JWUMC has been blessed to be a mission partner with Trinity UMC in Gilgil, Kenya for the past five years. On this journey we have become great friends with Rev. Joe Kamau, the lead pastor, and UMC District Superintendent in this part of Kenya. Rev. Joe's bold visions have included the creation of a high school, a much-needed medical clinic that serves the residents of Gilgil, and the formation of a church in the Masai community. Some of the stands Rev. Joe has taken have come with risks, but he believes they are what he is called to do. Building a women's empowerment center and working to rescue young girls from forced marriages is one example. As Kenya prepares for upcoming local and national elections, Rev. Joe is heading up a coalition of pastors that have decided to ban political candidates from speaking at church services or church functions. We spoke to Rev. Joe last week and he said there are now over 1,000 pastors/churches from many denominations that have signed onto this effort. An article in The Daily Nation (the largest publication in Kenya) outlining the efforts of the pastors was featured in last weekend's newspaper. Rev. Joe's best quote from the article: "We are not going to allow the church to be used as political grounds or platforms for politicians to insult each other and engage in premature campaigns. The dignity of the church must be maintained. Let them solve their issues first. The church is saddened that the Assembly cannot pass motions and make laws that benefit residents and in service delivery," said Bishop Josam Karijki (Rev. Joe), the forum's chairperson. "We are ready to arbitrate for lasting peace. We need peace and development, not wars. The leadership must sit and reason together," added Bishop Kariuki (Rev. Joe).
Current International Mission Projects include:
- Costa Rica – We help support Methodist Missionary Ray Zirkel in his mission in Costa Rica which includes a seminary to train pastors, a children’s home and the building and empowerment of local churches. We take teams periodically to assist in the various projects throughout the country organized by the Methodist Church.
- Kenya – we partner with the United Methodist Church and Rev. Joe Kamau in Gilgil, Kenya, helping support him and his pastors as well as sponsoring students at the Trinity Boys and Girls Boarding Schools. We continue to provide assistance in micro-financing in local communities, the building of clinics, and a women’s shelter and empowerment center. We have also helped them in times of floods, locust invasions, drought and the drilling of a water well.