Vernon Johnson's Journal: October 2010 Trip to Kenya & Uganda
On Monday, 11 October, 2010, I was accompanied to DFW airport by my loving wife, Hazel, and my granddaughter Rebecca and her boyfriend, Bradley White. We said our goodbyes and I boarded the plane for Amsterdam around 2:30 P.M. After an uneventful flight, we arrived in Amsterdam around 7:00 A.M. Netherlands time. At the airport I met with Elder Michael Gowens who had arrived from Detroit about the same time. We boarded a 10:30 A.M. flight to Nairobi and after another uneventful flight (the best kind) we arrived in Nairobi around 7:30 P.M. We checked through customs and then gathered our bags and met the following brethren who had come to meet us at the Nairobi airport:
1. Elder Martin Onyoni
2. Bro. Wycliffe Omari (Our driver)
3. Bro. Aikins Doh from Ghana
4. Bro. Samson Nyameri – an attorney from Nairobi.
We had a good evening meal and retired to a good clean hotel in Nairobi to get some rest.
On Wednesday, 13 October, 2010 we had breakfast and began our journey to the Nairobi fellowship. We were met by about a dozen to fourteen men and women (Many of the fellowship had to work and could not come to the meeting.
We had a spirit filled song service that truly was heart-felt. Next we had prayer followed by the preaching services. A young brother Richard from the fellowship spoke first on the subject of justification by grace using Rom. 3:23 and Rom. 9:15, 16 as his texts. In summary, his sermon stressed that the elect are justified by grace through the blood of Christ according to the covenant of redemption. Next, Bro. Aikins Doh of Ghana spoke to us about some of the benefits of the word using 2 Tim. 3:16, 17 as his text. He spoke to us about the need for good sound doctrine and reproof from the scriptures and that we, as children of God, need to study and meditate upon the word daily. The Lord blessed him in his message and delivery. This was the first time that I had gotten to hear him preach as he did all the interpreting for us in Ghana. I was very pleased with his efforts. Next, I spoke using Luke 16:16 as my test which reads, "The law and the prophets were until John, since that time the Kingdom of God is preached and every man presseth into it." I tried to develop each part of this text. Finally, Elder Michael spoke to us using John 17:1-5 as his text. He pointed out that John chapter 17 was the Lord's prayer and that this is followed in chapter 18 by a discussion of the trials of Jesus and chapter 19 by the crucifixion of Jesus. He also pointed out that the 17th chapter of John is divided into three parts:
1. v. 1-5 discusses the eternal salvation of His people.
2. v. 6-21 shows Jesus praying for the ongoing life of his disciples in this world.
3. v. 22-24 Jesus concludes with the future of his people in heaven.
Elder Michael also pointed out that this corresponds to the salvation, sanctification, and glorification of the Lord's people. In summation, Bro. Mike spoke concerning Christ as the Great Intercessor for his people and that he continues his intercession for us today.The messages seemed to be well received by the members of the fellowship which consist primarily of young adults.
We said our goodbyes and drove about 2 hours to Naivasha. After an afternoon of relaxation at our hotel we made our way to have a service with the fellowship at Navaisha in the late afternoon. The fellowship generally consists of young adults who have come to Navaisha for work. The jobs generally are service type jobs with very low pay. Subsequently the people work hard to obtain funds for food and shelter for their families. Because of their job requirements al the adults but one were working at the time of our services. We had the one adult – a young man who leads the fellowship and about 12-14 children ages I would guess ranging from 2-16. We had a very spirit filled song service with the most of the children joining in the singing of praises to God. After song service and prayer Elder Michael spoke on the battle between David and Goliath. I followed speaking about Jesus as our champion fighting against our enemy and great giant of sin. The messages seemed to be well received.
