Church Planter – Nairobi, Kenya
Formerly an agricultural officer with the Kenyan government, Sam has been in ministry since 1999. In November 2000, he teamed up with Grace Baptist Church in Kisumu to begin the work of church planting in Western Kenya, near Lake Victoria. Grace Baptist recently sent Sam to plant a new church in the massive city of Nairobi. Sam holds a BA in theology from Highlands Theological College in Scotland. He and his wife Melly have four children.
Testimony of Conversion
I grew up knowing about the fact that God exists and punishes sinners. This knowledge, though, did not help me at all to come closer to God in repentance. All the same, I loved the things associated with God and would slavishly visit any church's service on Sunday. Many times I attended services suffering from hangovers from the previous night of disco dance and drunkenness. My tradition was to sit at the last pew at the back and make sure I left very quickly after the service. I did not want anybody to confront me with ‘their salvation.’
But it happened. One particular Sunday, at a Pentecostal church (PEFA), I was sober and went and sat in a pew closer to the preacher. After the service, I uncustomarily did not run away but remained to chat. A lady came and shared with me what was, as I see now with the benefit of hind sight and knowledge in the things of God, an unclear Gospel presentation. All that she kept telling me was that I should not play games with God and that I was cheating myself in thinking that I was right with Him. She urged me to make my ways right with the Lord.
I remember that on that day, I went back to my house and the conviction of my sinfulness was so heavy upon me that I could not even take my lunch. I locked myself in my bedroom and found myself crying tears and praying that God would forgive me of my sins and help me begin a true walk with him. After about one hour, I felt relieved of my sins and assured that God had accepted me. This was in 1990. I was later baptized in this church, but after a few months, due to serious wrangles in the church and youths doubting my salvation because I was not speaking in tongues, I left for a Baptist church. I had sincerely longed to speak in tongues but it kept eluding me. In fact, it was Melly, who is now my wife, that introduced me to this Baptist church. We were still single and neighbors. Melly was also born again in the same Pentecostal church. At the new church I found my former high school mates born again and serving the Lord, though not speaking in tongues. This fired me up to serve with them. I then wed Melly in this church November of 1991. I was later made youth leader and an elder. In September 1999, I resigned from my employment as an agricultural officer with the Kenya government and became the pastor of this church.
One thing that the Lord has enabled me to do since being saved is to read the Bible completely through, year after year. So even as a youth, the biblical doctrines were beginning to form in my faith. I could question some things that were obviously unbiblical in this church but the weight of other leaders was stronger. When I was made the pastor, there was no way I was going to continue allowing certain things, like women preaching, to continue. More so, being the pastor, I was the one now in the position to invite them to preach. I stopped this practice under great criticism.
From my reading of Romans 9, the doctrine of election became clear to me and unchallenged. These two biblical doctrines (the roles of men and women in ministry and the doctrine of election) became my downfall as far as popularity in a church that, at one time, really loved me. In July 2000, the pressure became too much and I had to resign, having pastored them for only one year. What to do? I did not know.
By this time, I was a student of the Bible at a reformed college in Nairobi (under Trinity Baptist Church in Nairobi). This reformed me even more. By God’s providence, a missionary from the Nairobi church was planning to come to Kisumu for church planting work. We teamed up and Grace Baptist Church-Kisumu was started in the November 2000, meeting in my house with my two daughters, my wife, and the missionary couples. In December 2001, we constituted with 12 members and the church has been growing ever since. Today we have 30 members. From 2005-07, I enrolled as a student with Highlands Theological College in Scotland, a Reformed college, and graduated with BA in Theology.
Reformed faith in Kenya is still very young. It is my desire that the biblical teachings that the Lord has opened our hearts to may be carried far and wide in this country. Christ is the gift of God, a free sacrifice given to bear sins of many (the elect); it is all by grace. Christ himself is fully God and fully man, being the second person of the Trinity. The Bible is the Word of God and He has spoken to us all that we need to know and do through it. Hence, it should be preached in its totality with authority for in it there is the authority of God and power to save sinners and keep them for the day of glory. Christ came for the first time to accomplish his salvation work here on earth; the next time he comes he will establish his Kingdom and rule over all forever and ever (Amillenial). These and many biblical doctrines are my passion.
On the family front, I am married to Macolet (Melly) and we have been blessed to have two daughters, though I am also a parent to two of my late brother’s kids, who were orphaned by the AIDS scourge. My daughter Lois is doing her 10th grade and is 15 years, Nila is 13 and will next year sit primary school certificate exams. My niece Billian just finished secondary school and is waiting to go either to University or a college depending on her grade pass. Her brother Cornell is hunting for a job after finishing a marketing course last year.