Greetings in the precious Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
"Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.
For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised…" 1 Chronicles 16:24-25
The Greatest Century of Missions
When Walter contacted me for permission to re-print 10,000 copies of The Greatest Century of Missions book, I knew that I had to do a complete revision, expansion and update. SIM wanted these books for distribution to pastors, teachers and youth leaders throughout East Africa. They also wanted to me be their guest speaker at a series of conferences to introduce this Youth Workers Toolkit, as they described the selection of books that they were seeking to provide. The original 2002 edition of The Greatest Century of Missions had sold out of the print run of 6,000 copies. I had been seriously considering the need for an improved, updated and expanded edition and this request from our Missionary friends in East Africa provided the catalyst needed. Now expanded to 224 pages with over 200 pictures, photographs, maps and charts, The Greatest Century of Missionsis a treasure trove of incredible adventures, inspiring exploits and unbelievable achievements of some of the most extraordinary people in the most momentous era of Christian advance.
Mission to Muslims
I have known Walter and Christel since they first came out as Missionaries to Africa in 1981. They had undertaken Bible smuggling into the old Czechoslovakia, behind the Iron Curtain, during their honeymoon! During numerous Missions conferences, Saturday morning Mission prayer meetings for unreached people groups, and door-to-door Evangelism in the Malay Quarter (Bo Kaap), I learned much ministering alongside these dedicated servants of the Lord. After 10 years of being based in Cape Town, they relocated to Nairobi, Kenya, from where they have been ministering throughout East and West Africa, training trainers, ministering to Muslims, providing vital Leadership Training manuals, books and leaflets for reaching Muslims and discipling Christians.
East Africa Christian Teachers Conference
One of the highlights of this Mission to Kenya was the East Africa Christian Teachers Conference (EACTC) at Kabarak University. Over 250 delegates from all over Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan gathered at this premiere Christian university. It was a dynamic group and they responded enthusiastically to The Challenge of Dr. David Livingstone Today. I liked one of their posters on the wall: "It is bad manners to have more clothes than books!"
Driving in Kenya
Kenya is the most powerful economy of East Africa, but it is still a developing country and some of the infrastructure is inadequate and insufficiently maintained. One of the Kenyans I travelled with said to me: "In some parts of the world, they drive on the left and others drive on the right. In Kenya, we drive on what is left of the roads!' Then referring to the huge potholes dominating many of the roads, he declared: "In Kenya, only a drunk person drives straight!"
Kenya at a Glance
Independent from Great Britain since 1963, tribal politics have often subverted the opposition and marginalised major ethnic groups. Rampant corruption and high levels of crime have seriously undermined development of the economy. Power failures are common. Plumbing services frequently fail. If you drink the water out of the tap, you will probably become violently ill. It is wise to use boiled, or purified, bottled water for brushing your teeth. Over 43% of the population is under the age of 15. Life expectancy in Kenya is estimated at 53 years. Public debt is 60% of the GDP. Income per person, per year, averages at US$838. Kenya has a population of over 40 million, comprising 108 ethno-linguistic groups. English and Swahili are the official languages. Surprisingly, there are still unreached people groups in Kenya. Only 16 of the languages of Kenya have full Bibles and 13 tribes have New Testaments only. 20 other languages have portions of the Scripture translated and there are 13 works in progress. Literacy is set at 73%.
Congestion and Corruption
The congestion in the capital city of Nairobi is staggering. Traffic jams are so bad that it can take an hour to drive across the city during "rush hour". There over 3.5 million people crammed into this capital city. It is a shock to see how most of the people on motorbikes do not wear helmets, or any other kind of protective gear. Overloading of motorbikes is common. I saw three, four and up to five people on a single motorbike! I even saw mothers with a baby strapped to their back, precariously bouncing on the back of fast-weaving motorbikes, and on the wrong side of the road, in the face of oncoming trucks. It was hair-raising! Not only is Kenya a regional hub for Christian Missions, Theological education and Church ministry, but corruption is so rampant and systemic that terrorists and international drug traffickers also use Kenya as a major hub. Kenya is a country of contrasts with many Kenyans living in great affluence and others in shocking squalor.
The Spiritual State of Kenya
I was informed that the East Africa Revival of 1948 to 1960 made a deep and lasting impression on the Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist churches, but this was later quenched by legalism, divisions, materialism and personality clashes. One of the largest churches in Kenya is the Africa Inland Church, which was established by Africa Inland Mission (AIM). With over 4,200 congregations and more than 2 million members and affiliates, AIM has a major impact in the country. There has been a tremendous explosive growth of charismatic, independent churches, but many have adopted syncretistic practices, or unbiblical beliefs and traditions. With over 80,000 congregations in the country, the need for Bible College Training is tremendous. Most pastors have little training and inadequate libraries. Over 8% of the population is Muslim and translates to over 3 million of the population. This does not include the large number of Muslim Somalian refugees who have poured into the country.
