It was a few weeks after my wedding. I looked back at the journey I had walked with my fiance, now my husband and all that went through my mind were mixed feelings. Feelings of triumph and joy that the Lord had walked with us to get us to where we had reached (in marriage) and at the same time the feeling that there were places I would have done better. As we started our journey, we had set our minds, painstakingly, above all else, to honor God. And that was our reason number one to walk the path we walked. And as I reflected on the journey that had been, I asked myself the same question, did we honor God in our walk?
Drawing the line
The question of sexual purity and how realistic we can get realizing we are flesh and blood is probably the biggest problem that many campus and high school students grapple with every day. As the valentine’s day is celebrated, many will be led to make decisions they are not proud of, in the name of celebrating love. Many will make decisions that may change the course of their lives drastically and maybe forever. The decisions will affect not only the social life but also the spiritual and all other aspects of life. Others, still through the ongoing mobilization and the efforts to influence people to pursue purity around this time, will heed the call and choose to be chaste. That will be a good decision, and the Lord is able to sustain his people to live sexually pure lives. What however will be the motivation behind the pursuit of purity?
Truth is, I was happy with many of the choices I made in my dating journey. Some though looked awkward fit for the age of the Ramapithecus and utterly unfit for the 21st century. I made them anyway, and if asked, I would make them once more if I were to. There were others that I was not very proud of and at times I do not understand how foolish I could have been. In the eyes of any man they look like sound decisions that any man would make would they be in my position. In my opinion, though, that is the problem of sin. It is deceptive, and many times we try to rationalize it as the only realistic way. Thinking of it though, who really determines how realistic my actions as a Christian are? Looking at these “realistic” decisions against the standards of God in sexual purity I can only say they are ways apart.
The pursuit of purity equally does not necessarily involve do’s and don’ts and that having followed them we are deemed to have overcome. I agree that there is a part we play in. It is our responsibility to walk in holiness as Paul readily reminds the church to flee from immorality and instead pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Peter also instructs the church to be holy just as the Lord is Holy. There are those practical measures we will take so that we guard our hearts against sin. Some of them may need to be radical decisions, but they are worth it in the long run.
The pursuit of purity is not merely a matter of our own personal victory and pride. I realize the Lord did not see us through the entire journey so that we may boast and show off our prowess and holiness as Christians. It is about God, whose heart is grieved by the sexual immorality. If for us it is about victories then the times we fail, we will have no place in our hearts for repentance. We will beat ourselves so hard, be broken and be disappointed in ourselves since we were unable to defeat a particular sin. We have to understand that as W. S Plumer rightly put it “all sin is against God in this sense that it is his law that is broken, his authority that is despised and his government that is set to naught.”
At times we are obsessed about other people’s opinion of us and about our inability to overcome sin when we sin. We stay caged in addictions and immorality and fail to repent and seek help. This should not be our focus in the circumstance that we already are struggling with sexual immorality. Because for God obedience to the call to repentance and fleeing from sexual immorality is more important than our personal pride.
I know there is the joy that comes as a result of overcoming sin, but that should not preoccupy us. It is and should be secondary. It should be primarily about honoring and obeying God’s word.
It never gets easy but with accountability and God’s Grace it is possible, many, by God’s grace have done it; we remained chaste till marriage, you surely can do it.
By a fresh graduate who participated in the 2016 Chastity Campaign
“August 7th, 2018, we left our motherland for a 10-month exchange program in Norway that would see us participate in student ministry work with the Norwegian International Fellowship of Evangelical Students movement called LAGET. The Norwegian word ‘laget’ means team. We got to Oslo; Norway’s capital on the morning of 8th August 2018 and were treated to a very pleasant surprise of meeting a Kenyan working at the airport. He helped us know our way around the busy Gardermoen airport.
On arrival at Kristiansand, we were received by 3 trainees from HALD Internasjonale Senter. This would be our home for 6 weeks as we take a course in Cross-Cultural Communication and International Work. HALD is without a doubt a multi-cultural haven, with students and volunteers from across the world.
We continue to make the most out of the rather rare opportunities to share the gospel. We met a Kenyan man who lives near HALD. He has lived here for about 6 years. Besides getting to share the gospel with him, we were glad to benefit from his hospitality which included the much-missed Kenyan food- pilau. He has taken time off his busy schedule and dropped by HALD several times to check on us. Even though he has heard the gospel, he has not believed it yet and we hope to keep sharing it with him and praying for him. We also share the gospel in many small talks we have with students here at HALD. Caleb, for instance, had a rare opportunity of hiking with two students who shared their story with him.
We had a gospel conversation with another student who grew up in a Christian family but later decided to be agnostic. By God’s grace, we were able to put meaning to many of the questions he asked, notably, the authenticity of the Bible. We agreed he would think about the perfect sacrifice of Christ on the cross and hopefully, start reading the Bible together. He is going on exchange to Uganda though, we hope this will be possible despite the distance. Pray for utterance for us as we seek to make known the mystery of the gospel and for him, that God would be pleased to draw him to Christ for salvation.
