Kenya
Contact Information
Office Contact:

Barnabas Kariuki

Office Address:

P.O. Box 30396-00100 Agip House 6th Floor- Flat 1 Haile Sellassie Avenue

Nairobi

KENYA


Country Demographics

Capital:
Nairobi, with 3.1 million people

Population:
44,000,000

Languages:
English (official), Kiswahili (official), 42 communities who speak 69 languages, according to ethnologies

Religion:
Protestant 47.7%; Roman Catholic of the Latin Rite, 23.7%; Muslim 11.2%; irreligious 2.4%; indigenous beliefs 1.7%.

Life Expectancy:
56.64 years

GDP per-capita:
$1,700. The largest financial hub in Southeast and Central Africa

Of Interest:
Kenya is the heart of African safari country and boasts the most diverse collection of wild animals, including all the Big Five, on the continent. It lies on the Equator, yet glaciers are found on Mount Kenya, which, at 5,199m (17,957ft), is Africa's second highest peak. It is the landmark that named the country. It has been described as “the cradle of humanity,” with the discovery of some of the earliest evidence of human existence. VGR's first lending library was established in Kenya in March, 1984 Estimates of the Kenyan literacy rate range between 75 and 85.

Location:
Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Tanzania

Office Staff

Barnabas Kariuki

Office Manager

Manager History:

It wasn't hard for me to know the Lord, as my father was a pastor in the Bible-believing African Inland Church. No literature was allowed in the house except the Bible, Bible stories books and such classics as The Pilgrim's Progress and an abridged version of Foxe's Book of Martyrs in our local tongue.

My father decided to take me to school when 23 of his goats were run over by a train, while my age mates and I played hide and seek instead of tending them. At that time, the school was the preserve for the kids that were perceived as not very useful to the village. At fourth grade, I finally made a stand for the Lord.

I began testifying to my fellow pupils and many came to know the Lord. In secondary school, at the Catholic St. Patrick's Iten, I was the leader of the persecuted Protestant Christian Union for three years. Every holiday I would team up with an Australian missionary to preach in the remote jungles on a allowance. Thus I was able to subsidize my school fees. We were a poor family, because my father would often forego his salary, when he found that his flock was struggling to make a living. We had to toil with peasant farming, lumbering and burning charcoal.

One day in 1973 I came across two pages of a Message book in our pit latrine. I was enthralled by its content. I read them over and over again. I couldn't trace where these precious pages came from, and I greatly hungered for more. I moved from one church to another, looking for this Truth, but in vain. Finally two years later while in college, two first year students came with some Message books! I went wild with joy when I recognized that these were from the same author of those two pages I had come across. They introduced me to a pastor Gichuru in Nairobi that had 400 tapes in his library. Within no time, I had listened to them all and was craving for more! How I passed my final exams very well, I will never know, for I spent practically all evenings listening to the tapes. Little did I know that the Lord would give me the rare privilege of distributing this precious Message to His predestinated souls in East and Central Africa.

I was posted to Kapsabet High School, while my dear wife, whom I met at the college, taught at Kapsabet Girls School. Along with the small church we had set up at the school, we were able to pool our resources to translate the Message into the Kiswahili, a language spoken by over 100 million people in East and Central Africa in 16 different dialects. It is also one of the official languages of the African Union.

The first printing was primitive. My wife, Sister Irene, and Brother Wasike used to cut the stencils on an old manual typewriter and Brother Nelson Kemboi simply cyclostyled them at his school. The Kapsabet church then stapled and distributed them. We began by producing 100, 900, and finally 2,000 copies per title. Soon the Kiswahili work spread by itself into neighboring countries of Uganda and Tanzania, then into Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern Congo.

When Brother Joseph first came to Kenya in January 1984, he asked me to help put together a mailing list for the libraries he was going to set up. I communicated with him regularly and did a few errands for him while still working as a teacher, such as accompanying them to Tanzania and Congo to set up libraries. At that time we had only 188 addresses in Kenya, 19 in Uganda, 35 in Tanzania, 4 in Rwanda, 6 in Burundi and 48 in Eastern Congo and 1 in Ethiopia. By the time VGR took over the work, the no. of copies we were able to supply to each church were so few, some believers, especially in C. African countries, to copy them by hand into exercise books and distribute them to the hungry souls.

On March 13th of that year, Nairobi was set up as the first VGR Library in the world, with Pastor Obadiah Kamwati as the Library Representative. By the end the year, there were 7 Lending Libraries in Tanzania, 11 in Uganda, and 13 in Kenya. Today we have 81, 47 and 25 consequtively.

