Open Kingdom was established as a ministry and as a charity following an invitation to Nigeria in May 2005. Vic & Di Whittaker had been invited by Emmanuel Kure of Throne Room Ministries to be present at the commissioning of the new Prayer Cathedral in Kafanchan, Nigeria.
During their time in Nigeria they met Pastor Paul Nchinde from Cameroon, who invited them to visit his country, which they did the following year, 2006. During their visit to Foumbot, Cameroon, the base of Paul & Justine Nchinde’s “Seed and Harvest Ministries’, they saw the pressing need for clean drinking water, and before returning to England presented Pastor Nchinde with a small financial gift to sponsor the construction of a fresh water well in one of the villages.
On returning to the UK, in conversation with others, it became apparent that both individuals and small groups of people wanted to provide funds for further wells, so a programme of speaking engagements, fund-raising and well construction began. To facilitate this for commercial sponsors it was decided to register the work with the Charity Commission under the name of Open Kingdom.
Between 2006 and 2011, 43 wells were built in 20 villages in the Northwest of Cameroon, in addition to providing refurbished computer systems and sewing machines to enable training of local unemployed women, and supporting a young woman through college. Vic and Di visited Cameroon a number of times during this period to see the work and support the ministry of Paul & Justine Nchinde.
Vic and Di also work with Restoration Team Ministries, based in the USA.
Open Kingdom was also at work in the UK, supporting unity between the local churches in Sheffield as part of the emPower prayer & worship movement, which brings together Christians from different streams, denominations and organisations to worship together and to pray for the city and the nation.
Open Kingdom also provided encouragement and support to a number of local churches, with Vic & Di sitting on their boards of trustees. Vic & Di were also active within the Street Pastors initiative, serving on the streets regularly and on the Sheffield management committee. Open Kingdom also supported individuals and families in need in the UK.
In 2012 a change of direction was signalled and Vic & Di visited Turkey to ‘walk the land’ and to try to discern what the Lord was inviting them to be part of. On their first trip in July 2012 they visited Christian fellowships in Selçuk and Antalya, returning to the UK with a conviction that Antalya was to be the stepping-stone into Turkey.
In October 2013 Vic & Di revisited Antalya and began preparing plans to move to Turkey.
In January 2015 Vic & Di stepped down as Trustees of Open Kingdom, handing over the running of the charity to the Board of Trustees. In March 2015 they relocated to Antalya and successfully applied for resident status. They are currently members of the St Paul Union International Church, based in the Old City (Kale İçi).