Kenya is a fertile field for the gospel of Jesus Christ, a country of people realizing their need. Desperation encompasses the souls of many, yet others find hope and somehow hang on.Refreshingly, the hearts of the people were displayed through unreserved expression. This developing nation has hospitality at its core. I think of Kenya as “The Land of the Open Door”.
These were some of my first impressions as I arrived in Kenya. My name is Andrew Ernst and I recently returned from a four month mission trip in Kenya where I assisted Dr. Michael Hyodo in several areas of ministry. If you don’t know Dr. Hyodo, “on the move” would describe him well. When I arrived in Kenya, I hit the ground running. Within the hour I saw the WMI (World Ministries International) dental clinic and shortly thereafter the downtown Bible school headquarters. I was very impressed by both facilities. The hustle of activity made for a productive trip and an eye-opening experience as my first time to Africa.
Upon arriving in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, I was surprised to see how Western culture was so prevalent. In this urban sprawl, an adopted way of life crowded out the ancient customs that make undeveloped Africa so unique. I was the only white face in a sea of dark skin, but that would soon change as the tourism boom was just around the corner. Nairobi depicts those of Kenya who want to be part of the modern world. They are seeking help and greatly desire to grow and be self-sustaining.
Driving out of the suburbs is an adventure in itself. Often times only scabs of the original roadway remains and speeds drop to a crawl. Overturned buses and semi-trucks emerge from dust clouds as they litter the highways. All the while, natural beauties saturate the agricultural expanses of rural Kenya.
Wildlife is often seen along the way, and apart from a few modern developments, the simple way of life takes a visitor back hundreds of years.
For peasant farmers there is a slow pace and little need for the amenities that consumer nations consider essential. Wages around one U.S. dollar per day don’t make anyone rich, but people often live somewhat comfortably as the vast valleys are teeming with farms which are able to provide the basics through plenty of hard work.
Back in the city among the high rises and overgenerous establishments, some of the highly visible population enjoys the luxuries of middle and upper class. This abundance is met by a sharp contrast with approximately 40% of the population unemployed, living in poverty, barely making it from day to day.
Many come to the city seeking jobs, education for themselves and their children, and a better way of life. Millions are not able to so seamlessly adapt to the urban way of life and find themselves jobless, desperate and trapped. By the hundreds of thousands people are grouped into slums living at subsistence level and face the daunting reality of prevalent sickness, squalor and crime.
In such a time of struggling, even calloused and independent hearts turn to the Living God. We have heard the cry of the broken who call out for help. We are able to bring good news and tell them: “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.” (Psalm 31:24) The prayer of David comes alive in Psalms 43:5 to those who hear the gospel:
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul, and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (KJV)
Salvation in abundant numbers has come to this hungry people. Overwhelmingly the foundation has been laid for Christ in Kenya by pioneering missionaries. Now two thirds of the country is considered Christian comprised predominantly of Protestants. Much ground has been gained in reaching the lost, but there is still crucial progress to make in building up the church. The local ministers are desperately wanting to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (see 2Peter 3:17-18). The demands for good teaching are increasing. Wonderfully, there has been a Biblical response of church leaders to apply themselves to the serious study of the Word of God. Note 2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Because of the meager budget of most Kenyans, Biblical study at the college level has been limited to only a few. As one of its primary goals in Kenya, WMI has addressed this issue head on. Providentially, advancements have been made to raise up the local ministers, reaching even into the rural communities. Biblical teaching has been provided through a college degree program while keeping the costs to a minimum. Through an inter-denominational curriculum, the sound teaching of university professors has been recorded on DVD and sent to bless and establish even the outer regions of the globe. It blesses me to see that the prayer for training is finally being answered.
The result of developing godly men and women is blessed communities. Transformation takes place as ungrateful and entitlement beggar mentalities are changed to the mind of Christ. The common lack of initiative in this oppressed environment must be overcome by a fresh move toward liberty. Kenyans know that they cannot rely solely on the mercy and input of outsiders; there must also be an internal response. All the activities of WMI keep this in mind. Not only are there Bible schools being established and run by Kenyans, but also dental clinics. Both the spiritual and the physical needs are being addressed, resulting in multitudes coming to Christ as His love is shown through these tangible endeavors. Our goal is sustainability in outreach as we purpose to be active long term.
Crusade meetings and community outreaches compliment the previously mentioned activities of WMI in Kenya. Through working with the leadership, large venues are being organized and play a vital part in evangelizing lost souls. I had the privilege to be part of a joint effort crusade in the town of Eldoret. Local pastors did a marvelous job of making preparations for the event. I assisted Dr. Hyodo and his dental team in a dental outreach that was linked to this crusade. Hundreds of people flocked from the area to receive free dental care in a church that we converted into a temporary clinic.
The patients also attended the nightly meetings that followed for days. It was reported that thousands came to Christ and of the patients that received dental treatment over 80% stayed with the church. Praise God!He still is at work today!
