Adventist Church President Ted N. C. Wilson urges Christians to lead in reconciliation, though not specifically mentioning the nation's 2007 post-election violence, during an April 23 sermon at Nairobi Central Adventist Church. This was Wilson's first trip to Kenya as president of the global denomination. [photos: Edward Onyango]
"Be an encouragement to the people. Bring hope and reconciliation in these times of difficulties and always proclaim God's truth," he urged a 3,000-member congregation at the Nairobi Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, in the Kenyan capital.
Seventh-day Adventists have a substantial presence in the East African nation, Wilson said: "It is impressive that in Nairobi alone, there are 242 Seventh-day Adventist churches," he said, according to a report in The Standard newspaper.
The church operates several radio and television stations including Hope Channel TV in Kisii, Kisima FM in Nyamira, Wikwatyo FM in Kitui and Baraton FM in Eldoret, church media sources confirmed.
Wilson explained to the congregation who Seventh-day Adventists are and why they are here. Urging Adventists to be proud of their name and beliefs, he said, "As Seventh-day Adventists living at the end of time, don't hide the name Seventh-day Adventist. As church members involved in local churches, institutions and organizations, we should use our name."
Wilson visits the Advent Hill Primary School Pathfinder club in Nairobi during his visit to Kenya.
He used this statement to urge the congregation and leaders to stand for Christ and live up to their name in proclaiming Bible truth, because actions speak louder than words. He called on everyone to pray for revival and to renew their relationship with God and reconnect with the creator through prayer and Bible study.
"To those church members who are frustrated, discouraged or distant from the church or the Lord, take hold of God's hand and renew your relationship with Christ," Wilson said. "I encourage you to go to your local churches when you leave this place and bring encouragement and reconciliation to your churches," he said.
Addressing young people, he urged them to stand up for Bible truth and be a vital part of the last great proclamation. "Get involved in your local church, in missionary work and in the strong proclamation of truth through personal witness and public expression. Ask your youth leaders, pastors and teachers for solid Biblical and Spirit of Prophecy teaching and preaching," he said, referring to the Bible and the writings of church co-founder Ellen G. White. "Turn away from the idea of just entertaining yourselves, but rather be active in the service of others. I appeal to all members and especially to young members to help return the Seventh-day Adventist movement to spiritual Godliness," he said.
Calling on the church to unite and finish God's work and keeping with the theme of Revival and Reformation, Wilson said, "Let us pray for God's church to be filled with incredible Holy Spirit power so we can go home. We are living in the time when the Lord wants to pour out the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit. It is time for God's church to receive the Latter Rain experience."
He urged the people to humble themselves, pray and seek God's face. Only then can the church be truly revived. "But it is our work, by confession, humiliation, repentance and earnest prayer to fulfill the conditions upon which God has promised to grant us His blessing," he said.
The following day, Wilson spoke at an "Ebenezer Celebration" marking the continued construction of a library building at the new Adventist University of Africa, a seminary being constructed near Nairobi.
"When you take a look at this glass of water, some of you will say they brought the president of the General Conference a glass of water that is half empty and some will say he received a glass that is half full. What kind of perspective do you have? When you look at this building do you look at what is not done or do you see a beautiful potentially finished building? Praise God for this building. It is not half empty but half full," Wilson said.
"Soon you will enter this library to work, study and to learn more about God. To all of you who are academics and students, the foundation of all true Seventh-day Adventist education is knowledge of God. May that ever be the theme of this library and the classes that are taught," Wilson said.
The stops in Kenya, which included a meeting with President Mwai Kibaki at the Harambee House, were the first leg of an African trip that would also see a visit to Angola.