This is a true story and the names of the people involved have been changed to protect their identity. They have given me permission to share their story.
I had just become Christian 3 years back and I was zealous for his word and for his people. My insatiable hunger for God and his word drove me to learn as much as I could and then share what God was teaching me with people in my circles. I joined a cell group in my estate and I was glad to get a place that my faith could be sharpened and challenged in various ways. I always looked forward to those Thursday Bible study meetings to meet with brethren in fellowship. It was in one such meeting that the mother to one of the youths who was hosting the study asked to see me in private. This was strange, because she was a tough looking, no nonsense single mother who was mean to marauding young men. She somehow had this notion that anything in a trouser should not be trusted whether saved or not and so I went through my mental filter to see whether I had behaved inappropriately. I had made a deliberate effort to keep a wide berth from the ladies lest I ruin this place that I was feeding from every week. My mind was clear, I couldn't think of anything.
"Tonny, there is a lady that I would like you to meet." She began.
I was a bit startled, I didn't see that coming. My interpretation of that statement was that she wanted to set me up for a blind date. I was far from the truth.
"I have watched you for the past several months and I think you are the right person to deal with a situation that has been brought to my attention."
She was the leader of that cell group and so she was in charge of the happenings in that estate.
"There is a married woman who is going through a terrible issue and I would want you to help her"
"In what way ma'am?" I asked
This lady got born again 3 months ago and she discovered something terrible with her husband of 6 years.
The guy has been sexually molesting their 3 year old daughter and having oral sex with their 9 month old baby and I suspect that there is more to that story.
- She said.
My eyes must have grown into big avocado balls and retreated into their sockets to be miniature marbles as I tried to absorb what I have just been told.
"Okay, I think that is a police case, she should..."
"She doesn't want to involve the police, but she has moved out of that house and she is here."
"You know I'm not a pastor, I wouldn't even know what to do or to tell her, " I tried to disentangle myself from the whole thing.
"It's okay just talk to her and then we will see what to do from there." said Mama Jaffe as we all called her.
I felt some 'hot blue sweat' on my head as I wondered what I was going to say. I felt like a lamb being led to the slaughter as Mama Jaffe led me into the room where this lady was being sequestered. I blamed myself for talking too much during Bible study. "Kuwa kimbelembele" (being too talkative) I had now exposed myself as one who knows too much. "Aki mimi na mdomo wangu!!" (My big mouth and I!) So now Mama Jaffe really thought that I was a spiritual giant with the kind of insights I was unleashing during Bible study....If only I would have kept quiet....we got to the room and the lady had just finished breast feeding her son and handed him over to her nanny who excused herself. After the introductions, the lady called Venice began her story.
We moved in together straight from campus...
We moved in together straight from campus because that was our dream right from first year, when we began dating. My best friend had a strong dislike for him from the word go. She would say that this guy was quirky and creepy and that there was something off about him. I dismissed her, in fact I thought that she said these things because she had been single for such a long time. I tried to look out for anything weird about him, but I couldn't see it. Perhaps I was blinded by his love and his desire to conquer me and so I went in headfirst. For the most part, we have had a fairly stable union with the usual ups and downs of every couple I guess. Our parents know each other, but there hasn't been a formal meeting or introduction.
Both of us fear and respect God but we never went to church or any fellowship. About 8 months ago, I got this nanny from shaggs who has been so amazing in so many ways. There was a certain aura about her that can't be put in words. If I'm to compare her with me, she seems to be doing so well, living a well adjusted life despite the bashing she has received from life. I got curious and I asked her what is it about her and that is when she introduced me to her faith. She told me about prayers, the Bible and Jesus. After about 2 months I started going to church with her and I loved it and eventually I gave my life to Christ after sometime.
It's around that time that I started noticing something strange. All of a sudden we had a lot of money. My husband was showering me with gifts and yet I handled our finances. I know how much he makes and he wasn't in any business. I tried asking him and he just told me that he got a windfall over some on-line trading. I got interested so that I could pump in some more cash from my earnings too to enable us to make a kill, but he wriggled himself out of that and I brushed it aside.
The other thing that was a bit bizarre was our bedroom. Both of us are clumsy people and its common to find things all over and we used to joke about it for the longest time, but then a new trend set in. We would go to sleep with clutter all over as is the norm, but then in the morning, the entire bedroom would be neatly arranged it including the bedsheets on our beds. We were both neatly tucked in, you would think that we had just gotten to bed. Anytime I woke up before him, he would be sleeping in the same position, hands upon his chest, facing upwards like a corpse. His body would be cold and if i nudged him, it would take me about 2-3 minutes to get him to wake up. During this short span, his body would warm up and then he would open his eyes, look at me and smile. There was a day that I thought that he had died, because it took longer than the normal time for me to wake him up and he woke up and found me crying. He looked at me and went to shower, which is very unlike him. I have tried talking to him about all this but he just dismissed me and even laughed it off.
Now here comes the most difficult part," she took a deep breath and started balancing her tears.
My nanny approached me about a month ago and told me that something is wrong with Jeff-my husband. She told me that he is molesting our 3 year old daughter and also the little boy. I tried to show concern as she told me all these accusations, but the fool in me ignored it and I didn't pay much attention. I knew that my husband had changed a bit and I couldn't place a finger on the specific thing, but then I was pretty sure that it wasn't what the nanny was telling me.
A week later, she came back with the same story. I took time to remind her about her place in our house as a nanny. I took issue with her cheap accusations that had no basis because I knew how my husband really loved his kids and how he provided for us. I also told her that it was my husband's idea to increase her salary and so she should not think that such insinuations would break our home, she was the outsider!
All this while she was calm and disconcerted. She moved closer to me and told me.
"Mama Toto, please lay a trap and see for yourself. I'm not a home breaker and If I'm wrong please fire me on the spot."
"What if I ask Nana (my 3 year old)?" I challenged her.
You can go ahead and ask her, but then I think she has been coached on what to tell you or anyone else.
Baba Toto always tells her that this is their little secret and then he would give her goody goody sweets. Haven't you noticed Nana has so many dolls of late? They usually come after he has molested her, but try it because you are her mother and it is possible to reach her in a way that I can't
- The Nanny
She said this as she stepped back.
I couldn't believe it...this was my darling, could he be.....No......but why would my house manager lie to me? Okay, I have heard of stories of how these house girls can conjure stories with no head or tail just to push you out of your position so that they can take over your marital haven. So I needed to be smart about this, I couldn't confront my hubby about it, because he would definitely deny it. but I needed evidence. True to her word, Nana my daughter had been coached to say the right things, she vehemently denied anything...I tried to look into her eyes, I assured her but nothing.
...how I could catch him in the act.
My nanny went on to describe my husband's patterns and suggested on how I could catch him in the act. We had this discussion 3 days ago and you can imagine the intense agony, that I have been going through as I wait for the day when I can catch him.
Today was the day of reckoning. My husband was on off duty and I left for work as usual but I wasn't going to head to work. My nanny and I devised a simple plan. I drove to work as usual and left him home with the babies and parked the car just a few blocks away and waited for my nanny's message.
I came back on foot and slipped into the house through back door and went into the bedroom and busted him as he was unzipping his trousers and my unsuspecting little girl was there naked on the bed....
A profusion of emotions invaded my mind and heart in that one second that as I stood there seeing what was just about to happen. My entire system was on shut down mode and at the same time I wanted to explode. I experienced two contrasting extremes. When I get angry, I usually raise my voice, but this time, I couldn't find my voice. I was in utter shock, total dismay.... I felt weak and I tried to move but I couldn't.
Our eyes met and we froze, then his trousers fell down.
"What are you doing?" I asked him.
He picked them up and looked at me brazen faced and said nothing.
In an instant, I snapped out of that space and I went into auto pilot. I called my nanny and shouted instructions as I dressed my daughter and in we left the house to come here. Mama Jaffe took us to the doctor and where they were checked and treated. The doctor of course asked many questions and I was caught up in a state.
Nana will begin seeing a children's counselor tomorrow...."
"Wait, why didn't you report to the Police?", I interjected after a long time.
I am not sure why. I was enraged and I am still angry, I wanted to react and just do something vengeful, anything but I have been unable to. I needed to be at a place where I can think rationally and objectively because I feel like I'm losing my mind.
How could my campus sweetheart, the father of my babies cheat on me with his kids? It even sounds disgusting coming out of my mouth, because its not even consensual, he is actually preying on them.
I feel angry at myself that I was unable to detect any tell tale signs of abuse on my kids and yet I pride myself in being highly intuitive...but how did I miss this one?
None of us spoke for a moment and you could 'hear the voice of silence' engulf the entire room.
