversions and future church members from these Gospel conversations.”