The plan in Nathan’s and my agenda was to come to Kisumu and meet with the Kenyan team. What we did not expect was to come away with an expanding vision for ITEM-Kenya. Working alongside of Nathan Chiroma has been and continues to be a blessing. He sees opportunities that I do not see and that was the case again today. We are leaving Kisumu after church Sunday but I get the feeling there is much more to come in this ITEM location.
QUICK TRIP TO KISUMU
That heading says it all. We were at the airport in Nairobi about 7:45am for our 45-minute flight to Kisumu. You can see the map in the pictures for today. A side note, I was surprised to see how full the plane was. It was a small jet that holds maybe 120 and most of the seats were filled.
Kisumu is the third-largest city in Kenya (after Nairobi and Mombasa) and the second-largest city (after Kampala, Uganda) in the Lake Victoria Basin. (Wikipedia) It is in the western part of the country. Nairobi is more east. So, Nathan has been doing the ITEM ministry in the western part, the ITEM “team,” which is located in this part of the country, has been handling the west.
We had lunch together and each one, Apollo (coordinator), Tom, Danis, and Charles gave us updates on their (ITEM) ministries. Apollo reported that over the years we have had 300+ pastors (probably) go through our seminars and at the time, about 70 are begin mentored by one of them. Charles, the youngest member of the team, in particular reported that he is seeing character change in the men he is mentoring.
Before lunch we walked down the road to look at the Kenyan Baptist Theological College that the team runs. It was originally managed by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist convention but they pulled their missionaries out of the area and left the building in the hands of these men. This happened years ago. They are using ITEM curriculum to grant diplomas.
The complex is pretty big by African standards. But honestly, it is not impressive looking. That is what I saw. What Nathan saw was quite different. Nathan saw humongous (by the way, my spell checker just accepted the word “humongous”). He saw a revenue generating facility. He saw a resource center where pastors could come and study for sermons. He saw a computer center. He saw a training center.
He already has people in mind from his church in Nairobi who would like to come here to teach in the Bible College. And both of us think we know of people who would invest funds in this property IF it resulted in it becoming a revenue generating endeavor.
ITEM KENYA (NGO)
It has been our intention to register ITEM in Kenya for months but we have to have a local address. Our attempts to talk to representatives of the school in Nairobi where I served as an adjunct prof 1998-2003 are stalled due to what they want to charge us to use their address and set up a tiny office on their campus.
So, at dinner I asked Nathan about using a Kisumu address and without hesitating he said, “yes.” In fact, he said it might be easier and once it is finished it doesn’t matter where the address is. All that matters is that someone is sending in the annual report to the government.
Editorial note: Like I said at the beginning of this report, Nathan sees potential that I do not see and that is what I so love about being around him!
Tomorrow, Sunday, I am preaching at a church led by one of our team members. Then we are having lunch at his home. During lunch, Nathan and I will talk to Tom about “all of the above.”
I would NOT be surprised if Kisumu starts to take on a more significant role in ITEM-Kenya beginning.
I’ll preach at Tom’s church. I am using Matt 6:24-34. Then we will have lunch with Tom and after lunch we will make the short drive to Bungoma (see map in the picture section).
ALSO, Sunday is Nathan’s birthday.
PRAY for continued good health for us both and safe travel. PRAY also for God to continue to “surprise” us at each stop; Bungoma Monday and Busia on Tuesday.
By His grace,