This is a true testimony of my life. In all I have learned one thing:
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
I was born about 23 years ago in a remote village in the western part of Kenya. Should I say that I was lucky to be born into a middle well-off family? No, I wasn’t lucky; better to be born in Garisa (a town so dry and arid there is NO farming).
At the age of 7 years, my mother passed away while undergoing an operation in one of the hospitals in Kenya. Why just Mum? This is a question to which I have never got the answer. I loved her so much more than Dad because Daddy was a very harsh man.
Secondly, Mum always called me Papa, meaning her father, as I had inherited my grandfather’s name. Before her death I never knew anything about it nor imagined what would happen when someone died. On receiving the message of her death—never to see her again, I never stopped crying—it haunted me a lot! I developed very low self-esteem for I lost my mother, somebody close to me, the one who loved me.
Marriage in Kenya depends on a man’s wealth. A poor man will often stay single or have one wife, but being rich even makes some devoted Christians fall into polygamy. After Mum passed away, several other mamas replaced her and as I talk now, three still survive, each of them struggling for a portion of that wealth for themselves and their children.
I thank God that He made me a bright student in all of my education levels. This did not please my family members because jealousy has been the order of the day. No house wants the other to prosper. That disadvantaged me even more as I lacked someone—my Mum—to have a direct say for me to my father.
Although with a lot of difficulty convincing Mzee—father—to pay school fees, I managed to get the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (KCSE) in 2004, passing with a grade B plain grade which is above the required level of C+ to qualify for university entry.
Do you think things worked well for me after this? No! Matters became even worse. This education level cannot secure you a good job anywhere. You must be a graduate. One of my stepmothers proposed that I go and search for a job in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. Yes, it is a thought, but many Kenyans hang out there jobless, though they even hold degrees, but in fields where no employment is available.
In September 2009, I had applied for an admission at KCA University in Nairobi. Having paid a registration fee of $560.00 U.S. dollars plus another $2,000 for tuition and examination fees for the first year to their examination body with the money I received for being a polling clerk in the 2007 general elections in Kenya, my family totally refused to support me with any additional expenses. Totally refused! In this earthly kingdom, fortunate are they who have mothers, for then they have someone to promote their case and their grievances shall be heard by their fathers. My family then decided to corrupt the whole issue more than not advancing my studies; five years ago, my younger sister was allowed to take my position. Why? Why? Only that she had a mother to push her case while I was left behind.
These past years have been very difficult for me without hope, without an education and without family who cared about me. I sank so low that I decided to leave and lose my life in River Yala. On that day I was tired in my heart, but on my way to the river I remembered a verse I had read from one of the Christian magazines quoted from Mark 8:36: “For what shall it benefit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Contemplating that day how students at times die in road accidents just days before their graduations and some men and women get sick and lose their health and die suddenly leaving their homes and everything, I convinced myself that all of these things have no benefits anyway; life is so uncertain. I should win my own soul today, but what then? There was still nothing to look forward to in this life. The battle continued as the two sides raged in my head. Die, because you may convince yourself that life will get better for now, but troubles still wait for you—no university studies, eat at someone’s mercy, the continued burden of stress. O Lord, Ah! No! Seek refuge from a country far from your home? Then what? I felt that going with the water was the only option for me—be eaten by klate animals and in all, forgotten! After all, who was there to miss me; who was there who would care? I had no one, so I thought, but I was oblivious to the unseen Watcher who saw and knew all.
Praise the Lord! God performed a miracle just at the right time when I could not sink any lower. A sound was being heard from far off. What was it? As I got nearer to the river, the louder and clearer it became. The message from those loud speakers* started attracting my attention. It was a Saturday! “Karibu tufurahi Sabato.” Welcome to a happy Sabbath were the words I heard from a distance of about three kilometers on the other side of the river. I decided to stop and listen to the music first. I enjoyed it so much that I walked toward its direction. At last I came to the source of the music and found that it was coming from what looked like somebody’s home. I thought, Is this a church or someone’s home where the family is just trying to enjoy life with music? I passed by the home, not entering, being respectful of private property and then sat down just behind the fence. (Due to earlier family differences and traditions, conducting church in someone’s private home hinders many villages to attend services in Bunyore.)
One young man coming from the other way on that pathway noticed me from a distance that I was really enjoying the music and approached me, giving me a warm handshake welcoming me to the Sabbath. “Do you know me?” I asked. The man said no, but he was just trying to invite me in. I was convinced to enter the home. Oh, it was a church in someone’s home!
I was welcomed with much love and when I testified what I was just going through at that time and my intention to end my life, Evangelist Jeremiah Otemo immediately ran to his house to bring several Bible literature books and quoted the verses that were written for the last days, parents refusing their own children.
After the Sabbath they did not allow me to go. I stayed with them for some days and on my departure, I was given a Bible and other Christian literature books to influence me more. Since that day, I visit them every two Sabbaths each month, as I stay about 28 kms from the home church. I am now fully observing, among others, the fourth commandment, keeping the Sabbath whether at college in Kisumu or at my new home (Jeremiah’s). I enjoy sharing with others the love of (1 John 4:8) God, attending Sabbath school and reading the gospel literature which keeps me busy in research for my vision of authoring and publishing books. I am ready to be sent anywhere for the Lord’s work, even far to share with other perishing souls what the Lord can do while eagerly waiting to meet the Messiah at His second coming to take us to our rest. I get hope in doing it.
Pray for the work in Kenya that shifting the church to the new site (see 1st quarter, 2010 mission offering) will be a reality soon to encourage other villagers to attend and receive the Sabbath blessing.
Do not give up, for the Lord has something special for you. Jesus said to go and call your friends and family and tell them about Me (John 4:16). His nature, His law is love. It ever has been and ever will be. Amen.
*Evangelism in Africa is often carried out by erecting horn speakers that broadcast all over the village. Each Sabbath at Bunyore, Evangelist Jeremiah Otemo plays sacred music at the beginning of the Sabbath, welcoming the village to the Sabbath. Sabbath services are also broadcast over the speakers for all to receive the blessing.
It was during the December 2009 visit to Kenya that Sandra Mulchin asked Nobert to write his testimony for LandMarks after meeting him. The story of his rescue from despair and his determination to follow the Lord has touched hearts. Through the providence of God, Nobert is now able to attend the Kisumu campus of the University of Kenya where he is continuing his studies in accounting (this course chosen due to high demand for qualified accountants). He is praising the Lord that where he had no hope, God has given him hope. He is now witnessing for Jesus at the university and when school is out he helps Jeremiah Otemo with the project in Bunyore. At last this young man has found the family he has been looking for since his mother’s death—the family of God, and now patiently waits to be reunited with his loved mother at the first resurrection. It is my privilege and honor to be called Mum Sandra.