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INT05 - Harvest Partnership Church Planting Movement: Partnership Reports



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Report Date: June 6, 2021

Report from BHW Partnership Facilitator 

Recent Events

difficult timesThis partnership is made up of two major components:
1) Great Lakes church planting in Kenya, DR Congo and Burundi
2) Mariakani base and Kensha football and discipleship, Kenya
This report covers from December 2020 to May 2021.  

Great Lakes Church Planting

The situation in DRC/Burundi is making life and ministry quite difficult. There have been a number of factors contributing to this. The borders have been shut for 18 months with Abel, the leader, stuck in Burundi and the majority of the team in DRC. Of course, COVID means that there is little travel possible within the country and many trips have had to be cancelled. However, the value of the small group model has been shown as large gatherings have been stopped as well. 

Along with COVID, other factors have made life and ministry increasingly difficult:
1) The road from Uvira to Fizi has been submerged by floods and it has been impossible to get to visit Pascal. The floods have also put the electricity out so they cannot charge their cell phones, little information has been emerging.
near volcano2) Daniel's wife has been very unwell and has required hospital treatment. This has made life difficult for them and created more costs.
3) The most recent occurence is the eruption of Mt Nyiragongo near the city of Goma where there is a HP missionary. Jean-Pierre, Jeannie and their three children (right) are safe but several of the churches they have trained and the homes of many Christians have been destroyed. Many are without clean drinking water. 
4) In May floods came close to Abel and Anita's home and small business. Thankfully it did not enter but it has affected their business. Currently all the workers there are trying to establish small businesses so they can generate some income to cover their needs.  

There is a lot of good news from Kenya and Pastor Bob's work. He is the leader of the work in Kenya and is based in Kisumu, near the border with Uganda. Here are a couple of stories: 

Bob writes about a visit to Kakamega in February:
"At my visit I found that the 7 leaders we had trained are active making disciples for Christ. They started 7 Daily Bible Reading (DBR) groups. At that time the church building was closed because of COVID. This house church began a rapid growth with everyone seeking God through the DBR of His Word. Their houses are full every time they hold their fellowship. 

After every Bible discussion many were invited and received the Lord. The fellowship grew larger so I had to help them divide. The new leaders were to take care of the old group and those who had come recently were moved to the new planted churches. I encouraged and trained them in step 1 and 2 and they were excited. 

It's lovely sharing the Gospel. 34 people gave their hearts to the Lord together with the children. We were going to the market place and a certain woman invited us to her house. I shared the Gospel and the whole household of 12 received the Lord. Her neighbour heard us and took us to her home and the 7 of them got saved. I helped Pastor Wekesa and we planted another new house church for them. It's wonderful seeing many people come to the Lord. The leaders are grateful for the new wave of revival that is bringing people to Christ." 

In March Bob visited the town of Bomet. Here are some comments:
"On my visit I encouraged and trained 9 leaders. Seven of them I had trained before and they had begun 12 house churches. I found that they became so active last year and established another 28 house churches. I trained them in Steps 1 and 2. Many families were excited for having encountered Christ in their lives. I shared the Good News in their fellowships and 13 people received the Lord in their hearts." 

Recently Daniel, one of the key missionaries and responsible for the work in Bukavu, wrote a report from the work in March. This gives an insight into the scope and scale of the work. The village and name of each church is at the beginning of each paragraph:

Nyawera - AOG  Sinai Temple: The members are living in unity and keenly reading the Bible daily. During the lockdown they realised that the work had grown as many BRF groups multiplied.

Muhungu - Manmin Church: I had time with Pastor Misiri Bulambo with his 11 leaders. After the training all the leaders decided to open their homes to start house churches where they live.

Nyawera - Military Chaplain: I spent two days in the house of Pastor Pierre Ntumwa in the camp with 11 leaders. Pastor Ntumwa is a soldier. We also visited 30 soldiers who were wounded in the battle field. At the end all of them decided to give their lives to Christ. They were baptised at the military church. Praise God!

Victory Church: Two weeks ago 50 houses in Nyawera (Paysage area) were burnt down. Three homes of the church leaders were victims of the fire. They lost all their belongings. I encouraged and prayed with them to have hope and comfort in the Lord.

 

Kensha and Mariakani

On the weekends that the Kensha football outreach in Kenya does not have a match on the Saturday, on Sunday they go to nearby villages like Madzimbani, a satellite village of Mariakani, to share the Gospel and to perhaps start Bible groups there to develop disciples, old and young. 