"Wait a second", Venice said while standing up in an ahaa moment. "Now it makes sense. My husband is dabbling in something that is very dark, weird and highly suspicious. He has a lot of money out of nowhere, our bedroom gets arranged every single night and I'm pretty sure that is not him, getting socks is usually a daily headache every morning and then his body gets so cold you would think he spent the night in a freezer and now this?"
I sympathized with the lady and her current predicament because she was dealing with some mountain of issues. A plethora of complexities had just erupted on her face and she needed to make speedy decisions. Here she was looking up to me to give her some sound advice because Mama Jaffe had told her about me. I felt sorry for myself because I was totally clueless of what I was going to tell her. In fact I didn't have anything to say that was productive nor progressive. I was in my early 20s, a young novice when it comes spiritual matters, let alone marriage, but she was expectantly waiting for a word from me.
"What do you have to say concerning all this?" She posed.
I cleared my throat and shuffled in my seat to try and gain some composure and replied, "If I were you, I would go to the police because I think that this is serious and even if you opt not to, I think the law will eventually catch up with him and you maybe arrested as an accessory and I don't think it is fair that you get punished for refusing to abide by the law. I'm not so sure how the system works, but I think I'm on the right track. You don't have much of a choice."
...report the matter to the authorities
Mama Jaffe agreed with me and we persuaded Venice to report the matter to the authorities. "It's good that your daughter is getting counseling, but I think that you too need to get into therapy as a matter of urgency because what you saw this morning was gruesome."
Then the question that dreaded the most came knowing at the doors of my ears. "What about my husbands diabolical ways, what do we do about it?" she looked like she was willing to do anything even if it meant slicing out his testes and feeding them to him with no salt. She was going to do it. Venice was incensed!
Well, I don't know much about the occult and as you have narrated, I think it's possible that he is flirting with dark world or he is deep in it.
All I can do is pray for you and promise to pray with you. I'm still a young Christian but I know that God can do anything.
I prayed with her, bid her farewell and then went to my house. I was bewildered and I walked in shock. This was horrifying and completely out of my league. I wondered what I would have done in her situation... Anyway, at least she agreed to go to the cops. I thought that this was going to be over and done with. Little did I know that this was the the beginning of a long complex odyssey.
The next day, the lady went to report her husband to the police who wasted no time in going to get him. They went to his office to....his house....friends, the same but he wasn't there. The guy just vanished without a trace.
At that moment, it hit Venice that she was alone...this guy had flipped their marital script and now she felt totally helpless...She broke down and just wailed. Thank God mama Jaffe was there to hold her as she wept bitterly.
The police assured us that they would do their best to track him down. Days turned into weeks and into months and there was no sign of him. During this period Venice focused on getting the help that she needed for herself and the kids.
Mama Jaffe walked with her like her own daughter. She was advised to move into another house just to make a clean start. We prayed and fasted for her in the first three weeks after the incident happened. We would meet about 3 times a week in the evenings to hold hands and pray for about an hour.
Four months later, Venice got a phone call from the police. She informed Mama Jaffe and I to accompany her to the station. The cops could not divulge any information on phone, but all of us had a strong hunch that it had something to do with her estranged husband David.
We got there and one cop took her to a private room to explain to her what had just happened. David, her husband had just turned himself in and was ready to face the law for his misdeeds.
Venice was puzzled. The past 4 months had been a confusing place for her as she tried balancing her new found found faith in God, being a mother to her kids, trying to focus on her career and deal with her relatives an in-laws who don't understand that her husband just disappeared. She had this fear that her husband turned monster would resurface to kill them or take away the kids. This very man had now emerged out of the wind and wanted to talk to her. She is now torn in between abandoning him there to rot or to confront him for some answers. She paced up and down in the waiting room going back and forth as she picked our minds. Mama Jaffe told her that it would be good for her to talk to him, but if she wasn't ready then was also fine. She made up her mind that she would confront him, she needed to know why.
(The following narration is told by Venice)
"Hi Vee (Venice)?" He began as he sat down in cuffs. Venice didn't answer a word. She just stared at him with menacing eyes.
I know, you are angry and I am sorry for all that I have done to you and the babies.
You have every right to be because what I have done is wrong, inconceivable and unforgivable.
I owe you an explanation so that at least you will know where I'm coming from and then you will decide what to do. I'm ready to pay for all my crimes.
"But why Dee,(for David) why? why? We have been together for so long...I mean I don't understand?" Venice said.
It all started with greed...
