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 Reformed Bible 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.
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.