“To Me, it is a Miracle to Make Popcorn”

One of the goals of Kingdom Driven Ministries Kenya (KDMK) is to provide education, training, and business counseling so that Kingdom Christians can provide for themselves, for their families, and for other believers. We want to equip people to be as self-sustaining as possible so that they can participate in Kingdom expansion without relying on outside (i.e., Western) financial assistance and without personal economic hardship.

One of Marc’s disciples here who is really catching the vision is Silas. Talk about multiple streams of income and a great work ethic–this guy has a hotel (in America we would call it a restaurant, and it also has a storefront shop), a nursery school with 15 students enrolled, and a shamba (farm) where he is planting annual crops and a forest for timber. He routinely takes half or full days off of work to meet with his own group of four disciples and to evangelize in the community (usually using the Two Kingdoms tract).

We regularly patronize Silas’s shop for items like sugar, flour, baking powder, laundry soap, beef cubes, and eggs. It’s the boys who go down to pick up the things I need around the house, and Silas has taken them under his proverbial wing. When he’s making mandazi at breakfast time, Isaiah helps. Just this week Jonah took his turn and did a commendable job, by Silas’s standards. Isaiah has helped Silas with planting at his shamba and even gone out with him for a discipleship meeting in the community. Silas is a regular at our home and we’ve really come to respect his hard work, his personal integrity,  and his desire to spread the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Although one of the roles of KDMK is to provide microloans for small businesses, when Silas recently talked to Marc about a loan for $250 to get bulk quantities of maize and bean seeds for his shop (they are staples here), KDMK didn’t have the funds available. Isaiah and Jonah asked if they could personally give Silas the money. They really want to see his business succeed so that he can support his wife and child and continue to do the work of the Kingdom without hindrance. This was agreed upon by all, and on Monday of this week the money changed hands. Almost immediately, Silas purchased two very large bags of maize and some beans. He also added some other miscellaneous stock to his store.

Silas’s inventory has slowly expanded over the four months that we’ve been here and one of the items he’s added recently is popcorn. He’s bought small bags ready-popped from a market several kilometers away. He’s re-sold them in his shop and probably only profited about one shilling per bag (that’s about a penny, folks–but remember, the typical African might only make $1-$3 per day!). When Silas was here on Sunday for our home fellowship, I served popcorn…and on Monday morning when he and the boys were finalizing the microloan, Silas was anxious to ask Isaiah whether I had bought the popcorn or made it myself. Hearing that I made it, he asked if the boys could show him how to do it. Of course!

So after some shopping at the market, where one order of business was for Isaiah to show Silas where to buy the popcorn–and to purchase a bag, of course–the boys holed up for the afternoon at Silas’s shop, perfecting popcorn-popping without the luxury of a covered pot. (What they ended up doing was inverting one cooking pot over another, which was a bit awkward but worked out fine.) Silas popped corn and filled and sealed small bags to sell for five shillings each. Isaiah was surprised to learn that while popcorn is very popular here, apparently very few people actually know how to make it. Crazy, isn’t it? After filling bags of fresh popcorn and doing the math with Isaiah to estimate his profit, he was ecstatic to discover that he could make 80 shillings (about $1) on a single bag of popcorn kernels! His reaction? “To me, it is a miracle to make popcorn!”

So the boys aren’t “officially” on the KDMK team, but they’re certainly on the mission…even when it (surprisingly) involves making popcorn.

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