Satisfying Parched Souls in Kenya
May 15, 2014
Martha (pictured) and other residents from the village of Kisile in Kenya were excited to receive a well so they won’t have to travel several miles each day to find water for drinking and bathing.
Martha went through the same routine every morning. Before daybreak, she and other women from the village of Kisile would tie five-gallon jerry cans on their donkeys and ride off in search of water. The nearest source—a contaminated river—was six miles away.
During times of drought the river dried up and they had to travel even longer distances looking for water. Sometimes that quest and the return trip home lasted all day.
When gospel workers from Cornerstone Evangelistic Ministry (CEM) first visited Kisile in 2006, they saw how villagers like Martha struggled to find clean water for drinking and bathing. Water-borne illnesses like diarrhea and typhoid plagued the people. Children suffered the most.
“We were much touched by the plight of these people and started praying for God to make provision for a well for their village,” said the ministry’s leader. “God answered our prayers and provided a well back in 2009.”
At the time very few Christians lived in this Turkana village, where most of the people still practiced traditional rituals to honor their god, Akuj, and the spirits. They believed Akuj was angry with them when too little or too much rain fell from the skies. To halt his displeasure, they offered animal sacrifices and cried out for mercy.
Missionaries with CEM brought a message of hope and deliverance to the people. In addition to digging a well by hand, they told villagers about the “living water” (Jeremiah 2:13) offered by Jesus Christ. Only He could quench the thirst of their souls, and His shed blood on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice that washed them clean from sin.
God used Martha in a mighty way, as she was one of the first believers in Kisile, even before the arrival of CEM’s workers. At age 10 she insisted on attending a church in a nearby village. Although her parents were skeptical of the teachings, they permitted their daughter to go to the church with other children.
When she was 16, Martha attended an open air evangelistic event in another village and committed her life to Christ. She led two of her brothers and a sister to the Lord. By the time the missionaries arrived, this young evangelist had already prepared her people’s hearts for a great spiritual harvest.
“The true God has come to our village,” she boldly proclaimed.
Established just a few years ago, the Kisile church has grown to more than 70 members.
Since then Martha has been in the forefront to bring others to Christ. She celebrated when the newly-installed well gave her people access to clean water, but she rejoiced even more when later in 2009 a church was constructed in Kisile.
Martha played a crucial role in assisting the missionaries with their evangelistic outreach and helped plant the church. Five years later, the church has grown tremendously with over 70 members.
With assistance from Christian Aid Mission, CEM has built 14 wells thus far for Turkana villages in the Ngaremara area of Kenya. The average cost for a hand pump well like the one in Kisile is $1,650. The wells have saved lives and improved the overall health of residents. As gospel workers demonstrate the Savior’s love in tangible ways, they are winning many souls to Christ and transforming entire communities.
Now 29 years old, Martha is a Sunday school teacher and directs the congregation’s youth group. She has an infectiously joyous spirit and has led more than 40 people to follow Christ.
Just as she once guided members of her village to sources of refreshing water, Martha now points them to the One whose “fountain of water springs up into everlasting life” (John 4:14, NKJV).