By Austine Oduor and Fred Opiyo
The International Churches of Christ in Nairobi Kenya gathered at the Umoja Sanctuary for a special Sunday service on the 8th of April 2018. The service was to bid farewell to Lead Evangelist John Maleya and his wife Jane Maleya who God had used powerfully to lead East Africa churches of Christ in different capacities eventually becoming the Lead Evangelist and Women’s Ministry leader respectively.
John Maleya in his four point sermon titled, “Destined to Change the World”, appreciated brothers and sisters who have sacrificed so much over the years to make the church what it is today.
“If you are a disciple of Jesus, this is not your permanent place because we are destined to change the world wherever we go.”
We should be wise in the way they interact with the world (Colossians 4:5) and watch how you live your life (1st Timothy 4:16). It takes you to be the change to change the world. We can all change the world and it does not matter where you come from or how you were raised. It’s your responsibility to change the world positively.
He encouraged disciples to embrace meekness (Matthew 5:5) by being gently, quiet, submissive, patient and enduring. Meekness should not be perceived as a sign of weakness rather it is power and strength under control. Moses left all the glory and glamour of Egypt to pursue the will of God and suffer with his brothers rather than enjoy short-lived pleasures of sin. For you to change the world, you have to go through fire. When we submit to God’s will he is able to use us. You must be the change that you want to see in the world.
Disciples must learn and choose to forgive one another, be tolerant and bear with each other (Ephesians 4: 31-32). Forgiveness gives birth to reconciliation, unity and strength. Great relationships, marriages, Bible talks and churches are all built on forgiveness. “If we do not learn to live together we shall perish together like fools,” Martin Luther King Jr. The church watched a short reconciliation clip of Magic Johnson & Isaiah Thomas both renowned basketball players to demonstrate the power of forgiveness.
Let us become a church of men and women who have learnt to forgive by making every effort to strive to forgive and it does not matter how long you have held the grudge. Those who are married learn to listen to each other and forgive. Choose reconciliation, choose forgiveness.
We must stay strong and keep the faith. Learn to endure hardship and resolve to move by faith no matter what (Luke 14:31-34). Jesus could not be stopped by anybody. He had a goal. Our goal is to make it to heaven. Let us keep the faith (Galatians 6:9-10). We should not be weary of doing good things. There is a reward at the end. God is encouraging us to keep the faith. The little things help the church to continue to grow. God realizes our dream. Let us keep the faith.
Lastly, the greatest is love (1st John 4:7-12). When we love one another, then God’s love is complete in us. Loved people eventually help to love one another. Are you born of God? Are you a loving person? We must learn to love to change the world. We need to touch people with love. We should not lock ourselves; we are destined to change the world.
His message quoted prominent personalities who made the difference in trying to change the world.
“If you want the world to be a good place for you look at the man in the mirror.” Michael Jackson.
“You can shake the world gently.” Mahatma Gandhi.
“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” Nelson Mandela.
“Spread love everywhere.” Mother Theresa.
“It’s the little things citizens do. That’s what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees.” Professor Wangari Maathai.
The elders in training Jeremiah Oginga, Antony Mwanza and Edward Okundi committed the Maleya’s to prayer and blessings as they head down to the rainbow nation to be part of the leadership of Johannesburg Church of Christ.
Jarrett and Nancy Odwallo shared briefly about the Maleya’s. Nancy pointed out Psalms 32:8 that confidence comes from God and encouraged Jane that God will direct the path she will take (Psalm 21:5)
Jarret assured John that the church he is leaving behind is secured referencing Genesis 24:40. The true test of a great leader is what happens when he leaves. “John you led us well and allowed us to work alongside you (Psalm 121). We hope that through you we will develop great relationships between Nairobi and the Southern Africa churches,” Jarret concluded.
John Maleya was the first disciple from Nairobi, Kenya where the church was planted to be appointed the East Africa Evangelist on 8th October 1995. He has helped his entire family to become disciples and also reached out to many to become disciples.
The Maleya’s led the Nairobi church for six years and had just come out of their sabbatical leave. They will be missed by many for the great service they have done over the years. They both became disciples 27 years ago in the same year 1991 and same month, only separated by three days. Interestingly, they never knew each other.
The Maleya’s were later presented with souvenirs as appreciation for serving the church in East Africa over the years from the time they were singles. Jane Maleya shared from Corinthians 13:11 that no matter what happens we must restore one another. We must comfort one another with a pure heart. We should find time for one another because we are of Christ and be vulnerable as this allows us to live in peace. The God of love and peace should be with us. God will take us where we want to go and she urged the sisters to really support the staff.
Erick Kivuva did the Holy Communion message from 1st John 4:16 urging the congregation to rely on the love of God noting how easier it is to trust in things we see but we never stop to think of the intervening factors. The Bible is calling us to rely on God’s love for he will save us no matter what.
The service had opened up with worship & praise songs and later Walter Migwi & his fiancee Rose Wangu read from Psalm 34:3 and welcomed the congregation. Ev. William Auki did the announcements plus a presentation of video clips from ICOC News.
The church witnessed the baptism of Josephine Wawira, Bistom Mukolwe, Michelle Omina, Titus Kidiavai and Ramadhan Mohammed as they embraced Christ in their lives.