Holmes Road Church of Christ

Changing Lives…first the water...then the living water

By Carl Burkybile

September 2016

During our July, 2016 mission trip,  we were able to visit various preachers and congregations in addition to visiting sponsored students at schools and working on water projects at  the Caring for Kenya Mission Center.  Our team was able to attend health care training sessions that are a part of the global grant water project which will bring clean water to Nzawa, Masaani, and Kithumula communities.  We discussed plans for the July 17, 2017 - Aug. 2, 2017 mission trip with possible focal points of  the trip to include evangelizing with congregations in each Caring for Kenya community, attending church leaders meetings, visiting sponsored students, completing the Mission Center and  water projects. 

Currently, American families are sponsoring the education of 45 students in Kenya.   In 2017,  we hope to provide World Bible School (WBS) lessons to each sponsored student with the expectation that the set of WBS lessons be completed during the sponsorship year.  During the trip we hope to identify a team from each congregation that would be trained with WBS lessons.  They would serve as WBS teachers and grade lessons for their assigned area.  The goal would be to use the lessons with both members of the congregation and as an outreach to others.  During community evangelism meetings, we would attempt to set up Bible studies and provide the first WBS lesson.  Ideally that first lesson would be completed and graded during the visit to Kenya.

We are also encouraging some handyman carpenter-type individuals to be part of the trip with the idea that they would be working to complete the Mission Center.  Their responsibilities would include painting, building bunk beds, and wardrobes for the bedrooms. 

In our discussion with the Kenya church leaders,  the following four point plan to evangelize and grow the churches has been developed:     

  1. Returning to a united effort with a group of preachers evangelizing one area at a time.  We were told that the group evangelistic effort has been very successful in the past.

  2. Erastus Kavutil assuming a role visiting preachers and congregations providing instruction, training, and encouragement as needed. 

  3. Conducting preacher retreats with topics of the Kenyan preachers choosing.  We will seek experienced preachers to conduct the retreats.  We already have some preachers who have expressed an interest.   We discussed a program connected with a Christian university or preacher training school that would result in credit and/or a certificate will each class. 

  4. Planning a major part of the 2017 trip to be an evangelist effort similar to 2005 and 2014.  It would be a time of faith building for church members and an opportunity to preach the Gospel to the communities.

If anyone is interested in being a part of the 2017 Mission team, please  contact us.  If you would like more information, please contact Caring for Kenya Director, Carl Burkybile at cwburkybile@gmail.com or by phone or text at 217-898-0425.


July 2016

During our July, 2016 mission trip we worked on the water project that is a partnership with Caring for Kenya, Healing Hands International, Shumard Foundation, Rotary Clubs, and Rotary International.  We estimate when completed 15,000 people in the three communities of Nzawa, Masaani, and Kithumula will have clean water.  Our goal was to move this project toward completion.    The wells at Nzawa and Kithumula have been successfully drilled, tested, cased, and capped.  The power house and kiosk at Nzawa are complete and the tank stand is under construction.  The well at Masaani was drilled as a 250 meter dry hole.  The Kenyan geologist who sited that well has fortunately retired.  During the trip, we met with Thika Rotary to seek Global Grant funding to re-drill the well at Masaani.  They approved funding from the grant “unexpected expense category”.

 U.S. Hydro-geologist Dean Ekberg picked the new Masaani drilling site followed by “Drilling for Life” geologist Henry’s geological survey.   The survey indicates that we will hit water three times with a 50 meter deep well.   We met with the “Drilling for Life” company to price drilling and schedule the drilling date.  We met with the Masaani landowner family to buy drilling site land.  Caring for Kenya purchased the drilling site land knowing that Rotary does not buy land.  Thika Rotary’s delays in paying the bills incurred by the driller and grant contractor have delayed progress on the project.

During the trip we attended a Global Grant Community Health Care Training Workshop conducted by local health care professionals Celestine, James, and Beatrice at Kithumula.  Attendees are pleased with the training and are asking for more training.   We realize that providing clean water is only part of improving people’s health.

