Living Waters International, a ministry based in Payson, Arizona, teamed up with Maranatha Volunteers International, ASI, and the East African Union to erect 74 One-Day Churches in Africa's Central Kenya and Kenya Lake conferences over the past year. Locations included the Kibera slums in Nairobi, the bush of Nyanza providence, and the islands of Lake Victoria.
The building team included Joby Oft, son of Living Waters founder Daryl Oft, who spent six months erecting buildings that are now providing places of worship, schools, and medical clinics for more than 15,000 people. He worked closely with the Kenyan people, training local workers to work with impact drivers, squares, and a variety of tools to provide the steel frame and roof buildings. The local congregations will finish the church walls using brick, reed, metal siding or open ventilation.
In most cases, the congregations have doubled since receiving the new structure. "The thing that amazed me, and that I did not expect, was that many of the churches were used seven days a week for schools, nurseries, and a place for medical services to be provided," said Joby. "It isn't just a church; it is a place for community activities during the week."
Five of the structures were ferried in canoes across large bodies of water to two islands in Lake Victoria. The materials were hand carried up steep mountain trails as far as two miles inland. The crew built 37 churches in the Kenya Coast Field, which is a particularly challenging location because 75 to 95 percent of the population is Muslim.
Maranatha reports that 1,650 One-Day Churches have been erected in 22 countries worldwide. Living Waters has built almost 5 percent of those churches. The East African Union has requested one container for each of their eight conferences. Each container holds 37 churches, which means that 296 additional places of worship will soon be built in Kenya.
Living Waters has also been working to fill the churches, coordinating evangelistic campaigns in various parts of the region. In February 2011, a small team from Arizona and Oregon held two concurrent evangelistic campaigns. Meetings in the fishing villages of Litare and Lwanda, directed by husband-and-wife teams Russ and Sharon Judd and Daryl and Mary Jo Oft, resulted in 186 baptisms in Lake Victoria. Daryl's sister Twyla McKinney provided children's and health talks, and many Kenyan nationals assisted to make the meetings a success. Attendance at the meetings was often more than 1,000. Those baptized received Bibles provided by the Payson Seventh-day Adventist Church. Since the meetings, the Litare village councilor reported that "the late night drinking in the village has stopped because of your meetings, and where our men were hardly catching any fish at all, now their nets are overflowing."
Living Waters operates a feeding center in Kaswanga Kenya that provides weekday meals, school uniforms and medical care to 135 orphan children. Eight full-time staff manage and operate the center, including a two-acre garden. Twenty-eight of the children attending the feeding center have been baptized. Living Waters also sponsors Kaswanga Seventh-day Adventist Academy where 56 students attend grades 1 through 4. While in Kenya, the evangelistic team erected a steel frame and roof for the new school.
Visit the Living Waters International website.