How Can God Put So Many Opportunities in One Lifetime?
Orville Boyd Jenkins
Church and Mission Activities
All the activities reported here I see as amazing opportunities of grace that the Creator God has put in my life. I feel a sense of awe when I review all that God has done with me and for me. Life has been an exciting quest, to experience Godís next surprise or challenge when it came.
I grew up in a large Baptist Church in a small north Texas town called Quanah. In my family our faith was central to our lives. I personally believed and was baptized when I was six years old. I learned music in graded church choirs, from as early as I can remember.
My family began assisting with a small mission in another part of our town when I was 13, and I became the song leader, while my Dad became the adult Sunday School teacher. Up to that year, my dad had owned the local radio station. This early experience in broadcasting was fundamental in my later life service. This foundation of communication, and the strong faith concern for other people and the importance of relationships was basic to my lifeís direction.
I grew up with the idea that mission outreach was a basic character of the church, helping people and telling them good news about hope in Jesus. We had mission education groups from the earliest ages and in this small mission, we did the same, even though there were only two of us in our age group, who met with the pastor once a week.
When we moved to Arkansas two years later, we became active in another small church, where before long I was the choir director, and my dad was again teaching Sunday School, for the college age. When I was a senior in high school I was the director of the Vacation Bible School for the younger children, and I learned then that that was not my area of calling.
When almost 16, I surrendered to fulltime Christian work and began preaching, in addition to my music work. For my last two years of high school, I served as a pastor, as well as the first year of college. I had been planning to be an engineer, and this changed my direction, though I did not continue in the pastoral work.
While in college, I led two music groups involved in ministry to youth in churches and other settings. I also conducted an independent teaching ministry over the radio, trying to provide an alternative to some of the stuff I was hearing from "radio evangelists."
This was quite a load, as I was totally supporting myself with two jobs during most of my college years.
My interest in languages led me to look for some experience overseas, so after we had been married a year, Edith and I went to Kenya for a two-year period. I worked as a radio-TV producer and trainer for African producers, while Edith worked as an assistant in a mission office. But church work continued central to our identity there.
Swahili became a great interest and I preached my first Swahili sermon the 8th Sunday we were in the country. I was writing and editing TV and radio scripts in Swahili in my second year. This short assignment led the way to a long term in Africa.
In 1971-73, in addition to our weekly involvement in two churches in Nairobi, I would periodically go out to the Maasai area with a doctor to conduct a mobile clinic. We would also carry water and show movies. Later I had the opportunity to open new church work in that same area which had only been exploratory and establishing initial contacts in a frontier area! The Lord was so good to include so many themes in the tapestry of our lives!
I opened new church work among the Maasai people in Suswa, in the Rift Valley of Kenya, as a parttime secondary assignment while carrying on my fulltime assignments as a linguist for East Africa and consultant in Eastern and Southern Africa. After three years we had an association of 15 churches cooperating with the Baptist Convention of Kenya, and one other educator working with me parttime had transferred to fulltime work there after helping me for about two years, and led the work after I left. The number of churches and believers continued to grow.
I have been involved in training Christian workers in cross-cultural ministry. I have designed language and culture learning programs in several African countries and edited journals and newsletter resources over the years. This involved cultural histories and other orientation materials and topics, leading to the focus of the last several years in people group research, first in Africa and now in Northern Africa and the Middle East (NAME).
From 1982 I served as a consultant and took a fulltime position in 1991, which involved evaluating language and culture learning programs and developing new programs, using community-oriented learning methods. I developed standardized evaluation methods, which evaluated learning for learners independent of how they learned their language and cross-cultural skills.
These are published in Planning and Evaluating Missionary Language Learning, Communication Press: Nairobi, 1989; and in my Ph.D. Dissertation, An Administrative Curriculum for Swahili Language and African Culture, (Columbia Pacific University) 1993.
In that regard I was the founding Director of the Interfaith Research Centre, a networking agency coordinating research on people groups for Christian agencies. This was an intensive and rewarding period of 4 years involved researching and writing people group profiles, doing original research and training researchers.
I developed a research network across most of Africa (email became available in 1995-6 in Africa) and served on task forces for people groups like the Somali. More recently I have provided an extensive research portal on the Internet, the Virtual Research Centre as well as a resource site for strategists.
