Belly Otienio pedaled his bicycle nine long miles with the weight of a passenger riding on the back, yet he was full of joy. There had been a time when he had no bicycle. Worse, there had been a time when he was unable to even walk. But now he was serving the God who had worked miracles for him. His heart pounded with thankfulness.
Crippled with polio when he was a child, Belly’s siblings had to carry him everywhere. Belly couldn’t even stand due to his instability.
Some years later, Belly heard the gospel preached at a special meeting in his town. When he responded to the message, God not only saved him, but He also healed him! Thrilled about his regained mobility, Belly determined he would serve the Lord as a traveling evangelist so that others could hear the good news. The Lord provided him with a Bible and a bullhorn.
For many years, Belly either walked to the schools, parks, and hospitals where he felt that Jesus was calling him to minister, or rode on bicycle taxis. He knew he could serve the Lord better if he had a bicycle of his own, but he also knew he would never be able to afford one on his meager income—so he began to pray.
One day a pastor friend, a Heaven’s Family partner, told Belly that he thought he could get him his own bicycle. Initially, Belly didn’t believe him, because others had made similar promises that didn’t materialize. Later, he told our partner, “This time, through Heaven’s Family, God has really done it, and my calling to preach the gospel has been empowered by a bicycle!”
Belly’s nine-mile ride that day with a passenger was just one of the many ways that he has used his bicycle to be a blessing to others. The day before, Belly had been preaching the gospel at an outdoor gathering. One listener in the crowd was James Ngugi, a 40-year-old homeless man. He’d lost his job, then his wife and children left him. When James heard Belly speak about God’s love for him, he gave his life to Christ and asked Belly if he would disciple him.
Belly knew he had to do something to help James, so he carried him home for the night on the back of his bike. Later that night, Belly called a friend who manages a farm nine miles outside of town, asking him if he had any work for James. Not only did his friend have a job opening for James, but he also would allow James to live on the farm. At the crack of dawn the next day, Belly was pedaling towards his friend’s farm with James riding on the back, rejoicing in God’s goodness.
Belly has returned to the farm several times to disciple James, and James’ wife and children have since joined him there. God is healing their marriage and producing fruit in their lives. And, thanks to gifts to the Mobilize a Minister Fund (now merged with our National Missionary Fund), Belly is riding for Jesus—and faithfully sharing His love in Kenya.