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Abaminto welcome to Elder Israel Monyoro of Nyaguta Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Mzee Israel Monyoro, 99 years, is a Christian servant and church elder at Nyaguta SDA Church in Nyaribari Chache, Kisii County. He is well known in the South Kenya Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church as a travelling Elder who teaches children about the Lord Jesus Christ. He has travelled around the Conference teaching children, churches and Christians at Camp Centers  such as Masongo, Nyaura, Nyanchwa, Itibo, Nyamage, Nyaguta, Tabaka, Riokindo, Omobera, and Nyamache. 

Elder Israel Monyoro was born on May 10, 1917 and was circumcised in November 1932. He was married in 1941 and has seven children of whom three are girls and four are boys. Elder Monyoro told us that the SDA Church in Gusii has a long history. He told us that the first SDA church in the South Kenya Conference started in the year 1906 at Kendu Bay.

Humble roots at Kendu Bay

The Church was started by an American missionary named Pascal Armstrong together with a Luo named Jacob Orwa. From there, the Kendu Bay Church opended a branch at Kamagambo, South Mugirango in Kisii County in 1910. Through the continuing efforts of Pascal and Orwa, the church further proceeded to the rest of the Gusii highlands in 1918, opening a branch at Nyanchwa. 

Omogaka Monyoro told us that it was at Nyanchwa that Armstrong and Orwa were joined by another American missionary, Mr. Berfen. Now with three missionaries, the decision was made to have Berfen work at Nyanchwa while Pascal and Jacob took charge of Kamagambo and Kendu Bay respectively. While at Nyanchwa, Berfen did a lot of work to the people of Gusiiland and he is credited with starting a Vocational Bible School to the young children who were Nyanchwa. 


 Elder Israel Monyoro


Our Mwanyagetinge Elders, Our Inestimable Treasure: Elder Israel Monyoro, Nyaguta SDA Church, Nyaribari Chache, Ksii County.



 At a glance:

Name: Elder Israel Monyoro
Date  of birth:  May 10, 1917
Circumcision date : November, 1932
Marriage: 1941 with the same sweetheart to date.
Number of children: 7  [three girls and four  boys].

Home Church: Nyaguta SDA Church.


Cherished weapon, Circa 1950's: It is his first weapon against the enemy. Elder Israel Monyoro always takes his Bible with him wherever he goes.

When we asked him if he sometimes leaves his Bible at home, Mzee Monyoro told us that "You just never know when you are gonna need it. You cannot fight the enemy with nothing and expect  to win " 

When we asked Omogaka Monyoro if he had a favorite Bible verse, He told us that he loves the entire Bible especially Proverbs 3:5 [ Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding ]. KJV. 


Back in those days, our people did not have lots of communication resources such as we have today. They did not have radios, recorders, videotapes, televisions or the Internet. Notebooks were in short supply. Elder Monyoro wrote most of what he knows of the SDA Church history in Gusii in his Bible, using a good old fountain pen. The Bible is what he read every day and therefore it was easy for him to remember.

In his Bible, Omogaka Monyoro wrote about how the SDA Church started in Gusii in 1906. He mentioned the First World War of 1914 and the Nyanchwa Church being established in 1918. He told us that the work of the Lord through his servants resulted in many people believing and being baptized. Among them, Omogaka Monyoro told us that the following ten renowned people were the first converts to the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Gusiiland.   


The first people at Gusii who accepted The Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. According to Omogaka  Monyoro's records, some of them were later baptized in 1922.

The First SDA Converts

1. Paul Nyamweya
2. Yusuf Simba
3. Musa Ayako
4. Samuel Omoke
5. Johana Ombega [Mwamoriango]
6. Joel araka [Omoguche]
7. Matayo Ratemo [Omobasi]
8. Ibrahim Ombega [Omotongo]
9. Marko Nyasinga
10. Daniel Kiyondi [Omonyamasicho]


After staying in Gusiiland for five years and having a fruitful missionary work, God's work through Berfen was praised. As a result of this great work, more American missionaries joined the Conference. These were Havis, Haet, Webster and Thomas. What had started with Armstrong and Orwa was now a huge SDA Conference. 

Below: Elder Monyoro's Bible showing where he wrote about the SDA missionaries in Gusiiland and the newly baptized Christians in 1922.

  SDA Church History 2

The Church is growing: Chinche and Nyaguta here we come with Joel Araka.

The church at Nyanchwa was growing rapidly and a new church needed to be built. For the next church to be built, the next location needed to have accessibility and people who are receptive and willing to accept Missionaries and the Lord's work. After consultation with the South Kenya Conference, a decision was made to build the next church at Nyaguta.


They were able to choose Nyaguta because it was centrally positioned and the area had all the commodities they needed in order to sustain a Seventh-Day Adventist Camp Meeting.  Among those commodities, included:

[I]. Esasati [swamp grass ] for building structures quickly.

