Categories
Travel

Newbie in Nanyuki: Day Two

Continued from Newbie in Nanyuki

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Sunday was blend-into-the-community day. And what better way to do this than to go to church. When I was getting lost yesterday, I spotted one PCEA church and one Baptist church down the road from the hotel. However, a friendly guard told me that the PCEA in town was much better and was not all Kikuyu. Hehe. It’s like I look like those people who pretend not to know Kikuyu. I followed his advice anyway and walked. He was concerned about why I was walking though and I told him walking is the best option for my chill mode. As you can tell, in places dominated by Kikuyu people PCEA is a church you will see everywhere, just like home. And they keep mushrooming.

So I set off on my little adventure of Nanyuki town. As a lot of major towns in Kenya, Nanyuki is pretty linear, with buildings congregating along the Nyeri-Nanyuki road. Remember your Geography lessons about types of towns/settlements? It is not quite the short distance I assumed it was from Sporty (as locals fondly refer to the hotel) to the church. I had to ask a bodaboda rider for further direction. It gets real hot in the morning here, funny enough. I kept walking, thinking all the while that I was clearly lost, but I was not going to ask another person for direction. He said it was opposite the Nanyuki General Hospital. No way I can miss that, right? Eventually I came by an old lady who was limping to church. I could tell she was headed to church because she was wearing an AIPCA headscarf tightly around her head.

Categories
Faith

Grow!

It’s Sunday. Sunday we preach, or rather, we used to preach when we were in tiptop shape. It has taken me days to build up to this post. Sometimes I think I will come up with a strict schedule, like Kariuki does at Kisauti, you know, drop a post, say, every Sunday. He drops his every Wednesday without fail. Also, his e-book is out, that’s how driven he is. He is that serious. I could do that, you know, write regularly and everyone expects the post at a certain time of day, so that if I miss out, I am accountable. I really could do that. It builds a great culture of discipline and passion cultivation. But I don’t. Why?

Well, today, like I said, is Sunday. And Sunday I preach. For a long time, I have not done so. For a long time, I have not done anything right to my spiritual self. I have not been growing. I have found myself in this routine of sorts every Sunday. I struggle to wake up, I make tea for everyone, do dishes (if I feel like), go back to bed again, wake up again, take a bath, go to church, teach Sunday school, scream my heart out at a 100 below-six-years-old kids then get out wondering why I feel drained. Scratch that. I always know exactly why I am drained. I am not supposed to teach every single Sunday without getting a break to recharge. For a long time, we had many teachers in my class, teachers that would teach on schedule, but along the way, things fell apart and became a matter of begging people to teach. I thought I could do it. I thought it would be selfish of me to just act like everyone else and jump ship, so I didn’t. I hang in there.

Categories
Faith

February Felicitations

No, this is not about Valentine’s. Breathe out. I did not do my monthly preacher piece in January. For that reason, I will do two in February. This will be short and straight to the point.

Bata Shoes…

Today I listened to the story of how Bata entered the African market.

Categories
Faith

Sunday

I love Sundays. Sundays are the days I just chill out and enjoy the freedom. On good Sundays (most of them are good), I am lady Shiku. I don dresses. And heels. Just to remind myself how it feels like to be a real girl. And it feels good. This Sunday, I wake up later than usual. Mum does not wake me up with a phone call as usual. No, I have not moved out. Yes, she calls me every Sunday morning from the other side of the wall. When phone calls act as alarm clocks.

I am so sleepy. Why, sun? Why couldn’t you just rise a little later today?

Categories
Faith

The 21st Century Church and the Mugumo Tree

When I opened my dashboard to write a post, I was not going to write about the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) or anything about its politics. (Bear in mind that this post is not just about the PCEA church, but really about any church out there.) I was going to write about a Mugumo tree analogy I heard in yesterday’s sermon. But somehow, the post became what it is now. I was going to write about how I have this little church I go to when I feel like my church is too much. This is a church across the highway from home called PCEA Joseph Ngwaci Memorial Church. I have attended it for two consecutive Sundays now and I love it. I have been toying with the idea of completely relocating to it. Why? I will tell you in a bit.