"It all started with greed. You know Max my friend introduced me to this secret and exclusive club that meets in the suburbs. We were asked to put down 10k and in a week we would go and collect 100k. I was a bit skeptical about it, because I wasn't told the exact nature of investment. So my friend decided to put down the first installment. In the first week i got my first 100k tax free, just like that. I paid him back and i started investing every week.
The first 2 months were good and though we were instructed not to tell anyone, there wasn't anything fishy about it. Just before we got to the 3rd month, I was told that it is time to get to the next level of the millionaires club. I was excited and eager to go for it. The interviewing process was rigorous and all they kept asking is was I willing to do anything for me to become a millionaire and did I have the backbone to keep it a secret? I agreed.
I was told that i had to go through a very gory ritual to sort of initiate me. A certain 'cloud' or power overcame me and I was under a certain spell, I wasn't myself. I was then ushered into another room and told to undress. I complied and a certain old man came and sodomized me. It was a painful experience but all I could think of is how much our lives were going to change and so I persevered.
I left that place feeling sick and I don't know if you can remember the day Max brought me home past midnight and I had a high fever, that was my initiation night. I was sick the entire week and I never went to work. That was the turning point for both of us because it was during that week that you got saved and I started hurting our babies.
Now this might sound strange but its the truth, it was never my intention to get to where I reached but unfortunately I got there. This is exactly how it happened the first time. I was in the house alone with the kids and I saw myself exit my body in a sort of like trance. I would come out and and do all those nasty things to our babies. I knew right there and then that it was wrong but then I couldn't stop it. It is like there were two people. There was one who was doing the molesting and the other one who wanted to stop him but he just could not"
All of us heard heard it. She hit him so hard that I could almost smell the sting of it, even though I was in the corridors waiting with Mama Jaffe.
"Dee, I'm not stupid, be a man and take responsibility! You want to sit here and lie to me that you were not the one doing it?" Vee snapped at him
"I am sorry and I can understand if you do not believe me but that is how it started and that is exactly what used to happen. A part of me did it, and another part of me sat there and saw it all happen. Then I would come back to and feel bad about it and then talk to our Nana and make her keep this secret. It's like I was trapped in all this. Okay, let me remind you of something that may make sense. You will remember waking up and seeing our bedroom neat and tidy and yet we both know that we are a clumsy pair and we always made fun of it. That's exactly what used to happen. I could lie in bed and then see myself 'get out of me' and go tidy up the room. So you would wake up and I could see you and see me lying there and then get back into me and then wake up.
Even the day you caught me red handed, remember we both froze for a few seconds and when I came to, I dressed up and just kept quiet. Those were two people in one."
Okay, assuming what you are telling me is true, not that i believe you, but why didn't you just tell me?
Why didn't you let me in, remember I tried prodding but you brushed me aside.
"Honey, we...." Dee started
"Shhhh.....don't honey me....!! I feel like castrating you right now, so please don't honey me."
"Sorry, Vee, we were bound by an oath, if I was to leak anything to you or anyone then our babies would die."
Oh so, now you have just killed them! Huh! You have just sacrificed your own flesh and blood Dee!!
Then why tell me all these if you know very well that that is the deal you made with the devil or this dark mysterious people?
Vee was irritated.
"No, they won't die."
"Ahem, they what?"
"They won't die,"
"How sure are you?"
"I have taken care of all that?"
...so you are Jack Bauer or something like that
Vee chuckled, "Ahem, so you are Jack Bauer or something like that?"
"Nope, I got saved!"
"....I gave my life to Christ and...."
Vee stood up indignantly and walked out of the room, she couldn't just sit there and take it anymore. She came out to where we were and told us what had her hubby had told her. She cried as Mama Jaffe held her.
"Do you think he is telling the truth?" Vee asked us.
"I don't know Venice, but at least he is willing to face his mistakes" Mama Jaffe said.
"Tonny, what do you think?" She asked me
I can't speak about the veracity of his account but then there is some truth in what he talking about, I have a rough idea about it.
I think its called astral projection. Some sort of out of the body experience.
"Okay and then he says that he is born again???"
"I think you need to go back and listen to what he has to say"
She gathered herself and went back into the room and sat down facing him.
"Continue, I'm listening."
"When I left you guys, I boarded a Tanzania bound bus because we used to have another branch of that dark club there. Little did I know that I was running into God. The guy I sat next to was not only a Christian but a preacher of God's word. I felt something unusual about him but I ignored it. Just before we left, he offered to pray. He had such authority that seemed to capture me and render me powerless.