[II]. Emete: Nyaguta area had a lot of trees to help in building houses and other structures.

[III]. Firewood: Chinko was needed for cooking for the missionaries and the converts.

[IV]. Amache [water]: This was readily available in the nearby fresh water streams and the River Gucha.

It was time for more Harvesting. The students and new converts who were baptized at Nyanchwa were sent for missionary activities around the Nyaguta area. This time round, one of the first converts and missionary sent was Joel Araka. Omosike Araka was sent to Chinche near Nyaguta and set up a Sabbath School which lasted from 1922 to 1923.

God's work and harvest was expanding.

In 1923, another Sabbath School was established at Nyaguta. Once started, there were a lot of interested residents who started attending the Sabbath school. Elder Monyoro told us that some of the people who were really interested in knowing the word of God at Nyaguta and were converted included:
1. Noah Nyangara
2. Jairo Getanda
3. Jeremiah Ombariga
4. Zedekiah Getenga
5. Micah Momanyi
6. Joshua Nyakeriga
7. Israel Monyoro
8. Wilson Moninda
9. Jason Marube
10. Swagera Onsare
11. Morara Nyakerura
12. Nyagero Omari

Like a father guides his children, God fights our battles for us if we let Him guide us: Elder Monyoro joined Sabbath School in 1923 !! Below, Elder Monyoro with his Weapon.
  Elder Israel Monyoro 1

Now, the church was ready set at Nyaguta and people were learning and understanding the Bible in the area. At this time, a missionary was sent to the region from Nyanchwa in 1927 to oversee the development of the church in Nyaguta. This missionary was Barben.

Elder Monyoro told us that Barben used to travel around the Nyaguta area while riding a bicycle. With the Church now expanding, another American missionary named Lewis joined Barben at Nyaguta in 1932 to help start Camp Meetings in the area. 

Now Nyaguta becomes the SDA Camp Center for the entire Gusiiland

In 1933, The South Kenya SDA Conference announced that in all of Gusiiland, Nyaguta was to be the best central point for the Camp Meetings. It was good news, being the first one of its own kind in the whole region. Christians around Gusiiland were happy and they came together. Once together, they started to prepare for that big event by clearing bushes, and digging up roads leading to Nyaguta.

This road construction was commenced under the supervision of the American missionary Lewis and Paul Nyamweya [one of the students where baptized in 1922 at Nyanchwa]. The preparations were done and the first Nyaguta SDA Camp Meeting was conducted in 1933.

Mzee Monyoro says that during these Camp Meetings, "There were lots of programs introduced to the people and this attracted thousands of people, many of whom were converted and became Christians" Omogaka Monyoro told us that many people were very thirsty for the Good News and the ones who heard it went to spread it elsewhere in Gusii. 

The South Kenya Conference Of Seventh-Day Adventists and the First Camp Meeting in Gusii: Nyaguta Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Nyaribari Chache, Kisii County.

Nyaguta SDA Church 1

Gusii gets the first SDA Pastor and the next phase

Once started, the tradition of holding Camp Meetings continued at Nyaguta. The SDA Camp Meetings were held once a year. In 1937 Paul Nyamweya was crowned as a pastor being the first one of his kind in the Gusii community. He guided the people in the Conference according to the spirit as he availed himself in serving God.

In 1948 the Camp Meetings got a different phase and because of the growing Christian community, two new SDA Camp centers were established, making a toal of three Camp Centers in Gusii. These new Camp Centers were:

[I]. The Bobasi/Bomachoge SDA Camp Center which was established at Riokindo.

[II]. The Bogetutu and Bogirango SDA Camp Center which was established at Tombe. 

Elder Monyoro told us that with the establishment of these two new Camp Centers, the Conference made a decision to appoint a teacher or overseer for each one of these centers as follows:

[I]. The Riokindo Camp Center was to be led by Elder Asa Onyiego and

[II]. the Tombe Camp Center was to be under the supervision of Elder Abraham Oirere.


Reporter's note: First, we want to thank our Lord Jesus Christ for the opportunity to meet and interview our elders in our community. The knowledge and history provided is of immense value. Secondly, Mbuya mono Omogaka Israel Monyoro for your time and efforts.

This interview occurred over a period of two days and comprised of two different visits to meet Elder Monyoro. This interview could not be rushed. Good things cannot be rushed. It required patience. We sat attentively under the knee of Omogaka Monyoro for two days because we did not want to miss anything. 

The story of our church was narrated to us by an elder in the church who has served God for a long time. Someone who has been in the trenches for God. Mbuya mono Elder Monyoro. Mbuya mono ase Omonene Tata Nyasae ase aya onsi gwatoire, amo n' ase ogotoinyoria igoro y' History Of The SDA Church In Gusii.




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