There came a most surprising and totally unexpected invitation to return to Kenya to speak and teach on the topic of responsible leadership. After a most exciting but unusual journey from the north of Scotland to central Nairobi I was rested and ready to begin another period of fairly intensive ministry.
My programme started with an early service on the Sunday morning for car mechanics!
Martin Akumu, who arranges all my meetings and seminars, and who also acts as my ‘bodyguard’, has recently launched an early morning service in the industrial area for those working on cars and trucks.
Thirty men attended and listened most attentively as I spoke for an hour and a half.
Then, it was a forty minute drive down towards the Barack Obama village for a second service, and two of the Rotary International team accompanied us.
There are the most amazing rock formations in that Nyanza rural setting and the air was so clear.
A third service was arranged for four o’clock when again people came forward for prayer as I finished preaching, without even the suggestion that they do so. It is always a privilege to be permitted into some of the painful secrets of peoples’ lives.
Painting the school library started on the Monday morning, after going into Kisumu to negotiate the purchase of paint. This was the principal task of the Rotary International team, which I was accompanying for the first stage of my visit to Kenya.
I was off to speak in another school for orphans in Manyatta where the head teacher earns the equivalent of £45 per month, yes, per month. In some other government schools it can rise to the princely sum of £65 a month. There were over 130 children in two small classrooms and their behaviour was impeccable.
On the Tuesday it was my day for speaking in Kodiaga prison which houses 3,000 inmates. I had the customary session with the Governor, who stood when I prayed for the work, and was most grateful for the help I was giving. That physical help took the form of large bars of soap as the Government provides neither toilet paper nor soap.
When I spoke, again for an hour, to 120 women all dressed in shabby ‘zebra suits’ they listened so attentively, and there were twelve children present alongside their mothers. For lunch that day they had ugali and cabbage.
I was unable to move from the northwest to the northeast of Kisumu where Kibos prison is situated. There was an incident, but not in the prison. The road was blocked. Gangs had been attacking the matatus. public transport similar to our minibuses, and stealing the money, and the army had been called, sealing the road to Kibos prison.
That Tuesday morning I had met the Professor of Business Management Studies at the Kisumu Campus of the University of Nairobi, and he invited me to come and deliver a lecture at 5.30 on “Integrity in Business”. Thirty 25 to 35 year old students studying for an M.A. were present and I spoke on “The Wise Man and The Foolish Man” and the crucial importance of foundations. It is always essential that a person’s life is grounded on Jesus Christ and the Word of God, otherwise when the pressures appear, it can crumble.
Wednesday and Thursday were the allotted days for the Pastors and Leaders Seminars, which were well attended. Pastor Martin Akumu pointed out to me that I had now spoken at Leaders Seminars in all four corners of Kisumu, covering every district.
Following the final teaching session on Thursday, Rev George Ayoma collected me to go and speak at his former school, where the library had been painted, and all the textbooks catalogued. Two thousand children were sitting outside in a large semi-circle some fifteen deep.
The headmaster instructed me to speak for thirty minutes and to emphasise God. Again we witnessed the importance of leadership where the leader understood what was really important.
There was no microphone, but I made it.
Among the many privileges one can have in life, to be able to speak to all these children on what is vital and foundational, gives you a sense of gratitude that you have been called to exercise such a ministry.