Njuki, Julius

1959-2008
Church of the Nazarene
Kenya

Rev. Julius Gichobi Njuki was born in the Central Province of Kenya in the village of Kiamishere, Kerugoya District. He was the eldest child of Japheth Kamasu and Susan Njuki.

He attended the Kiamishere Lower Primary School and then joined his father in Mombsa and went to the the Kongoweya Upper Primary School. He went on to the Starehe Boys School for his secondary education and began attending a Roman Catholic church. He then worked as storekeeper and building works supervisor. He married Miss Margaret Achieng in December 1986 and they had three daughters: Susan, Lannet and Kate-Maryel.

Julius was about nine years old when his mother took him to church for the first time. An incident occurred that Sunday that significantly impacted his belief system. He heard the minister asking those eligible to partake of the Lord’s Supper to sit on the front benches after the service. While talking about the ritual, the minister made it appear like a very solemn event in which God would come and visit with those who had gone forward. Julius was very excited because he expected to see God. “What does God look like?” he wondered. A strong feeling was impressed upon him of the importance of being among the people who would be visited by God. When the minister asked people to close their eyes, he kept his eyes open because he wanted to see God. He believed God would visit the people seated in front when people had their eyes closed. Unfortunately God did not appear in a visible form that day.

That event impressed upon him a strong desire to see God. It propelled him to do what it took to be among the people who had the privilege of being visited by God. That is probably why he took his catechism class seriously at the Roman Catholic Church. This resulted in him being appointed to serve as an altar boy and he was soon elevated to head altar boy. However, his life outside the church was not different from that of other boys who did not attend church. He did almost everything that ungodly teenage boys did.

When he was fifteen years old God revealed Himself to him in a dramatic way. The incident occurred when he was serving as the head altar boy during a mass presided over by a visiting bishop. The sanctuary was overflowing with about two thousand people when, dressed in a white robe with red straps and holding the gold cross high in front of him, he entered leading the bishop’s procession. When they entered the church, he took the small holy water bucket and walked beside the bishop as he sprinkled the holy water on worshippers who had packed the auditorium expecting a special blessing from the visiting bishop.

When they returned to the pulpit Julius lit the incense fire and gave the incense container to the bishop to spread the smoke in the church “as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Standing beside him as he swung the incense container to and fro, Julius noticed that the attention of the congregation was fully focused on them. It was obvious they considered him a very holy person. That reminded him of the many sinful things he had done, some of which he had not confessed to the priest. Suddenly, he heard a soft voice whispering into his ears, “Would you be able to stand before these people if I revealed to them your secret deeds?”

The prospect of his secret deeds being exposed to the congregation terrified him. He cringed with fear. Suddenly darkness engulfed him and he collapsed on the altar. He was carried from there unconscious and taken into the dressing room. When he revived about ten minutes later, the message was clear: God is not pleased with sinful servants who pretend to be holy before people. However instead of repenting and forsaking his evil ways, he just stopped being an altar boy, but continued as a nominal, irregular church attendee without any real experience of God’s saving grace.

Eventually he drifted away from the church and sank deep into sin. He indulged in pleasures and wickedness that most young people seemed to enjoy in spite of their dangerous consequences. He did what he wanted at the time he wanted it and in the way he wanted it. God became irrelevant in his life. He lived a life in which God was intentionally kept out. To him God was for the old, the uneducated and the poor. He considered himself young, educated, and in good health. He wondered why he would need God in his life when he had a well-paying job that met his needs. He knew later that he was heading straight to hell–that awful place of pain, torment and anguish prepared for the devil and those who reject God, and thus knowingly or unknowingly taking sides with Satan.

Once again the loving and merciful God spoke to him. He was strolling aimlessly one Saturday afternoon when his attention was drawn to a group of young people who were singing beside the road. They were very joyful and their music was very captivating. When he realized that they were Christians he began wondering what business such smart young people had to do with religion. As he thought about it, the music stopped and a very beautiful lady stepped forward. Before he knew what was happening the lady had made it clear that those who depended on their youth, their education, their wealth and health were in great danger.

She said, “A day is coming, when such things will not be of any help. On that frightening day people will run in different directions seeking a hiding place but none will be found. There will be only one hiding place and that place will be in Jesus Christ - the One who came to his own but his own did not accept Him. It is only those who have accepted Him and become God’s children who will find that hiding place in Him.”

