The story below is about the life of the current bishop of Kenya. It is taken from the “Missions Alive!” curriculum for children.
The 2016-2017 Missions Alive! study:
• focuses on FM ministries in 16 countries in Central, East and Southern Africa.
• is full of fun facts, mission stories, missionary information, games, recipes, crafts, etc.
• can be used for children’s missions month, Christian Life Club (CLC), mid-week programs, children’s church and much more.
• includes PowerPoint slides and short video clips.
• helps students learn about problems children around the world face.
• encourages students to take action to address a need in the community or around the globe.
Click here to download (free) or order printed copy from FMWM ($15).
by Lois Meredith
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18
Hawkins grew up in a Christian home. He is the third born in a family of 13 from rural Kenya.
Primary school was a 30-minute walk from home. Students were to be at school by 7:00 a.m. When Hawkins started school, the children all sat on the ground under a tree. Although he didn’t have any textbooks, Hawkins did have two notebooks. During the first three educational years, the students finished school at 1:30 in the afternoon. By fourth grade they met inside a classroom, sitting four to a large desk with classes finishing at 4:30 in the afternoon. During lunch break, Hawkins could run home for something to eat.
Students began studying for national exams in the eighth grade. They had only a half-hour lunch break and often stayed at school until 7:00 p.m. On those days, Hawkins was glad for the 2 shillings (5 cents) that could buy a piece of sugar cane to lessen his hunger.
Hawkins’ favorite school subjects were CRE (Christian Religious Education) and Kiswahili (key-swah-HEE-ley) (one of Kenya’s national languages). In second grade, Hawkins started to study English. He now speaks and writes it quite easily.
Hawkins’ secondary school, where he was a boarding student, was near the post office — 15 miles away from his home. It was a long walk. The nearest public transport vehicle was about an eight-mile walk. Thus, every beginning and ending of term found Hawkins walking to or from school with his metal box of school supplies balanced on his head. It was only after he graduated from secondary school that Hawkins learned to ride a bicycle.
Because the equator runs through Kenya, it’s usually dark by about 6:30 p.m. — so Hawkins often studied by the light of a kerosene lamp.
Helping at home for Hawkins included fetching water in a jerry can (a container about 15 inches high and 12 inches wide that holds about five gallons of water). The stream was a mile away. He also got firewood from the nearby forests and helped cook. The cooking pot was placed on three stones with the fire underneath. Another job for a young boy, he kept an eye on grazing sheep and cows.
Digging with a hoe from dawn until dusk to work up the small plots of land was hard, tiring work. Then came planting the cabbage, corn and bean seeds. However, being able to sell the produce to meet school fees and other family needs made it worthwhile work. Picking tea leaves was another source of income.
School uniforms are important in most Kenyan schools and Hawkins learned to launder his own — at the stream on the weekend, or at home. The school held a weekly inspection, and everyone was expected to look their best. Clothes were often spread out on the ground or on bushes, and sometimes hung on a line to dry.
For fun, like most Kenyan boys, Hawkins enjoyed playing soccer. If a regular ball was not available, tying up plastic bags with string or banana bark in to a ball shape would serve the purpose.
A Free Methodist church was near Hawkins’ home. It met under a tree. By the time he was 16, the congregation built a mud and pole structure with a grass roof. Today, the church has a permanent building of stone blocks, iron sheets for roofing and a cement floor.
Hawkins testifies that throughout his life, he has been attending church. Especially before he got saved, he thought going to church would allow him to go to heaven. He did not like hearing people saying, “Jesus is my personal Savior.”
In his last year of secondary school, Hawkins attended a Christian rally. He went just for fun. Yet, when the preacher spoke, Hawkins thought, This man is talking about me. When the preacher called for those who wanted to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, Hawkins was the first to step forward. Hawkins says, “I had never experienced the joy and peace that I had on that day.”
The Next Step
Hawkins continued to grow in the Lord. He is married and a father. Hawkins and his family live in a suburb of Nairobi. He attended university and pastored a small Free Methodist fellowship. In 2015, Hawkins Mugaya was elected the bishop of the Kenya FMC.
It’s good to remember to pray for young boys and girls in Africa today who will grow up to be pastors and church leaders. Pray they grow up in the Lord and grow healthy and strong in mind, body and spirit.