In late April the following was written about the two football teams: 

doing wellThe Senior team has produced marvellous results and they train themselves well with the new training skills shown to them. They had a tough friendly match with one of the top teams that won a trophy and are in a higher league. The match was a draw. The players have a heart for the Lord and they encourage and share with one another after practice. This has been a great improvement and the coaches are encouraged and rewarded for their hard work. Safety measures concerning COVID-19 are exercised by all players. The team's aim is to produce great players who can play in the National team. We keep praying for better results in every match they play. It has been so tough for our daily training due to the hot weather. There is also a lack of water - animals are dying due to the heat. 

doing wellThe Junior team keeps progressing and more youth wish to join. It is a good example to all youth around and their faith in the Lord leads them to the right path. We keep praying for good results for the few friendly matches ahead. The families are happy to see the children are being safely and well led. Praise the Lord! They keep coming together for training. We are encouraged as the village elder is giving thanks since Kensha started this project. It has been a light to the community - praise be to God!

In Mariakani, Harvert Partnership has a small plot of land with a small house where several of the young people live who have no home. Many of them are studying to try and get employment or to finish High School. 

 

Personal Stories

Elisha 

good supportElisha is an orphan with his three other siblings in Mariakani, Kenya. He is the captain of the Kensha senior football team. Their humble home was swept away in recent floods and many have helped to rebuild it. His sister Caroline has had bad stomach pains and they managed to scrape together enough money to have a check up - appendicitis! This required an ambulance to Mombasa for a costly operation. The team prayed and put the need on Facebook, which has not been very fruitful in the past! Within hours money for the ambulance and operation came in along with the extra money needed for food and after care medical attention and medicines. This did wonderful things for the faith of the orphans as they discovered they did have a Father after all, in Heaven.  And that His people care, pray and help.  She has made a full recovery.  

Alima 

Here is the story of Alima, a recent Muslim convert:
“My name is Alima. I am a girl of 16 years and was born and raised as a Muslim. My parents are all alcoholics and brew Changaa (local brew). We had no peace at home, every day there was a fight. At high school I had a Christian friend Elizabeth who used to share the Gospel with me but I hated it so much. It happened several times and one day she gave me a piece of reading card and a New Testament Bible to keep reading to know more of God. One night after reading a verse I asked myself “what does it mean?” I thought seriously about my life and wanted to change. But how? The next day I went to her and she led me to the Lord. I gave Jesus my heart. I have introduced my faith to our family and they told me to continue. It is my prayer that they will follow suit. Just keep praying with us. I have joined our daily Bible Reading Fellowship and I am happy with my Jesus Christ”.

Kaputuku Boys

The three Kaputuku boys are giving thanks to the Lord Jesus since they joined Kensha. They used to pick pockets, tell lies and drink alcohol but once they heard words of encouragement they opened their hearts to the Lord Jesus and today they are not like they used to be. 

They come from a village called Kaputuku where they used to sell firewood to survive. After the government ordered people not to cut the trees, they shifted from Kaputuku to Mariakani which is about 22 km. One of them was keen to listen to the word of encouragement and he joined in during prayers before they started the practice or the game. Unfortunately he passed away last week but the Lord enabled the key people here to attend the burial. This was good because the family said that they needed them to visit them and share the Word together. Praise be to the Lord. 

 

Current Issues and Challenges

The COVID pandemic is still affecting people and limiting their travel. This is limiting their impact and fellowship. 

They are seeing more youth without food to eat in their homes and on the streets. They discovered this after visits to their houses. It is a great challenge to see this and not be able to help them. 

 

Prayer and Praise Points

praise God1) Pray for God's provision for the church planters and leaders of the house churches in such difficult times.
2) Pray for the new converts that they grow strong in the Lord especially the ones from an Islamic background.
3) Pray for the CPM leaders to have wisdom and courage as they live their faith in the community so they make active disciples.
4) Praise the Lord for the many souls who have come to God through the prayers and outreach of church folk in their house churches. Thank God for baptisms and new people becoming disciples.

 

Comments

There is a lot going on in this ministry. I think there is potential for us to become more involved especially as the key people in New Zealand who raise funds are almost past the point of being able to continue doing this. We are in discussions about this with them but are still unsure about what the next steps might be.