Sunday, October 17, 2010
Today I Preached in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa
Today Pastor Pius Okello, a god fearing, pious man, invited us to come and share at his church, Nairobi Apostolic Revival Ministry. To get there, we had to travel on the matatu, a 12 passenger van/bus. Dr. Steve Van Horn told me that if we rode on the matatu, it would make our shuttle ride from the airport seem like a children's Disney ride. So of course we had to ride on the matatu.
Twice, not once, but twice!!!! we sped onto the dirt sidewalks to pass another matatu. We made a blind left hand turn so fast that the matatu almost tilted onto two tires. Mind you pedestrians are everywhere! in the street and on the sidewalk. I was bracing for flattening someone as we gained vision around the turn. Then the better part of wisdom took over again, and I stopped back seat driving.
Then we arrived a Kibera . . .
and we walked through Kibera. When we arrived at Nairobi Apostolic Revival Ministry around 2 p.m. The people had been there since 7 a.m. in Bible Study and worship. As we entered still sobered by what we had just seen, we were surprised by what we were hearing: young and old cheering and applauding us —the men of God from America. Then they sang and danced and sang and danced and when we preached they cheered and applauded.
It would be harder to find a more exuberant people, a people filled with more joy, and a people who had less. The people living in Kibera had Jesus and to them that seemed more than enough. We stayed more than 2 hours. After that some leaders led us to an out house with just a hole in the ground, and then through the rest of Kibera. A picture can't capture the scope of the poverty, but here's one that we took.
We continued walking together to Pastor Pius' home. He is pictured above in black. Dr. Van Horn and I talked to the men about what we had seen and what occurred during the service. (Sign up for his newsletter to read what we saw). We encouraged them to test what they we were doing by the Word of God. They were very teachable. But there was much to explain. Pray with me that I will be able to send some theological resources to them. There is something worse than physical poverty and that is spiritual poverty. And there is something much worse than that. Do you remember why Jesus called a man a fool? It is because he decided to squander his great physical wealth to build himself bigger barns. I wonder what Jesus will say to those of us who have both physical and spiritual riches and hoard them to ourselves.
Dr. Van Horn taught me a new phrase today, "In American you keep time in African we have the time." Today God caused us to have time for Kibera. I will not forget my brothers and sisters whom I met here. And I thank God for deepening my conviction that the greatest resource the church has is truth. Truth is what God wants the church to share with the world. Because only the truth in Kibera and America (and everywhere else) can set sinners free and change them to be like Jesus.