News From Kwa Njenga

One of the greatest things that I can think of about being a missionary is seeing national pastors embrace the gospel of the cross and lead their church to a deeper relationship with Jesus.

Pastor Peter Gichuki of the Kwa Njenga church is a precious brother and a pastor that represents Calvary Temple very well. Here are some excerpts from one of his recent updates –

Praise the Lord. I am well in the Lord together with my family.

Pastor Peter Gichuki and his wife Sarah

Pastor Peter Gichuki and his wife Sarah

It has been a good season here in Kwa Njenga, and even in my heart, I was strengthened much by the conference we had in Eldoret, we were taught much from the book of 2nd Timothy, “commit to faithful men who will teach others also.” It was a great time, even during our quiet times, in prayer. What stood out to me in the teachings is how Saul partially obeyed and his disobedience cost him the anointing and the presence of God. He chose to obey that which was easy but that which cost him he never obeyed, and it’s a sad example even when he gave the reason for his disobedience it was because he feared the people and obeyed their voice. And it was a great lesson and I pray that Father will help me not to hearken to what everyone is saying but to walk in obedience to the still small voice of the spirit. Pastor Forbe taught on the dangers of fear, and how to walk in victory.

Pastor Peter and Pastor Zadok at the Pastors’ Conference

Another thing that stood out to me in the teachings was when Pastor Rob spoke on the areas of traditions that oppose the Word of God and minimize the authority of the Scriptures. In the group I was in, we were with two pastors who are dealing with that in their churches and I would clearly see how the truth can be choked by traditions of men. One pastor shared how they sit in the church, women on one side and men on the other, and even on covering their heads, and how that if a woman comes to the church with an uncovered head, the women in the church handle such a woman like the unsaved. The covering of the head is believed to show salvation in that area, and it was sad to hear how that limits the work of God. I asked what if I would happen to visit the church with my wife how the women would react and was told that it would be very difficult for the ladies to receive from one whose head is not covered. We encouraged the pastor to make a stand for the truth. One who was in my group that is taking a good stand against those traditions is pastor Zadok, and he shared how even a pastor who pastors a church In that region asked Zadok why in his church they do things different, and he said it’s because they do what the Bible says.

Pastor Joseph and Grace are doing well, I see a lot of growth in him together with Grace even in the areas of them casting off fear. God has been helping us as a people to be free from fear, surely fear brings bondage, “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath punishment; he that feareth is not made perfect in love.” I have known this verse for a great deal of time, but I see as if it is written in gold now… this verse has been my meditation for a season.

We long to see you and the brethren without being separated by distance, but we know the Lord is coming, we shall meet in the air in that great gathering in the day of the Lord. When I think of when the trumpet shall sound – it is near. and we shall gather and sing a new song and the song of Moses the servant of God and of the Lamb, “for thou was slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation. Pastor Peter Gichuki

We agree with Pastor Peter – “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!”

Pastor Forbe Carlson

2014 Young Adult Retreat Part 2

The reports continue to come in from pastors, testifying of the impact of the Young Adult retreat upon the lives of their young adults.

We shared in Part 1 about the teachings during this retreat. We give time to the participants to discuss among themselves what had been taught. They do this in groups, led by the young adult leaders from our 5 main churches.

We also encourage the attendees to spend some quiet time each day, asking the Lord to begin to work out in their hearts what they have learned.

It is a blessing to walk around the church plot and observe many in prayer, some reading their Bibles, and others going over their notes from the teaching. We believe that these times are used by the Lord to cement the Bible truths into their hearts.

As ministers, it is a joy to see that the coming leaders of our churches are willing to set themselves apart to seek the Lord. We’ve encouraged our pastors, our youth, and our young adults to build upon what they are given in these times of gathering together.

We remind our people that these are just a few short days together, but that they will need to walk out their discipleship in their own homes, churches, and places of employment. The Lord will take what was sown into them and will produce great fruit in the good ground of their hearts.

Lastly, there is another great benefit to these conferences and retreats. Ruth and I get to spend time with Pastor Rob and his wife Mildred. We enjoy the fellowship and encouragement. During this retreat, we were able to get away for a few hours. We drove about an hour to the town of Iten, where many of the world-class marathon runners train. We went to the Kerio View to have a meal and enjoy the scenery. This restaurant is situated on a cliff overlooking the Kerio escarpment. Here is a picture of us while we were there.

