From full-time to lifelong missionary

Kenneth and family

Sister Jensen, Mombasa

For Kenneth Ingoi Malahilu, the admonition to help spread the gospel is not hard to embrace.  “Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor” (D&C 88:81).

As a young man, he had three things going for him; he didn’t smoke or drink and he was chaste.  Having been fellowshipped by his American boss, Kenneth was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1990, when working in Nairobi Kenya. Kenneth served a mission in Nairobi, Tanzania, and Uganda.  He returned, found employment again and put himself through university by working two jobs and studying hard. He was serving in the branch presidency when his job at the airport transferred him to Mombasa. Every weekend for 6 months he flew back to Nairobi to fulfill his calling. 

When the mission president found out about his situation, he authorized Kenneth to have the sacrament in his home but encouraged him to find someone else to help.  A former missionary companion moved to Mombasa, then two more friends who all helped for a time, but didn’t stay long.  About this time Kenneth’s sweetheart came home from her mission.  They married, saved and in 2001, were able to travel to the Johannesburg Temple.

In January 1999, The Malahilus taught a Muslim family the gospel and a year later they were baptized.  This family is still in the church. Leadership from Nairobi came down, interviewed, then witnessed this baptism as well as all others.

By the end of 2000 membership had grown to 48.  Meetings were held in Kenneth’s living room for many years with the numbers continually growing, until Mombasa became a branch July 2002.  Kenneth became Mombasa’s first branch president.  Together he and his wife, Caroline, continued to find investigators with Kenneth instrumental in the first 100 plus new member baptisms in Mombasa; the majority of those he personally baptized including Jack and Beatrice Oricho and family.  Brother Oricho is the Mormon Helping Hands coordinator.  Another investigator that Kenneth baptized was David Wasilwa who then baptized his wife Victoria. David serves as councilor in a branch presidency and his wife as District YW President.

Kenneth with David and Victoria

Today we are fortunate to have Kenneth assist us in doing humanitarian projects.  He is very prayerful in where we go. His faith amazes us.  We found a hospital where we wanted to put a borehole in but the hydrologists report came back with only a fair outcome.  The project was approved but when we met with the contact person, Elder Jensen and I both felt that we should not proceed and had already made up our minds to stop.  Kenneth immediately told us about how Heavenly Father loved these people and how they needed water.  “Moses struck a rock and God brought forth water for the children of Israel and He will do the same here”. We went ahead with the project.  Months later, the hospital has plenty of good drinking water, unusual for the area. 

We have not met anyone who does not love Kenneth.  Even the less-active greet him with open arms.  Kenneth is quick to respond to duties where ever possible in spite of a bad back which resulted from a near fatal accident.  We have seen humility in him when we have felt the need to correct him on certain church procedures.  He gladly accepts direction.  These are all characteristics of a successful missionary.

Most Sundays he fulfils his goal of visiting three less-active families.  As we have walked the streets of Mombasa, we have seen him talk about the gospel with strangers, or invite a less-active back to church. The young missionaries have been blessed many times with referrals from Kenneth, with three more baptisms forthcoming.  Kenneth will always be a missionary -warning and testifying – for he is “not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ”.