Flying into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, one is immediately confronted by the Health Check Point and demands to see one's yellow fever inoculation. There are many layers of security and the country gives the impression of being under siege. Recent high profile, Al-Shabaab Islamic terrorist attacks on Garissa University, Westgate Mall, churches and busses, have led to a lot of intrusive surveillance, check points and multiple layers of metal detectors, x-ray machines, security guards with a metal detector wands, even for entering a bus or small local shop.
The Curse of Crime
One Kenyan told me: "A third of Kenya works and they employ the other third of Kenya as security guards to protect them from the other third of Kenya who steals!" Many refer to Nairobi as Nairobbery! Homes are surrounded by spectacularly high walls, gates, fences, electric wiring, razor wire and spikes. Homes are encased in burglar bars and security gates. Despite all this, they still often have a fulltime security guard on duty! Daylight muggings on crowded streets are not uncommon. Car-jackings and home-invasions can occur at any time. Even the Mission guest house where I stayed had warning signs, not to go out walking after dark because of frequent muggings in the area.
The North of the country has a long-standing reputation for lawlessness. The closer to the South Sudanese, Ethiopian and Somali borders, the more armed robberies and abductions by shiftas (bandits) on the roads, are expected. Armed convoys are normal in the North and East of the country.
Corruption in Public Service
A travel advisory warns: "Dealing with police: keep in mind that as Kenya is a developing nation, government remuneration for public services is extremely poor. As such the police are severely underfunded and frequently seek out bribes to earn a more liveable income… if you are pulled aside by an officer for something seemingly petty, there is a high chance they are simply seeking a bribe and do not intend to arrest you… it is not advisable to offer a bribe immediately, instead treat it as a very last resort. If you need to deal with the police because you are a victim of a crime, understand that the system is in fact somewhat functional, though the process will be slow and tedious. There is generally no justice delivered for minor crimes such as theft, and obtaining a report for insurance purposes can be an arduous process. Some stations may need you to provide them with a pen and paper, or pay for transport costs for their officers. It is also not unheard of for police offices to seek bribes for helping you, or giving you priority, in an often overwhelming work load. "
Avoiding Malaria and Cholera
Travellers are also warned to protect ourselves from mosquitos and to be inoculated against yellow fever. Mosquito nets are generally provided by our hosts and considered essential in much of the country. All water should be treated, either by boiling, or by purifying tablets, or filters. This includes Nairobi. Eating from roadside kiosks invites stomach illness, as fruits and vegetables are seldom washed in sanitary conditions.
Even after adjusting my watch to East Africa time, I still found myself frequently waiting, sometimes up to an hour, for my driver, or host. Traffic frequently delayed us far more than had been anticipated. Yet, even after arriving very late at the conference, we would still often find that we were among the first there! Delays, technical difficulties, lack of electricity and other complications were normal. Changes to the plan were also frequent. As Francis Grim, the Missionary under whom I was mentored, in Hospital Christian Fellowship, would often tell us, that a Missionary needs to be RFA (Ready For Anything). Flexibility and adaptability are absolutely essential in the field. Travel and accommodation arrangements could change with little warning. Venues and even topics that I needed to deal with could also suddenly be announced with little warning. All of this added to the challenge, so one never knew what each day would hold.
Inspiring Fellowship and Fascinating Research
I had the joy of meeting a tremendous cross-section of missionaries and Christian workers. I enjoyed good fellowship with missionaries from Britain, Canada, America and South Korea, Missionaries to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Congo and Chad, Bible translators, Child Evangelism missionaries, teachers, Theological lecturers and technicians. Amongst the Kenyans, I enjoyed fellowship with military chaplains, pastors, teachers, Scripture Union Evangelists and principals. All the people I offered Gospel literature to received it gladly. Even Muslims seemed quite open to the sharing of the Gospel. One Missionary told me of his experience as a hostage of the Simba terrorists in Stanleyville, Congo, for four traumatic months in 1964. His Missionary Father was murdered in front of him, yet he returned as a missionary to the same community.
Some people pointed out to me Eastleigh, also known as Little Mogadishu. Eastleigh was described to me as "a country within a county", with its own culture and economy. Predominantly inhabited by Somali immigrants and refugees, Eastleigh was founded in 1921 as an Asian suburb. In recent years, Muslim Somalians have effectively colonised Eastleigh and turned it into an area almost entirely inhabited by Somalis, selling everything from designer clothing and jewellery, to illegal firearms. Several of the terrorist attacks linked to Al-Shabaab were launched from Eastleigh. I was advised that Eastleigh was effectively is a no-go area for non-Muslims, any time day or night. How the Kenyan government tolerates this effective base for Al-Shabaab terrorists in a suburb of the capital city, is inexplicable. Local residents informed me that there are billions of dollars invested in Eastleigh and they can easily bribe police and government officials!
