A gentle giant swings his arm back to slap a welcome to your hand but suddenly Pastor Isaac reaches in and slows the momentum. Pastor Patrick’s hand dwarfs mine and as he pulls me in for the customary chest bump I have no choice in the matter almost losing balance. But the warm smile and bass rumble of the voice welcoming me home to Fafarol is so genuine. His laugh, hardy and contagious draws you in. You haven’t been greeted in Kenya until you’ve had a hug from Pastor Patrick.
And soon our whole team is greeted and put to work.
While Jimmy and the guys set up the screen and projector for PowerPoint and the banner of T.I.M.E. I took the opportunity to walk with Pastor Isaac and find some high ground overlooking the church to pray and prepare my heart for ministry this day. It was one of those mentoring moments when we could reconnect and catch up on what’s happening in his life so I seized the opportunity to pry just a bit. His father, who has stage four cancer of the bones, is top most on his mind. It was a good night until about 3am when dad woke up in agony. As a Pastor we walk with many people through this transition in life but somehow when it hits home… Times of silent prayer follow… And a change of subject initiated by Isaac.
This little church that began in the house on the highway has seen so much growth in the past two years. Each year Pastor Patrick begins his welcome by giving me the stats. People coming regularly, people baptized that year, people in the current Baptism class, number of small groups… Sometimes when a pastor goes in that direction he is looking for affirmation that he’s on track doing a a good job…but Pastor Patrick doesn’t allow opportunity for the pat on the back. He just wants me to know that God is still very actively saving souls and working miracles in Fafarol. And it is very noticable.
Today’s leadership meeting is on the new land the church had purchased two years ago. And there was a smaller building, the first classroom already in place with roof on. God had blessed them with 37,000 ksh through the congregation and they had a building to show for it. A hub of activity if you like. It was very encouraging to see.
I remember back two years ago and wondered how in a community that looked so very poor, how a church could come out of the ground that they asked me to pray over. I confess my faith was stretched as I saw such vision in their hearts but with God all things are possible. What I didn’t know as I walked the land that they had chosen to buy, and what they also didn’t know, was that God had placed in the ground of that land the building supplies they would require. The top soil turned out to be perfect for making bricks. Bricks enough for their plans and enough to sell to help buy the metal roofing materials. But as they dug through the brick layer they found a foundation sand layer that they were not expecting and even crush gravel in abundance. They had budgeted to bring many truck loads in, instead they had to take truck loads out. Which they were able to trade for the cement they needed to build. God truly does supply where He gives the vision to build.
The group that I was blessed with that day were church leaders from as far as 2km away. Many denominations working together to advance the kingdom of God. During the first session as we were few in number I had us form a circle and we studied together leadership issues that Acts 8:1-8 brought out. We focused on our moral imperatives comparing Scripture to Scripture. With just a few questions the conversation quickly turned spirited and before long it turned entirely kswahilli. I sat back and watched as Pastor Isaac and Patrick struggled through some of the situations brought up. Every now and again they would pause long enough to bring me into the dialog and with one or two more well placed questions off they went again. 2 hours flew by. And then we had a break and two and a half hours flew by again this time focusing on Acts 8:9-25 and the spirit of Simon verses the Holy Spirit.
As it came time to part I was asked when we could continue this teaching. God only knows the answer to that but I know that if I’m never back that way again I will have brothers and sisters in heaven to catch up with. Truth be known I can’t wait to see Fafarol growth in T.I.M.E. Lord willing I’ll be back.
Before leaving Fafarol I stopped in to visit with Doreen a young nurse who we helped to set up a clinic last year. Her report was that the clinic was doing well and she’s been able to help many in this city that is 45 minutes from the nearest hospital on a good day.