2012 Summit Still Paying Dividends Five Years Later

Swahili Church Choir

The smallest city ever to host the Ethnic Ministries Summit was Spartanburg, SC, and it is still reaping new dividends five years later. The 2015 dividend was World Relief opening its first office in South Carolina and making Spartanburg a refugee resettlement site. Many of these refuges have come from countries in the African region near the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their first language is of their country of origin, but Swahili is a second language for about seventy-five of the first refugees.

Desiring to minister to these refugees, the ministry organization which had sponsored the Summit began working to provide a church for them. They found Samuel Kioko, a Swahili-speaking Kenyan pastor of an English-speaking multiethnic church in Greenville, SC, and made it possible for him to travel twice a week to Spartanburg to begin planting a church. They paid him an honorarium and mileage and also provided seventy-five Bibles and songbooks in Swahili.

During this time, the closest church to the house church was praying for an interpreter for a Swahili family attending their church who could not speak English. They saw Samuel as an answer to their prayers and, when the house church outgrew the apartment, they shared their facilities with them.

Samuel continued his church planting work from May to November, and God provided a new co-pastor, Charles Kenya. Charles is a Swahili from Kenya who came to Spartanburg to attend the local Chiropractic College and now teaches there in addition to pastoring and running his own practice. On Sunday, January 29, 2017, a second new co-pastor was ordained, Augustin Mutabesha, a Congolese who had escaped to Kenya. While there, he earned his BS and MBA and came to Spartanburg in 2016.

Ordination Service