I am seen
I am heard
I am known
I am loved
No need to defend/explain/justify my existence
more grease to you elbows
more strength to your knees
more clarity to your mind
more wisdom to your ears
more vision to your eyes
more grace to your tongue
more firmness to your back
Last year in mid December, me and mine plus my lovely helper were on our way to visit my sister along Ngong Rd. I was to drop them off, head for a short meeting and come back to my sister’s place. Little did we know, our plans were about to change before they got better.
Just after the bridge that leads to Jamhuri Show Ground as you head towards town, you begin to encounter the road side traders with the ground nuts, sugarcane, sweets and all manner of children toys. It is our favourite stretch on the road because we love eating in the car and eating roadside foods. We had just hit that stretch, set sight on our first purchase which was from a sugarcane vendor when we heard a loud bang!
To the best of my memory the very first time I was ever asked to speak without notes on a subject was in high school during the inter-house music and drama festival. The scheduled speaker grew cold feet and I was asked to speak, I forget the subject but am pretty sure I still have the certificate because guess what, I won in that category.
As life has progressed I have had numerous opportunities to speak in public. And sadly along the way I lost the art of speaking impromptu on any subject. I now prefer to research, to study, to write down my speaking notes and follow them through on d-day. That has become my comfort zone, the place I have been flourishing in for most of my adult life.
In June this year (2017) I had the privilege to meet Uncle Moody Awori the 9th Vice President of the Republic of Kenya. I was so excited for the meeting, I was literally falling all over myself.
I had written my first book (Kenya National Anthem Devotional) and was now in the stage of seeking endorsement from various persons. So, this one day I am in an office just outside town; I had gone to meet a certain person to seek their endorsement for my book. It was not to be, they politely declined. While there, my friend Stanley, I have known him for 20 years and counting, called me. It was a bit strange because we don’t talk on phone as often; but it was all providence. I asked to call him later because I was in a meeting. After the meeting I called him back and said I would pass by his office in town. When we met, I told him what I was upto and why I was in that office earlier. He looked through the Kenya National Anthem series on my blog and immediately said, I know the man to endorse you: Uncle Moody Awori.
Welcome to the #18daychallenge movement.
This is a movement committed to take 18 days to pray for Kenya in the words of the Kenya National Anthem using the KENYA NATIONAL ANTHEM DEVOTIONAL.
I know what you are thinking, the Anthem has 18 lines? Yes, it does. 18 lines to one of the most well thought, well articulated and potent prayers I have ever come across. And guess what, it is Kenyan through and through!
For many Kenyans the Kenyan National Anthem was introduced to us as law, as a compulsory component of the syllabus. We were taught to sing it since lower Primary School all through every education institution at the raising and sometimes at the lowering of the Kenyan flag. Not because we like the anthem, not because we even understood the anthem; but mostly because we did not have a choice.
Allow to reintroduce the Kenya National Anthem to you.
This Anthem is many things but for now I will let us in on two: It is a symbol of unity and it is a prayer.
The Kenya National Anthem is a symbol of unity. We only have one National Anthem for every tribe, every county, every individual in Kenya. When we sing it with pride, mostly during sporting events, we all sing one anthem. It brings us together, it binds us together.
Second and most important the Kenya National Anthem is a prayer, yes a prayer. If you sit down with the composers of the Anthem, yous see it shining in their eyes. The passion they have for the Anthem, and how sacred they hold it. How important they deem it, how precious they perceive it.
The Kenya National Anthem is a prayer. And the first line sets that out, just incase you are in doubt:
O God of all creation
We begin this potent prayer by raising our eyes up, our voices high to the God of all creation.
My challenge to you today, look for the words of the Kenya National Anthem, read through them slowly, reflectively. Then learn those words by heart: all three verses, the entire 18 lines. And next time you have an opportunity to sing the Anthem, pray through it. Pray to the God of all creation.
This is just the beginning of a journey for us as Kenyans, a journey of prayer, a journey to patriotism and nationalism.
Welcome to the a conscious singing of the Kenya National Anthem using the KENYA NATIONAL ANTHEM DEVOTIONAL.
Commit your work to the Lord,
and your plans will be established.
On Saturday 8th July 2017 at Daystar University, Nairobi Campus surrounded by friends and family and only by the grace of God my first book (self published) KENYA NATIONAL ANTHEM, DEVOTIONAL was launched.
aririririririririririri aririririririririri ariririririririri ariririririririririri (ululations, I am a girl so I get four ????)
God did it for us. He walked with me and with us from idea conception to the launch and even after He still is with me and us. I a in awe of His kindness to me, especially knowing how frail and trivial and disobedient and unfaithful I can be with Him.
I call Him Father, and He has been a Good Good Father to me.
It takes a village to raise a child my people say.
And I dare say that it takes a village to write and publish a book.
I had a few favorite teachers in graduate school. One of them is Prof. Mark Shaw. He is man of wisdom and calmness, I enjoyed the one class he taught me and the other that his prodigy taught me using his well prepared notes. In this class, Prof. Shaw used his manuscript for his now published book “Work, Pray, Love: A Visual Guide to Calling, Career and the Mission of God”.
In his book ‘the village’ is one of the tenets he looks at when it comes to work, pray and love. He encouraged us to know our village, the different layers of it, from the core to the outer parts and cultivate relationships within the village.
Lucas Owako is one of those people in my village. Together with his beautiful wife Victoria, their son Ariel and daughter Olive, they are part of my village. Lucas is one of the brightest minds I know, as well as someone who is not easily ticked off. I say that tongue in check because in graduate school I once served in student leadership with him and he successfully led us through several days of ‘quiet protest’ (read, absconding chapel in a christian university). He went through the first draft with a toothpick dotting every I and crossing every T.
My godmother Helen Maina is right in the core of my village. She is amazing: amazing sounds like an understatement. Together with her gals and two boys and precious grandchildren. I am glad to call them family.
I have been trying during this entire project to take care of my village and not in any way neglect them as I pursue this new path the LORD has set before me.
Having a village and allowing them to participate in your success requires balance and strength.
By God’s grace, I hope and pray I am keeping the balance.
Amani Bawata one of the people in my village had this to say about the devotional:
Growing up, I could sing the National Anthem and the recite the Loyalty Pledge. While I mourn the loss of such seeds of patriotism, I celebrate this effort to both rebuild the foundations of our patriotism but much more, to unearth the deep truths found in our National Anthem. This devotional is ideal for all Kenyans: for the old to be reminded and for the young to be taught: that the founding fathers of Kenya acknowledged the place of God in the growth of Kenya. I recommend this devotional to all Kenyans to read, meditate, study and apply it both as individuals and as groups. – Amani Bawata
My full name is Joyce Wanjiku Mwangi.
I am named after my maternal grandmother the late Sarah Wanjiku Kuria may she continue to rest in peace.
I wish she was still alive to see this project unfold. I wish she was here to witness the book launch in a few hours time…
I wish, I wish…
But she is not here. She wont be there at the launch either…
What puts a smile on my lips though is memories of her.
Who she was, her prayer and prophetic ministry.