By Rayola Osanya and Austine Oduor
Pictures: Caxton Kimeu
John the apostle is described in Scripture as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” John Maleya the evangelist stands out in our hearts as a disciple who loves Jesus. As John, dear wife Jane and their children Jayson and Jewel depart Nairobi for Lusaka to take on the next chapter of their glowing lives in the ministry of the Zambia International Church of Christ, they leave behind a legacy of love and an indelible mark of exemplary leadership and selfless service.
They leave behind them disciples they’ve reached out to, ministries they’ve poured their hearts into and dear friends who they look up to.
In 1992 as a single man, John left a potentially lucrative career in banking to join the full-time ministry, and in 1995 became the first locally converted disciple to be appointed evangelist in the East Africa churches. Jane was appointed as Women’s Ministry Leader in 2001, also single at the time. After God joined them together in 2003 they continued to shepherd and shine, leading various ministries in Nairobi, spearheading the church in Eldoret, overseeing new congregations in Western Kenya, and returning to Nairobi in 2011 to answer the call for which they were set apart of steering the East Africa churches.
Scripture instructs, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” (Hebrews 13:7) John and Jane’s leadership is impossible to forget. Their faith has sewn seeds of growth across East Africa.
Women’s Ministry Leader Victoria Auki looks back at Jane’s service to the sisters in East Africa with much respect. “One of the highlights for me with Jane,” Victoria says, “is her love for the word of God. Jane is very keen on sharing the Scriptures at whatever circumstance. She goes back to Scriptures and calls whoever she is helping or counseling back to the Scriptures.”
John’s brother Duncan shares, “When I think about the double Js, I see true role models. John has repeatedly displayed humility. Jane, too, is a good listener who is always ready to help, especially on spiritual matters.”
Timothy Machuka in Eldoret, one of many brothers who John personally reached out to and helped to become a disciple, reflects on “the countless moments [John] has walked with me through my tough times and encouraged me.” Timothy, who was a waiter at the time, recalls the moment he first met John. “Before I served him he introduced himself and asked for my name, gave me his business card and invited me to church. This is my highest moment because being a disciple has really changed my life.”
Just as the apostle Paul noted of the disciples in Philippi, “You have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence” (Philippians 2:12), the greatest gratitude that East Africa can give the Maleyas is to hold firmly in their absence to whatever we have learned or received or heard from them, or seen in them—and put it into practice.
John and Jane reflect on cherished years in East Africa. Their greatest highlight is the endearing and enduring relationships they have been surrounded by. “Our best friends and soulmates are here—people who are willing to do anything for our family. Our children are best friends with the children of these friends.”
Jane offers a parting call to the East Africa sisters. “Love one another deeply, for love comes from God. Support each other no matter who you are or what position you or others are in.” She shares 2 Corinthians 13:11, which reads, “Finally, brothers and sisters rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” (NIV)
Looking back, John muses, “I cherish the grace and loyalty we were accorded by the awesome disciples of East Africa, all the moments we spent together, and the lessons learnt. We thank the disciples for the opportunity they gave us to lead East Africa.” He punctuates it with a special memory. “The Nairobi 25th anniversary celebration service was a great show of unity and brotherhood here.”
Looking ahead, John enthuses, “The God who has brought us this far will glorify himself in our lives and in the lives of those we are going to lead. Our prayer is to build great friendships in the Zambian family and not forget the ones here. We want to grow in our leadership, marriage, and parenting, given that we shall raise our teens in Zambia.”
And finally, “Everyone, please clothe yourselves with great humility because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Always choose forgiveness and reconciliation, it’s the best recipe for unity and progress. Never give up. Keep up the good fight of the faith. ‘For we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed but of those who believe and are saved’ (Hebrews 10:39). The greatest is love. Embrace love and live it. Love covers over a multitude of sins. Love is the driving force.”
The Maleyas leave behind a lasting luminous legacy, and as they relocate they will surely likewise light up Lusaka with their love, lives, and leadership.
Comments from Nairobi staff members and friends
I thank God for John and Jane and the great services they’ve offered to the church. They are humble and God loving. We personally appreciate them in a special way because it’s through their leadership that by God’s grace we were appointed as an Evangelist and Women Ministry Leaders. We are forever grateful to them. We continue to pray that God will raise them even to greater heights. Amen.
John and Jane,
I truly appreciate you as leaders and as friends. Thank you for your service to God and his people through the years. As you settle down in your new station of service, I wish you nothing but great success, God’s guidance and blessings in all you do.
We appreciate you and may God bless you!
