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Sesi, Mutuku Stephen
1958 to 2011
Africa Inland Church
Kenya



Introduction

Stephen Mutuku Sesi was a man of integrity whose heart was devoted to serve God's people faithfully with accountability. Most of his life was spent serving people in the church and in the community at large in Kenya. He was a man whose desire was to see people's lives transformed into the likeness of Christ himself. He loved all people, and had a special interest in the marginalized community. In turn, people also loved him wherever he was privileged to serve. He made friends from all age groups, which was an enabling bridge for his ministry to their needs. Above all, he directed all the glory to God rather than to himself. He deserves to be remembered and recorded as one of those who make up the history of Christianity in Africa.

His Family Background, Education, and Married Life

Mutuku Sesi was born in Kasunguni sub-location, Kilungu location in Machakos district in Kenya, on July 28, 1958. He was a son to Anna and Joseph N. Sesi, a Christian couple in the Africa Inland Church (AIC). He was a Kamba by tribe. He received his primary education in Makobe, and attended Shimba Hills secondary school in Pwani/Mombasa. He attended Scott Christian University in Machakos, formerly known as Scott Theological College, where he was awarded a Bachelor of Theology degree. He received a Master of Divinity degree from Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST), currently Africa International University (AIU). He later furthered his studies abroad at Fuller Theological Seminary in the United States, where he earned a PhD in Intercultural Studies-Islamic emphasis. [1] Mutuku Sesi married Josephine Katle Mutuku on April 12, 1986, and they had three sons: James Mumo, Judah Muuo, and Jesse Muendo. Above all, Sesi loved his family and his family loved him in return. His wife stated that, "He was brilliant but humble. He was ready to say 'Sorry' when he was wrong. He was my mentor. He saw me like a colleague in the ministry. He encouraged me to study to be equal with him. I wish all men would treat women in this way, for it is good and it pleases God."

His Conversion, Call to the Ministry, Contributions to God's Mission in the Church

Being born into a Christian family background, Mutuku received Jesus Christ while a teenager, in 1974. He received his call to the ministry of serving God's people in 1977. He had a passion for youth ministry in the church, but also in the community. After being prepared for ministry at Scott Theological College, he served in two different local churches in Kindiani. He also served in another church at another time, under his denomination, the Africa Inland Church of Kenya (AICK). In addition, he also taught CRE and Swahili at Kilungu High School, pastoring as well at Kasunguni local church. This work and ministry took place from 1983 to 1986. From 1987 to1989, Sesi taught at Pwani Bible College and served as pastor at Tyuda local church in Mombasa. In these places of ministry he did well, but his work was remarkable in two local churches, Kindiani and Tyuda. In Kindiani he began with about fifteen to twenty members, but by the time he left there were about 100 to 200. In the AIC church in Tyuda there was also significant numerical and spiritual growth. In 1990, Sesi served in a CED (Christian Education) department, [and in the] head office of AICK as a director, a ministry he enjoyed very much. He did this work initially in Machakos, and then later in Nairobi. He continued devoting his time to reaching out to youth through camps. Dr. Kivunzi affirmed that he was an active AIC National Director of Christian Education in Kenya in his time, and that he loved God's people. He promoted the standard of communicating biblical knowledge at all levels of the church, and served vigorously without bias. After one year [in that post] he organized a team (basically made up of Scott Theological College students) that annually produced a book for camps. As a result of participation in the camps, many young people gave their souls to Christ, which brought immeasurable joy to Sesi. He also contributed to the church by instructing trainer-equipping youth camp trainers/leaders and other groups in the AICK. He empowered workers in the church in order to have enough church workers capable of the ministry of serving God's people effectively. Moreover, he spent time in the publication, distribution, and selling of books for the entire AICK church. Through these kinds of ministries, he helped the department financially.

Sesi joined Africa International University as a lecturer after graduating from Fuller Theological Seminary with a PhD in Intercultural Studies. At AIU, he was the head of the mission department. He established and shaped the department with other colleagues like Professor Caleb Kim, Dr. Henry Mutua, and Dr. Rasmussen. Because his emphasis was in Islamic studies, he helped the church to face the challenge of Islamic religion positively. He also served as Dean of the Africa Institute of African Realities (AISAR) until November of 2011. [2]

His Contributions to Society and Kenyan Development

In the area of his contributions to Kenyan development, his work was wide-ranging. For example, during the referendum on the Constitution of Kenya, he contributed to some problematic issues concerning the Quad-Court, which was in his area of study. He helped to explain this issue to the church and to the society at large through seminars and workshops. Also, during the post-election violence in 2007--2008, Sesi helped with reconciliation in the community, showing how people could live in peace with one another. He used his time to address the issue of ethnicity among the Kenyan tribes, so that they could be healed, love one another, and have peace. In an article he contributed to African Missiology," he says: "To my fellow Christians in Kenya, we need to become a 'missionary society'. With the tribal conflict, Christians should join hands to develop a new society. The church propagates one message: 'For God so loved the world,' not a particular tribe; God's love is world-embracing." [3] His contributions to the church and Kenya also included writing articles, a dissertation, and participation in forums. Again, Reisacher states: "Stephen has been involved in many forums of dialogue between Christians and Muslims in Kenya and Lebanon. His publications include three chapters in African Missiology: Contribution of Contemporary Thought (Nairobi: Uzima Press, 2009). He had his dissertation published under the title 'African Worldview Change: The Case of the Digo of Kenya.' " [4] Sesi was also devoted to the social affairs of the community. At various times, he provided security to Muslim Born Again Christians (MBAC) in his home, to protect them from other Muslims. He also founded an orphanage, started classes for children with disabilities, participated in building schools, and helped to provide water for the community.

End of His Life

Sesi went to live in peace with his Lord Jesus Christ in late 2011. His death has left a huge gap in his family and in the community, and he is missed in the African and the global church of Christ. Let Christ's Name be glorified for His works are good to us and He alone endures forever!

Conclusion

In conclusion, there is no doubt that Sesi has contributed significantly to fulfilling God's mission to reach out to God's people. His legacy is the mark of a true servant of God in our churches today and in society at large. Steven Mutuku Sesi has finished the task that was given to him by God on earth, but his deeds and words still proclaim and minister the gospel of the goodness of God to people's souls. To God be the glory!

Method Kiulah

Notes

1. "Stephen Mutuku Sesi graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary with a PhD in Intercultural Studies in 2003 with a specialization in Islam in Africa and the history of Christian-Muslim Relations" Evelyne A. Reisacher, Toward Respectful Understanding & Witness Among Muslims (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2012), 13.
2. "Before God took him to His glory, he served at Africa International University (earlier known as Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology) as a dean and lecturer in the Mission Studies Department (2004-2008), and as Dean of the Africa Institute of African Realities (AISAR) until November 2011." (Reisacher 4, 13).
3. Stephen Mutuku Sesi et al., Ethnicity Realities and the Church in Kenya in African Missiology: Contributions of Contemporary Thought (Nairobi: Uzima Publishing House, 2009), 25-39.
4. Reisacher, 14.

Oral Sources

Titus M. Kivunzi, interview by author, June 7, 2012.
Josephine Mutuku Sesi, interview by author, June 11, 2012.


This biography, submitted, in 2012, was researched and written by Method Kiulah, PhD candidate at Africa International University (AIU), Nairobi, Kenya.