This heart is heavy today. My Kenyan brother, Leonard Kyalo, went home to be with Jesus yesterday. He was a dear friend and someone I’d coached regularly for the past three years. Instead of my normal blog, this is a tribute to his life and a challenge to join me in raising up hundreds to take his place.
Social Media Friendship
I first met Leonard on Twitter. It was early in my learning stage on how to use social media to spread the message of Disciple Making Movements. We chatted about his vision to reach his nation and multiply movements there. I sensed sincerity and a hunger to grow in his understanding of DMMs.
On a whim, I decided to offer him a coaching call by Whatsapp. From that first call, I knew he was someone I wanted to invest time in. He was fruitful, faithful, and passionate about reaching lost people around him.
Visit to Kenya
A few months later, my husband and I were on our way to South Africa for meetings with our organization. Kenya was on the way and wouldn’t cost us anything extra to visit and do some training for the leaders he was working with. So we went!
It was a wonderful time of training with these Kenyan brothers and sisters, so hungry to understand a biblical approach to multiplying disciples. We ate in his home and met his family, especially enjoying his intelligent sons Mark and Joshua.
Everything I trained Leonard in, he immediately put into practice and passed on to others. He was truly a 2 Timothy 2:2 kind of coachee. I love to invest in this kind of person!
Before long, he’d led his group of trainees forward in transitioning discipleship groups into churches, was baptizing people, and working to multiply the groups he had started. A few months ago, one of his coaching action steps was to empower more leaders to also baptize, including some women. He was excited to share how he had passed the baton to those leaders and they had now baptized those they had led to the Lord and were discipling. Leonard didn’t hold on to authority but freely gave it away.
Whenever I talked with him by phone, Leonard had many testimonies to share. He’d found another Person of Peace here or there. Someone was interested in DMMs and he was planning to go to another district of Kenya or Uganda to train them. “I’m in a slum, holding a discovery bible study, and will be late for our call. I’m so sorry,” he would text.
A Serious Diagnosis
About a month ago, as he and his wife were preparing to go for further training on how to use a storying method to multiply groups among oral culture people, he fell ill. Diagnosed with a brain tumor, we were deeply concerned and he was hospitalized for some days. After initial treatment, they sent him home to rest and for the swelling on the brain to go down.
I spoke with him during that time, telling him to rest and spend time with his family. Brother Leonard didn’t want to talk about rest. He wanted to tell me about the people he’d just shared Jesus within the hospital, and about the new discovery groups, he wanted to start. His passion and energy were for reaching the lost, with only minimal concern for his own health condition, even with such a serious diagnosis.
Grieving Loss, Crying Out for Fruit
This morning, I grieve the loss of my brother and friend. He is with the Lord, worshiping in His presence. He leaves behind a wife and three children who will miss him greatly. There are also many who he brought into the Kingdom and trained that will miss him too.
My heart in some ways questions the investment made in coaching. Leonard was someone who would only live a few years after I’d begun to work with him. My dear Kenyan brother couldn’t fully implement all we had discussed, nor the goals he’d set. He didn’t get to personally see the completion of his End Vision for a movement that would launch other movements.
I know God will finish what He started through Leonard. Others will rise up and carry on the DMM work there in his beautiful nation. Maybe you are one of those who will do that.
When we invest in people, we invest in the Kingdom of God. It is God’s work, and God’s dream we partner with. He will bring it to pass.
Would you pause a moment to pray for Leonard’s family and those he trained? Ask with me for a huge kingdom harvest of souls in East Africa. The baton can no longer be carried by my brother and friend. Pray that it will not fall, but be passed on to hundreds of other disciples who will make disciples especially among the unreached of East Africa.
Though loss is painful, we must keep investing in people. We look for those 2 Timothy 2:2 men and women who faithfully pass on to others what we train them in. Some will go on to glory before we do. Others will surpass us as trainers of trainers. A few will fall away from Christ or give in to sinful desires and paths. This must not deter us from continuing to make a Kingdom investment in loving and developing people.
We train, disciple and mentor. Our lives are poured into those we coach and love people and they become close friends, brothers, and sisters. Some seeds will fall to the ground, but they will bring a rich harvest of souls.
Who are you investing in as a brother or sister, pouring your life into to raise them up to train others?
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