Brez

People get saved because the preacher read them the riot act. Other’s come to the Lord because they are making a negotiation – give me this, I will give you my life – which is truly foolish because even that life isn’t yours. I got saved at the height of my best life.

I was balling and living life on the fast lane even before many people knew life had lanes. At 21, I was done with college, working, driving, travelling the world, and buying dresses worth thirty gees. Ngiri thaate! Mbeca fari fari. Then One day I thought, ‘if my life is this good without Jesus in it, life with Jesus will be Pro Max!” So I got saved.

My bro invited me to his church. He insisted that there was a young pastor who was fiery and fun. I went for this pastor’s evening services for one year, and never saw him. He was always out on a mission.

Then one day I met him. He was bubbly and fun. I learned that he was born with sickle cell anemia, he wasn’t supposed to live beyond 20 years, but here he was, a walking miracle. We stood on the road for five hours, talking. He was the purest soul I had ever talked to. He didn’t seem to have an agenda. Our friendship grew like a fungus in humidity.

We were having the best of times in ministry. We shared almost everything, but we hadn’t made it clear if we were dating. One day, I gave him an ultimatum – make up his mind and say the word, or we couldn’t be friends anymore. It didn’t take him much time, there was no way he was letting all this beauty and brains go.

Dating a pastor should be listed among the 1000 ways to die. Church girls called me all manner of names – I was called the queen of the sea, I was luring the man of God away. Of all the men I could marry, did I have to choose the ONE they were eyeing? It was announced on a crusade before my wedding day that I was going to split the earth and swallow everyone who came. So, people came in their hundreds to witness the devil’s messenger do her thing. Well, I’m sorry I disappointed them.

My marriage was blissful. I never once shouted at my husband or slept angry. I love peace, I’d rather wake him up in the night than sleep grumpy. He supported me and protected me fiercely. I was untouchable and could stand all the negativity because he was my safe place.

We got three beautiful babies – two boys and a little princess. We also lost two babies. We weathered these storms together.

He was still very missional and always went preaching. He took a mission to the USA in 2013, preaching from state to state and having a wonderful time in the Lord. We saw many miracles in our marriage, and especially in him as a sickler.

Perhaps due to weather conditions, he got a sickle cell crisis. He had an attack while preaching and was rushed to the hospital. I was informed of this development and kept it to myself for two days as he received treatment.

I wanted so badly to be by his side, I applied for a Visa and was granted it. I drove to the Embassy to collect my passport. On my way there, the hospital in the USA called. I knew I needed to pull over for this call. I pulled over and walked out of the car.

I know we’re taught from childhood to say sorry as an etiquette, but you don’t want to hear “sorry” from the doctor who’s treating your person.

Doctor: I’m so sorry, Judy. He’s gone to be with the Lord.

Me: What time?

doctor: 3 AM this morning.

My friend who was accompanying me to the embassy started screaming in the car. As if on Cue, sister Ada Adoyo called.

“How’s he, Judy?”

He’s gone, Ada.

Ada Adoyo started screaming.

I had just one thought in my mind — I need to get home to my babies.

I didn’t cry. I can’t cry – I actually have a condition that keeps tears from forming. My life was unraveling and I couldn’t cry. It was the worst day of my life. Yet. I didn’t know it then, but this was the beginning of a thousand unimaginable nightmares. My Brez was thousands of miles away, now beyond the stars. I was a widow.

Bad news travels faster than a virus in a pandemic, especially on Zuckerberg’s streets. After the earth-shattering call, I rushed home to ensure that the kids don’t get news of their father’s death from the grapevine. When Brez was admitted to the hospital, as we were praying for him, I told them that God could heal him by bringing him home to Kenya, or by taking him home to heaven.

It made breaking the news easier. I held it together for my kids, breaking into a million pieces inside while still holding my head up and smiling.

I have always worked, I used to hold a good job before I married Brez. I was paying all my bills and driving. I resigned when we got married to support him and to be a submissive wife. I don’t regret it.

Now he was gone. How I was going to bring up three kids on my own – with no job? I had been running a business but the year he died I was on long maternity leave- during pregnancy and a year after my daughter was born. We were still living at the church-given house, and after he died, I asked if we could move out. I was informed we could stay on and bring up the babies. Kayla was just one-year-old. We stayed on in the mission house.

I also kept going to church – I enjoyed the fellowship a lot. I attended a special meeting this one day, as I had been attending for all the years we had been pastoring that church. Someone spoke up and said, “We’re here because our husbands are in this church. If your husband is no longer in this church, why are you here?”

My husband was six feet under in his village in Siaya county. The point was very clear. I left and never attended church again. I would go for missions and preach in other churches but where my husband and I served, that was a painful ordeal for me. I went back to work, my normal job but somehow things were not adding up. Paying my bills was getting harder, like a pregnant woman climbing a mountain.

I started doing small businesses to put food on the table. I was selling fish. It was all OK but at least rent wasn’t a headache. Until it developed into an unbearable migraine one evening.

A year or two after Brez died, one cold evening, elders came to ‘my’ house. They had one message – get out of this house by the end of the week. Alemu (first born) was sitting his exams in a few days. I begged that they allow him to finish his exams first. I may have as well been talking to a loaf of bread.

I sat there, dumbfounded, my world spinning. (There’s a little conical, wooden toy we used to make as children. We’d then pin on the ground with the pointed side on the ground and the wide side up. A ‘kihii’ would then hit the cone with a sisal string, and it’d start spinning. That thing spun faster than the earth in its orbit, and it’d keep spinning as long as it was being hit. We called it Nting’eng’e.) That’s what this felt like. A nting’eng’e in the hands of boys.

