Thursday, 16 August 2012


For around two years we have been praying for a manager for the Widows Farm; a person who could supervise and help the farm and associated projects.

We have found him!!  Yes we have!!  We are delighted to introduce you to Johnfred Ajwang, his wife Lydia, and their four boys.

In July 2012 Johnfred accepted the position of Widows Farm Manager to help us develop the vision on the farm and associated projects.  He will work part-time in this position. Johnfred is pastor of  Restoration Community Church's (RCC) new daughter-church in Kadawa.

We have already seen the enormous benefits of having Johnfred in this position as we develop the infrastructure of the farm.  For example there are some small things that we have been attempting to do for two years and Johnfred managed to have them done within two weeks of beginning to work with us.  He also devised a simple, efficient solution to a problem we have had with access to the farm, and now we can get into it relatively easily with a truck.  We couldn't do that before.  He has tremendous initiative and already has a real heart for the land, the projects and the future vision for the farm.

One of the prayer points in our last newsletter was that the water tower be completed before we left.   Due to some serious complications that wasn't possible.  But, we have left Kenya with a real sense of ease and security, knowing that the project is being well-supervised by Johnfred and will be properly completed.  We have already received photos of the progress.  Wow!

Johnfred was born 40 years ago in Tanzania (pronounced Tahn ZAHN ya).  When he was two years old his father died and when he was three his mother moved to Kadawa, where he was raised.

Lydia was born in 1975 in Embu in Eastern Kenya near Mount Kenya.  She and Johnfred met in 1998 when he was ministering as a teacher/trainer with Life ministries, formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ. They were married November 15, 2002 and have 4 boys, Shem Favor 9; Enock Bruce 8; and twins Ruth Heri and Japheth Jabali who are 3.  BTW - Heri is Swahili for Blessed and Jabali is Swahili for Rock.

After leaving secondary school Johnfred trained as a mechanical and auto engineer, specialising in diesel and petrol (gasoline) engines. At one stage he was employed on an Asian farm in Kenya where he overhauled and maintained the farm equipment and vehicles.

In 1994 he became a Christian and, one year later, joined Campus Crusade for Christ where he became a trainer in the areas of evangelism, discipleship and leadership training.
In 2004 he became assistant pastor at his home church specifically in charge of “outreach”, but in 2006 rejoined Life Ministries to work in Western Kenya. As an area leader his ministry involved showing the Jesus film, training church leaders and organising holistic projects for widows; such as, starting microfinance projects.

After the election violence in 2008 support for Life Ministries dwindled and he was forced to leave that ministry.  In 2009 he returned to live in Kadawa village where Lydia is now a primary school teacher.

In 2010 they joined RCC and at the same time he determined to finish his biblical studies.  In Aug 2011 at a Dove conference in Nairobi he realized that God was calling him to be a pastor. Then in February 2012 he and Lydia were assigned to start the new RCC daughter church in Kisumu.

His theological studies include:  Advanced Certificate in Christian Ministry; Diploma in Biblical Theology.  Currently his educational training involves spending 5 weeks, three times a year in bible school in Kitali, Kenya.  This will last for another two years.

He has a  passion is to get things done. His vision for the church in Kisumu is to grow the church from small beginnings by training capable leaders

Lydia is the daughter of a pastor.  She has 3 sisters and a brother.

She is a primary school teacher specialising in Religious Education, Science and Math.  She has a vision of continuing her education and becoming a headmaster.

She also has vision to see the new church-plant develop and mature.  She is an intercessor, and her giftings include training children in church.  She is recognised as a “woman of faith".


RCC in Kadawa can only support its pastors minimally because the church is growing and reproducing so rapidly. Therefore the pastors of the new congregations have to involve themselves in “tent-making ministry”; i.e., they must also have outside employment to sustain themselves and their families.  We have determined to give a monthly salary through raising support for him and his family until the farm becomes self-sustaining, at which point his salary will come from farm profits.