As Njuki protested against that message, a mysterious voice whispered, “That is a lie. No such day will ever come. Do not believe such religious fanatics. All is well with you.” He agreed with that voice and was about to walk away when he heard another soft voice saying, “Suppose what that lady said is true, suppose such a day is truly coming when there will be no hiding place except in Jesus Christ. What will you do? Where will you hide?”

The possibility of such a day flooded his mind. He did not want to be without a hiding place. When the group leader invited the audience to join them for prayer, Julius was among those who went. He was led in the prayer of repentance and accepting Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. In some mysterious way Jesus came into his life and did in him and for him what his parents, his teachers, religion and his friends could not do. Jesus made him a new creation. The old sinful life and its evil desires passed away and a new transformed life began. That encounter made his sin-inclined lifestyle to gradually become detestable to him.

Growth in his new spiritual life was greatly enhanced by the encouraging visits, prayer and the basic Bible study conducted by the person assigned by the group to guide him along the way of salvation. As he became mature in Christian character, his values and belief system changed. He acquired a new world view that greatly transformed his personality, values and career interests.

Following the suggestion of his friend, Njuki began looking for a church where he could grow spiritually. His search led him to the Church of the Nazarene in 1985 where he has served since then in various capacities. God called him into the ministry and in order to pursue this he gave up his work as a successful executive of a large private company. Pursuing his call he went to Siteki Nazarene Bible College in Swaziland. Following that Njuki began seeking to be a competent pastor who would be able to help people to lead God-pleasing and self-satisfying lives of holiness. He served as pastor in Mombasa and Nairobi.[1]

From 1996 to mid-1998 he served as district superintendent for both Kenya Southeast and Kenya Central Districts. He then stepped down to complete ministerial studies at Africa Nazarene University (ANU). In 1998 Margaret moved from the college reception desk to serve as the coordinator for the Pastors’ Children Education Sponsorship program where she was still serving in 2008. While enrolled at ANU Njuki helped to plant a church in the crowded suburb of Kawangware in Nairobi. The congregation leased a small bar and an adjoining room on one of the main thoroughfares. They worked to break down enough of the wall between the two structures to allow the place to function as a sanctuary and, of course, still remain standing.

In 2000 Dr. Tim Crutcher had arrived to teach at ANU and when he heard about this project, he and his wife Rhonda were able to give a small sum of money that had been donated for a project such as this. It was enough to help the congregation finish the building which even then was only about fifteen feet square.[2] The congregation grew and moved to a bigger facility. Njuki graduated with a bachelor of theology degree in 2001 and completed studies for a master of arts in religion in 2004.

Rev. Julius Njuki’s experience as a church youth leader, Sunday School teacher, literature and radio ministry coordinator, pastor, district secretary and district superintendent helped him in the various aspects of his pastoral ministry. Julius and Margaret Njuki pastored the Ongata Rongai church near Africa Nazarene University in Nairobi. In 2004 it had an average attendance of about 150 people on Sunday mornings, the second largest congregation on the Kenya Central District.[3]

Rev. Julius Njuki pastor of the Ongata Rongai Church, evangelist, holiness preacher and teacher passed away on the evening of July 10, 2008 after a brief illness.[4] Margaret Njuki reports:

I am saved and I love God with all of my heart. I am praying and hoping that one day I will meet Him. Jesus came into my life when I was a little girl of ten. My parents were saved and my father is a pastor with the Southern Baptist Church.

When I was told that Julius was dead I did not believe it because to me he was not going away; he was going to come out of the hospital and come home. I do not know but sometimes I think he has just gone out and he is going to come back. Even the girls are thinking the same way along with me. I know there is death and that where is he is very okay with God.[5]

Words of his family at the funeral were, “We miss his love and care.”[6]

Paul S. Dayhoff


Notes:

  1. Pat Stockett Johnston, missionary in Amman, Jordan, “The Voice,” World Mission (Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, April 1998), 20.

  2. Tim Crutcher, The Rookie: Reflections of a New Missionary (Kansas City, Missouri: Nazarene Publishing House, 2004), 49-50, 54-55.

  3. Julius Njuki, “The Story of My Life,” E-mail message, (September 15, 2004).

  4. Out of Africa, e-mail news bulletin, (Florida: 1710, South Africa Africa Nazarene Publications, July 21, 2008), 7.

  5. Margaret Njuki, e-mail report of August 22, 2008.

  6. “Eulogy,” sent by Val Mutua, e-mail, (August 11, 2008).


This article is reproduced, with permission, from Standing Stones of Africa: Pillars of the Faith in the Church of the Nazarene, First Edition (limited) 2006, copyright ©2006, by Paul S. Dayhoff. All rights reserved.</font