Friday, 12 October 2012

Preying on The Flock

A few weeks ago a certain circus was played out on our screens and the name Mwende was flying around all over and we even got a new emoticon :-V now that the dust has settled, let's take another look at that story.

This is the story a supposed “man of God” goes to indulge in carnal pleasures on the streets and suggest to the service provider another business opportunity. Instead of struggling out there in the cold street she could earn a tidy sum working for him, all she has to do is come to his church. Now in the church she uses her repertoire of acting skills to feign a 'curse' that makes her mouth turn to one side and it takes the “anointed” words of the pastor to break this curse. This curse was said to be because of slandering the “man of God” how convenient. Naturally the mouth straightens out after the “prayer” and she begin to “praise the Lord” for the “miracle”. The pastor did not know all this was being recorded to be broadcast on prime time news. After the story was run the reporters visited the church the next Sunday only to be chased out like criminals by a cheering congregation who later treated to more parlour tricks of applying oil on a wooden cross on the building. Sadly instead of being investigated the church leadership actually defended his actions. Stupid I know!

I won't even go into the spiritual issues at play here but just from plain observation this is not a miracle worker but a plain and simple con job done in cahoots with prostitutes. In fact the story came to light when they were not paid their dues by the pastor. The amazing bit is that there are still people still being fed lies and not only do they gladly receive them but actually defend and support the rogue pastor. Why is this is so? Somebody once told me that such charlatans are just replacing the previous ones we used to call witchdoctors, which is true. The people are superstitious and clever men are preying on their superstitions and fear to manipulate them into believing that they can work magic. In the case of witchdoctors it is in the form of trinkets but the modern day conman uses “God' as a front for his schemes due to ignorance of the multitude. Same script different cast.

All the modern day conman has to do is memorize some religious cliches and thrown in a few bible verses here and there to appear genuine and voila he has a captive audience. What is bad is that such rogues give the decent workers in the church out there a bad name. When Jesus Christ walked the earth he went around doing good and doing miracles like healing the sick among others and had a huge following because the people had needs which were being met. These needs still exist and we all search for something greater than ourselves for help in times of trouble and disillusionment and that need is exploited by some. Jesus Christ warned his followers of false prophets and wolves in sheep's clothing who would come to exploit them and this has been the case time and time again over the centuries. So how does one escape?

In my opinion the greatest weakness that is exploited is ignorance. In this modern day the bible which is the basis for all Christian belief and practice is widely available for all to read and anybody can do it for themselves. However many do not do so and allow others to prepackage the message for them and don't take time to investigate the truth or lack thereof that prevails. Over the years I have come to see this to be true. For example a concept that is oft repeated particularly on our screen is this idea of “planting a seed” usually accompanied with a number to send donations to “sow a seed in the ministry” . The term is used in the bible for sure but not in such a context in Paul's writings to the Corinthian church it was in the context of sending help to fellow believers who were suffering in Palestine due to famine (2 Corinthians 8-9) Not for his own ministry. Another instance is when the Ephesians are admonished not to sow in their fleshly desires in Ephesians 6. There could be others that I may have missed but you get my point- I discovered that by reading for myself. In any case after Jesus taught 5000 people he actually fed them using food contributed by a boy in that crowd- no Mpesa TM numbers given! I could go on and on about that one but I hope my point has been made. Ignorance is no excuse and as long as it persists so will oppression and exploitation of the masses. The same principle can be applied on the political scene in Kenya too- fleecing the flock in this case the citizenry at large who are oblivious of their rights.

So in closing as much as I detest the rogues out there giving decent hard-working men of God a bad name I remind all to be vigilant and take time to know. Ignorance does not benefit anybody and gives others an opportunity to exploit you. Also remember that one who benefits from your ignorance will not want you to know. Know for yourself!  

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Things that go bump in the night

In this post I relay a scary experience I had recently. I am thankful to God that I got out of it unscratched. So it is also a thanksgiving and a testimony of God’s protection.  It happenedon the night of 19th September.

Earlier that evening I’d been warned to be more vigilant as there had been evidence of an attempted break-in when one of the windows had been broken the previous night as well as the increased barking from the dogs in the neighbourhood. With That in mind I went on with my usual night routine but this time sleep was not coming so as I waited for it to some I resorted to my usual companion during the bouts of insomnia- Twitter.
As I continued late into the night after 1 a.m. I started hearing a lot of noise coming from the other side of the house which kept getting louder. I thought it was my dad who in his vigilance was going around the house to find out what was going on. It kept persisting and I thought it would be a good idea to look around to see what was happening and give him a call. Now just about the time those thoughts were crossing my mind the siren went off and just as swiftly went silent and this was strange. Then I remembered my door was unlocked and opened it ever so quietly and went into the next room to see what was going on. I tried looking through gaps in the curtains but didn’t see much though I heard voices and could see light from torches as well as continuous banging. I quietly slipped back into my room and locked the door.

