Dan Holland reports on a wonderful mission to Nairobi-Kinamba. God still uses Mission
Kenya – Nairobi – Kinamba – Feb 2023
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (Is 58v 11)
Introducing the team – Pastors’ James, Tony and Margaret
Tony is my friend from Arbury, Cambridge, and we first met at the Cambridge Revival Hub. We quickly bonded over our shared love of overseas mission. A seasoned missionary and medical doctor, Tony introducedme to his contacts in Nairobi, James and Margaret.
They pastor Deliverance Church (Dagoretti Junction) which is part of a large network of Spirit-filled churches across Kenya. James and Margaret are a dynamic couple with over 30 years’ experience in ministry. We ‘gelled’ quickly and harmoniously as a team, and there was not a cross word between us all week. Our respective gifts and anointings flowed together marvellously to release the Spirit wherever we went. We also did a lot of laughing!
Karibu Sana (you’re very welcome)
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. (Heb 13v 2)
One of my first impressions, and a highlight of this trip, was the extraordinarily sincere hospitality Tony and I enjoyed. From pastor James’ first greeting at Nairobi airport to Margaret’s ‘karibu sana’ at their house. ‘Karibu sana’ was a constant. In every home, church, new place and from every new acquaintance there was a cheery ‘karibu sana’ followed swiftly by the ubiquitous Kenyan tea and snacks. I have never felt more welcomed and included.
After some spiritual warfare in the build-up to the mission I arrived weakened, having almost lost my voice, but I was cared for with love and attentiveness which, no doubt, speeded my recovery. This accelerated excellent fellowship, especially with Tony, Pastor James and his wife Margaret. We bonded after just a week, and their warm welcome was personally healing. In the West we are rather acclimatised to the gospel and to our Christian presence, being very often unwelcome, and resisted with coldness or hostility. In contrast, rather like the apostle Paul’s reception from the islanders on Malta, I echo his humbled gratitude to our new Kenyan friends.
The native people showed us unusual kindness (Acts 28v 2a)
A church plant and a ministry training centre
The first Sunday of the trip Tony and I first preached at Dagoretti Junction. At the last minute I changed what I had planned, and shared a message on ‘Stewarding Vision – bringing it to fulfillment’. Little did I know that this Sunday was a momentous fulfillment of vision – for 15 years James had been planning to buy a piece of land and build a ministry training centre, along with a church plant. This was the blessing and commissioning service for the new endeavour, a fulfillment of the vision and a new season of ministry. Tony gave the inaugural sermon based on the boy with five loaves and two fishes. So memorable!
Kinamba, glorious assemblies and gospel freedom
Pastor James’s home village is Kinamba, some 4 ½ hours North of Nairobi, and what a beautiful journey it is! Kinamba is a typical Kenyan village full of little shops and teeming with life. James and Margaret both attended local schools, James was converted there and they went on to plant a Deliverance church in Kinamba. They are minor local celebrities and Tony and I were happy to ride in on their coattails!
For three days we stayed in Kinamba and travelled around the local schools. What was quite striking was how obediently the children listen and value their education. It is not ‘a given’, some parents can’t always afford the school fees, so large chunks of schooling can be lost. I was pleasantly astonished at the freedom we were given to preach the gospel. I have done my share of assemblies in English schools where we have to eek out a few drops of the gospel. In Kenya, by contrast, we could pour out the gospel unrestrained like a river, even giving a call for salvation at the end. Often then we would go back into the office of the head teacher, or deputy, and share with them over drinks and snacks, praying together before we left. Over these days we shared with over 2,100 children. What a wonderful privilege!
Drought and a national day of prayer
The region around Kinamba was scorched and tinder dry. For Tony and I this was nice because this meant there were no mosquitoes around, with unbroken sunshine. But for locals this is very serious. Crops can be ruined without rain.
Midway through the week there was a national day of prayer for rain (oh that such an event might be held in England). A stadium was booked in Nairobi and all the national leaders were there seeking God’s intervention. Lord please send rain on Kenya soon.
We had the opportunity to speak on local radio. Tony and I were planning and praying about what topic to address. We felt that mental health was a timely subject, ‘the battlefield of the mind’. This was slightly risky, as in Kenya there is not the same understanding of mental illness that we have in the West, or the same sympathy towards it. With the combined impact on a farming community of the recent pandemic and lockdowns, drought, substance abuse and many other factors, we hoped this would be helpful to listeners. It was gratifying to read the texts and hear the questions that were asked in the Q&A time at the end. It definitely hit on a need in the community.
There is only one psychiatric hospital in all of Kenya, in Nairobi, whereas in UK we have some psychiatric facility in every city and town, inadequate as it may often be. In Kenya as elsewhere, mental illness thrives on ignorance, judgment and lack of treatment. In confirmation of this we met a severely mentally ill person the morning after the show. We were, at the least, able to minister to him and pray with him.
An ending or a beginning?
We crammed much into a week! As Tony and I made the return journey, laden with gifts, we celebrated what God had opened up for us on our trip; the possibility of James visiting England and a return visit by us. We thank God for safe travels and for the wonderful people we met in Kenya, for the evident Spirit of God, for the ‘karibu sanas’ and the spiritual hunger of the Kenyan people. God surely call us back at some future point, but for now Kenya lives on in our memories, in new friendships and prayers.
I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. (3 John 1v 14a)
Dan Holland is a UK missionary with Through Faith Missions (‘TFM’). He wrote “Through the Tunnel – Free at Last” published by PUSH Publishing, as his personal testimony. His second book “Prophetic Evangelism – Kingdom Exploits in the Risk Zone” was published in January 2021, via Christian Publications International:
Note the 2023 Kenya mission was not a TFM mission as such, but Dan was encouraged to take this opportunity to Minister there.