I had so many wonderful experiences as I was able to play a part in what God was doing. We established dental clinics and Bible schools, visited orphanages, preached in the slums, worked with leadership, participated in outreaches and so much more. I remember vividly a young woman who had major work done on her teeth. She was crying and kept saying “thank you, thank you”. I also knew a man with six children who made less than $75.00 U.S. per month. On one occasion, I visited his tiny home in a slum and it was nothing more than a crowded 10’X10’ tin shack. Despite this, he was so grateful to God for the little that he did have. On a couple of other occasions, I helped him out by buying him groceries as he could not even afford to pay the small amount of rent that he owed. I can still see the beaming smile on his face. He has now found more work and I am thankful that God supplied.
Before & After
My eyes were greatly opened as I was immersed in a culture so different from my own. I have a new perspective on life as I have walked amongst the lowest of the low. The impact on me and those in Kenya was deep and profound. I will continue to be involved first hand in such trips and projects and also support those who are doing the work full time.
I encourage all of you who have an interest in missions to actively participate in whatever way you can. God has given abilities to each of us and has shown us the way that we should go through His Word and the life of His Son. We are truly Christ’s hands extended to a hurting and lost world. May we be commended by Christ for having responded to His Word as the church of Philadelphia:
“I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” (Rev 3:8)
May you walk increasingly in the fullness of Christ as He enables you,
Kenya 2007 Mission Field Report:
Dr. Mike on the Front lines
It has been a turbulent year in Kenya. Presidential elections are planned to be held in mid-December amid much corruption, violence and killing this past year. Kenyan President, Mwai Kibaki, plans to run for re-election against a large group of candidates. In the midst of the murder and corruption, however, World Ministries International (WMI) continues to bring the prophetic Word of God to this nation at the same time it is “doing” the gospel of Jesus Christ by ministering to people with love and compassion. “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” (Philemon 2:14-15)
The next ministry trip to Kenya for Dr. Hansen and the WMI team is scheduled for January 30-February 18, 2008. Meetings with political and church leadership took place during the October 2007 trip.
The team will also visit much of the on-going work that WMI is doing in the capital city of Nairobi as well as many upcountry sites through our local missionary, Dr. Mike Hyodo, who is living in Nairobi with his family. Dr. Mike is seen (below) visiting with orphans at the Children’s Garden Orphanage.
One of our ministry goals is to build twelve dental clinics in Kenya. A container of equipment was shipped last spring and two dental clinics are now completed. One of the completed clinics is located in the Korogocho slum. This was built in conjunction with Bishop Arthur Kitonga from the Redeemed Gospel Church.
Our main dental clinic, Nairobi Dental Care, has just been completed in our WMI South C mission house. The clinic is in full operation. We are also in the process of building three more dental clinics in Komorock, Bungoma, and Kisumu. In addition to the five dental clinic locations, we have conducted dental outreaches in areas such as Bungoma and Eldoret with portable dental equipment. Hundreds of patients living in country areas have been treated with fillings, cleanings and extractions.
Many patients have been moved to tears when they see what a difference modern dentistry can do for their smile. We need your help to complete the rest of the seven dental clinics. The WMI benevolence ministry is trying to send another container (40ft. x 8ft.) with more needed equipment. The total cost of this project is $13,000. Please contact our office at (360) 629-5248 to support this important project.
Another ministry goal is to provide bible school education. WMI has a new facility for our office and bible school in downtown Nairobi in the TelPosta Towers building on Kenyatta Avenue. The new classroom has been a blessing for our students to receive top-quality Christian education, where many are studying for their degrees. Additional bible schools have also been started in Busia, Eldoret, Chemilil, Satellite, Gachie, Nanyuki, and Migori.
WMI is also involved in evangelism. We've had the honor to see many people surrender their lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. An effective tool has been to bring a generator, projector, and sound system to show movies such as the “Jesus” movie dubbed in Kiswahili language and the “Passion of the Christ” movie.
Finally, the WMI Benevolence Ministry is heavily involved in helping the poor and needy. We visited orphanages such as the Naivasha orphanage where the team brought a month’s supply of food. We are bringing clothes, food, and other supplies to help the poor living in the various slum areas.
Please partner with WMI to help the needy. With Dr. Mike on the ground in Kenya you can be assured that your contribution will go to those in need. Help us share the good news that sets the captives free. Give us more resources to give to those who hold out their hands. With your help we can reach more children and people with hope and love that puts a smile on the face and a determination for a better future. Call (360) 629-5248 and support us to help those who need a helping hand. Don’t walk away from those in need. Join with us today to make a difference and great hope for tomorrow. May God richly bless you!
GOD BLESS YOU,
YOUR HELP COUNTS SO MUCH!
WMI missionary, Andy Ernst, is seen here in front
of the container located in Huruma, Nairobi.
Nairobi Dental Care, WMI
South C mission house.
The new sign of World Ministries International
at the Nairobi Dental Care clinic.
Dr. Mike with a Dental Health Officer
at the Korogocho dental clinic.
© 2007 World Ministries International