The Assistant Bishop of the Kirinyaga CPK Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Andrew Adano Tuye was killed in an air crash on Saturday 27th July 1996. He died with senior government officials when the police helicopter they were travelling in crashed just outside Marsabit town about 300 kms North of Nairobi.
Witnesses said the accident occurred three minutes after the craft left the Marsabit Airstrip. Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi has described the tragedy as one of the worst in Kenya's history.
The craft from about 1000 ft crash landing into the Marsabit National Park about 300 kms from the town. A fierce fire which engulfed the stricken craft kept away would be rescuers. The bodies were burnt beyond recognition.
Bishop Adano had been given a lift by the government officials to Embu from where he would proceed to join the Diocesan Bishop and Dean of the Province, Rt. Rev. David Gitari at an Ordination Service the following day.
About Seven Thousand people attended the late Adano's funeral on Monday 29th July 1996 at St. Peter's Church Marsabit where he was buried next to his mentor the late Canon Stephen Houghton.
Marsabit residents braved the chilly weather and turned up to pray and pay their last respects to the late bishop.
Preaching on the occasion, the Rt. Rev. David Gitari said the devil had robbed the diocese of a committed church leader dedicated to serve the vast arid north. He said air accidents can be prevented or minimised if planes were serviced adequately before flights.
"We cannot say that accidents are the work of God, we must blame ourselves for failing to prevent them and minimise death with the knowledge and resources at our disposal, " said Bishop Gitari.
His sermon was based on Luke 22:31-32 and Isaiah 55:8.
A Gabbra in Ethnicity, Andrew was the second born in a family of ten - seven brothers and three sisters. He was born in about 1948 in Marsabit district. From about 1954 to 1960, he tended his father's camels in the Dida Galgalo desert, alongside his other brothers.
Through the persuasion of (the late) Rev. Stephen Houghton then missionary in Marsabit, Andrew's father reluctantly selected him from among his sons to go to school, arguing that Andrew was not strong enough to look after the animals.
Andrew went to School through the order of chiefs and elders. His father allowed him to go because as the 2nd born he was not as important as the 1st born. Of course schooling was not considered to be important. He became converted through the late Rev. Stephen Houghton in 1962.
1961 - 1968, he attended Marsabit Boarding Primary School. 1962,l he became a Christian. 1969 - 1970, he went to St. Mark's Kigari Teacher's College and graduated as a P3 teacher.
1971 - 1972, he taught at Sagante Primary School during which he felt a call for the ministry and thereafter joined Macgregor Bible School, Weithaga from 1973 - 1974.
He was made deacon in December 1974 by the late Bishop Obadiah Kariuki. He served in that capacity for a year in Thika parish before he was posted to Moyale Parish in 1976. He was ordained to priesthood in January 1976 by Bishop David Gitari at St. Peter's Church Marsabit.
Andrew served in Moyale Parish till May 1978 after which he requested the Bishop to Post him to Bubisa parish for he had special interest to serve his nomadic people, the Gabbra. When he was posted there, Andrew requested three things; a camel, a mule and a tent - basic provisions that would enable him to reach out to the people with the gospel. Thus Andrew pioneered camel evangelism in Northern Kenya, going where people are to make Christ known. We may rightly term it "incarnational evangelism", and it is a ministry that has borne much fruit.
When Andrew went to Bubisa, there was virtually nothing except a few manyatta and a borehole, now there is not a sprawling manyatta community but also a big airstrip commonly used by flying doctors, a dispensary, a big boarding primary school, a very modern borehole, and a veterinary clinic for camels and other animals. It is now an important centre for both mission and development.
Andrew is a well recognised and respected leader among his people and through his remarkable ministry he has proved that evangelism and social responsibility can go hand in hand without conflict. He has greatly fought against famine by supporting relief efforts of World Vision, Food for the Hungry, NCCK and others.
Andrew is married to Hellen Kabale and together they have four children, two boys and two girls. Andrew was also foster father and "grandfather" respectively to a Gabbra girl who'd been thrown out by her family.
In 1984 to 1985, Andrew and his family went to All Nations Christian College where Andrew graduated with a diploma in missiological and cultural studies. Upon completion the family visited Canada where St. John's Stone Church in New Brunswick entered into partnership with the diocese of Mt. Kenya East and has been supporting Adano's ministry in the north ever since.