In addition to the Global Grant project Dean Ekberg and the Drilling for Life geologist sited and surveyed a drilling site for Zombe, Kenya at Caring for Kenya’s expense.  The drilling would be 150 meters deep with a cost of $12,000 for drilling, casing, testing, and capping.  We estimate costs for pump, power house, kiosk, tank stand, water tank, and electrical connection will be another $15,000 to $18000.  We are seeking funding for this water project in 2017.  Once we complete a community water project we see the church grow.  As we say first the water, then the living water, Jesus Christ. 

 During the trip the team visited congregations, church sponsored schools, and visited schools were U.S. families are sponsoring the education of 45 secondary school students.  School supplies and personal hygiene supplies are given to the students.  We continue to learn of the impact that the student sponsorship program has on the goals and dreams of young people. 

Work on the Caring for Kenya Mission Center continues.  Cleaning floors, painting walls, varnishing doors, and setting up the kitchen were part of the trip.  In the future we hope the Mission Center will house preacher retreats, a preacher training school, women’s conferences, youth rallies, and women’s coop meetings as well as provide housing for mission teams. 

In July, 2017 we expect a large mission team to be involved in community evangelism and work to complete the Mission Center.  The congregation at Kithumula will be building a church building.  Two church sponsored primary schools are adding classrooms.  If you interested in being part of the 2017 mission team email cwburkybile@gmail.com.


July 2016 - Kenya Trip Accomplishments

1.  Worshipped and fellowshipped with Kavonge and Mwangya congregations

  • Dedicated new roof on Mwangya church building funded by Caring for Kenya
  • Visited at Nzawa, Masaani, Kithumula, and Kavaani congregation locations
  • Visited Celestine’s medical clinic providing water filters and medicine
  • Visited Celestine’s sewing coop and recorded interviews

2.  Met with Erastus, Justus, and Vundi to discuss future involvement:

  • 2017 Mission trip the last 2 weeks of July or last week of July and first week in August
    • Mission Center painting and building wardrobes and beds
    • evangelistic outreach at each congregational area
    • possible preacher’s retreat and women’s conference
    • visit sponsored students at school
    • plan to meet with groups of students in August while they are on break
    • meet with local water committees and assess the impact of two major water projects on the church and the communities
    • drill well at Zombe if funding is available.

3.  Visited 3 church sponsored primary schools (Kavonge, Masaaani, and Zombe) providing school supplies.
4.  Received funding request from Kavonge and Masaani schools for classroom construction
5.  Met with Thika Rotary to seek Global Grant funding to re-drill well at Masaani.They approved funding from grant “unexpected expense category”
6.  Dean Ekberg sited Masaani re-drill followed by “Drilling for Life” geologist Henry’s geological survey:

  • confirmed hitting water three times with a 50 meter deep well
  • met with “Drilling for Life” to price drilling and schedule drilling date
  • met with Masaani landowner family to buy drilling site land

7.  Dean and Drilling for Life geologist sited and surveyed a drilling site for Zombe:

  • site is between the church and the market
  • drilling will be 150 meters with a cost of $12,000 for drilling, casing, testing, and capping estimated costs for pump, power house, kiosk, tank stand, water tank, and electrical connection is $13,000 to $15,000

8.  Attended Global Grant Medical Training Workshop by local health care professionals:  Celestine, James, and Beatrice at Kithumula
9.  Visited sponsored students at 4 of the 14 secondary schools:

  • Student packets for all 45 sponsored students will be distributed
  • Letters from students to some sponsors were collected

10.  Visited GOYA Mission R.E.M. high school in Ngong (west central Kenya:

  • learned about the school and mission
  • Ebenezer and I talked about an agriculture workshop for the future

11.  Met with First Love international mission at their orphanage with Ebenezer
12.  Exploring an agriculture workshop and using their drilling rig
13.  Getting ideas for equipping a boarding school and Mission Center
14.  Mission Center:

