Here is Wanjiku Emuna’s telling of how she found Judaism. I met Wanjiku during my travels in Africa
HOW OUR GROUP START TO HELP YOU IN YOUR STORY.
Hashem help you understart our beginning.
It in June 1990 after hearing a commanding voice of keeping and observing the Shabbat which I did not know, I and my children decided to follow it.
In 1991, we found a Messianic group calling itself Jews. This was after visiting different SDA churches and we all felt it did not meet our desire. We wanted to be Jews so this group fitted. and soon found it was christian.
When we joined in 1991, we tried to change their ways and understanding given us by voice almost everyday. So, our first festival there was Pesach… wr tried to make changes. The leaders were against but some members agreed. They thought I was shameless.
So come Sukkot, we were the first ones to build sukkotsinces its inception in 1970. One was for me and my daughters and the other for my sons. This is where the problem started because many members joined us in eating and sleeping in Sukkot. So I got followers.
After Sukkot, I stopped going to the church because I could not drive or go by bus on Shabbat. Still doubting their Jewishness, I bought mattresses and beddings, to as to be sleeping at the church to avoid desecrating the Shabbat. A good group of members joined me and so from Friday up to Shabbat evening we were to remain there. The leaders could not understand our wish and thought we had a new doctrine.
After misunderstanding on numerous issues. I thought of moving to the country side and see if We could be understood. So in 1993, we broke off from the Nairobi church and joined a bigger one in Ol Kalou.. coubtry side. Here we practiced keeping of the Shabbat differently and report had gone round that a new female member and her family want to change the church. We joined Ol Kalou church with our changes. In 1994. I requested the leaders, to find the truth of our Jewishness, from Jews. Which Jews, I told them the Ambassador of Israel to Kenya and I offerred to approach him. They agreed.
I met the Ambassador and explained we want to join the in Worship and to learn more about Jewish Lifestyle. He introduced me to the Nairobi Synagogue.We were overwhelmed to make entry into the synagogue. I had a many followers. So we had no problems in the synagogue, but the leaders were not happy at all. This did not matter. At the embassy, I collected my books about Jews and Israel. So the interested members were all very happy to know more about Judaism, Jews and the hisory of Israel.
Things were not easy in the church which was divided. In 1995, Moshe, left his home and joined in Ol Kalou, I was blessed to receive him and his pregnany young wife in my house. He joined the Ol Kalou church.Moshe had the same problem as ours, of boubting the church doctrine. At once I saw the potential in him and we agreed to take him as my son. He was in the forefront of fighting for the knowledge of worshipping one God.
In the same year Moshe were blessed with bouncing twins both boys!! He was in a differeny church a few Kilometers from me. He stopped going to church and a group followed him I also had done the same. Moshe worked hard in convincing member about the true worship. In Nairobi, we also had stopped and worshipped at home in the best way we knew how.
In 1999, I was to receive my benefits from my employer, so we agreed that since we are on the right track, I shoulkd visit Israel and bring them the report. And so the money will be well spent on exploring thev Holy Land. I visited Israel inPesach 1999. I was hoted by the church parents in Jerusalem, They lived in Baker. And since they agreed that I will always visit The Kotel, the decided that I stays in their other house in Abu Tor a close distance to The Kotel. They did not ask me about my change of mind But told me, please join us for Shabbat service if young feel like or pray at The Kotel. The old couple had good understanding, and I loved them for that.
When, I came back, I was very excited to tell the whole church about Jews and Israel because we visited Jewish families to learn more. My first Pesach Seder was in Ruth’s home with all members of her family. It was amazing and wished I could live in Israel. I visted other Jewish families, one in Rishon L’Tzion, another family at Ministry of health.. all this I cherished the couple even invited a Jewish lady to visit us from Giro to visit every other day. All this strengthened me and with great lessons about Pesach etc. Many in church understood me and more joined me so that I can tell them all about Israel BUT the leaders wre very negative.
The same year when I came from Israel, I requested the Ambassador that he visit the church and tell us more about Judaim and Israel. He agreed and sent the 1st Secretary in the Embassy.With them we visited Ol Kalou church. I thought, he and his wife will give us a sermon or ptreach like christians do. This waste note there case,Again there members were very very happy to meet Jews for the first time. Some leaders werewolf happy, but some were not.
