Multi-cultural church plant now represents 17 nations
By Philip Omondi
We are amazed at what the Lord is doing in South Central Asia. People representing seventeen nations and many different religions attend our church. The Lord is stretching our boundaries and giving us faith to reach the nations of the world.
Our church started in 2000 when some like-minded university students and I sensed God calling us to start a multi-cultural church. We were on fire for Jesus, but we had no mentorship or spiritual covering.
I was a young, unmarried student at the time, and the bulk of responsibilities fell on me. I tried to do what I sensed God wanted, but I often felt so stressed from carrying the body alone, plus all my studies and carrying on a courtship with my soon-to-be wife, Kerina.
When a friend introduced me to Hesbone Odindo, who leads a DOVE Church, I sensed such a kinship with him. We shared common values for building relationships and reaching people groups. Hesbone introduced me to Ibrahim Omondi, DOVE Africa apostolic leader. Hesbone and Ibrahim prayed for me and helped me with some needs. I felt so connected with them, and I realized I needed a family, a spiritual covering.
However, since Kerina and I planned to marry, we needed to return to our homeland in Kenya to renew our visas. The immigration law required us to remain in Africa for two years before we were able to return to South Central Asia. Kerina and I married in 2005, and returned to South Central Asia in 2007.
By that time, attendance at Destiny had dropped. We entered into a one-year engagement period with DOVE. DOVE’s focus on cell churches made it easy for people to connect and our numbers started growing. At a DOVE Africa Conference, I had met Greg Linnebach, a DOVE Mission International (DMI) associate from Arizona. He served as a mentor, and I appreciated that Ibrahim Omondi and Larry Kreider came to help us.
Our church is made up of mostly college students, who will return to their own countries after their studies and are eager to plant churches there. We already are planning church plants in South Central Asia, Namibia and Zambia. We also have an outreach to the Siddi people groups in remote villages. The cell church concept enables small groups to grow and multiply more rapidly than establishing an actual church building. Also believers are more accepting in becoming house church leaders rather than assuming leadership of a church. We don’t see cells as another program in the church—we see cells as the actual church.
We have five cell churches that meet during the week. On Sunday, we meet as one large group. These meetings are attended by students and families representing seventeen nations such as Nepal, Syria, Iran, Sri Lanka and several African countries.
We lift up Jesus and give a clear biblical message, which one might think would be repulsive to the Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist followers. Instead, several of them have expressed similar statements as one Muslim who said, “I attend because I feel something different in this church than anywhere else. There is some kind of power here.” Many attending say they are inspired by the worship and sharing.
Students invite their friends. Sports evangelism is a big part of church growth. Some attendees face persecution after becoming Christians. Some believers are not allowed to attend formal church but can attend informal gatherings such as cell churches.
To remain in South Central Asia with student visas, my wife and I must continue our studies at the university. Both of us have several degrees. I love my wife and our two children, Rebekah Krupa, 8, and our son, Abhishek Israel, almost 3. My wife and I are committed to each other and to spending quality time with our children. Teaching this by example is a novel concept among many cultures, but one that we really promote.
We must not limit God to the present little thing we are doing because the Lord is stretching our boundaries and has given us faith to reach the world. We are amazed at what God is doing.