In 1931, the same year in which the International Bible Students adopted the new Scriptural name, Jehovah’s Witnesses, two courageous pioneer ministers from Cape Town, South Africa, set off to explore the possibilities of spreading the good news in East Africa. Frank and Gray Smith were the first in a long line of zealous Kingdom proclaimers who spoke to the wonderful variety of peoples living in Kenya.
The early missionaries traveled on boats, trains, bicycles, and on foot, through the beautiful and diverse landscapes that are home to the astonishing wildlife for which the region is famous.
Key Theocratic Milestones
- 1931 – Gray and Frank Smith tour East Africa
- 1949 – Mary Whittington arrives in Kenya and becomes the first resident Witness
- 1950's – Olga Butler is the first person baptized in Kenya. She was baptized in Mary Whittington’s bathtub
- 1952 – Nathan Knorr and Milton Henschel visit Nairobi
- 1956 – Arrival of the first Gilead-trained missionaries, William and Muriel Nisbet
- 1961 – First circuit assembly, held on a coffee farm
- 1962 – International Bible Students Association and Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses in East Africa are registered in Kenya
- 1962 – John Mulatya and Jaffred Ndombi are among the first native Kenyans baptized
- 1963 – First branch office in Kenya opened
- 1963 – Release of the first publication translated into Swahili—From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained