Grace Baptist Church – Eldoret
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy forewarning him of times of difficulty ahead, he said:
“For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money…without self-control…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Tim.3:1ff)
This is a strange way otherwise to begin a Prayer Letter. However, as we sat in front of our church Tent of Meeting talking with our Deacon, a man ‘Prayer Warrior’ (for that is what they call themselves) from one of the Word of Faith churches was visiting in the neighbourhood and answering a caller on his mobile phone. The one-sided conversation went like this:
‘Let me tell you, we are so busy we cannot come for a prayer worth 10 Bob [less than a penny]…No, mark my words, we are so busy, we can only pray to God for big things not for flu or common aches and pains...’
My heart sunk and I felt so sad. I had had that men pray for money but I had never come so close to hearing a ‘prayer man’ turn away a needy person because the price tag would not be met! Upon hearing that, my wife in a cunning way said, “my dear we shall remain poor!”
Church Plot Update
The many visits to the Lands and Municipal Offices have continued. Both the architectural and structural drawings are ready and together with the Certificate of Change of User application are all submitted. We however learned that all land matters for considerations and approvals are put on hold by the Governor till further notice! Please pray with us that the Sovereign Ruler of heaven and earth will move the hearts of all concerned. When we consider the fees and delays involved at every stage of the process, we now understand why so often many people fall into the temptation of corruption.
Naphtally, Bill, Michael and Sam at the Conference
Running Forward, Remaining Faithful
Together with Pastors Sam Oluoch and Michael Maura, colleagues in the ReCFoK and Pastor Bill Issa from Uganda we were privileged to attend the 25th Reformed Conference in Lusaka Zambia. We arrived on Saturday 23rd August and the following Lord’s Day preached in various churches. I preached for Pastor Ronald Kalifungwa at Lusaka Baptist Church in the morning and in Pastor Conrad Mbewe’s Kabwata Baptist Church in the evening.
From 25th to 29th some one thousand five hundred people gathered daily at Lusaka Baptist Church. The Conference theme was “Running Forward, Remaining Faithful.” Pastor Kalifungwa gave the keynote address saying that ‘Running Forward’ is all about missions. It is taking the gospel to every part of Zambia, the rest of Africa and indeed to the West also. ‘Remaining Faithful’ relates to the Doctrines of Grace. This is the other great thing that can happen to one after conversion.
The two main speakers were Pastor Voddie Baucham and Pastor Ken Jones both from USA. Voddie handled the ‘Running Forward’ showing very convincingly from Genesis to Revelation that our God is always on mission; that God expects His people to always be on mission and that the whole of Biblical revelation has missionary tone from beginning to end and finally the consummation of all things come at the end of mission.
Ken Jones very ably day by day took and expounded each of the five points (TULIP) of the Reformed Faith which Charles H Spurgeon once called “the revealed truth of God as it is Christ Jesus.” Ken would take each Doctrine, set forth its statement, then extract summary teachings from the same and finally draw out applicable observations.
Pastor Conrad Mbewe gave the closing address by asking a pointed question ‘what difference will all this make to us from here onwards?’ Using Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians Dr. Mbewe brought out two important points:
1. Gratitude – Reformation in Zambia has
truly been God’s work and He is worth all praise. 30 years ago there was no Reformed Baptist Church in Zambia. Now there are 40 English speaking RBC in the whole country with 10 of these within Lusaka the capital city. He then added that ‘Humility does not mean denying what God has done but accepting what He has done and giving Him the glory.’
2. Anxiety about tomorrow – (1) Greatest
fear is toleration of gospel error. He underscored that while the gospel is our life-line, it is being diluted in the present church. (2) Lose of unity in the years ahead. Pastor Conrad reiterated that it is important for leaders to meet and talk over issues that they don’t agree on. Reformed movement is first of all about the Bible so we must go as far as the Bible goes. Infighting robes any group of the energy they need for the work of the Lord; mission.
It was greatly commendable how the organizing committee handled the daily logistics including the challenges that arose as they sought to provide the best meals possible for such a large multitude. Brothers and sister opened their homes for visitors, took time off from work and used their resources to make the 25th Reformed Conference a success. It was at this conference that I marked my 50+10 years!
Way forward for Kenya and the rest of Africa
After the Conference, we were again invited to preach in different churches which saw me preach for Pastor Kennedy Sunkutu at Kafue Baptist Church about 45 Km from Lusaka. But September 1st Monday night was in all ways the climax as the Reformed Baptist Zambian leaders met with the ReCFoK Kenya together with our Ugandan Brother.
Meeting of Reformed Zambian & Kenyan (ReCFoK) Learders
In the spirit of Colossians 4:7-9 we shared with our Zambian Brothers all about our activities so that they may be able to know how we are and that they may encourage our hearts. We in deed were encouraged and challenged in no small measure.
We stood in admiration and praise to God as we considered that once upon time we were at par with them where Reformed movement was concerned. That however is not the case today and we sought to understand ‘why’ and ‘how’. The answer to the ‘why’ is certainly the sovereignty of God. But the answer to the ‘how’ is strategy. They have laboured over the past thirty years on the principle that the river flows naturally downwards. Thus they invested initially among the Universities and Colleges. As these men and women graduated and got posted to different towns of Zambia, they were never satisfied with anything less than Expository Preaching and Reformed Biblical style of worship. Where these were not available, church plant work would soon commence. With such urban church plants, the Pastor was almost immediately supported by the local church. The results are the statistics presented above by Pastor Mbewe. It is now they are channelling their ‘missional-energy’ towards the vernacular and rural Zambian. What a strategy! It is both Biblical and it works! We have kept encouraging each other since our return not to be discouraged. Friends, will you not partner with us that what the Lord has done in Zambia He would do among us and in the rest of Africa?
KReST Study week
Soon after return from Zambia it was our lecture and study week in Kisumu. Helida and I together with my fellow elder Paul travelled to Kisumu and were there for a whole week. Helida and Melly Oluoch did all the cooking while we did the rest of the work! Pastor Sam and I taught the OT Biblical Theology – Historical Books as Pastor Sunkutu from Zambia handled the NT Epistles.
We concluded the week by holding the Reformed Family Conference committee meeting on Saturday as we planned out our 4th Conference which will be December 8th to 12th. We solicit your prayers.
Preaching and Teaching ministry
Pastor Paul leads the adult Sunday school through the Gospel of John. We are all thankful to God as we see his growing ability in the word.
I continue with expository preaching through Mark’s Gospel. Last Lord’s Day I preached from Mark 7:14-21. On September 20th I was invited and spoke twice at the University Students’ Outreach Conference under the theme of ‘Foundation’. The two papers were a) Sufficiency of Scripture b) Sovereignty of God in Salvation. Please pray for fruit.
As we labour among those who peddle the gospel for monetary and material gain, we very much value your partnership that we may maintain the course of ‘Running Forward and Remaining Faithful.’
In Christ by grace alone,
Naphtally & Helida Ogallo
Grace Baptist Church – Eldoret
P.O. Box 170
Cell: +254 723 918943
Landline: +254 53 2030823