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In 2014, I was invited to speak at Holiness Week at the largest Christian University in all of Africa. It’s Africa Nazarene University. I called the Vice Chancellor of ANU and asked if I could bring along a friend with me. I insisted that I would take the brunt of the chapels through the week, but would like for my friend to share his story with her students. Dr. Leah Marangu, a model educator in every sense of the word, asked about my friend. I quickly answered, “It’s Tamrat Layne!” She said, “The Tamrat Layne of Ethiopia?” “Yes!” I said. Once she felt comfortable that I felt comfortable with Tamrat, she graciously agreed for me to bring him along. Well, the week was packed full of chapel services, classroom lectures and discussions, and several informal discussions at the main campus and the downtown Nairobi campus. It wasn’t long before Tamrat was equally accepted and even more so, as students were fascinated with hearing about his encounters with Jesus.
Our first morning before speaking at the chapel, we were scheduled to meet with the Chaplain, who had been assigned to host us, Rachael Ngugi. Just before we entered the breakfast room, Tamrat reminded me that we were there to find those who might be interested in small group discipleship. So we agreed together in the doorway that this was our ultimate goal for the week. We sat down with Rachael at our table and before we were served, we asked if she might know of someone on the campus who had a heart for small group discipleship.
Our conversation opener certainly stirred it up in Rachael’s heart. She spent the next 20+ minutes in what I call a non-breather gushing of enthusiasm about making disciples years ago, but that she had gotten away from it. We couldn’t have been more excited to hear Rachael’s enthusiasm and unusual insights into the dynamics of small group discipleship. We were all thrilled! Getting to chapel and beginning the week, really didn’t matter any longer. We had found exactly what we’d been looking for.
Rachael and her friend, Shiku, left everything in order to give themselves to making disciples of young professionals in Nairobi.
This movement of men and women multiplied into hundreds participating in small group discipleship downtown Nairobi. It was and still is one of the most thrilling things we’ve seen around the world! This could happen anywhere, but it’s a rare thing, no matter where you look! Two young women still teaching us as they learn to follow in the steps of Jesus.