Saturday, January 12, 2008

Pr. Meeker, Kibera Kenya - DOUBLE YOUR GIFTS as an Example of the Cross - Lutherans Making a Difference

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ... ...we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-4

From the Water of Life to the Water of Life.

Pastor Meeker is only doing what God called him to do. That is his take on his first call. What is amazing is that this Mzungu Mjinga (Swahili - crazy white man) preacher from Iowa, at 53 years old, is making an incredible difference amongst the poor in the 1 million plus shanty town, known as the Kibera Slums.

Meeker is a Pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya
Pastor Meeker was trained in the LCMS. He was a second career student at the seminary in Fort Wayne IN. He did a one year vicarage in Kenya. He married a Kenyan girl (Lorna), who is also a Lutheran deaconess in the ELCK.

(Left, one of the shops prior to the looting and burning which provided food for the people.)
This past Spring, when it was time for him to receive a call, the LCMS was unable to call him to a position in Kenya where his heart yearned to bring acts of mercy and proclaim the gospel to the people in Kenya. Since his vicarage was in Kenya and his wife was Kenyan, he knew what he was getting into.

So, Bishop Walter Obare, the bishop of the ELCK, received him into his church body. Pastor Meeker knew that leaving the "safety" of the LCMS and switching his membership to the ELCK was a risk. But, it was a call from God to serve in the largest slum in Africa - Kibera. So, with the excitement of his first call in hand, Pastor Meeker invited Bishop Obare to come to the United States and ordain him into the pastoral office in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya.

The pragmatic fall out to become a pastor in the ELCK means that Pastor Meeker's ministry is not a mission of the LCMS. He receives no funding from us formally. However, because of his biblical understanding of Faith & Mercy going together, he wanted to renovate the offices of the church and turn them into a medical clinic.

Thankfully, LCMS World Relief stepped up to the plate to support the work of mercy in the medical clinic. They helped raise money for the clinic and Friends of Mercy was there at the dedication. (left)

The ELCK is a partner church of the LCMS, but they are a very poor church. Pastor Meeker accepted the Lord's call through the ELCK into Springs of Life, knowing that he was to raise his own funds for his position in the ELCK. He was no longer a member of the LCMS.

We, his friends in the U.S., are pleased and honored to support such a faithful pastor in the midst of the cross. His call was an incredible challenge and He is a testimony to our Lord's theology of the cross.

You Thought it Was Hard Before? - Humanly SpeakingT

When Pastor Meeker accepted the call to Kenya, he realized his church and her members were those of the infamous Kibera Slums. Over one million people call Kibera home. When I was at his church in October, the church was packed with members, newcomers, and children. Not only were the pews packed, but they set up white plastic chairs down the middle aisle. HIV\AIDS is an epidemic. Malaria is the number one killer in the world and Kenya is no different. TB, malnutrition, poverty, and a dollar a day wages were those whom God called Pastor Meeker to serve.

He has baptized over 40 people in the short tenure at Springs of Life. Thousands of people received care through their medical clinic. Hundreds of children, fed, educated, and catechized in the daily pre-school and the hundreds who show up for the weekend programs.

Then Came Kenya's 2007 Presidential Election

It was a very hard call before the elections. Now, his members homes are burned out, his church, preschool, medical clinic, and parsonage was looted and burned out... What's a faithful pastor to do? FAITH & MERCY - TEACH AND BAPTIZE, FOOD AND WATER FOR THOSE IN NEED!

You and I might think, "How much more can this Mzungu take?" In an e-mail this morning from Pastor Meeker, he sent me pics of what he has been doing since the trouble broke out.

He had over 40 people staying at the GuestHouse in Nairobi because it was too dangerous in their homes. What did he do with them? For four days he catechized them! He offered baptism at the end of his review of Luther's Small Catechism and invited them to services - which he held at the GuestHouse (most recent pics of the service at the right).

Members are Hungry - Thirsty!

They were thirsty for the living waters of Christ. Pastor baptized 17 people at the GuestHouse service. The very water of eternal life now sustains the soul of these people. However, they need the water and sustenance of daily life as well. How perfect! Faith & Mercy once again is what Lutherans are all about.

Since the outbreak of violence destroyed many of the micro-economies in the slums, which were food vendors, food is scarce. Clean water is the

biggest problem. Deaconess Lorna, thanks to a $10,000 emergency gift from LCMS World Relief (to the rescue again!), is organizing a food program to care for members of the congregation and their families. This must be done in a very cautious manner because it is easy to spark a skirmish even handing food out because the people are getting desperate.

The electricity and water was once again available as of this past Thursday and now Springs of Life can help with the water shortage too.

Friends of Mercy is honored to be a partner with all of those who want to help Pastor Meeker in this crisis. We will match, dollar for dollar, what we raise to help with food, water, and the rebuilding of the properties of Springs of Life.

Donate HERE online


Send checks made out to, Friends of Mercy, to:

Friends of Mercy
546 Stoddards Mill Drive
Ballwin MO 63011

In the memo, identify either Meeker Support or Rebuild the Springs. "Meeker Support" will sustain the pastorate of Pastor and Deaconess Lorna. "Rebuild the Springs" will support a rebuilding program for the church and her buildings.

(Friends of Mercy is an RSO of LCMS World Relief and is registered as a 501(c)3 with the IRS. All donation are tax deduct able.)