“There are many challenges [that] come to you, many of which being brought by people. Sometimes wonder how you are going to solve them, but God always provide wisdom and how to go about that.”

Elyves Wanjala

Program Master of Divinity ('20)
Age 53
Ministering in Kenya
Family Wife and four children

Elyves is from Kenya. He has planted several churches in Kenya and now pastors one of those churches. Elyves has a heart for training young leaders with solid Biblical doctrine at the Bible college that he started two years ago. He hopes to take on a greater role in teaching at the college.

$100 a month provides a pastor a scholarship to study at CAPA.

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Interview with Elyves Wanjala

2017

Q1

Growing up in Kenya, how did you first come to know the Lord?

Q2

What were you doing right before you came to CAPA?

Q3

How do you balance your time?

Q4

If you’ve gone through seminary and a college already, is there something that brings you to CAPA this year in particular?

Q5

Are there any hardships that you have ever had because of your Christian faith? Any difficulties or persecution or challenges?

Q6

Are there any ways that you’ve seen God’s providence in your life?

Q7

Are there things that you, in particular, are looking forward to doing during your Master of Divinity program here?

Q8

When it comes to your time after CAPA, is there anything that you plan to do specifically?

Q9

Do you have any prayer requests?

Q1

Growing up in Kenya, how did you first come to know the Lord?

I grew up as a Catholic. But there is one day… I was coming from seeing a friend of mine—working, going downtown; working, I was downtown. Then, there was a gentleman ahead of me that looked behind and stopped when I was close to where he was. He stretched his hand and greeted me and said, “Sir, you look so familiar.” And um, okay, I think he just wanted to strike a conversation with me, and began to preach to me Christ. He didn’t have a Bible, but he was quoting out of Scriptures.

So as we walked along, then we got to a busy street; and then there was a lady who joined in by the name of Susan, and he says, “Susan, can I use your Bible?”, because he didn’t have a Bible. So Susan gave him the Bible. And he opened John 3:16, and quoted John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son that whoever shall believeth on Him, shall not perish but have eternal life.”

And then Susan retorted by using this Word. “Situma…”—[she] was calling my name—of course she had been introduced to me—“Situma, you are too good to perish. Jesus shed His blood for you.” And those words pierced into my spirit. And then I submitted, and that day I repented and confessed Christ Jesus and received that gift of eternal life.

Q2

What were you doing right before you came to CAPA?

I later on got married. And when I got married, I went to a seminary. I went to a seminary, did my bachelor’s in Bible and theology. And thereafter I plant—began planting churches. And I planted several churches. I have a church, which I planted myself, that I’m pastoring. And I plant other churches that are under our organization and decide that, also, we started a Bible college two years ago. Yeah, so basically that’s what I’m involved at this point. Yeah.

Q3

How do you balance your time?

Now, this is by the grace of God. I found, sometimes, becoming overwhelming; but at the beginning of this year, I began to see that I have so much because, yeah, I’m the president of the college—I am a pastor of a church, senior pastor, lead pastor of a church. I’m overseeing other churches. I am a father. I am a husband, [laughs] and as well I am a student. So I began to delegate… delegate and tell those who are under me, “Hey, I’m only going to… I will only come to do […] just come to preach. No administrative work or whatever. I want to kind of step out of being so much involved with the church. I’m going to concentrate on the Bible college as well as my studies.”

Yeah, but that doesn’t mean I will not be able to be in touch with what the church is doing. Yeah, so also we are trusting God to be able to input other people in place to come do other things, so I can concentrate more on my studies. Yeah, yeah.

Q4

If you’ve gone through seminary and a college already, is there something that brings you to CAPA this year in particular?

I began doing my [Master of Divinity] online—The Master’s Seminary. And when I was doing The Master’s Seminary, I began last year. But then, after talking to Brian Biedebach, he told me that it’s a requirement that I have to [be] at The Master’s Seminary—Los Angeles—on campus, for two years. That’s a requirement.

Of course, I come to the U.S. oftentimes, but I cannot stay in the U.S. that long. [I have] kind of heavy responsibility back in Kenya. And he come up with the idea that CAPA would be convenient for me—would be much more affordable. I’d be close to home, because I’d come for ten days and go back. I have to factor in the idea of tuition. The cost here is affordable. The only thing that would be heavy on me is for me to get in my flights. So, that’s the only challenge I will say I will have. Because here the cost is subsidized, is affordable, and so I can be able to… So the reason why I came here is because of recommendation of Brian Biedebach—because he is the one in charge of extension studies. So he recommend that to me, and I applied, and that’s how I get here.

So what drew you to The Master’s Seminary?

I’ve watched many times John MacArthur teach. I’ve been once—I attended one of his meetings where he was speaking in the U.S. So I liked him. I would go to YouTube to listen to him. And when I realized they have a seminary, which he is the founder, I was drawn to it. Yeah.

