One of my authors called me recently to say that he was visiting Kenya and could we catch up sometime? What would you say to a friend who packs every moment of fellowship with so much fun and value?
We met over breakfast at his hotel’s executive wing, an idyllic room for private meetings and dining, located on the 15th floor. From where I sat, I’d have been enjoying a panoramic view of Nairobi’s skyline and the sprawling west side of the city, except for the cloudy weather.
I served freshly squeezed juice, fruit, wholegrain cereals with extra raisings, and yoghurt. Our tête-à-tête covered such subjects as family, travel, business, personal life and what books had come off press in recent months, as we continually refilled our cups with the perfectly brewed coffee.
It all begun about eleven years ago. My family and I used to attend church across the city. One Sunday morning in October, I was driving down Lenana Road, intending to turn right on Woodlands Avenue, and onwards to State House Road, as I always did. A few metres to the intersection though, a thought struck me, powerfully.
“Drive straight on to NPC Valley Road for the service.”
“What? Strange thought!” I reasoned in my mind, especially given how much I had been looking forward to the conclusion of a sermon series by my senior pastor.
Deep down, I was however convinced that’s what I should do. How would I break the news of the sudden change of plan to my family? There was less than one minute to get consent before reaching the turnoff.
“How about attending service at NPC today?” I asked, awkwardly.
They all looked bewildered at the proposition. I construed their momentary silence as a suggestion that they weren’t entirely opposed to this seemingly irrational idea. By then, I was already looking for space at the parking lot opposite the Department of Defense’s Lenana Road entrance. Trust Cholerics.
The speaker had been introduced by the time my wife and I secured seats at the lower balcony, having escorted the kids to their Sunday school classes. He looked and sounded vaguely familiar. Then, I recognized him. The smiley over six-foot tall author I had met fifteen months earlier at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Dr. John Stanko! I had queued for an autograph of his book, Strictly Business, during the annual International Christian Retail Show. I recalled that in our brief encounter, he had mentioned something about plans to visit Kenya in the not-too-distant future.
On this Sunday morning, John was speaking about purpose, and why, on a number of occasions, God changed the names of some characters in the Bible and gave them new names. It happens that at the time, I was in a state of flux, sensing that I needed to make a major decision about one of the businesses I was running. John seemed to speak directly to my situation and me.
As he concluded the sermon with a call for courageous repurposing, it was clear in my mind that the bizarre decision I had taken in the morning was the necessary prelude to this eureka moment.
A few days later, I received a call from John’s local representative. Could we consider buying rights to publish some of John’s books for the African market? She asked. The start of an enriching friendship and valuable business relationship.
So, in the conversation with John talking about the different phases of our lives and reminiscing on our journey since our paths first crossed, I couldn’t help but think how what we often perceive as mere coincidence is, in reality, God at work.
©2015 David Waweru