By Caitlyn Hetrick
The theme of the Eldoret mission was, “It is time”; time for the Eldoret church to stand up and take responsibility for their city, time for the lost sheep to come back to the Shepherd, time for God to fall afresh on the city.
The mission began with a bang; over 1500 people attended the Commissioning service on Sunday and the pastors of Eldoret symbolically handed over the keys to the city to the AE Team. Rejoicing filled the hall as people praised God for what he was about to do in Eldoret!
From there, hundreds of AE’s mission volunteers descended on the center of Eldoret to clean the gutters and the rubbish heaps in a symbolic and physical act of cleansing. People passing by were amazed; why would all these strangers suddenly start cleaning things that no one wants to clean? It was a symbolic act of devotion to the city as well as an expression of AE’s desire for God to cleanse its people from Eldoret 1sin.
“A man stopped to ask us what we were doing,” said one volunteer. “He could see that we were cleaning the dirtiest places, places that no one else would dare touch. I told him it was because once I was dirty like all this rubbish but when God came into my life he made me clean and we want to share that with others. He decided to accept Christ right there on the sidewalk!”
This mission is the largest in recent AE history, with nearly 200 churches and 1400 mission volunteers involved. The city was strategically divided into five zones – North, South, East, West and Central – so that AE could effectively reach each portion of the city. The generosity and willingness of volunteers and churches to join each other for the sake of the Gospel was yet another indication that it truly is time for Eldoret and for this important mission.
As the mission kicked off across the five zones reports of salvations started flooding in. On the first day in the central zone alone, 700 people accepted Christ. Teams were sent to nearly every school in every zone to run programs for students. AE’s stratified evangelistic approach means that people are reached wherever they are, whether in prison, at the hospitals, at the market or in the slums. Every zone was reached and thousands of doors were knocked on with the message of the gospel.
The mission, however, was not without its challenges. Evangelism in schools, for example, was difficult and in some instances, teams were not allowed to preach the Gospel openly. Timothy, a volunteer from Nairobi, was not excited about his assignment to minister in a local Eldoret school. “I felt like there was something more worthwhile I could do,” Timothy said. “I wanted to go into the prisons or minister in the streets. I went to the school with a resentful heart.”
The school he was assigned to was located in a slum. Many of the children live in one-room shacks with their parents, siblings and other family members. Sometimes up to 10 people live in one room. A teacher at the school explained that there are regular instances of rape, abuse and drug use in the area. One of the students in her class is pregnant. She is only 10 years old.
Now I see that schools are the biggest mission field there is! I am so thankful that God sent me here today.
The team spoke to students about the dangers of pornography, sexual activity, and drugs. They explained that, though such things may feel like they fill the emptiness in our lives, they will never completely satisfy. The hole in our hearts is too big and can only be filled by Christ.
As they shared the Gospel many students raised their hands to accept Christ, even some Muslim students.
Timothy left the school repenting for his resentful heart. “Now I see that schools are the biggest mission field there is! I am so thankful that God sent me here today.”
Eldoret Night Ministry
Even in the evenings the mission work did not stop. One of the local teams went into the pubs and brothels to preach the Gospel and were shown that sometimes, even with all our efforts and planning, God still works in surprising and unexpected ways. One evening, the police conducted a raid on prostitutes. Two of the women fled, looking for somewhere to hide and found themselves on the doorstep of some of the AE mission volunteers. The volunteers welcomed the prostitutes, gave them a meal and shared the Gospel with them. The women accepted Christ that evening and stayed in their home until morning.
Door to Door Evangelism
“One morning during door to door evangelism, a man saw us coming and began running to us,” said Joseph, an AE volunteer. “He knelt down with tears in his eyes and said, ‘I want to receive salvation.’ We didn’t even preach to him! Another woman was about to go to the hospital to try sell her kidney because she had nothing to eat. As she prayed with us to accept Christ she became so excited she burst from her house declaring to everyone that was around, ‘I have been saved today!’ She will no longer try to sell her kidney as she knows that God will provide for her every need.”
Street Kid Ministry
There were also several outreaches to the ‘Street Kid’ community of Eldoret. Many of the children are orphaned or have run away from home. They live on the streets and sleep in boxes under bridges or in fields. Many, if not all, of them are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol.
The AE team worked in cooperation with a group that has regular contact with the street kids and connects each one who accepts Christ with a mentor to help them get off the street and start education or training. Please pray for this important ministry.
A chorus of voices began to rise from all around the stadium singing praise to God
The mission culminated at the stadium in Eldoret for one final huge rally. Shortly after the singers began worship and people from the surrounding neighborhoods began to gather, it began to rain and people Eldoret 3started to run for shelter. The hearts of many of the team members began in sink as they thought about the possibility of having to cancel the event after such a successful mission week. But as the rain continued a chorus of voices began to rise from all around the stadium singing praise to God. Soon everyone was singing. There were no microphones, no worship leaders and no band, just earnest voices in praise to God for his goodness. Mission volunteers who had sought shelter along with the locals began to preach to them about God’s love. And as the rain lessened, people began to reemerge to dance in the rain before God, in thankfulness for such a successful mission. In spite of the rain, God was glorified and many people gave their lives to Christ that day.
During the 10 day mission 8,672 people accepted Christ! Join us as we thank God for his incredible generosity and faithfulness in Eldoret. We are so thankful to our donors across the world who gave financially and prayed for this mission. It is because of you that Eldoret has been touched so deeply with the Gospel. Please continue with us in supporting Eldoret in prayer. As the churches are beginning their follow up with the new converts pray for God to give them grace and strength and that the new believer’s faith would be strengthened and grow deep roots.
For more information about African Enterprise and their mission in African cities, go here