The Little River church founded 45 years ago by Ollie Mae Randall has grown well beyond her vision and now includes a church, school and clinic mission halfway around the globe in Kenya, Africa.
The Rev. Charles Randall, pastor of St. Delight Pentecostal Church, was in Kenya in April to oversee construction of the church building foundation and outside walls and he anticipates returning to the village of Jerbrok in July to complete the church, and again in the fall to start construction of a school and a medical clinic.
Randall first traveled to Kenya in June 1999 and went there every year, sometimes twice a year, through 2009.
“Early on, the big focus was on the medical clinic and helping children with HIV/Aids. In that regard, we have sent three [cargo ship] containers of mostly medical supplies,’’ Randall says.The church started in a bedroom-sized building and for several years was in a large tent, which simply wore out. About three years ago, “we had to give up the little medical building -- we were renting from an individual who needed the building. This year we decided to build a church, an academy and a clinic.’’
In April, Randall traveled to Kenya representing the Saint Delight Association of Independent Ministries of which Randall is the presiding bishop. It is “an oversight organization, birthed out of St. Delight’’ church and also including Wellsprings Fellowship in Socastee (in a new building) and Prosperity of the Soul Ministry in Erwin, N.C.
The association approved $5,000 toward construction of the church and paid Randall’s $1,320 airfare. Randall also had donations from the Rotary Club of Little River and St. Delight Church. “We were able to put in the foundation and outside walls. We didn’t anticipate getting that far.’’
Concrete for the foundation was mixed on the ground with hoes and carried in a wheelbarrow to the foundation. “There is no truck to bring the mixed concrete.’’
Randall purchased shovels, hoes and the wheelbarrow in Kisumu, a large city on Lake Victoria. “When I’m there, I eat fish out of Lake Victoria.’’ The village of Jerbrok is a few miles from Kisumu. In the village, rain is the only source of water. Houses typically have tanks to collectrain water from roofs.
The water supply in Jerbrok is a major concern and Randall wants to make drilling a well a priority. In Kenya, Randall uses only bottled water, even for coffee in the hotel where he stays.
Randall says Muslim leaders in Jerbrok have welcomed the mission, especially the medical clinic.
He is uncertain about the name of St. Delight, which his mother founded in 1968 and was the pastor until her health failed. A native of Little River, Randall retired as a master sergeant from the Air Force in 1991 and had already been called to pastor the church.
Today, the St. Delight Community Outreach of Horry County also serves at least 500 people a month from its pantry.
He met his wife, Doretha, in 7th grade at the former Chestnut Consolidated School on the site of the North Myrtle Beach Middle School.
She “carries on all operations when I’m gone,’’ he said.