by Joina Munyanya
Our DOVE vision is to build a relationship with Jesus Christ, with one another and to transform our world from house to house, village to village, city to city and nation to nation. What does “transform our world” mean? What does holistic transformation really look like?
On January 14 -15, 2017, Restoration Community Church (RCC)* celebrated ten years of ministry. The event helped answer these questions for many.
Hesbone and Violet Odindo were elders in DOVE Christian fellowship Nairobi in the late 90s and early 2000s. But once or twice every month, they would travel to their home village of Kadawa over the weekends. Violet started a ministry of buying clothes and food for the widows and orphans every year. Clearly the village of Kadawa was suffering, mostly from the AIDS scourge, but more from ignorance on how to deal with the results of the AIDS. As a result, many orphans needed help, widows needed help and young people needed to be equipped to fight back and live.
In 2007, the Odindos felt that God was calling them back to the village. It was a hard decision. Every educated young Kenyan tries to shake off the village once they move to the city. The village, largely a place for subsistence farmers who barely make ends meet, is considered to be ignorant, hungry and a place for rumours and gossip. It is a resting place for the elderly and the very young that are still in school. The Odindos prayed hard and long, and even though they had already established themselves as middle class home-owners in the city of Nairobi, they were sure God was calling them to Kadawa. They packed their belongings and their children, travelled to Kisumu, and never looked back.
Ten years later, they have a great testimony of what God has done. One thing that is very clear is that people have hope! At the anniversary celebrations, there was a long line of widows testifying that they have been helped. They have food, houses to live in, and their children have been assisted to go to school and college. The issue of housing for widows is a major achievement in the Luo tribe, because building a house for a widow usually involves so much tradition that the process only serves to alienate the widow even more. The widows of Kadawa are a jubilant lot. And they are many. They love the Odindos, and Marty and John Smith who have also been active serving the widows.
Hesbone says “we have dealt with HIV stigmatization. Nowadays people go for testing, talk about their status, and those who are positive take medication. We also have support groups in the church.” Hesbone also says they put great emphasis on the holistic goal of the salvation message. “People should be changed and transformed. That is what salvation means!”
The purpose of the tenth anniversary event was to celebrate the miraculous, abundant provision of God and His mighty power of God to transform a village and a people. The occasion was graced by Larry and LaVerne Kreider, DOVE International directors, Ibrahim and Diane Omondi, DOVE Africa directors, a visiting team from DOVE Westgate, other church leaders, community leaders and politicians. They all braved the blazing sun to make the occasion successful. Isaiah 9:2 comes to mind: “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.”
RCC is a network of DOVE churches in Kenya, Kisumu region.