Vassula visits Kenya, April 2000
This was Vassula's second visit to Kenya and we all imagined that it would be therefore that much easier than the last time to organise. As things turned out this was a wishful thought and we encountered more snags than we anticipated but then with only a few days to go, we got the final approval of a programme which necessitated a few amendments and additions to our earlier proposals, and miraculously all doors opened!
So in a hopeful mood on Friday 7th April 2000 we set off to the airport with a big bunch of red roses to welcome our guest. I had been biting my fingernails in nervousness as out of the eight cartons of books expected, only one containing 35 books had materialised! I could not see how we could admit this to Vassula so you can imagine my relief when Vassula told us a few minutes after greetings had been exchanged that she was carrying many books in her luggage! 146 in total. We escorted Vassula and her companion Isabelle Gay to the Windsor Golf and Country Club and left them in the capable hands of their Senior Managers.
Saturday 8th April was a day of private prayer and recollection for Vassula and Isabelle to recoup their physical and spiritual strength in the beautifully manicured grounds of the Country Club as the guests of the owners.
Sunday was an early start as Vassula had a meeting with the new auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi, Bishop David Kamau, at 8 a.m. at the Holy Family Minor Basilica. The meeting was most cordial as Vassula explained her mission to him and said that it was at the express wish of the Vatican that she was to contact the hierarchy of each area of jurisdiction that she visits. The Bishop said on his part that the Church has no quarrel with anyone who draws people closer to Christ but that the Church is very concerned about safeguarding the faithful from error. He reported that in Nairobi Archidiocese some have been ensnared by the efforts of the Little Pebble (from Australia) and that is why the Church is always very careful with visitors from overseas.
Vassula told him how her messages started and of the testimonies over the years from nuns and priests whose religious life has been deepened as a result of reading these heavenly messages. She also said that several well known Catholic Theologians had examined her work and written very positive commentaries on it. She then passed over several booklets with extracts of messages to the Bishop who received them graciously and said that on her next visit he would like her to meet the Archbishop who was at that time unavailble as he was on retreat.
From the Basilica the party left for St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church where Vassula attended the Sunday Liturgy (Mass) from 9- 11 a.m. Then she was invited by Father Moses to address the entire congregation consisting of Kenyan and Egyptian Copts. During her previous visit she had had a private meeting with some members of the Church so they were familiar with her work and Father Moses had just returned from Israel where he had attended the TLIG World Conference. Naturally the congregation was touched by the fact that Vassula had been born in Egypt and said she should say she was an Egyptian and not Greek!!
Unfortunately the meeting with the Bishop had to be cancelled as there had been a death the previous evening which necessitated his travelling out of Nairobi for the funeral unexpectedly. However, Vassula was accompanied to Church by Mrs. Aidah the priest's wife and then driven shortly afterwards to Kilimani Primary School for the Main Meeting.
We were forced by circumstances beyond our control to change, almost at the last minute, our initial plan of booking the Kenya Polytechnic in the Centre of Town to Kilimani Primary School in the suburbs and although the halls were approximately the same size were anxious in case due to location the meeting would not be well attended, so we were very relieved when we saw one hour before the meeting was due to start, people from all walks of life including sisters, religious, and priests streaming into the hall in order to be well seated! We had difficulty in setting up the bookstand as people came anxious to buy, even before the stall was set up! The young ladies who manned the stall did an excellent job and sold out all the books in a very short time. They also took names of those interested in getting more books and/or joining the two prayer groups which meet weekly on a Friday night or Saturday morning. The meeting started with prayers, hymns and a very well recited rosary led by one of the sisters.
At 3 p.m. punctually Vassula arrived and was greeted by a very enthusiastic audience. She acknowledged the presence of Mrs. Anne Wambaa, the wife of Mr. Larry Wambaa who arranged Vassula's last visit and who this time, even though in America did so much to encouraged us by e- mail and even found a donor to assist with Vassula's ticket. Vassula asked the crowd how many had attended her talk last year and we were gratified to learn that of the audience two thirds were new to Vassula's messages. The audience were very attentive and listened to Vassula's message in rapt silence. There were no hecklers. The atmosphere was peaceful and reverent - no doubt the after effects of the Rosary that had been recited with such devotion ealier!
