Friday, August 4, 2023

News letter and prayer Request.

Bethesda Baptist Church Nairobi Congregation with Banjamin and Hilary at their wedding.

Written by Hilary Mwende Murithi
Bethesda Baptist Church (BBC) began in 2010 as a small Bible study that met in Valley of Truth Learning Center led by Pastor Michael Maura. As the numbers grew, the church had the necessity of finding another meeting place. God answered the prayers of his people when a door was opened to rent a shop from Brother Elisha who is now a member of the church himself. Since then, there have been a number of new developments that this newsletter will attempt to highlight.
In July of 2013, BBC was officially constituted as a church in Kenya. This was a big step for the church. When a church becomes constituted, that is when it can formalize membership, offices are officially formed (secretary, treasurer, etc.), and the church functions in a more official way under the direction of its constitution that has been written. The church was also pleased to be able to begin serving communion after making this step.
Despite being constituted, the church is in continued need for prayers on a number of issues. The search continues to fill one or two of the offices, including the office of deacon. Praise God that the church continues to grow, and the church is again in need to begin looking for a place to relocate to! Particularly since the New Year began, the church has seen a number of new visitors, several of which have returned subsequent Sundays. In January, three people officially joined the membership as well.
This need is not only based on lack of space in the building during the church service. At the current time, children meet between the church and the buildings behind the church for Sunday school. This poses a problem when the rains hit. In addition, the setup of the church can make it a bit more complicated when trying to host seminars or conferences.
A great desire of the church is to be able to purchase land within Tassia Estate on which to build a church building. It is important that the land be in Tassia since that is where the majority of the members and regular attendees are from. Most of these people do not have the means to travel to another location. Additionally, Bethesda’s presence in Tassia is vital because of the Truth that is proclaimed there. Within this community, there are countless churches. When walking down the main street through Tassia on a Sunday morning, it is not unusual for a person to hear five church services going on at any given point during his walk. It is disturbing to realize, though, that the vast majority of these churches do not teach the true gospel. Rather, it is a so-called gospel of “Come to Jesus, and you will receive health, wealth, and prosperity.” This is a common teaching worldwide, but it has truly taken over Kenya. The community of Tassia is no exception, which is a major part of why BBC and its members would like the church to remain within the community.
The problem with purchasing land in Tassia, however, is that it is incredibly expensive. The rough estimate received so far is 8 million ksh (about $96,000 USD) for a plot measuring 50 feet by 100 sfeet. Of course, there are even more expenses to be incurred following the purchase of land. BBC earnestly requests your prayers that God would provide for His growing church. Please also thoughtfully and prayerfully consider making a financial contribution for this need as well.
Despite various needs the church may have, that is not holding anyone back. Bible studies continue to be held weekly in an effort to build up Christians and evangelize to others in the communities in which they are held. Currently there are fellowships that meet in Tassia, Donholm (a neighboring estate), and Ngomongo slum across town. These meetings have proved to be beneficial due to the clear teachings provided and the prayer time that follows. The time of sharing afterward also provides an opportunity for the brethren to truly get to know one another as well.
The fellowship in Ngomongo takes on a little different look than the other two. The meeting is filled with children! It is such a beautiful thing! It is definitely true, though, that it is a bit different to teach children rather than adults, and it can be rather challenging to try to teach both populations simultaneously. The teachers are in need for prayer for wisdom on how to clearly communicate biblical truths. Another great desire would be for the parents of many of these children to attend with them as well. At the current time, many of the families of Ngomongo are being forced to move to other locations. Prayers that these people would continue to be able to be educated in rich, biblical doctrine would be much appreciated. It is of utmost importance for these people to know God’s Word regardless of who is teaching it.
Pastor Michael has continued to take part in a number of ministry opportunities outside of the church as well. He takes part in leading Bible studies at Openhand Children’s Home based in Kitengala (a town just south of Nairobi) and Valley of Truth Learning Center in Tassia on a regular basis. Pastor Michael has partnered with both organizations for a few years now and enjoys having the opportunity to minister to the children as he eagerly waits to see God’s transforming work in their lives.
The church rejoices that God has opened a way for Pastor Michael to preach to students at Egerton University in Nakuru and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Juja. As Christian books and materials become available, many are distributed to these students as well. When Pastor Michael is invited to go to JKUAT, he is frequently able to bring some fellow parishioners with him. It is such an encouragement to those who are able to join him to see so many young people with a passion for God’s glory and to observe such a gathering that is so doctrinally sound. Truly, it is a rare finding and such a beauty to behold!
Following the designated time for meeting, the people from BBC are served tea and are often surrounded by a handful of students who are loaded with practical questions on how to live out Christian beliefs and values in certain situations as well as deeper theological questions. All around the globe it is not common to run across people who think so deeply about such important matters. This is definitely an incredible ministry opportunity as Pastor Michael and those who regularly join him are able to see the spiritual growth in some of the students and the huge opportunity to preach the gospel to others on campus. Regardless of who may be in attendance during the preaching session itself, the passion evidenced in a number of the students goes to show that Pastor Michael’s sermons are encouraging and have great potential to be passed on to others long after Pastor Michael leaves the campus. We only pray that Truth does not get distorted in the process, but the Bible promises that His Word will not return void. His purposes will get accomplished.
This is just a short overview of Bethesda Baptist Church and its current happenings. Many other ministry opportunities remain that may not be as regular. Additionally, there are numerous dreams that Pastor Michael and the members of BBC possess. Such dreams include ways to disciple other believers and evangelize to the community. Please continue to unite with this young church as it seeks to glorify God above all else. Glory be to God for His continuing all sufficient grace!

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