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Monday
Feb282011

Making Disciples in Kenya

Pat and Mike Heiser, founders of NEEMA Bible College and Heart of God Fellowship Ministry-Kenya stand with NBC graduate and Kitale director, Victor. (Click to enlarge)Mike and Pat Heiser, the founders of NEEMA Bible College (NBC), Heart of God Fellowship Ministries and several other organizations in Kenya, are witnessing the results of God's faithfulness to the biblical principle of multiplication when it comes to making disciples. Since 2007, NEEMA, which means "grace" in Swahili, has graduated more than one hundred students from their eighteen-month program. As these graduates have taken what they have learned and shared God’s love and grace with their churches and communities, they have found that the people they come in contact with want to hear more. This has provided the Heisers opportunities to establish new classes in the villages surrounding their headquarters in Meru.

Pat teaching at their school in Makunga, Kenya near the border of Uganda.
(Click to enlarge)
While NBC is based in Meru, and the school facilitates five classes in the surrounding area, Mike and Pat have also opened an office in Kitale, Kenya, which is 300 miles west of Meru. The Heisers have established classes in seven different villages in the Kitale area. Current enrollment between the various locations surrounding Meru and Kitale is close to 250 students. Mike and Pat oversee the Kitale office, and travel to teach at the seven locations one week per month, but the bulk of the classes in Kitale and Meru, are being directed by graduates from NBC. As the Word of God spreads through the area, the Heisers have plans to open more schools.

Graduation day in Kitale, July 2010 (Click to enlarge)To graduate, students must complete the year-and-a-half-long program, which covers thirty courses including surveys through all sixty-six books of the Bible, a Biblical Management Principles course, and a class called, Marriage and the Christian Home. These courses, many of which stem from Charis Bible College curriculum, provide the solid Biblical foundation necessary for effective ministry multiplication.

The Heisers estimate that as many as sixty percent of their students, the average age of which is thirty-two, Homegrown disciples—Over the past few years the Heisers have opened their home to Kenya's homeless children, and have raised them as their own. In July four of their 28 children graduated from NBC. (Click to enlarge) are already involved in full-time ministry; many serving as pastors of local churches. The changes in their students' lives also impact the churches the students lead. Student testimonies come in weekly, about how knowing the true nature of God is transforming lives, and as these testimonies continue to come in, so to do the invitations for the Heisers to open more schools.

"We have over 40 different denominations represented in our now 243 students; they include Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, Friends, Seventh Day Adventists, Pentecostals, and everything in between. We go into these students' churches to observe what they are doing, and we continue to build relationships with them and encourage them. Mike, Pat and other NBC staff performing an ordination service for one of their graduates. (Click to enlarge)We know that making disciples is what Jesus has called us to do, so we pursue that with our whole heart," said Mike.

The Lord has given the Heisers a vision of what is to come, and they admit that they will have to rely entirely on the Lord to see it come to pass. "We continue to have so many doors open to us to bring this message that Pat and I are really unable to meet the need ourselves, but we see God raising up new leaders through NEEMA," Mike said. The vision for the Heisers includes the expansion of NBC into six larger cities within Kenya, and then future growth into the Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel. Movement toward that end is already evident as NBC graduates and staff members, Hamsen and Nancy, prepare to launch a school in Lokichogio, Kenya, a city on the border of Sudan.

To find out more about Mike and Pat Heiser and their ministry visit the Kids in Kenya website.