During her talk Vassula mentioned that her recent messages are about the true value of the cross and that our Lord is complaining that many of us tell Him we wish to share His cross but that as soon as He obliges us we run from here to there asking our friends to pray for us that the cross may be removed! This struck many people in the audience including myself and one lady came after the meeting to give testimony that she felt the words had been specially meant for her. At the end of her talk Vassula prayed for healing with the assistance of two priests who were present. Many more touched by her words and one lady gave witness that when Vassula opened her hands on two different occasions she saw dark brown stains in the centre of the palms. The meeting ended at 5.15 p.m. and many stayed on to ask questions about books or prayer groups. Vassula and Isabelle spent the night at the Country Club.
Monday 10th april was another hectic day. At 8.30 Vassula, Isabelle and some of the organisers were at the All Africa Council of Churches (AACC) buildings on Waiyake Way for the Monday morning Praise and Worship with the staff. This is an umbrella organisation of the Protestant Churches in Africa but the Greek orthodox and Coptic Orthodox Churches are also members. It is affiliated to the World Council of Churches and is only one of 5 such headquarters in Africa. It has clergy from all over Africa. The morning devotions were led by Mitch Odero who is in charge of the Public Relations desk. Then a young Pastor by the name of Paul Okach spoke most eloquently about the theme of "The day of your visitation" linking it to the work we do in our offices and to the fact that Christ is present in each person we deal with. Then Vassula was introducted and she replied to Mitch's pleading in prayer about the manifold problems of Africa. She said the problems were not hopeless but we had hope in Jesus in a True-Life-With-God. She said that since exterior conditions always mirror our internal condition that we must start individually with changing our own hearts - then change for the better would come.
She then enlightened the Prayer group on the Holy Spirit, the most forgotten person of the Blessed Trinity, and read a little from her messages on the Holy Spirit. The people assembled were most touched. Vassula also said that she recognised the Spirit of God in Paul when he was preaching. There was a great spirit of fraternal sharing which extended to tea afterwards and Mitch invited Vassula for an interview later on for the organisation's magazines and other publications which go out all over Africa.
From here Vassula was taken to meet the Moderator (Head) of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa Rev. Wanjau and his response was very positive. Then to the Holy Family Minor Basilica for 1.15 p.m. Mass followed by lunch nearby and a short walk to the studios of K.T.N. (Kenya Television Network) for a recording of a 20 minute programme "A Moment with God" which was aired on the following Sunday. Vassula spoke very fluently, spontaneously and touchingly on how to be in the will of God and the need for self-emptying to be invaded by the Holy Spirit. Then back to the AACC for an interview which had to be postponed until the following morning and a visit to Father Quinn of Ukweli Videos. Father runs a professional video studio under the aegis of the Archdiocese of Nairobi. He uses the video medium to disseminate the Word of God as many Kenyans are not good readers and also as a response to Christian demands for programmes on T.V. that will counter the airwaves of immorality and godlessnes put out generally by secular TV stations. He also prepares and teaches evangelists to go out in teams all over the country to spread the Word of God.
We had contracted him to put out a professional video of Vassula's Main Meeting which will be available from the Good Shepherd Bookshop in the Mall Westlands Nairobi or from us direct. Contact Mary.Ngatuni@unon.org for details. After this Vassula and Isabelle were whisked away to the Country Club to freshen up before being taken to the Residence of Miss Emma Muraya for a delightful dinner with family and the organisers which gave us a chance of a closer contact with Vassula and Isabelle. Then back to the Country Club for the night.
Tuesday 11th was Vassula's last day with us and after a breakfast with her host and hostess she was taken to AACC for the long awaited interview with Mitch. He was very keen in his questions and we expect to see several articles in due course. Then to Riruta for the meeting with the Greek Orhodox Metropolitans in the Seminary - unfortunately this misfired as time was not on our side so it was postponed in order to be on time for the meeting with Rev. Peter Njoka the Vicar General of the Anglican Church or CPK as it is known here. This was the sting in the tail of what otherwise had been a 100% successful visit. The Rev. Njoka believes apparently that unless something is written in the Bible it cannot possiblly be true and has no use for messages from heaven! He was most firm in his protestations of the futility of continuing the meeting with Vassula. Then with this unpleasant taste in our mouths we drove to the airport to bid Vassula and Isabelle a sad farewell - enlivened a little by a last coffee together and the presentation of two bouquets of flowers to Vassula and one to Isabelle.
Sam, James, Linda, Mary and others.