At that point it became obvious that there were intruders within the compound and my first instinct was to try and call neighbours as well as the worker who stayed outside the house. My calls were not answered, which was not surprising considering the hour. When I got to the worker’s number a strange voice answered and I knew right then that the intruders must have got to him. I had to think fast because at that point I thought I was the only one who could contact anybody on the outside! I went back to calling neighbours and this time it was picked and I heaved a sigh of relief. In order to be discreet I tried whispering but he couldn’t make out what I was saying but I eventually raised my voice a notch to be more clear and said the all important words ”I think there are thieves in the compound, round up some help!” after he answered me I quickly hung up and tried a few other numbers which like the previous ones went unanswered. Then I thought it would be wise to avoid making more sounds that would draw attention in my direction so I did the only thing I could do- wait.

To say that the wait was anxious would have been a great understatement as at that point all kinds of scenarios were playing in my head and naturally I went into prayer about all the situation asking for safety through it all. At this time I was seated on my bedroom floor trying to keep a low profile as possible as I kept hearing more commotion outside. At some point windows were being broken and when I saw a shadow on the curtains I really tensed up more so when he started calling me “kijana! Kijana” I kept mum hoping that they’ll assume that the room is empty and after a while he gave up and moved on. In addition to being quiet I also thought it would be wise to turn my phone off as the light might alert them so I did and continued waiting.

As I sat there in my room had one of those experiences where you feel like your life is flashing before you because of the uncertainty. Questions like” are they armed?”, “what if they decided to open fire on me?”, “How about if they find out about my hiding and decide to take it out on me?” Even went so far as saying “final prayers” Naturally those minutes looked like forever and I was wondering when help would arrive so I turned the phone on and sent a quick message saying “hurry up” looking at the time that was about twenty minutes after my initial call. Then I got back to the long wait.

Once again there was noise outside the window and the tension came back. However this time he tried to open it and as he was making noise out there I slipped under the bed to avoid being seen. As I lied there the noise became more and then he started calling for me again. At that moment I asked myself “what if he finally breaks in and finds me down there? What then?” I decided to surrender and stood up. When he saw me he started threatening to shoot me if I didn’t open the door as he shone a flashlight into my eyes. In the confusion I hurried to the door as I tried to get some shoes on and he lept on with the threats. I opened the bedroom door and proceeded to open the main door into the garage- which is not usually locked (fortunately they hadn’t discovered this as I would have been in much more problems as they were already in the other side of the house) As I went into the garage I noticed that there was nobody outside the garage door but soon somebody appeared and I got the keys and struggled to open it as another member of the gang appeared with the same threats of shooting me. At this point it is important to note as all this was going on I wasn’t panicking but had this strange calm in spite of the threats.

Once I opened the gate the next question was where my parents were and under the conditions I had no choice but to go there. I told them to open up for me and once I did was forced into a room with my mum and as we went in I took the chance to whisper about my call for help and that help was on the way. As we were in the room they tried roughing my dad up asking for money and other stuff. The shooting threats continued though I couldn’t see a gun but my mum told me she did, i till thought they were bluffing. After a while they came into the room and ordered me to squeeze into a tiny corner of the room and soon after my dad joined me.  As we were there were asked about money and laptops and I also whispered into my dad’s ear about the plan I had made. After a while I was asked if I had any money and I told them that it was in my room and they pulled me out and led me there. On my way I counted at least seven of them around me and when I got there I tried to show them the money in my trousers but they just grabbed them. Right about that point there was a brief moment of commotion and then all of a sudden they ran out of the house so fast that when I tried to follow a few second later not a single one could be seen. I figured the help must have finally arrived and I ran back to where my parents were and decided to lie low as I didn’t know what the situation was out there.

Shortly after they ran off there was a gunshot and soon after a few others. Decided the best idea was to stick in the room until it quietened down as going out would mean risking being shot by the police if they mistook me for a gangster. After a number of anxious minutes we heard the voice of the worker outside and that was a signal that the coast was clear and I went out and he told me of how he’d been tied up and the maid helped him after the thugs had left. Soon after the cops appeared and wnt in the direction of the thugs and managed to pick up a few things that they’d dropped in their escape. Here I note that one of the items was a music system which had survived another robbery some years previously. A laptop was recovered too.
As we continued to recover I took a walk round and saw how they’d broken in through the windows bending the burglar proofing and made holes in the fence. Ad we recovered from that harrowing experience we kept thanking God that even if they had taken stuff they did not harm us and we were still in one piece- the most important thing and knowing that they had a gun and didn’t use it.