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New generation of students discipled in Nairobi

[SLIDESHOW=41394,41395]NAIROBI (BP) — One hundred and twenty baptisms and four church plants in the rural region of West Pokot, Kenya, are being pointed to as evidence of the International Mission Board’s effort to raise up young men and women to take the Gospel to the unreached people groups of Africa.

Chad Pumpelly leads the student team at the University of Nairobi and is building this mindset into the foundation of the work.

“In Kenya we have 42 different languages; so that means we have 42 nations that we need to go to and take the Gospel to. So I cast that vision for them — that as they go, wherever they go, they need to be involved in taking the Gospel to those people groups,” Pumpelly said.

[VIMEO=139901009]The vision casting is having its desired effect. In fact, one student, George “Odidi” Odhiambo from West Pokot, has been an active part of what has happened there this past year.

“Two generations ago those people were praising and worshipping mountains and now we go and they jump and praise and worship the one true God, and so for [Odidi] to see how that changes — he’s caught the vision that this is an important work to be about,” Pumpelly said.

Odidi used to live as many in his village — drinking alcohol from the time he woke in the morning to bedtime at night, ignorant of Jesus and the hope He offers. And then after coming to the university, a “man of god” (Pumpelly) knocked on his dormitory door and told him about Jesus. Life changed that day for Odidi.

“[If I had not come to Nairobi] I couldn’t have had this chance of knowing Christ, and it motivates me to come back to my people, and I know maybe if I cannot do it, nobody else will come,” Odidi said. “I want to make my people know exactly what it is to live in Christ.”

Odidi was Pumpelly’s first convert on the campus three years ago. Soon after, 12 others decided to follow Christ and began participating in basic discipleship. Within the year, Pumpelly realized God was leading him to take them deeper.

“We decided that we were going to start raising those guys to reach other people, and so that Bible study network has grown,” he said.

Today there are eight Bible studies on campus for more than 50 believers who are being trained to become leaders. Other IMB missionaries partner with Pumpelly in this ministry, and the team also utilizes American student volunteers.

IMB missionary Chris Suel, Pumpelly’s co-laborer in the student ministry, said, “Our ministry vision is to disciple students who are equipped to disciple others with the overall vision of planting churches amongst unreached people groups in Kenya and beyond Kenya.”

Part of that training is involving the students in short-term trips to remote places in Africa where the Gospel has not gone, like West Pokot — a ministry that highlights not only what God is doing through the students but what He is doing among them as well.

“Pokot mission, which is a great missionary work in itself, is just sort of a byproduct of what’s happening on campus,” Pumpelly said. “It’s great to see that people are getting deep into the Word, their lives are being transformed.”

He and Suel believe the key to reaching Africa’s unreached peoples is through this generation, which will be tomorrow’s leaders and the up-and-coming influencers of society. Not only will these be the doctors, lawyers and politicians who can spread the Gospel in the modern world, but they will also take the Gospel back to their homes, which are often among an unreached people group.

“If we can get this network of different people groups being affected by the Gospel as they go back to their homes, their home villages, their hometowns, they’re going to be able to influence a plethora of different people groups,” Pumpelly said. “You can’t really do that in any other way.”


— Pray for Pumpelly, Suel and the student ministry team in Kenya as they help raise up a new generation of believers.

— Pray for the unreached people groups of Africa to be reached with the Gospel.

— Pray many American students will come with IMB’s Hands On program and form lasting relationships with Kenyan students.

Learn more about how your church can get involved by going to subsaharanafricanpeoples.imb.org/connect/view/engaging-churches. Pumpelly relies on the Hands On program, which brings semester missionaries from the U.S. to partner with Kenyan university students to share Christ on campus. “They evangelize a network of friends, just as I did, and get them into Bible studies. It’s a great partnership between Kenyan students and American students,” Pumpelly said. To find out more go to imbstudents.org/programs/handson/ProjectDetail_HandsOn.aspx?proj=111421#.VjeV4berTq5.

    About the Author

  • Nicole Lee