By Sharon Mager
Eight members of Pleasant View Baptist Church, in Port Deposit, Md., flew to Kenya in June to serve through discipleship training, providing assistance to pastors and working with children and youth. The trip was in conjunction with a three-year partnership between the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware and the Kisii Baptist Regional Convention, a member of the Baptist Convention of Kenya.
The group, led by PVBC Associate Pastor, Josh Phillips, and his wife, Jaclyn, included an army recruiter, a retired diplomat, two teachers, a railroad engineer, and a nurse. For several participants, this was their first mission trip.
The team trained pastors; led a Vacation Bible School; played games with children, including soccer; and preached to 800 children at a school. Also, Jaclyn led a women’s conference while Josh was teaching the men.
Josh said, “We didn’t know how it would unfold. I told the team to be ready for anything, and they were. We were prepared for games, teaching the Bible, sports, whatever was necessary. Mainly we prayed and let God lead us. God opened the doors, we went through and everything fell into place.
“We were amazed by the love of the people. They were hospitable, respectful and grateful that we would travel all of that way to invest in them.”
Jimmy Spielman, who leads PVBC’s college and career Sunday School with his wife, Jade, said this was his first mission trip. “The highlight for me was being able to interact, teach and pray with the children and youth of the Mosocho Baptist Church. It was truly an amazing experience,” he said.
Spielman said he saw God move even while he prepared for the trip, as people stepped up to support the mission. He also saw God take care of what could have been a problematic issue. “I was almost not able to get the yellow fever vaccine,” Spielman explained. After sharing the reason for the vaccine with his doctor, Spielman discovered that his doctor is from Africa. “His father was a missionary in Kenya and he had lived there as a child. After talking with him, he made sure I was able to get the vaccine.”
Shortly before the trip, Josh and Jaclyn invited the team to their home for a cookout and to prepare and pray for their venture. They discussed raising funds, getting vaccines and other logistical concerns, and they prayed, asking for God’s wisdom and blessing on the trip. “I told all of the people that ‘God will provide the financing and the vacation time,’ and He did.”
God answered their prayers, according to Phillips. Each team member was able to get the needed vacation time from his or her job and to raise the necessary funds. PVBC was supportive, prayerfully sending the team and providing funds.
One of the team members, a retired diplomat, was having work done on his house by another church member prior to the trip to Kenya. He left $221 to pay the worker, but the worker refused the money and said to use it toward the needs in Kenya. Phillips got the word that they had an extra $221 for Kenya.
About an hour after Phillips heard about the donation, an African pastor asked him if they could find a Bible in Swahili. “I said, ‘why don’t we get the whole church Bibles’? There were 25 people in the church. I asked how much Swahili Bibles cost, and he said $9. We did the math, and it was $225,” said Phillips. “We had the need just a few hours after receiving the money. The people who went on the trip were blessed just to see God do that.”
BCM/D Executive Director Kevin Smith accompanied the team and did much of the preaching, at times to over 1,000 people.
When asked about the response from the evangelistic efforts, Phillips explained, “In the African culture, when you ask a group, ‘who wants to be saved — raise your hand,’ 100 percent of the people will raise their hands because they want to be hospitable. We shared the Gospel and explained how to be saved and told them to talk to their pastor if they felt led to accept Christ.”
Phillips urged churches in Maryland/Delaware to consider participating in the opportunity to go to Kenya. The BCM/D has completed much of the preparatory work and most Kenyans can communicate in English.
“Kenya is a British colony, so most speak English, though it’s British English. American English is slightly different. We had interpreters in English and Swahili. The language was not an issue,” he said.
The team stayed in a hotel and drove to churches and villages to work. They returned to the hotel for meals and caterers provided lunches. “We were very blessed with the food — it was all well done and excellent. The Kenyans take care of you like you are a tourist,” Phillips reported.
Phillips said the need is great. Catholicism is predominant, in addition to Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh-Day Adventists. “The Gospel has been perverted,” Phillips said. “There is much ‘prosperity Gospel’ and rituality.”
For more information about the partnership and upcoming trips, check out the BCM/D website.
The Kenya partnership is supported by your generous giving to the 2019 State Missions Offering.