Arwa, Nashon Adera (1934- )

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Nashon Adera Arwa.
Photo courtesy Francis S. Ojwang

Nashon Adera Arwa: herdsman and church leader, was born in May 1934, in Kabuto Village, Migori District, Nyanza Province, Kenya to Nehemiah Arwa and Oliecha (Migoro) Arwa. He was the ninth child in a family of three sons and daughters. In June 1950, Nashon married Margaret Achola; they had 14 children. Nashon retired from church work in July 2006.

After spending his early years as a herdsman, Nashon moved to Tanzania in 1951 to seek employment, and settled in Urambo Farm, Tabora Region, and later moved to the capital city of Dar es Salaam. Later that year Nashon sought employment in Uganda and settled in Entebe town, then in Kampala, and finally in Jinja, Uganda. He first served as an airplane guide, before joining the police force for two years.

Nashon Adera Arwa was baptized in 1948 by Rev. Haban Agolla into the Anglican church of Kenya. In June 1960, he and his family joined the Kenya Mennonite Church. After his baptism Nashon, who had married three wives, decided to send away the second and third wives because he was convinced that it was sinning to have more than one wife. This was a very hard decision that brought him into sharp conflict with his parental family and his wives’ families.

He served as a church elder until 30 June 1976, when Bishop Zedekiah Kisare ordained Nashon Arwa as a pastor. In December 1976, Nashon moved to Migori Mission Centre to assume his pastoral duties, taking over from Clyde Shenk. He worked with Hellon Amollo, Joel Omulo, Elisafan Okello, Lawi Ogola, Elphas Odundo, and Douglas Dok to plant Ogwedhi Sigawa, Rabuor, Oriang’, Olando, Bondo, Lela, and Winjo among other churches. He was also assisted by Dishon Bobo, Joseph Ondoro, Paul Otieno, Enos Mangira, Zephaniah Osogo, Hezron Jadwar, Samson Nyaoke and Richard Agwanda. Nashon Adera Arwaserved as a pastor for 13 years.

In 1988, Nashon Adera Arwa returned to his home in the Bande area where he continued to serve as a pastor. He was ordained bishop of the Lakesite Diocese in 1994 by Bishop Joshua Okello. Nashon had oversight of 24 congregations with a population of about 1850. He served as bishop until his retirement in 2006.

Nashon Adera Arwa will be remembered as the first pastor ordained in Kenya to take over from the North American missionaries. He first oversaw the South Nyanza District. He also spearheaded reconciliation between the Kaler and Kadem ethnic groups during a conflict in 2003. He worked with the Mennonite Central Committee and local Mennonite leaders to provide relief to those who were affected by the conflict.

After retirement, Nashon Arwa was very instrumental in providing advice to younger church leaders and in serving as a board member of different schools in his home area.


Ojwang’, Francis S., ed. Forward in faith: History of the Kenya Mennonite Church: a seventy-year journey, 1942-2012. Nairobi, Kenya: Kenya Mennonite Church, 2015.

Author(s) Francis S Ojwang'
Date Published December 2017

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MLA style

Ojwang', Francis S. "Arwa, Nashon Adera (1934- )." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2017. Web. 2 Oct 2023.,_Nashon_Adera_(1934-_)&oldid=161443.

APA style

Ojwang', Francis S. (December 2017). Arwa, Nashon Adera (1934- ). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 October 2023, from,_Nashon_Adera_(1934-_)&oldid=161443.

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