  • Purchased paint and brooms
  • Cleaned and swept floors
  • Cleaned grout on tile floors
  • Painted two wall areas and front door
  • Tom painted John 3:16 and Matthew 25 verses on living room and dining room walls
  • Cleaned interior doors and door frame wood
  • Varnished doors on both sides
  • Hooked up Mission Center stove
  • Inventoried Mission Center kitchen items and put them in kitchen cabinets
  • Inventoried bath towels and bed sheets and placed in cabinets
  • Make list of items still needed for equipping the kitchen


June 2015

We are training another preacher at Nairobi Great Commission School.  Samuel is from Nzawa and is committed to sharing the Gospel.  Recently the Caring for Kenya congregations reported 7 more baptisms and several restorations.  The preachers met recently to discuss church growth and have re-committed themselves to door to door evangelism within their communities.  They also have committed to joint evangelistic outreach on a quarterly basis and an area wide youth seminar.

The student educational sponsorship program continued to make a positive impact of the students, their families, and the community.   Over the years the sponsorship program has resulted in a number of baptisms. 

Community Development Director Justus Mutua was selected by Barclay Bank to participate in a business and agriculture trip to Israel.  In addition to seeing Israel, Justus reports learning several things that will help him as he assists others in gardening and start-up businesses.  Several congregations now have established church gardens on their property.

Last year’s water project (partnered with Healing Hands International, Rotary Clubs, and Rotary International) is providing clean water for 15,000 people in the Tulia area near the original congregation that Erastus Kavuti started in the early 90s.  The project involved three deep wells and now has seven kiosks where people come for water.  This week we learned Rotary International has approved our grant proposal to drill wells and set up kiosks for three more Caring for Kenya communities:  Nzawa, Kithumula, and Masaani.  Caring for Kenya, Healing Hands International, seven Rotary Districts, and ten Rotary Clubs have all donated toward this project.  The church members, the communities, medical clinics, and schools will all benefit from this project.  As we have said in the past… first the water, then the living water.  We are following Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 25 by providing water to the thirsty.   We expect through meeting this physical need that many will come to know Jesus.  

We have tentative plans for a July 14th to July 30th trip to Kenya.  We will visit and encourage the congregations and church leaders.  We will be conducting community and one-on-one Bible studies.  We will meet with our current preachers and Samuel at Nairobi Great Commission School.  We will visit sponsored students at schools.  We will be putting in place health, hygiene, and sanitation training relating to the water projects.  We will be meeting with medical clinic operators, school administrators, and those people who are already benefiting from our clean water projects.   We will be working with Justus and Erastus to expand agriculture training and to assist church members and interested community members with cooperatives in start-up businesses.  We will always be asking questions and listening to see how we can best partner with and assist our Kenyan Christian brothers and sisters moving forward.  

If you are interested in being part of this trip to Kenya contact Carl (cwburkybile@gmail.com or 217-898-0425) by Wednesday night of next week


May, 2015

On the recent trip to Kenya, Dean Ekberg (hydro-geologist), Justus Mutua (Water Project Coordinator), and Caring for Kenya, Healing Hands International and U.S. Rotary representative Carl Burkybile met the Thika Rotary President Leonard Kasyok at Kiosk #2 to take pictures and discuss the impact of the water well project. Leonard was extremely complimentary of the on the ground leadership provided by community leaders Erastus Kavuti and Justus Mutua and the quality of the work done. Leonard said, “The Thika Rotary Club is currently partnering with four Rotary global grants and this water project is our best project.” Thika Rotary has agreed to partner with us on another three well global grant water project for the other eastern Kenya communities of Nzawa, Masaani, and Kithumula. He indicated that Peter, the Rotary International On-site Investigator, gave fours reasons why he was impressed with the current project. He said, “This project is benefiting a large number of people; the plan was well thought out including the spacing and location of the boreholes, water tanks, and kiosk distribution points; the project is fulfilling a great need for water after people have suffered for many years; and the record keeping and project accounting have been very well done.” Leonard noted that Rotary International was so impressed that two weeks after the on-site visit all the remaining project funds were released to finish the project.