The context of Christianity is a bit different from that one at home. The stand of many Christians on some critical discipleship questions is interesting, at times worrying. We settled at being intentionally available in the common places and have conversations with our fellow students. Pray for us, that these opportunities will bear fruit.
On Friday 28th September, we moved to Bergen, a city on the southwestern coast of Norway where we are working with LAGET for 6 months. We are putting in efforts in introducing the work of LAGET to immigrant/international churches with the aim of having as many youths as possible participating in LAGET programs especially at school.” Caleb Lemayain and Ancent Mutua are the immediate former STEM SM staff. We continue to pray for strength as Ancent and Caleb continue with their mission in Norway.
FOCUS Leadership development strategy is strengthened by several partnerships with like-minded organizations. The Norwegian Christian Student Ministry (NKSS) is one of those organization that has enriched FOCUS Kenya’s work through an exchange program that has existed for 20 years. Through the partnership, At least 40 participants from Kenya have gone through the training in Norway with the same number of Norwegians in Kenya.
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Joining the university, as exciting as it is, can be very draining especially if one has no one holding their hand. On one end there is the feeling of ‘rushing’ the days so that one finds themselves in this highest institution of learning in the world, while on the other, uncertainties arise of exactly how life is going to turn out; mixed emotions!
I always looked forward to the time I would join the university. “Hadn’t all my teachers in high school told me that I was a university material?” I would at times contemplate. Well, they exuded confidence, and I had to live up to that, at the very least. I toiled, prayed, carefully sat my exams and finally the results were out. Things seemed to have run pretty fast since it was not long before the Joint Admissions Board (J.A.B), now Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) notified me of my admission to the university. I was elated. (more…)
“Sweet hour of prayer, Sweet hour of prayer…” When I think of this hymn, I find immense joy as being drawn nearer to God and reminded of prayer.
Many Christians testify of the answered prayers more than those yet to be answered. Well, I testify of an unanswered prayer for I have faith that God will surely answer in the fullness of time. I have been praying and trusting God for healing for a long time. I have had back pain since 2016, which rendered me immobile sometimes. At other times, the pain would not allow me to sit through a lecture. I yearned to honour God so I continued praying. However, with time, I grew weary of praying and resolved not to pray anymore for I felt that God had heard enough from me.
However, my resolve did not work as I found myself still praying for healing. I had not given up on God, so I chose to be persistent in prayer. I got reminded of the all-powerful God through His word: reading and meditating on it. Going through my journals reminded me of God’s faithfulness and got me motivated to continue praying. I constantly share my journey with my close friends who are always praying with me spurring me to hold on.
I have witnessed God’s faithfulness. The back pains have now subsided, and I can sit through a lecture unlike before. It has been a long journey but I still trust God for total healing. I’m certain that my full healing is underway, I’ll still hold on. The Lord is faithful, and though it tarries it will surely come to pass.
This experience has taught me to be steadfast in prayer; opening up to Him and finding satisfaction in Him. I find fulfilment in praying for others suffering from long-term illness. But the greatest lesson of all is learning how to exalt God amidst suffering. His name is Emmanuel: God with us, and even in our sufferings, He’s with us.
By Mercy Lena Nekesa Sunguti, Karatina University
The events of April 2nd 2015 in Garrisa University College when terrorists attacked the Christian Students will forever be engraved in the hearts of many, particularly those who experienced them first hand. The healing process for the students has not been an easy journey for them, and those around them too. FOCUS has continued to walk with the students, supporting their healing. Together with the students, FOCUS led by the Deputy National Director and the North Rift Region staff held a thanksgiving service on the 27th July 2018 at the Moi University-Main Campus to celebrate God’s faithfulness.
The students’ counsellor, Mary Magugu recalled the day the students arrived at the campus to continue with their academic journey. It was a day filled not only with mixed emotions and feelings of doubt but with hope too. The students joined Moi University wounded; mentally and physically, and ahead of them was a long journey towards healing. Three years later, the first group of finalists completes their studies. They leave the university better, more optimistic about life and what the future holds for them. Many attest that the journey towards healing has not been an easy one, but God has been and is faithful. He brought His people to walk with the students on their journey, sharing in their pain, and struggles.
On this day, the 27th of July 2018, the survivors celebrated God’s faithfulness. Their songs of thanksgiving, tears of joy culminated into infectious smiles and hopeful laughter. They have risen up despite the pain and aches and won against anger, nightmares, feelings of forgiveness and painful flashbacks … all not easy. ‘Every struggle that comes our way should make us stronger and more resilient.’ As Ms Magugu would assert during the meeting.
Our desire is that these students will continue to testify of God’s faithfulness. To help appreciate the past offer a considered appraisal of the present and an informed march into the future, FOCUS published a book recounting the events of the day and aftermath of the Garissa University College attack, When the Sparrows Fell. You can obtain a copy of the book from the FOCUS bookstall. We continue to pray with the survivors and the families of the sparrows that fell and for the Nation that God may bring about an enduring peace.