We were invited to attend church in the small congregation of Misesi, which is only 45 minutes from Kisii. Church was scheduled to start at 10:00 so we left at 8:30 to make sure that we were there plenty early. Mike, Stephen, Russ and I loaded up in Charles’ car (a different Charles from the one(s) in Nairobi) and were silently thankful that it was a short 45 minute trip and the road were better than most of the ones we’ve been on during this trip!
Enjoying tea at the home of Pastor Joseph Nyaribo
We arrived just before 9:30 and were invited to Pastor Joseph’s home for tea while preparations were made for the service. Pastor Fred and Enosh arrived a little after we did and we discussed the seminary, church work, and other topics. At about 10:45 Pastor Joseph said we were ready to head over to the church. This congregation does not have a building to worship in. They began worshiping in Pastor Joseph’s home, but have outgrown it. More recently they have been worshiping outside, but this is not always possible with the rain they receive here. They have a piece of land donated for a church, but they are waiting to construct it until we have money available in the MDF to assist with the roofing. The problem here is that they build mud walls. If they build the walls too soon and don’t have money for roofing sheets, the rain will wash their walls away wasting time and resources. So we are waiting for money to come into the MDF so we can assist this congregation with the building of a permanent structure for a church.
Today we were able to use the home of Pastor Joseph’s son who is currently away in Sudan. It worked very well for our purposes, although it was a little small as well. We used what was the “living room” for our service with the altar along one wall and chairs for the congregation set up all the way around the outside walls. Pastor Joseph had two robes, one for himself and one for me, the guest preacher. We robed in one of the additional rooms and walked out for the beginning of the service. Pastor Joseph conducted the liturgy which again was very similar to that which we are familiar with. The music is different, but sometimes it is vaguely familiar. They sang songs during the service that were also found in our hymnal, and although the melody was similar there were some differences.
Robed for preaching, with Pastor Enosh translating into Kisii for me.
Following the sermon we continued with a “second” service for communion. I was very impressed by how the service was conducted. It wasn’t much different from being in our own churches here in the states. I assisted Pastor Joseph by distributing the wine, and when the congregation was finished I communed him and he communed me. It was both a joy and a privilege to join with these fellow believers in both Word and Sacrament on this day!
Once again the service went about two hours. We concluded at about 1:00 and after introducing the visitors from the US to the congregation and sharing greetings, we returned to Pastor Joseph’s home for a lunch which his wife had prepared for us. The hospitality of the people here is simply amazing. They always invite our driver or any other guests they may have to join us as well, even if it wasn’t expected, and do it cheerfully and eagerly. What a wonderful example these people can be for us! We enjoyed a rice dish with beef “soup” over the rice that was very good.
Following lunch we packed back into the car, but added Fred and Enosh for the trip back to the tarmac. We squeezed in, and although had some trouble shifting with Enosh sitting on the stick, we made it! We dropped Enosh and Fred off there where they could catch a bus into Kisii behind us.
The congregation of believers at Misesi
When we got back to the hotel I had another meeting. I had set up a meeting with the men from Etago to mediate some differences and concerns with other churches. I wasn’t sure how the meeting was going to go, and prayed for the Lord’s blessing on our meeting. I listened while the men voiced their concerns and it took us a while to get to the heart of the issue. When we did we addressed it specifically and also addressed related issues. In the end (after two hours of discussing) we had admission of wrong and forgiveness offered as well as a willingness to move forward for the work of the kingdom. We thank the Lord for His work in the hearts of these men and pray for His continued blessing here!
Tomorrow we will be leaving for Nairobi, so we had to say our goodbyes to the Etago men. Please keep them and the Lord’s work in your prayers – that His kingdom may be advanced and His name glorified!
In His service,
“Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” – Colossians 3:12-13