By Mommy Emily

Spring of 2020, the burden of the Holy Spirit came — like the winepress of God — to fast and pray for Kenya for 40 days. We believed at the time that Pastor Francis of South Sudan and Apostles Enock and Baptist from Uganda were to enter Kenya shortly after those 40 days ended. Plans were made, yet the Spirit’s firm press on us intensified, and then COVID hit and no one moved except to fall harder into prayer. The grapes splitting, the wine spilling, and it’s one year later now. 

We’re fasting again for 40 days as a team, praying specifically for greater faith, joining together with our African family across the ocean, and the Spirit whispers that it’s time. The wine has aged, matured. We are ready to go.

Baptist takes his COVID test, and it comes back positive. So we wait another two weeks, deepening in faith and trust. He takes it again, and it’s negative. He, Enock, and Francis go — just before Kenya enters into another 30-day lockdown. 

They leave, not knowing whom they are going to meet, knowing only that the Lord has shown us in the Spirit a very humble man, a man gentler than any man we’ve met before, in a place of great poverty and many trees, a pastor who is faithful and who is expecting The Lulu Tree because God has already prepared him. 

There were no busses running between Uganda and Kenya that day, Apostle Enock recounts, so after

“a long time of frustration, we decided to drive to Busia (on the border) and then connect to Kenya. By the time we got to Busia, it was very late, and so we had to look for where to sleep. We contacted a friend in Kampala who comes from that area and he recommended that we sleep at some Bible College called Wesleyan Bible College. While there, we met a gentleman who knew Pastor Samson, and he recommended that we go to him for directions on where to go in Kenya. That’s how we met him.”

Immediately upon meeting Pastor Samson, Francis said he had great peace in his heart because, “the place is the exact place God had shown me in the vision. Moreso, Pastor Samson is a very humble and gentle servant of the Lord.”

Baptist agreed, saying it seemed as though Pastor Samson had been waiting for them, welcoming them like his own brothers and family.

Pastor Samson Madibio resides in the western village of Funyula, Kenya. He speaks the Kishwahili language in addition to English. No other outside organization works with him. He has an independent church, but gathers all the area pastors around him, and together they help the jajjas (elderly) with the little they have. At the end of the year they feed the hungry while preaching to them. They also have a microloan project amongst the pastors, and do farming in order to feed their families. Pastor Samson has one child with his wife, but takes care of orphans in his home.

Following their encouraging visit with Pastor Samson, Francis, Enock, and Baptist were arrested by local police, who chastised them for entering the country and then proceeded to take all of their money. They were eventually released, and finally made it home. 

In spite of this injustice, these humble servants of the Lord were not discouraged.

Baptist says, “I believe we are soldiers of Christ, and we should always be ready, regardless of the challenges on the way. When we were arrested, I was glad to be part of what Paul went through, and surely God was with us. I just kept on worshipping in my heart when we were in the police station, HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD.”

Indeed, how great is our God to lead us to the very man He’d been preparing for us to meet — whom He had shown us in the Spirit, who greeted our team as though they were already family, for in fact, they were brothers in Christ. And even now, as we’re trusting the Lord to lead us in how to partner with Pastor Samson to further equip him for the mighty work God is already doing through him, we pause to reflect on all the Lord has done in our lives and in the ministry of The Lulu Tree over the past year as we prayed toward this end. We have been hard pressed in many ways, but God has given the better wine. How fitting that we celebrate the resurrection of our glorious Lord as God awakens a new work in Kenya. 

Meanwhile, dear Lulu family, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:17-19)

Truly it is by Him, and for Him, and through Him, that any of us has our being, and it is through His Son’s great sacrifice on the cross that any of us can dare to stand in His holy presence. Christ died, bearing our sin. Christ rose, conquering death. Christ is coming again, and we will gather in His kingdom from every tribe, tongue, and nation to share the best wine of all. Hallelujah.

Until then. Standing with you, in His power, for the good of His people,

Mommy Emily