On a cold rainy night in May we loaded up my furniture onto a truck. It was a blessing from God when Warren, the man who made the furniture for the new bookshop, turned up unexpectedly. It was very much due to his care while packing the truck that everything arrived at my home in good condition. After repairing the canvas tarp, and after the blankets and plastic sheeting were in place we were ready to go. The next morning we drove to my new home in the Lurambi section of Kakamega.
A few weeks before the move, Stephen, the builder of the mission house in Bendera, did some repairs in preparation for me to set up home. I am grateful for all the help God sent along the way. In July, Rev. and Mrs. David McMillan, along with Mr. and Mrs. Eric Graham and eight energetic young people from Ulster gave tireless effort to complete the painting of the home. Painting the house was not an easy job as we were wall-to-wall people with our stuff. But the fellowship was precious. Although the house is now lovely and comfortable, I still look forward to having a toilet that flushes and a hot shower without the need to boil water on the stove and carry it in a bucket. We have tried to fix it, but we have yet to succeed!
The bookshop enjoys much more traffic now that it is on the ground floor of a mall compared to what we experienced in the previous smaller upstairs unit. We thank the Lord for this greater visibility and extra traffic to our store. We are encouraged by the many who pass through our doors.
Renting in a mall, however, means we may not duplicate items already for sale nor offer services already provided by other tenants of the mall. As there were quite a few books for children, which were not specifically Christian, I had the idea of giving donations to some schools and orphanages. These gifts met with great appreciation and provided another way of becoming better known in the community. One of the donations went to a local community center just outside Kakamega. Should the Lord open the door, I would love to commence a children’s work there.
The local university radio station that airs “Let the Bible Speak” has also broadcast announcements for the book shop. The response thus far has been minimal, but we will continue with ads and offers of free books praying that God will continue to expand the witness.
Many recent visitors have come to the shop through the witness of previous customers. One senior pastor was brought into the store by his assistant. He told me, “I thought I was going to make a brief visit, but this is not a place to be brief. It is a place to be!” Another pastor came by and spent all morning at a table taking notes. He was researching the subject of “prophets,” and studying how to discern between a true and a false prophet.
In Nairobi recently, I stopped by the African Christian University which has a bookstore. The manager was thrilled that books were being made available in the Kakamega area. He gave me ten copies of a new book which they have published to counter the damage being done by the prosperity gospel in all parts of Africa. Pray that God will give me the wisdom to distribute them to the right people.
One thing that totally amazes me is that many of the pastors here do not have Bibles of their own, while other pastors continually come in to buy Bibles to give to people in their congregations. I met a lady in Nairobi who was purchasing commentaries to give to her friends at church, so that they could study for themselves. I introduced her to the Ryle Gospel Commentaries in Swahili. The mission board is looking into the possibility of holding a conference for pastors in the area.
Recently, I’ve been greatly disappointed by the loss of a young man who assisted me in the shop. Some issues arose, and he is no longer with us. In his place, God has provided a young mother to assist me, and her role is working out very well. Please continue to pray for the right staff and new opportunities of ministry.
Although the shop is a long way from supporting itself, there are so many possibilities for contacts and conversations that I know the Lord is leading step by step. Your prayers for me are vital! I covet them for the people and for me as I minister through the bookstore here in Kakamega. Thank you also for your continued financial support.
Miss Kathy Walker is a member of Orlando FPC, Orlando, Florida and is supported by the Mission Board of the FPCNA.