Remembering a Fallen Brother in Kenya
January 9, 2014
The name Ezekiel means “God strengthens,” and this week a ministry in Kenya is asking for prayer for strength and comfort as it mourns the loss of one of its young pastors.
The gospel worker, Ezekiel Lenato, was robbed and killed in a rural area of northern Kenya Dec. 29 after leaving a village where he had preached earlier that day. The incident is believed to be a random act of violence by bandits in a region where such attacks have increased in frequency during the past few years.
“We are saddened by the death of one of our newest pastors, Brother Ezekiel,” wrote the leader of Cornerstone Evangelistic Ministry in a Dec. 30 email to Christian Aid Mission’s Africa director. “His body was found in the bush today. We visited him just last week in a village where he had planted a new church.”
“Pray for his young family during this time of sorrow,” he continued. “I am so down as we have worked with him for the last five months.”
Recently married, Ezekiel leaves behind his wife, Susan. The 35-year-old was also raising his two nephews whose parents died of AIDS.
Ezekiel experienced a somewhat unusual introduction to Christianity in 2009. As described by the ministry leader, Ezekiel and six fellow Samburu “warriors” were in the bush looking after their cattle when a pastor passing through stopped and shared the gospel with them. Ezekiel and his friends were stirred by the message, and at the end of the preaching Ezekiel kneeled and prayed for salvation. Soon thereafter he joined a local church.
Recognizing the young man’s potential and his passion for the gospel, another Christian brother became a mentor to Ezekiel. He personally trained him in discipleship, then helped him enroll in a Bible school. Ezekiel completed the program in 2011.
Missionaries with Cornerstone Evangelistic Ministry took Ezekiel under their wing last April, providing him with a bicycle and other tools of evangelism. Recently he discovered a village that had no believers. Ezekiel made a second trip to the community on Dec. 20, nine days before he was slain. During this visit he showed the JESUS film and more than 30 people committed their hearts to Christ.
The ministry was working on logistics to open a church there for him to pastor. On the day of the deadly attack, Ezekiel had been preaching in another village nearby. He left the village around 6 p.m. and was walking through a remote area when the bandits confronted him.
“It is our prayer that in the new year we will start a church in Siunta village in Samburu County, where Brother Ezekiel sacrificed his life to minister to the people,” the ministry leader said.
Banditry incidents are common in northern Kenya, a sparsely populated area that is poorly policed and plagued by fighting between clans. The director of Cornerstone Evangelistic Ministry has himself been accosted and robbed several times.
Currently the ministry has more than 80 full-time gospel workers and over 300 part-time workers, some of whom are college students and teachers. They work in 13 of Kenya’s 47 counties, proclaiming the love of Christ to semi-nomadic tribes like the Turkana and Samburu.
Ministry workers have planted some 1,300 churches in Kenya and led thousands to faith in the Lord. Christian Aid has assisted their evangelistic efforts by providing missionary support and equipment such as public address systems and bicycles.