Friday, January 16, 2015

January-February 2015 Prayer Letter



MISSIONS GIVING
We arrived in Kenya on the 1st of January 1998, and later that year God allowed us to begin working with a small group of believers in Nakuru. A year later on the 5th of December 1999, the Grace Bible Baptist Church was organized out of the Cleveland Baptist Church.   After the church was organized we scheduled our first missions conference and introduced to the church the Biblical mandate of giving to missions.  We taught and preached about the Faith Promise plan of missions giving, believing that God could use this young church to give to missions.  Through the years as the church’s burden grew other ways of giving to missions were also introduced. We just concluded our 15th year of missions giving and by the grace of God the church gave an all time high of 1,468,098 Kenyan Shillings to missions, which is nearly $17,000.  The average income of people in the church is about $150 per month.  Many in the church have made a real sacrifice to give to missions and God is using that sacrifice to allow the church to reach into the Regions Beyond with the Gospel. It is both a blessing and humbling to be involved with a church who has learned to give sacrificially to missions, even amongst their poverty. 

INDEPENDENT BIBLE BAPTIST CHURCH OF BUJUMBURA, BURUNDI
I have had the opportunity to visit the new church plant in Burundi three times since the first service.  Recently, they added a Sunday Evening service to their schedule and I was blessed with the opportunity to preach that service.  The building that was put up is only half finished, and it was good to see that they have begun giving towards the completion of their building.  Several more layers of stone have been added over the last few months.  We believe as this church continues to mature it will be a strong lighthouse in Burundi.

KENYA
Although God has expanded greatly our outreach into the Regions Beyond us the work in Kenya continues to go forward.  We are training nearly fifty preachers in the Rift Valley Baptist College, the Grace Baptist Academy has over 300 students, and we have two men being trained for missions work in the Regions Beyond Academy of Missions.  Many other ministries also continue to go forward.  Recently, I was able to travel and visit some of the other churches that have been started out of the Grace Bible Baptist Church and also visit with some of the churches whose pastors have been trained in the Bible College.  It is a blessing to see all that God has allowed to be done throughout Kenya.

FURLOUGH
A reminder that we will be on a short furlough from February through May.  We will be updating our family picture, prayer card, and video presentation which we will make available to anyone who desires them.  Thank you for your faithful support.
 VIDEO MADE FOR THE 2014 GRACE BIBLE BAPTIST CHURCH MISSIONS CONFERENCE
THIS VIDEO IS ABOUT THE NEW CHURCH PLANTED IN BUJUMBURA, BURUNDI

Friday, December 19, 2014

FAMILY PICTURES


Robert Jr. Wendy Stephen Elizabeth
My beautiful bride of 25 years 



Stephen (16) and Elizabeth (13) - our two youngest


Monday, December 15, 2014

God working in Burundi








I have had the opportunity over the last couple of months to spend time on two separate occasions with our newest church plant, the Independent Bible Baptist Church of Bujumbura, Burundi.  The church continues to do well.  The joy of the Lord is evident in the lives of the people and the desire of the church to grow and mature is evident.

Recently we were accompanied to Burundi with Pastor Scott Hall from the Fellowship Baptist Church of Idamay, West Virginia.  He had the opportunity to preach at the church and to see first-hand what God is doing in Burundi.  We are thankful for Pastor Hall and his church and their burden to see the Burundian people come to the Lord.

Pastor Hall gives the church a gift from some children in the U.S. who have promised to pray for them.

 
We first visited Burundi in 2008 and saw vividly the great need in that county. We immediately began praying that God would send someone to reach them.  We at the time were not thinking that it would be us. But over time God made it quite clear that we should stop waiting for others and do something ourselves. When we actively began working in Burundi we were not aware of any other Independent Baptist churches doing anything in the entire country.  Our pray was and continues to be for God to send labourers.  Unbeknownst to us God began to answer that prayer and we recently were informed of several churches that have begun reaching or are burdened to reach Burundi with the gospel.