Five of the six kiosks on the current project were delivering water when our team arrived. Elizabeth, kiosk #2 operator, said she earns $34 per month and is permitted to operate a little retail shop at the kiosk. She said, “The community and I are very thankful for the new clean water.” After paying the kiosk operators and the electric bill, the first three months of operation has netted $1,150 in the maintenance and repair account. During the visit to the kiosk our team saw people carrying water on their back, on their donkey, on their bicycle, on their motorcycle, and in wheelbarrows. While getting water Dixion said, “The project has changed our lives. It has saved us lots of time with shorter walks for water. The children don’t have to get up early to look for water. Many gardens have been planted and health of both people and animals has improved.” Ten year old Rogues said, “I walk 600 feet instead of one and a half miles getting clean water instead of dirty salty water.” Rogues carries his water on his bicycle. During the trip the well repair team came to pull and replace the pipe at the 2005. 

Mwangya borehole. The repairs were funded by the local water committee and Caring for Kenya. The repair team found a large hole in the pipe near the pump that caused the problem. By the end of the day the new piping and the water pump had been re-installed. Women and children lined up to fill their jericans with clean water.

The Christian Oil Well Drillers Fellowship funded the purchase of two diesel powered generators for borehole 2 and 3. We had waited for a year for Kenya Power to bring electricity to the wells. When Kenya Power hooks up the electricity, the diesel generators will be moved to new well sites where there is no access to electricity. With the help of 10 men the generators were unloaded and put it in the power houses. The men in the community set 10,000 liter water tanks on tank stands at kiosk #5 and #6 and dug the trench for the last of the piping and for the electric lines. Davis and Shirtliff made the power connections from the generators to the well pumps. The team was able to see the first water pumped from borehole #3.

Augustus Ngei, President of the community water committee, spoke about the impact of the water project. He said, “The project is making a great difference. Before the project was working we had problems at a kiosk at the edge of the community. Because the water available would be gone in two hours, people would arrive as early at 3:00 am. Sometimes flights would break out over a person’s place in the line. This water project is changing lives and also the development of the area. There is less water borne diseases. Because the water is closer to home, many people carry jericans of water in a wheelbarrow instead of using a donkey.”   The team saw a young boy pushing his wheelbarrow with jericans of water up the hill while another boy pulled from the front with a rope. When you see firsthand the impact that a supply of clean water close to home makes, you understand the phase “Give water, give hope, give life”. It really is true!

The Living Water Thirteen preachers from the Kutui District congregations gathered together as they do each month to spend time in prayer, singing, and Bible study. Team member Steve Collins shared a lesson on elders and deacons. Each preacher gave a congregational report. U.S. preachers Dick Miller and Ryan Miller conducted a “preacher to preacher” section of the meeting where they shared their thoughts about preaching and encouraging one another. East African World Bible School Coordinator Phil Palmer spoke to the group about World Bible School and the process of signing people up for the Bible correspondence program. Jeremy Mutinba, one of the preachers, was converted through WBS and agreed to serve as the area WBS coordinator. Over the next several days visits to congregations and village markets were held to sing, share the Gospel, and sign up interested people for Bible studies. The team held Gospel meetings and WBS sign-ups at Kavonge, Mwangya, Kithumula, Nzawa. Masaani, Kivaki, Kavaani, Ngelani, and Kiunduani. During the visits the team began the distribution of 150 Bibles (in their tribal language) that Caring for Kenya had purchased. In addition to the congregational meetings the team visited church families, market places, and water kiosks to build relationships. Our team visited the Caring for Kenya guest house under construction. It will provide a place for larger mission teams to stay on future visits. The team also visited the sustainable agriculture demonstration farm. The farm has 56 drip irrigated raised planting beds and a chicken house with 500 chickens. The team also visited Celestine’s medical clinic to provide medical supplies and water filters. On the trip back to Nairobi the team visited with Healing Hands international African Agriculture Director and his family. The team also visited the Nairobi Great Commission School and the Institute of Practical Christian Ministry to see water and agriculture work. Teaching preachers who to raise their own food provides an outreach tool as they build relationships and creates opportunities to share the Gospel. The new water well at IPCM has created a clean water source for the community, built relationships, and has created a way to share God’s love in action.