On Wednesday, 14 October 2010, after breakfast we began our long journey to Kisii from Naivasha. The road had been greatly improved and travelling was much more comfortable than from my previous trips. Around 2:00 P.M. we arrived in Kisii and checked into the Mash Park hotel. Around 4:00 P.M. we left the hotel to go to a new fellowship in Omogonchero headed by a Bro. Peter Ongero. Bro Peter is a very delightful young man who seems to have a very good heart. The group consisted of about 35-40 people. Elder Charles is helping them to understand the doctrines of grace. Bro. Aikins Doh of Ghana spoke first and his text was 2 Cor. 6:14-16. He admonished the congregation to live separate lives from the world and ungodliness. He also admonished them to not mix the biblical beliefs of grace and biblical practices with false doctrines and false teachings. I followed Bro. Aikins and spoke on Matt. 1:21 "He shall save his people from their sins." I spoke on who are "His people" and how we identify ourselves as being a part of His people. I also spoke on how Jesus does "all" the saving from sins. Elder Michael followed and spoke from Jonas 2:9 on "Salvation is of the Lord" and was richly blessed to show how the Lord alone has wrought our eternal salvation.
On Thursday, 15 October, 2010 the morning service was held at a new fellowship lead by a Bro. Peterson Mbegera. When we arrived the congregation was singing. Since they were singing in Swahili and the tunes weren't familiar, I did not know what they were singing. However, it was apparent they were singing with much joy in their hearts. Elder Michael later asked on of the sisters what they were singing and she replied they were singing songs of praise to God. She then added, we want to sing the truth. After introductions and prayer I lead off preaching on Matt. 10:29-31 and Luke 12:6, 7. I compared the very little value that the sparrows have with the absolutely morally worthless condition of man in his fallen fleshly nature. Then I compared the great value we possess because of what Christ has done for us in redeeming us and causing us to be born of the Spirit. Elder Michael followed and spoke on John 1:29, "Behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." He pointed out the significance of each word in that verse. Finally, Bro. Aikins spoke on the "elect" using Matt. 6:25; Rom. 8:37 and Rom. 8:28-30. He pointed out the "all things" in v. 28 and 37 referred to the 5 things in verses 29 and 30. He spoke of all five things pointing out that it is God alone who performs all five things. He also made a point of what a blessing it is to be one of God's elect.
At the close of services an opportunity was given for membership through water baptism and the leader (Bro. Peterson Mbegera came forward requesting membership through water baptism.
There were about 35-40 people in this congregation. I expect many of them to join the PB church when they observe their leader being baptized. These people are coming from another order and have a lot they will need to unlearn and learn. I am confident the elders in Kisii area will be able to teach them.
The afternoon service was to be at one of the two fellowships led by Bro. Chris Nyangoto who is awaiting baptism. However, we received word that a funeral service was taking place at the time of our meeting and the worship service was cancelled in deference to the funeral service. We proceeded to Tabaka where Elder Michael and I bought some soapstone gifts for our family members. Then we visited in the home of Elder Martin and his wife Annah. We enjoyed a very sweet fellowship there.
In the morning of 16 October 2010, we travelled to Kisumu, about a 2 hour journey to meet with the Kisumu fellowship. After song service and prayer, Bro. Aikins Doh spoke on the new birth using John 3:1-8 as his text. Elder Michael followed by speaking on 2 Sam. 14:14, "For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means that his banished be not expelled from him." Bro. Mike pointed out that death awaits all of us and yet God in his covenant of redemption has devised the means whereby the elect will not be eternally banished from him. I followed speaking on the waters of Marah and how Christ is the tree cast into God's judgmental waters poisoned by our sins. I pointed out how Christ was made to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
In the afternoon we traveled to a new fellowship led by Bro. Chris Nyangoto. After song service and prayer, Bro. Aikins Doh spoke on the covenant of redemption using 2 Sam. 23:1-7 as his text. He was richly blessed in his delivery and handling of the subject matter. I followed Bro. Aikins by speaking on the blessings of being in Christ using Ephesians chapter 1 as my text. Elder Michael closed out by speaking on the eternal security of the elect using John 10:27-30 as his text. The congregation was very enthusiastic and attentive to the messages that were delivered.
