Current Mission Work
Initially Erastus Kavuti in 1993 was the only Christian in his village. As Erastus began to convert his family and friends the church at Kavonge was established. The mission work has grown now to include over 200 Christians in six congregations established in the Kitui District of Eastern Kenya (Kavonge, Masaani, Zombe, Nzawa, Kivaki, and Mwangya).
Currently 7 preachers and James, the leader of the mobile medical clinic, receive support. These leaders meet together to define their vision for the area, set goals, and plan activities. They encourage each other as they deal with ministry problems and concerns. They currently provide quarterly reports. After the reports are received quarterly support money is wired to a Bank in Kitui.
Three more men (Peter, Justus Mutua, and Jeremiah) are being trained at the 2 year Nairobi Great Commission School and will join the work in December of 2009. Matthew will also complete his preacher training with the Nairobi Great Commission School extension program in December, 2009. A key to continue to plant more congregations is training more preachers.
Americans have said we see our role as helping “Africans take Africa for Christ”. From the beginning Erastus has said we want to be known as “the church that cares”. The ministry has sought ways to meet physical needs thereby creating opportunities to meet spiritual needs. We have focused on improving agricultural production, funding educational opportunities, and providing famine relief, health care, and clean fresh water.
Survival gardening and drip irrigation workshops have been used to improve agricultural production. Improved production can be the different between death and survival in the dry season. Demonstration plots have been established. Tours of progressive farms have been taken. Use of organic matter, composting, natural fertilizers, hybrid seed, crop rotation, terracing, raised planting beds, and drip irrigation have been taught. Drip irrigation kits have been provided. Famine relief has been provided during the dry season of 2006 and 2008. Funds have been used to provide food distribution, pay hospital bills, purchase an artificial leg, pay school fees, and purchase hybrid seed. James stated that the recent food distribution “brough joy to the church and glory to God”.
Our mobile medical clinic provides care for injuries, pulls teeth, and treats patients for diseases and parasites (malaria, typhoid, pneumonia, AIDS, etc.). James is the medical missionary who is operating the mobile medical clinic with trips to the Kavonge, Masaani, and Zombe congregations each week. The government has licensed James to operate the medical clinic. Since the beginning of the mobile clinic 7 years ago he has treated approximately 5500 patients at little or no cost. Problems vary from malaria to tooth aches. James says we treat their physical problems and seek opportunities to teach them about Jesus. James has been training community health care workers at each congregation to treat patients when he is not there. We have purchased locking medicine cabinets for each congregation and on the July 2007 mission trip we stocked the cabinets with basic medical supplies.
In addition to training preachers the mission’s work has become involved with educating young people and pre-school teachers. Beginning with the famine of 2006 we started assisting poor families and orphans with secondary school fees. In 2007 American families began to serve as school sponsors helping 21 secondary school students. In 2008 American families from 16 states served as sponsors for 45 secondary school students. In 2009 we are seeking sponsoring families for 61 secondary school students. Many of the students are AIDS orphans. In most cases the school fees are $500/year.
In 2007 we raised $16,000 to purchase 16.5 acres where we plan to build our own secondary school. Erastus has described the land as an ideal site for a school. The soil is suitable for making bricks, electricity is available, a stream and hand dug well are nearby, and the site has an area appropriate for agricultural development. At the school we will be able to teach the basics along with job skills such as sewing/tailoring, welding, carpentry, computers, etc. In addition we will be able to share the Gospel and help the students come to know Jesus. During the school breaks in April, August, and December we plan to use the facilities and land to teach adults survival gardening and drip irrigation. We hope that the Nairobi Great Commission School will use the facilities during the time the secondary school in on break as an extension site to train preachers.
In 2008 the Kenyans are making bricks, preparing to dug a well, surveying the land, selecting school board members, and planning construction. In the U.S. we are raising funds ($12,000 to date) and assisting with the development of a master plan and timeline. We are hoping to complete two classrooms, a principal’s office, a kitchen and eating area by January 2010 so that the freshman and sophomore classes can begin. The next phase will include more classrooms, a shop for teaching job skills, a library/computer lab, and dormitories so that the junior and senior class may be added. We will continue to raise funds to complete the school buildings, equip the school, and drill a well.
The two deep wells we helped drill in the Tulia area have enough water for 10,000 people. Water costing approximately 1 cent/gallon is distributed at the well sites but the lines are long and many people walk long distances to reach the well. World vision has donated 1600 feet of PVC pipe to develop another water distribution point up the mountainside. The pump at the well site could be used to pump water but another 24,000 liter water storage tank is needed at the new distribution point. The cost of developing each additional distribution point (called water kiosk) would be $1800 to $2000.
Another focus area of the mission work is community development. The project proposals we currently have state that their goal is be share God’s love, bring people to Christ, and eradicate poverty. The proposals include raising chickens for egg production, raising mushrooms for food and medicine, planting Eucalyptus trees for lumber, raising grafted fruit trees for food, planting Jatropha trees to extract oil from the seed for bio-diesel, and raising Aloe Vera plants for medicine. Donations for these development projects are an investment in helping people help themselves.
At present American supporters from Illinois, Tennessee, Michigan, Arkansas, and Vermont are providing financial support, encouragement, and prayers. The sponsoring congregation is Philo Road Church of Christ in Urbana, Illinois. We see our role as helping “Africans take Africa for Christ.”