HEM (first as FECPP and then FICP) has been involved with missions practically from its inception, specialising in evangelising polygamous communities around the world, with an emphasis on Africa. An obvious place to start was Kenya in East Africa where polygamy is not only widespread but - in the case of Kenya (since 2015) - also legally recognised by the government. Our first mission took us to Nyanza province in western Kenya on the shores of Lake Victoria, to an area sandwiched between Uganda in the north and Tanzania in the south, where polyagmous communities are numerous.
A brother there came across the HEM (then FECP Ministries) website and wrote:
A week later he wrote again and thereafter he and his congregations joined the ministry:
Thank you so much for all the love and joy expressed in your letter of 6 January 2003. We are over 200 people inspired by your printed materials. We are not affiliated to any religious groups or sects. Our Christian polygamous study groups is [one of] the smallest groups in Kenya and fastest growing in this huge highland of 3.5 million people.
The rented small hall is crowded with worshippers and the children and young people enthusiastically participate in our groups. [We are] Hebrew-roots Christians. The message first came to Kenya through printed materials that were being distributed in Nyanza province near Lake Victoria. Immediately more than 220 persons began attending 7 scattered groups each week.
Last month I visited a group of 60 people of Northern Kisii highland. I had been hearing fragmentary reports that these polygamists people were manifesting a receptive attitude toward Christianity and Hebrew-roots Christians in particular. Past attempts to evangelize them by other Christian denominations had not met with success due to their lifestyle of plural marriages.
We have donated [a] large spot of Land in our village for the building of a chapel for Christian plural marriages. The enthusiastic study groups are ready to begin building a small chapel using jungle materials. This is the area where plural marriage Christians have prevailed and flourished. Our work is rapidly expanding [through] invitations of interests. Your printed materials from the [NCCG.ORG] CD-ROM eables our groups to secure copies for themselves.
Extra local leaders are being recruited and many of inquirers are being instructed as thoroughly [as possible]. Study groups are being held at an accelerating pace. Some are bringing other family members and friends of plural marriage. It will require much effort to follow up the interest adequately.
We eagerly invite you to visit our groups in Kenya! Other religious sects or denominations [have] displayed little interest in [bringing] polygamous families into Christianity. They have been more less aggressive in their Christian dealings with the Africans [living] plural marriage or [with] polygamous families.
We commend you for your efforts in behalf of plural families in Kenya.
We are looking forward to hear from you soon.
Elizaphan Osaka (12 January 2003)
Dear Stanisław Królewiec (FICPM),
I was so touched to read your letter of 17-1-03. It made us deeply happy to know for your open arms of welcome, which have been extended to us to join FICPM. Again, we are thankful for the growing and deepening personal contacts among us.
Millions of Kenyan people have heard much about Christian polygamists in Kisii Highland in the local nation news lately for over two years ago ...
In Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ),
Elizaphan Osaka (20 January 2003)
Shunned by the traditional protestant and catholic churches because of their polygamy, finding a polygamy-accepting community became a priority of Brother Osaka (from Kisii in Nyanza Province) who had raised up 14 branches and established an orphanage from amongst the animist people as well as taking onboard polygamous families converted to Christ but rejected by the orthodox churches when they refused to put away all but one wife. Grinding poverty was, and still remains, a key issue not only for polygamous converts shunned by monogamy-only Christians (and those Christians in government upon whom they depend for help) but generally in Kenya and throughhout Africa. The Nyanza Mission was opened in 2003 and in the space of a few weeks 16 small congregations (plus some small groups) had been established in several villages with an average of 10 members in each with a Deacon or Elder to supervise each one.
Dear Stanisław Królewiec (Patriarch),
As a result of your printed out materials our village people of Nyanza are hungry for instructions of FICP that will help us for service.
Your materials will widely be distributed in our several villages. A group of our villagers meets each week in Nyarenda village, it is hoped that your books and your correspondences will contribute to even further growth.
I desire to see every person in my village have your teachings. It is one of my greatest desire that God will see fit to let me continue this effort. Nothing thrills me more than to see this your printed materials entering village to village.
E. Osaka (10 February 2003)
Eli Osaka, Mission Pastor
Though finding a home with us, we encountered much resistance to any idea of abandoning traditional practices out of harmony with the Gospel, and in particular, 'female circumcision', so called, or cliterectomy, a barbaric practice that has been around for perhaps millennia.
When in the end we insisted that this abuse against young girls cease as a condition of remaining a part of us, Eli Osaka and his Mission finally broke with us and went elsewhere in search of association, mentoring and...inevitably...financing. Though this was very sad for us, given our investment of time, resources and effort, it was necessary that we insist such cruelty be brought to an immediate end for the sake both of the women and for the name of Christ.
Tradition, based on paganism and held in place by demonic forces, is, however, very strong in Africa and is a problem for all missions as both we, and our parent organisation, have learned again and again.
We, as a family, and now in conjunction with NCAY, are still very much involved in missions in East Africa where the problems of resistance to change remain. Culturalism is a curse to the missionary especially when, if he is from Europe as we are, he is regarded as trying to perpetuate 'colonialism' through imposing 'white culture', though in truth this is an excuse for not becoming Torah-compliant. And ironically, we can hardly be accused of 'colonialism' so long as we are promoting polygamy, so hated by the former colonial powers with their monogamy-only imperialism.
So long as this attitude of defending traditional practices at all costs, even when anti-biblical, remains amongst Africans, however, the imperative must be to train locals who can take the message of HEM polygamy to the polygamous tribes of Africa coming to Christ and boldly proclaim the truth. And though we have been invited to open a mission in Uganda (2016) we are for now concentrating on training native leaders to take our message to their people themselves.