By Albert Simiyu
Pictures by Abel Musungu
Sunday the 20th of May 2018 was a unique and exceptional day as the Eastern Block of the Nairobi Christian church welcomed two special families from the Greensboro Church in North Carolina, USA at the Umoja Sanctuary.
The couples – Dave and Sarah Peickert who lead the Church in Greensboro and Mark and Jane Crandall, together with their four grown-up children Samuel and Phoebe Peickert and Jonathan and Will Crandall, were welcomed warmly by excited disciples making joyful noises along with the frenzied beat of the “Isukuti” drums.
When the worship service started, the choir didn’t disappoint and the congregation sang as if Jesus was coming the next hour. Our friends from the U.S. were visibly in high spirits and flowed well with songs, even those sung in Swahili. “This is the most hospitable congregation we have visited and I can’t get enough of your singing,” Dave said.
As he led the Holy Communion, Mark Crandall briefly shared about his past health challenges that pushed him to the brink of despair. Teaching from Luke 23:43, he highlighted the vanity of human obsession with earthly pursuits and encouraged disciples to focus on being in paradise with Jesus. “That is our most important destination” he stated.
In the main message, Dave Peickert drew his text from Haggai Chapter 1, sharing how before the Israelites were always struggling with idolatry without admitting it. Such carnal inclinations drove them into a version of selfishness that shut out all goodwill towards God’s service. The Israelites crafted all manner of excuses why they could not share their time, money, talents and many other resources with God, all to the detriment of God’s Temple.
He implored disciples to give careful thought to their ways and encouraged us to repent of our backsliding and commit to rebuilding God’s house and to use our gifts and resources for God in all areas of our lives.
The service culminated with the presentation of gifts to our U.S. friends. This was facilitated by Julius Nguku in his characteristic jovial manner. The group was presented gifts of local Maasai attire.
It was fascinating to see Dave and Mark attempt to make the Maasai vertical jump. Mark’s son Jonathan thrilled the congregation when he executed an acrobatic back flip instead of doing the Maasai jump as instructed.
In attendance and gracing the visit was Evangelist William Auki with his wife Victoria and a sizable number of disciples drawn from the Southern Block of the Nairobi Christian Church. The congregation also witnessed the baptism of Karen Akinyi by George Khisa.
According to Evangelist William Auki, Piedmont Triad in Greensboro is one of our sister churches in North Carolina. They are great supporters of International Churches of Christ East Africa (ICOCEA) both relationally and financially. We have had this wonderful relationship for over 10 years.
The Peickerts and the Crandalls visit with their adult children has continued to boost this relationship; coming all the way from the US to spend time with the disciples and encourage the church here in Nairobi.
Onesmus Ngove from Umoja inner core in Eastern Bloc said the visit injected new energy in the congregation. “We had a difficult time persuading our kids to go home, because they were having great fun playing with David and Mark’s children,” he said.
The Church in East Africa is so grateful for their continued support that goes a long way to see the word being spread in the region.
To God be the glory for all the great things he is doing.