Report From The Tower
On 9/22, I went to the airport early, but was not allowed to board the plane. No one had told me that Nigeria required a referred visa prior to departure, until now. So, the next day, I went to the Nigerian Embassy, but while I was on the way there, I was praying in the Spirit, and I had the strong impression that I was trying to fight against God. Then, at the embassy, I discovered that I would need a letter of invitation from Nigeria in order to obtain a visa. At that point, I knew that I was being blocked, and I strongly felt that God was doing the blocking.
But why? Nigeria was to be an exploratory visit for me. I was to visit a friend there, and try to make a couple of contacts with churches, where we might work together to host a future crusade. I had no preaching ministry planned. Why was the Holy Spirit preventing me?
The very next day, civil war flared in Nigeria. The rebels and the army were involved in fierce fighting. Shell Oil announced they were removing their personnel from Nigeria. Now, as of today, the rebels have announced they will commence an all out offensive on Friday. So, perhaps that was the reason.
Also possible is that Chris Ocumu prevailed with God. He had wanted me to stay here with him for the two weeks, and that is now what he is getting. Chris is the founder of Sowetto Academy, where 80 orphans are housed, and another 300 attend school in the middle of the Kibera Slum. He is the Senior Pastor of Hossanna Revival Church, which overlooks the slum. He is also the bishop of 30 churches he has founded in various places around Kenya. He is a very great man of God, who takes care of so many who cannot care for themselves. It is no surprise to me that God honored his request that I stay with him for two weeks. Such men have great influence with God.
My first objective though, was to be healed. During the whole morning airport ordeal, my health worsened. I was diagnosed with a lung infection. After my second visit to a doctor, and receipt of the prescribed medication, the week held much rest for me. After preaching 34 meetings in 16 days, I found myself forced to take it easy in an effort to recuperate. Furthermore, I almost totally lost my voice, which is mostly recovered by today, so my preaching came to a halt.
In a minor miracle, I was able to preach two meetings on Sunday at Hossana Revival Church. God allowed my voice to clear, and I was pleased with the results. The morning service was videotaped, and I am having it transferred to a DVD today. Those who attend the mission conference in Monteagle, TN will receive a copy, so that you can see what it is to minister in Africa.
Now, I am in the exploratory mode around Nairobi, instead of Lagos, as I had planned. I have determined that my apostolic group will hold a crusade here in Nairobi, near the Kibera Slum, in January, or April.
I have planned to return here in January, April and August 2005. David Walukhu, my coordinator here, is busy with the planning already.
I am sending David Walukhu, along with Pastor Emmanuel Lubuulua, over to Rwanda for an exploratory mission at the end of the week. I will send them the necessary funds for the transport this week. Their purpose will be to organize a crusade for us in Rwanda during my return visit in January, 2005.
David has also returned to the site of our largest crusade to date: Chwele. We are planning to host one there that will be ten times larger in January, and will involved 300 cooperating pastors around the Chwele area, which is just South of Mt. Elgon, in extreme West Central Kenya, near the border with Uganda.
God has me staying in the Ocumu's home, on the edge of the huge Kibera slum. From a point near to our house, you can look down the valley where the slum stretches as far as the eye can see toward the East. We are on the Western end. The slum stretches about five miles, and is about a mile wide in places. I am told that perhaps two million human beings live in this dreadful place. There is raw, open sewage running in the dirt walkways. For an American, it is an almost indescribable place: I really have no adequate words for it. My bed is comfortable, as I sleep under a mosquito net, but just a few hundred yards away, a multitude of people deal with perpetual discomfort.
I have told Chris that America treats it's prisoners of war far better than this. Prisons in America are luxury hotels compared to the living conditions these people deal with every day. I will bring many pictures with me, but it is difficult to capture the immensity of it all on film.
The slum is built in a low lying area that had been the Nairobi garbage dump. All the raw sewage flows into the river at the valley low point. The buildings are mud walled, metal roofed structures about ten feet square, each built next to the other, in seemingly endless repetition. The smells are as you might imagine. From a distance, you stand, looking at it, and you simply cannot figure out what this huge conglomeration of ugly buildings might be. As you near it, the shocking reality of it all sets in.
The church Chris pastors: Hossanna Revival, sits overlooking this slum. I preached to about 150 persons on Sunday, and not ONE SINGLE PERSON came by car. Imagine that! From the outside, you could not discern that the church was full. Furthermore, we held services in the building while it is under construction. The walls and roof are complete, but not much else. When you see the video, you will understand. In America, you need a certificate of occupancy before you can use a building, but not here.
I have been down into the slum with Chris. We have walked through parts of it, and have visited some who live there. It has been unlike any experience I have ever had in my life. The Sowetto Academy is built right down in the middle of the Western end of the slum. Chris and his team built it with hewn stone. They produce much of their own food. Right down there in the slum, Chris has pigs and cows in stalls, producing food for the school.
The staple food is the Kenyan staple: Ulgari, which is simply "The Corn". They purchased about a ton of raw corn in bags a few days ago, and I accompanied them to the mill on Saturday, where I watched as it was ground down into the fine corn flower they use to make the Ulgari, which is similar in consistency to the breakfast food we Americans know as "Cream of Wheat". These Kenyans eat Ulgari with just about every meal. It is certainly an alien place for me, with an alien diet, but I have adjust quite well. As of today, my health has almost totally returned.
I will be here for about one week more. Next Sunday, I will preach in Kittui, in one of the Churches Chris founded. Kittui is about 200 miles East of Nairobi. Then, next Monday, the President of Kenya is coming down to see us here at the edge of the slum. It is my understanding that we are to be his guests. This is getting very interesting.
Obviously, to do all of these crusades, and the ministry we have planned, it will require much more money that has previously come in to my ministry. God has assured me to move forward, trusting in Him.
I will not beg anyone to give into this work, because anyone who will give into this great revival that has started here will experience great blessing. It is a great priviledge to have any part in this work at all. I am very humbled that God has chosen me for such a place, and such a time as this.
This is my remaining itinerary.
09/22/2004.....10/05/2004.....Minister in and around Nairobi, based in the home of Chris Ocumu, and Hossanna Revival Church, and Sowetto Academy. The telephone number here from the USA is 011 254 733 832563
10/06/2004.....Depart from Nairobi, Kenya, flying British Airways back to London, and then on through to Miami.
10/07/2004.....Arrive in Miami, Florida
Many thanks to all of you who have helped us thus far in finances and prayers. I will try to be reachable at my regular email address throughout: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephen L. Bening
I will be giving a report on the mission at our October meeting of Watchmen Prophets Assembly at Monteagle, TN.
Registration forms are available at: Meeting WPA Apostolic Prophetic Company, at Monteagle, TN-October 22-24, 2004---
Stephen L. Bening
HUNDREDS OF CONFIRMING PROPHETIC VOICES
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"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" Matt 4:4
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