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‘A song in my heart’

TUBUNGU, Swaziland — When Joan Cheptot came to this tiny country in southern Africa, she already was a preacher’s wife, mother and educator.
She had no intention of becoming a student as well.
“I was tired of studying,” said Cheptot, who had just completed college exams in her native Kenya before following her husband, Hillary Cheptot, to Swaziland, where he enrolled in African Christian College, a church-supported school.
Those close to her — including her husband and college instructor Janet Allison — encouraged Joan Cheptot to enroll. Christian women at the school took care of her two children, free of charge, as she took classes.
Though juggling classes and the demands of family wasn’t easy, the husband and wife persevered and recently graduated from ACC. Joan Cheptot said the school helped her to discover her ministry talents.
Already a gifted song writer, she composed hymns of praise with help from the school’s faculty. During a campus talent show, she performed an original piece she wrote about the school. She sang: Oh, how I love to be part of this home, where men and women are dedicated to serve God with their strength and everything that they have.
“I leave with a song in my heart,” she said. “I am ready to go and serve God in many ways. I am prepared to help churches grow, counsel people in the community, encourage the training of Sunday school teachers, teach women in the church and community at large (and) encourage the training of effective preachers to be counselors in their own churches.”
As they returned to Kenya, the couple and fellow graduates stopped in Tombolombo, Malawi, Hillary Cheptot’s hometown, and hosted a multi-day workshop and gospel campaign. Hundreds attended, said Brad Carter, president-elect of ACC.
“The attendees said, ‘These people have brought God,’” Carter said.

Filed under: International

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