On a cool Sunday morning, I find myself at the YMCA hostels where the Kibra Sector of the Nairobi Christian Church meets for their midweek and Sunday service.

 The first person I meet in the fellowship is the bold Stephen Onduyi. Today, he is dressed in a Cream suit and being around him, you cannot fail to notice his disarming warmness. He is fired up after listening to a powerful message preached by Pierre Jacobs – a brother from the Indonesian Church of Christ.

Stephen Onduyi, His Wife and Their Daughter

Stephen Onduyi, His Wife and Their Daughter

There had been a heavy downpour the previous day which made it difficult to get to YMCA – Kibra. The houses are closely huddled together. I find myself touching the buildings on both sides of the narrow path as I made my way through the muddy and slippery path while trying to control my balance. The pathway is divided right down the middle by a smelly ditch which helps to carry a mixture of rain and waste water away. The congregation had swelled up unpertubed by the change of weather. After the service the congregation disappears into meetings planning for the different church activities.

Steve’s passion for Christ is evident. “I am grateful that God has continued renewing my strength daily.” He adds, “When I started leading the Kibra sector, it was challenging. I had doubts; fear crippled in as reality dawned that I was leading people most of whom were older than me. We prayed with my wife for God to give us strength and wisdom to lead. The journey has been quite amazing. The disciples have been very supportive to me and my wife.”

Steve’s speech and convictions is evident that he is a man at peace with his maker. “God is revealing many things in my life as I continue to dwell in His word.

The Kibra sector has really grown in numbers. “This is not something to boast about as most of the congregation struggle to meet basic needs. The majority of inhabitants live on less than a dollar a day. Often they do not have enough money to pay school fees or buy food and medicine. It is not by accident that I live in an environment where most families struggle to meet basic need.

It is not easy to give these people hope as they deal with poverty on a daily basis. Every morning when they wake up, their prayer is for God to remove them out of poverty cycle which is so alive in their lives. Interestingly, Kibra ministry is one of the most vibrant ministries within the East Africa International Churches of Christ. The sector has 94 disciples; 52 brothers and 42 sisters with a Kingdom Kids that caters for all age sets coordinated by Joseph and Grace Oduor. “I am grateful for the opportunity that God has bestowed on me to lead the awesome brothers and sisters in Kibra sector.”

Steve was baptized on 29th September 1996 as a single brother. Until 2007, he had never led even a bible talk. Immediately after getting married, he baptized two people, took over a bible talk held at the District Commissioner’s (DC’s) office which grew to a sector level and he kept growing with it. Eventually, he became the leader of the entire Kibra sector. Steve has led the Kibra sector for the last one year and eight months. He is still going strong and his prayer is to have a church membership of 150 disciples, by March 2013.

Appointed to lead the Kibra Sector was another turning point in his life. Steve who hails from a humble background has allowed God to use him powerful. He recounts his life before knowing Christ as an illiterate young man in Mombasa. He had nights that he slept out in the cold on a hungry stomach and at times in harsh climatic conditions. “It reached a point I was so desperate that I got into drug peddling and at some point ended up using the same drugs because I had lost all hope.” Drug is a common problem at the coast and it has led to the loss of many young lives. However, God in his own design allowed me to meet some disciples who took me in as a brother. I studied the bible while living with them and eventually became a disciple. Even though things were not rosy at the beginning, I fell away and returned back to Mombasa. Later I came back to the church and my life has never been the same again.

The Kibra Church (Sunday morning service)

The Kibra Church (Sunday morning service)

Steve’s command of the English language is exceptional, and it is unbelievable when he admits that he has never stepped in a formal school. Born in a family of eight, four boys and four girls, Steve the sixth born is the only one who never stepped in a school as his parents separated and he had to stay with his single mother who neglected him. He saw his brother and sisters go to school while he was restrained and remained at home. Apparently, the most schooled person was his sister who went up to Form 2. However, his love for his mother is so manifested as he speaks about her. “I forgave both of my parents especially my mother and I have moved on. I really love my mother.”

His powerful sharing during the 2012 men’s forum held at the Umoja Sanctuary touched and electrified the congregation as he read the bible well and spoke eloquently. “I did my bible study using an NIV bible that inspired me.

Upon baptism in September 29th 1996, Steve went and bought an NIV bible and miraculously with little help started reading and making notes. God then took over and his transformation has been tremendous. “My life is different now as am married to my beautiful wife, Catherine Aboka and God has blessed us with a daughter, Gift Michelle Awino who is four years old,” he says with a glowing face.

“Acts 17:24-27 “24The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” and Acts 4:13 “13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” inspired me, Jesus Christ gave me the courage and the Word of God changed me for I can do everything through him who gives me strength – (Philippians 4:13)

The Kibra Sector church is located in Kibra slums in Nairobi, with an estimated population of one million. It is arguably the biggest slum in Africa and one of the biggest in the world. The slum is cosmopolitan with every Kenyan tribe represented.

The slums lack toilets nor running water facilities and one latrine (hole in the ground) maybe shared by up to 50 shacks that are made of mud, plastered over sticks and boards or made from mabati (corrugated iron sheets). A few houses are plastered over with cement.

God has great plans for His church in Kibra. Let us remember them in our prayers.

Lamentation 2:19 (NIV) ” Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint from hunger at every street corner.


The writer can be reached at info@ostinmoriz.com

CategoryKenya, Nairobi
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