Connection with enrollment counselor leads to Bibles for remote tribe

Pastor Paul Ontunya Oyagi of Kenya with Bibles in his native language
January 09, 2020

By Bob Holmes

Call it a divine appointment.

It all started in September when a pastor in a remote area of Western Kenya inquired about enrollment at Columbia International University.

While the pastor could not enroll at the time, CIU enrollment counselor Sarah Gibson, who works from Ohio, became acquainted with the pastor, Paul Ontunya Oyagi. He has a growing church of over 250 people who speak Ekegusil — a rare language. He mentioned the stress of leading and preaching to a congregation who had no Bibles in their native tongue.

Gibson says God kept placing “Pastor Paul” on her heart and sensed that she should do something to assist him. She contacted her father, Michael Gleason, a retired Ohio pastor, and together they worked on helping Pastor Paul find the Bibles.

“It took us about eight weeks of contacting people in Kenya, people here in the U.S. and working with missionaries to find Bibles translated in the tribal language and get them to his tribe,” Gibson said.

They finally found a Bible society in Kenya that had recently translated the Bible into Ekegusil, and were able to purchase 25 of them from the society for only $10 each. The society then walked the Bibles to the pastor.

In early January, Gibson was thrilled when Pastor Paul sent her photos of him with boxes of Bibles and his wife reading the Bible for the first time in her life.  

“It was such a joy-filled day seeing those Bibles in his hands and his wife reading God's mighty Word for the first time,” Gibson said. “It was like Christmas morning!”

She says her goal is to continue to buy Bibles for Pastor Paul’s church so that each church member’s home will have a Bible in it. 

“We are so thrilled that God allowed us to be a part of this divine appointment and pray that this will help spread the gospel in Kenya.” 

Columbia International University consistently ranks among the Top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report. Excitement is growing on campus with increased enrollment and new academic programs such as the Master of Arts in Global MigrationRequest information on enrollment at CIU and Columbia Biblical Seminary or call (800) 777-2227, ext. 5024.