AN OVERVIEW OF OUR MINISTRY IN KENYA
Mike and Gail Mestler
Mike and Gail Mestler have been serving in Nairobi, Kenya, since April 1993. In order to pursue the burden for missions that the Lord had given them, Mike resigned from the Bernalillo Independent Baptist Church in Bernalillo, New Mexico, where he had served as assistant pastor until 1982, then as pastor until 1989. It was at this church that he met Gail and worked under her father, Bill White, who had planted the Bernalillo church several years earlier. Mike believes that the experience in pastoring this young church has helped prepare him for church planting in Kenya.
The Mestlers chose Nairobi as the site of their church-planting efforts, and in May of 1994 they founded Christ's Independent Baptist Church in a residential section known as Lucky Summer Estate. The population of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, has risen to over four million as job-seekers from all over Kenya have made it their home. The booming 3.1% per year population growth rate in Kenya also helps contribute to the opportunity that Christ's Independent Baptist Church has to minister to many new residents in Lucky Summer. Over half of Kenya's fifty million people are children, and the church is hard pressed to keep up with the need for space for Sunday school and children's church. The church's other outreaches include men's and women's fellowships, a youth group, and a young adults' ministry.
Christ's Independent Baptist Church was successfully turned over to national leadership in 2005. The pastor as of 2019 is Shadrach Munyalo who is serving faithfully with his wife Grace. The Mestlers continue in fellowship with the pastor and congregation and occasionally are invited to teach and preach at the church.
In March of 2004 Zion Road Independent Baptist Church was begun as a branch work of Christ's Independent Baptist Church. At the present time (2019) the new congregation is averaging 120 people. After having met in a rented school building for several months, the church began in 2005 meeting in permanent buildings on its own property. Presently housing for the pastors and caretaker are under construction as a second floor of the church auditorium.
Our third church, Sunton Independent Baptist Church, was planted in 2006. For the first time we were able to begin a church with national leadership at the beginning. The Kenyan missionary pastor is Lawrence Isoka who has been faithful in the ministry there together with his wife Rosemary.
In 2010 we planted our fourth church, Raganga Indepedent Baptist Church, under the leadership of Pst. Charles Okari. Bro. Okari had a burden to begin a Fundamental Baptist church in his village in the western Kenya province of Kisii. His wife's name is Josephine. The church is projected to be independent of missionary support in July 2020.
Together with four other Independent Baptist missionary families we began in 2008 Independent Baptist College of Ministry (IBCM). We are a Fundamental Baptist Bible College offering a 1 year diploma in Bible, a 4 year Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts Degree. All our students are active members of local Independent Baptist Churches. As of 2019 nine churches have been started by graduates of our college. Seven of our instructors are Kenyan pastors. IBCM has an Enrollment in August, 2019 of 35 students.
The Mestlers have been sent to Kenya by Tri-City Baptist Church, 2211 W. Germann Rd. Rd., Chandler, AZ 85286 where Dr. Ken Endean is pastor. They are serving with Tri-City's mission board, International Baptist Missions, under the leadership of Dr. Larry Ball. International Baptist Missions is a Fundamental, Independent Baptist mission board with missionaries serving in Mexico, Singapore, Romania, Poland, Italy, Uruguay, Nigeria, Hong Kong , India, some Restricted Access Nations and the United States, as well as in Kenya.
Mike and Gail's children, Rachel and Nathan, spent several years in Kenya but are now married and living in the States where they are active members of Tri-City Baptist Church. Nathan is currently the president of International Baptist College and Seminary. The family's birthdays are Mike--February 10, Gail--December 5, Rachel--January 28, and Nathan--May 10. Mike and Gail's anniversary is April 15.