Pregnant with her third child and mother of two children under the age of two, Anna* felt stuck. Her husband wasn’t excited about this baby. Anna’s husband had an alcohol addiction and, at the time, his job was unstable.
Meeting near her home in Kenya, Anna asked her women’s Bible study group to pray for her, her husband, and their family.
“This was a big struggle for her. She expressed she would like to keep the marriage, but things were so hard,” shared Susan who led this Bible study. She has been involved with The Navigators Discipling for Development ministry (D4D) and Mission Moving Mountains ministry in Nakuru, Kenya for 18 years. “We would pray and her husband kept insisting they end their marriage. And so, we kept praying.”
Anna found such encouragement and strength from this Bible study community and her relationship with Susan, who was a mentor to her. She first met Susan at a pregnancy and parenting class held not too far from her home, when she was pregnant with her second child.
“She would come to Bible study with her heart so low, but after prayer Anna was able to go and face the next day,” Susan shared. “She had such a strong desire to see her whole household know the Lord. I thank God for her.”
Intentional Discipleship—Meeting Physical and Spiritual Needs
As a native Kenyan, Susan sees the opportunity of meeting physical needs in her community as a first step of sharing the love of Jesus—which is also the heartbeat of Life-to-Life® discipleship.
This led Susan to offer a pregnancy and parenting class in the community, teaching pregnant mothers how to care for themselves and their growing unborn babies. The goal is to teach these young families how to make healthy choices, learn about what happens in a woman’s body during pregnancy, prepare the family for the upcoming birth, and how to care for both mom and baby in the weeks and months after delivery.
“When Anna was in the class with everyone else she was quiet, but eager to learn more,” Susan shared. “This is how I first invited her and other women from the class to attend a weekly Bible study I led. Anna came to the Bible study and she began to learn about the Word of God. That’s how her transformation began.”
Susan has a deep compassion for those who may find it difficult to make ends meet. She often shares her story of her husband’s death in 1993 and how she became widowed with three children. It’s in those times she clearly sees the Lord’s faithfulness and provision.
She uses her story to encourage those around her who are struggling and suffering. Susan remembers from a very young age having the desire to help others. Today she teaches women how to make liquid soap for washing the clothes, the dishes, and cleaning the floor.
“We teach them how to make the liquid soap and they are able to sell it door to door,” Susan shares. “This way these women can get some profit and put food on the table. I’m passionate about teaching women these practical skills as well as teaching them as much as I can about the Bible.”
Sharing Bible Stories in a Memorable Way
The Bible study group Susan leads and that Anna participates in are in Swahili, a common language in Kenya. These groups are mostly held in low-income communities for both men and women and focused on orally teaching Bible stories.
“We have a Navigators book on Bible stories that I use. I study the story and tell it exactly how it is in the Bible. I try not to change anything,” Susan shared. “After telling the Bible story, I then ask questions like, What do we learn about God in these stories? I encourage the participants to learn and memorize the Bible stories so they can tell them to their children and their husbands.”
Anna was drawn to the story of The Prodigal Son in Luke 15 because it reminded her of the Father who was welcoming, forgiving and took the son back as he was. This helped her persevere in her marriage with her husband.
Her husband began to notice her spiritual transformation. He was personally impacted by her hunger for God and the grace and patience she showed him.
“One evening, Anna’s husband was invited by his friend for prayer night at his church. Surprisingly, he agreed to attend,” Susan shared. “After the sermon, the pastor asked whether anyone would like to receive Jesus in their hearts. He came forward.”
Today, he attends a men’s Bible study and Susan continues to encourage and pray with them as a family.
“I remember when Anna came to me and she said, ‘I’m learning how to live with my husband.’ She had lived with him for 10 years as someone who was addicted to alcohol and never knew anything different,” Susan shared. “Now he has accepted the Lord and he desires to study the Bible, pray and to keep a home with Anna. She’s now learning how to live with a changed man.”
Pray for The Navigators Discipling For Development ministry in Kenya and Bible study leaders, like Susan, who continue to walk alongside others through Life-to-Life discipleship.