“If you wish to move mountains tomorrow”, says the African proverb, “You must start by lifting stones today.” The daily responsibilities and routines of lifting life’s stones can seem to blur together. It is startling to stop and realize just how quickly those days go by and before you know it, the entire terrain has been transformed around you.
Featured Image: A beneficiary in the Africa Brotherhood Church Guardians of Hope, Machakos, Kenya
The labour of the Church in Africa is such a story of faithfulness and the blessing of God that has reshaped the people and places of this great continent. Canadian Baptists have played a small but significant part in this story. Today the Church of Africa is vibrant, diverse, and bearing witness to the joyful hope of Christ for the entire world.
2018 marks a significant milestone in the history of Canadian Baptists as we celebrate 60 years of ministry in Africa. Along with celebrations that will be taking place in Angola marking the coming of Canadian Baptist missionaries in 1958 to the Evangelical Church of Angola (IEA) there are two other important anniversaries this year.
In Kenya, we will be marking 40 years of partnership with the Africa Brotherhood Church. We will be participating in special times of worship this May in Ukumbani. And we are thanking God for the remarkable journey of ministry among the Muslim people of North Eastern Kenya that also began in 1978. There is much reason to give thanks!
Image: Worship in Garissa. To read more about CBM’s 40 years of outreach in Kenya’s Muslim majority communities, please use this link
Prior to 1958, Canadian Baptist missionaries had only served in India and Bolivia. The partnership with the Evangelical Church of Angola was not only the beginning of the ministry of Canadian Baptists in Africa but the start of an entirely new way of engaging in world missions. God used the invitation of the IEA as the first steps for CBMs journey in Africa and toward mutual partnerships of interdependence.
The impact of those first three years in Angola continues to be remembered to this day, but the work was cut short. With the outbreak of the Portuguese colonial war in 1960, the early Canadian missionaries moved to neighbouring Zaire where hundreds of thousands of Angolan refugees had fled. In the decades that followed, these relationships would move CBM to establish new work in partnership with African churches across the continent.
In the words of past CBM general secretary, Rev. Dr. John Keith, “Angola put Canadian Baptists on a new continent, in an undertaking of a significantly different nature than before.”
Unlike the endeavors in India and Bolivia, in Africa CBM would serve under indigenous churches in order to help local Christians respond to the brokenness of their communities holistically. CBM had come to realize that God was calling us to serve local churches and to help them bear witness in their own unique setting. The work of Canadian pastors, theologians, teachers, health care workers, agronomists, and engineers was ultimately focused on strengthening local Christians to bring hope and healing to their own people.
The Canadian’s that came to Africa also embraced the fact that we have a lot to learn from Christians in Africa. Partnership in Africa became defined by mutual learning as together we discovered what it might mean to be global disciples of Jesus. And this ministry continues today!
Since the beginning of January 2018, we have been meeting with our partners and colleagues in a period of assessment and strategic planning for ministry in Africa. Please continue to pray for us as we carry these discussions to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo later this month.
We would also appreciate your prayers for safety as we travel with our colleague Lenny Mbogo to the Kakuma this March. Here we will be coming alongside our partner serving South Sudanese refugees in Kenya’s fastest growing refugee camp.
Please continue to pray for our African partners and for the upcoming Africa Leadership Exchange program that we will be hosting in Kenya with our colleague Dr. Jonathan Mills. This is an important effort to strengthen the capacity of our local partners in good governance and leadership.
Thank you so much for your continued support.
About Aaron and Erica Kenny
Aaron and Erica Kenny serve as Africa Team Leaders, providing continental leadership and support for CBM’s team, partnerships, and programs. In addition, the Kennys direct CBM’s Muslim Ministries in Kenya where they are involved in strengthening local churches in reaching out to their Muslim neighbors through integral mission.