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Bringing the Lost Home
Bringing the Lost Home

What does it feel like to be judged? To want to change, but have a wall put up by the fear of judgment? It’s the feeling Elizabeth had when Pastor Raymond shared the gospel with her. There was no way she would be accepted. She had such a rough background, growing up in Siaya, no one would want her in their church.

Nestled in the picturesque Lake Victoria basin of Kenya, Siaya faces a unique set of challenges. Teenage pregnancies, HIV, malaria, gender-based violence, and pervasive unemployment all make life difficult there. Only one in ten people have the chance to pursue post-secondary education, which has pushed many young people into the abyss of crime and substance abuse.

But pastors like Pastor Raymond wanted to change this. They wanted to give their community hope.

They wanted to give them the gospel.

A group of 125 believers, church leaders, and pastors, were then trained by ShareWord Global. Some of the pastors Raymond knew, who were unsure of what the outcome would be from the training, told us it had been the most significant evangelism endeavour the church had ever undertaken. In fact, the team gave the mission a name:

Operation Rundi Nyumbani.

It translates to “Operation Go Back Home to Take the Mission.” It was a vow that the pastors and other participants would bring their new knowledge home and apply the training. Their churches were missing something. They were missing the drive to bring people to Christ. They were missing the growth in their churches that was happening in so many others with this training.

And so, when Pastor Raymond went out into his community with a small team, they went with the desire to fill the gap they were seeing in their communities. It was during one of these outreach events that they met Elizabeth. 

The team had encountered a group of nearly 20 people, all engaged in an illegal brewery. The evangelists asked if they could share something exciting with them, but the group was hesitant to speak with outsiders—especially considering the type of activity they were participating in. One of them suggested they go inside to speak with the business owner, a woman named Elizabeth.

Elizabeth  seemed kind and was open to the conversation. As Pastor Raymond told her about Jesus, the price He paid for her life, and the love that was waiting for her, something opened within her. Hearing the gospel inspired her to change her life, and she readily accepted Christ as her Saviour. But there was still a hesitation.

“I want to go to church, but would I be accepted?”

She knew there had been something missing from her life, and the team of evangelists had brought it to her. Elizabeth wanted the fellowship of a church, but there was a fear of what would happen. Everyone knew the business she ran. Would anyone accept her? Would anyone believe her desire to change her life?

She was relieved to find out that the local church would welcome her with open arms. They had dedicated themselves to bringing the gospel to those who needed it the most, no matter their background. They had partnered with other churches to expand their outreach, knowing that in the end, we can’t do it alone.

With the help of those in her new church, Elizabeth has been working hard to transition her business. She talked to her former customers about the gospel, inviting them to church, along with her daughter. The road forward will be a hard one, but with the support and acceptance of her church, and with her new friend Jesus, she knows it can be done.

We were made to work together, to partner together, and bring the Good News around the world. To everyone. To bring them into the family of God. With Christ at the centre of her life, Elizabeth feels full for the first time. And the church has been blessed with their new addition.

I'm wondering about restructuring this article a little so that it keeps Elizabeth as the central character of it. For me when I read it, she was the one that actually piqued my interest, but she only appeared more than half way through.

So I'm wondering about teasing her story at the beginning with something like, "How does the owner of an illegal Kenyan brewery end up in church? 

Well, the story starts with a group of pastors from a small town called Siaya in the picturesque Lake Victoria basin. A town with lots of problems. 

We don't start paragraphs with numbers. Also, maybe "had been trained" to show a previous action and that now the pastors want to do the next step? When I read it the first time, I wasn't totally clear about the progression of how the various pieces of the story lined up.

The way this is written, it feels very sudden that she just accepts. I really wish we could have more about who she is and why was she so quick to accept? Do we know any more about her?

Also, and this is the bigger issue for me....what changed for her as a result of this new faith commitment? She owns the business, it's illegal. I'm glad she took those faith steps, but what happened to the business? 

If we run this story, I think we need to get some more intel on this woman, the changes in her life (hopefully), and sort of fill out this story more. Otherwise, it just feels too like "Yay, she's a Christian now, okay moving on to the next story!" Know what I mean? 

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