From the Wilderness of Africa to Adventism, by Way of the Internet, Part 1
By Simon Kahoko Mureu
Submitted Nov 20, 2014
I was born and brought up within a non-Christian family. Neither my parents nor my grandparents had anything to do with Christianity. In 1963 Kenya gained its freedom and everything began to change, whether it was society, religion, education or the political arena.
At that time, education was based on sponsoring churches. There were Anglican, Catholic, and Protestant-based schools. In these schools one had to follow the very same fundamentals beliefs of sponsoring domination. To me, this felt like a journey to nowhere, because one was under force. Young people followed certain beliefs because of education rather than their own faithfulness. In the later years because of wrongly planted seeds, Kenya had to experience a big exodus in the church.
I joined a church missionaries’ school which was under the sponsorship of Church of Scotland, which was an outright Protestant. I had no interest in this. One reason was that our parents had our minds poisoned into understanding that any white person was an enemy of a black man, a colonizer, and all of white man’s things were bad.
My eldest sister was in a Catholic school and I would at times follow her to the church for the Sunday services. Here we were taught about the Ten Commandments and would chant them in a chorus manner.
It was during this time my uncle, Kenyan Seventh-day Adventist book evangelist Njaga wa Karanja, hit the road and started preaching inside the buses and at the market places. Many people liked and enjoyed listening to him.
I liked his ways and manners of teaching the Bible. Those roll pictures of the dragons and Daniel in the den of lions were very wonderful to me. The manner he taught the Ten Commandments created a Protestant in my soul. But no one wished to join him; a man who attended the church on Saturday looked abnormal or even as some kind of lunatic.
But soon, I refused to join my sister in attending her Catholic church. I was young and even today, I don’t understand where the powers to engage her came from. I told her I need not go to the church to pray to their idols. From that day I parted with her.
By the 1970s a new Christian movement became popular in Kenya’s central area: the Greek Orthodox Church. Many elder people joined it. My grandfather who was a member by then tried to push me into it but I refused.
I remained for many years without being a member of any church. I continued reading my Bible and enjoyed it. Both the books of Daniel and Revelation meant a lot to me. How I hated Babylon the great! In my soul, I held the utmost respect for my uncle and his Seventh-day Adventist church, mostly because of the manner in which he could interpret the Bible. I believed the scriptures were the true word of God.
Before the 1990s, I joined the Anglican Church and become an elder, serving as a secretary for three good years. In the fourth year I resigned from this post. I feared I was getting dried up in spirit and always thinking of leadership.
It was at this time that I broke into writing and within a very short time, I become a friend of many writers and editors. Many could not understand how someone with only a standard seven education (the first seven years of education in Kenya) could be contributing such good articles. I enjoyed serving God and my community in this way.
By then I was working as a domestic servant to a white man’s family. They had many, many different kind of books and I was allowed to read any book so long I would keep it clean. I also could buy books for myself. I remained an Anglican for many years and had no desire to move out of it. But then everything changed.
To be continued…