Laborers together...

Laborers together…

Thank-you to the Lord for His working among us. We also thank Pastor Star Scott and the congregation of Calvary Temple in Sterling, Virginia, for their prayer and support for us here in Kenya. To God be the glory!

Pastor Forbe Carlson

Pastor Forbe CarlsonThe Calvary Temple Missions blog provides regular updates directly from the missions field in Kenya. Updates are posted by Pastor Forbe Carlson who has ministered in Kenya since 2005.

2014 Young Adult Retreat Part 1

We just finished a great Young Adult retreat here in Eldoret. We saw the Lord really minister to the hearts of those who came.

We had 92 young adults in attendance. They came from our 5 main churches, as well as from several of the churches that are farther away. We started on Thursday night and finished with the Sunday morning service.

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Look how many pins…

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Ha! You said the wrong thing!

As always, we began the retreat with the “pin game”. It is a game in which everyone is given a safety pin to pin onto their shirt. For the next 20 minutes, we encourage them to meet new people and to have fellowship together. The key to this game is that a person is not to say words concerning themselves (I, me, my, mine, etc.) If a person is caught referring to him or herself, they must surrender their pin or pins to the person who catches them. Whoever has the most pins at the end of the game is the winner. The purpose of the game is to stop thinking about self and focus on the other person. It is always a great icebreaker.

The theme of the retreat was, “Right Relationships”. Pastor Rob and I were each going to teach 2 sessions. I began by sharing in the Thursday night service about what it means to be regenerated. We have found that many times as leaders, we deal with people in the same areas time after time. In many of these cases, the problem is that the person is not really born again, but has learned to do the “right” things. The flesh is incapable of walking in obedience to the Word of God, but the fruit of the Spirit comes as the obvious by-product of a life that is given to the Lordship of Jesus.

Pastor Rob Teaching

Pastor Rob Teaching

Pastor Rob shared in the Friday night service about God’s purpose for the sexual relationship, and that anything outside of God’s laws of marriage is fornication.

I spoke on Saturday afternoon about three areas of our Christian walk where we are to walk in love. It begins with loving our brothers and sisters (the whole body of believers). Then the Lord draws us into closer relationships, where we learn to die to ourselves and learn to be true friends. It is after these two steps that the Lord can lead a single person into a relationship of marriage. We shared that an individual relationship cannot be strong if we haven’t learned to love the Body and also learn how to be a true friend. After that session, Pastor Rob and I had a panel discussion to deal with the teachings up to that point, and to address questions that had arisen.

Pastor Rob shared in the Sunday morning service about finding our hope in God, and that we cannot let past failures govern us. He talked about the righteous man getting up after falling, and that we need the strength of God to make it to heaven. Come to think of it, he did mention sex a few times in that service as well.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Pastor Forbe Carlson

A Sunday in Nakuru

On Sunday, the 19th of October, Ruth and I went to the Nakuru church to visit and to minister.

Our Nakuru church was started in October of 2012, by Pastors Tony Wozniak, George Mungai, Joseph Mburia, and their families.

The town of Nakuru had been on Pastor Scott’s heart for a number of years. Nakuru is the third largest town in Kenya, as well as being the fastest growing town in the nation.

Pastor Tony and Karen Wozniak went back to the States in June of this year. At that time, Pastors Joseph and George became the co-pastors of the church. Both of these men have been with Calvary Temple for over 10 years and have proven themselves faithful in ministry.

Ruth and I arrived at the church just before the 10:00 service. In that first service, I shared with the people from 1 Corinthians 12, reminding them that we are placed in the Body of Christ where it pleases Him. In this generation, many people flit from church to church. It is as we allow the Lord to set us where He desires us to be that we can grow and be productive members of His Body.

In the second service, I shared from Ephesians 4. We saw that although we each have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, it is through the local fellowship and under the ministry gifts that have been placed there that we can grow, mature, and help the local body to increase and be strengthened.

Pastor Joseph Mburia and his family.

Pastor Joseph Mburia and his family.

After the service, Ruth spent some time with the ladies, while I spent some time with Pastor Joseph and the youth group.

Pastor George Mungai and his family.

Pastor George Mungai and his family.

When we left, we took Pastor George with us to Eldoret, as he had some business to attend to there. We had a very good time of fellowship together.

