Africa opens to the Cadet Corps
How It Came to Be
In the early 1900s, the area around Eldoret, Western Kenya, was settled by Afrikaners — families of Dutch ancestry that immigrated from South Africa. Given the good Calvinist background of the Dutch, it comes as no surprise that the Afrikaners soon founded the Reformed Church of East Africa (RCEA) and headquartered the new denomination in Eldoret. When Kenya gained independence from the British in 1963, most of the Afrikaners moved out, along with their missionaries and financial support. The young RCEA struggled but has survived for the last four decades. In late 2005, Daniel Nandwa, a student at Kuyper College, and also the youth pastor of the RCEA denomination, visited the Cadet office in Grand Rapids. What he learned during that visit he brought back home to Kenya while on Christmas break. The result was an official invitation from the RCEA denomination to bring the Cadet ministry to East Africa. The Rev. Jonathan Kangogo, general secretary of the RCEA, wrote that they had become convinced that Cadets was the God given answer to their search for a ministry to boys.
Here is a short presentation from the 2013 visit to Kenya. Executive Director Dick Broene, Corps President Larry De Haan, and veteran counselor Warren Post, visited several Cadet clubs and led two counselor training sessions in their two-week stay.
In 2006 we accepted the invitation to go to Kenya to train men to become leaders of boys. Three men from North America; Dick Broene, Bob deJonge, and Warren Post prepared for three days of training and brought along a good supply of Cadet program materials. Just outside of Eldoret was the Reformed Institute for Theological Training of the RCEA. It was here that Warren, Dick, and Bob found 30 students eager to learn about this new ministry. After two days of training we were confident that the students were understanding the basics of the ministry, but it wasn’t until the third day, during tea time, that we knew we had finally conveyed the spirit of cadeting. A well-dressed gentleman approached our trainers and told Dick that the most significant thing he had learned was that the leaders could play games with the boys, could get close and do the same things as the boys, and still command their respect. In short, he discovered it was more than just a teacher-student structure — it was about a relationship, a friendship that could bond, build, and continue to provide mentoring for many years. When the group reassembled, we stressed the importance of the relationship, and could see that it was a real breakthrough for them. It was something they hadn’t considered before, but could begin to embrace.
You can become involved in this exciting ministry in Africa! Contact the Cadet office and ask about sponsoring a club or inquire about participating in a future training trip to Africa. Many North American clubs have chosen to become a “Brother Club” to a club in Africa.