NAIROBI, Kenya — A real estate development, including dozens of condominiums, is coming to the property of Amani Gardens Inn, formerly the Mennonite Guest House, in Nairobi.
The Mennonite Board in Eastern Africa Registered Trustees is launching the project, called SkyView Gardens. Plans call for two 10-story buildings with 32 condominiums each on about a third of the three and one-half acre compound. Groundbreaking is anticipated in mid-2015.
“While this is new for Mennonite Board in Eastern Africa, many churches and mission organizations are taking similar initiatives; creating a legal investment arm for their organizations,” said MBEA chair Philip Okeyo. “The Mennonite churches in East Africa are pleased with this initiative because funds from sales of the units will be brought back into MBEA to promote evangelism and mission work in the region.”
There are six Anabaptist groups in East Africa, numbering around a half million members. They are growing, and many are sending their own missionaries.
“One of Eastern Mennonite Missions’ priorities is mobilizing partners for mission,” said Aram DiGennaro, EMM regional representative in East Africa. “We are very excited about how SkyView Gardens will generate funds for developing missional church leadership, build awareness and passion for mission and enable churches to be planted among new language and people groups.”
DiGennaro has been working with EMM partners in East Africa to determine how EMM can best partner with their ministries. These conversations coincide with a renewed focus on missions and discipleship among the churches.
Over the past two decades, real estate values have increased dramatically in Nairobi. At the same time, funding for missions in East Africa has declined.
To better use the land, MBEA used proceeds from recent guest house operations to build a new building with eight guest rooms in 2009, expand the dining room and increase capacity to 22 guest rooms.
The Mennonite Guest House originated in the 1960s when EMM established a headquarters in Nairobi to increase missionary presence and to support EMM missionaries and Mennonite Central Committee service workers in Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan.
The guest house’s name was changed to Amani Gardens Inn last year. Amani means peace in Kiswahili.