I have referred before to a pastor before who lives in Nairobi, Kenya.
We have never met except by letter and email. I have kept up with this friend for nearly 25 years now. I feel as if I know him better than most of the people I have met face-to-face. I would assume that we will never meet until we are both in the church triumphant. But we have shared prayer requests, friendship and support, with me trying to invest in his life and work when I can do something. He wrote me a few days ago the following letter:
The church here is doing fine although we have not seen as many conversions recently. Last Sunday we had about 100 attendants. This is amazing because the previous Sunday we were only 20 attendants. I do not know what to think about the coming Sunday but hope we will be having an encouraging attendance. One thing I need your prayer about is that to reach out to newcomers is hard since many are not open to such a ministry. They pretend they have their own churches despite the fact that they do not often go to their churches. Another thing is that many people say they are saved because they attended a crusade preached by a prominent evangelist and say they made a decision. But they appear to only deceive themselves. So in this situation the gospel reaches to rock hard hearts but does not penetrate. But I pray that God may bring revival among our people.
How is the ministry there? We are experiencing inflation and in many parts of Kenya there is hunger after the election war among the people. I hope all of those involved in this will learn a lesson and many will get hunger of God's Word and start to seek God. May our good Lord keep you all.
In Kenya a great deal of western-style decisionism has left the country filled with professing Christians who do not regularly attend church or live outwardly Christian lives. This is one of those unique African countries where American influence has had a less than positive effect upon real discipleship and conversion. When people act as if our exporting of this kind of ministry is not that much of a problem I think of my friend James and what he routinely tells me about the hard nature of his work in Kenya.