The Growler growled happily, like a leopard that had just finished a pleasant meal of raw gazelle. Just as well, because The Growler had just completed a 160-kilometer drive from Nairobi to Kitui. Although the ignition key was switched off, the Subaru Forrester’s engine was still growling. I could hear this growl as Nana and I walked away towards the Everlasting Garden Hotel’s reception area.
Mum, the lady who owned the place together with her husband John flashed a large warm smile when Nana and I matched into the reception room. She could remember Nana from her previous visit in December. No one forgets Nana. Her infectious smile and sunny spirit leave warmth in their trail. On a physical note, she spots waist-length locks that dance gently whenever she walks.
Nana was given the same room that she had occupied in her previous visit. E7. I got E5, the adjacent room. We were officially neighbors. We freshened up in a record time of five minutes, ran back to The Growler and sped off to Mama Deborah’s place. Earlier that morning, Mama Deborah had informed me that she would be preparing late lunch for us. Nana was hoping that chicken would be on the menu while I was craving for chapatis.
Mama Deborah is Dr. Kalua Green's mother. If you have ever met Dr. Green, then you will know that he is one of the liveliest, friendliest people that God created. He inherited these genes from his mama. As soon as she saw us, she rewarded us with a warm hug and an even warmer smile. She was looking resplendent in a green floral skirt suit and a blue cap. Barely five minutes later, she was welcoming us to a meal of chapati, rice, chicken, mutton and cabbage. Nana and I exchanged the greedy looks of two people who couldn’t wait to dive into the feast.
Less than an hour later, with full stomachs and excited sprits, we commenced our interview. The subject of the interview was St. Stephen’s Ministries and Bishop David Kalua, the man who started this ministry at the dawn of the new millennium. Unknown to us, we were about to hear powerful testimonies about the Bishop who changed his world.
“Even as we preach the word of God, let us remember that the Word doesn’t fill stomachs. Only food does so. It’s not right to preach to the hungry and do nothing to help them feed.”
Pastor James, a Pastor with St Stephen Ministries quoted one of Bishop Kalua’s favorite quotes.
“Very true,” I said as I nodded my big head. I have always been a strong believer in the social ministry part of the Gospel that Jesus elaborated on in Mathew 25: 35 – 36. ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
For at least an hour after that, we heard memorable recollections about Bishop Kalua from some of the people who were closest to his Ministry. Chief among them was Mama Deborah, his wife. She recalled with nostalgia the heady days of the New Millenium when her late husband founded this Ministry. He had invested all his heart and time into it. This made me think of my favorite Bwak quotes that ‘if you can’t do something with all your heart, don’t do it at all.’ I thought of this quote when I read a book by Jim Elliot, the American missionary who was killed on 8th January 1956 while preaching in Ecuador. He says somewhere in the book that, ‘wherever you are, be all there!’ Listening to Mama Deborah, it felt to me that her late husband had been all there in the Ministry, doing it with all his heart.
Are you all there, fully present in the ventures of your life? Are you pursuing your life's mission with all your heart?
Also present and reminiscing was Joseph, the Chairman of St Stephen Ministry’s mother Church; his older brother Daniel a congregant in the Church and Grace the Church’s Secretary; Eunice, the Church’s coordinator. Together, they reconstructed the indelible, powerful steps that the late Bishop David Kalua had taken in his unforgettable journey to build a Ministry that had changed the lives of thousands.
The story of this ministry will be published in an upcoming St. Stephen Ministry’s website and also in a soon-to-be-released book by by Dr. Isaac Kalua Green.