Yes. I am a full member of PCEA, complete with a little holy communion book that gets signed every time I take holy communion. The church is my home, with all its drama, Practice and Procedures Manual. We fondly refer to this manual as P and P though I have never actually seen or read it, I just know it exists. On the flipside, they are those who say that PCEA stands for Please Collect Everything Available. My church, the one in which I am an actual member, the one in which I would not fidget if they asked if ‘there is a visitor in our midst’, is PCEA Kikuyu Township. I even teach Sunday School. I love my little sweet beginners and they love me too. I think. Or they just love the songs I teach them. 🙂

But I have been avoiding it of late, clearly. You see the Please Collect Everything Available joke is very close to serious business, especially in my church. You will never get into that church without someone telling us how we should contribute to building the resource centre and many other group activities. Anyone who has been to Kikuyu has seen the structure that will be the resource centre rising above the compound. It’s getting on fine and will be complete in the near future. I have no qualms about development at all. Maendeleo ni mazuri. I am all about giving too. Give and it shall come back to you. My problem is when all these development matters are given pre-eminence over matters of the heart and soul.

Truth be told, sermons and everything else we actually go to church for have been known to be cut short so that money could be collected. Even in my own Sunday School department, kids will be left without a teacher so that merchandise will be sold at the church entrance apparently to support the very same Sunday School ministry. I just want to teach those children in the way they should go without getting a million text messages about meetings to raise money to buy insignificant things. That is exactly why I have not been to my church these past two Sundays. I will definitely go back because of my kids, but other than that, there is virtually nothing that draws me back. Oh, except the Kikuyu Service praise and worship session. That is the ultimate experience for me. Singing those close-to-akorino-like songs to the Almighty gives me some inexplicable joy.

I will not even mention the Reverend David Githii fiasco here. That is another story that needs some serious thought. He has a website though, if you want to see what his issues have been with PCEA for years. And by the way, this man is a thinker and I actually like him. He may go a tad too far with his claims but they have a basis. The politics that are appointments of reverends to a specific church, kirk session wrangles and so on are expected. We are human anyway. We all fall short of the glory of God. The problem is if we know we have fallen and just stick down there without giving proper thought to our goal as the church. Are we here to fulfil the great commission or ensure that we are the church with the richest folk and tallest buildings?

The little church I have been going to is very homely and deep in the village. Probably why I shouldn’t even compare the two. The members are not building any resource centre neither are they buying a Sunday School bus. We can learn from them. Church is that place that I go to have that unwinding moment. To praise God and to fellowship with my fellow believers. I can do the former anywhere else. The latter, is what I am on about. That fellowship described in Acts 2:42-47. That fellowship that draws people to the church, not that which makes them say, ‘Kama kuokoka ni kwa kina Shiku, hiyo sitaki.” We should not be the church where a preacher is given 5 minutes to give a conclusive sermon. We should not be the church that dedicates all its efforts to monetary issues that may not even help an actual needy person within the church or even out there.

The mugumo tree analogy was given by a woman on the pulpit yesterday. The mugumo tree is ubiquitous in the Kikuyu community, just as the PCEA church is. It is also called the strangler fig. It strangles other trees for its survival. It starts out as an epiphyte on other trees then grows its roots downward to envelop the host tree while still growing upward to reach into the sunlight. Eventually, the host tree dies and the mugumo tree grows in splendour. The preacher gave the analogy in reference to the evils we allow to encroach our lives. I will use it to refer to the church, even beyond PCEA. This could very well be the story of the church. Our church, the host tree, could be strangled by unnecessary ‘growth’ that we attribute to the 21st century. It will be strangled, giving rise to a strange new establishment that we will not recognize any more. That is if we do nothing about the direction we are taking. Think about it.

 

Mugumo tree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mugumo tree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Categories
Faith

Contend for the faith

Today was awesome, mostly because it was a Sunday. It happens to be the day I get to listen to some serious nuggets of wisdom from speakers. It was an exception mainly because the speaker was speaking directly to me.

I know what you are thinking, Yeah right Carol! I have heard that before. Everyone thinks that the preacher is talking to them once in a while.

Well you have not. The thing is, he talked about my blog; this very blog (Ok, well, not exactly but you know what I mean). He talked of how I should contend for the faith in writing. How I should start as many blogs as I can to stand for what I believe. You know what’s funny,

…the fact that I started this blog in October last year hoping to write often but ended up neglecting it.

