History / Aims


HISTORY

Humble Beginnings

In 1998, a ‘Facts For Faith’ magazine edited by brother Albert Fairweather (a full time commended worker of the assemblies in Australia), was sent to Nigeria, and from there back to South West Kenya. An invitation came from James Omwando to visit, and in early 2000, Albert went for three months to Kenya with the conviction of God’s call, living among the people in their small mud huts and teaching them mainly under trees and in rough bush chapels.  Many came from surrounding areas and he met with them under trees and in rough bush chapels.

In 2002 Albert built a small caravan with annexe, and continued to live among the people.  At this early stage of the work, to live among them, eat their welcoming meal and answer their questions really touched them and opened many doors. 

Believers in Australia and New Zealand began to send gifts in support of this developing ministry, so the then ‘Facts For Faith Inc.’ Management Committee moved to form ‘Assembly Aid Abroad Inc.’ (AAA Inc.) to provide accountability and transparency. This committee is made up of believers from various assemblies in Australia and supervises the receiving, receipting, accounting and disbursement of gifts and ensures accountability from those associated individuals and bodies who receive these gifts.  An annual audit of the finances is also conducted. A number of newsletters are produced each year and sent to interested prayer partners and donors.

Today, about 40 Evangelists and Bible Teachers receive part or full support, and this is driving a great advance with over 90 assemblies now represented and this number increasing.  Our main focus continues to be on the great commission given by our Lord in Matthew 28:18-20.  From the outset much effort has been placed on evangelism and church planting.  There is a continuing need for sound Bible teaching and Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to entrust the teachings “to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Tim. 2:2) is a very important one for the work in Kenya today.  There is much false teaching today throughout Kenya that needs to be countered by the systematic teaching of the Word of God by faithful believers.     

Though our emphasis is on evangelism, church planting and Bible teaching, true discipleship calls for a holistic view of the Lord’s work, to help in all areas of need: spiritual, physical, emotional and social (1 John 3:17-18).   This has also led us to support orphans (including orphanages, schools and trades learning centres) and widows (including building of houses, goat program, sewing machines), and to help with famine relief and other needs within the community.  We provide assistance in getting access to water, education, and various income support programs.  The great challenge is to ensure we do not perpetuate a dependency and entitlement mindset, but rather to see outcomes that are sustainable by the Kenyans themselves into the future.  Our conviction is also to help provide Bibles in their own language, Hymn Books, assembly halls and bicycles/motorbikes for workers.


Widening the exposure

In 2003 Albert invited John Kurian, a Bible teacher from Kerala, India, to visit Kenya with him. John’s brother Alex from Dallas, USA, joined him in 2004. This led to Vinoji and Joyce Samuel and Jacob and Susan Varghese moving as missionaries to Kenya in 2005 and 2007.  In recent years assembly Bible teachers from Australia, New Zealand, India, Canada, the USA and Israel have visited and continue to visit East Africa, helping with the short term Bible Schools, seminars and conferences in many centres.

African workers have not only established assemblies in Kenya, but have moved into Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia. The Indian missionaries supported by Africans, have reached into Malawi and 9 assemblies have been established there in less than three years. 


Emmaus Work in Kenya

On Albert’s arrival in Kenya in 2000, He was met by and greatly helped by New Zealand missionaries, Rex and Dorothy Riordan. Rex was the Director of the Emmaus Bible Correspondence School until 2004. Lazarus Kisau is the current Director. This ministry was founded by Americans, who subsequently also erected a substantial building in Nairobi.  At that time there were no more than 20 assemblies in Kenya with little sign of growth.

The Emmaus ministry has played a vital role in assembly planting, and in training a number of brothers who are now leaders at the cutting edge. The teaching found in the course ‘Christ Loved the Church’ by William MacDonald, has greatly helped in establishing autonomous and self-propagating churches with a plurality of elders who are mostly self-supporting subsistence farmers. 