  •  Pastor Mario Monette and the South Metropolitan Baptist Church of St-Hubert, Quebec have been working with a Congolese man that has started a church in Burundi.  I know Pastor Monette personally and have preached in his church.  Pastor Monette is a man of strong biblical conviction and his church is an example of what a true New Testament Baptist Church should be.  We were excited to recently be informed of this new church and believe that it will be a strong shining light in Burundi.

  • Missionary John Shrader of Zambia has begun working with and training a Burundian man by the name of Arcade.  Arcade has moved to Zambia to be trained and desires to go back to Burundi and reach his people with the gospel.

  • Pastor John Wrightson is the pastor of Coastline Baptist Church of Jacksonville NC.  He met a Burundian army officer named Innocence who was in the U.S. receiving some additional military training. Innocence got saved started attending church and began to get grounded in the Word.  When Innocence returned to Burundi his desire was to attend a Baptist Church.  Unfortunately he could not find one.  I was able to meet with and have a very good talk with brother Innocence during my last trip to Burundi.  He desires to help in whatever way possible to see Baptist Churches established throughout Burundi.  He has been transferred to a government position and meets with the President of Burundi on a weekly basis.  He will be a great help in getting our churches registered in Burundi!
Brother Innocence
  

These are some examples that we have recently become aware of…… we are quite sure God is going to continue moving in the hearts of his people to reach Burundi.

Thank you for your prayers for the Grace Bible Baptist Church as we continue to endeavor to reach into the Regions Beyond.

Monday, August 18, 2014

THERE IS NOTHING TOO HARD FOR THE LORD



Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

These verses commonly known as the great commission were given to the only kind of church there is, a local church.  As a boy growing up in the Cleveland Baptist Church I often heard these verses preached along with the admonition that it is the responsibility of churches to start churches.  These responsibilities and commands are as valid today as they were when Jesus first spoke them to the church at Jerusalem.

When we arrived in Kenya in 1998, we had the burning desire to see churches planted.  Along with that desire was the understanding that the churches in Kenya must learn that the mandate of the great commission also belongs to them.  Just as a church in the United States sent someone from their midst to see a church in Kenya started, they in turn must also learn to do the same.

When we first began working with this group of people that we organized into the Grace Bible Baptist Church, we set a theme from Geneses 18:14 where God asked Abraham, “is there anything too hard for the Lord”?  Since that time the Grace Bible Baptist Church of Nakuru, Kenya, has tried to operate according to the principle that there indeed is NOTHING TOO HARD FOR THE LORD.

The commission that God gave to His church is as real in poverty stricken Africa as it is in the rich United States of America.  Through the years as we expressed our vision for the church we have had more than our share of problems, naysayers, and doubters but the call and command of God remained the same… GO YE! We settled a long time ago that God’s Word is ALWAYS true and indeed there is NOTHING TOO HARD FOR THE LORD.

Since the organizing of the church, the missions program of the Grace Bible Baptist Church has grown both in faith and financially.  Several years ago God began to show in a real way that it was time to put feet to faith and start reaching into the Regions Beyond Kenya. 

One of the areas that God began to direct was the great need in the country of Burundi.  For the past several years many trips were taken to Burundi, people were saved, baptized, and taught the Word of God.  All of this work culminated a few weeks ago with the birth of a new Bible believing Baptist Church. 


Children's service
Preaching service
The Grace Bible Baptist Church sent the money to rent the land and put up a structure for the new church to meet.  A group of men from the Bible Baptist Church of Uvira, DRC, joined together with a group of men from the Grace Bible Baptist Church of Nakuru, Kenya, to help in the starting of this new church.  In preparation for the new church, a week of evangelism, visiting converts, and preparation took place.  During this week many good contacts were made and nearly thirty people made a profession of salvation.