He sat down, looked at me and asked me if I was okay and I nodded in the affirmative. The bus left and I pretended to be asleep but I couldn't. My eyes were closed, but I was going through some inner turmoil. When we got to Namanga and during the bathroom break, the guy walked up to me and asked me,
"What are you afraid of?"
"Nothing" I replied
"You are running away from something"
I felt my stomach drop down to my knees, because how could this stranger know that I was running away.
"No, I'm not", as I boarded the bus.
He started sharing the gospel with me and the moment he started doing it, I felt really bad. I wanted to run away from him because his words seemed like a hammer on an anvil, but then I couldn't do anything. After sometime of sharing he cut right into the chase.
"God is telling me that you are running away from your family because you have done something bad."
I was stunned and I couldn't say a word. He continued telling me everything that I had gotten involved in, it's like he read my life like a book not missing a detail. By the time we were getting to Arusha, I was in tears. I was sobbing like a baby and everyone around us wondered what was going on. He assured me that he was going to help me because he is a minister of God's word, but then he can only do it if I'm willing to renounce my old ways and give my life to Christ. I told him not to pray for me in the bus because I was already feeling embarrassed.
...he led me to Christ.
We got to our destination and we went into a toilet where he led me to Christ. Immediately finished praying for me. I started throwing up and it was really bad. I vomited for a long time and then I passed out. I woke up next morning in his house and that is where my new journey began.
The guy took me through deliverance and taught me the word and took me to his church. He was very patient with me as I kept having these fears about you and the kids or the guys that I was involved with retaliating, but then he taught me about prayer and fasting and how the power of God reigns supreme over darkness. I was able to see God set many people free in his church from various bondages and maladies. That really reassured me and that is why I told you that our kids are safe. I have been praying and no one will hurt them.
He kept on telling me that I will have to face the consequences of my past and that its only a matter of time. In as much as I had gotten saved and God had forgiven me, I was still a fugitive and technically he was committing a crime by keeping me there. I saw the sense in all that he was telling me and I asked him to bring me back to Kenya and that is why I turned myself in and I'm willing to face the law and to apologize to you and to my kids. I can understand if you do not want anything to do with me because any man should never do such heinous things to his family. The guy is called Pastor Mfote and he is here. I would like you to meet him and corroborate what I'm telling you."
Venice asked to meet him and the pastor was able to verify everything that David told her. She walked out of that room and straight into Mama Jaffe's arms for another bout of tears.
"This is crazy. I don't know whether to believe him or not. The guy could be making up this story" Vee said.
"Can we all meet him together with this pastor?" I asked.
"Yeah, I think it's fine," Vee said.
All of us got into that tiny room and we talked for what must have been three or four hours. We tried to punch holes into their story but it was water tight. Pastor Mfote was a genuine man of God, not assertive or bossy, just cool and loaded with a certain calm authority that had a finality.
We all left the station in the evening, but just before that happened, Pastor Mfote pulled me aside and told me that he will be leaving for Tanzania the next day.
Young man, Daudi need's a lot of help. God put me in his life to begin the journey and I suspect you are the next person to carry on from here
- Pastor Mfote
"But you kno...." I started in defense.
"Don't worry, the Holy Spirit is with you and within you. He will help you as you guide him because he needs a man. We don't know what will happen to this family, but remember whether they reconcile or not, he is still a child of God who is loved in equal measure just like all of us. So take heart, God will use you and one day you will testify of this story"
He prayed with me and walked away leaving me to a new assignment that I didn't know if I was suited for it or not. I told Mama Jaffe about what the pastor had told me and she shared with Vee and both of them were okay with it. I felt like I was being set up.
My first meeting with him was really awkward and dry...
My first meeting with him was really awkward and dry. Both of us were a bit nervous and territorial, I was trying to be cautious and not to seem judgmental or anything. It felt really odd telling him, "I'm here for you and in case you need anything, let me know". It was so cliche and I could feel the words bounce reverberate back to me because I didn't believe them in the first place. I went home feeling lost and helpless. I asked a pal of mine who was mature in the Lord to give me a tip on how to reach someone that I wanted to help but we didn't have anything in common.
"Find a connection and you will have him", he said. "Men don't bond like ladies, we connect over something and we build our relationship around that thing."
