Missions Article – THE “KENYAN KONNECTION” REVISITED (Sabbath Recorder, May 2016)

05/31/2016

200531_KenyaJames

In June of 2015 I had the privilege of being part of a missions trip to Kenya. I want to share with you God’s good hand in this so that you may rejoice in what He is doing in this world; reflect on what you are doing in this world; and resolve to be a part of what God wants to do in this world through you…

The Past: The Kenyan SDB Conference began in 1973. The church that I am blessed to pastor, the Verona Seventh Day Baptist Church, became involved in this work in about 2002 after two church members, Garth & Mayola Warner, visited the leaders of the Conference while on a trip to visit with friends serving in the Rift Valley region with African Inland Missions.

The Warners came back to Verona and shared their experiences with our church, (as well as with our own Conference through a Sabbath Recorder article)…In 2009, I began to take a more “hands-on” role through entering into a relationship with Pastor Benard Moses, leader of the Kenyan Conference, through emails, phone calls and live chatting on Facebook. I sought to understand the work better through these exchanges, as well as to serve Benard as a mentor of sorts. This led ultimately to my being sent by the Verona church, along with the support of the SDB Missionary Society and others throughout our Conference, on a month-long missions trip to Kenya in June of 2012…

A Promise: Having never been overseas, nor on a missions trip of any kind, this experience was totally brand new to me. I wanted to be used of God for the purposes mentioned previously. I feel that His name was hallowed, His will was done and His kingdom did “come” in a variety of ways through what took place…

And so I promised that at some point I would come back, and that I wouldn’t come back alone.

Partnership: I returned to the U.S. and was blessed to be able to share my experiences with my church, as well as with the Alfred Station SDB Church and with our Conference. Throughout this time others personally expressed an interest in going with me the next time. This was encouraging as I knew that there was more to be done – and that it was more than just one person could do.

During 2014, through conversations with Clint Brown, as well as with my wife and another member of our church, it was becoming obvious that God was putting together a team for a return trip. I was hearing of others who wanted to be used of God wherever He wanted to use them on a short-term missions trip – and it was becoming clear that His plan was to work in them and through them to serve in Kenya. I was soon asked if I would lead this team…

Purposes: The purposes for this return trip took shape based upon the “shape” of those who made up the team. It became apparent that God wanted to further equip the leaders and encourage the laity through the ministry of His Word – so He called Kory Langley with his gifts of pastoral teaching and leadership…

While these were the purposes we sensed going in – God had additional purposes that we were yet to realize: purposes not only for the people we were going overseas to serve; but purposes and plans affecting each of us.

Problems: The purposes we sensed as being from God all looked good on paper. However, when one embarks on such an undertaking, there will always be problems that take place; yet these are also a part of God’s purposes. When an undertaking such as a missions trip involves a team – those dynamics multiply…

Praises: Time of teaching and preaching, using specially-provided leadership Bibles, greatly equipped and encouraged the leaders and people. Crafts, teaching and silly songs brought many children great joy. Special songs touched hearts. Practical sewing skills lifted spirits and brought a sense of community. Expressions of love, care and joy bathed many of the moments we had as we gathered with groups of children, with churches, and with an HIV-AIDS community of believers…

Progress: When we left Kenya after just a little over a week of being “on the ground” serving the people, even though it was a team effort – we came away feeling like there is still more to be done…

Pray – Provide – Participate! In closing, as the “point person” for the Kenyan Conference on behalf of the Missionary Society, as well as the “official” ambassador to you on behalf of the Kenyan Conference – I would encourage you to pray for the work of our SDB brothers and sisters there. I would encourage you to seek ways to provide for their work, whether through financial support through the Missionary Society, or with practical things such as Maxwell Leadership Bibles and sewing supplies. And I would encourage you to personally participate in serving this Conference on a short-term missions trip with the gifts God has given you! Who knows? Perhaps I’ll have the privilege of teaming up with you in the near future!

Author: Steve James (Pastor, Verona SDB Church, NY)


  •   For the May 2016 Sabbath Recorder & the above full article  click HERE

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