In a Different Army
I met him near Kisumu City in Western Kenya. His name is Dyvan Fred Khakame. He served as a counselor and “pastor” in the Salvation Army, led the Salvation Army youth choir, worked with World Vision’s ARK (abstain and risk in youth) project, helped the East African Organization with stopping violence against women, worked with USAID on fighting community diseases, worked with the World Bank on agricultural productivity (NARIGP), and helped with Communication for Change to cap malaria in communities. He was a volunteer in all these NGO’s (non-governmental organizations).
Dyvan grew up without a father’s love. His mother was poor, so there was no money for schooling. An American couple saw his potential and sponsored him for a while. However, somehow his letters to his donors disappeared in the mail, so his sponsorship dried up. As a young adult he had a desire to serve his community and he started applying for volunteer positions with different NGOs. God was preparing him for service.
Since he studied the Bible lessons, he has given about 100 or more studies to others…
Recently a church member introduced him to the Bible study lessons from Light Bearers. They gripped his heart, and soon he finished all the lessons and received a certificate. This is his testimony:
“Most other churches don’t tell the truth because they don’t want to lose financial support. People don’t know why they go to church. They are more concerned about tradition than spreading truth. The Seventh-day Adventist Church spreads the truth across borders and into the whole world. This has attracted me.”
Dyvan is now experiencing the love of his heavenly Father which he did not get from his earthly father. He is also getting baptized soon. After his baptism, the West Kenya Union Conference is going to help him with more training as a Global Bible Pioneer and he will serve God with his volunteer skills. He wants others to know the truths he has found in Christ. Since he studied the Bible lessons, he has given about 100 or more studies to others and 40 people are ready to start their own Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Pulling Them Out of the Hole
“When you fall into a deep hole, without the possibility of getting out, all you can do is lift up your hands for someone to pull you out. This is what the Bible lessons from Light Bearers are doing for the inmates in our Kenyan high security prisons. The lessons are a channel through which God is lifting them out of the hole,” says Pastor Nicodemus, the Voice of Prophecy director for the West Kenya Union Conference. In the high security sections, inmates face the death sentence, life imprisonment, and sentences of more than 20 years.
The conditions in the prisons are terrible. None of the male inmates have mattresses. Some are considered so “wild” that they are confined to a small room for the rest of their lives. Not to mention the guilt, shame, condemnation, and abandonment they feel every day. The hole is deep.
The elder, an inmate himself, welcomed us in front of about 50 inmates who have studied and completed the Bible lessons. Some have already been baptized and are members of the Adventist prison church. The inmate elders have started a Bible school in the prison and many more inmates are studying to receive their certificates. Members from the Adventist Church in Kisumuvisit the high security, medium security, and women prison every Sabbath to worship with them.
In his voice, I could hear the shame and sorrow mixed with gratitude for God’s grace.
While visiting the high security prisoners, we asked them to share their stories. It took courage to share in front of other inmates. John Odeke stood up. In his voice, I could hear the shame and sorrow mixed with gratitude for God’s grace. John is a father of six children, a hardworking man. But his fleshly lusts controlled his impulses. He sexually molested his own children. As a consequence, two of his children died from the abuse. He fell in the deep hole. He was arrested in 2016 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
In prison he was invited to study the Bible lessons. He received courage, hope, and forgiveness as he read the lessons. His conversion experience was deep. Through our visit he once again realized that God has not forsaken him. It strengthened his faith. Someone still cared about him and the other inmates.
John was baptized in prison and is now one of the Bible school teachers. His desire is to share the gospel with others.
One by one, God’s love is pulling the prisoners out of their deep spiritual hole. All we asked of them is to stretch out their hands and take the Bible lessons. The Holy Spirit will do the rest.
Meiring works on the ground where Light Bearers literature is sent and writes regular reports on the progress of the literature work in these areas.