charles_kenya_small_optFor Pastor Charles and Beatrice Nyakundi, obeying Christ’s call meant moving from the comfort of a middle-class life into Africa’s largest urban slum.

The call came one afternoon in 1991. A teacher in a Nairobi primary school, Charles Nyakundi was in the faculty meeting room when he heard these words from the Lord: “The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me, and he has appointed me to preach the Good News to the poor.”

Charles was a lay pastor and a faithful follower of Christ. But he also loved his job as a teacher, and he and his wife Beatrice lived a simple but comfortable life on a compound among extended family.

Seven years passed. Finally, Charles could overlook the Lord’s call no longer. In spite of the misgivings of family and friends, he quit his job as a teacher and, with the help of a full scholarship, began full-time theological training at the East African School of Theology.

But the scholarship did not provide for Beatrice and the couple’s five children. While Charles was away at school, Beatrice struggled to provide food for the family and to pay the children’s school fees.

Beatrice was also forced to fight for the very roof over her head. Angry at Charles’ decision, the couple’s extended family tried to banish Beatrice and the children from the family compound.

But having nowhere else to go, Beatrice persevered under the family’s abuse for three years while Charles completed his training.

After Charles’ graduation, the couple and all five children moved into Kibera, the largest urban slum on the African continent. They took up residence in a dark, 6-x-6-square-foot room, huddling together at night on the cold, often  wet dirt floor.

They cooked in a corner using a kerosene stove or firewood when they were short on fuel. They shared a public toilet and running water with 50 other homes. The children studied by candlelight.

Family and friends continued to berate their choices, but the Nyakundis persevered.

And the Lord honored their obedience. Today, Pastor Charles and Beatrice are at the center of a thriving ministry to their fellow slum residents. Charles pastors Ebenezer Christian Ministries, a church in Kibera. He pours himself into evangelism, discipleship, church planting, and outreach to the church’s core ministry: children.

Beatrice, in addition to caring for a seven-member household, volunteers as an early childhood educator at the church’s school. The one-room building is a tight fit—both for Sunday services and the school’s 80 students—and they are praying for the funds needed to expand.

beatrice_kenya_small_optAgainst all odds, the Nyakundi children are also thriving. Supported by the generosity of IN USA donors, the eldest, Mary, is studying nursing. Second-born Nehemiah completes his bachelor’s degree in law this December. Once established, both Mary and Nehemiah aspire to use their expertise to help the poor of Kibera.

Also under IN sponsorship, the Nyakundi’s third child, Dorcas, just completed her high school certificate exam. The family’s youngest children, Judith and Ebenezer, are also well-adjusted and performing well in school.

Today, after five years in their first one-room home, the couple has upgraded to a two-room slum dwelling. And their extended family, having watched from afar for the past ten years, is beginning to soften now that the sincerity of the Nyakundi’s commitment to Christ has been proven.

“When God gives you a vision and sends you somewhere, the place where he sends you will be a place of provision,” says Pastor Charles. “Our vision here in Kibera is that Christ would always be at the center of our work and that we would be a community forever worshiping the Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Learn more about International Needs ministry in Kenya!