Samburu Mission Takes Entrepreneurial Training

“I thank God for the Friends Church family and global leaders to have such a training for our pastors in Samburu…..which will be a light of hope in the church and for our families.” —Workshop participant Pastor Felix Nayeyo Lekuyie

Katrina and Shawn McConaughey recently spent six days in Samburu with pastors from Samburu, leaders from Turkana, and trainers from the Global Disciples organization. The week was sponsored by Indiana Yearly Meeting and centered around a four-day training course in business for pastors developed by Global Disciples. A similar training happened with the Turkana mission leaders several years ago and has made a significant difference there. 

Shawn writes, “The Global Disciples training was meaningful and important for several reasons. For one thing, thirteen Friends pastors and pastors-in-training were introduced to a helpful framework for combining mission and small business. “As in many places, sacred and secular work here gets separated so that pastors feel like they must choose one over the other. This training does a nice job of helping leaders learn to blend the two. It emphasizes the importance of doing business with ministry in mind and of recognizing that ministry can take place outside of a religious framework. 

“Scripture was woven throughout the training, and tied to God’s call on us no matter what we doing. I found that a number of Quaker values were highlighted by the curriculum: all persons are ministers; God has equipped us to respond to God’s call on our life; all of life is sacramental, not just church stuff; and God has created us to be holistic in our ministry—all of a person’s life matters to God. 

“Breaking down the divisions between secular and sacred work helps pastors to become less reliant on their mission to support them. They become more financially stable, their families are happier, and it helps pastors get out in the community in a different role. FUM has invited all of its ministry partners to consider how they might find ways to become more financially self-sufficient. While the Samburu mission is not fully ready to stand on its own, a workshop like this helps move the mission in that direction . 

“Another advantage of this training is that donors have supplied funds so that those who successfully complete the training have access to a revolving loan fund. That fund helps provide up-front capital for several pastors to get a simple business started. Possible businesses could be a small shop, a restaurant, a motorbike taxi, and so on. To request a loan, a participant in the program must submit a solid written business plan, as well as a ministry plan that explains how the business and ministry will be woven together. As loans are repaid, the next-in-line trainees can borrow. 

“While unrelated to the content of the Global Disciples training, the workshop also provided an opportunity for Kenyan Friends to develop as leaders. In addition to the Global Disciples staff, three Friends from North Yearly Meeting—led by John Moru, Turkana Friends Mission Director—served as trainers for the workshop. And bringing Friends from Turkana and Samburu together allowed for deeper connection to form among Friends from different parts of Kenya.

“In addition, John Moru, who is well respected by the leadership of Samburu mission, came ready to deepen the relationship between the two missions. The interim administrator of the Samburu mission is quite new to the role and benefits from mentoring by those with more experience. John Moru has taken on the role of mentor. 

“Coincidentally, the chair of the Turkana Mission board happens to work and live in Samburu. Therefore, many informal constructive discussions happened throughout the week. These two mission points are growing as partners in the work to which they are called. There is no competition between them, even though the two pastoralist cultures that they represent have historically been at odds with one another. As they lead their people towards a new way of life in faith, they are demonstrating to all those who are watching that peace building is possible. 

Shawn with Philip Lelelit, chair of the Samburu Friends Mission Board, and interim Samburu administrator Daniel Lentirangoi.

“Finally, at a personal level, Katrina and I benefitted from having several days just to get to know these leaders. Our trips to Samburu are often hurried visits. We were able to build stronger ties to these pastors by having a whole week to spend with them. Nothing beats the benefit of chatting between sessions, and sitting around at meals getting to know one another. We grew even deeper in our love for the people of Samburu and we rejoice at the way God was at work in these days together.

“We hope to see similar trainings happen in parts of Tanzania or among ministries to the Maasai in Highland, Bware, and Nairobi Yearly Meetings. Or in other places where church growth is hampered by limited resources. While it requires seed money from outside sources to provide the initial loans, and some funds to sponsor a training, the potential benefit for East African Friends is profound.”

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