by Wade Le Blanc
Brother Le Blanc has traveled to Kenya in recent years, to hold evangelistic meetings among the prison population. What follows is an account of the tremendous opportunity there, and the fruit of his labors in the Lord.
“Bring my soul out of prison, that I might praise your name” Psalm 142:7
Kenya is situated on the eastern coast of Africa on the equator. It is approximately the size of the state of Texas. Its population is just over 48.5 million, of whom the vast majority live in poverty. The unemployment rate is presently forty percent. Of those fortunate enough to have employment, most receive less than the minimum wage which is $76.00 US per month.
For the last ten years Kenya has had the highest rate of AIDS infection in the world. Death from AIDS results in approximately over 600,000 orphaned children annually.
Children living on the streets abound in the country. Presently there are over 300,000 of them, with 60,000 alone in Nairobi, the nation’s capital. Over 75 percent of these street children are addicted to glue which is used for shoe and upholstery repair. The glue is easily obtainable, and children begin inhaling the fumes many times a day when they are only five years old. The fumes produce a high giving one a warm feeling, are hallucinatory, and kill hunger pains. It rapidly destroys brain cells and most often leads to an early death.
Kenya has the largest slum in Africa, located just outside Nairobi. It is reported to be the second largest slum in the world, with approximately two million people living within the 2.5-kilometer area. Seventy-five per cent of its population is under the age of eighteen. There are over 100,000 orphans and AIDS is rampant among these unfortunate ones. There is no running water, electricity, garbage pickup, or toilets. Upon entering Kibera, a neighborhood of Nairobi, the odor is overwhelming. We have been there with a speaker, preaching the gospel at least five times in the last two years. Mothers give glue daily to their children to stop their tears from the hunger pains. It is truly a heart wrenching place to visit.
There is enormous crime in Kenya resulting in a large number of penitentiaries. There are over 100,000 rapes reported annually in Kenya, and in Kibera there are over 100 per day committed. The authorities state that only one of twenty women report the crime. They are not reported to the Nairobi police, as the police refuse to enter the slum for any reason, fearing for their lives. Kenya averages seven murders per day, and due to their high crime rate, there are 153 prisons. In comparison, Canada with a population of 36,000,000 has 53 prisons. These prisons, which have a population over 47,000, are the main focus of our gospel outreach.
Islam has only a ten percent presence in Kenya. The prosperity, healing, and miracles gospel are virtually unknown in the country. Hence, the Truth is not undermined. It is amazing that almost all seem to have a knowledge of the true gospel. Meekness reigns in the hearts of the Kenyan people. Material poverty will lead to spiritual poverty. Hence, our LORD’s command – “preach the gospel to the poor.”
It has been my privilege and honor to have been to this country with the gospel five times in the past seven years. No one has ever refused a gospel tract. When others see the written message being received, invariably they come requesting it for themselves. All listen to a brief, condensed gospel message – on the street, in restaurants, or stores. Kenya is an evangelist’s paradise.
The two commended evangelists that I am most privileged to labor with, are brothers Evans Akwale of Buterie, Western Kenya, and Samuel Ndungu of Nairobi. These two enthusiastic and tireless servants of God have permission to and are always most welcome to visit schools and all 153 prisons. It has been an honor for me to preach the gospel in many, many prisons with my dear brethren during the last three visits to Kenya. To say there has been much blessing would be a great understatement. Hundreds of repentant, broken souls have come to our Saviour for His marvelous salvation.
I am most grateful to the brethren of Belleview Gospel Chapel in Schenectady, NY and to the brethren of Bethany Gospel Chapel in Worcester, MA for faithfully providing the funds, making it possible for me to go.
In these crude prisons, these men have nothing to do but work. Because of their crimes they have lost everything – wives, children, family, friends, jobs, possessions, self-respect and in many cases hope.
When we enter these prisons on the arranged dates, we are all conscious of our Mighty God’s presence entering with us. In our hearts, we know He is going to speak in power and He never disappoints. I believe these are divine appointments. As the message is proclaimed hard faces soften, tears come, silence reigns, and conviction of sin occurs in the hearts of many. We are always amazed at the great positive response of these privileged prisoners. We preach to the men and then to the women. The prison chaplains and Christian prisoners promptly get the names of those professing faith in Christ. They are immediately enrolled in the Emmaus Bible Program courses.
During the past two years we have been able to distribute New Testaments to these newly professed converts. They are purchased at a Bible center in Nairobi. The scriptures are translated in English (the primary language of Kenya) on one side of the page and Swahili on the other. With eagerness and joy they receive their only possession – a highly valued one.
The purchase of these New Testaments, costing $4.50 US, was made possible by gifts from CMML and from a few individual Christians. Last year we distributed 725 but were still short by over 400. There is a very great need. God willing, I will return to Kenya this September/October for six weeks. Plans are currently being made to visit 24 prisons.
Please pray dear brethren for this work to continue and for the continued rich blessing of God upon the proclamation of His glorious gospel.