Earlier this year, we learned that Pastor Tonny Karwa had been struggling for months with a dying computer. Thanks to the generosity of HeartCry donors, we were able to help him purchase a new laptop. As always, the Lord’s timing was perfect. We were thinking primarily of the importance of a computer in ministry tasks such as sermon preparation. Little did we know how crucial the laptop would become as Kenya entered a strict lockdown phase, and online communication platforms like Zoom became indispensable. Tonny writes in his most recent update:
“There is a group of people for whom the Bible says all things work together for good – the group referred to as “those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:26). And because they are called according to God’s purpose, even when evil strikes, their confession goes something like this, “this is horrendous…but God.” Evil, disaster, suffering, or persecution, although horrendous, present to us a resplendent opportunity to say, “but God.” This is the lesson we are learning in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic as GBC-Kisumu. Here are a few ways that God has used this devastating pandemic to grant us an opportunity for wider ministry.
Opportunity for Evangelism
In addition to ministry to our local congregation, the Lord has used our Zoom Sunday meetings to minister to those outside the church in need of the gospel. A number of our brothers and sisters have been praying for a long time for the conversion of their friends and family members. Many resist our efforts to invite them to church to hear God’s word. But God answered this prayer in quite an unusual way. With the lockdown, such individuals don’t have an excuse when a link is shared with them to attend a service virtually.
One particular example is a younger brother of one of our members who works in Somalia. When he finally made his way back to Kenya, he was put on quarantine for 14 days. His brother seized the opportunity to invite him to our virtual services. There are many more like him whom the Lord has ministered to throughout this pandemic. Please pray that they would know the saving grace and power of our Lord Christ Jesus through His gospel.
Opportunity to Minister Outside of Kenya
Our virtual ministry has extended all the way to Egypt. A lady living in Egypt, who recommended our fellowship to her sister, has been consistently joining our virtual services. This has not only served to encourage her sister, but also encouraged us too, and caused us to consider broadcasting our content online after the lockdown. We are currently working on a better website where such content can be uploaded in future. Please pray for us in these efforts.
Opportunity to Interact with Our Church Plants
As some in our congregation battle with questions like, “Is she the right lady for me to marry?” or, “Is this the right job for me as a Christian?”, we in the eldership battle with questions like, “Is this the right time to constitute our church plant?” These are invariably difficult questions that require fervency in prayer. We had hoped to constitute the Lang’ata congregation (Pastor Sam Oluoch’s new work in Nairobi) last month – a hope that was overridden by God to better conform us to His good, acceptable, and perfect will. Having been granted the opportunity to interact with this congregation online every Sunday, we can now, as the sending church, say that the congregation has grown sufficient feathers and should be allowed to fly off the nest. Please pray with us for God’s guidance on this matter.”