Bro. Joel Tito Yugi’s Funeral Service

This is the second of the two funerals that we had, that were so close to our ministries. We had a major role to play for Calvary Baptist Church in Kisii. Tito was the man instrumental in running things on the ground for the opening of a school, which has an outreach for orphans. Tito had this vision early last year, and he came to us. After talking to him and showing him the clear plan of salvation, he was saved in August 2008, and he was baptized in September 2008.

After knowing Tito only a short time, it was evident that he had a great vision for helping the people in his village to climb out of the grips of poverty. He noticed that the children are the ones who suffer the most. He explained to me that it was the traditions of darkness of people that is one culprit of sending the next generation into further grips of poverty; and that the only way to break the cycle is to teach the young people the Word of God and the traditions of Christians in the past to break the chains of darkness for the future.

Tito had the heart for the ministry of a school/orphanage in his area, because the average life span is only 35! And it is continuing to get younger every year, because of Aids, other diseases, and simply because of the lack of general education. Tito was able to get his brother on board to assist in different ways: getting funds sent from another missionary in Germany, building school rooms, feeding the children from time to time, and donating two acres of land for the project (which includes a portion for starting a church). Through the small amount of time that we knew Tito, there was a very big seed of ministry sown that will need to be nurtured for many years to come. But what a glorious harvest it will produce!

We have had a few saved in Tito's village, after many Bible studies, to teach them the Word of God and to show them the Bible way of salvation. But only about 5 got saved in the year that we were working with Tito while developing the school. The family is deeply set in the roots of a traditional African religion which is called the "Spirit of Israel." They believe that they are the lost tribe of Israel, and that they are wondering around in the wilderness even today waiting for the opportunity to go the Promise land. But even with these deep roots of traditionalism, we were received by Tito's mother in a special way (she even treated me as a son). Tito's father was one of the elders of the village, and he was known and respected as a man of wisdom in many of the surrounding villages. Since Tito's father died, the same respect has been given to his wife; because she is the holder of his estate. I did not realize how much the people in the area respected her until a few days before the funeral. When the Elders of the village and the church came to her to ask her permission to carry out the traditions and the prayers for the funeral, she sat them down and told them, "Tito has a Pastor, and he has the Word of God, and he will do everything." So because of Tito's mother, God opened the door, and the Word of God was not restricted, but it was magnified!

There are several other things in dealing with the funeral service that made it last all day long; mainly, everyone who knew him asked for an opportunity to speak, sing, or just make themselves known. We also had a few politicians who had to try to drum up a few votes of confidence from the people; but in its entirety, there was freedom from any kind of traditional wailing for the dead, or appeasing the dead as is the case sometimes.

There were around 1500 people in attendance. Our church choir came from Kisii to sing a special; and then I was able to preach on the Kingdom of this World, the Kingdom of Heaven (from John chapter 3), and about being born again to see the Kingdom of Heaven. At the invitation it was estimated that about 100 raised their hands and prayed with me in their seats to be saved. Praise the Lord! We finished the service and buried Tito's body. Afterward, there were so many comments on the simplicity of the way that we did the service. Many were pleased that we did not have any peculiar traditions of our own, and they truly noticed that God had sent us to do that work.

Since the funeral, we had another meeting for the children of the village. We held a VBS for them, and we thank the Lord that Miss Shauna Brockman (a young lady who came to help us during the month of July)was able to go and teach them. We had students from other schools as well as several parents who attended. It was held on Monday and Tuesday of the week following the funeral. There were 100 kids and adults on Monday and 160 on Tuesday. We had an invitation for the older youth and 45 of the young people got saved and 7 of their parents got saved too. This is the fruit that Tito had a vision to see. We will continue to send updates on the Alaro school project. Please continue to pray for it.

Thank you for your prayers for this family and village,

Luke Shelby

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