Talk About Going Back to Kenya
By Rev. Wambui Njoroge
“I am going back to Kenya, that part of Africa, “sang David Amunga. I had the blessings of meeting him as I carried my guitar and played Christian choruses to witness on the streets of Nairobi. He asked to help me record my songs, but my guitar mentor Sister and Saint Nyambura said, “You don’t do business with a sinner man.” That had to wait until 2012 when I produced my CD, “Songs from My Heart.” However, today the question most people ask is, when is the right time to return to Africa? This question is important to Africans in Diaspora. Consider that every day we are being bombarded with messages to invest at home. However, the focus of this article is Kenyans in Diaspora.
Reasons for Immigration: People choose to immigrate for many reasons, but most of them is for the survival or to better their lives and the lives of succeeding generations. Whether the immigration was forced by circumstances, or it was voluntary, immigrants left behind their geographical residence, their home, their relatives, and their properties. In their immigration, they gained the same things. They did not cut ties with their home country. In our historical times, there is only one group of people that suffered intensely and that is the African American families because of slavery. The AA family was destroyed, had their ties to Africa cut, and it has taken the hand of God to preserve the sons and daughters of their mother land, Africa.
Immigrant Women: In principle, married women are to obey and to follow their husbands, then are they likely to return home. This is in principle, but in practice, it can create a lot of family conflict, even break up. There are metaphorically many relationship graves in Diaspora. Relationships are sacrificed for freedom, money and living abroad. A husband may have to drag that wife kicking and screaming, “I am not going back.” There is so much freedom here-the women can say for a different reason, with Martin King, Jr., Glory hallelujah, I am free at last, thank God I am free at last. Most women do not have immediate plans to return to kushota maji na kuni tena. Fetching water and firewood are in the past. That was my generation that did that when we were girls in our home of origin.
Bible Immigrant Women: Married women like Sarah, and Mary the mother of Jesus, Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel followed their husbands. Single women got married in the new countries of their immigration. So, I want to encourage all the single ladies and single men to read Jeremiah 29: 6-7. “Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there, do not decrease.” Also, this applies to the younger widows, who are advised in 1 Timothy 5:14, “Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” Remember Naomi and Ruth were widows because their husbands had died. For independent widows, go ahead and get married for companionship. At first, the adult children may be reluctant, but they will be happier when you are not alone. If you do not get married, purpose to have your residence near them, but avoid staying in the same house with adult children. If one does not get married, then purpose to serve the Lord for the rest of your life, like Prophetess Hanna in the New Testament. This is honorable.
4 Main Reasons Why People Immigrate
Immigrants mostly immigrate to other countries because of a: (1) Divine call. (2) Family feuds over inheritance, for example extreme conflict, and domestic violence. (3) Famine (economic immigrants) in search for work. (4) Political refugees/war and conflict torn countries. In 2, 3 and 4 cases, the lives of families may be threatened, and individuals choose to leave their country for safety. In the Mid 1990s, because of low natural births the increased senior population, compared to the shrinkage of the work force, The USCIS In advertising for the Lottery green card, notice read – obtain a green card “To live, and work in US and pursue a path to citizenship.” This is for economic reasons to increase the labor force in US of those between 24-45 years. The US want your most productive years to be invested right here. Otherwise, why do you choose to immigrate to another country if you are successful in your country of birth?
3 Favorite Immigrants
My 3 favorite immigrants: (1) Abraham, (3) Jacob, (3) Joseph. You may have heard me preach this message before in a church or conference.
(1) Abraham Model: He immigrated from his home in Ur because of a divine call. We first read about him in Genesis 12:1-3. From the day he heard God’s call, He knew that he will never return home. In his immigration challenges, he steered away from conflict with foreigners and remained focused. If he a dug a well and the natives picked on him, he gladly moved from Valdosta GA and traveled to Warner Robbins to dig a new wall. That was his pattern. He preferred peace than insisting on having rights as a foreigner. Like many immigrants today, he faced challenges. God had promised a son, but his wife was old and barren, but he still trusted God. When his wife Sarah, died, the natives took pity on him as a foreigner and offered a refugee grave plot to bury his wife. Abraham trusted and hoped in God. He knew God who had called him cannot fail, he insisted on buying her a decent grave. He views about getting a refuge grave, is that he was concerned that they would later taunt him and call him poor. A man or a woman who follows God to the ends of the earth is not to be called poor.
