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Baptists help Kenyans transform lives

EDITOR’S NOTE: Chad Pumpelly is a Southern Baptist missionary serving in Africa through Southern Baptists’ gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and Cooperative Program. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions in tandem with Cooperative Program gifts from Southern Baptist churches support nearly 5,000 international missionaries in seeking to fulfill the Great Commission. Gifts to the Lottie Moon offering are received through local Southern Baptist churches or online at imb.org/offering, where there are resources to promote the offering. This year’s goal is $175 million.

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — On a chalkboard easel, Southern Baptist missionary Chad Pumpelly and his co-workers serving on two college campuses in Kenya write down names of students, categorizing them as “already a believer,” “on the fence” and “would take a miracle.”

When a student becomes a believer, his or her name moves to a different category: “new relationship with Christ.”

At least 30 of the students, including Hindus, animists (those who believe that objects in nature have souls) and Muslims, have decided to follow Christ since January 2013. The campuses Pumpelly works with contain more than 60,000 students each.

Pumpelly grew up in Uganda as a child of Southern Baptist missionaries. Informed by that background, he teaches new believers to go on missions trips to unreached people groups within their own countries. The students witness cross-culturally to other tribes, despite tough cultural barriers between people of different ethnic origins.

This past February, Pumpelly met Freddy, a student in Nairobi who came from a church background but was not following Christ. By the third week of their friendship, Freddy announced he wanted to dedicate his life to Christ.

By April, Freddy was one of the newest believers on a mission trip to the Digo people, a tribe practicing folk Islam. Freddy launched himself into sharing his faith with the group. Freddy studied material about witnessing. At college, he engaged in spiritual discussions in his dorm.

“That’s just really rapid and exciting discipleship,” Pumpelly says, “to watch someone grow from being just a ‘churchy’ background kind of person to taking hold of the faith and being committed to obey even the call to go and be a witness among another people.”

Southern Baptists’ giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and through the Cooperative Program makes Pumpelly’s presence in Kenya possible, along with nearly 5,000 other Southern Baptist missionaries overseas.

This giving enables Pumpelly to not only share the Gospel in person but also to give Bibles to students like Freddy. Pumpelly says with more Lottie Moon dollars he could help more Kenyan students like Freddy travel to unreached populations in Kenya to share the Gospel with those who do not know Christ as Savior.
Susan O’Hara served as an IMB intern.

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  • Susan O'Hara