Wow! How quickly the Coronavirus has impacted lives and ministries around the world. We are praying for all of you in this challenge. Here in Kenya, we are about six weeks behind the USA concerning the spread of the virus. All churches have been ordered to stop meeting by the government. Public markets have been shut down, and those who do try to sell food in this manner risk being beaten by the police. For the majority of Kenyans, these types of markets are where they buy food daily. Please pray for our people, as society could become unstable for a lack of daily needs to live. All this being the reality at the moment, God has blessed in many ways, with souls saved and churches strengthened in sound doctrine over the last couple months, and He has brought us through health issues also. Praise God!
Bondeka Baptist Church is a very rural church, where I recently taught that they have a responsibility to be bringing souls to Christ Jesus. Godfrey, a key man of the church, responded with enthusiasm to be a productive soul winner. Only a few weeks later, his wife died while giving birth to their fourth child. Because of his burden to see souls saved and the relationship we had built, Geoffrey invited me to preach at the funeral, which was attended by about 1,000 people. I preached a clear and direct message of salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus alone, and over 300 people made a public profession that they had received the gift of salvation during the invitation! Geoffrey was heartbroken but rejoiced to see souls saved through his grief and loss. I am humbled to serve with such men whom God has allowed me to influence.
I have been desiring to begin a new work, but God has not opened a clear door, so I have been waiting for God to make a path clear. Today it is obvious that God knows the future and what is best. If a new work would have begun recently, it would now be in a bad situation—young and not able to meet because of government orders. Praise God, though, I just received this text from a disciple I have previously told you about, Charles . . .
Bro. Andrew, My joy is that in corona I am seeing opportunity to start a journey of faith in that I wish to start fellowship of new believers in my house. I have already had five new believers.
Just before we went on lockdown, I worked with him for many weeks, teaching about what a Baptist church is, according to the Scripture, and how it differs from other denominations. As we were working through those lesson times together, Charles was expressing a discontentment with church options in his area because they did not line up with biblical truth. Please pray for his continued growth, for the souls he is leading to Christ, and that God might use this as a foundation to begin a new work when we can return to some form of normalcy after Coronavirus restrictions have passed.
Connie has had recurring problems with kidney stones and infections. She recently had another round of issues and was in the hospital for several days. During the procedure, it was discovered that one of her kidneys was completely blocked from flow. The doctor was able to open the passage to allow fluids to flow again but was not able to remove all the stones in the kidney. She needed three days of IV antibiotics to eliminate a resulting infection before she was able to leave the hospital. She will need to return to remove more stones in the kidney but must wait until the Coronavirus presence diminishes. I lost track of how many, but Connie shared the Gospel with many hospital workers during her stay.
Even in times as unpredictable as COVID-19 has brought to the world, God is in control, and we look forward to reporting on what great things He hath done in our next letter.
Your servants for lost souls across East Africa,
Andy & Connie Richey