Friday, March 22, 2013

Bibles to Kenya (A strange journey)


Hello Calvary Family,

I wanted to share something the Lord did recently. 

Last January an email message reached me through our website. That means someone got onto our website and filled out a contact form that we provide on our home page. When we first started providing that form we found that we were getting spam emails regularly, so I had Vlad (who oversees and maintains our website) do a little "Internet magic" to make it harder for spammers. That helped a lot! The spam virtually disappeared! So I was rather surprised when I received the following note:

Dear pastor, i'm a pastor in a young church in Kenya.I email to plead with you for your assistance to buy thirty bibles.We're poor and our desire is to grow well reading the Word in the bible.Please pray and seek the Lord's guidance on how you'll help. May God help you. Bro.Richard.

My first thought was...yeah, right! It sounded like a phishing attempt, (which is an Internet term for spammers looking for ways to latch onto your financial information) and I almost clicked delete. I figured the chance of someone named "Richard" who lived in Kenya was slim. But my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to respond. I emailed the person back using our office address and sent a very short note: "Send more information to office@ccontario.com."

That was all. 

Later that same day I received the same request through our office address. Hmmm. Well...I figured it couldn't hurt to just see if this guy was willing to give some more information. So I emailed him again, using our office address and said:

We need information.

Name of church 
Full mailing address
Church affiliation
Pastor's Name
Translation of Bibles requested
Please send a full statement of faith

In the past I had noticed that spammers often ran when asked too many questions. I figured this would probably send him high-tailing for the hills. I was wrong. About three days later I received this response:

Dear Brethern,
Our particulars are shown below,
church name-Kanitha wa Ngai (Church of God)
Pastor-Bro.KAMAU NTHURAKUH.
Affiliation--None
Vision--To make people,in Africa, disciples of Christ.It's only by
repentance and be born again people can enter the kingdom of God,John
3;3-5
Bibles(50)--in Kiswahili or Kikuyu languages
Address-  P.O BOX 29-60400-Chuka-Kenya

The first thing I noticed was that he dropped the name "Richard." But what intrigued me was that he wasn't asking for money...even though I had shown interest. He still just wanted Bibles. Now I was fully engaged in this thing...so I figured it would be a good idea to send an email to the Calvary Chapel Senior Pastors Listserver and see if any of the other pastors were getting this request. I shared with the other pastors the note I had received through our website along with the correspondence we had shared since then, and asked if anyone else had heard from this "Brother Richard."

I received a wonderful note from a Calvary Chapel pastor named Ed Compean who, as the Lord would have it, was IN Kenya! He said:

Paul, he is in Chuka, which is a primarily Embu and Meru tribe area, it is interesting hat he desires Kikuyu Bibles. Pray and if you desire, he can contact us and we'll meet with him to discern if next steps are appropriate. You can ask him to call the church at +254 716 257 693.

Shalom!

Wow!! This was cool! Now I had a contact in Kenya to actually find out if this request for Bibles was legit or not! I felt like a detective! :) So I got busy and emailed Brother Richard again (now Brother Kamau) and said:

Greetings once again. We received your request for Bibles.

We have a sister church in your general area (in Githurai) and they would be happy speak with you about your need. Please call the church at +254 716 257 693. You can also go to the church website at http://www.calvarygithurai.org/.

When you call the church, please let them know you are in need of Bibles and have been discussing the matter with a Calvary Chapel in the United States.

God bless you!

Pastor Paul 

Now...I figured all I could do was wait and see what would happen. I was becoming more confident that this request MIGHT be legitimate...but I figured I would know for sure soon enough.

After several emails and several weeks, I heard back from Ed saying that the meeting between Pastor Kamau and his staff had actually taken place!! He shared the following message and picture. 

Hi Paul,

I thought you and/or some of the people at the church may desire to "meet" Pastor Kamau and see the Bibles. He came down to Githruai (northern side of Nairobi) to meet up with us. Kamau is in the center and he is with 24 Bibles (12 in Kiswahili, 6 in Embu and 6 in Kikuyu). On the left if our associate pastor Murigu Kariuki and on the right is Godfrey Animpiu. Godfrey is went up to Embu to spend time with Pastor Kamau and his church and reported back, "They are are not a Calvary Chapel, but they love Jesus and God's Word. It would be good to help them get Bibles."

We are looking forward to developing a relationship with Kamau, he is already invited to a couple Calvary wide events we have planned for the coming months. It may be a real God thing in the sense we have a guy desiring to go to a nearby village to plant a new CC work in the next year. Knowing Pastor Kamau will give him a leg up in the community.  We also greatly thank you guys there for allowing us be the pipeline through which God's blessings flowed from Ontario to rural Kenya. 

Mungu Akubariki! (God Bless)

Ed















Additionally, I received this note from Kamau just today:

Dear Pastor Paul,
Greetings in Jesus name.
I've taken awhile without emailing you.I now wish to thank you and
appreciate the blessings of the Lord through the bibles i received
yesterday from pastor Ed Compean for deserving christians in my
ministry.We met at Calvary Chapel Githurai-Nairobi,where we had very
good discussion pertaining to the church and i must say Bro. Ed is a
very  good social man.
Give our godly appreciation to the donors of the money that enabled
pastor Ed to buy the bibles for us.It's a demostration of true love to
brothers in Christ."Beloved,let us love one another;for love is of
God;and every one that loveth is born of God,and knoweth God".
Pastor Paul,once again, thank you and may God richly bless you and
your ministry.
Pastor Kamau.

Because the Lord orchestrated a Calvary Chapel connection in Kenya, and because of YOUR generosity in giving, we were able to send the money to purchase the Bibles that are now in the hands of Pastor Kamau. I thought you might enjoy getting to read first-hand how this opportunity came about. 

Your servant in Christ,

Pastor Paul


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