…the fact that my first post mentioned Jude 3, the very verse the speaker insisted on today.

You know what else is interesting, the fact that the sermon title was kind of new to me.

I have this thing I do when some topic I do not know is mentioned. I will completely switch off and brand the sermon boring (like someone might do when they discover I am preaching right here. I totally understand). Then I remembered something my pastor said in church a year ago:

Listening to a sermon is like eating food, you do not remember every dish you have had since you were born BUT that is the only reason you are alive, because you eat. In the same way, you need to listen to the word of God over and over to grow spiritually, whether you remember every bit or not.

So I sat up and listened. Christian apologetics, what in the world? I had no idea what that was before 11.30 am today. I had seen papers on the net and had a feeling an apologetic was some sort of fact presentation to prove something. Today, I learnt that I should defend the gospel through this blog and my life.

I decided today will not be like any other Sunday where I sit at my usual spot in that massive lecture hall, listen to an inspiring sermon, go on and on about how awesome it was then on Monday I am back to square one, not acting out the inspiration.

I will be like Josh Wilson who sang the song “I refuse”. The words in that song say exactly what I have decided to do today and as long as I live.

Sometimes I
I just want to close my eyes
And act like everyone’s alright
When I know they’re not

 This world needs God
But it’s easier to stand and watch
I could say a prayer and just move on
Like nothing’s wrong

But I refuse
‘Cause I don’t want to live like I don’t care
I don’t want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse

To sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh, I could choose
Not to move but I refuse

What more can I say? I will contend for the faith and hope that in the process, you will also do the same; in love (the fact that I have used the word ‘today’ so much notwithstanding).

Categories
Purpose

Timeout…

Bored cannot begin to describe what I am right now. It is a Sunday night I have been stuck in my room watching movies because I have managed to push away very many people who used to keep me company on Sundays. I cannot even begin to count how many they are.

I have this thing, some sort of phobia for letting people too close. The moment I try, I end up getting hurt. Okay, life is about taking risks but still some risks are not worth it, especially if you know they are not a matter of life and death.

The reason I am bored is maybe because I took timeout from twitter. I used to tweet like every other minute, on my phone and laptop whenever I got the chance. Some people even refer to me as the girl who carries a laptop everywhere because in all fairness that is what I am around campus.

There something about me and cyberspace. Actually over 80% of my friends I met in it. I don’t know why but that’s just how it is. Even my tightest classmates and friends in campus, I did not meet them during a lecture or while walking around the campus, it was either on facebook or twitter.

This is a good and a bad thing. Cyberspace makes people who are not naturally outgoing to appear to be so in writing. It gives introverts like me an avenue to be heard and socialize without the fear that millions of eyes are staring at you on a stage.

I have met awesome people through the Internet. They have been there since we met and listen to all my blubbering and arguments. Never mind they are all dudes for some strange reason. Heck, I even earn via the net too! Which brings me to the other thing; Internet has sort of alienated me from girlfriends.

I have formed this notion that girls have too much drama. It could be true, I am one anyway. It takes one to know one. But really, who am I kidding? A dude may cause more drama than ten girls combined, drama inside your heart and head. Oh yes, I am sure you could tell I was coming to this. The root cause of many decisions, whether directly or indirectly, is the soul mate issue. How possible is it to find one online? That is a story for another day lest I get us all confused.

There is the bad. You do not know when to take someone seriously in this virtual world made of millions of code. Most are not even themselves. You may be having a conversation with someone who is just taking you for a ride while on the other side of the continent or world you are taking every word as gospel truth.

The time I waste on the net rather than doing something constructive is unbelievable. This is debatable though. What exactly is constructive? I can get a whole lot of information from Google in 5 minutes than I would by walking around the library looking for a book. But then there is the problem of information overload and all (yeah I had to bring my information sciences into the blog for once). Google might end up confusing me than actually helping me.

Like this one time I had an embarrassing condition and kept quiet about it for weeks (don’t let your imagination run wild, it was not that bad but I thought it was). So what did I do? Of course I Googled and misdiagnosed myself which contributed to me keeping quiet longer.

Eventually I gave up and saw a doctor who solved the problem. That is definitely a bad thing, thinking that the Internet has answers for everything. Sometimes, the traditional sources are much better and reliable.

To be continued…