John Niyondiko and his wife Daphrose are church planters in Oklahoma City. Read about their experience with Oklahoma Baptists’ Church Multiplication Group and how they intend to minister to the “Scattered.”
DAVIS – Plans for a new church plant in Oklahoma City that will focus on gathering believers and reaching unbelievers from several African nations is underway. The Church Multiplication Group of Oklahoma Baptists had its fifth Church Planter Assessment Center, Oct. 8-11 at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center. The 18-member assessor panel recommended a couple from central Africa to plant a church in Northwest Oklahoma City that is expected to be sponsored by Oklahoma City, Putnam City, Capital Association and Oklahoma Baptists.
John Niyondiko, who was a refugee from Burundi came to the United States four years ago as a student, now proposes to lead a church planting effort in Oklahoma.
”My family became refugees in Rwanda, then in Uganda because of wars and sociopolitical turmoil in Burundi,” Niyondiko said. “Later, I was in the U.K. in school and then we came here on a student visa. Next, I believe God is calling us to a new ministry here.”
Niyondiko and his wife Daphrose Nishimwe have been serving as volunteers in ministry with Putnam City and now plan to begin a church plant, targeting African diaspora peoples living in the Oklahoma City metro area.
“Diaspora” is a term partially derived from the original language of the New Testament in Acts 8:4 (CSB), “So those who were scattered went on their way preaching the word.” The Greek word diaspora, that is translated “scattered” in some English translations, is used by demographers and missiologists to refer to people who live scattered around the world, far away from their homelands.
Niyondiko and Nishimwe have settled in Oklahoma City, far from the land of their birth. But the couple has the goal of gathering others who have been scattered as a means of advancing the Gospel.
“I feel called to reach out to the diaspora from east Africa, Burundians, Rwandans and Congolese,” Niyandiko said. “This is my ‘Jerusalem,’ and then I will continue to our ‘Samaria’ and to the ends of the earth. What I mean is, as we make disciples who make disciples, we will not limit ourselves. We will share the Good News to everyone the Lord will send us, to those we meet as we go.”
International church planter Curt Campbell (name changed for security purposes) gave more details about ministering to those who have been scattered.
“According to research conducted by the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board, 5,700 Africans live in Oklahoma City,” Campbell said. “Of those, more than 750 are French-speaking Africans from Cameroon, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. John and his wife Daphrose will start with Kinyarwandan and Kirundi speakers. These are local languages spoken by people from around Rwanda, Congo and Burundi.”
Niyondiko is multilingual as he fluently speaks English, French, Swahili, Kirundi, and Kinyarwanda. He is ready to begin a new work in the OKC metro.
“I want to plant a church that is based on the Scriptures and that is obeying the Great Commission,” he said. “God has brought people all the way from Africa who do not speak English, but who need communion with God. My wife is involved with me in the ministry. She supports me and prays for the people. Like other minister’s wives in our culture, she sees herself mostly supporting me through prayer and making sure everything is in order, caring for our three children’s education, home, Sunday school at church and women’s ministry.”
Campbell, who often consults with Capital Association (CBA) in international church planting, described the need for church multiplication in the city.
“In the metro, there are more than 125 people groups, 35 of which have no evangelical church in their language or culture. Almost 11 percent (1 in 9) of the population does not speak English at home. Churches can join this mission field through prayer. The CBA has a 30-day prayer calendar for the largest groups without a church.
“As you pray remember to pray for John and Daphrose, pray that he can gather people and develop leaders for shared ministry who also catch a vision for multiplying disciples and churches in other people groups,” he concluded.
To learn more about praying for people groups in the Oklahoma City area, contact Capital Association at 405/942-0244.