After a couple of days, I went back to him to try and discuss football because most guys love football and i hit a brick wall because he wasn't a fan. Just before I left, he told me that he loved cricket. Bingo! that was my entry point into his life. My pal was right, at least i found something that we could discuss and at that time Kenya had started making its mark in the global circuit series with the Tikolo and Odumbe brothers. We talked, prayed and I began to see a man who had really changed.
During this season, Mama Jaffe and i continued to pray for Venice as she wrestled what God had started doing in her heart. Our pastor in church had began a series on the family which was powerful and compelling and for three straight Sundays he preached on forgiveness. She kept having sleepless nights and she kept telling Mama Jaffe that she sensed that God wanted her to forgive David. That in itself felt like a huge valley that she was unwilling to cross. She felt safe with being on this side rather that walk in the unfamiliar territory.
David was arraigned in court and his case was an open and shut easy case because he pleaded guilty to all charges. He was sentenced to 9 years in prison with hard labor. Incidentally Vee broke down when the sentence was read. She had visited him from that initial day in jail. As usual, Mama Jaffe was there by her side to hold her and comfort her. I was a bit shocked because I really thought that she had bile and anger for this guy and maybe this would give her some relief.
Later on as we asked her why she cried, she replied.
I guess it was the love of God that was breaking me. Deep down, I hated the guy, I loathed him with the whole of my heart.
Fine he was born again and I could see it and from what you have been telling me I think there is genuine transformation, but what he did is indelible.
It is forever etched in my mind. I think its only God who can forgive him not me.
"You can't forgive him or you won't forgive him?" I asked
Tonny, I really respect you and you have been so nice to us, but let me tell you something, you are not married, you are not a mother like I am.
I look at my kids everyday and I imagine that their protector became their predator and its us who have to live with that.
She walked to her car and drove off in a huff.
He became a model prisoner...
David was bounced to several prisons around the country for the next few years. I kept in touch with him and I visited whenever I could, just to encourage him. He became a model prisoner and even took a theological course so that he could grow deeper in his knowledge of God's word. His main regret was accepting that ride by Max to that club that changed his life for the worst. Now in as much as he was being punished by the state, his wife was really hurt and his kids were growing away from him.
After sometime, Vee went to Singapore for 2 weeks and while she was there, her colleague invited her to attend a church meeting. The minister preached on forgiveness and again she started feeling that nagging feeling that she had back in Kenya when pastor preached a series about the family. She called Mama Jaffe and told her what was going on and she told her,
God is speaking to you my daughter. You know what to do, you need to forgive this man or else you will be hooked to the chains of bitterness for the rest of your life.
If God has taken you to Singapore to tell you about forgiveness, then he is up to something.
- Mama Jaffe
The three of us had a meeting when she returned and she just shared her heart out again. Nothing new from the past only that this time she wanted to forgive genuinely but she felt a certain hardness within her so she asked us to partner with her. We agreed to fast for seven days and on the last day as we were holding hands in prayer, Vee started crying. She cried for sometime and when she stopped she told us that she knew that she had to visit David to go and release him from her heart.
God was doing something. The three of us planned a trip to go and see David. 3 years had elapsed after he had been convicted and he was really delighted to see his wife. We gave them their space as they talked and cried and it was really an emotional sight.
As we drove back home, Vee said in the car, "I'm so glad we came, I really feel relieved off that heavy burden. Thank you so much Tonny for asking me that hard question the other time. I didn't know that forgiveness is a choice and when you put me on the spot, I really felt cornered and that is why I said those mean words and left you hanging. I'm sorry."
"It's okay, I understand." I replied.
We got home at around 9 pm and when we dropped Vee at her place, Mama Jaffe asked her,
"So, when are we going back?"
"Where mum?" Vee asked
"To see David?"
That caught me off guard...
"Is there supposed to be a next time?" Vee asked
"Yes there is and there will be" Mama Jaffe said those words and drove off leaving Vee in a confused state. Only a mother can say those words.
2 months later I got mail from David that he was back in the first prison where he started his term and so that made it easier for me to go and see him, but not after Vee was called that David had fallen ill and she called Mama Jaffe in a frantic state to inform her. The only difference this time was that she told her to meet her in hospital.
By this time I was already working out of town and so I couldn't make it, but mama Jaffe noticed her sudden urgency to go and see David who had contracted acute pneumonia. It was good to establish that he was out of danger but then his lungs had a severe infection and so he had to stay in the hospital for sometime.