On Sunday, October 17, 2010, we had a joint meeting with four of the churches in the Kisii area. We arrived at the grounds near the location of the Bombure PBC and over 100 people were already gathered and were singing. We continued in singing and prayer and took questions while the vans brought people from the other churches. In all about 200-250 people gathered for worship services. Elder William Asugo and the Bombure PBC were our host. After song service and prayer a young Bro. Thomas was first asked to speak. He spoke on timely salvation including salvation from ignorance and trying to get right with God. He read and spoke from the following verses: Matt. 1:21; 2 Tim. 2:10; Rom. 10:1-4; 2 Tim. 1:9, 10; Matt. 11:28; and Phil. 2:12, 13. I felt the message was richly blessed and according to sound doctrine. Next, Bro. Aikins Doh of Ghana delivered a message of timely admonition to "Look forward, not back." He used the following verses in delivering the message: Phil. 3:13, 14; Is. 43:18, 19; Ex. 14:15; Gen. 19:26. This young man seems to be very sound in the doctrine and is growing every day. Afterwards, I spoke about Cornelius in Acts chapter 10. I tried to show that the new birth of Cornelius took place before the gospel was preached to him. Finally, Elder Michael spoke on John 6:60, 66-68. He contrasted the different reactions of the multitude to which Jesus taught with the reactions of the few disciples.
John 6:60 – "Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is a hard saying, who can hear it?"
John 6:68 – "Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life."
Elder Gowens made the following points among others:
1. The Lord spoke about total depravity; election; the sovereignty of God in the new birth and redemption from sin; eternal security of the saints; and the final resurrection of the elect unto glory.
2. The true gospel has the same affect upon the multitudes today – This is an hard saying, who can hear it.
3. There are a few true disciples who have come to believe as Peter: Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.
At the close of services an invitation for membership was given and three came forward requesting membership through water baptism.
Following services, we were invited to Elder Williams' home where we had sweet fellowship and were served a delicious lunch.
When we began our journey to the evening services a deluge of rain accompanied us. The road was very rough and nearly impassable and we actually became stuck in the mud, but some of the members came down and helped us to get out of the bog. We got within about 300-400 meters of the meeting place where we had to get out of the car and climb a steep muddy terrain. We all arrived safely, though wet, and muddy, and tired. There were about 20 of the saints who had gathered with us at the Nyarenda PBC pastored by Elder Richard Onounga. We had an uplifting song service followed by prayer. Bro. Aikins Doh spoke on the subject of salvation by grace and not by our works. He used the following texts: Eph. 2:8, 9; Tit. 3:5; and Gal. 3:1. Again he has blessed to speak the truth and in his delivery. Next, Elder Michael spoke on the three appearances of Christ using Heb. 9:24-28. Finally, I spoke on the love of God contrasting God's love with our love.
After services, we made our way down the hill and Elder Michael fell down due to the slick conditions. We both agreed that it looked like we would be bringing a good bit of Kenya back to the U.S. on our shoes.
On Monday, 18 October 2010, we arose, had breakfast, checked out of the Mash Park hotel in Kisii, Kenya and began our journey to Uganda around 7:45 A.M. Those travelling include myself, Elder Michael, Elder Martin, Elder Charles, and Bro. Wycliffe Omari, the driver. We stopped in Kisumu to get a few goods for our journey. Next, we arrived at the Uganda border around noon and checked through Kenya customs to leave Kenya, then Uganda customs to enter Uganda. We continued on our journey and arrived at Mbale (pronounced Ba-Lee) around 3:15 P.M. We proceeded to Bro. Boaz Munga's house where we met him, his wife, and two of his children.
