Jackson Mereru (sixth from left, back row) lives in a pastoralist village in Kenya. Although Christianity is not common in this part of the world, Jackson became a Christian through visits with representatives from World Concern. He attended several World Concern discipleship seminars, and over time, felt led to start a church in his remote village so that other people in the community could hear the gospel.
He and three other Christians in the community began meeting in the local pre-school building, a structure made out of metal sheets, where they would congregate on Sundays for worship. The congregation began to grow with mostly women and children. The men in the village were very skeptical at first and became hostile, barring Jackson from using the pre-school building.
Undeterred, the young Christians continued to meet in the same building, which incensed the pre-school committee so much so that they arrested Jackson and took him to the chief’s camp 25 km away. The chief, however, ruled in favor of Jackson and permitted him to use the building for church services because it is public property.
Amazingly, this experience opened more avenues within the community. More and more people joined the church, and Jackson assumed the role of pastor. He was limited in his role, however, because he was illiterate and couldn’t read the Bible. He also had not had any basic training to lead a church. Through much prayer and determination, he learned to read the Bible in his native Maa language.
World Concern enrolled Jackson in a church support program. He received financial support to join a Bible school where he attends training sessions for two weeks every three months. This flexibility allows him to shepherd the church in his village while he’s attending school. Jackson is learning about church leadership, discipleship, personal development and studying the Old and New Testaments.
"The training has given me a sense of direction, even as I lead the church as opposed to before," said Jackson.
The church now has 24 adults and many children. One of the congregants has donated a piece of land, and the church is making plans to construct a building of their own.