Q5

Are there any hardships that you have ever had because of your Christian faith? Any difficulties or persecution or challenges?

Yeah, we have challenges—normal challenges, like maybe you are lacking something or maybe somebody in the family is sick. Those can be challenges that stretches your faith. Being in a low economic country… sometimes things happen that you don’t have maybe enough money to meet the need. So always you have to trust the Lord. For provision. That’s kind of a challenge, of course. I mean, [I have] children that are going to college. And being an overseer of many churches, also pastoring a church, there are many challenges [that] come to you, many of which being brought by people. Sometimes wonder how you are going to solve them, but God always provide wisdom and how to go about that.

You’re talking about tough cases with people in the church?

Yeah, tough cases within the church. So to me, those are the challenges; but I wouldn’t say that I would have a persecution, per se, because of my faith. Yeah—because my country, we are—we’ve never faced, like, terrorism, although Kenya has faced terrorism in other regions. Yeah, but uh, not a challenge to the extent that somebody is trying to challenge your faith, [or to] the point of saying what you should put away your faith or just reject Jesus Christ. Yeah. Yeah.

Q6

Are there any ways that you’ve seen God’s providence in your life?

I can say my life is full of God’s providence. My being here is because God provided. Yeah, and I paying about $65 to be here was a one-way God’s provided. And getting my ticket to get here—also the Lord provided. With all the other responsibility that I have, I was wondering where will I be getting to fly into Lilongwe every month. It cost a lot of money. This time around, the Lord provided, so I’m trusting God for the next trip. [laughs] So that’s how it goes, yeah.

Q7

Are there things that you, in particular, are looking forward to doing during your Master of Divinity program here?

My object of my being of the M.Div is, one, to acquire that knowledge and be able to use it in our college so that I could be able to teach there, because we are offering a B.A.—Bachelor in Theology. So that once I qualify here, I will be able to teach there instead of relying on someone; because then, relying on many people that we are kind of inviting to come and help us teach. Yeah. That doesn’t mean that they will not come, but at least if they don’t come or they don’t have the chance to come, there is someone already staying there who will be able to do the job.

Are you planning on getting more people trained from around your area to teach at the college?

Yeah, I look forward to that. I looked forward to that. If that can happen, that will be okay. Yeah, I look forward to that. The challenge is, many people have allowed to get to this type of degree; but it is the opportunity to get, maybe, provision or a scholarship or something like that—that’s where the challenge is. But I look forward to having many people in my area getting to a level that they can help in teaching. So the other challenge is getting people who of the same orientation, same faith. That’s where the challenge is.

Q8

When it comes to your time after CAPA, is there anything that you plan to do specifically?

I will. Specifically, I am trying to transition myself from not being directly involved with the church work, but now put my more of my effort in the college. Yes, that is what I look forward to.

You have a heart for the college students and training the young?

Yes, yes—mobilizing, getting teachers, just being there to facilitate or to oversee what is happening at the college as the president.

What’s the spiritual state like in Kenya and the Bible colleges?

People are more just nominal Christians. You can tell, sometimes, who is born-again and who is not born-again. But until you interact with people, that’s when you can be able to tell who is born again because many go to church—many. But also we have traditionalists, so there you can also know this one is not a believer because of the mere factor of what they do. They do the practice and they rely on the things they do. Yeah. Kenya as a population they say is 80 percent Christians, but how many people go to church on Sunday? Maybe what the whole total could be 40 percent, 30 percent of the whole population. Yeah so, just like in the U.S.

[…] We have other programs apart from the Bible college; we have other programs. We train them on evangelism—not specifically those who come to the college, but even those who are not. We have a program that we go put people together in 15s or 13s, and we send them out into work for one full week, and we leave it to be.

What do you guys train them to do? Where do you guys send them out?

We train them on one-on- one. Are you familiar with the EE? Evangelist Explosion? So we train them in EE, Evangelist Explosion; and this one has the methodology where if I train you, you will also train others, so that the whole thing is a multiplication of both soul-winners and people trained to be—people trained as soul-winners.

And where do you guys send them out to...?

I mean… you just… Okay, depending where they come from. If he is a doctor, he will be able to witness to his colleagues. If he is a teacher, he will be able to witness, because you go to where you are. So we want to make sure that where they are, where you are, we are equipped enough to reach where you are.

[…] It’s not like missionary. […] We just making sure that there are people who are coming to church—that people, pastors, that will be able to train their own members so that they can be able to reach the colleagues. Either their colleagues at work, or maybe is walking. Wherever he has an opportunity. They may be sitting on the bus. Or maybe a shopping mall. Wherever. He’s got the know-how to do it. Yeah.

Q9

Do you have any prayer requests?

I mean, my prayer request is that I need to trust in God how the coming here every month. Paying for the tuition that I’m paying, that’s okay. But then, flying in here every month, that’s what I’m trusting God for. That will be my prayer because not all the funds are in yet, but God is faithful. He is faithful, and I know He will provide.