On Saturday 11th August, 2012, a memorable event took place in Obunga as Michael Omondi graduated with a Higher Diploma in Theology from Kenya Highlands Evangelical University. His life found new meaning as he graduated in the company of friends and family. It began in 2008, when Colleen Hildebrandt, a young lady from the state of Texas met this young man from Obunga slums in Kisumu Kenya, and decided to sponsor him through prince of peace church and later through Ndoto for Africa’s Future so that he could realize his dream.
|Michael and Family|
Coming from a humble background, Michael had a dream of becoming a pastor one day and preaching the gospel of Christ Jesus not only in Obunga but to the whole world. I remember him as a Sunday school teacher at Prince of Peace Community ministries in Obunga. He used to stay with a former pastor who would always call him his son. Occasionally, the pastor would give him a chance to preach on Sundays. On one such Sunday, I remember him preaching and sharing his dream with the congregation. I remember hearing him say amid laughter that he wanted to preach the gospel in Texas USA. Many people did not believe he would one day be a pastor. Despite being a great vocation, not many people want to be pastors here. If a young man or woman told his or her parents that they wanted to be pastors he or she would be ridiculed and “guided” on good careers that they should pursue if they wanted to make more money and lead better lives. Often such careers are law, medicine, Accountancy, and mostly science based courses. It is argued that parents who wanted to be doctors, lawyers or in “great” professions and failed always tend to force it on their kids to make up for the missed opportunity. No wonder there are so many students who want to be in those professions.
|Michael and Allison|
It was not surprising therefore that Michael met a lot of mixed reactions from his family and friends when he declared his interest of going to school to study to be a pastor. So many people discouraged him. Some said he was just another lazy boy who did not want to work hard in life. And this is because pastors are generally believed to be a lazy lot. Others thought that he was crazy to choose to study to be a pastor when he had great sponsorship opportunity to pursue a “good” course in college. Very few people encouraged him and it must have been hard for him figuring out whether he should yield to what people consider best for him or respond to God’s call for his life which was to serve Him as a pastor.
|Bernard, Michael and his dad, Isaac|
I praise God for Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Carrollton, Texas. As the director of missions, Allison Schlack would organize for mission trips to Kenya every year. Different people would sign up to come to minister in Obunga by helping at the prince of peace Kisumu, visiting hospitals and prisons to pray for the sick and the inmates and volunteer at children’s homes thus connecting God’s children around the globe to live as a family.
|Michael and Team Ndoto|
And it began from there – many of those coming for the trips would never go back the same again. Usually they would be moved to tears by the plight of the youth in Obunga and would be compelled to come back again and help. One such person was Colleen Hildebrandt who having met Michael decided to sponsor him. She continued to pay for his school fees and other basic needs through prince of peace church. After Ndoto was officially registered, she continued to sponsor him and developed a good relationship with him. As I watched Michael graduate, I was in awe of God’s immense love for the people of Obunga. The Lord in His goodness and perfect timing had put Michael in Obunga just when the church was in dire need of a pastor and direction. He has been a great blessing to the church, ministering to the people and watching God save souls and change lives in this neglected community.
|Church service in progress|
Just a few months ago, I watched Michael struggle as he was torn between going to the north to serve in Turkana and coming back to serve in Obunga where he has been raised. Everyone was happy when he finally decided to come and pastor the church in Obunga. As his name was called with those of other graduands, I was reminded of the Apostle Paul speaking to the preachers from the church at Ephesus when he told them in Acts 20:28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” I likened this to the 6 months that Michael has been serving the church as a pastor. He has done what Paul had admonished those preachers to do. He has been faithful in his devotion to the Lord and his calling in regard to the ministry of the church in Obunga, in pastoring and caring for God’s people. The evidences of his faithfulness are seen in the blessings that we have experienced over these 6 months.
|the new church instruments|
Just a few days before his graduation, the church received music instruments for the praise and worship team. This came in the form of donation from James Lavender of the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Carollton, TX. For many months we have been praying that God would provide these instruments that we so much needed to worship him. That the donation came in just around Michael’s graduation was a blessing in deed. To see him preach on Sunday, as a graduate pastor and to hear the wonderful voices of the praise and worship team, and to see the church filled to capacity was a spectacle that will be forever etched in my memory.
May the Lord continue to bless his ministry here as long as He tarries in His coming.