Jo and Frank Kimball are currently on a trip across sub-Saharan Africa and their first stop has been at Open Arms in western Kenya, an internationally run village that is home to over 150 children – most of whom have been orphaned. They have been invited to share the idea and vision for Life Groups with the community that lives in close proximity to the village.
This week, we’ve been catching up with them about how it’s been going!
Following their invite to Open Arms International, they have run the School of Rural Evangelism in Mlango, Kenya. The School of Rural Evangelism is a training course that Dignity uses quite regularly with new groups to help get to know each other and introduce some of Dignity’s resources and aspirations.
17 people attended the course from different churches in the communities around the village.
Together, they have been learning about building well for the future. That each of them, planted in their community by God, are stronger when they work together. Ultimately, understanding that we need each other, even those who we might think seem weak or don’t appear to have much potential.
They have also had the opportunity to use THE4POINTS to remind the attendees of the core message of the gospel and spent time asking how and why we disciple people. (To read more about our partnership with THE4POINTS, click here)
Most importantly, they’ve explored the question of ‘where we should be working’. The conversations and understanding generated from this question centred around looking outside the church to those who don’t know Jesus yet. Jesus spent time with people who were seen as ‘bad’ and he loved them. We should too.
They asked people what they learnt and they said:
“I have learnt that I should teach people about Jesus and also teach them how to teach others.”
“I have learnt that God loves us but the sin in our heart means we can’t know him. Jesus died for us so we can know God again. And now the question is ‘So what?’ – what will I do about it?”
“I have learnt that we should get to know the people who are suffering in our community, we should care for them and be friends with them. Over time we can tell them about Jesus and help them to know his love in their life.”
“I have learnt that we are stronger when we work together.”
“I think it is better to plant something where it has what it needs not where it relies on something being brought from outside.”
The final day was spent looking at not trusting money and avoiding dependency. Most of the day was invested in making plans and the day finished with a reminder that we go with the strength of Holy Spirit, not our own strength.
Open Arms have been working to reach out to the wider community for some time and our partnership with them is the next step along the way.
Tom Ushindi, one of the organisers said:
“This is a real answer to prayer for us. We have been wanting to reach out to our communities but we haven’t known how to do it. What you have taught us will really help.”
Things you can pray for:
- That each person attending will be inspired and encourage by God through what they’ve learnt this week.
- That a core group of people will emerge to lead the work forward.
- Plans have been made for 3 Life Groups to begin. Please pray that they will take root and be the beginning of a great move of God in this area.