Our main objective in Kenya is to establish a team of 40* people committed to becoming disciple makers. In the process of leading prayer walks and speaking to large gatherings of pastors and laymen, eager men and women emerged ready to be trained. The church in Kenya is not lacking for disciples, what it lacks is disciple makers (leaders committed to reproducing disciples).
Jesus' command in Matthew 28:19,20 to go into all the world and make disciples implies the need for evangelism and the training of leaders who are faithful in raising up disciples who reproduce disciples! Without reproduction of faithful, Jesus-followers, the church will die!
Through God's faithful leading, our team of nine is focusing on reaching Kenyans in the cities of Eldoret, Kitale and Cheptiret. In order for this mission to succeed we need God to raise up a Kenyan leader; a man who understands the absolute necessity of disciple making; a man with success in training young men to be disciples; a man respected by those aspiring to become disciple makers; and, a man full of the Holy Spirit and of sound reputation. So we pray for God's help and He has magnificently answered our prayer.
2 Timothy 4:1,2—Before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom, I solemnly charge you: proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.
Joseph is a handsome man with a distinctive white tuft of hair on his forehead that belies hisdeep wisdom. Joseph served as my interpreter each time I spoke. I was blessed by his humility and impressed by his skill in moving from English to Swahili. It was evident by testimony and crowd reaction that he is greatly respected.
Before Joseph met Jesus, he impregnated a woman he was in love with and she bore a child. He was still completing high school and the father and brothers of the girl were furious with him. As soon as the child was born, the brothers brought him to Joseph and ordered him to raise his son. Meanwhile, the father whisked his daughter to East Kenya and enrolled her in school, hiding her from Joseph.
Less than two years later, Joseph put his trust in Jesus and in answer to his prayers, the Lord provided him a wife to help him raise his son. Together they had five more children. Believing God called him to ministry, he started a church called Trinity Baptist Church. Tragically, Joseph's wife became ill and passed away leaving him with six children to raise. Several women in the church helped him with the children, but six years as a single parent took their toll on the lonely shepherd. Joseph shared with his elders the desire to remarry and asked God to bless him with a wife to help him parent his children.
Somehow the woman who bore his first son found him. Rose wanted to see the child she never knew. Joseph agreed, but on the condition that she come to his church and not reveal her identity as the mother. So Rose came to Eldoret and met her son, now over 20 years of age. After the church service, Joseph confided to her that he still loved her. She shared similar feelings to his surprise and joy. So they determined to gain her father's blessing, and with his consent get married.
Her brothers were skeptical that Joseph truly loved their sister. They sent another sister to check her story. The sister realized this kind man was serious. So the brothers arranged for Joseph to call their father. Over the phone, after hearing Joseph's request, the father agreed to him marrying his daughter and apologized for the ill manner in which he treated Joseph so long ago. Joseph, wanting to be sure everything was right before God, then followed up the phone call by visiting his future father-in-law.
Joseph's story is much longer and involved. Space does not permit me to share how God miraculously provided the funds for their wedding; how he and his first-love had another child; how seven of them live in a small, two-bedroom, mud hut; how much he is loved by his church, the students he teaches in Bible School and the surrounding community.
After prayer and deliberation, all nine of our First Cause team unanimously concluded that Joseph is the man to raise up forty disciple makers. On the twelfth anniversary of Trinity Baptist, I had the privilege of preaching to his congregation. I shared with them our desire to commission their pastor as a First Cause Disciple-Making Leader and they applauded with joy. I asked the elders to come and lay hands on him and then stated that we would only commission him with their blessing. After prayer and much rejoicing, they agreed that their leader should be released to minister wherever God should call him. At the conclusion of our time in Eldoret, Joseph’s mentor and many friends and fellow-pastors came out for a special commissioning service. It was a night I will long remember in gratefulness to God for His blessing.
Our first cause is to love God. In the process, we give ourselves wholly to His Son to obey His Great Commission. The seeds are sown in Kenya for a mighty work in East Africa. Our team is blessed to have a mighty brother-in-the-faith who in many ways mirrors the Joseph of ancient times. We praise God for what he is going to do in Kenya and beyond . . .
Salvation and sanctification are the work of God’s sovereign grace; our work as His disciples is to disciple lives until they are wholly yielded to God. One life wholly devoted to God is of more value to God than one hundred lives simply awakened by His Spirit. As workers for God we must reproduce our own kind spiritually, and that will be God’s witness to us as workers. God brings us to a standard of life by His grace, and we are responsible for reproducing that standard in others.—Oswald Chambers in My Utmost For His Highest
*Inspired by the tract, “Forty Intrepid Wrestlers” by Bob Boardman
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