Vee found herself being overly concerned about this man. Mama Jaffe was keenly observing her and updating me on text. The girl was melting but she was unaware. Elderly women have a way of seeing some of these things from very far. She visited him daily and they had time to talk about a lot of things. At first it was the sickness, his life in prison, her work, politics and general stuff.
What she didn't know was that David had been praying. In fact even Mama Jaffe was also interceding for the miraculous to happen. For me, it was enough to see a man who was beastly transform into a gentle caring person who was broken and compunctious about his past. David had developed an endearing personality that appealed to almost anyone. Even the prison guards respected him and treated him with exceptional regard. They went to him to seek counsel and many times even prayer. God had just unleashed a well of wisdom in his mind that amazed them. Wherever he went, the nickname Joseph followed him because he was a rare breed.
"How are the kids?" David asked during one of her visits.
She coiled as if to retreat into her protective cocoon...
Venice pulled back her had from his clasp. She coiled as if to retreat into her protective cocoon, because this had been a no go zone for both of them. She started crying uncontrollably. He wanted to reach out and comfort her but he was chained to the bed and so there was nothing much he could do other than allow tears to flow freely. That visit ended on a low note without them talking about it. Later that evening, she narrated to us about her midday visit. Mama Jaffe and I were both in agreement that she needs to talk about it, because this has been a part in her life that she has been suppressing but then there is still that chapter with him that needs to be sorted.
The next day, she went and poured out her emotional agony to David. She laid it all bare and really spoke her heart out. The many times she had prayed for him to die, her insecurities, her paranoia with her kids...she laid it all bare and he drank it all in and just kept apologizing and saying how sorry he was. This one ended well as they prayed and she felt lighter.
The next day she brought him the kids photos and now it was his turn to also weep as he held the pictures in his palms. God somehow gave Vee the strength to hold him as he sobbed in pain for what seemed like an eternity. By the time she left for work, his sheets had to be changed because they were drenched in tears.
One time I passed by the hospital and we had a nice time just chatting together and he told me,
Tonny G, I am trusting God for a miracle.
"Ehe," I angled closer as I wanted to hear what he wanted God to do.
"I want my family back and I would like you to pray with me concerning this. I have been praying about this for a long time and I think this sickness has been a catalyst of sorts in answering my prayers. Vee has warmed up to me and we are now talking about the kids. I know it's a tall order to expect that she will want me back in her life, but I know that God can do anything..." he went on with his submission.
There was truly a remote possibility, but when you consider Gideon winning a battle with 300 men against 135,000 Midianites in Judges chapter 7, then you realize that with God ALL THINGS are possible. I didn't want to give him any false hope, but then I promised to pray with him.
He got discharged and was sent back to prison and things became better as Venice even gathered guts to visit him in prison alone, something that she had never done before. His graduation was 6 months away and he wanted to meet his kids. Vee asked us for advice and we referred her to the counselor who had helped them when the incident first broke out. She helped Vee talk to the Nana and basically just put everything into context as a family. 4 years had transpired since the ordeal happened and so the entire family needed to be handled carefully and professionally. Thank God the lady counselor was born again, good with kids and an expert in child psychology.
It wasn't an easy trying to revisit the past especially where kids are involved, it evokes a lot of emotion, but then again with God at the helm, everything flowed well. By the time graduation day arrived, they were all in one accord, to attend daddy's ceremony as he graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Theological Studies. It was a memorable occasion, just seeing them there taking photos arm and arm, laughing and hugging..who would have known that this would have happened?
David gave the graduation speech on behalf of all the students. It was touching to see a man so candid about his past, openly tell about what the love of Jesus had done to him and now the people that he had hurt the most had come to celebrate with him on this day that as a prisoner paying for his mistakes. He was eloquent and poignant, he cut through to the hearts of all who were there and then ended it all up by making an altar call....33 people gave their lives to Christ, among them 5 prisoners, 4 prison warders and the rest were visitors! All of us who were present shed tears when we saw what God had done on that day. He used the least likely to do the most likely. This God!!
will you marry me...
Out of nowhere, this prisoner called David goes down on bended knee and removes an beautiful golden ring and says
Vee, the mother of my children will you marry me?
Venice was riveted and tongue tied, her voice seemed to disappear to the Ruwenzori Ranges and with her dry throat she said......
Those of us who were around that mini-drama shouted in jubilation and I saw David leap to his feet and pick up his woman and give her a big hug and at that moment we became the centre of attraction in the entire prison yard.
