159 kilometers northwest of Nairobi sits the city of Nakuru. Recently updated from a municipality to a city, Nakuru is the fourth largest urban center in Kenya and, at one point, one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. Despite its growth and size, if you were to visit Nakuru during the week, you would likely only meet women and many children.
Strategically situated along a main thoroughfare, Nakuru is a popular stopping point for people traveling from Uganda to Nairobi. Many of these travelers are children who believe that the Kenyan capital, with its large economy and varied industry, presents an opportunity of a better life than they expect in rural areas.
Even though Nakuru is a few hours’ drive from Nairobi, many men work in the city—where work is easier to find and the wages are higher, but live in Nakuru—where the cost of living is lower. Those men will stay in the city during the week to work and return to their homes in Nakuru for the weekend.
On average, families in Nakuru have more children than other cities throughout Africa. With the addition of many children coming from Uganda, the population of Nakuru is markedly younger than average. These complexities make Nakuru a unique place for ministry.
Over ten years ago, our partners in Kenya, Emmanuel Baptist Church, were looking for a spot for their next church plant, and Pastor Ronald Kogo and his wife, Jackline, were eager to answer the call to do ministry in this transient place. When Pastor Kogo and his family arrived in Nakuru, they quickly realized how unique the needs of the community are and began reaching out to the largest group in the then village: children.
Today, Nakuru Covenant Baptist Church sits on a quiet corner toward the north end of town. Along with preaching and caring for his church body, Pastor Kogo faithfully serves the children of Nakuru through VBS programs, counseling, evangelism, and mid-week activities. He dreams of owning a soccer complex, where children can come to play and interact with members of the church and hear the gospel.
In addition to sharing the gospel, Pastor Kogo also believes in the importance of helping equip these children for a productive life where they can care for themselves and their families. So, there are many opportunities throughout the week where children can hear the gospel, make connections, and learn entrepreneurial skills.
As a pastor of a young church, Pastor Kogo holds many responsibilities. One of his constant prayer requests is for God to raise up more leaders in the church to help with the growing needs of the community and ministry.
He is currently working to train up other local pastors and members of his own church to be better equipped to preach the gospel. He hosts a weekly training along with a yearly conference called Solemn Charge.
Even though he is pastoring a small church in a small town outside the capital of Kenya, Pastor Kogo is known and respected internationally. He is a cohort leader with Acts 29, an international church planting organization, and has been featured by The Gospel Coalition.
He is constantly looking to grow in his knowledge and understanding of the Bible and teach it to the people in his community. Even as he cares for his church and community, Kogo is also a husband and father to four children. His wife, Jackline is also very involved in the ministry and helps in counseling children and leading two women’s groups.
While they are both faithful ministry workers, life in Nakuru is not easy and they are often facing the same physical needs as the children and families they are serving. Pastor Kogo described their life as trusting that God would make the little that they have last, as Jesus did when He fed the five thousand from a few loaves and fish in Matthew 14. Despite the hardships, his heart is for the church, the people, and the city of Nakuru.
This month, we are celebrating Pastor Appreciation Month! Please join us by sharing this post on social media and thanking a pastor in your life!
Looking for more stories about faithful pastors? Check out this story about how pastors in Texas and California are faithfully reaching out to their communities.