The Holy Spirit seemed to turn on a light bulb in our minds

By Rose and Charles Wanyama

In March 2020, everything we were used to doing in life came to a screeching halt: pastoring a church, managing a school, planting churches, and visiting those churches. We could do none of them. Even before the COVID lockdown that kept us restricted within Nairobi and forbade church gatherings, we had been forced to tear down part of our school, Joysprings Educational Center, early in 2020. This was due to strict city council requirements regarding school facilities.

Little did we know that we had been on the mountain of routine life in Kibera for too long. God was using the demolition of our school and the coronavirus pandemic to move us along in His plans and purposes.

The first thing we had to do when the lockdown hit was to slow down and enjoy family life. I (Rose) became a housewife—an opportunity I never had because I was always working since the time we first married. Charles caught up on rest and renewed his health, which had been suffering, primarily due to overwork.


Backyard Tent

When the travel ban was lifted in July, we eagerly traveled to our village home about eight hours from Nairobi. We held a conference with pastors from the Joysprings network of churches. We hired a tent for the meetings and set it up in our own compound (backyard). After the conference, on a Saturday evening, we called for the owner to come get his tent. He told us he would not come to get it until he found another customer who wanted it. So, there it sat.

That same Saturday night, the Holy Spirit seemed to turn on a light bulb in our minds. We realized we had been praying for a church plant in this very location for many years. And here we were, with no particular commitments to hold us. The tent was ready and available, on our very own piece of land. We prayed one more prayer that night, went to bed, and woke up to start a new church! Early Sunday morning, we went around to invite neighbors. By 10:30 a.m. we began our service with fifteen persons of all ages.


Excited about this New Church Just for the Villagers

The village is full of unchurched families. Drinking and witchcraft are common ways of life. In the village, there is no single family that is not polygamous. Most residents have no education and do not know how to read or write. But they are excited that a church has come to their village—especially for them—and that they are learning about Jesus Christ. We are seeing many good changes. We are blessed with families who are so excited to know Christ as their personal Savior and to know that their dreams and lives are valid. It is turning out to be one of the best church plants we have ever had. House-to-house evangelism has been very fruitful.

We are realizing that the best church planting method is harvesting the unchurched, bringing them to Christ and doing discipleship. We pray for wisdom and God’s help in turning these lives around completely.

With this latest church plant in Busia, the Joysprings network now has twelve churches. We are still in Busia, and have turned the church in Kibera over to an able pastor whom we had already trained there. We now realize that God used the pandemic to get us moving!

Taken from the book, The Biblical Role of Elders for Today’s ChurchCheck it out here


About Rose and Charles Wanyama

Rose and Charles are pastors in DOVE Kenya. They lead Joysprings, a network of twelve DOVE churches, most of them in the western region of Kenya. They also own and direct Joysprings Educational Center, a school for underprivileged children in the notorious slum area of Kibera in Nairobi.