By Carren Adhiambo
Recounting from the East African singles retreat held on 1st – 3rd June 2018, the Shining stars (Singles Ministry) in Nairobi, braved the night for an end of the year all-night party on December 14, 2018 at the Umoja sanctuary located east of Nairobi as the year came to a close.
With kindled hearts and a dress code of white, blue, red and green to match the Christmas colors, the singles were indeed prepared to have a great time.
Edwin Mahiga, the singles ministry leader, started the program with a word of prayer at 10:00pm, followed by melodious praise and worship from the song leaders with intervals of thanksgiving and praise by Victor Odero and Edwina Nekoye drawn from Psalms 95:1-2.
The Shining stars ministry with 188 disciples is blessed to have married leaders and friends who offer spiritual guidance on matters of concern to singles.
Among them are Charles Omolo, Peter Aketch, and Edwin and Evelyn Mahiga. They commit time out of their busy schedules to serve the singles with a lot of dedication and love.
They took the stage and were vulnerable to share from their lives. They spoke about their life experiences as well as encouraged the singles using scriptures without necessarily preaching.
Christine Munene, one of the event organizers opened another session of personal sharing where she highlighted her encounter with God that despite lack of a job and the high cost of living in Nairobi, she never lacked. Instead, she had learned great virtues of patience, perseverance, and openness. Read her story shared here earlier.
There were diverse and deep sharing from two sisters Adelaide Musonye and Rose Wangu and one brother, Enock Kamau that touched on the struggles that single parents go through, challenges in dating and evangelism respectively. They all reflected on God’s faithfulness despite their circumstances.
The session was followed by an uninterrupted personal time of reflection and thanksgiving prayer.
The warmth and sweetness of black Kenyan tea and slices of cakes eased the hunger and cold as echoes of laughter cracked the air, despite the heavy rain that poured outside. Fellowship took centre stage.
The curtain could not close before participating in an array of games, enjoyable bible trivia and finally the sound of music bringing everyone to the dance floor and breaking into a dance. The house was filled with excitement. Groups were formed and the competitions began with everyone eager to win and no one falling asleep.
The groups responded to two interactive questions; “Has the singles ministry been of benefit to you? If yes how? ; and which activities would you want to have in 2019?”
The responses resulted to the birth of 2019 activities which included inter-regional block talent shows, group fellowships, and community service, visiting and encouraging smaller churches, singles workshops, and conferences, singles-led sermons and all nights.
A few singles summarized their experiences of the event, ‘‘this is one of the best all nights that I have attended, I wish we had more time for sharing, they were so inspiring. I have seen what God is able to do in our lives when we totally surrender to Him. I appreciate the openness, boldness, and desire for evangelism expressed through the sharing,’’ said Valentine Anyula.
“Being single for Christ is the best experience ever and knowing God is like going on a ride that doesn’t end. I have given up many times but still found hope and strength through friends and Christ to continue on this ride. I am blessed to be a disciple, blessed with a girlfriend too and gifted with friendships through Christ. I would have never known what it meant to love without limitation; it might be my work, my relationship, my enemies but 2018 has had lots of lessons to teach me and through them, I have found strength in Christ Jesus,” said Steve Kabocha.
“It was awesome. The group responses to the inquiries, the intergroup competition, the food, and fellowship made the event unique,” stated Fred Ray.
“The inter-group games/activities gave people an opportunity to fully express themselves. The event was well organized” noted Ismael Mohammed.
“I felt that my needs were met and that we could have more all nights next year. The environment was lively and friendly for people to open up making it easy for me to draw lessons,” concluded Damaris Nthenya
Soon it was dawn and a reminder that the end of a matter is better than its beginning as Solomon articulates in Ecclesiastes.
To God be the glory and honour!