Although the church in Nakuru is small, we are seeing growth in the people’s lives. We are also seeing some growth numerically as the people reach out to their communities. We are thankful for the work that God is doing in our Nakuru Church.

Pastor Forbe Carlson

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The Nakuru Church

TRIP TO NAIROBI

    Greetings. We continue to rejoice in Father’s goodness to us, day by day strengthened by His Word and His presence in our lives. My family is doing well in Jesus. I am thankful for Debra’s heart for God; she is truly a blessing to me.
    From the beginning of the year, Pastor Ben of Umoja has been inviting us to visit the brethren there, to minister to them, and to spend some time in fellowship. For the Eldoret Church and me personally, we are indebted to the family of God in Nairobi. Their love and sacrifice from the start of our church are beyond words. I remember with tears in my eyes the trial we went through several years ago, and how Pastor Ben came and stood with us – a true brother in a time of adversity.
    I have desired to share our much appreciation to a people who have loved us much. Last Saturday, we had the privilege to visit our family in both Umoja and Kwa Njenga. I was  able to minister in Umoja and share our love and appreciation. We spent the whole day in love with the precious people of Umoja, and I was blessed to see what Father is doing and the good work in individuals’ hearts. It was amazing to see how much God has made us part of another, even from one church to another.
    The next day we spent time with Pastors Ben and Peter. We went with our wives out to a beautiful place called Paradise Lost and had sweet fellowship together. It was a blessing, because Debra and I were very refreshed and built up by both of these men’s marriages.
    We were privileged to spend the next two days with Pastor Rob and Mildred. They took us out to see the Animal Orphanage, and then to a place called KFC! Wow, now that was good chicken!

Animal Orphanage

Animal Orphanage

It was a great time together. It is always a blessing to have time around Pastor Rob. His life and his marriage minister greatly to us.

On Wednesday, Pastor Peter took me around the Kwa Njenga Estate. I was blessed, because walking around such a chaotic place, then coming in to their sanctuary, put things into perspective. What a beautiful place of refuge from all the chaos everywhere! I was thankful to see what God Has provided for the ministry there. We had a great time in the worship service with the brethren. Again, I was blessed much by the family of God; we hugged, shared, and enjoyed the Body of Christ in Kwa Njenga. What a great work has been done under the oversight of Pastor Peter!

We are so grateful for our time in Nairobi with our Calvary family. What a privilege it is to be part of such a work of God in this generation!

Peter and Debra Gitau, with their son John Paul

Peter and Debra Gitau, with their son John Paul

Pastor Peter Gitau

UGANDA UPDATE

We left Eldoret and travelled to Uganda to visit our churches there.  Its about a three hour drive to the border and another hour and a half to Pastor Ogutu’s church on dirt road.

Pastor Rob and Mildred with Pastor Joshua Mugabe and his wife.

Pastor Rob and Mildred with Pastor Joshua Mugabe and his wife.

The border town is Busia where Pastor Joshua Mugabe has a church. We were able to stop at his church for a brief time of greeting some of the members of his church and took a meal at him home before pressing on to cross the border.  The border is an area of controlled confusion and chaos. It is a blistering hot, dusty, windy place.  I don’t think they had seen a white man in weeks and so the border agents descended on us like vultures supposedly to assist us across the border but really to get every shilling that they can squeeze out of you.  After about 2 hours of going through various checkpoints and stations we were able to finally escape.

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Magoli, Uganda. Pastor Ogutu leading a church service.

Pastor Ogutu met us at the border to take us to his church. We were warmly received by the people when we arrived on Friday evening, they were very happy to see us.  All four of the churches in Uganda are within a few miles of each other so we invited them to come as well.  I think these are probably the poorest of the churches that we have here.

 

Pastor Ogutu's home.

Pastor Ogutu’s home.

We stayed with Pastor Ogutu and his family and they took good care of us. Mildred and I did have good time in ministering to them.  They were teachable and acknowledge their faults and wanted to honor the Lord.

Magoli church. Old church building on right, new building on the left.

Magoli church. Old church building on right, new building on the left.

There were some positives that stood out in our time in Uganda.  Over the past year Ogutu and his congregation had been able to build a nice building through the giving of the people.  Also in our services the people seemed attentive to the word.  Pastor Egessa and his wife stood out to us.  There was a joy and freedom that was evident in their lives and marriage.  At the last pastor’s conference when wives were also there, the Lord touched their marriage.

