[ HOME ][ TSS Magazine Index ]

November - December 2000 The Sabbath Sentinel

The Mission of "the Quiet Man from Kenya"

by Jeff Henderson

When you first meet Joseph Kimani your initial impression is that of a quiet, reserved, and even shy individual. Yet, the normal demeanor of this gentleman from Nakuru (a city 100 miles NW from Nairobi the capital of Kenya) comes with one major exception: Get him on the topic of God and Spiritual matters and he is truly transformed!

Joseph becomes more than talkative. He burns with great zeal to expound on the Scriptures and of the Way of Salvation through Jesus Christ. This is just one of the simple reasons why the Nakuru congregation of the Apostolic Church of God 7th Day call him "Pastor Joseph."

This last August, my wife Cathy and I had the pleasure of receiving the gifted Pastor Joseph as a house guest during his recent swing through the San Francisco Bay area. We were glad to help him in this part of a nationwide visit to Sabbatarian groups and churches. His goal has been to raise money for an expanded evangelical outreach in his native Kenya and surrounding African countries.... Such a noble mission is easier said than done.

Equatorial Kenya is quite different than our back door. Though a Commonwealth of Nations member, life in this former British crown colony and protectorate is a lot simpler, and yet far from easy. Even in the cities, most people walk, and the rest either ride bicycles or use public transportation. Kenya has 42 tribes, each with its own dialect-and the average daily wage is 80 cents (one U.S. Dollar is equivalent to 75 cents Kenyan money; ... so, a loaf of bread costs about 20 cents).

Agriculture has been the backbone of Kenya. Yet, a lack of rain in the last few years has brought a turn for the worse. According to an Associated Press report: "Struck by the worst drought in 30 years, reservoirs around East Africa's largest city are drying up. The low water levels mean hydroelectric dams can generate little electricity; the most precious commodity in Nairobi is water."

Again according to AP, as recently as August, to children that were wearing red and navy blue school uniforms, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture handed out bowls of boiled corn kernels mixed with beans-supplying them with possibly their only meal for the day. (Corn and beans had usually been one of the staple crops of Kenya.)

What had been just a railway outpost in 1900, the municipality of Nakuru is now an urban development (situated in the Rift Valley, squeezed between Menengai Crater and Lake Nakuru) which has grown quickly since Kenya's Independence (1963). Yet, here, the only thing certain is change. The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) website states, "Known for its flamingos and once dubbed 'the cleanest town in East-Africa,' Nakuru, Kenya, has lost a lot of its past glory. Particular environmental concerns are caused by the inter relation between Lake Nakuru National Park and the residential and industrial expansion. This situation is aggravated by the fallen standards of urban services, requiring a new approach towards urban planning and management...."

While impressed with the radical contrast in living standards between Kenya and the United States, Pastor Joseph nevertheless noticed another stark difference between the two countries. As he put it-in a very telling statement, "The American people need true repentance and a return to God. Simply put, the U.S. needs salvation." But, the "quiet" man from Kenya did not stop there: "The spiritual condition of Sabbath churches is lukewarm and needs revival."

In the view of Pastor Joseph, American Sabbath keepers need to preach the full gospel of Jesus-not simply the "gospel" of the Sabbath and particular pet doctrines. His strong words need our echo: "The true gospel is what Jesus did on the cross and the power we receive when we believe. The whole gospel-salvation from sin, the power of the Holy Spirit, keeping the commandments by the power of the Spirit, and living a Christian life-these are the real spiritual issues."

Kenya is unique, with 3% of the Christian population embracing Sabbath observance. Still, according to Pastor Joseph, there is much work to be done. "We must work while it is day, for night comes when we will not be able to preach the gospel-and we don't know when that time will come."

How can one preach the gospel to a hungry and thirsty people? Our faith needs to work in Kenya. (James 2:14-18)"What doth it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but have not works? can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked and in lack of daily food, 16 and one of you say unto them, Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; and yet ye give them not the things needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it have not works, is dead in itself. 18 Yea, a man will say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith apart from thy works, and I by my works will show thee my faith."

Monies raised by this U.S. trip will be used to help Saints in need, to purchase a van with which to generate funds for spreading the gospel, to purchase a video projector and "p.a." equipment for use in reaching remote villages with gospel presentations, for the building of new church buildings, and to (hopefully) help defray the cost of American ministers coming to Kenya for evangelistic campaigns.

Joseph and his wife Esther have four children ages 9 through 16. The Kimani family last saw their father in May when he left on this mission. He plans to return to Kenya in October.

The most important thing that Pastor Joseph requested was for the earnest prayers of all the Saints-that God might heal Kenya and bless their Kenyan ministry with success in reaching that part of Africa with the saving message of Jesus Christ!

Editors Note: The BSA President, various BSA Board Members, and the Editor of TSS were recently in attendance at a conference dealing with the subject of how to preach the Gospel to the world and the forming of an Evangelistic Association for just such a purpose (see Sept/Oct TSS). The preaching of the Gospel in African countries was among the various similarly focused topics of conversation. While we are all still just talking, "the quiet man from Kenya" is working-helping to fulfill this mission.

Letters and donations may be mailed to Pastor Kimani at this address in the USA:

Pastor Joseph Kimani
c/o Association for Christian Development

P.O. Box 4748
Federal Way, WA 98063

Any gifts or offerings of support may be made out by check to "Pastor Joseph Kimani." The ACD will deposit all of these in his Bank of America account, which is directly accessible in Kenya. All letters will be forwarded to him in Kenya. Those wishing to reach Pastor Joseph Kimani directly can e-mail him at: Joseph_Kimani@Yahoo.com

Jeff Henderson pastors the Believers in Christ Church of God, Redwood City (San Francisco Bay area), California. Comments can be sent through their website at: http://www.biccog.org


November - December 2000 The Sabbath Sentinel