The turning point in our lives came on the evening of November 18th 1985, when Brother Joseph Branham together with Brother Billy, paid us a surprise visit at our school house. He took me to our chapel room and asked me if I could resign my teaching job to work for him in an office he was feeling le to establish to oversee the translation work, the libraries, and the distribution of material to East and Central Africa. He would take over the Kiswahili translation. I loved my teaching job, and my students adored me. In the athletic field we were producing the best runners in the world. I do not know how I said that fateful "Yes," but I have never regretted it. By the grace of God, this is the best job there is in the world today, and after we are done, there will be no job worth doing. It is a great privilege to have a very small part in it - which I don't deserve. Working with VGR has been the greatest thing that has ever happened in my life. The experience I have acquired, the extensive training by Brother Joseph Branham, is priceless.

When the Voice was put on the tapes in 1985, the country experience joy unspeakable and full of glory. It was so skilfully done that it became the standard format for subsequent VGR translations in other languages. Listening to them has always been a great source of inspiration and blessings to the believers in this region. I would translate the manuscript, Bro. Mbwana of Moshi, Tanzania, would meticulously go through it and finally it would be given to Pastor Jackson John Silla of Mombasa to do the voice, after passing through rigorous and stringent eyes of line-checkers at VGR.

Testimony of Office Manager:

Working with the Voice of God for over a quarter of a century to me has seemed to be but a day. It has fascinating, thought provoking and very challanging. One could never wish for anything better in this life. Key to the successes of the work has been my dear family. Bro. Joseph sent a brother on a two-week trip to train my Sis. Irene on the then famous Xywrite program. She then worked tirelessly as our secretary as well as taking care of numerous visitors to the office. My three daughters with the office cores. Then there were the saintly librarians, whom Brother Joseph defined as "Men of God who believe that the work before them is more important than their part in it." (Vision for Africa video). A true Five-Fold Ministry. Their selfless service has ensured that the Message has been readily available to all and sundry in this very blessed region.

Pastors and ministers have been very supportive, and by the grace of God we have worked with them in perfect harmony. Just about every doctrine that was been formulated in the Message world found its way into Kenya. But we thank God there is one avenue that has remained open for fellowship: the Restored Word, our interpretations not withstanding. In Voice of God we have found one common goal on which we all can agree and come together for fellowship. I treasure each of these ministers who have put their differences aside to ensure that this Message has reached just about every village in this great East African region. Our guiding principle has been the words of Brother Joseph spoken to the East African ministers gathered at Eldoret on the 18th of November, 1985: "I have the answer to all your questions!" Then, slowly pulling a tape out of his briefcase and lifting it up before his enthralled audience, he declared; "The answers to all your questions are found herein." He then promised that by the grace of God he would put this Messages into the hands of every church, every family and every individual that would be interested in it.

It has been a long walk, and I have been greatly honored to see the phenomenon growth of VGR from less than 7 employees to over 80 of them. We've grown together, by the grace of God. I've worked under the skilful tutorship and consummate leadership of its president.

Very often, VGR experience has been a life full of drama, and often filled with humor. Here is just a tip of an iceberg from my memory bag:

1] In Jeffersonville, the VGR staff escorted us to the airport at Louisville with 60 very closely packed footlockers, each of which was far beyond the allowed weight of 70Ibs. But when the protesting customs officers weighed one, the scale hit the top reading thrice in quick succession, then retracted back to 70lbs! This was repeated twice before the awed, mesmerized officers waved us through. Each of them actually weighed around 120Ib back at the VGR. As if in a stupor, they lamely waved us off and were left utterly speechless, amazed and looking blankly ahead of them.

2] At one of the borders with 10 tons of material without any official papers, the angry customs officer ruled that we offload the truck outside his office and go back to Nairobi to process the right papers, which at that time would have taken four weeks. Halfway through the process, the clouds suddenly gathered, threatening to flood the region with very heavy rains. Here comes the officer running towards us shouting, "Get those boxes back into the truck...! I'm not going to watch God's Bibles soaking wet in my area of administration!" Ten minutes later, after having re-loaded and we were safely on the other side of the border, the sky cleared into a beautiful, cloudless sky. There was to be no rain after all.

3a] In Dar at a time when it was unheard of for a Westerner to walk in the streets or be seen with the locals, we got ourselves a dingy dilapidated single room. The few available hotels would be full by 11am. It would have taken a miracle to tell the original color of the sheets or the one miserable towel hanging on a slimy, greenish-brown basin next to a toilet that ceased functioning centuries ago. We decided that Brothers Joseph, Billy, and David, would squeeze into the one tiny bed. Two of them would face the headboard, and the other the bottom side. As for me, I would sleep across the door, just in case some evil forces outside decided to act funny.

3b] The following day at the airport, it was announced that all visitors would be required to pay yet another special tax of $20 in before boarding. We had already paid a lot of money on entry, but this was the socialist Tanzania then. "This is now too much, it is getting a little out of hand," Brother Joseph remarked. "Attention! Every one of you look directly forward, and follow me." Wonder of wonders, the armed militia made way for us as we moved forward in a single file, as if in a trance, through a thick crowd of frustrated passengers. The plane was delayed for one-and-a-half hours as the officers lined their pockets.