Abraham purchased Sarah’s grave, in what is current day Hebron. It is the land that God gave to him and his children’s children. When he died, he was buried in the same tomb. It is currently a tourist destination. Sarah’s burial site is called The Tomb of Patriarchs and Matriarchs. Also, known as the Cave of Machpelah in the Old City of Hebron, in the West Bank. The Muslims call it the Sanctuary of Abraham (Online, in the public domain). Historians have documented that the cave and adjoining field were purchased at full market price by Abraham some 3700 years ago. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah are all buried in the same Cave of Machpelah. Rachel the beloved died on the way. The words of her husband inadvertently cursed her. She was buried near Bethlehem (Online: Information in the public domain). Most of us already know these accounts by heart as they were taught in Sunday School.
Abraham had many challenges, but he never gave up. He kept following God’s voice till the end. The Bible in Hebrews 11 records in the Supreme Hall of Faith, that whenever he met challenges, He still trusted and hoped in God against hope.
Are you a Type of Abraham? This is an example of an immigrant who have no plans to return home. You came to US on a divine call. You have settled in Diaspora global. You are making plans for yourself, your wife, and your children. The plans have nothing to do with returning home. Home never moves, you are the one who moved. You are not bothered if you do not visit Kenya annually. No wonder some of our community leaders like Mr. Isaac, and Madam Christine have been telling us of the need to buy a burial plot in US. Your children are not going back to live in Africa. Are you a type of Abraham? Tip #1: Adopt Abraham model and style of living.
(2) Jacob Model: Immigrated to Padan Aram because of a family feud in Genesis 28:6. He cheated his brother of his blessings; Esau was as mad as hell, and he was bent on killing his brother. Not too long ago, someone wrote that, rarely are murders committed by strangers. Family and close friends commit most murders. It is the same with identity thefts. Although recently cyber thieves have increased, and they are people you do not know. Well Jacob had done both-He stole his brother’s identity and then stole his blessing. No wonder his brother wanted to kill him. If it was today, Esau would have asked for his brother’s name to be placed on the 10 Most Wanted Men list, the one you see at Walmart. You cannot blame Esau for that. Although he was his father’s favorite, Jacob was his mother’s favorite and she wanted to help God to fulfill His will.
Jacob was sent away by his mother to escape his brother’s fury. On the way to his uncle’s place for exile, one night, for a pillow, he put some rocks together and went to sleep. He had vision, in which he saw an open heaven and a ladder stretching from heaven to earth…It is there that he wrestled with the messenger of God all night. When the day was breaking, the angel begged Jacob to let him go. But Jacob refused. He seized this moment with God. He pleaded with the Angel of the Lord to bless Him. He had been blessed by His father deceitfully. Realizing his error, he asked God to bless Him. “Sitoki hapa usiponibariki. And God blessed him with heavenly blessings, he received a touch from God, not the same as his father had touched him with bare hands. Here at Bethel, he made a covenant with God that he would honor him if he brought him back home. Where he had rested his head on stones, he named the place Bethel, “A House of Prayer.” I love this story because it is of a man who was on the run, but he refused to let go of a dream or a vision until God showed up. Currently we need men who can pray than ever before. Telling the Lord, we will not give up until our children return to the house of worship. Until they leave clubbing, bars, drugs, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, smoking, stealing, new age, witchcraft, etc. Until the families and nations return to God.
Setting a SMART Goal
While in exile, Jacob worked so hard. He could be seen taking double jobs to amass wealth. He probably would be living in Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, or Seattle… instead of sleeping around, or come we stay mentality, he decided to get married. His uncle agreed to let him marry Rachel the one he fell in love with. The one who made his heart miss a beat. The dowry was set at 7 years work. Wapi? Jacob worked for Wife #1 for 7 years. On the night of the wedding, he learned that he had been given the woman he did not love. Mapinduzi ya Baba na Mama that instituted and created polygamy right there. He was cheated, which he understood having cheated his brother. That was just a temporary setback for a comeback. Jacob refused to be discouraged, akavumlia, and worked even harder. He worked for Wife #2 for another 7 years. he was cheated too.
