Hey, I hope you are well. This Sunday The Journey ICC church is launching a weekly service. We would like to invite you to join us as we continue becoming a way of love for a world that longs for wholeness. Service is at 10.30 am at Mji wa Furaha (Radio Waumini) hall along Thika Road. It will be great to be with you! Kabucho.
I could have replied that I was not well as I was pushing my way through ungrateful, hasty Nairobians on a sunny afternoon. Or even tell him that a comma between ‘hall’ and ‘along Thika Road’ was missing. But I didn’t. Especially the comma part. I just smiled, put the phone back to my pocket and walked on to get a good spot to respond. We can say I Blueticked my Passie.
Before I could reply, I remembered a conversation we had with the sender like two years ago and I had jokingly said ‘ sasa utakuwa unaitwa passie? Pastor Bucho?’ And he almost jolted at that description. He insisted that we should still refer to him as Bucho. Not Passie.
So this was my moment to remind him, subtly albeit, that time had finally come. I replied, ‘All in, Pastor Kabucho.’ (I used a comma). And the response was ‘Wewe’ (sent with Loud Effect). iOS users understand this better. Lol
Fast forward to Sunday, the 8th of October 2017.
Mji wa Furaha grounds today is action-packed. The birds inhabiting here must be puzzled with the buzz of activities and the beautifully dressed people walking in (mostly ladies and children. Men were just like that. Hivo tu! Except for one Baroz. When I grow taller I’ll be gilding myself in such slim suits).
Anyways, there are several cars packed under these seemingly wild natural trees. I was shown a funny signage with something like: Unfortunately, you will have to leave your car here and walk to church. I thought that was funny. May be because I was walking but it was witty nevertheless.
The decor is on point. There are several muilt-colored ribbons all over the place. On our way in, we find these overly joyful people who are genuinely happy to see us. I imagine they were happy to see me too. Not everyone is, usually. I can be annoying, you know. Upon entering the gate, we all get warm hugs and I remember thinking to myself ‘I hope they are not replacing tea with these hugs. They are warm yes, but tea still reigns.’ Luckily, the hugs are the canapés. (Canapés- another word I learnt last month and I have been wondering where to use it, appositely)
Now, there’s something that happens whenever tea, coffee and a snack to nibble on are involved. It is called a communi-tea time. This is the only church I have been and people do not scramble to leave after the service. The service ends at 12:30 and at 2.30 pm, we still have people around talking and laughing. . Not bible study (not that it’s bad), not out of obligation but out of the connection they feel. Whoever ‘prepares’ those mandazis (are mandazis baked or cooked?), you have no idea how many of my relatives I would trade to get to have them every day. The mandazis.
One thing about Journey ICC Church that intrigues me is how you can get all these people from different walks, professions, backgrounds and with different views of life, jumble all of them in one room and instead of getting the obvious chaos that arise from the inherent human urge to be right, important and dominant, you get the exact opposite: cooperation, oneness, sharing of knowledge and incredibly outstanding work. Today was a manifestation of this phenomenon. How teams came together and pulled this is a still a wonder. From the sound, decor, Chai (but of course), visuals…everything worked harmoniously to the very end.
There were gifts for everyone. The children department was the most lit, in my view. They were given gifts that made me think of where I would be in life right now if I got such gifts of affirmation, love and acceptance when I was younger. They had these tiny mirrors with stickers written ‘YOU ARE LOVED’ Nothing would help a child grow and develop into a wholesome, confident individual than knowing they are unconditionally loved from the beginning. But they need some protein and vitamins too.
I wanted to go to the Children area but judging from the experience I’ve had with small kids after seeing my beard, I don’t want to be the party pooper. Small kids are racists who think everyone should have a smooth face like them. My pastor’s baby knows my name and that’s enough, for now. I love kids and it is only fair that they love me as I am, with my unkempt beard. They need to learn the way of love too. But there is this chubby toddler I held and, maeeen!! We connected. He loved my beard. I know it because he kept pulling it every time. My mother says I used to do that to her hair and I imagine that’s a way of love. I did not steal the little ninja because apart from not wanting to test his Dad’s Way of Love, I knew this bromance we had with the kid would end soonest I hit my bed and started snoring, oblivious of his poop-filled diaper. But I love kids. Other people’s kids.
The sermon was on love. My favorite part was when Passie pointed out that by looking around us, there’s so much brokenness and dire need of love. Especially if you watch the unending series called News, dirty divisive politics, us versus them kind of thing, you realize how much we are called to embody and live the Love. Like Christ did. And the Band played a song loved by everyone except those that hate it: Build Your Kingdom Here by Rend Collective. That jam reminds me of 2013 general elections as we were praying for Kenya. If I knew we’d be just fine, I’d have saved up those prayers for today. Just saying.
Oh yes. There were avocados. Yes, AVOCADOS. They were put in some African Vyondos with a message: PICK A FEW. The only problem was that bedsitter guys were not informed in advance and the plastic bags ban was meant to eliminate us. We’d have carried enough to last us weeks. Just like that message on us embodying love and living it out every day.
But the girls had their day!!! Those handbags are still nursing muscle (or thread) aches. They were full of dark-skinned avocados. Hehe. We happened to walk with one girl and she donated two avocados to us after realizing her handbag was too heavy, only to take them back after we’ve carried them for close to three hours. The coolest part of this was we walked to Garden City for a fries plot (mind you this is was our first meeting with this girl. You can call us Kidnappers. Spirited kidnappers) with two ninjas holding an avocado each. I explained few times to the people I met that we were looking for a place where we could eat them in the mall. That’s why she took the avocados back. We were a disgrace.
Blixen, if you decide to eat those avocados alone, despite having ripened them with the natural warmth of our dirty, sweaty hands, just know that you are not walking in love. Edu and I shall be repaid. The work of our hands. But I hope for an extreme unlikelihood that you find a big seed inside.
I don’t know whether you like avocados or tea or coffee or Rend Collective. One thing is sure though: All of us humans have an innate desire to connect, feel loved and build genuine relationships of love with other humans and God. We want to be part of God’s healing process. We want to live A way of love. Journey Church is a place for this. It is a generation seeking God and embodying Jesus’s teaching and living it as practically as is possible. You’re welcome next and every Sunday at Mji wa Furaha.
If you like avocados, still I cannot guarantee they’ll be there.
But people seeking God and His Love will be there. We’ll be there.