“Where do I go? I asked.

“We don’t care.” The church elders responded, and left.

The following day, without a single coin in my pocket, I went hunting for a house. I was moving from house to house, checking houses way beyond my paygrade – with nothing but hope and a cracked heart to my name.

Finally, an old Indian couple heard my story and allowed me to move in with my kids without paying anything. I continued selling fish and trying my hands at anything. These kids were used to a good life of no lack, and here we were, barely scraping by.

I was depressed. I acted OK during the day, but at night, I just wanted to die. I’d bundle the babies in the car and drive around at midnight, sometimes all the way to Machakos from Thika road, hoping a truck driver would lose his way and crash into me and my kids and end this misery.

Unfortunately, all the truck drivers on those nights were on their best behaviour. I had never been so upset at drivers for being careful on the road. I just wanted someone to hit me!

Then Alemu was kicked from school. I had school fees arrears of about thirty thousand, I hadn’t paid rent in months and we barely had food to eat. I knew the one place I could seek help was in the church where my husband served faithfully for years.

I removed my garments of shame, threw on some jacket of courage, sprayed on a dash of hope, and stepped out. I walked into church and asked that we get some food from the benevolent kitty for my children. It was either that or we’d be eating boiled air for dinner. I was at the end of my tether.

They said no, we can’t give you food. It’s for the people who have no food.

I gathered my broken heart, threw on my shawl of new strength, and walked out of there emptier than I had arrived. I stood outside those gates, looked to heaven, and swore to myself – I would never ever beg bread for my children again. I was going to do something drastic about this situation, if I die, I die.

I didn’t want the kids to hate God because of what they were seeing us go through. I needed them to learn to trust God with all their being. When their dad died, I told them, “I’m not your father, I’m your Mom. Your Mom is alive, and God in heaven is our Father. I will be the best Mom I can be, I ‘ll do my best to meet your needs as God helps.

I was at the place where the four lepers were at when they decided, why sit here until we die? If I stayed where I was, I was going to certainly die. There was no way out of my tribulations. If I left in pursuit of a better life for my children, I may die as well. But I will have done something about it.

It had taken me years to know there was nothing I could do to change my situation, I had tried. I talked to some close friends (MEG) and shared my thoughts. These dear friends helped me, raised some money for me. I wanted to make the most out of that money, I didn’t want to use it all and get back to where I was.

I was going to leave to the land of the free and the home of the brave. I took the 20K my friends raised and applied for a visa to go to the United States. Totally crazy move!

The issuing officer asked me, “Do you have any money?” (My statement read nil)

“No”

You’re a widow?

Yes.

Do you have any family in the US?

No.

Really?

Yes.

Ooookay.

Silence. Palpitations. Me thinking I’m totally done now!. Then …

“Welcome to the United States of America.”

My goal was to leave, go make enough money for six months and come back home. At the end of those six months, the only thing I had done was pay all my debts. What was the point of coming back home to get into more debt?

I stayed on. I worked hard, day and night. I was going to work until I dropped. And work I did. Within a few years, our life changed. Starting out in the USA was hard, but the Lord went ahead of me. We hold boardroom meetings with them and talk about their feelings on where we are as a family. They drive with me to work on video every day. I’m at a good place mentally and financially. They are in wonderful schools too!

My children have been such a sport in this story. They released me. Alemu was barely an adult, but he took care of his siblings. They had seen us go through the worst, and now, they are happy that life is so much better.

They have grown up so fast without me physically there these last few years, but they understand and they are content.

I am content.

********************

At my worst moments (and they are many; if I narrate them all we will have a full 22 series 😃 ) God brought people my way who stood by me like a stake on a wobbly tomato plant. They cried with me and chipped in financially when they could.

Can you imagine at these periods I never travelled by a Matatu? First, I couldn’t afford the fare. But God must the king of tragicomedy. Friends would come to visit and insist on taking my car to pick something. And every time, they’d give it back with a full tank. I always had fuel!

Where was the kin, you may ask? When God wants to take you to another level in ministry, He gets everyone around you busy with their own lives so that you may never forget who was with you all these times. God never shares His glory!

Brez had set me free to be whatever I would have wanted. He helped me gain humility and confidence. He prepared the ground for me to soar anywhere. Whether you take me to the ghetto or to State House, I’ll be fine.

It’s not easy, I’d not wish this on my worst enemy. I have a special ministry to widows and widowers and we’re walking this journey together. I support some orphans too and some pastoral ministries.

I haven’t even told a quarter of how my life has been. It’s a mixture of awe and pain, sweet and sour, hot and cold, all in the same breath! Telling this story makes my heart remember each painful emotion I went through. It is really taking me back to an abyss I had chosen to forget. It also makes me wonder at God, how great He is and His everlasting love towards those He calls His! It has taken me to a wholeness I would never have known!

Am I bitter and angry? No am not, not anymore! I’m full of the splendour of our Lord Jesus Christ, am confident of God’s plans in our lives, and am sure that He got this!

Remember that the people who hurt you the most are those close to you, husbands, wives, children, colleagues at work. The difference is how you take that and grow to the next level. My fellow Christians have come through for me the most! That I say with so much confidence!

I hope someone going through a tough time will be encouraged and know there is a God in heaven who has a good plan and knows all things.

Ephesians 3:20 says, “God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, and above all, you could ever ask, imagine, or think, according to His power at work in you.

One thought on “Brez

  1. Wow! You really went through a lot. What’s really inspiring is that you came out on the other end stronger than you were before. Continue winning in life.

    Like

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