There are over 100 prisons in Kenya, and the Government has seen the change Emmaus courses made in many prisoners, some gaining early release. New Zealand elders who visited a Kenya prison with an Emmaus worker in April 2011 said this: “The prison manager welcomed us and told of Government policy with three emphasis; [1] Spiritual conversion [2] Physical correction [3] Skills training.” Christian Prison Chaplains have been appointed in all prisons, and many are working closely with Emmaus.   Lazarus Kisau holds training seminars for these to become Correctors of the courses.

When Emmaus workers visit, the prisoners are gathered to hear the Gospel preached, and all who want to do courses are enrolled. The system of Regional Correctors developed in Nigeria by Jim Gillett of ‘Ireland Outreach’ has been introduced in recent years, and German brethren are helping with financial support. Training is led by Wim Hoddenbach, who visits for this purpose, and is Emmaus Regional Director for Ethiopia and Kenya.


AIMS

Assembly Aid Abroad' was established in the year 2000 and later incorporated to receive gifts for a work that the Holy Spirit opened among poor people who live by subsistence farming in South West Kenya.

A responsible Committee was formed in Australia to supervise the receiving, receipting, accounting and disbursement of gifts and to request accountability from those associate individuals and bodies who receive these gifts.

The Word of God teaches accountability and transparency in such matters

(2 Corinthians 8:16-24).

The Aims of 'Assembly Aid Abroad Inc'

1. To provide an accountable body, namely 'Assembly Aid Abroad Inc', to receive gifts, with proper books of account, receipting, banking and auditing.

2. To financially support evangelism and church planting and associated needs, beginning in East Africa  as the Lord leads and at the discretion of the Management Committee.

3. To financially support indigenous Evangelists and Bible Teachers who have no support from other sources and who are working in fellowship with Brethren Churches and according to the teaching as outlined in the 'Elders Handbook' as published by 'Assembly Aid Abroad Inc' .

4. To help Churches with Bibles, Bicycles, Orphan support, building and maintenance of Trades Learning Centres, Schools, Chapels, Conference Centres and associated works.

5. To disburse such gifts as the Management Committee directs in view of the needs, and as may be requested by the donors, working where possible in fellowship with Associated Bodies.

6. To review the books of account kept by Associate Bodies in  distributing gifts to ensure that all gifts are used as requested by those bodies and as agreed to by 'Assembly Aid Abroad Inc' .

7. To publish and distribute literature and to arrange for visits by Bible Teachers to Churches.

8. To send out Newsletters to interested persons by E-mail and Post.

9. To co-operate with Associate Bodies and Brethren Church workers on the various fields in achieving these Aims.


CULTURE AND ACCOUNTABILITY

In Kenya we have two Advisory Committees (working together but focussing on particular geographic areas) made up of proven Kenyan brothers who distribute support gifts given by believers, and keep us informed of the needs, growth and any potential evangelists and teachers worthy of support.  

Government regulations require registration of all churches, and for the assemblies we are involved with, it is done under the name of ‘Brethren Assembly Fellowship, Kenya’. An executive committee representative of all the assemblies cares for this requirement, without interfering with the autonomy of each assembly.

Where there is great poverty coupled with tribalism, there will always be underlying issues of corruption. Kenya has forty-two tribes each with their own language. One of our African workers commented that because we do not have tribalism in Australia, our living standard is higher and our political system is better. Over the years of visiting Kenya several ‘religious conmen’ have been exposed.  It is interesting to see how subtle and devious they are and the way they operate, and how gullible we Western Christians can be.  Anyone sending support to Africa needs to know with whom they are working, and have in place a system of accountability and transparency. 

The culture also aids in developing leadership. From an early age both boys and girls have to assist parents. The boys care for animals and assist in the fields. The girls care for the babies while mothers work in the field, and they also gather firewood and carry water for the home. So responsibility is learned from an early age. They have few if any toys, and will sit quietly for hours in teaching sessions.  It is normal for young men to accept responsibility and take leadership roles in new assemblies.

The culture of support within the family and tribe also helps older brothers to assist with new church plants until the work is established. Overall there is unity, with regular meetings of elders from assemblies who assist one another in many ways.

© 2017 Assembly Aid Abroad