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LifeWay mission trip to Kenya yields 15,000 professions of faith


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–In the third annual mission trip to Kenya sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, 15,082 persons made professions of faith and 46 churches were started.
A total of 86 LifeWay employees, spouses, teenagers, retirees and 26 others from 10 churches made up the mission team which traveled in three waves in October. A six-person teaching team left Oct. 1, spent several days leading conferences for pastors and church leaders and then joined 35 people making up the first evangelistic team who left Oct. 6, returning Oct. 19. The second evangelistic team of 39 left Nashville Oct. 18, returning on Oct. 31.
For the third consecutive year, LifeWay missionaries shared their faith in the Busia region of western Kenya near Lake Victoria, an area that had been largely unevangelized prior to 1997.
“God has used our LifeWay missionaries in mighty ways,” Jim Carter, coordinator of the project and vice president of LifeWay’s finance and business services division, said. “His spirit was evident in the life of each person who went. The prayer support of those who stayed behind was obvious.”
Scott Jordan, pastor of First Baptist Church, Gunter, Texas, went on the 1999 trip after a couple from his church participated in 1998. Jordan, who personally led 125 persons to faith in Christ, said the highlight of the trip was “to see the joy and boldness of the Kenyan Christians.”
Jim Shull, director of LifeWay’s corporate services department, said he realized “I waited too long to take my first mission trip.” He saw firsthand that “the Kenyan Baptists are doing so much with so little and we are doing so little with so much.”
Sharon Roberts, of the Sunday school FAITH ministry department, said she benefited in her first international mission trip by “being stretched, and for God to do the stretching. The trip was not easy but it was extremely rewarding.” Also, she said after gaining confidence in sharing her faith in Kenya she recognizes “the challenge is to do the same with people I will see again and who may be less responsive than the Kenyans.”
In an article in the LifeWay employee newsletter, LifeLines, J.J. Goldman, church stewardship services section, described being stopped by a man in a village marketplace who had seen her hurrying by and asked if she had time to tell him about Jesus.
“I wish you could have seen the light in his tired brown eyes as he acknowledged faith in Christ,” Goldman wrote. “I left him in tears, promising that we would meet again in heaven.”
Concluding her account, she wrote: “In faith, I picked my way through cornfields with only my interpreter in view. I walked up hills, through a stream and from hut to hut. I clapped my hands in worship until they hurt and find myself even now humming their sweet choruses. I watched with amazement as the Holy Spirit worked in ways too marvelous for human eyes to see and understand. And I am the richer for it.”
In the three years of LifeWay mission trips to Kenya, 22,319 people have made professions of faith and 77 churches have been started. Plans are now in process to start a Bible school in the Busia area to train pastors to serve many of the new churches.
Carter said one purpose of the mission trips, in addition to leading people to accept Christ as their Savior, is to increase employee awareness of mission needs and opportunities.
“You can’t go on a mission trip and come back the same,” Carter said. “I’m proud of our employees. They could not have done a better job.”