God has given us a wonderful opportunity to make a huge impact in Africa, building stronger marriages, families, churches, and society. We need you to partner with us in prayerful support of this mission, and to contribute financially if God leads you to do so. The story and photos below will explain what God is doing, so take a look:
Here is a photo of Pastor Jully Juma (left) and Pastor Elly Juma ( right) of World Commission Church in Nairobi, Kenya. We have been working with them from a distance for over a year, and they have a huge vision. It is contagious!
Their church began by having a burden for families in their area, and started a school in the slum area of Nairobi where the church is. They have a vision of making a huge difference throughout Kenya, of a movement to build stronger marriages and families throughout Kenya, and other countries as well. The first time we spoke on the phone, Elly said "We are convinced that strong marriages make strong families; strong families make strong churches; and strong churches make a strong society." The entire congregation had already spent 2 days per week for 6 months in fasting and prayer to seek God's direction, and God had led them to find out about my work. So then they spent another 3 months in fasting and prayer as before, seeking God's confirmation before contacting me. Then Laura and I spent time seeking God's confirmation on this end. We have no doubt that God is in this.
Here is a daily Bible study for the church and school leadership:
If you know me, you know that marriage building has been my calling and passion for many years. (If not, you can visit www.treasuredrelationships.com to learn about our ongoing ministry of helping marriages thrive by following God's design for marriage.)
Here's Laura and I.
So, in 2016 we began planning a small conference to be held in Nairobi, Kenya to train church leaders from 3 or possibly 4 churches to lead effective marriage enrichment programs in their churches and communities. As the plan developed, Laura and I would fly there for 10 days at the end of this November and work with these visionary leaders. God must have had bigger ideas, because we now have over 45 churches committed to attend this conference. Some of these church leaders will be traveling great distances from towns and villages across the region, and the group has grown to about 250 people. Wow!
We have already raised over $6,000 plus adding $2,000 ourselves towards this project. We have purchased a computer, projector, 2 wireless microphones to equip the church for this ministry and more to come, and of course airplane tickets, etc. Now that the conference is over 10 times as large as expected, the expenses have obviously increased. A local print shop will be making our handbooks. A local Christian Book Store is ordering the books we will be providing (one copy each of 3 books per church, to be shared among the church leaders). And we now have need of a large tent to expand the meeting space (which can be rented locally). Purchases are being made there to help the local economy and to avoid shipping costs, etc.
Our budget is now about $2,750 short of what is needed for the conference. The locals there are paying for feeding and housing everyone (some in local homes, sleeping in the church and school, etc. to help hold the costs down), a portion of the other expenses, travel to and from Kisumu in the second week, and a lot of incidentals. In order to get the additional books on order in time to arrive by November 20th, time is of the essence. Reaching our goal and even going beyond it is certainly possible with many benefactors chipping in with gifts of any size. Even a $10 or $20 gift will be significant. $30 will buy the books for one church. $100 will buy the books and workbooks for one church. The tent we need to rent is just over $500. So it's easy to see how these expenses mount up rather quickly. That's why I am reaching out to you for help, and asking that you share this request woth your contacts. Every little bit will help!
Here's the school faculty. School is to the left and church is to the right. The tent will be set up in this vacinity, with panels of walls being removed to enlarge the sanctuary space.
The faculty and students go to the public library, about 4 miles away, to access the internet, and pay by the minute. This is very expensive, as they have to buy "packets of minutes" in advance and those minutes are only good for that day. But with a monthly contract they could have Wi-Fi right there for about $70 per month (after purchasing necessary equipment, all of which is quite expensive for them, and unreachable currently). Any money we raise that goes over the cost of the conference will go towards equipping them for greater ministries. One idea is to give them internet access, which would draw many people from the surrounding area to their church and school. This would open them up to the outside world as well as making it possible for us to have long-distance teleconferences to support their ongoing ministry. Internet access is a luxury that few have in Kenya. But there are other needs as well, and we will prayerfully seek God's leadership in how to make excess funds have the greatest impact.
Laura will be leading the ladies during some of the conference, and I will be the main conference leader. In addition, I will be preaching 3 revival services on the Sunday in the middle of our almost 2 weeks there. We will also travel over to Kisumu (by Lake Victoria on the Western edge of Kenya), for a couple of days in the second week to begin laying the groundwork for a follow-on conference in a year or two.
Laura and I will receive no payment for this work. This is a country stricken by severe poverty and famine, and those attending the conference will do so at a great expense to themselves, especially when traveling from afar. We have been preparing for months, learning about Kenyan customs, getting the required vaccinations (Yellow Fever, Malaria, etc.) and even picking up on some Swahili words. (English is widely spoken, but we will have a translator assisting throughout the conference because some of those attending speak Swahili but not very much English.)
We are totally excited about this ministry and trust that God will provide. As Pastor Elly said, "The God we serve owns all the silver, and the gold too! What He calls us to do, He will make a way for it to be done."
Do you know that Christianity is the fastest growing religion in the world? That's not the case here in America. But in places like Sub-Saharan Africa, people are coming to Christ in huge numbers and they are hungry for learning God's directions for life. This will be a totally Biblically-based training, to help these faithful leaders use the Bible as the primary textbook to help people follow God's design for living. I fully expect God to work miracles through this event, and for this effort to make a positive difference for generations to come.
We know that God will provide for this need, but we don't yet know just how. Please prayerfully consider making a gift. You can be a part of this exciting ministry by supporting this funding campaign. We know that miracles are already taking place, and we fully expect the Holy Spirit to multiply our efforts and bless many people that we will never meet through those we train in Nairobi.
Please partner with us in making this trip as effective as possible.
Blessings to you all,
Dave and Laura Wilder
A note about the Juma family: Elly and Jully have 4 biological children and 17 adopted orphans (mostly from the AIDS epidemic there). Their eldest, Tonny, is away in school, preparing for the ministry. One of the children, Emma, is 3 years old and is currently being treated for Malaria. (Update: Emma is doing much better this week, is eating on her own and laughing. She's going to be just fine, praise God!) The orphans often come to them with health needs, including AIDS infection. They live in a 2-bedroom home that has electricity, gas for cooking, a shower (but no hot water), and an inside toilet. We will have the honor of staying in their home while we are there, and some of the children will be stayig in the homes of friends to make space.
We will certainly return with photos to share with all who help make this happen. Here is Elly feeding little Emma from his dinner bowl. Notice the bed rolls along the wall behind them.
And below is their Praise Team preparing for a worship service.
This location is "ground zero" for a great movement of marriage enrichment in Kenya! We are honored to have a part in what God is already doing there.
Please join us!