As a note, the trip was over rough roads with many potholes. The countryside along the way consisted of rolling hills and the main occupation we observed was farming. The land appeared to be very fertile. The people in the rural countryside appeared to be very poor of this world's goods. Most of the dwellings were small mud huts with thatch roofs. Cattle and crops seemed to be main farming activities with corn (they call it maize) being the chief crop. We had not travelled very farm within Uganda until we observed several baboons in the road. Elder Michael whom I had observed is very good at communicating with birds (they actually answer him) tried communicating with the baboons. However, they seemed somewhat irritated with his attempts. I suggest he be satisfied with talking to the birds and leave the baboons alone! We arrived at the hotel where we are staying around 6 P.M. The hotel is very nice, clean, and appears very modern. The rooms are nice and large and comfortable, except the bed which was too firm for my back.
During the next several days we had discussions on various bible subjects with the brethren from three groups. These groups are headed by a Bro. Boaz Munga, Bro. Jonathan Mande, and a Bro. Masaba. Altogether there were about 30 people who attended our discussions and worship services. The bible subjects discussed and the leader of those discussions are as follows:
1. Total Depravity – myself
2. New Birth – Elder Michael Gowens
3. Limited Atonement – Elder Gowens
4. Eternal Preservation of the Saints – myself
5. Types of God's covenants – myself
6. Rom. 8:28 "Contextual all" and "work together" – myself
7. Foreknow or elect – Elder Charles Kenyanjui
8. Predestination – Elder Martin Onyoni
9. Effectual Calling – Elder Gowens
10. Justification – myself
11. Glorificaiton – Elder Martin Onyoni
12. Two Salvations – myself
13. 3 Types of Justification – Elder Gowens
14. 4 callings in the scriptures – myself
15. Different elections taught in the scriptues – myself
16. Purposes & Benefits of the gospel – Elder Gowens
In addition, we had worship services on the following days:
1. October 21, 2010. Elder Michael spoke using as his text Luke 18:9-14. I spoke on Rom. 10:1-10; and Elder Charles spoke on Rom. 8:2.
2. October 22, 2010. Elder Martin spoke on the subject of Bondage under false doctrines. This was followed by Elder Michael speaking on Heb. 4:9 on the subject of "rest in the Lord."
3. October 23, 2010. Elder Michael spoke on the subject of "Rejoicing in the Lord" using Heb. 3:17, 18 as his text. I then spoke on the courtroom of the heart and mind using Rom. 2:14, 15 and Isaiah chapter 6 as my texts. Elder Charles concluded the worship service by speaking on the "Sheep & Goats" in Matt. 25:31-46.
4. October 24, 2010. Elder Michael spoke on Ps. 115:1-3. Elder Martin followed by speaking on John 10:27-31. I concluded by speaking on the entrance to the Kingdom of God.
5. October 26, 2010. I spoke on Cain and Abel and the covenant respect of persons. Elder Martin spoke on John 14:1-4. Elder Michael concluded by speaking on 2 Cor. 1:8-10.
In the early morning of Sunday, 24 October, 2010 prior to morning worship services a baptismal service was conducted at a nearby hotel swimming pool. There were ten brethren who were baptized. The names of these ten brethren are as follows:
1. Jonathan Mande 2. Boaz Munga 3. Dauson Were 4. Elisa Wotti 5. Nathan Magala 6. Moses Mogesi 7. Derrick Gidongo 8. Moses Samanya 9. Jonathan Wasubini 10. Samson Nyaberi
Following the Sunday morning worship service an additional ten men and women came forward requesting to join the church through water baptism. These will be baptized when Elder Charles comes back to Uganda in November.
The work in Uganda is still in its infancy and will require a lot of teaching. Please pray for Elder Charles Kenyanjui as he endeavors to teach the brethren and sisters there. He will be going to Uganda each month and spend approximately a week at a time preaching and teaching the brethren there.
Elder Vernon Johnson
2 November 2010
Our church website is www.dentonpbc.org