A Vision Realized
Forty-two times they had moved. From one location to another, from one tree to another. Either the tree was too sparse to meet under, or the area was too exposed, or they were chased off the land. Then one day they found a large shade tree on the side of the mountain that overlooked the valley below. A patchwork of fields and streams carpeted the valley and the adjoining mountainsides. The smoke of dozens of cooking fires wafted across the valley, adding to the peacefulness and serenity of the spot. This small plot of land on Mt. Elgon was where a small group of Kenyans settled to study the Word of God and seek God’s face. Over time, God provided the funds for them to purchase the field that the tree occupied, and they built a ‘pole barn’ type shelter with a tin roof. Under this roof a church was established, and Pastor Richard began teaching the Word of God.
You often hear the phrase, “Humble beginnings”. I think if you look up that phrase in the dictionary you would see a picture of that tree. If it’s not there it should be! Around 15 years ago that community of believers began meeting together under that tree. Today I sat in a large assembly hall at the Mt. Elgon School of Ministry during a graduation ceremony for over 25 students. I looked at the brand-new dining hall next door and gazed through the passageway over to the dormitory where pastors-in-training live while attending school. I passed an annex building where 150 children were being fed and ministered to. School is on a break in Kenya right now, so they were all gathered there for food and for community. When Richard first came here, most of the children had to walk up the mountain to gather firewood and bring it to the market to sell. It would take all day and they would make about a dollar. That barely bought food for the day. School was out of the question. Those children are now being fed at the annex building adjacent to the Ministry School. Instead of traveling all day to find firewood to sell so they could eat, they are in school!
Richard and Hellen’s impact on this area can’t be counted, but there are at least 15 small discipleship groups that have been formed in the area. They not only study the Bible together, but they are learning vocational skills as well. Soon the School of Ministry will be starting a Vo-Tech center and then will have a marketplace on what will become a main thoroughfare between Kenya and Uganda. Since the Ministry school has been built, a whole community has sprung up around it. All this on a piece of ground that used to be known as a planning field for bloody tribal clashes. God is at work on that plot of land that once held a large shade tree. That tree died by the way, the same year the complex was completed. Its job was done!
Next stop, Kakamega, where we get to visit the brand-new women’s center, The Rebecca House! Keep praying!