Darryl Bowe: friend, mentor, partner, coworker.
Saying good-bye is not too difficult until you have to say good-bye to someone you may not see for a very long time. When we left the USA as missionaries in 1977 it was hard saying good-bye to family and friends as we did not know when we would see them again. When a family member or close friend passes on to be with Jesus there is a similar since of loss. On the positive side there can be the assurance that we will meet again. But on a negative note, we know we will not see them again this side of heaven.
Darryl Bowe has departed. We know he has joined the great cloud of witnesses who have gone to be with Jesus ahead of us. We know he is with Jesus, and we will meet again. But we do not know when and that is the rub. I cannot give him a call and ask a question or catch up. I cannot meet him at the cottage on the Africa Theological Seminary campus. And I cannot watch him as he puts his whole heart (and body) into a sermon or teaching a class of pastors. I won’t see him tell stories or put a hand up to his ear as he seeks to catch the right key in singing and worshipping on a Sunday morning. Nor will I see that funny little grin as he comes up with a short, funny remark to something I said.
We were moving back to Bakersfield after years in the middle east and Kenya. I asked our friend George Fraser (who has also departed to be with Jesus) for some
recommendations for a church that would be considered “missions” friendly. He recommended Laurelglen Bible Church (LBC). On the first visit Debbie and I went to Sunday School and sat next to a friendly couple. After class we began talking and found out they were missionaries with Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru). The
couple was Darryl and Kathy Bowe. It was the beginning of a long friendship. As ICM grew, Darryl eventually took over responsibility for handling the finances of the young ministry. Later they left Campus Crusade and joined ICM as full time staff. It was definitely a faith move as ICM was a little known mission with a questionable
Early on, Darryl became my mentor in how to recruit a support team. His experience, patience, and accountability helped me and Debbie develop a team that have supported and prayed for us through the years. Because of the welcome we received from the Bowes, LBC became our home and supporting church. Darryl eventually became the key administrator of ICM USA. Kathy joined him as part of the team that helped run ICM. He and Kathy were there during the good times and the hard times. Darryl’s faithful friendship went far beyond doing a job, to sharing a passion for training and equipping pastors. We strategized together, prayed together, and taught together. Darryl and Kathy provided the constant stability and commitment that was part of the reason ICM grew and expanded. As ICM launched Africa Theological Seminary (ATS) in Kitale and purchased the Kitale Campus, Darryl and Kathy became regular visitors and teachers.
They fell in love with Mt. Elgon and the Sabaot people. They were instrumental in bringing the Jesus film to the mountain and dubbing it into the Sabaot language. They were there to see the incredible impact it had on the unreached Sabaot people over the years. They were there as an extension campus was built (with their help) up on the
mountain. They were there as they saw the Sabaot people come to Christ, Sabaot pastors trained, and Sabaot missionaries sent out to their relatives on the Ugandan side of the mountain. They played an essential role in seeing the Sabaot people reached with the Good News and Churches led by trained Sabaot pastors. The last conversation I had with Darryl was several weeks before his homegoing. When I asked about his sickness. He said he thought he might have to slow down but that it was manageable with proper care. So, I was surprised and shocked by his sudden passing just days ago. A few weeks ago, I was in Kenya. I had an opportunity to spend a few hours with Stephen Mairori, the Director of ICM-Kenya. We talked about many things, but towards the top of the list were Darryl and Kathy Bowe.
Stephen shared how the staff of ICM-Kenya was able to call Darryl and pray for him. He said it was a powerful time of sharing the impact the Bowes made to a people on a mountain often forgotten. Stephen shared with me how much the Bowes had come to mean to him and to the Sabaot people and the ATS staff in particular. While we look forward to Kathy’s continued service and commitment to ICM and the Sabaot people, we will miss Darryl. I will miss Darryl as he had become part of my life and a significant part of the ICM story and journey.