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In addition to serving as the lead champion of the Jubilee Village Project in Kager, Kenya, David Kayando is also the administrator of the Kager Dispensary Clinic, the pastor of a church in another town, and a committed husband and father of two kids – clearly, a driven man dedicated to his community. In his quiet strength, David leads others to serve alongside him, whether it is an intern from America or his next door neighbor. What better person to tell us more about JVP’s vision and work…
World Next Door: In your opinion, what makes the Jubilee Village Project work so well? What makes it different from other organizations or projects you’ve seen?
David Kayando: One factor that makes Jubilee different, in the first place, is that it’s holistic. Jubilee’s both involving the physical and the spiritual. That makes it unique. And we are hands-up, we want to make our programs owned by the local people. We are looking forward to sustainability.
And another thing, Jubilee is blessed to work with people who are forthright, and who really have the burden for the people that they are working with. It’s different because otherwise, people can just go to a place and impose and do something, not considering whether that thing is helping the people or not.
WND: I’ve heard people in Kager sometimes call you Apostle Dave. Can you explain the title Apostle and what how you got it?
DK: The title Apostle came a few years back. In my life I’ve been involved in church ministry, and in my early years after marriage, I did full time pastoral ministry in Kisumu town, which was basically church and nothing more. And from there I had some experiences of how it can be hard to do church without good resources, and also with poor people.
When you want to depend on them for support, it becomes a major challenge. So when the Lord had opened a door for me to come and do administration for the health clinic, I was now seeing ministry in a broader way. I was now seeing people come here, and they are sick, and they need to be treated, and they don’t have money. The aim of the dispensary was to give them affordable health care, but at the same time, they should pay to help us sustain.
So that exposed me to being holistic, [to be] able to reach them physically and also thinking about their spiritual lives. Some of them come as non-Christians, and you realize that apart from being weak in the physical, they also need some spiritual nourishment.
Basically my title came when I began to organize some conferences for the pastors. From there people began to notice the gift of apostleship in my life because I would not only reach them with the word of God spiritually, but I would also bring to them the idea of how they would become holistic, and help them think of how they could help themselves in other areas of their lives.
WND: I can see how that calling so clearly has placed you in the position to lead the Jubilee Village Project, since it’s doing exactly that work.
There are so many projects in JVP, and you are involved on some level with all of them, but if you could pick one or two that make you the most excited, what would they be?
DK: I think what my community seems to be depending on is farming. It’s like it’s the engine of the community. The challenge that we have in the community is food – lack of enough food. There are seasons that people go hungry. Maybe people will have one meal a day. So, I think because the backbone of my community depends on farming, and the majority of the people need food, farming has been most impressive because we touch everyone’s life.
And another thing that’s also important when it comes to the community is the economic development program because a lot of the weight of the burden in our communities is on the women. We have some irresponsible men, and some women’s husbands work outside the village, so a lot of the challenges to bring up a good family rest on the women. With economic development, I see women coming up. If they are supported and they become serious, and they become good stewards of what has been put into their hearts, they can raise up their children, doing some small business.
WND: In your opinion, what is the role of the Western Church in development? Especially for those who are interested in these issues – what is their responsibility or opportunity in development?
DK: I think they have a major role. But the success of that kind of program I truly believe depends on good partnership where the church in the West and the church in other areas forge to form true partnership in their program. I believe both have something to give. In my opinion, the idea that we should really try not to promote is the idea that the local people have nothing to give because that is where the issue of dependency comes from. And if that is done, then I feel our people will live in dependency for a long time. They will not rise up to the reality of ownership, or have the idea within themselves to plant something.
So I would think that the [local] church is the right partner with the church in the West because there is that fear of the Lord and that fear of being responsible, not corrupt. And they also best understand their people and their needs. But the church in the West has resources. So how the partnership could happen is that, as they bring in resources, the local church will be able to equally distribute the resources to the local people, but at the same time, do something to make sure they [contribute], or have a hand in what is going on. And I believe we also have what we can give to the church in the West. It may not be funds or something material, but we have something we can do. This is where we can share ideas, we can give advice, and we can pray with them. Those are key areas that I think the local church can do very well.
WND: What encourages you? When you are doing this work day in and day out, what keeps you going?
DK: What keeps me going is the impact, which may not be so big to someone, but to me, I see there is something going on. The work is exhausting – that is the truth of the matter – making sure that every sector of the project moves. It’s huge. But the result of the people we are serving keeps me going. Because so far, what we have done has all been positive. It’s like everyone wants to have it at once. They embrace it. So that is why I have kept going. There are already lives being transformed out of this program.
Another thing that keeps me going is that my burden, that vision that I had for my community, for the less privileged people, is still burning in me. The Lord pushes me that I must still go on despite the challenges that I have.
And the support I receive from the partners – I can’t explain it. They have kept me high. It’s bad if I were to disappoint them because it’s the same burden but they are far away. And I have the same burden, but I am with the people. I feel those are three things that keep me going.
- Check out jubileevillage.org to read about the 8 sectors of JVP’s work: food and farming, education, health and nutrition, energy and environment, housing and shelter, transportation, water and sanitation, and economic development.
- Look for opportunities that excite you to learn from and partner with the global church – the best way is a short term trip overseas!
About the Author: Jessica Shewan is a journalist with World Next Door. She graduated in 2009 from The University of Evansville with a bachelor's degree in History. She loves making new international friends and is passionate about seeing the global church pursue justice and peace!