Andrew has also attended numerous other courses including Haggai Institute for Advanced Leadership Training, Singapore.
True to the vows he made at his ordination, Andrew has served the diocese with much dedication an obedience. By some strange coincidence, Andrew was in Bishop Gitari's home on the night it was raided and hence had a firsthand share in the tribulations of the Bishop, probably a foretaste of what it takes!
Andrew rose to become the first bishop from a nomadic background in the Church of the Province of Kenya. He was consecrated on 4th July 1993 at St. Peter's Church Myeri.
On becoming assistant Bishop, Andrew was stationed in Northern Kenya for pastoral oversight but was also assisting the Diocesan Bishop in other areas of the Diocese.
Much of Northern Kenya, is stretches of waterless tracts of Arid an dSemi-arid lands. The Environmental contrasts such as excessive heat, lack of water in most places and lack of means of communication makes it a difficult place for a permanent habitation.
Influence from the outside world or even the rest of Kenya is minimal. People have been left to live and stile live as they have done for the past centuries. Absence of modern medical facilities, good schools coupled with lack of modern roads to enhance community, clearly shows how the area has lagged behind in national development and this fact had effectively shit it from the rest of the world.
Many communities live in Northern Kenya. These include Turkana, Samburu, Rendille, Somali, Boran, Gabbra, Dasanach to mention but a few. They almost all pursue livestock keeping as their means of livelihood. Most of them are nomadic pastoralists while others are semi-pastoralists. This is mainly because the harsh environmental condition can hardly allow any other means of economic activity. To date, these communities remain largely unreached by the Gospel.
The coming of the Bible Church Men's Society (BCMS) now Crosslinks in the early 1930's, was the areas first contact with the Gospel. The BCMS Missionaries concentrated much on translation work and made very few converts. Their may attempts to reach out to the Gabbra or Rendille nomads were unfruitful as these people were constantly on the move and showed very little interest at all in the Gospel.
Their work was interrupted by the 2nd World War (1939 - 1945). No meaningful work was restarted until much later (1960s). There are no traces of lasting results of this early attempt at Evangelism. In any case many areas were hardly reached - actually never reached at all.
The overall response of the people to the Gospel is poor. Many people accepted Christ but only as secondary to their traditional religion. May Gabbra converts today practise Christianity alongside their own.
Evangelism through schools is only partially effective. The sponsorship while necessary has serious side effects. Many may accept Christianity not necessarily out of genuine faith in Christ but may be rather in search of favours from the Priests, Fathers and the Mission.
The incarnational ministry involves reaching out to the people where they are, living among them, moving about with them and sharing the Gospel with them in their own context.
This demands great personal sacrifices - sometimes family responsibility may conflict with the pastoral work. It may not be possible to move an follow the nomads everywhere they go with one's family because of such things as children's education and family interests.
It needs great financial support which is often lacking, cuts one form centres of communication, medical facilities and often causes great fatigue, exhaustion - many give up very easily.
Schools are used as methods of Evangelism in Balesa an Bubisa, so that children who pass through these schools may be reached with the Gospel. The schools demand a lot of close supervision an it is very difficult to maintain schools - particularly financially which is much more than the church is able to afford. Many children drop out of school due to lack of fees an they soon lapse in their faith as follow up is difficult.
Communication problems, acute shortage personnel, lack of finances to maintain the evangelists and the pastors and lack of training and appropriate method of evangelism which draw effective response from the people hinder the growth of Christianity in the area.
Adherence to African traditional religion has over the years proved to be very strong. This involves belief in one God as Creator, Sustainer, transcendent yet imminent; he cannot be associated with anything on Earth. They practise elaborate ritual systems of sacrifices, milk feasts (Almado). Religion for them heralds and celebrates all aspects of life such as birth, marriage and death.
Adherents to the Roman Catholic faith, Anglican or A.I.C. etc. often lack strong and recognisable commitment to Christ. They often hold Christianity alongside their traditional faiths. There is difficulty in contextualization of the Gospel to the traditional culture.
Natural calamities such as drought, famine and widespread poverty disrupt evangelism.
Article By: Jane Gitau