Greetings from Nairobi in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
By God’s grace, today I was able to attend the church service at Bethesda Baptist Church at Tassia, a suburb of Nairobi. Locating the church was quite a hassle even with the help of mobile communications - and when I got to the church, I understood why my driver, Pastor Maura and I were all struggling to get us there.
In spite of our struggle, I got there before the Sunday School which ran from 10.00 to 10.40am or so. Pastor Maura took the adult class and taught from 2 Samuel 7. He taught us lessons about God’s election of David according to grace, David as a type of Christ because he is an anointed person, and God’s covenant with David as one of the announcements of the eternal Covenant of Grace between the Father and the Son Jesus Christ (a covent which is enduring and sure in spite of death, sin and time). He taught very soundly. He used the lessons to encourage us to have absolute trust in God no matter what our circumstances are and will be, and to be thankful to him for predestinating us to be conformed to the image of Christ even before the foundation of the world.
In the main service, we read Psalm 27 and the Pastor preached an evangelistic sermon from Romans 1.16: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel …” Using the suffering examples of the Apostle Paul, he talked about the Gospel as the good news which is better than all other news in a man’s life and in the world. He uplifted Christ considerably and stressed that whosoever is ashamed of the Gospel is most likely not saved. He pressed home the fact that anyone who has been saved by the Gospel would know that it is more precious than anything, and will not be ashamed to preach it to others. Secondly, he used the first reason, “for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone ...,” to advance very lofty arguments for why the Gospel is pure. His premise is that salvation is entirely of God, and does not require gimmicks/methods such as altar calls, crusades, instruments and rock music for souls to be converted. To unbelievers, he used this power of the Gospel to encourage them that God is capable of saving them no matter how much/many they estimate their sins to be, whatever their backgrounds are. Thirdly, he used the second reason, “to the Jew first and also to the Greek ...,” to emphasise justification by faith alone apart from works of self-righteousness. He urged unbelievers to seek for the imputed righteousness of Christ, and to renounce any Arminian thoughts of free-will, citing examples from Martin Luther’s experience which led to the Reformation.
The service was very solemn. We sang about 6 hymns (3 English, 3 Swahili) and my heart was more moved by Isaac Watts' “I’m not ashamed to own my Lord …” Although there was no organ, the congregation (less than 30 adults) sang well.
Clearly the church is struggling in terms of material and financial resources perhaps because it is only about 3 years old. It is using a room which is about 1/6 or 1/8 the size of our church auditorium. It appears their space is actually meant for a shop. It is located in an area which is almost a slum, and that’s why we struggled to locate it. In spite of all this, my heart is full of praise to God for His light which is shining in Pastor Maura. Given that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation as we learned afresh today, their material and financial resource constraints are nothing compared with the knowledge and zeal He has given the Pastor to preach His Gospel to the salvation of souls. One other remarkable observation I made is the simplicity of the people who made up the congregation. They look very modest and humble, and were very friendly to me.
His main helper, I suppose, is bro. David Otieno who conducted the service and led the Prayer Session which preceded the Sunday School.
On the whole, my day has been made at Bethesda Baptist Church today; and I’ll be very glad to fellowship with the church again. I hope we’ll remember the labours of Pastor Maura in our private and public prayers continually. He really needs them because immorality and perversion of God’s word and ways are increasing in the country.
Please find attached some pictures (in this mail and another I’ll send afterwards) which I took with the Pastor and some members of the congregation after the service. The other pictures were taken when I was enjoying roasted lamb and bottle of coke at a local food joint. Kenyans like and eat a lot of meat/mutton/chicken, and I hope I haven’t just developed the same like :-).
Greetings to all the brethren at TMBC whom I miss. God willing, I will see you all soon.