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Pastor Rob, with Pastor Ogutu and his wife.

Joshua was a great blessing to have on the trip. His servant’s heart and ministry to the pastors and the church was reflective as that of a son in the faith. The Lord really touched him on the trip in the area of returning to first love and helping the marriages in his church.  He couldn’t wait to go home and bring these truths to his flock.

The one challenge I brought both to these pastors in my time with them and their members was what Jesus said, that your traditions have made the word of God powerless.  The fruit will be their response to these challenges.

Pastor Rob Hendrickson

A Day At The Kakamega Church

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Kakamega Church

On Sunday the 21st of September, Ruth and I went to visit our church in Kakamega. This church was the first one that our ministry planted, in 1999. Pastors Ron Zarou and Tony Wozniak were the founders of this work in Kenya.

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Pastor Tom and Anne Munala and their children.

We like going to visit the people in Kakamega. We really enjoy spending time with Pastor Tom Munala and his family.
In the first service, I spoke to the people about their responsibilities in the growing and the maturing of the ministry. I shared about their love to one another and their personal sharing the gospel where they live and work. In the second, I reminded them of their commitment to their pastor. We spoke from Ephesians 4, dealing with their maturing and the fact that they are being trained to do the work of the Kakamega ministry.

Pastor Forbe with John Etwasi and his son Forbe Matendechere Etwasi.

Pastor Forbe with John Etwasi and his son Forbe Matendechere Etwasi.

At the end of the second service, we had the privilege of joining with the congregation in the dedication of one of their newest babies. John and Lilian Etwasi brought their baby boy, Forbe Matendechere Etwasi to be offered to the Lord. John is one of the deacons in the church, and they are a very faithful couple.

After a meal with Tom and the flock, Ruth and I finished greeting the people and started for home. We had to drive through a strong thunderstorm, but we arrived home safely.We are grateful for the time we had in Kakamega. There is a strong core of believers in the fellowship, and we expect them to continue faithfully reaching their community. Our prayers continue with Tom and Anne, for God’s strength and wisdom to guide them in this great work.

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Pastor Forbe and Ruth Carlson with the Kakamega Church.

Pastor Forbe Carlson

You Are The Generation! – Part 2

In Part 1, we began to look at the youth retreat that we had in our Eldoret church in August of this year.

Through the years, I’ve learned that short-term motivation is counterproductive to the Christian lives our youth in our churches. I grew up in church and witnessed several moves of the Lord. All of them produced short-term results, but many times did not accomplish fruit being borne.

Today's believer, tomorrow's leader?

Today’s believer, tomorrow’s leader?

As we began this year’s youth retreat, I encouraged the youth leaders to pray and ask the Lord to significantly touch at least a few of the youth that would be coming. We began to ask God to lay His hand on some of them for His service. We determined to stay away from mass altar calls, unless the Lord specifically directed a service in that way. It is easy for young people to respond in the anonymity of a crowd, be we wanted to see them press into God’s presence on their own.

We live in a generation that promotes instant gratification. Fruit is not produced in an instant, but rather through diligent care and nurturing. That is what we desire to see done in these young people’s lives.

The joy of the Lord is our strength.

The joy of the Lord is our strength.

 

From the beginning, a number of the youth began to call upon the Lord to touch their own heart. You could see a seriousness and a desire to enter into the presence of God. They spent good time in individual and then group prayers.

As you read this blog, please purpose to pray for our youth here in Kenya. Much like other parts of the world, there a daily distractions that they must fight against. Many of these don’t have much natural hope for their future, but in God they can be champions and examples of God’s power.

Until next year... Come quickly Lord Jesus!

Until next year…
Come quickly Lord Jesus!

Pastor Forbe Carlson

You Are The Generation! – Part 1

The title of this blog post was the theme for our recent National Youth Retreat, held in our church in Eldoret, Kenya.

I have been involved in youth ministry of various sorts for the last 36 years. I think that ministering to youth is still one of the greatest opportunities that the Lord has given to me.

It is time to seek the Lord, until He rain righteousness upon you...

It is time to seek the Lord, until He rain righteousness upon you…

We’ve often heard it said that the youth of today are the generation of tomorrow. We say this to try to give them a sense of their future responsibility in their local church. The problem is that if we continually point them toward the future, the church body loses out on what these young people have to give to the church today.