What would you have done? Despite all these challenges, he viewed them as mere detours. If Jacob was like today’s Christian, he would be making declarations “I Declare that delays and intended destructions are not Denials with God, nor are Detours. Amen!” Nevertheless, Jacob persisted and remained focused. Everything he did with his hands and heart, he set his eyes on returning home. He saved instead of using his wealth because He could never settle, even when threated by death. He did not build a permanent home; I think he did not have a mortgage either, for that would tie him down for another 30 years. He accumulated wealth for 3 reasons: (1) He was gone from home for a long time. (2) He needed abundant wealth for his growing family. (3) He needed abundant provisions to appease his brother. He had to take him a love offering, to allow him to return home. If you are planning to return home, start saving at least 10% of everything you earn.
If you are like Jacob, make a SMART Goal in January 2022. You cannot live away from home and expect that you will call Diaspora for a 2nd Harambee when you are ready to return. Let us be real – Returning Jacobs should not call for Fund Raisers to build their own dwelling places. If you plan to return home, adopt the Jacob Model. Work hard, stop making a permanent dwelling place in Diaspora. Even buying 2 homes and having 6 cars one for each member of 5 family members is not a sign of someone who has intentions to ever return home. Nor is having 2 homes, one in Kenya and 1 in Diaspora. That is a great plan to invest at home, but one can only live in one house at a time and welcome some stress buddies with your immigration. You cannot just settle.
Please do not say you are here just for your Children to attend college and all that. They are adults now. They even refuse to live in the luxurious homes and rent apartments. Many of them do not have plans to return to Jamhuri, except to visit. While visiting my children in Los Angeles, California/December 2010, my son, WAIYAKI told me, older folks like you Mama like to settle, but these days young people may choose to settle in another country. Mama what makes you think they want to settle in US unless? Maybe they want to settle in Japan? Ati atia? From Jamhuri to US and then Japan? My daughter agreed that Mama you go where Dad says. Who says that? I am just settling here…now what? She comfortably replied, “You are a couple.” I believe this is wisdom from adult Children who have grown up in US. You know we raise children and when they are adults, they start to judge our lives. Welcome to my life. If you have decided to be a Jocob, you are now planning to contact Wachiuri of Optiven. How do you really feel?
You are not meant to settle, and therefore, you cannot decide where to live-US or Africa. You are restless in Diaspora. You spend more time traveling to and from home. Give yourself 15-30 years and plan your return home. I am not being fatalistic when I say that your sunset years are not very far-between 65-75 years. Some people who came here as adults, and married with children, some have been around for over 35 years. They have lived here longer than they lived at home. 35 to 45 years ago, that was before the Word Diaspora became popular. At a time when there was no Diaspora Church and Community to bury those who died, nor bail those who went to jail. Folks bought insurance, let’s say, they were forced to buy insurance, and AAA Cards, if the car had a puncture. They did not have Brothers and Sisters to Create WhatsApp forums and all that. They did not even have Google, because that was before 1994. If you have not made plans to return home, it is getting late in the night.
In Diaspora, we momentarily calculate our life expectancy based on US statistics. However, if things are held equal, we were not born here. Therefore, our life expectancy is much shorter. Adopt a Jacob’s model. His goal was to take everything he had earned with him when he leaves. Nawewe je? You must load your belongings on that ship- usafirisha mzigo nyumbani. Tip #2: Adopt a Jacob’s Model. Plan and ship everything you have home.
(3) Joseph Model: This is an example of an immigrant who was forced to leave his home. He was treated unjustly by his half-brothers. Out of jealous, they wanted to kill him, but later sold him into slavery. Joseph never forgot home. He longed for the day he would return, but that day never came. When it became apparent that he could not return, he asked that his bones be repatriated to his ancestral home. Only then, would he Rest in Peace Eternally. We love his character and call him the dreamer. He is the one who rose from the pit to pharaohs home, to prison, and to being a Prime minister. He saw it all the bad, the ugly prison and the good as the prime minister. We learn from him that no one can kill your dreams. Or if your dream dies, dreams are free, and you can dream again.
