The people I have had the privilege of meeting and serving are truly amazing individuals. One of the honors of getting to serve the Lord in Kenya is hearing the stories of His servants. I am going to attempt to share with you some of the stories told to me. I will tell you up front, I will not be able to communicate the pain, perseverance and joy I saw in the eyes of the people who shared these stories. These individuals were sharing their lives with me. I am sharing their stories with you so that we might be reminded of the power of God and be encouraged by the faithfulness of His people all over the world.
One of the pastors told me about witchcraft being used in his village. He shared about the shaman who sacrifices animals and cast spells on him, his family and the people who attend his church. One time the shaman publicly cast a spell on the pastor. That evening, the pastor was awakened in the middle of night by large dogs that were howling and circling his home. He immediately began calling upon the Lord and within moments the dogs were gone. This same pastor, who lives in Tanzania, also told me he had no money to get to the training in Nairobi. Some people heard him say he was going to Nairobi and they began to mock him saying, “Why are you committing to go to the Bible training? You have no money. They are going to believe you are a liar.” He responded by telling them God would provide a way. Sure enough, his father, who lives in Nairobi, called him the next day and provided him with a bus ticket to get to Nairobi because he wanted to see him to talk about family business. His father did not know about the Bible training.
Women are extremely vulnerable in Kenya especially in the villages and the less Westernized subcultures of this nation. One joyful, godly lady here at the training shared on her application that she grew up in a family that practiced polygamy. She shared how Jesus rescued her from that practice. Another woman shared how her husband physically and mentally abused her. To protect herself and her children, she left her husband and refused the peer pressure to marry another man for financial help. Instead she committed herself to the Lord’s care and provision. Her children are now grown and she has many stories of how God provided for her during those years.
One pastor here recently experienced great emotional and mental trauma when his wife was raped by one of the village elders. You must remember he is not in the States. In Kenya, it is assumed that if a woman is raped it is her fault and she is publicly shamed. If he publicly came forward, the villagers would shame his wife. He was stuck between the rage of physically hurting the man and protecting her reputation. Although emotions are still tense, he shared how after much prayer he confronted the village elder. He communicated his anger and shared how God would judge this man for what he did. The man was filled with fear and avoids being near the pastor, his wife or the church.
One spiritually sharp man, while listening to his pastor teach on a Sunday morning, was told by the Holy Spirit that the truth of the Bible was not being taught. He was greatly troubled and began to pray. He told the Lord he would not go to that church anymore. He also began praying for God to show him how to discover truth in the Bible. Through a series of events, he heard about the training opportunity Ancient Promise was providing. He applied for the class believing God was directing him to attend. With tears in his eyes and a huge smile on his face, he told me last night, “I can now read my Bible and know the truth.”
I realize many of these stories are challenging for us because we don’t experience the same types of trials in America. However, in America we do experience the pain of sin, the trauma of evil and deception cloaked in religion. The God who is powerful enough to overcome evil in the Kenyan culture is also powerful enough to overcome the evils we face in America. We just have to give ourselves completely to the Lord. In doing this, we will not be exempt from pain, disappointment or hardship; but we will guarantee our victory to overcome in this life and enter into eternity hearing the greeting, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”