 
Church building
Burundi team from Kenya and Congo
 
On the 27th of July, we had our first service with the joint effort of men from Kenya, Congo, and Burundi.  The Bible Baptist Church of Bujumbura, Burundi, had an attendance of 169 for its first service.  Twelve people responded to the invitation for salvation and thirty nine people requested membership in the new church.  Most of those requesting membership have already been baptized by us and have been receiving teaching.


George Mbugua dealing with two ladies
Julius Kimani leading a man to the Lord
 
The excitement surrounding the starting of this church was unlike any that we have ever experienced.  There was joy on the faces of many people who were present because of the realization that there was now going to be a Bible believing, gospel preaching church in their community.  The singing was heartfelt and the attention to the preaching was true.  Our men from Kenya had smiles on their faces from ear to ear as they realized how much God was using them and their church to reach into the Regions Beyond.  


Preaching
Those requesting membership


Please continue to pray for this new church.  The pastors and men of the Grace Bible Baptist Church will continue taking the leadership of this work until the time of “organization.”  One of our members who lives in Burundi, Pastor Kambi, will be overseeing the day to day operation.  On most Sundays, one of our pastors or men will be in Burundi assisting in the church.

It is with much joy in my heart that I write this update.  I rejoice whenever a church is started but there is a lot of extra joy for this missionary family to be able to partner with a Kenyan church to reach into the Regions Beyond.  There are some who may think Africa is too poverty stricken to do the work of missions, but that thinking is quickly put away when one comes to grasp with the truth that “there is nothing too hard for the Lord.”

                                 VIDEO OF CONGREGATION SINGING
                        BIBLE BAPTIST CHURCH- BUJUMBURA, BURUNDI
                                              

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A HEART BEATING FOR BURUNDI



Burundi is a landlocked country in Central Africa whose history, since gaining independence from Belgium in 1962, has been wrought with heartache upon heartache. 


 




Each year when the ranking of the world’s poorest and most poverty stricken countries are released Burundi’s name never leaves the bottom five.

In 1972, they experienced a period of Genocide when the Hutu people wantonly killed the Tutsi people; over the next decade the animosity between the people simmered below the surface until 1994, when the Tutsi took their revenge in yet another Genocide and slaughtered the Hutu people.  The country was plunged into war, and between the Genocides and wars, over ten percent of the population was killed. 

 









 
Today, Burundi’s population of twelve million people is desperate to climb out of poverty, war, and destruction. They desire better days and are striving for them, but they do not realize that anything better in this world is only temporary.  What they need beyond anything else is to know the God who will bring a BETTER day.

Some time ago the Grace Bible Baptist Church began to be burdened to reach into the REGIONS BEYOND of Burundi.  The church began laying the groundwork of reproducing itself in Burundi.  This coming Sunday the 27th of July, it will hold its first official service in its newest church plant, the Bible Baptist Church of Bujumbura, Burundi.  


Grace Bible Baptist Church- Nakuru, Kenya


A group of men from Grace Bible Baptist Church are on the ground in Burundi; witnessing, teaching, holding Bible studies, and preparing for the first service.  They have been joined by a second group of men from the Bible Baptist Church of Uvira, DRC, who are helping in planting this new church.
Over the last several years the church has sent men into Burundi nearly fifty times, and I have accompanied them on at least thirty of those occasions.  Last November a group of twenty people from the church, both men and women, took a missions trip to Burundi.  When they returned to Kenya, they returned with a burning desire and burden for a Gospel preaching church to be planted in Burundi.  During these trips, people have been saved, training has taken place, and the ground has been prepared for the planting of a church. 


Bujumbura- Burundi


A few weeks ago after speaking about the upcoming church plant in Burundi, one of our Sunday School children came up to me after the service and said, “Pastor our church’s heart is beating for Burundi.”  As I thought about that statement I realized it is true only because God’s heart was first beating for Burundi.

We do not know of any other church planting going on in the entire country of Burundi amongst BAPTISTS.  Won’t you join us in allowing your heart to beat for Burundi? Let it beat by praying for Burundi.  Let it beat by giving so the Gospel can go forth in Burundi.