Kenya

The story of RCA's mission work in Africa has often followed the seemingly continuous political upheavals experienced on the continent. When RCA missionaries had to evacuate Ethiopia because of the communist overthrow, some of them crossed the border into Kenya to continue their work among the Daasanech people residing there.

Kenya's population of more than 42 million includes over 70 distinct ethnic groups. The limited amount of cultivable land has encouraged the population to concentrate in those areas, with the result that 75 percent of the people live on 10 percent of the land. Kenya gained independence from Great Britain in 1963. About 80 percent of the population is Christian. There is a strong Muslim influence on the coast and in the northeast.

The Africa Inland Church (AIC) serves as the RCA's partner church in Kenya. The largest Protestant church in the country, the AIC is the result of the work of the Africa Inland Mission (AIM) and is still closely tied to AIM. At the invitation of the AIC, the RCA agreed to undertake two projects in areas where the AIC wanted to work but could not provide personnel or funds. These joint AIC-RCA projects--among the Pokot people in Alale and among the Orma in Waldena, Titilla, and Daba--are among unreached peoples. The projects focus on evangelism and on community development, which includes health, agriculture, animal health, income generation, water development, and education. Because the Africa Inland Church has a strong mission program, both projects have increasingly come under the direction of indigenous staff. The Orma project is now staffed entirely by Kenyan missionaries, and the last western RCA mission staff person handed the Pokot project over to nationals in 2002. The RCA's relationships with and support of these projects will continue, along with thanks for the success stories that enable us to redeploy personnel and financial resources into new, more underserved areas.

St. Paul's United Theological College, another RCA mission partner, trains students for ministry in the church and society. Its diverse student population comes from a variety of church traditions and from countries across Africa. RCA missionaries help with the school's administration and teach classes in economics, theology, sociology, psychology, and pastoral care for HIV/AIDS patients.

In early 2007, the RCA entered into partnership with the Maasai Outreach Mission, an indigenous church started in 1984 that desires to minister to and bring change within the community. The Maasai people live in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya and Tanzania. One of the specific problems they are striving to address is the immense need for clean water. The RCA is partnering with them to build wells, which make it possible to irrigate land for growing crops and to keep livestock from perishing. A readily available water supply also means that when the Maasai were previously searching for water, they now have time for education.

East Africa Partnership

The East Africa Partnership (EAP) works to improve the lives of those living in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda in a holistic and sustainable manner. To fulfill their mission, EAP trains and supports 50 medical dispensaries and 9 hospitals in rural areas, provides scholarships for children to attend high school or trade school, and supports more than 200 orphaned children in a sponsorship program to provide shelter and food.

RCA Global Mission is sponsoring a leadership training program to help rise up the next generation of indigenous leaders.

John Lokeno

Too often, community development projects rely on outside resources, which create an unhealthy environment of dependency. John Lokeno hopes to do the opposite—to inspire and equip local people to determine their own future with their own resources.

Maasai Outreach Mission

The Maasai, semi-nomads who graze huge herds of cattle and goats on the vast grasslands of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, need the good news of Jesus Christ presented in word and deed. The Maasai also need water. Due to 10 years of severe drought, many Maasai and their livestock have died. Global Mission has committed to digging water wells in Maasailand in partnership with Maasai Outreach Mission, which are crucial to the survival of the Maasai people and their livestock. Nine wells have been completed, while three more wells are in the process of being developed.

Rowland Jr. & Jane Van Es

St. Paul's University in Limuru, Kenya, is an international and ecumenical institution that prepares men and women for ministry in the Christian church and in society. Founded in 1903 as a divinity school, St. Paul's recently expanded to become a Christian university. In addition to doing theological studies, students can now earn a bachelor's degree in business administration. Rowland Van Es Jr., who has training in economics and theology, teaches in both departments.

Pokot Community Development

Through the AIC Bishop Birech College, the Africa Inland Church (AIC) is training African church leaders to proclaim and live the gospel in and through their local churches blessing all in the community. The college teaches courses in transformational development, mission, and other areas that help prepare African church leaders to pursue their calling.

 

Amos Limo Liang'or

Amos Limo Liang’or grew up among the Pokot people along the Kenya/Uganda border. Because he contracted polio and was unable to help with work at home, he was the only one of his family’s 12 children to attend school. Amos became interested in medicine when he learned that polio can be prevented through immunization. He currently works as a nurse at the Pokot Health Centre in the village of Alale. He says, “As a nurse, I am concerned with more than just my patients’ physical well-being.”