Our ACTS team trip to Kenya returned this past week with news, pictures, and stories from Kenya. We sat down for an interview with Pastor Nancy Boyer, Global Reach’s Kenya Liaison, who regularly leads trips to Kenya, and who has developed a good relationship with the pastors there. Kenya is one of the few regions where the CGGC has partnered with churches that were already present. We have about 12 churches in Kenya currently, all of which are situated in the Kirinyaga County (Central Kenya, South of Mt. Kenya), in villages like Sagana, Kagio, Kutus, Baricho, Embu, and Ithanga.
When did you first get introduced to Kenya?
About 13 or so year ago, I saw an advertisement in the Missionary Signal looking for a female Co-Leader to go to Kenya. I was working at Mechanicsburg Church of God youth group at the time, so I had experience working the youth, and experience with international travel having just come back from Israel. I didn’t feel any special call but there was a need and I felt that I could probably fill the roll.
Lance emailed back a while later and said we were going. I went, and it was a good trip but I never felt that “aha!” moment. I didn’t know why God had me here. So, a year goes by, and I still didn’t have any clarity, but Ben asked me to go again. I though, “maybe on this trip I’ll have that “aha!” moment where I’ll know what God was calling me to do. But, again, no “aha” moment. I still never really felt like I knew why God had me going to Kenya. But I did talk to the pastors more and I agreed to pray for the pastors, and I found that I really started caring about them and their situation.
God said “Teach them. Just teach them”. So, I started taking pastors there to provide biblical training. Not that I knew it, but the Kenyan government was requiring all clergymen in Kenya to have a higher education from an accredited theological seminary. During our second trip we took, Brent Sleasman and Lance Finely were a part of that group and they were able to see firsthand, the need the pastors have there. They have seminaries in Nairobi, but the pastors that live in the villages where we work, there is no way they have the means to travel to Nairobi, let alone pay for tuition and room and board, and textbooks. They just don’t have the resources to do that. So, we started taking trips along with Winebrenner Theological Seminary to provide accredited seminary education for our pastors. In the meantime, the Kenyan Government has cracked down, they are closing churches. So it was something that was very much needed.
If I hadn’t gone that first time, I wouldn’t have continued to go. That answered my prayer. God showed me why I needed to go there.
What are your greatest joys when going to Kenya?
For the last 3 years, we have been just teaching the pastors. Watching the returning pastors, coming back, that are eager to study, to do a deep dive and to really understand what God says. They are really digging deep, and they want to know the truth. That is encouraging to me and that is something that we all need to be striving for.
This time the highlight of the trip was working with the children. We had them on Saturday and Sunday, and so a local pastor went into the slum area and gathered between 60-80 kids.
It was heart-breaking when we ate our lunch. We made a simple peanut butter and jelly, and they were just grabbing, so hungry and desperate. They were all just reaching out. While Ellie, an ACTS team volunteer, was handing out sandwiches, the pastors had to calm the kids down….
We don’t understand the poverty mentality. Sitting and waiting could cost you your life, so you have to get up and take it. But they had a good meal that day and some fellowship.
The village is called Sagana. Pastor Robert sent a picture of the children from the slum area who had come back to the church. They made some arts and crafts, and they displayed their work. That really encouraged me. I can’t explain how wonderful that feels. If God is using what we did to continue working with those young children and the ministry of the church. That means a lot to me.
What would you say are your greatest challenges when going to Kenya?
The travel itself is hard. The excitement of going is kind of dulled. I don’t have the excitement that most first time people have. That leaves plane travel, navigating airports and security. It’s just hard to put up with all of the inconvenience. Time change. Jet lag. Time away from family. Those things are hard.
Sometimes when I go, I have a lot of things that are thrown at me. I don’t know if it’s spiritual warfare of situational, but Satan throws a lot of garbage at me to make it harder.
What are the greatest needs in Kenya, and what can people do to better help?
Prayer, obviously. I can’t tell you the number of times when we were in crazy places and I know that things would have gone south very quickly if it hadn’t been for the intervention of people that pray for us. So, prayer is first.
Secondly, support. It’s further away than Haiti, and more expensive. If they want to support the work that’s going on there. There are a number of different avenues to support financially.
Third, they can go, whether it’s an ACTS team or a short term mission trip. If they just even want to ride along as an eyewitness when we do a teaching trip, I would welcome them to come along. The teaching trips are 3 times a year, in January, June, and November.
There are always opportunities for churches to supply textbooks or the cost of textbooks, so our pastors have a tangible resource. We like to get quality textbooks. Usually, they are about $50-60 apiece and we have about 10 pastors.
Any last words you want to leave for people?
I really need to thank my “partner in crime”, Lisa Wilt. She’s very quiet, and doesn’t seek the limelight. But, without her assistance, and her willingness to travel with me, I couldn’t do what God has called me to do. As support and traveling partner, she does a lot of the work, and she doesn’t get enough credit.
If you want to give to support Kenya Ministries or support the educational needs of pastors in Kenya, please considering donating to the sub funds “GR 2831 Kenya Ministries” or “GR 2837 Kenya Education” or "GR 2849 Kenya Liasson" at the link below.
CGGC eNews—Vol. 27, No. 30