Tenwek Hospital International School of Chaplaincy in Kenya


It’s not enough to treat illnesses, heal injuries, and prevent disease. For the team at Tenwek Hospital, spiritual care is a critical component of patient care. In 1991, it became apparent that there was a need to have an organized training program for chaplains, both for hospitals and for other institutions, and the L. Nelson Bell Chaplaincy School was founded. It was named after Dr. L. Nelson Bell, a medical missionary to China in 1918 who felt that he could not do medical work without the services of a chaplain. 

Over 200 students have come from various African countries—including Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, Madagascar, Ghana, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo—to attend the school. This diversity has created a rich environment for academic exchange and cross-cultural exposure. 

When the School of Chaplaincy began, it operated on an informal structure with two, eight-week sessions: one for Kenyan nationals and one for foreign students. The program was expanded in 2010 with a two-year, full-time curriculum that trains chaplains for a variety of institutions—medical, educational, military, police, prison, etc. It became fully accredited by the Ministry of Education in 2011.

IMPACT

Peter Kipngeno was a dangerous man, and when he was finally caught and sentenced, he survived inside the prison walls with more illegal activities, selling cigarettes and other contraband to inmates.

One day Peter’s world was turned upside down when a group of students-in-training from Tenwek Hospital International School of Chaplaincy visited his prison. The students were sharing with the men about God’s love shown through His Son, Jesus. Suddenly, this tall inmate shot up from the plastic bucket on which he was sitting and declared loudly, “I NEED TO REPENT!” He proceeded to confess his crimes, including the theft of a significant sum of money from his village church. The team of chaplaincy students prayed over him and other inmates who had asked God to change their hearts that day.

From that day on, Peter was a changed man. He was miraculously released from prison, and he has a burden for his former fellow inmates. He became a chaplain himself, and returned to the prison, this time to minister to the men inside. 

PARTNER

PrayPRAY: Pray for the students at the School of Chaplaincy as they learn to provide spiritual care for people who are often in crisis situations. Pray for the instructors as they teach the principles and skills of chaplaincy.

GiveGIVE: Support the work of the School of Chaplaincy by donating here. You can also give to the scholarship fund to help students in need of tuition assistance.