2 Corinthians 9:12 – “This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.”
ANU Student Leaders, Prof. Leah Marangu, ANU's Transportation Team and the Glory Bus
The Blessing Begins
As Rob North, Africa Nazarene University’s Director for University Advancement, spoke about the need for a bus, he felt the Holy Spirit prod him to ask a listener that day to donate the entire cost of a bus. At ANU, buses are used for many reasons including daily transportation of some staff/students to the small city of Rongai where they can pick up public transportation, student mission trips – about three per semester organized by the chaplain’s office, trips by other campus organizations, athletic teams, and club/department outings and conferences. Since some of the roads in Nairobi and the surrounding areas can be rough, reliable vehicles are required. After Rob finished speaking, a woman confirmed that she and her husband felt they should donate a bus through a foundation they were associated with. The money was sent and the bus was built.
At the Faculty Workshop day in early September, the bus made its first appearance on the ANU campus. The faculty and administration circled the bus and prayed for it.
The video of the bus coming to the campus shows a common route travelling passing the Galleria Mall and Nairobi National Park before turning onto a busy road that leads to ANU.
The Blessing Builds
The awareness of just how great this blessing was began to grow in hearts and minds; people just could not contain it. Chaplain Rev. Cindy North explains, “Charles Ogutu, our Vice Chairperson of Student Council for the main campus, came to me saying, ‘We want to do a dedication for the new bus and the student council wants to encourage the community to do a 'Thanks' offering back to God.’
“We continued to brainstorm about the Church of the Nazarene’s thrust to the cities emphasis for Africa and how we at ANU want to support the work of the Church of the Nazarene here. Charles Ogutu is a Nazarene pastor's kid.
“Charles left the office and, within a short time after that, Pastor Shaun [Bati, the assistant chaplain] walked in telling me about the Christian Union students beginning to plan a mission for 1 October to Mathare Church of the Nazarene to work with the youth. Immediately, I sensed the Holy Spirit was bringing together my earlier conversation with Charles to this new development that Pastor Shaun was bringing to me.
“Early in this week, we begin connecting the Student Council with the Christian Union leaders to do a combined effort of ministry as a special launch outreach program with the new bus.”
The Blessing is Celebrated
Prof. Leah Marangu, Crescencia and Joseph Kisoi, and Polly Kamau reminisce about the first bus.
Dr. Brenda Johnson, on sabbatical from Northwest Nazarene University, shares about the special bus dedication chapel. “The student leader shared about the offering and the importance of the ‘Glory Bus.’ Vice Chancellor Marangu challenged those present to live a life of thanksgiving and for others, which is the African way.”
She reminded everyone that this is not ANU’s first bus. She asked if anyone was present who was at the first bus dedication when the zebras and giraffes wandered on the campus. Three people stood and then came to join her on the platform. Rev. Joseph Kisoi, a lecturer in the Department of Religion, was the student leader at that time and he shared what a blessing the first bus had been because before then, the students had to walk from Rongai to the campus and the road was not paved as it is now. His wife, Crescencia who manages the college bookstore, and Polly Kamau from Alumni Relations were the others who could witness the former event.
ANU's transportation team.
Later, Michael Kinuthia, Director of Transportation, and two other ANU drivers received the appreciation of those gathered and bowed their heads as a prayer was said for their ministry and safety. Dr. Johnson remarks that the drivers “are very talented individuals who invest so much in getting their passengers there safely. Truly we have been with them when the skill taken to maneuver the van/bus in very small spaces was phenomenal. In the middle of all the traffic, these drivers represent ANU and I have seen their patience and kindness in the midst of what appears to me great chaos.”
Dr Johnson continues, “The student body leaders challenged us to give to a third party as ANU was a recipient of the ‘Glory Bus.’ God asks us in turn to give sacrificially. Students, faculty and staff alike put money into two boxes to assist the student ministry team in their mission to help education in a small village outside Nairobi.” At that one service, approximately $200 USD was raised. More will come in from those who missed the chapel or came unprepared as well as from the downtown campus.
The Blessing Flows
Assistant Chaplain Shaun Bati said, “Because we are given grace by God, we become channels to show his grace to others.” The outreach in Mathare will be his fifth outreach trip to a school, usually outreaches are to orphanages. Sometimes the mission trips are for a weekend, but often they are day trips.
Mathare is the second largest slum in Nairobi. It has all the problems and issues one would expect. Life is difficult for everyone, but especially children. Many families cannot raise school fees. Many households have been affected by HIV/AIDS. Amenities are unknown. There are very few schools in the area and often children turn to crime for survival.
Paris Akoyi, an ANU alumna, is in her seventh year as the head of Community Care School founded by her father, Rev Paul Akoyi. The pastor saw the need in his neighborhood and took up the challenge. It is a beacon of light in a dark place. They serve 40 students between the ages of 3 and 15.
For the Mathare outing, ANU students and others will spend time with the children doing various activities, e.g. draw, play games, talk about teenage issues with the older kids, pray, read the Bible, and do an educational activity.
Ms. Akoyi mentioned some of the school needs are stationary supplies, clothes and food.
The Blessing Multiplies
The trip to Mathare will be the inaugural mission outreach for the bus, but not its last. Several outreaches are planned for this trimester. In addition to the chaplain’s office other campus organizations that do outreaches to disadvantaged kids include business students, Sing Africa, and the Christian Union.
ANU’s motto is “What begins here, transforms the world.” Sometimes though, the blessing begins elsewhere and the ANU community becomes a channel to continue the flow of grace, blessing and love.
Please pray for the Glory Bus, the Mathare outreach, and trips that will follow.
Reflect on how you have been blessed and how you can be a channel for blessing others.