This week, I visited a new friend, hopefully a new ministry partner. Pastor Jared Kazungu attended our pastors seminar and was bold enough to ask me to come visit him in his village. Now for those who know me well, you know that I am a city guy. I have always jokingly said "God, called me to minister within 30 minutes of town." I agreed to visit him because I sensed the Holy Spirit prompting me...it reminded me of the Macedonian call but instead, this flesh and blood man was standing in front of me asking me to come.
Pastor Jared works in a little village called Ziyaralufa. I don't expect you to know how to say that or even where it is located. It is not on a map.
With just a guide and a driver, I set out for this unmapped land. Both assured me they knew the way. I enjoyed the familiar one hour drive up the coast to Kilifi town. Then we turned west toward the national animal reserve that locals call "the forest". We went inside the reserve and ended up in wild Kenya. This small haven untouched by man except for the dirt road leading into the dense woods where forest elephants still lurk in the shadows. I once again enjoyed this thirty minute drive through old Africa still full of mystery and adventure.
We left the protected boundary and entered humanity again with scattered houses, shops, buses, vans, and motorbikes. And people...we found people out here in this place separated from the business of Kilifi by the great forest. We traveled into a village center and turned onto a road that was really a large bumpy path with the bushes scraping the sides of our car.
After another thirty minutes, my guide said, "There's the pastor standing by the road." Pastor Jared had been waiting in the sun. I don't know how long he stood there but he was happy to see us. He entered the car and grasped my hand, not letting go and instructing our driver to turn right onto a smaller pathway that lead to his church. He would not let go of my hand and it was ok. I am an American male and yes I was uncomfortable but I have been around long enough to know he was just showing his happiness in my presence. I thought I wonder if he thinks if I let go then Pastor Bobby will be gone...like in a dream.
I got out of the car to the sound of people singing inside a mud church with only half a metal roof. Pastor Jared lead me into his church with it's make shift benches and three wooden chairs placed in front for the visitors. I sat and they prayed for me...yes, for me. As each person in the church introduced themselves to me. My mind thought "where are we?" My answer was "in a village that no American knows about, among people no American prays for by name." They asked me to speak to them.