Church members are becoming more inspired for mission as Total Member Involvement catches the fire of the Holy spirit in the East-Central Africa (ECD) region of the World Church. With the conviction that only Christ’s method will rescue our perishing world, the Nairobi Central Adventist Church organized a wholistic evangelistic campaign in Siaya county resulting in 273 baptisms.
Senior pastor Jean Pierre Maiywa-Massai explains that church members engaged in active evangelism in their community by combining the ministry of the word with compassionate ministry. The congregation chose Siaya county as the place for their labor. They selected a small group of church members to assess community needs, and after reporting back, the church began planning in earnest.
Members tapped into their talents or professions to serve Siaya community needs. One woman trained people how to grow vegetables, bringing water tanks and irrigation hoses with her. The locals eagerly applied her methods in their gardens. Another church member bought a transformer and installed it in the village of Nyapiedho, where the evangelism site was. Through his generosity, people enjoyed electrical light. For the Nairobi Central Church, that is a good analogy of the darkness of sin that is dissipated by the word of God.
The church worked in tandem with local government leaders. They identified the poorest families in the community to assist. One of the most memorable experiences was distributing goats to destitute families. As family members led the animals away, their faces reflected joy, a sign of hope for the future. Pastor Okindo Joel, ECD evangelism coordinator, offered a prayer of dedication over the gifts. Afterwards, he congratulated Nairobi Central Church members for their understanding of TMI and encouraged them to continue making themselves available to the Holy Spirit, who will reveal to them more talents for mission.
Sarah Maiywa, the senior pastor’s wife, ministered to the community children for two weeks. She brought a group of 20 children and teenagers from Nairobi with her. They went door to door, inviting children and their parents to the meetings and while visiting, they assessed family needs. They distributed clothes and food, too.
What touched the children from Nairobi she says, was the high level of poverty in the rural area. Some were shocked when they saw that the toes and fingers of their counterparts were so infested with jiggers that they were not able to hold things. Nairobi Central brought nurses in to provide treatment. Overall, 350 children received medical care and 60 were baptized. Sarah saw that there was hunger and thirst for God’s word among the children.
Brian Ajua, a youth who was part of the committee and who came to the site, expressed that God led him to Nyapiedho. “It felt like home and I did not want to leave!” he says. “When God is first, there is no difficult place to preach.” Ajua brought a football to play with the neighborhood youth and later invited them to the meetings. He was very happy to be involved in helping the needy.
Another member, Gilford, used his profession as a veterinary doctor to serve the community. As they were visiting with the people of the village, he assisted a family whose cow was delivering. The owners had been concerned about the delivery, but when they saw the calf and mother in good shape, they promised Gilford that they would attend the evangelistic meetings.
“The efforts of the Nairobi Central Church in Nyapiedho did not end with baptisms,” declares Peter Nyagah, one of the pastors. Preaching went hand in hand with construction and a church is now ready. Nairobi Central sent a missionary six months before the actual campaign who is stationed there for follow-up. Nyagah adds that elders have been assigned specific Sabbaths to visit and minister to the new members. Finally, he shares that his church will organize seminars and trainings on various aspects of church growth.
Pastor Maiywa says, “This is overwhelming. We did not have the picture we have today and TMI is not a theory in my church. Nyapiedho has been our laboratory and now we know the secret of success.”