News went round in Kenya that Wanjiku has managed to change they church anderson joined the Jews in denying the saviour. This did not deter me from even asking for more visits. The visitors included the 1st Secretary, the Synagogue Canter and a couple from Israel. It was overwhelming. My group and I thought we could change the church’s beleve. This was not possible. I worked for the whole group scarttered all over Kenya, and Moshe my Right hand was busy with the whole of Ol Kalou. I managed to visit many parts of Kenya, I was received well because of the Ambassador, the mbers were free to visit the synagogue witn ease.
This time I had manged to get books from the Embassy so that we could learn Ivrit. At the same time I had to learn to sing so, Mrs Moshe helped me alot, in teaching our members thev songs I taught her she is very good in singing. We wrote all the songs for easy learning. At the same time I was busy with the distant places
In short, after getting Jewish books from the library, we started understanding Judaism on our own. We had no one to assist us. In January 2004, A member of Jews from Uganda, visited Nairobi synagogue and somehow told us a bit of Judaism. I requested him to come here and teach us Judaism. He agreed, but he was to travel to USA first and then come to Kenya to teach us, He keped his word, so he visited again an we agreed we will join them. I invited him to visit Ol Kalou where our followers were strong and many. This time Moshe had moved to Molo and had a good following.
They came and we visited Molo and Ol Kalou. They were amazed, about us and decided they will build a synagogue in Ol Kalou if, I will agree to be a leader. They kindly agreed to educate our children in Uganda. So. in 2005, I took to Uganda 12 children boys and girls. I was amazing. Immediately the boys had brit mila and we were taught about it. Problem were there and some did not agree to it.
Do you know, we did not know about Orthodox and Conservative. After studying the Midrashim is when we realized we had joined a group that will lrad us no where. While children’s were there force the sake of Judaism, I called them all and advised them NOT TO AGREE TO THEIR CONVERSION AT ALL. THEY WERE THERE FOR THE SAKE OF EDUCATION AND NOT JUDAISM AND CONVERSION!!!! S we agreed to that.
Same year I was approached about being an official leader of this newspaper group. Official in the sense that bI will be trained a leader and may become a Rabbi!! I Refused the offer with all the benefits and told them that we want Orthodox Judaism and conversion. Our children knew more as we did and did not agree with them. Imagine at the end of the year. they were expelled without notice. All the same, I told then G-d will help us. Immediately there after, I visited them to inquire why such an abrupt decision. No one listened to my pleas. Baruch Hashem, A miracle was wrought, and I was introduced to one Sjimon, who took care of amaller group of Orthodox. He is our leader to date. from 2006, We met him for the first time in December, 2012.
He was not able to visit the Kenyan Jews due to time constraint. He is our teacher — Ever week he sends us Parashot. He has supplied us ever since ewith books on Hallakah,, Shabbat, 2 volumes of Kitsur among many others — He took over the education of the children and he answers any querry readily.
When Moshe was in Ol Kalou, I managed to send some Jewish visitors to him because we worked hand in hand for our followers. Moshe followed easily my advise.. We have slep out side counting stars as the say, so as not to desecrate Shabbat, to join the synagogue even if it is once a month, we pushed until he was allowed to do so. The road had been rough. The group was very big once, but as they came to learn more about Judaim, most of them left and we a few remained to date.
In 2007 a Jew visited The synagogue and promised to relocate us to Israel, and all the members in Nairobi took pass ports ready to move!! But Alas, H was aessianic, so the offer was dropped and agreed to wait upon Hashem, no matter how long it takes.
In 2012, I sat down with the Nairobi members, and agreed to visit Molo, so three of us visitede Molo in August, and so the need to be visiting then twice a month to strengthen them and teacher them what we know so far. On 13th of the same month I sufferred massive stroke. 2 days before our first mid month visit, I than Hakadosh Baruch Hu for the gift of life and ability to work with our members in my present condition,
Please you can extract a short story from the above, how then Kenyan Jewish Community started some more than 20 years ago thru thick and thin. I keep on assuring our members that they will be well received in Israel not like here. Help us with Hashem’s help to realize our goal… Conversion and Aliyah. It is each one’s desire to know Hashem More.REMEMBER, YOU WERE SENT HERE BY HASHEM, YOU DID NOT FEAR THE INSECURITY… AND YOU MANAGED TO MEET OUR MEMBERS IN THEIR HABITAT.BARUCH HASHE,
In all be richly blessed, with divine wisdom, good health prosperity and soon with starting your own family. Will see you soon in Jerusalem.