Consider joining with us in this noble course and be a co-partner in a life changing mission to very vulnerable orphaned children in need, as you read the touching story of the founder...
My testimony encapsulates my life journey as a whole. Before I surrendered my life to Christ, I literary did not exist. Life did not bear much sense, hope, or any direction for me. In accepting Christ as my savior and committing my life totally to Christian living, it made a lot of difference particularly, in resolving major unresolved questions about life and its purpose.
I recall vividly that I initiated my education through an unusual request to my father at the age of six to assist me in starting school. The search for an appropriate placement took me to a Catholic Church sponsored school and with no sense of any Christian direction, I remained there for seven years of my primary school education. The ritualistic indoctrination into Catholicism and my youthful zeal for religiosity got me to attempt enlisting for admission to priesthood at a Catholic Church seminary at the end of my primary schooling at Riara Holy Ghost Mission School. As fate would have it, I was not included in the list of the finalists that year (1966). High school placement was highly competitive at the time and only one student out of 135 students in my class joined High School. At that time to finish grade 7 was like, “you have now finishes school” as it was at this point that most children ended their schooling.
Subsequently, I spent two of my youthful years without schooling in the village doing manual work and eking a livelihood akin to living in the streets at a tender age of 13 and 14. During this time, my parents were constantly separated and all the time, nine of us children remained under the care of my unemployed mother who was switching between my poor and old grandmother’s home, and a one rented one room hut where all of us lived together. At the close of two hard years, by the God’s grace,
I earned a second chance to rejoin a primary school two grades lower through the help of my uncle who was a senior in high school at the time. Unlike the previous school, the second school was a protestant Church sponsored institution.
God gave me tremendous favors with the school principal and teachers to the effect that I became the school captain in my with a host of privileges including use of a small library in the principal’s office. On the church side, I developed a taste for the word of God having come into direct contact with the Bible for the first time. I started to attend church regularly and eventually joined a group of Christian folks at the church and started teaching Sunday school. After the final exams at the primary school, I was the only student to earn the required grades for entry to a fully government aided High School out of the 21 students that took the exam that year. Later on, I got admission to join Kijabe High School a very competitive government aided Christian School. Without any parent’s support for me to join the school, the invitation presented a major dilemma. Thinking about the matter, I resolved to go without fees to the school to plead for help and admittance. My request was rejected rejected with an advice to return with the required fees. I did not leave but stayed on for a chance to speak with Mr. Joshua Cege the school account then. The first major gesture of compassion for me from a stranger occurred when Mr. Cege allowed me to join the school without paying the fees. Unknown to me, at that point, I got identified as needy case such that, when an anonymous person sought to support a poor student at the end of the year, the principal invited me as a recipient for the help. Kijabe High School doubled as my “home” and school where I spent my holidays either working, or attending school during regular terms. A very compassionate American teacher of biology Mr. Goeling gave me a home to stay during the holiday recesses.
My Christian life started in earnest during my time at Kijabe beginning with a personal confession of faith soon after joining on March 8th, 1970. Upon receiving salvation, I sought and began to learn about the will of God for my life. Long standing questions about the purpose of my life became very interesting to my youthful intellectual mind. I joined the school Christian union and learned a great deal about the Christian calling and about the responsibility appertaining to the decision I had made. Being a person of faith gave me a sense of a new lease of life gaining leadership roles at different levels in the school – as a school captain and Christian Union secretary. The streak for leadership continued with me throughout my academic career. In Kenya Science Teachers’ College (KSTC), I became the Chairman/president of the Christian Union and a member of the executive committee of the International Federation of Evangelical Students (IFES –FOCUS in East Kenya); years later, I became the Bible Study Secretary at the University of Wales African Christian Fellowship chapter of Britain.
After my graduation from college with a science teaching associate degree in 1977, I taught in two high schools for 7 years during which time I participated extensively in community services – Christian Union patron and the schools’ chaplain and in student spiritual leadership and counseling. I got married to my late wife Joyce in December 1979 at Limuru Girls School. During the seven years my initial teaching career as a science teacher, I traveled widely in the country ministering the Gospel of the Jesus Christ to High School Students in Nairobi and the surrounding Anglican Church parishes
While serving God in this volunteer capacity I derived immense satisfaction with the involvement. Although there was no direct reward in way of remuneration, the sense of fulfillment in contrast to my math/physics teaching was phenomenon. I interpreted this as a call to full-time ministry. It is only at the close of 1983 following a seven-year stint teaching that the Lord laid it heavily on my heart to resign from the teaching profession and to join full-time ministry. The lord impressed on me to seek necessary preparation towards full time ordained ministry work. Immediately, I initiated interaction with the Archbishop of the Anglican (Episcopal) Church in Kenya the late Bishop Sospeter Magua but at the same time, sought other opportunities in faith ministries. With full support of the local minister, I joined the Protestant Churches Medical Association that later became the Christian health Association of Kenya (CHAK) to initiate a Nation-wide youth family life education ministry in all the National Christian Council of Kenya (NCCK) member churches and the immediate local communities. The bulk of my work at CHAK encompassed recruiting volunteer educators’ nation-wide and training them to initiate family life education programs in their churches and communities. In ten years, I witnessed tremendous successes in the programs with added benefits earned by all program recruits–huge numbers of teachers and youth in the country receiving salvation in the training workshops.