Most immigrants are dreamers, and therefore, quite complex. We are complicated and are not easy to work with. Dreamers have severe competition to succeed at any cost. Have you not heard some people say, I came her alone with my suitcase, and now I drive a Mercedes or Lexus or whatever? Essentially, this person is telling you they are not your project. They know what brought them to US, and please do not tell them how, where and they can be quite arrogant when they succeed. They forget where they came from. For dreamers, it is not just Joseph alone who was disliked by his half-brothers. It is sad to note that you too can have jealousy American neighbors, they ask you, how did you come here? You cannot say swimming or walking, you smile and say with me “The Lord brought me here. Then there are friends, relatives, siblings who are competitive and that may not be comfortable with you. Joseph found himself in this predicament. You know his story and how he was sold to Egypt by his brothers. His story reads like a parallel historical account of the Black Americans. How they were sold to slavery by their African chiefs and tribes. But just like God never forgot Joseph when he was in prison, God has His hand upon the African American families. Just like his brothers meant it for evil, but God meant it for good, the same is characteristic of AA families. They are a people of destiny, and quite resilient. It is only in America that a person can rise from the ranks of slave ancestry to live in the White House like Michelle Obama. The White House was built mostly by slave labor. But for the time the Obamas lived in it, and like any presidential family, it was paid 100% by US Taxes for her family to live there. Most recently arrived Africans from the motherland, do not understand a whole lot. Out of sheer ignorance, they have tendency to criticize AA. Please know that without the success of AA, Africans in Diaspora, some of us would not live where we live, nor attend the schools our sons and daughters attend. It can only be God who does things this well.
Joseph: He rose through the ranks to become a Prime Minister, and unfortunately, he died in Egypt. However, by this time, he had forgiven his brothers, and had saved his family from famine. As he investigated the future of the Jews in Egypt, he left one request. One day when they leave Egypt, he made them promise him that they would not leave his bones in Egypt but carry them back home and bury him in Hebron among his people. For those who wonder why our deceased loved ones insist on being taken home – there is your answer. Apparently, the family feuds never really end, folks at home usually say, Tureherei mundu witu, manenos. It was the wish of so and so to be buried in Africa. But they made zero plans about it, and neither has the family made any plans. We will not live anywhere forever. Please can we make plans? Don’t tell folks in Diaspora, send our beloved home, without money to back that request. Some will be cremated right here and that will be the final resting place of this beloved one. Family, Love with actions not just mere words.
The Joseph and Jacob Model is good for those in Diaspora who sing with DA- “I am going back to Kenya, that part of Africa, coz I am dying of loneliness, when I remember Africa, please let me go back home.” To which we echo, please plan, and go back home on your own terms. The model instructs you to blossom where you are planted. Dream again and mix your labor and sweat with America. Do not let the past success of “I used to…” become a hindrance to your destiny. If you say, you want your bones returned to Africa, that will be done. Write a will and leave some money. That trip can even be postponed, and family can go home later and take your loved one’s bones with you. If cremated take the person home when you are ready to go. Decide early and let the same funeral home know what you need done. They understand, it is legal, and it has been done before. Guess what? I am thinking about these models as I write. It is not personal…I must answer these questions too. Are you a Joseph Type? Tip #3 Your bones shall be buried with your family at home.
I will not be able to talk about my other favorite characters. For now, allow me to wish you a Blessed and Prosperous year of 2022. May it be a year of restoration in all ways. I declare restoration to your family, to the Church, community, and our nations. See if you can find the silver lining in all these things. Above all, love God with all your heart, your mind and soul. It shall be well with you in 2022.
Whatever your reason for migrating to Diaspora, enjoy life if you can identify: Why you are here? What are you doing? What is your purpose in US? It is great to know that we have an earthly destiny in us, but much more, we have eternity in us. Abraham, Jacob, Joseph…they became wealthy men, also they looked forward with eyes of faith for a heavenly city whose builder and maker is God. Make sure, while on earth, you are reconciled back to God first. Second be reconciled to your fellow men and women. Live, love and laugh in Diaspora, as much as is within you, have the best life. Thanks to my parents and teachers who forced me to attend Sunday School. I liked it; I did not need a lot of pushing. My PCEA SS teachers were from Alliance Boys High School, and my Catechism teacher. Mr. S.G. (RIPE). Bible Quotes and References are from New King James Version
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