Short Term Missions Focus: Discipleship International

by Travis Whims

I have returned from Kenya/Uganda with a renewed sense of awe in who God is. Our team of 6 from Canada traveled to visit discipleship groups in and around Machakos, Kenya. We also traveled with a team of 10 from Kenya to Uganda to witness and participate in the first graduation in Masaka, Uganda.

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I have shared a little bit before about the journey of starting the discipleship training in Kenya and now Uganda but thought I would share again because God’s hand is so clearly on the process. He gets all the glory.

In 2009 my wife, daughter and I along with some other family members had booked to travel to Masaka, Uganda to visit my brother-in-law and his wife over Christmas as they built a girls school in partnership with Pacific Academy School.

Leading up to that trip I had received an e-mail from a group in Kenya who had started to train key pastors and leaders in the two-year Equip to Serve (ETS) discipleship training program we use. They had received the training books from a past student who met the head of their denomination and his wife Reverend Timothy and Canon Mary while they were in Canada visiting Carey Bible Institute and local churches.

This group asked us to come and train them and as God is so good at doing, their training time lined up with the time we would be in Uganda. A staff member and I flew from Uganda to Kenya and spent three days with an amazing group of disciples and disciple makers training them and encouraging them in the work they were doing. From that group there have been over 850 graduates from the ETS program and the books have now been translated up to Book 4 into the local language of Kikamba so that even more people can take the training in what they call their heart language.

Meanwhile back in Uganda I met with the pastor (Pastor Elijah) at the church that my brother and sister and law were attending after service and discussed discipleship. Pastor Elijah contacted me a few years later in 2012 with the desire to disciple his church and the churches in Uganda so in 2012 a staff member and myself stayed in Africa after our time in Kenya and travelled with Heric and Sylvestor from the team in Kenya to conduct discipleship training in Uganda.

Now we were able to witness the latest group of over 850 graduates from the training in Kenya and the first 40 to graduate in Uganda.

As I spoke at the graduation in Uganda I was overwhelmed with what God brings together. We had Pastor Elijah and other pastors from the Full Gospel Church in Uganda. We had 10 representatives from Kenya who work with our partnership organization Manee Kenya and attend African Brotherhood Churches. We had the Director of Compassion Uganda who’s organization supported the 40 students to go through the training all coming from different churches and then there was the 6 of us from Canada representing Discipleship International Canada and the 4 different churches we all attend. Unity in the body of Christ looks very good and I praise God for how he brought this group of Believers together to make disciples of all nations.

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I am still processing all that took place on our trip but other then both graduations some highlights included visiting the first Kikamba ETS discipleship group and a visiting a group of leaders preparing to go back to their home churches to train in Kikamba, visiting a group of women again who have left the sex trade and bringing them health kits from the women at Willingdon women’s mission circle and travelling for 24hrs in vans and on the bus with the team from Masaku, Kenya to Masaka,Uganda. It is interesting that the locals call Machakos, Kenya, Masaku and we travelled to Masaka.

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Thanks for all your prayers, support and gifts many of you sent and for the many who were able to help Jenn with the kids while I was gone. I appreciate the team effort. Both at home and in Kenya/Uganda I have really seen the strength when God’s body is in unity. Psalm 133:1 - How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

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