SDA faithful swarn Kisumu as conference gets underway

SDA Church Pathfinders on a Kisumu street, where they sensitised residents on a one-week Mission Extravaganza at the Mamboleo showground. [Denish Ochieng', Standard]

Thousands of Adventist faithful have congregated at the Kisumu showground for a week-long extravaganza.

The Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA) faithful attending the extravaganza themed "Mission Like Never Before" are drawn from 15 countries in East and Central Africa.

The church's East and Central Africa President Blasious Ruguri arrived in Kisumu on Wednesday accompanied by many others from the region. 

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Samwel Misiani, a pastor in the church's West Kenya Union Conference, and who is hosting the extravaganza, said the gathering was one of the most important events in the SDA calendar worldwide.

"This is a historic event in Kenya. We are gathering to thank God for what He has done for the country. We will pray for everyone and many people will be baptised," said Dr Misiani.

"We are celebrating to give people the opportunity to know the Adventist faith, so that they also may know that God is still at work saving lives and transforming them to His likeness," he added.

The extravaganza climaxes tomorrow and Chief Justice David Maraga, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i and Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o are some of the Kenyan dignitaries expected to attend.

Hundreds are expected to be baptised.

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Similar extravaganzas have been held in Tanzania and Rwanda. This is the first time Kenya is playing host for the event.

Kisumu has this week hosted three events by the church. Delegations from different countries began to arrive for the international extravaganza on Sunday, on a day the church also had a regional music festival.

That same weekend the church's Nyamira Conference had its Pathfinders' Camporee in the city. 

Local branches attending included those from Turkana and West Pokot. Misiani said the conference had also attracted renowned preachers from Tanzania and choirs from around the country.

SDASeventh Day Adventist ChurchChief Justice David MaragaInterior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i