I have taught courses in World Religions (especially Islam), Communications and Christian History to pastors in two colleges in Kenya, as well as being a visiting lecturer in four other Kenyan universities, as well as in US universities. Besides African cultural history and worldviews, I also taught Islam for several years as part of my cross-cultural communication training, publishing two small books on the subject.
I have taught on occasion in Bible Schools, and have also taught in music seminars in a college diploma program. Several years ago I taught a guitar class in a Nairobi computer center.
I have taught teen and adult Bible classes in Kenyan churches and spoken extensively in churches in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda), as well as the US, Canada, France, Portugal and Cyprus.
I have been a conference speaker for various groups, for devotional focus or cross-cultural communication and ministry approaches. I serve as a consultant for training courses and conferences, in cultural research and communication strategy.
I have somewhat specialized in the topic of the Gifts of the Spirit, teaching special courses in churches and other settings. In 1994, I taught the Graduation Week Convocation Course for the Kenya Baptist Theological College on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, in Swahili. This was an in-depth inductive study of the references to this topic and related terms through the New Testament.
Over the years I have worked in media production and training, my original assignment area. I have continued to be involved in staff evaluation and training, production (music) and redesign of media ministries, leading a 2-year task force of Kenyan Baptist and missionaries in East Africa while serving as chairman of the Board of what became Kenya Baptist Media.
I had previously served on the board of Baptist Communications, which was incorporated into KBM in 1992-3. Until 1997 I was also on the board of Afromedia, an interdenominational TV production company I helped start in 1971. In early days I was on the production staff, and was Executive Director for about 3 years.
I am have conducted production evaluation and staff development for media staff and continue to be somewhat involved in media consulting.
Academics and Publishing
Besides a BA in Philosophy and French, I have a Master of Theology in Christian Communication, which includes studies in African linguistics and Biblical languages. I have two earned doctorates in linguistics, focusing on African languages and adult learning in a community context. From 1992 to 1997, I served on the Area Leadership Team of E&S Africa for the Southern Baptist International Board.
Edith and I have taught courses for Daystar University or the computer club on various aspects of computing. I published the clubís newsletter for several years, and also served as chairman for several years.
Since 1997 or so, I have served as an international consultant on ethnicity and peopel research. I research peoples and languages of the world, and provide resources and instruments to assist cross-cultural communicators in learning the worldviews of the people they live and work among. Sicne that time, I have worked primarily thorugh Internet-based entworks, and publish primarily through my website, http://orvillejenkins.com.
As a child I had excellent training opportunities in music, through graded church choirs from a young age, and school band from age 10. I was active in various church-related music opportunities, serving as the choir director for several churches from high school years, and led music for various conferences.
I taught myself the guitar at age 18. While in College I organized a folk group, then a folk-rock band, which recorded one album including three of my original gospel songs. Over the years I have been able to serve as guitarist for youth choirs and various conferences and have written over 50 songs on Biblical or faith themes.
I have sung and played in various settings in Kenya and the USA, playing in the music team or singing in the choir for various churches. I taught guitar for a while, and taught music in a college diploma program. I played for two years in a jazz/country band called Some Guys, and produced a cassette album recorded by the band, which included five of my original songs.
I have led music for conferences and meetings in the USA, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa and Reunion Island. LIving in Cyprus for over three years, I was involved in the music of an international church there, while participating in vairous media projects and research in a commercial company provide media training and services. In subsequent assignments in Virignia, USA, for 4 years and South Africa for 3 years, I continued to participate in various musical opportunities. It is amazing that God can put such rich experiences into one lifeís pathway! For More on Music
Edith and I have two sons, Gareth and Kevin. Both were born in Kenya and graduated from Rosslyn Academy in Nairobi. Both are active in Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Arlington.
Both graduated from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, and live in the Dallas area. Gareth works for Fidelity Investments as a Linux systems administrator. Kevin works as a Linux Systems Administrator with Verizon Online.
Thanks for your interest. Cheers.
Life in Quanah
More on Music
Last updated 28 June 2011
Introduction More OBJ Info ***
OBJ's Short Biographical Resume Dr. Obiwan's Computing History
So Many Opportunities in One Lifetime So Many Languages, So Little Time
OBJ Educational Background
OBJ Residences and Occupations