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John TelaMatunda
This small city in Kenya's Rift Valley stepped forward in 2009 to be the testground for our new LBI (Local Bible Institute) model. They have around 40 students, about half of whom are pastors and about a quarter women. They're now one semester away from graduation.

They're a relatively well-educated group - a majority have completed their secondary schooling and at least one has a university degree. Several are teachers.

Our Captain for this LBI is John Tela, pastor of a growing local church and a teacher of Kiswahili in a high school.

Moses LokorodiTurkana District
Moses Lokorodi, a pastor in Kakuma Town, is the Regional Captain of the four LBI's we have in the Turkana district, a large arid area of northwestern Kenya.

Lodwar
In March 2010 a group drove for 12 hours over some of the worst roads possible to get to Lodwar, the self-declared 'capital' of the Turkana region of north Kenya. (A local airline, Fly540, has just launched a daily 40-minute flight there - the mentors on our recent reload felt SO blessed!)

This LBI has around 20 students, about half women and a third pastors. Few have had any prior Bible training, and the level of schooling attained is lower than Matunda. But they are eager learners, now into their fifth semester as this is written. We will have a fresh intake of up to 40 students in December 2011.

Kakuma
Kakuma is a small Turkana village known primarily as the site of the second-largest refugee camp in East Africa - Camp Kakuma. We have a small (20-student) LBI there, now into its fifth semester. The demographics are similar to Lodwar, but if anything the students are more keen.

Kalokol
Kalokol is a small fishing village on Lake Turkana, where they catch tilapia and sun-dry it for shipment to markets in south and west Kenya. We started an LBI there in April 2011 with a surprisingly full roster of 42 students.

Lokichoggio
Loki is the most northerly town in Kenya. For years it was the favourite staging post for NGO's and the UN flying relief supplies into war-torn South Sudan. Since South Sudan's independence, it has seemed to languish and be looking for a purpose. But 43 leaders found purpose when they signed up for our LBI there in April 2011.

Sultan Hamud
This is a town in southeast Kenya on the edge of the Maasai lands. Originally founded by an Arab trader, it retains a lot of Islamic influence and culture. But in November 2011 we established there out first LBI in the Maasai language, with 32 students.

Eldoret
Eldoret is the fifth-largest city in Kenya. It has been L2L Kenya's home base for the past four years, and at last we're launching an LBI close to home - our first urban LBI. Launch date is Nov. 25, 2011, and we'll have a full roster of students.

The list could go on. We have several other locations on hold, awaiting funding. In November 2011 we presented the concept to church leaders in Tanzania - specifically Mwanza and Tabora - and received warm welcomes and open invitations. "Where have you been all these years?" asked one pastor who had travelled 120 km to Tabora for our presentation.

How many LBI's could countries like Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania support? It's hard to imagine placing any limit, as most communities outside the major cities fall smack into our category of 'under-resourced areas'. The controlling factor locally is leadership, as without effective, committed leadership in the community the LBI will not thrive. The controlling factor internationally is funding, as the LBI's are not self-supporting - while students pay fees that cover some of our Reload costs, startup costs including the required hardware have to be externally funded. So we continue to seek out churches in the West whose excess resources can stand in the gap for their sister churches in Africa.

 

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