Missionary Update: The Tates in Kenya [July 2012]

The Tate Family has served the Lord in Kitale, Kenya since January 2008. Their main ministry is indigenous church planting.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am excited to report to you this month of the new developments in our church planting ministry.  As you hopefully know, our goal here in Kenya is to start independent, self-reliant, self-governing, and self-reproducing Baptist churches.  We were privileged to be able to see part of that goal come to fruition this month.  I have read Nathan Radford’s monthly update and know that in it he has mentioned the start of this church.  I would like to fill in the details of that day when the church was organized.

Justino Signing the Church Covenant

After months of teaching and preparing, on the Sunday morning of June 24th, we organized a small group of believers into the Kanisa la Baptisti la Shangalamwe (Baptist Church of Shangalamwe).  Shangalamwe is a small village off the beaten path where Nathan and I have been working for many months.  Richard Wafula is the owner of the house in which the group meets and the leader of the family there.  Richard is over 70 years old which is quite an old age for most Kenyans (he is in very good health and very good shape as it takes him nearly two hours one way to ride to town from his house on his bicycle).  He has lived long enough to remember pre-independence days forKenya when the country was ruled by the colonial British.

On the 24th of June, Nathan, Julie, my kids, and I rose early in the morning to make the half hour drive to Shangalamwe and arrived at Richard’s house at 8:30am.  We shared chai (tea) with the group members as it was still pretty chilly that morning.  After chai we began our worship.  We praised our God and Savior in song and drums, lifting up our voices to glorify the Head of the church that was about to be organized.  After we finished singing and praying, Nathan reminded the group what it meant to be a church of the Lord Jesus Christ and what was needed for the group to move from group status to becoming a New Testament assembly.  He then proceeded to read the covenant that had been written for this occasion.  In short (this is a very brief summary) the covenant expressed the intentions of the members to organize into a church, to function as the body of Christ on the earth, to follow Christ as its only Head, and to diligently search the Scriptures and obey all it commands for a New Testament church of the Lord Jesus.  Nathan then read the membership requirements for becoming a member of the new church (these are what you would expect for any Baptist church:  You must be a believer in Jesus as your Savior, you must be Scripturally baptized, you must express your intent on becoming a member, you must sign the covenant, etc).  All of the members then signed this covenant and membership requirements.

Explaining Baptism before Baptizing Candidates

Following this we had baptisms to perform.  We left Richard’s house and walked 25 minutes to the lake where there was enough water to immerse the candidates.  I then had the privilege of baptizing three children who had previously trusted in Christ.  I baptized Nuhu (Noah) – age 13, Musa (Moses) – age 10, and Timina – age 8.  While standing in the water I explained the meaning, purpose and method of baptism because the whole practice of baptism inKenya is wildly misunderstood and misapplied.  Afterward I baptized the three children.  After finding a secluded and private bush in which to change into dry clothes we walked the 25 minutes back to Richard’s house and added the names of the three children who had just been baptized to the membership role of the church.  We all then sat down and I taught from Acts 2:40-47, showing what kinds of things the first church inJerusalem did and challenging this new church to follow the same kind of model.  We finished with more singing and prayer and with thanksgiving in our hearts and smiles on our lips we headed home.

It was truly a blessed day, one I would like to repeat here inKenyamany times.  Please pray that God would richly bless with spiritual blessings the Kanisa la Baptisti la Shangalamwe and that it would grow in obedience unto maturity.  To our great God be all the glory.

Until next month, beloved.

May God’s peace and joy be with you.

For the glory of God in East Africa,
Roger & Julie Tate (and Emily, Amy, & Josiah)

P.O. Box 96
Kitale, Kenya 30200
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