 For Johnfred and Lydia

·      Salary target  $200 or £130 per month.  This would cover:  
                  Yearly Semester Fees of $1,250 or £830
                  Transport costs for family to Kadawa each Sunday - $50 or £35 per month

  For RCC (Restoration Community Church) Kisumu
·       Plastic chairs - 20 initially, at £10 each
·       Instruments
·       Plot of land to erect tent

If you wish to help support Johnfred and Lydia please send donations to Emmanuel Christian Centre in Lichfield UK or Dove Lebanon, PA USA


John and Marty

Wednesday, 1 August 2012



Sunday night, July 22, thugs came to the church and attacked the night watchman, tying him hand and foot and taping his mouth after forcing him to give them the keys. They put him in the kitchen, which is a separate room from the church, accessed from two outside doors.  then they proceeded to haul out the keyboard, amplifiers, mixer, microphones and even the new tent that was purchased for evangelism and other outreach events. They stacked them on the porch waiting for a truck to arrive. Meanwhile, Jared, the night watchman, was able to get his hands and feet free and escape un-noticed through the back door. He ran to a nearby clinic that had a night watchman and they began to shout, blow whistles and make as much noise as possible to alert the neighbourhood. When the villagers hear this, they know there is trouble and they begin to broadcast to their neighbors and from near, far and wide people come running - with spears, pangas (machetes), bows and arrows, rocks and anything else that would be a weapon. When the thieves heard this racket they fled, leaving everything where they has stacked it. Not one thing was stolen. Additionally, Jared was unharmed. The chief was immediately contacted and the police brought in, and it is hoped that the perpetrators will be apprehended. Wahoo! Don't mess with God's stuff or His people.  We were reminded of the bible story where Apostle Peter was in jail, chained to two guards and God supernaturally released his bonds, opened the cell door and had him personally escorted out by a big angel; all undetected by the guards.  Jared hasn't mentioned any angel, however we all believe it was a miracle that he was able to get loose from his bonds and escape undetected, but he readily confesses that God protected him and he is very grateful.

We were talking about the attempted robbery with a local friend, a Kenyan national, a few days later. He asked us if we knew why the thugs had really fled so quickly. He then explained that the people of this area of Kenya have no confidence in the legal system, which is rife with corruption. Frequent experience has shown that if the thieves were arrested by the police they would be freed through the payment of bribes. So the populace will sometimes take the law in their own hands. The common punishment inflicted by the mob is so terrible that we won't write about it but needless to say, it is a real deterrent to crime. We have heard the term here of "mob justice", in fact one of the students asked Joshua - the young policeman from Florida - how mob justice is handled in the USA.  But he answered that it wasn't something that had to be dealt with as a rule.  So now we know what "mob justice" is.  There is no wonder the thieves fled.

