Laurie and Daryl Bates served as missionaries in Kenya from 1987 - 1999. For the first six years they were engaged primarily in village church planting in western Kenya, and the next six years they focused on an urban church plant and teaching at the Nairobi Great Commission School. They returned to the U.S. for fifteen years, during which Daryl was the minister for the Fredericksburg Church of Christ in Virginia. They have three children, Lydia, Steven, and Lee, and two grandchildren, Gabriel and Alexa. They have been serving with a team in Mbale, Uganda since May, 2014.
We are here in Mbale because we believe this is a very critical time for the cause of the Gospel in East Africa. Uganda is consistently ranked among countries with the youngest populations in the world (median age 15.5 years old). Many different voices influence them. Every day at certain times, we hear the muezzin call people to Muslim prayers. There is also the pull of secular culture that comes to them both locally and over the internet. Our passion is to hold up the person and the message of Jesus Christ to them as the only One who can save them and give them fullness of life. We want to walk alongside them as they learn to walk with the Lord each day.
Our primary efforts in Mbale have been focused in the Mbale Church of Christ and at LivingStone International University. MCC now consistently has around 180 in attendance on Sundays, but developing stable leadership among this mostly young congregation is a challenge. The Lord has blessed us with some very faithful core families, who are growing in spirit and who lead the church in areas like worship, preaching and service. The Lord is also working through our weekly Discovery Bible Studies to draw both MCC members and university students into deeper commitment to Christ.
We are seeing transformation in the lives of students at LivingStone International University. This year there are over 200 students from nine different nations. Daryl considers it a joy to share the Word of God with them as an instructor in Bible and Greek classes. We both serve as mentors for several LIU students. We believe God is preparing them for powerful service throughout Africa in years to come.