Training Youth Workers
My first conference was at Buruburu, where I gave presentations on You Can Change your World, Making Disciples of All Nations, The Greatness Century of Missions, What Would David Livingstone Say to Us Today and The Greatness of the Great Commission.
After that I was battling traffic in downtown Nairobi to catch a minibus through to Nakuru, which several people had confidently assured me would not be more than two hours' drive. However, what with traffic jams, road blocks and other delays, I was on the road for more than five hours. Even here the security arrangements for boarding a bus seemed quite intense.
In Nakuru I met my hosts, Walter and Christel and was immediately driven through to Kabarak University (KABU) a Christian university on a 240 hectare farm, 20km outside of Nakuru. The Chancellor, Daniel Arap Moi, the retired second president of Kenya, has plainly made Kabarak his pet project. Kabarak is a premiere institution for higher education in Kenya. Its tree-shaded lawns and facilities were the best I have seen in East Africa.
At the East Africa Christian Teachers' Conference, there were guest lecturers from South Korea, America, Britain and Germany. Tea times and meal times were interesting opportunities to learn from Christians labouring in very different situations to our own. Walter, Christel and I sat up late into the night catching up on news and discussing the Missionary challenges before us.
After my presentation to the Teachers Conference I was handed over to my next hosts, Military chaplain, Simon Mbae, whom I had last met at the Association of Military Christian Fellowships Global Interaction in 2014, in Cape Town. There were 600 military leaders from 100 countries worldwide, participating in this Global Conference. As these events are only held every ten years and this was the first time AMCF gathered for their International convention in Africa, it was the shortest distance I ever had to travel for any conference. I had participated in the AMCF, 20 years before in Virginia, USA. Frontline Fellowship supplied hundreds of Bibles, New Testaments, Gospel booklets, audio visual materials, digital libraries and other resources to empower chaplains and Christian soldiers to Evangelise and disciple their units effectively. We had a tremendous time of fellowship with Christians from Russia, Ukraine, China, India, Pakistan, South Korea, Brazil, Britain, America and Kenya.
Great Commission Seminar
Simon had stayed in touch with us since then and some who heard of my conference tour to Kenya, offered to organise a Great Commission in the Twenty-first Century and Beyond Seminar in Nakuru. With over 300,000 inhabitants, Nakuru is the fourth largest city in Kenya. Nakuru lies on the Great Rift Valley. With many military bases in and around Nakuru, it seemed like an ideal place for a Great Commission Seminar. My presentations, which were translated into Swahili, dealt with: The Greatness of the Great Commission, Turning the World Upside Down, Biblical Faith and Modern Counterfeits, The Challenges Before Us, Can Jesus Trust You?, Jesus Christ is Building His Church and the Gates of Hell Cannot Prevail Against It. This Saturday seminar lasted over 12 hours.
Church Services and Film Evangelism
One of the participants travelled from Eldoret and informed me that he had hosted our Africa Overland Mission team in 2011, which included my son-in-law, Hunter Combs. On Sunday I was busy at two separate services, the ministry lasted from 9am to 6pm. There were hours of questions and answers after the service. We also had tremendous responses from the screening of War Room, Terrorism and Persecution and The Atheist Delusion films.
Nakuru Youth Workers Conference
On Monday morning, we began a new Youth Workers Conference in Nakuru. I gave presentations on William Wilberforce and the War Against Slavery, Samuel Ajayi Crowther, A Tale of Two Islands, Evangelism Explosion, Way of the Master, Faith Under Fire in Sudan and The Statue and the Stone. In less than two weeks, I ministered at 4 conferences, 4 churches and one university, 22 meetings in all. In the last 3 months, I have completed 4 Missions.
Yesterday we welcomed back one of our Mission teams from a month-long tour of ministry. Taryn and Abrie gave 42 presentations at 15 different schools, conducted an Evangelism Seminar and Discernment Seminar, ministered at 3 churches, undertook 4 outreaches and participated at 2 Home School Expos. They also made over 40 donations of literature and audio-visual materials.
Please Pray for our Missionaries in the Field
This morning we sent out another Mission team across the border. New Muslim Evangelism Training Manuals and Reformation and Revival Manuals were printed in time for the team to take with to distribute. I leave on another Mission to the States in two weeks' time.
Thank you for all your prayers, encouragement and support.
May God continue to be your joy and strength.
Yours for the fulfilment of the Great Commission
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Your support is needed and much appreciated.
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