In 1985, David Hatley—with wife Jennifer, seven-year-old daughter Georgianna and five-year-old son Cameron—left Texas, USA, and several successful business enterprises to answer the call of God to serve the people of Africa. Daughter Penelope was born in Nairobi in 1987, and in later years David and Jennifer went on to adopt four orphaned Kenyan girls: Marilla Nyaguthii, Priscilla Wambui, Rose Njeri and Virginia Wanjiru.
From one church plant in Dandora, Nairobi, in the 1980’s the ministry of Christian Ministries In Africa—a registered non-profit in the USA and a registered Christian organisation in Kenya—has expanded to include a network of more than 250 African Church On The Rock congregations in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo; four full care homes for orphaned Kenya children and girls rescued from FGM; a primary academy, several primary schools and a number of pre-primary schools; medical outreach consisting of outlying medical camps as well as a fully equipped clinic and laboratory; and more than fifteen church-based, Joshua Nations Bible Schools graduating several hundred certificate and diploma students yearly.
David was a pioneer church planter and proclaimer of the gospel. But his true passion was teaching and training church leadership. He has been credited with opening up much of Africa to national and regional pastors training conferences for Texas-based Global Advance, planning then serving as a member of the international teaching team in events in many areas of the continent.
David was fondly referred to as the “Old Lion” by scores of younger pastors raised through his efforts. One of his most popular teachings to church leadership was a message encouraging senior pastors not to fear or feel threatened by the young lions (i.e., younger men answering God’s Call to pastor) being raised in their churches, rather embrace them, teach them and train them to lead the future church.
David had a vision for the Africa Churches On The Rock that reached far beyond his allotted years on earth and spent much of his time with his overseers and pastors casting vision and reiterating the core values of the Africa Churches On The Rock over and over again. His desire was that the work God established through CMIA/COTR go on well after the earthly demise of its founder/director.
After 35 years and eight months giving his life to the Lord’s work in Africa, the Old Lion —founder and director of the Africa Churches on The Rock, the Grace Children’s Centres and the umbrella organisation Christian Ministries In Africa— rested at 9:45 am, December 9, 2020. He has now received his crowns, is with Jesus and free of the illness and pain of the last year. Now, as was his desire, it falls to his Young COTR Lions to carry into the future his God-given vision of evangelism, teaching, training and raising up leadership given those many years ago. Rest well Old Lion. Your obedience to God’s Call has had —and will continue to have— immeasurable impact for His Kingdom in Kenya, and throughout the continent you so loved.