New Evangelist Appointed in East Africa Churches of Christ
Story by Peter Galia and Allan Omondi
Photos by Peter Onduru
It was tears of joy as Kisumu Church witnessed their leaders Paul and Betty Nthei appointed Evangelist and Women’s Ministry Leader respectively during the 2nd Homecoming service held on 2nd September in Kisumu City.
Kisumu city now joins the ranks of Nairobi, Kampala, Dar es Salaam, and Bujumbura as congregations in East Africa that have an Evangelist and Women’s Ministry Leader. The event is expected to light up western Kenya following the planting of the Luanda church two months ago.
The ceremony, which was held at Migosi Primary School, drew a huge gathering of Bible talks from most parts of the western region some as far as Migori, Busia, Eldoret, Kisii, and Luanda. It was witnessed by several church leaders including Evangelist John Maleya, Evangelist Mike Odwallo together with their spouses and Evangelist William Auki.
The service started at 10.30am with prayers from Paul Wesonga and a welcoming message for all the visitors from Peter Galia and his wife Jane. The communion message was delivered by Joseph Oyare while the sermon, “Live out Jesus Dream” was delivered by William Auki. Evangelist Mike Odwallo and his wife Liz wrapped up the message. The sharing was crowned by Evangelist John Maleya and his wife Jane, the first Evangelist and Women’s Ministry Leader to be appointed in Eastern Africa Churches of Christ took the opportunity to welcome Paul and Betty to their new role.
Elder in Training Anthony Mwanza and Elias Aketch committed our new Evangelist in prayer to the service of God.
Fred and Stella Onyango shared about the new Evangelist and Women’s Ministry Leader. Fred remembered how Nthei’s rehabilitated them spiritually by teaching them discipleship all over again. “They helped us to understand what self-denial is. They lay down their lives for people and sacrificed long hours discipling people, evangelizing, following up and so forth, “said Fred. Stella described Betty as having a “gentle and quiet spirit”, selfless, and giving.
Paul Wesonga and his wife Nancy shared how Paul and Betty have discipled them for the past 12 years. “They have worked diligently with the necessary zeal. They have mentored my wife and I tirelessly even when we became uncooperative. Betty has become a super mother and a trusted friend to my wife. Paul taught me humility in servicing – even changing baby’s diapers – a role commonly left for women (worldly view),” said Wesonga.
The occasion was summed up with the ICOCEA Kisumu Christian church hosting all the leaders and visitors who attended the colourful event to a sumptuous lunch that was served at the same venue. Mary Ondatto and Joyce Maganga presided over the cake cutting to celebrate the occasion.
Paul Nthei was baptized on 19th December 1992 while Betty was baptized on 22nd November 1997 in Nairobi. Paul joined the full-time ministry as a single brother the year 1998 and served in various ministries including; the East region and far-East ministry in Nairobi church. In the year 2000, he went to lead the church in Kampala for one year. He came back in April 2001, served in former Parklands and Kitengela ministries. He left the full-time ministry in 2002. He got married in 2003 and in 2005 moved with his family to Eldoret where they served as sector leaders until December 2009 when they rejoined full-time ministry and moved to lead the church in Kisumu, overseeing the Lake region, where they are currently serving. The two have three children, two boys Jabali 14 years old, Heri 11 years and their sister Imara who is one year old.
Under their leadership, the church has grown immensely both spiritually and numerically. Many marriages have been strengthened and many people have grown spiritually. When Paul and his wife started leading the Kisumu church, there were about thirty disciples; the number has since grown to a total of one hundred and thirteen. Kakamega which still falls under their leadership had less than ten disciples when they joined the Kisumu Church, currently; they now have a total of thirteen disciples. Other churches that have come up in the last nine years in western Kenya include Luanda church that was launched on 29th July this year and now has 18 disciples while Kisii church has sixteen disciples. There are two bible talks in Busia with five disciples while Migori has seven disciples. The first homecoming service was held on 4th March 2018 at Kisumu Social Hall.
Kisumu is a populous city that lies next to the second largest freshwater lake in the world. Lake Victoria is shared by three East African Countries, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. The region is famous for its tasty fish and also as the last point of the famous Kenya – Uganda railway that was completed in 1901.
The Church found itself at the center of post-election violence when the city was severely affected by the violence in August 2017. The city however recovered in less than a year and successfully hosted both the East Africa Marrieds and the 2018 Singles retreats. The church is indeed blessed to have an Evangelist and a Women’s Ministry Leader.
Related: Below a short snippet of the Nthei’s giving a class titled: “Single Minded Devotion” to the Nairobi Singles Ministry earlier in August