After 10 years with CHAK, the Lord opened another door for me to serve with the African Evangelistic Enterprise a non-profit faith-based urban poverty alleviation program for East Africa. I held the mantle of the Regional Aid and Development Coordinator for East Africa. I was the custodian of all the aid and development work within the region covering five countries – Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. It was soon after my entry to AEE that the unfortunate Rwanda Massacres occurred with a loss of all our staff and their families from the Kigali office. I had the privilege to participate in the cleaning process of the mangled offices and putting in place a temporary working committee for AEE Rwanda and Burundi ministry. This travel took place during a very uncertain period in the country only two months to the massacres of April 1994. Listening to the testimonies of the survivors, I had the honor to have proposed to my boss (Mr. Barhanu Derese) the immediate hire of the current (2012) Executive Director (Team Leader) of AEE Rwanda office, Mr. Antoine Rutayasire. During my three years with AEE, and in collaboration with international partners, and generous Christian foundations, I initiated diverse Aid/Relief and Development projects ranging from Primary Health Care, Micro-enterprise, women empowerment, community agricultural extension projects, HIV/AIDs awareness education, and foster care program for orphans and widows, as well as refugee resettlement thorough local housing projects. At this time, I served actively in the pulpit committee of the Nairobi Baptist Church where I was also the chairman of the reception committee.
My exit in 1996 from AEE was voluntary triggered by my observation of a need to restructure the organization to more effectively meet goals of my program. My proposal required that I resign and re-enter the organization on a conditional stance that the International Board initiate a restructuring process to curb what I perceived as shortfall in resource stewardship within the Aid and Development department by the high-profile evangelistic arm of the organization.
The calling to evangelize the youth of Sub-Sahara Africa was by and large the mainstay of my participation in the Gospel ministry for the youth. Following my withdrawal from AEE in December 1996, I set up the Center for Adolescent Health Kenya (CAH) a non-profit Christian Trust with an initial small grant from the Samaritan Purse International. My board of directors at the time included key personalities e.g. Rt. Rev. Dr. John Gatu, Mrs. Wairimu Njoike, and Dr. MacMillan Kiiru. The vision of CAH arose in part from my background and life experiences, my calling to salvation during the adolescence years, coupled with the transformation experiences in my life journey. The wealth of experiences gained while working with people in poverty in the Eastern African Region under CHAK and AEE and my high school teaching experience, also contributed to this calling to a greater degree. Within two years of CAH inception, I conducted youth training workshops for the slum areas of Nairobi covering a wide range of area of interest including, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention with a grant from UNICEF, micro-finance training workshops with support from Plan International, and several Adolescents’ Healthy-Living Camps with the support of parents’ and guardians. Following two years of this ministry, prospects for growth were however minimal for lack of adequate donor interest. At this time, I felt the need to further my studies and with an offer by the University of Tennessee Knoxville to pursue graduate studies, I left the country for the U.S. with my family during August of 1999.
An encounter with the Minister for Faith Development during 2002 at the Central Baptist Church of Bearden Rev. Tim Clark earned CAH a new lease of life in what I saw as a momentum gathering phase towards a new Global Youth Ministry for Sub-Sahara. Groundwork for the ministry got underway as I would up my PhD dissertation at the University of Tennessee. at the time, the more urgent challenge was support to facilitate successful completion of my graduation at UT during the summer of 2004, a prayer accomplished beyond the remotest expectation when support flowed generously through the Faith Ministry Department of Central Baptist Church of Bearden.
While working to initiate a network of supporters for CAA, some very interesting developments arose with my founding of an African Immigrants’ Ministry in the city of Knoxville Tennessee under my leadership and the support of the Church. Imani (faith) church a new outreach initiative for African immigrants in Knoxville met in the church annex under the hosting of the CBCB missions committee. I became the pastor with the support of my wife Jane and family–a very exciting and rewarding Gospel ministry experience as I went through the rigors of completing PhD degree. Presently, the church meets regularly in a new facility that was acquired recently (2013). Imani church attendance and diverse contacts has encompassed a representation of several nationalities overtime including: Tanzanian nationals, Kenyans, Rwandans, Burundians, Democratic Republic of Congo, and others from Mozambique, Botswana, Ghana, Niger and Nigeria. We have seen extensive ethnic global representation even from the city of Knoxville. We recognize the tremendous support from many contacts that have shared interest in seeing the growth of a first ever-African ministry in Knoxville. Due to the impact of the Imani ministry in Knoxville, key events occurred that are worth mentioning: I received ordination into the Gospel ministry under the Southern Baptist Convention in the church sanctuary together with the hooding for my PhD. The chair of my graduate committee and the chair Dr. Julia A. Malia attended to officiate the hooding part of the ceremony.>
I am forever thankful to God for the leadership in my life and many blessings. Michael Mbito Nov, 2013
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