I recently wrote a post about my prayer group experience; you can read more about it by clicking here. We meet via zoom, and we sometimes have guest pastors who come and briefly preach to us. This past Friday, I looked at the zoom attendants, and one, in particular, caught my eye. I kept asking myself, “Why does he look familiar?” I did this as I squinted and I tried to switch my phone to landscape to see him better, “Oh gee, he sure looks like Pass Wess” Then I looked down at his name and sure enough, it said “Pastor John Wesley” I started crying as this was my youth pastor 20 years ago! The youth group would fondly refer to him with a cool name- Pass Wess! What are the odds of meeting my Kenyan youth pastor in a random zoom call based in the U.S?
I have shared in the past how I grew up in the church. To be specific, I attended Nairobi Pentecostal Church (Central/Valley Road) from the time I was an infant! My parents were keen to ensure that we lived close to the church as they believed in the impact it would have on our lives. I attended every Vocational Bible School, every church camp, and sang in every Christmas concert. Here is a picture of one of the many Christmas concerts:
When I turned 13, I joined the youth church. Our pastors were Pastor Patrick and Pastor John Wesley. They were a fiery duo that found fun and innovative ways to encourage the teens to serve God and understand sound doctrine. These pastors, along with their lovely wives, ministered to us in a special way. I am attaching some copies of the youth program from 2001 & 2002! (I am very sentimental and thus kept them throughout the years 🙂 Hoarders TV, don’t come and get me!! lol)
In Kenya, most of the teenagers go to boarding school during their high school years. Pastor Patrick and John Wesley found a way to ensure we were still connected. They would mobilize youth leaders to handwrite individual letters of encouragement. The pastors would ask us to keep the faith and remember God in all we do. It was heartwarming to receive such letters, and they would often tell us where the next church camp would be. Therefore, we always looked forward to when school closed so as to go back to the youth church! Here is a picture of some of the letters I received while I was in boarding school!
Later, when I graduated high school and came to the U.S, I felt that I had been ripped from a constant spiritual source of nourishment. Due to this, I found that I struggled spiritually for almost three years in this foreign land. I switched churches several times as I looked for a good spiritual fit. However, what held me was the word that was profoundly and firmly rooted in my heart. The biblical counsel that these youth pastors provided was critical in drawing me back to a strong foundation!
So back to the zoom call, when we were introducing ourselves, I immediately pointed out this divine destiny connection! I shared how much the youth ministry shaped my life as a believer, all to the Glory of God. I am happy to report that Pass Wess was happy to hear from me and has still maintained his humor and fiery dedication to our Lord Jesus Christ!
As I end, I want to encourage every person who has a leadership position in the church (especially youth ministry and mentorship!). Keep doing what you are doing! Your work is impactful! God sees what you are doing in private, and he will reward you! You are sowing seeds in future leaders, movers, and shakers who have significant kingdom assignments. Someone is waiting for your obedience and service…May God grant you the strength and the direction you need as you serve Him! May he elevate you as you pursue your destiny assignment!