N.C. Baptists aid Kenyan churches through homes
Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor
March 15, 2010

N.C. Baptists aid Kenyan churches through homes

N.C. Baptists aid Kenyan churches through homes
Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor
March 15, 2010

“To know someone is

concerned, to know that someone wants to know them and know of their lives and

needs, to know that someone wants to be their co-workers — all of this is

highly valued in our country where guests are often treated as royalty,” said

Bert Yates, an International Mission Board missionary in Kenya.

Contributed photo

A Kenyan pastor, left, teaches children songs and tells Bible stories while workers build a home for a widow in a Houses of Hope project with the North Carolina Baptist Men. Leaders hope the home will become a future church plant.

Yates, along with her

husband, Jack, is based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Kenya was recent host to

mission teams from North Carolina Baptist churches and leaders among North

Carolina Baptist Men.

Mark Abernathy, from N.C.

Baptist Men, went with Ted Menster, of Troutman Baptist Church, Jan. 18-29 to

explore mission opportunities.

He was looking at a pilot

project called Houses of Hope.

“I was very impressed with

the vision of the ministry, and we hope to send several teams a year to help

with this,” Abernathy said.

“It’s almost like our

handyman ministry where men go into our community and help with houses.”

Abernathy said they completed

two houses while there but most teams, which will have seven to eight people,

should be able to complete at least four.

Strengthen churches

Abernathy sees this as a

“church-strengthening project where men could get together and say, ‘We could

do this.’”

The project pulls the

community together to build a house for a widow or another family in need.

Around 50 homes have been

built so far, according to Bert Yates.

Often when a woman’s husband

dies she has no way to support herself so she returns to her village. Usually

accommodations are very meager.

Abernathy said local pastors

are involved in the planning and help with construction.

Volunteers work alongside

Kenyans to build the house.

The goal is for the local

pastor to followup house dedications with Bible studies in the new home.

Eventually, the leaders hope to plant churches in those villages.

Contributed photo

From right, Jack Yates, an International Mission Board missionary, Ted Menster of Troutman Baptist Church, and Mark Abernathy with North Carolina Baptist Men, pray with Kenyan church leaders and a widow for her new home to be a blessing.

One-day construction

Bert Yates observed a house

being built in a day.

In one of her e-mail updates

Yates said, “The two-room home we watched being built yesterday was the 50th

home built in the area in the same way — this one for a young widow with three

small children. Her home had been the thatched hut beside the building project

which had two special features — you could see the stars at night and unlike other

homes in her village, she had running water in the house, but only when it

rained — not the piped kind of water, but straight through the holes in your


Yates said Southern Baptists

enabled these houses to be built.

In June 2008, she said they

provided tin, nails and one day’s pay for a skilled carpenter. With that, a

village built a home of twigs, sticks and mud for a family who had lost their

home in a political crisis.

Yates said she was excited

to see a local pastor teaching choruses and Bible verses to the children in the


One of the local men who led

the Yates on a maze of twisting dirt roads to the village told them repeatedly,

“Your coming is such an encouragement.”

Teams have been going to

Kenya through Baptist Men since 2007. Most work at Nyeri Baptist High School,

which is where a team from Spruce Pine was working during the same time of the

North Carolina Baptist Men’s trip. Led by Robert Stroup of First Baptist Church

in Spruce Pine, the six-member team was working on facilities for the girls at

the campus.

Classrooms and dormitories

are in process of being built. Abernathy said volunteers live at the school and

build relationships with the students and faculty.

For more about N.C. Baptist

Men’s work in Kenya, visit www.baptistsonmission.org/Projects/OutsideUS/Kenya.aspx.

Political climate

There are no widespread

political problems in Kenya following political unrest after elections in late


Thousands of villagers were

displaced as villages and churches were burned.

Southern Baptists through

Baptist Global Response provided food and relief supplies for months as people

moved about the country.

Bert Yates said none of the

major players have been arrested.

Her concern is that if

something isn’t done that violence will escalate again for the next election in


Yates shares stories, prayer

requests and praises through her blog: http://bertandjackyates.blogspot.com/.

She also set up another site

chronicling stories from Kenya about how the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is

used (http://lottiemoonkenya2008.blogspot.com/) as well as other sites

highlighting work in Kenya.

“The greatest need is for

people to do door-to-door witnessing in areas that have few churches,” she


This serves as “an

incredible spur to get the local Christians who often feel they can do little,

to realize their potential for witnessing and sharing God’s love and


Another need is for teams to

help with follow-up.

“We have seen too many

discouraging examples of a church begun by a volunteer team, but no proper

plans were made for discipleship after the team left and the church quickly

disappears,” she said.

Houses of Hope Project

North Carolina Baptist Men

is assisting the Kenya Baptist Convention in a bold initiative of planting

1,000 new house churches in the next five years. One strategy involves building

houses for families in strategic areas.

Teams will also have

opportunity to minister with children who gather for the project. Volunteer

teams are also welcomed into the local public schools.

For more information contact

Mark Abernathy at [email protected]. Check


  • Teams: Teams of 7-8 are

    needed to go for 11 days. Ideally, some will work on the house while others

    minister with children and adults. The team will be housed and fed at the home

    of the Kenya

    Volunteer Coordinator. A Kenyan foreman will work with the team on the

    construction effort.

  • Cost: Exact cost varies

    depending on current airfare. Ground cost is approximately $425 per person

    (based on 8-person team), includes food, lodging, in-country transportation,

    bottled water; entry visa; orientation, and insurance. Airfare typically runs

    between $1,300 and $1,800 depending on time of year.

  • Dates of Service:

    Almost any 14-day time frame can be worked out.

  • Other costs: The cost of

    each house (which includes materials and salary for two local craftsmen)

    is $450. Cost for four houses will be $1,800. For now, NC Baptist Men will

    contribute the cost for these houses for the first five teams that sign up for

    the project each year.