Maisha Bora Haki Yako, a programme that seeks to empower the citizenry of Kenya to demand for and ensure that there is proper service delivery on the different sectors in their various communities was recently taken a notch higher.
During a workshop that commenced on a high note at the Savelberg Retreat Centre, between the 16th and the 18th of October, community mobilisers from various counties in the country participated. In this instance, the programme spread its wings to other Counties in the country. The pilot project commenced earlier on this year focusing mainly on the Nairobi County with the 8 constituencies having been successfully incorporated.
The themes of the devotion for the three days: Climbing the mountain, tarrying the mountain and descending the mountain saw the Director of Just Communities, Reverend Phyllis Byrd Ochilo passionately speak to the mobilisers on the need to see and hear differently with the ears and eyes of God.
She stated the importance of the participants being able to transform their sight and hearing in order to ensure that they empower their communities to be able to demand for proper services.
“When I realised that I had an eyesight problem, I got myself spectacles. The world from then onwards became clearer than it was before. The words I could not previously see clearly without my spectacles were now clear. For us to be able to see and hear clearly, we must be able to transform our sight and hearing in order to change the various situations that are facing us in our day to day lives,” She stated.
“Jesus was compassionate enough to feel and work wonders amongst his people and that is what the church and its people need to do. For us to be compassionate about the wrongs in society, we need to feel it deep down ourselves. Jesus is calling us to be compassionate. By seeing someone in need and just saying bless you to brother without a tangible action that follows through, that is not compassion. Compassion is feeling it in the core of our being, and helping those in need. We need to look for solutions and not merely giving food to the needy amongst us,” she added.
She noted that Jesus literally had nothing in his hands when he fed the 5,000 people and had 12 full baskets remaining. With the little the people had, Jesus was able to make it into a success story. This she stated, should be emulated and turn around the situations facing the people in the communities.
“As people of faith, how do we see and how do we hear? We should move away from the culture of selfishness where one only thinks of themselves and their community. “I’m happy as long as my people are fed mentality.” Not caring about other people elsewhere. When the post election violence happened, many people chose to keep quiet as long as their people were not affected which should not be the case, “she stated.
Archbishop Stephen Njooni Marete the Vice chairman of the OAIC Kenya Chapter who is also the Chaplain of the Moi Forces Academy stated that the African Independent churches (AIC’s) had made headway in ensuring that they participated equally in developmental issues like the mainstream churches.
“When I was in Theology school in Britain in the early 90’s the AIC’s were not recognized then as only the mainstream churches had a voice. But I am proud that many people have began to realise the tremendous work we were doing. If we want to be like Jesus we must follow in His footsteps and be servant leaders. The sons of Zebedee, James and John wanted to sit near Jesus so that they could be counted as great people. They had not realised yet that the Lord of glory was willing to wash people’s feet. If we want to be like Jesus, then we must follow in his footsteps. One has to serve the people in order to be on God’s best side. The greatest person is one who serves others,” he stated.
He urged the participants to genuinely serve others with humility and not to serve so as to be recognized. He urged them to keep on empowering their various communities even when challenges abound.
“Don’t feel discouraged when you call for meetings and only a few people show up. With the few that show up, make sure you push on and with time you will see tremendous changes in your various communities,” he urged them.
Reverend Phyllis further urged them to watch out, take heed and take care as they yearn to make a difference in their communities. That Jesus in his teachings always tried to make his disciples understand that they must always keep their eyes open. Christianity she stated had become a little bit of a routine where people no longer challenged themselves spiritually.
She noted the need for people to be their own watchmen and always be on guard just as Jesus told his disciples.
“We need to ask ourselves why the country has poor infrastructure. We need to see with the eyes of God and hear with the ears of God. We must tackle corruption issues, we must, face the situations that are not right in our society head on and not become complacent in our spirits. There is a need for people to look at things intently and not just at the surface of the matter. We need to look critically at issues and transform the lives being affected,” she urged.
She also urged church leaders to always ensure that they do their work diligently and avoid sloppiness if they are to gain the confidence and respect of their congregants.
“If I constantly surround myself with my tribesmen, or people who don’t have a different point of view from mine, then there is no development. We have to constantly push ourselves to see and yearn to lean more. We need to be more attentive to what is happening in our communities and the society at large and see with the eyes of God. We are all one irrespective of our ethnicity. We should see the God in others and not their tribal affiliations. We are all a part of God’s family and we are interconnected as people of God. We must realize that change or transformation is not instant and we must keep on keeping on,” she stated.
She reiterated the fact that climbing the mountain, tarrying it as well as descending had challenges. But with the guidance of the Holy spirit, these challenges she stated could be surmounted.
She urged them not to give up due to the challenges that they shall encounter.
“When Moses was afraid of being sent to the people of Israel. God asked Him what he had in his hand and when he threw the walking stick down, it turned into a snake. What we learn from this example is that God simply says, use the simple things that He has put in your hands and make a difference for the glory of God. We should ask God to help us transform the way we see and hear and bring the desired change to the world,” she stated.
Fiona Imbali, OAIC Communications