The African Inland Mission has had immense success in Kenya over the decades. There are thousands of African Inland churches throughout the country. Amongst the Luo tribe of Western Kenya there are 340 churches. The last missionary left in 2001.
Ahero Evangelical School of Theology was founded to train lay leaders for the churches. More apply than the school can afford to accept. There are 340 churches among the Luo tribe of Western Kenya. In 2006, there were only 34 fully-trained pastors. Now, there are 184. The Christians are being influenced by groups with false and faulty doctrine. AEST seeks to offer a four year diploma program that will give men adequate training for the pastorate.
Bernard Ondiek, national director for PIEI in Kenya, has a passion to train leaders in the truth of God’s word. He anticipates it will take 20 years to get the needed pastors trained. For this task AEST will need a larger facility, for the school can only admit 32 students now. With increased funding, they could admit 50.
Bernard Ondiek is a member of the Luo tribe, born in 1959 in the Nyanza Province, where 1.5 million people live along Lake Victoria. He graduated from high school, and during his fruitless struggle to find a job met Jesus Christ, who transformed his life. He attended Kapsabet Bible College, then became involved in church planting, and between 1989 and 1993 planted six churches among unreached people groups.
In 2011, PIEI/Kenya began a church-planting effort in South Nyanza province. As of May, 2016, there are 2 church planters and 4 churches with a total of 160 adult members.
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My name is Kennedy Omondi Okun the current principal of Ahero Evangelical School of Theology. I am 37 and I love the Lord.
SALVATION AND CALL TO MINISTRY
I received the Lord as my savior on 12th December, 1998 at an annual youth conference. The Lord saved my life and I really felt relieved of the burdens/sins that often weighed my soul down. I knew little about salvation then, but the Lord was gracious enough to sustain my little faith by the aid of the Holy Spirit. I received the call to serve the Lord as a full time minister in the year 2000. I received the call to join Scott Theological College in September, 2001 and graduated in July, 2005. This decision, however, was “crazy” to some who wanted me to pursue other professions and well-paying jobs. To me it was the best decision I had ever made in my life.
TEACHING IS MY PASSION
This is one of my core ministries and I have been doing it ever since I ventured into the ministry. I taught for two years as a part time tutor at Sitotwet Bible College; then two years’ part time, and seven years’ full time at AEST. I have taught numerous courses, but this semester it's Pastoral Epistles, Christian Counseling, and Poetic and Wisdom Literature. I take pride when many graduate more reformed and established than they came. The evidence is even in their performance in the ministry; their character, values, commitment, and response to challenging issues. Their gratitude and appreciation to their teachers is overwhelming. They really appreciate the college for holistic programs; weekend ministries, prayer fellowships, bible study programs, evangelistic campaigns and missions. We thank God for over 600 graduates who are serving him as pastors, hospital and school chaplains, teachers, evangelists and missionaries.
I have served as a pastor of many local churches, but have decided to concentrate fully at the college. I feel teaching is more of my talent. It also makes it possible to visit students in the churches where they serve on the weekends.
I got married to Pauline Aluoch on 22nd December, 2007. We are blessed with two girls and one boy: Betty Gloria (6yrs) Hezbon Leone (5yrs) and Joyce Lyncy (11months). My wife Pauline trained as an Early Childhood teacher but has not been employed. She has been struggling with some small business selling vegetables and other stuff to make ends meet for the family. Betty and Hezbon go to Benard’s Vision School.
I am grateful to Rev. Benard for there are times we have no money, but our children are allowed to be in school. Besides the responsibility of my family I am also taking care of my niece (Anne Achieng’) and an orphan Magggy Anyango with her child. It is however my confession that taking care of this big family, my children’s education, my studies and other responsibilities as a leader with a monthly earning of $180 per month becomes a hard task, but God has been faithful. The AEST board would like to pay $400 per month to the principal, but there are no resources to raise that much. It is my prayer that this will be actualized.
I have a big family now and we are living in this house built in the 70s. It has only three rooms. I oftentimes have guests visiting the campus. I recently hosted one of the tutors from a university who came to visit his students on attachment at AEST, but was forced to look for lodging in town near the market. This was quite embarrassing and the hotels are not safe. It has been our prayer that we have a spacious and well-furnished housing that can accommodate our visitors.
AEST is in my heart and I am not planning to quit serving the institution despite the challenges. God gave me the position to lead the institution despite my age and He knows exactly why. I felt too young for the task, but I have realized that God does not give one a responsibility and fail to give the necessary support. I am convinced beyond any doubt that he has a great plan for this college.
I am really passionate and focused to impact the lives of my students positively and with the right knowledge. I took the initiative to join Africa International University for Masters in Biblical Studies in the year 2013. The program was to take three years but I had to postpone because I didn't have the required tuition. It is my passionate desire to help the college and widen the scope of its influence, even to the point that AEST can offer degrees.
I am the only full time faculty member. It is overwhelming at times. There is no other who can be responsible for students’ affairs, academic affairs and other departments. There are numerous teachers who are qualified and willing, but hiring additional staff requires money we don't have. It takes about $300 per month to employ a full time teacher. This would be of great help to us as an institution and would enable us make significant steps forward.
Continue praying for us as an institution that God will continue to give us wisdom and strength for his work.
Kennedy Omondi Okun
If you're interested in receiving the PIEI Kenya newsletter, or if you would like more specific information about this particular ministry, please contact:
Gordon Daam , Chairman for PIEI Kenya