Janet Nzisa on John:
John is a Father, no matter how many mistakes I do he embraces me with the love only God can give. He is very humble, always will apologise to young and old when in the wrong. I have seen John pray and burn the midnight oil preparing messages for Sunday. John is very generous and gives thoughtful gifts….best of all is a Bible he gave me for a gift.
Janet Nzisa on Jane:
Jane is my mother. She fed me, housed me, taught me how to cook, how to dress and behave around brothers. She gave me a chance to mentor her kids. Her generosity is seen through thoughtful gifts which she has numerously given to me. She is caring and always has a word of wisdom and encouragement. Opening up to her is not hard because she corrects firmly and in love. She is prayerful and half of her year is spent fasting. Jane is my role model.
Charles Omollo and family
To John Kilaha (my spiritual father) and Mama Jane Adhiambo
Thank you, bro, for allowing God to use you to reach out to me and teaching me the Truth. You have both walked and nurtured me into the brother that I am today.
Hospitality: You were there for me when I was very sick and my health was wasting away. You helped make my pain lighter, may our father God bless you for that.
Caring: You never hold back when one is in need. Many are the times I have seen you sharing your last coin to meet needs. Fasting and prayer is your lifestyle, always traveling to encourage the brokenhearted, may you be encouraged in turn.
You stand out as a couple who love God deeply.
Words alone cannot express how much I appreciate you.
Blessings: The Lord bless you and keep you only unto Him. May He make his face shine and gracious unto you. May He turn His face unto you and give you peace. May he keep you faithful according to His will?
Bye for now, with love Charles.
Maleyas, we thank God for putting you in our lives for six years. God used you to call us into the Ministry and you trusted us. You nurtured us spiritually and physically as parents. We are forever grateful!
From 1996 after my return to Kenya to be part of the ministry staff in Kenya, my first contact was John Kilaha (Maleya) and as single, we lived together for a while.
Later I had the honour of leading the then Western Region with Jane Maleya – she was single then.
So I say this about both:
Their humility, desire to build teamwork and nurturing the sense of family is outstanding.
On my own account, John has been one outstanding leader in Nairobi who has supported the initiative to get as many children as possible to Swamp camp and to empower our boys, he even climbed Mt Kenya to help raise money for the same.
I wish you all the best in Zambia.
Good morning, my appreciation for John and Jane is that they are a great couple who touched our lives in a great way. They love God and God’s people genuinely. John personally, I am grateful to God for him as He used John to take me through the journey of Restoration back to God and His Family. My prayer and on behalf of my family, we wish the Maleya’s a great time of serving God in Zambia. To God be the glory…Amen.
Edward and Anyima Okundi
John and Jane are a terrific duo! They totally complement each other as friends, leaders and in the ministry as they offer both emotional heart and steadfast spirit of faithfulness in one beautiful package! We benefitted from this throughout our time together, endearing them to us and creating a lifetime friendship that we will hold on to as we all continue to journey to God’s heart. We miss and love you dearly!
To Jane and John; God allowed us to meet and build our relationship deeper in 2009 in Eldoret. You have been an inspiration to us since then. God used you to call us into his full-time ministry. You saw us beyond the weaknesses and sin and tapped the best in us. Today we celebrate you and wishing you God’s blessings in his work in Zambia.
John and Jane…….what I appreciate about you is of most importance are you are both down to earth and very approachable. What stands out for me about John is his humble spirit and his love for people! Jane is very wise and very firm. She’s not afraid to correct. She cares for people and is very loyal! They are both very vulnerable which makes them relatable! May the Lord use them powerfully in Lusaka Zambia!
George & Mary Nyawade
John & Jane, to us you exemplify the Beatitudes! You are Love in Action as described in Romans 12:9-21 in particular vs 15: you rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn (this is your primary ministry that will surely be missed in East Africa), vs 17b: you are careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone, vs 18: and as far as it depends on you, you live at peace with everyone. Thank you for a heart that weeps for its children. We are humbled at how you encouraged and laid down your lives for many! Time for Zambian’s to experience your love and hearts of service.
Tewolde and Malinda
The Maleyas have been great friends to myself (Tewolde) and my wife (Malinda) for a long time. They served, counselled, guided and inspired us by their teachings and by their lives. We have witnessed the power of God’s love demonstrated through them. John and Jane are great servants — talented, spontaneous and approachable.
They are now and forever dear to our hearts
They have hosted many saints and are usually very willing to host those who need hosting and also taking care of those who may be in difficult situations like those who have lost their loved ones or those ailing.
You have been a guide and shepherd in many ways to us, thank you for the opportunity you accorded us to lead this ministry under your leadership, May this verse be of encouragement to your family.
1 Corinthians 15:58 New International Version
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Nairobi 25th Anniversary Photos