Baptist International Missions, Inc.

Luke & Tonya Shelby

Serving in Kenya, Africa

Personal website

The Shelby Family have been church planting missionaries in Kenya since June of 1997, when they started deputation. They finished deputation and were on the field by April of 1999, when they started their ministry in Kenya.

Luke and Tonya Shelby share the blessing of coming from Christian homes and from families that are dedicated to the Lord’s work, and are very supportive of their children being on the mission field. Luke was saved in October of 1981, at the age of 7, while Tonya was saved under her dad’s preaching at the age of 15. Luke was called to preach when he was 16 and he surrendered to the mission field of Kenya the following year. Tonya also surrendered to be a missionary in her teen years. God allowed them to meet at Bethel Baptist College, which is a ministry of Bible Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Arkansas. They were married in July of 1995, and they have four children, Abigail, Breanne, Caleb, and Kay-Leigh.

Abigail is married to Robert Cepec and they have a son, Andrew and they are missionaries to Guyana.

Breanne is married to Jeremy Martin and they are missionaries to Mongolia.

Caleb has recently graduated from Bible College and is surrendered to the field of Israel, He will be part of two internships this year.

Kay-Leigh has just graduated from High school and is searching for direction in the next step in her life but wants to be a school teacher in the area of Secondary Education.

They are fluent in the Swahili language and is busy translating teaching material for their churches and Bible college. Luke is learning other languages that are spoken in the western region of Kenya, such as, Dholuo, Maasai, and Ekegusii. They lived in Kisii for nearly 20 years working in the villages around the area in soul-winning, training nationals, and planting churches. In 2020, they moved to the town of Kisumu on Lake Victoria and have been able to start another church there and hand it over to a new missionary and help them get adapted in the country. They are working with existing churches in the area around Kisumu to train men in their churches and they plan on starting several more churches in the village areas in the near future.

They have started 32 independant Baptist Churches throughout the region and they are mentoring and training the nationals to continue on with the work of reaching their own people. They founded the South Nyanza Baptist College which has grown to more than 10 branches, which are located in the churches that they have started. They are working with national pastors and students of over 60 churches to evangelize their areas by preaching in the markets, schools and prisons.

There are many open doors and opportunities among several tribal areas around them, such as, Luo, Maasai, Kisii, Kuria, and Luhya. The harvest is truly ripe in the country of Kenya and the labourers are few. Would you be willing to visit on a short-term missions trip or surrender your life to be a missionary in Kenya or any where else in the world?

The Shelby Family have set up their own website where more information, about their family and ministry, is available. Please visit for information on personal contact, e-mail updates, prayer letters, beliefs, Churches, Bible College, Prison ministry, Youth Ministries, special projects, and other ministries that God has enabled them to be involved with.

Thank you for your prayers and support for the Shelby Family

(updated 2023)

Kenya - Shelby Local Church Orphanagee
Luke Shelby