A Garden of New Life | World Challenge

A Garden of New Life

Rachel Chimits
December 18, 2018

Kenyan believers are learning how God’s healing work spreads to every part of life.

Isiolo is the scene of surprising and hopeful conflict. 

The small town north of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, is starting to become a tourist destination. It recently connected to two game reserves in the area, and its airport is now offering international flights. 

The clash in Isiolo is between traditional practices and advances from economic development. Boda bodas, motorcycle taxis, still don’t adhere to most traffic rules despite growing road networks and an increasing population, and Meru elders argue over new names for the Isiolo Airport. 

While traditionalists struggle with the changes their hometown is going through, many residents are opening up to new ways of life.

For some local Isiolo people, this growth means letting God into their lives and allowing God’s presence to change practices—heavy dependency on livestock and unvarying diet of milk and meat—that have spanned generations.  

Preparing Good Soil

Researchers are finding that faith in God definitely changes behaviors.

James Choi, a finance professor at Yale, has studied the impact religion has on personal finances, especially in poverty-stricken parts of the world. 

He told the Freakonomics podcast that his research found when those in poverty were exposed to religious curriculum, their income increased by 9 percent, relative to the control group.

In that same podcast, David Sutherland, chairman of the board at International Care Ministries pointed out, “If we can inject hope into those people’s lives, then life can change. ...that aspect of reorienting your whole life around the love of your Creator and therefore the love of people around you...it changes their approach to how they decide what they’re going to do the next day.”

This is approach that is revolutionizing the spread of the gospel in Isiolo. Kenyan Man in Field

Planting a Few Seeds

Francis Ntimilu, a member of Isiolo’s Christian community, allowed our local team to help him set up a kitchen garden, the first in his area. 

When we visited Francis again, his garden was flourishing, and he'd started cleaning his home and taking pride in his space. 

A successful garden offers Francis and his family more nourishing food as well as a direct and indirect source of income through vegetable sales and not having to visit the medical clinic as often.   

Not only that, but two of his neighbors witnessed how God was blessing Francis and had also started gardening. 

Living for Good Fruit

Led by a local pastor, Francis and other members in the community have agreed on ten things they want to do in the next two months as part of making healthier homes in Isiolo. In addition to kitchen gardens, they want to start cultivating fruit trees and practicing regular hand washing for disease prevention. 

Often, when unbelieving neighbors see the great changes taking place in someone’s life, they want to know how and why. 

This opens the door for those like Francis to talk about how Jesus has set them free from fear of evil spirits along with how God has made humans overseers of the earth. This stewardship includes learning about fertilizers and which plants will put nutrients back into the soil. 

Francis and other local Christians have begun planning how to use the lessons they are learning in their training classes to reach their neighbors with God’s good word.

Pray with Them

1. Ask for blessings to surround Francis and other Christians who are learning about new ways of farming and living so that they can help their families and community.

2. Pray that our local team in Kenya would see increasing opportunities to help people in Isiolo come to know God and see how he affects every aspect of their lives.  

3. Ask God to protect the Kenyan church from spiritual attack as people learn how to let the Holy Spirit’s presence make tangible differences in their lives.