Because so much of the church throughout history has focused on the “clergy”, we’ve come to believe that one must be highly trained before they can add something substantial to the local church. We forget that Joel prophesied that through the power of God’s Holy Spirit the young men and women would be used significantly in the Lord’s Church.

Study to show yourself approved unto God...

Study to show yourself approved unto God…

In our retreat, we encouraged the youth to begin preparing themselves today to give of themselves in their own town or village. We showed them through the Scriptures and through glimpses into church history that God has oftentimes used young people to do His work. We encouraged them to be full of God’s Holy Spirit and to covet earnestly His gifts to manifest through them. We emphasized their need for humility, so that they could learn how to best serve in their church. We challenged them and prayed with them, so that they would see their purpose and role in the Body of Christ today – in this generation.

Be thou an example of the believer...

Be thou an example of the believer…

We had a great time together during this retreat. In addition to the teaching, worship, fellowship and games, we gave them time to be alone with the Lord. We also encouraged them to pray for one another. It was a real blessing to see them laying hands on each other, praying that their brother or sister would be filled with God’s Holy Spirit. The Lord really visited us.

More to come…

Pastor Forbe Carlson

Usenge Mission Trip

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A couple of weeks ago, Mildred and I traveled to one of our churches in the Lake Victoria region. It’s about an eight hour trip from Nairobi.  Zadok is the pastor of the church in Usenge.  This region is known for its perversion and promiscuity. It has one of if not the highest rate of HIV deaths in the world. We have several churches in this region.  We stopped in Bondo on the way and had a couple of hours with Pastor Chiagi and some of the members of his church where we were warmly received and given a meal before heading on to Usenge.

It was my first time to visit any of our churches in this region. In doing so, there was an awareness of the many years of ministry that Tony and Karen had sown into these churches.  We were blessed in our time with Pastor Zadok and his flock. The people were hungry and expectant.  Our first service was on Friday night and we started about 9:45, which is not unusual over here. The church was full and I shared on the hunger for the presence of God and the cost required.  It was a great time and even as we were closing the service there were people still coming into the church.

On Saturday morning we invited the pastors and their wives from our other churches in that area to come for time of fellowship.  This is probably the strongest region where the pastors have close relationships with one another and meet together on a regular basis.  There were some good testimonies from the pastors’ conference and the impact on their marriages.  One in particular was Pastor Moses and his wife. They shared that God had done a miracle in their marriage.  They had been married for 41 years and the marriage was dead. The wife shared that she had been thinking about leaving her husband, that’s how bad it had gotten. They both shared what the Lord had done in bringing life and love back into their marriage.

Pastor Solomon was there also with his wife. It had just spent a few weeks since the murder of their son in Sudan and the challenges that the wife was going through with cerebral malaria.  Both were doing well and giving glory to God.  His wife was the best that I have ever seen.  She seemed very much in her right mind and seemed much at peace.  She also shared some good things.

In our meeting with the pastors I encourage them in continuing to build strong relationships with one another emphasizing that we are not a denomination and that our strength is in our friendships, being able to help one another in the challenges and trials that we as pastors face. We also talked about not allowing the culture or tradition to make the word of God of no effect.  We also talked about Galatians 6:1 in restoring those overtaken in our churches in a spirit of meekness and not harshness.

Pastor Rob and Mildred Hendrickson with the Usenge Church

Pastor Rob and Mildred Hendrickson with the Usenge Church

Pastor Zakok and his wife Lillian

Pastor Zakok and his wife Lillian

Later in the day, we had another service with a good response from the congregation.  After the service we were able to have some good time with Zadok and his wife Lillian.  Zadok is one of our younger pastors but a good representation of who we are as a ministry.  He has a strong marriage and it is evident of their love for one another.  Tony was a big help in getting the church started in Usenge but for the first year they only had three members, two of them being Zadok and his wife. The area pastors persecuted them and told them they should leave.  The next year Tony came and held some meetings and out of those meetings ended up with 10 members.

In our Sunday morning service we had about 80 adults and youth and 70 children.  It was just Mildred and her sister Ruth taking care of all the children but they said they were well behaved.  I taught on the love of God and our lives on the altar. It was a good time with a good response from the people.

Zadok’s wife later testified of what the Lord had done her husband’s life. Before we came, Zadok had been discouraged for many days to where he wasn’t eating. She shared how he had been a changed man since our arrival with his hands being lifted up.

Pastor Rob Hendrickson