Nairobi Chapel Leading the Faith Based Community by Example on HIV Testing
by Veronica Mwangi
On February 22, the congregation at Nairobi Chapel was treated to a special service. The service was one of a kind, graced by the presence of the Jars of Clay and provision of Counseling and Testing Services at the church grounds for the first time in history. The sanctuary was packed to capacity, over 1500 worshippers streaming with excitement at the JIJUE 1 Million campaign and Jars of Clay partnership.
I Choose Life – Africa C.E.O, (also a member of the Chapel) and the vision bearer of JIJUE 1 Million, Gregg Mwendwa had an opportunity to discuss the “becauses” of the JIJUE cause, while Jars of Clay took to the stage to entertain the congregation. Pastor Gowi Odera, took the courageous step of getting tested at the pulpit and reinforcing the message passed on by Mike Mutungi . . . “Today, as you walk out of this sanctuary, you have an opportunity to be part of this great campaign, this great vision, to see 1 – Million young people know their correct HIV status.
The congregation stormed in for testing soon after the service, and the tent was quickly partitioned into two to create room to cater for the highly demanded service. Several people waited patiently in the scorching sun. Those who couldn’t wait in the queue hastily made their way to the KICC venue for both the concert and testing. This was the beginning of the Chapel JIJUE drives.
The church led by Pastor Oscar availed room for 10 counselors on the Sunday of March 1, 2009. Additionally, the leadership placed the notice about ongoing VCT in the bulletin and reinforced the same by word of mouth before the homily. Members hastily made their way to the tent to get tested. This time they did not have to wait for long and the weather was a little accommodating; rather sunny but windy.
On this day, members of club Xpression who had just received their HIV results teamed up and went to drag their youth pastors to take the test as well, saying: “they can’t preach water and drink wine” . They were softly turned away as the pastors who had to attend to the new sheep in the flock but promised to test and have their “glow-in-the-dark” wristbands, “next time”.
These Xpression guys are great, and thus we have partnered with them to complement the efforts in mobilization of the church folks for testing. We will complement their creativity with the passion of Grace Community Faith Based Organization, who will to continue providing counseling & testing services for a couple more sundays. Tents will be set up strategically at all the gates, and “Club Xpression” will be doing their great job because there will be enough counselors provided by Grace Community.
God bless Nairobi chapel, its flock and leadership.