We continually learn amazing things about this culture. Johaz, our night watchman at the Widows Farm - or "soldier" as they are called here - actually uses a bow and arrows for his weapons as he guards the farm at night. Now I'm not certain what he could hit with this bow and these de-feathered arrows, but if you look at those arrows you will see they are serious. Bows and arrows are watchmen's weapons of choice, for they can reach their victim at quite a distance. Check out the barbs on these arrows. Ugly!  We were at the farm a day after the incident and our farm manager saw the bow and arrows were out in plain view - we were working in the watchman's room - and said we should put them out of sight, for we didn't want people to see the weapons our man was using. I explained they were out for a photo. He then suggested we get the watchman a better bow. Since this one is obviously a not-so-good homemade rendition. We asked where to get one (it didn't seem like something you'd stop in any store in town to pick up) and he said that there are many Maasai in town that know how to make a proper bow, so he would go into town and get one from a Maasai. (As one does!) We asked the cost. And he said it wasn't the sort of thing he was accustomed to buying, so he didn't know. The watchman stopped by later to tell us his gumboots size (farm boots or Wellies- he asked for them for when the weather gets wet) and I wish you could have seen his reaction and his face when we had someone tell him we were going to get him a Maasai bow.  When we get it we will show a photo in the next blog.   Now, as to the arrows - our farm manager - Johnfred - said they are made by a blacksmith. He didn't mention whether that included the shaft & feathers. We'll find that out later. If you look closely at those arrows you can see how they are done all by hand. One of the shafts appears to be bamboo. Our lives get more and more interesting and exciting.
We learned something new about black mambas - a seriously deadly snake that lives here. Let me stress that we have never come across any snakes here. Although, once when the women were working in the maize field they did come across a baby black mamba - which had a very short life - and whose body was unceremoniously dumped down an ant mound. If it had been left out in the field, even the bones would have poisoned someone who might come across it. What did we learn? Well, we were traveling in the van with the American team along a very narrow road that was heavily lined with large bushes that scraped the vehicle and the branches came into the windows. Our driver told us to close the windows to keep the snakes out. We thought he was kidding. But he told us that snakes could be in the bushes and jump into the vehicle. We quickly closed our windows until the road was wider and less bushy. We later confirmed that Black Mambas sometimes climb bushes and they, as Hesbone put it, like to come into places like cars and vans. We have since not forgotten that lesson and quickly roll up our windows if we think it necessary.

We have witnessed baby dedications at two different RCC churches while here this time. In a few respects there is a stark difference to baby dedications in the West. Along with the other customary instructions and responsibilities, Hesbone emphasized to the parents of the babies that these children are now dedicated to the Lord and now they belong to Him.  He STRONGLY emphasized that from that point on the parents were never to take their babies to a witchdoctor for any reason! If the child becomes I'll the parents are to pray for the child and seek professional medical treatment from a doctor where necessary. He emphasized that doctors,medicine and hospitals are provided by the Lord. Another difference is that when praying over the child during the dedication the pastor breaks any ancestral curses over the baby or any curses through any other means, and any evil spiritual influence or attachment to the children.  We found it very interesting and touching at the recent dedication that when Hesbone took each child in his arms to bless it and dedicate it, even one about 3 years old, they were all very quite at ease and peaceful.

We have gone over the list of folks who have been helped by the hospital fund that has been generously provided for by several of you. We are so blessed to list a few of them for you.

* Mariko - Surgery for prostate cancer is pending.

* Christine - Surgery to remove a massive keloid and give radiotherapy to prevent its recurrence - restoring her life to normal after a long period of incapacitating pain.
* An epileptic child who is now seizure-free due to medication.
* A pregnant woman with advanced preeclampsia. She came to the medical clinic where staff diagnosed her situation as critical. We sent her immediately to the hospital. The unborn child had been dead for an extended period. The child was delivered and the woman surgically treated, given antibiotics and hospital care. She survived and is home and well and has given thanks that she is alive.
* Two infants suffering from malnutrition - one close to death - sent immediately to hospital.
     One was treated and released in a day or two. The other required intensive care and was in hospital for
     quite awhile, but is home and well.
* Irene, who had fibrous cysts in her uterus which were removed and she is recovering.
* Lydia - a little girl who had sever wounds all over her legs.  A visit to a distant dermitologist for treatment proved successful and her legs have healed well.  Her skin is dry and a bit discoloured, but creams should remedy that.
*  Approxomately 35 successful cataract surgeries have been done, restoring sight and renewing the lives of people who had limited or alomost no vision.
        If you wish to contribute toward the hospital fund to keep it going you may do so through the usual  
        channels:  in the UK -  Emmanual Christian Centre
                                          Lichfield, Staffs
                                          WS13 6TS
                     in the USA -  DCFI-Lebanon
                                         P.O. Box 37
                                         Lebanon, PA  17042

     Please make a note on the check or enclose a letter saying that the donation is for John and Marty Smith's
     ministry, and the specific project to which it is to be applied.  


John and Marty