Julius and Sabina Kasue of Chyulu were two of Kenya’s early converts. They both came from Christian backgrounds and had studied the Bible. In 1981, while living in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, Julius was introduced to the Church by Dennis Child, a Latter-day Saint working there. Julius frequently read the Book of Mormon and missionary pamphlets and then discussed them with Brother Child. Julius recalls, “It was when I read the Book of Mormon for the second time and then prayed about it that I felt something burning in my heart.” Although Julius had a witness of the truth, he waited four years before being baptized in February 1986. His wife, Sabina, was baptized the following November. Soon after their baptism, Brother and Sister Kasue left Nairobi and returned to Chyulu, a rural area about 250 kilometers southeast of Nairobi, Kenya. The Kauses became the nucleus of a branch there. The experience of the Chyulu Saints is representative of the faith found among the new congregations being established throughout Africa.
In order to hold worship services, the members in Chyulu built a small bowery that would accommodate about forty people. The sides were made from tree branches woven together, and the roof was corrugated tin and palm branches. Each Sunday morning, little children used tree branches to sweep out the building.
Due to the area’s isolation and primitive conditions, special arrangements had to be made for the baptisms. A water tank was brought from Nairobi to serve as a baptismal font. It took five hours to pump enough water from a well and haul it six kilometers to the new font. Then ten adults stood inside the font to raise the water level high enough so the candidates could be immersed. In preparation for the first service, forty people were taught the discussions and interviewed. When they were baptized and confirmed, the branch nearly doubled in membership. By August 1993, there were two branches in Chyulu, with a combined membership of three hundred and fifty.
In 1992 a severe drought brought near-starvation to the Saints in the Chyulu area. Under the direction of mission president Larry Brown and Julius Kasue, by then Chyulu Branch president, 3,400 pounds of corn and beans were brought to relieve the suffering Saints. Elder and Sister Ted McNeill, a missionary couple, made the arduous trip from Nairobi to deliver the food.
Elder McNeill recalled, “There were about eight women who came and rolled big lava rocks out from in front of the truck and made a road. I have never seen such hard-working women. I worked construction all my life. I’d like to have a crew like that.”
There was great rejoicing when the truck arrived with its seventeen bags of food. President and Sister Kasue spent the night making porridge and taking servings to the many starving Saints who were too weak to get out of bed. He visited every family to assess their needs.
To help the Church members prepare for future emergencies, a program was established to raise drought-resistant crops. But even drought-resistant crops require some moisture—and the area had received no rain for nearly two years. On 21 October 1992, forty members and sixty nonmembers planted a crop, and then held a special fast, asking the Lord to bless them with rain. The Church film The Windows of Heaven was brought in and shown at one of the few public places with electricity. The audience was clearly touched, and continued to pray mightily. In less than a week, the rains came. The crops grew—and so did the faith of the people. There was a bountiful harvest of both.
1. “Gospel Pioneers in Africa,” E. Dale LeBaron, Liahona, May 1994