Olepolos Mennonite Community Church (Narok County, Rift Valley Province, Kenya)

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Dr. Sarone Ole Sena and EMM worker Debbi DiGennaro. EMM photo

Olepolos Mennonite Community Church was planted in 1997 in the Ololunga division of Narok County in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya.

For a long time, Olepolos was an isolated community without schools or health facilities. In September 1993 a nurse, James Sadera, and David Shunkur began to think how to transform the community. They shared their vision with other members of the community, among them Professor Sarone Ole Sena.

In 1995 Professor Sena met missionary Clair Good of Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM) and asked if they would be willing to plant a church in Olepolos, as there had never been a church there. Clair shared this with EMM representative to Kenya, Jerry Stutzman, who visited Olepolos for two days. In March 1997, the Clair Good family arrived in Olepolos.

The first meeting was conducted in a classroom in the primary school which had been planted there earlier. By late 1998 the construction of the Olepolos church house was under way, and by the end of the year, the congregants moved in though it was without windows, plastering and a concrete floor.

The leaders of the new church were Clair and Beth Good. Clair was nicknamed Olesidai (Son of Good) and Beth named Nashipai (The one who is happy). They were assisted by David Shunkur as chair of the church council; Nurse James Sadera; Secretary J. Karia; Ole Antipas, and Nadutari Koisikir. The total membership of this church included 10 families.

The local members contributed Kshs. 91,000 towards the building of the church house. By 8 August 1999 the church was opened and dedicated to the Lord at 10:00 am by Gisa Naimodu and Elvin Hostetler from the Bossler Mennonite church in the USA.

In 1998, with the help of the church, the community built a footbridge connecting Olepolos to the outside world. In 1998 the community built a health clinic and nursery school classrooms with the help of Rosslynn Academy in Nairobi.

In 1999 discipleship training began in Olepolos, with relief food distributed to the surrounding community. In 1999 Clair Good and his family left Olepolos and Joseph Naimodu took on the leadership of the church. In 2000 the Jeremy and Jennifer Janzen family from Canada arrived in Olepolos to help pastor the Olepolos Mennonite Church. They embarked on house-to-house evangelism.

ActionAid, an international organization, facilitated HIV/AIDS and the Female Genital Mutilation awareness campaigns in the area. In 2003 Professor Sena started the University Goes to the Village Program. This program allowed both young and old to continue their education and to attain higher levels of learning. The aim of the program was to eradicate illiteracy among the people. In 2004, Olepolos planted a Mennonite church in Iltirben, and in 2005 the Nkoben church was begun.

The Olelopos church has experienced continuous transformation over the years, and worked closely with the Kenya Mennonite Church, which assisted in the administration of holy sacraments, ordinations and advice. The church has been supported by Eastern Mennonite Missions and Mennonite Central Committee.

On 20 December 2015, Michael Mayone was ordained pastor by Bishop Philip E. Okeyo in a ceremony held at the Olepolos church compound.

Bibliography

Ojwang', Francis S., ed. Forward in faith: history of the Kenya Mennonite Church: a seventy-year journey, 1942-2012. Nairobi, Kenya: Kenya Mennonite Church, 2015: 204-212.

Showalter, J. "Gospel transformed Kenyan community: Masai celebrate 10 years that turned their lives around." Mennonite World Review 3 October 2005. Web. 22 August 2018. http://www.mennoworld.org/archived/2005/10/3/gospel-transformed-kenyan-community/.


Author(s) Francis S Ojwang'
Date Published August


Cite This Article

MLA style

Ojwang', Francis S. "Olepolos Mennonite Community Church (Narok County, Rift Valley Province, Kenya)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August. Web. 23 Feb 2019. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Olepolos_Mennonite_Community_Church_(Narok_County,_Rift_Valley_Province,_Kenya)&oldid=161424.

APA style

Ojwang', Francis S. (August). Olepolos Mennonite Community Church (Narok County, Rift Valley Province, Kenya). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 February 2019, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Olepolos_Mennonite_Community_Church_(Narok_County,_Rift_Valley_Province,_Kenya)&oldid=161424.




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