(This is a guest blog post by my very good friend Eunice Ng’ang’a.)
“It was just a day, just an ordinary day.” This song was in my head as Kristen and I left the house at the break of dawn in search of Derick (a small street boy we met yesterday who had jet fuel poured into his eye) to take him to the hospital to have his eye cleaned. A matatu ride which we thought would lead us to where he stayed us was not fruitful and we rode back and set off on foot again from home, tracing the path she and Derick used yesterday. We had been walking along that road for awhile when I heared some one call my name. I was recognized even thou I was so bundled that only a small part of my face was visible. Boniface, a man I last saw three years ago was crawling from the place he was slept the night before. He walked up to me and asked, “Do you remember me?”
How could I forget him? The last time I saw him he was reformed, living off the streets and doing well. He had a job and was putting his life back together after three years in prison. I asked what he was doing there after our last encounter and he said that the devil lured him back to his trap and now he has stolen, destroyed his life and the only thing remaining was for him was death.
We asked if he knew the boy we were looking for and we proceeded to follow him all across Eastleigh, looking for Derick at every base. I told him that God could still give him another chance. We had a lengthy conversation and after looking for Derick without success, we went to have chai in a small hotel. I told him we were going to Shauri Moyo Baptist Church, and he said it wasn’t far and he wanted to come. I told him he was welcome to. All the way to church as we made our way through the slums, he talked of how he made a promise to God while on death row.
He had been imprisoned for armed robbery and even sustained bullet wounds. He had no money and no lawyer to defend him .He told God if He helped him get out of there alive, he would serve Him for the rest of his life. When he was rescued from death there, he served God for a little while until he went back to his old ways. He describe himself like the disobedient Jonah: he had ran from God’s calling on his life, and he was in the belly of the fish. Only, he pointed out, for God, one day is like a thousand years, so he wasn’t sure how much longer he had left in the fish.
Kristen ans I encouraged him to ask God for forgiveness,he is faithful and loving enough and will forgive him. This conversation went on util we arrived at church.
We sat on the last row at church, and all danced during the worship. As the preacher came, he asked all of us at the back to move to the front, saying that the last will be first and the first will be last. So the guys led us to the front, where we listened to the sermon together. Unfortunately, the service was in English so Boniface and his friend did not get much. But toward the end, the pastor asked if anyone had an issue in their lives that they needed prayer.
Boniface and Gitau walked together to the altar and said the wanted to receive Chisrt in their lives. We were overjoyed! The churchwas overwhelmingly supportive of them and they even contributed 2000 KSH (about 20 dollars) to buy them shoes. Some people pledged to bring them clothes, some young men also volunteered to disciple them and everyone was coming to the front hugging them and welcoming them to the church. Then, as we left the church, to get them a haircut, Boniface kept telling us how he may be very dirty on the outside, but his spirit was white as snow–he is a new creation.
What started as an ordinary day ended on a very good note!