Today, Dar is a great tourist city of unsurpassed beauty. Tanzanians keep asking for a repeat visit by Bro. Joseph – to get their “revenge!” for a historical let down.

4] At Heathrow Airport, Brother Silla and I were summoned to the PAN AM office. "You must be in a multi-million dollar business." (Bro. Joseph had almost filled half the plane with footlockers) "Yes, we are." "And why are you traveling Third Class?" "Just to be humble, " we joked. We were promoted to the Business Class in the jumbo jet packed with the Boars destined for Johannesburg, through Nairobi. It was at the height of the Apartheid Policy. When they saw two black faces enter, they couldn't stand it. A whole line of them moved back. Each of us occupied four great seats, and the all-white cabin crew served us like kings.

5] Over 52,000 tapes and one of the very first computers in Nairobi at that time were held at the customs for eight months. But just one call from the VGR President in Jeffersonville to the Minister of Finance gets an immediate release order. A month later, the minister, Professor George Saitoti, is promoted to the office of Vice President, which he serves for a record 14 years!

6) In Gisenyi, at the Rwanda-Congo border with Bro. David Branham in 1984, we are expected to pay $40 each dollars for a visa. Two officers scan through the church age book and come across the words, "The Great Harlot." They look at their fellow officer: a fat, highly-painted woman sitting next to them, and burst out in loud laughter. "Can we keep this?” Welcome!" They stamp our passports and wave us off without paying a dime!

7) At the time of political turmoil when books and tracts were minutely scrutinized, we are at the border with tons of Kiswahili books and tracts. A security officer picks one book at random and his eyes dilate: "Leadership! What? So you are the people spreading very subversive literature and hiding under the guise of religion? Wait, you are going to see fire!" A top officer highly trained in reading very fast is summoned. As he scans and skims through, he begins smiling and finally, "This man right! Practice these tenets outlined here and soon we shall all be out of job. Can I keep a copy?" "Take two, please."

8) At the airport in Louisville, I was dejected, dismayed and embarrassed, having lost my brand-new red suitcase. I was give a sizeable brochure with pictures of every type of suitcases imaginable. As a fumbled through it trying to locate the likeness of mine, Bro Joseph reached over it, opened a certain page and straight away pointed one out. “Wasn’t it like this?” Sure, there it was, only he had never seen it before!!


Brother Benson Maina Assistant Office Manager

Brother Obadiah Kamwati Finance Manager. A volunteer. Pastor of Nairobi’s End-Time Message Assembly, E.A.’s largest church of 3,000.

Brother Alfred Opiyo Swhahili Translations Quality Control Manager and Swahili Voice Translator. Works from his home in Siaya, Kenya.

Brother George Mbwana Proofs Manuscripts and recommends changes of dialect to better fit our Swahili speaking brothers and sisters of Tanzania. Works from his home in Moshi, Tanzania.

Office History

When I agreed to resign my job at the school, Brother Joseph suggested we move to Nairobi to establish the new office.

We got a house 20km from the city center, but it was incomplete, having no telephone, no electricity, or running water. We lived and worked there for three months before moving to another house that Brother Kamwatti had booked for himself but gave it up at the last minute. It had four bedrooms, with a little outer house in just over half an acre of land, 17 miles from the city center. The family occupied two rooms, and the next two we used as an office and a storeroom for books and tapes. Soon we found we were ill-prepared for the phenomenal growth of the Work, as the VGR Shipping Department, with amazing efficiency, moved from sending us a few cartons, to numerous footlockers, to crates, and finally to containers.

We could hardly cope with the technological growth. We moved very fast from hand-written manuscripts to the latest IBM type-writers, and when our new computer arrived, it was the largest in the city for a few months before Kenya exploded with the IT. Believers advanced from the reel to reel tape recorders, to recorders operated by hand, then graduated to general electric portable recorders, the solar panel, and finally just last year, the MP3 wonders.

The house was packed full with material. Within no time the outer house was full. We built a huge 14ft garage to help ease the pressure of storage. Then an inspiration struck. We got hold of the numerous crates and pallets that we were constantly receiving and built a large, very beautiful three-roomed house for a store. We used one room as a packing office, the next as a store/computer/conference room, and the last one as a fully-equipped, modern recording studio.

After 15 years of intense use, this block went up in an infernal as the watchmen tried to drive away bees with fire! We lost around 70,000 books, most of them on transit to Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi. We lost precious files containing valuable letters and documents gathered over a period of almost 20 years, furniture etc. We never saved a single item. By the grace of God, VGR had already sent us an empty 20ft container right from Jeffersonville, and that has solved the storage problems to date.

Since the office was in the house, my wife and three daughters quickly learned the art of running it, and they became indispensable to the work. Soon the VGR set up the Kampala office under Brother Bolahs Onyango to ease the pressure out of this central office. 

It was recently decided that the Nairobi office be moved from its present location to the city center, where a new premises was acquired. The ultimate goal is to purchase a plot where where we can construct a center that would befit this God given Ministry.