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Tuesday, Apr. 28, 2015

Former resident making a difference in Africa

Friday, September 23, 2011

(Photo)
Mark Dennis, Louisiana police officer and former local pastor, holds an award given to him by a police college in Kenya.
A Louisiana police officer and former Clay County pastor is changing lives in Africa. Mark Dennis has been to Karatina, Kenya, three times for a police and pastors conference. This past summer, Dennis was able to speak at several churches, a revival in the city of Thika and a police college.

"This open door at the college is a first, not only to share police methods from the U.S., but also the gospel as well," Dennis said. "All the cadets wanted me to pray with them -- for them, their work and their families. For years the Kenyan police force has been known as the most corrupt in Africa and now there are many young men and women who want to change this."

Dennis was a pastor at Center Point and Ashboro UMC from 1988 to 1997.

"My time there was wonderful," he said. "They were the greatest local churches I ever witnessed. What a great group of folks. They were leaders in the community in many aspects of ministry."

Due to a decision to leave the ministry, Dennis entered law enforcement, something he'd always been interested in.

"I took law enforcement classes at LSU when majoring in civil engineering," he said. Since 1997, Dennis has worked in Franklin, La., as a police officer. He explained that area of south Louisiana as being, "hampered by oppressive drug activity, which leads to other crimes such as shootings, burglaries and car jacking."

Dennis thought he left the ministry in 1997, but actually, he was given more opportunities to spread God's Word.

(Photo)
Officer and former Pastor Mark Dennis preaches at a revival in the city of Thika. Dennis has visited Africa three times and plans to go again next summer with hopes of taking Christian police officers with him to teach the Kenyan officers.
"After moving back to Louisiana, I never thought I would be a part of preaching the gospel again," Dennis, 59, said. "But I found that even when we are unfaithful, God is always faithful to us."

Being in police work full-time, Dennis saw his communities in constant violence with drive-bys, murder shootings and an overwhelming amount of drugs.

"I realized that being a good cop would ultimately make very little difference unless we shared the Word of God to the problem," he said. "After (hurricanes) Katrina and Rita many churches were without pastors, and I began to fill in. I also took more seriously sharing the gospel at work."

Dennis told The Brazil Times of a call he took where an elderly woman was having trouble breathing. After arriving on the scene, Dennis asked the woman if he could pray with her.

"She was overjoyed, and as we held hands, she leaned over and put her forehead on the top of my hand," he said. "God gave me a picture of his heart for the broken hearted and the weary. Many times I will get to share the gospel -- often with men whom I am booking in after arresting. I know that they, like me, need the Savior."

Soon Dennis was offered another opportunity to share his ministry, only this time overseas.

"I was contacted by a pastor in Georgia, Steve Fields, whose parents have been missionaries in Africa for 58 years," he explained. "He invited me to go to Karatina, Kenya to speak at a conference for police officers and pastors."

Since then, Dennis has gone every year. This past July, he preached at Kenya Police College in front of 2,000 cadets.

"I was able to make a great impact just by sharing things God has done," he said.

Dennis and the other missionaries presented $5,000 for new mattresses and covers, new school uniforms and a new washroom to an orphanage in Karatina. The orphanage cares for around 75 children.

"They have wonderful smiles and great spirits," he said of the orphans. "These children have nothing but love for God."

One year, Dennis brought two Kenyan officers to America, which took a lot of work, as they needed permission to leave the country. The two officers, Charles Mwalukuku and Zipporah Kigura, both teach at the police college and preach at churches.

"When Charles was here he asked what makes America work," Dennis said. "I bought him a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and we studied them."

Dennis explained that Kenya also fought against Britain for independence. He told Mwalukuku that rights come from God and that the government's job is only to protect those rights.

"It is our goal to raise money so that two teachers can return and then share their experience with their comrades," Dennis said. "We plan to raise about $5,000 to bring two teachers from the Kenyan college to the U.S. -- both Christians who can learn, ride on patrol and speak at churches and schools about the need for the power of God in our countries. We hope they can return to Kenya, with new police software and training materials to help when they begin to teach the cadets."

Dennis hopes to take other Christian police officers when he returns in July 2012 to teach and get to know the Kenyan officers.

"Anyone can come to the conference; there are always things to do and plenty of small children to minister to," Dennis said. "It is a life changing trip."


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officer Dennis,

Thank you so much for visiting Police College in Kenya.the lessons I have learnt from you have made a great impact in my life,professionally ,mentally,and above all spiritually. I am different now,practicing integrity,ethics and spiritual nourishment in my day to day work. Despite the hardship in this noble duty....i now know police work is not just a duty but a noble calling with divine connection from God. SEE ROMANS 13. Iam looking forward to your return and I know so many souls in the police force will see jesus someday .We are now a national police service. I desire so badly to be the beneficially of your well wishes.Kenya LOVES you and your family.KARIBU TENA (welcome again)

-- Posted by zippy on Sat, Sep 24, 2011, at 7:34 AM


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