The corner of my eye caught Mama Jaffe really crying and I went to her. Seems like everyone will have their moment in this whole picture. I held her and she narrated to me how God had shown her in a dream that these two would reunite when Venice was in Singapore and God was dealing with her bitterness against David. She didn't know, how or when but then she decided to commit it to prayer. The confirmation came in her heart on the day we took her to meet him in prison where she released him from all the anger and pain that she had held against him. She reminded me what happened later that day,
Tonny, you remember that evening as we dropped Venice at her gate, I asked her to tell me when the next visit will be and she tried to feign some surprised but a keen mother knows her children too well, she was obviously going to go back.
Then when David fell sick, she didn't come to me to take her to see him, she told me to find her in hospital. That means she was gaining her independence and beginning to chart her own course. I'm sure she wasn't even aware of it, but the pieces had started falling in place and who do you think got David that engagement ring?
- Mama Jaffe
"Y....yyyyou.....???" I guessed
She gave me a cheeky smile
"Mummmmm!!!!!, You knew all this was happening, you could have hinted to me." I said.
"Tonny my son, you had an assignment, yours was to walk with David and hold his hand and you have done a stellar job at that. I asked him to tell you to pray with him..., I know all things, I'm a mother and all of you are my children" She said that as she stood up, I didn't realize that all this time we were seated on the ground and our clothes were soiled, but that really didn't matter. The joy in our hearts was inexplicable.
A wedding was in the offing!
David was convinced that he won't finish another year in prison. His prison record was clean. He was a prison minister and he also taught some subjects to other prisoners. We all rallied around him and trusted God for a miracle. We all saw the need of incorporating a family therapist to help them try to anticipate the new life that they were expecting in the near future. Both sides of the family hadn't been supportive. David was an orphan and an only child, his extended family had stayed away after his case was featured in the media. Vee was also an orphan, but she had sisters who were there for her when all this broke out but then they started cutting the links when she started this business of forgiveness. They insisted that she was making the wrong move and that this guy would do the same thing again. Mama Jaffe and I were branded as cult leaders with no bearing. There wasn't any need to defend ourselves because all of us knew the truth. We had been through the murky waters and now it was time to bathe and clean ourselves. So they chose to stay away from everything. It really hurt Vee that her siblings who were believers could not support her in being part of the restorative process of her family.
David and Venice started planning for their wedding by faith. They wanted all of us to be involved. It was going to be a small intimate ceremony. Pastor Mfote, the man from Tanzania who was used by God to lead him to Christ was going to preside over the ceremony. I was going to be the best man and Mama Jaffe the best maid and their two kids were going to be carrying flowers and rings. That was the entire bridal team.
7 months later, David was released from prison during a presidential pardon and a month later we had the wedding with about 30 guests. Now it was my turn to cry....wah! I wept with tears of joy. I tried to be composed and be okay, but it was just too much. I was surreal, I was part of a real time movie. God was healing and bringing out this story in 3D. Even Ripleys believe it or not has nothing on this story....no single person can take the credit for what God did, but he did it anyway.
David and Venice began rebuilding their lives from where the cracks had emanated. It was them against the world and with God on their side, nothing else mattered. There was of course the initial suspicion and treading on egg shells in the initial weeks that followed their reunion. Thank God the family therapist had prepared them and so they had an idea of how to navigate through these challenges. Intimacy between the two was not easy at first but again with time, patience and prayer, they got their rhythm.
Getting a job was not easy for David. The fraudulent money in his accounts had just disappeared and he didn't even bother following it up for obvious reasons. They started a business for him and it picked up with time.
His relationship with Nana has been okay and he has deliberately made an effort to allow her to vent especially when she started having her menses and became aware of her sexuality and all. It took a slight deep but then Mama Jaffe whom they call 'Big Mama' was again instrumental in helping him manage this shift in their lives.
When Toto turned 14, David called me and we went out for a boys weekend retreat in the wild. We spent time talking and it wasn't as hard as I had expected. He was able to see things clearly and understand what really had been happening. The sessions that they had started having years back had borne fruit.
David is a business consultant and passionate about men, ministry and the market place. Venice is an image consultant and a really concerned about healthy eating and looking hot. She is still feisty but with a toned moderation.
Nana is in one of the private universities studying communication, really loves the Lord and inseparable with the dad. The healing that has been going on is beautiful. Toto is in his last year in high school and wants to become an engineer. He plays the bass guitar and is a fine gentleman.
I have kept in touch with the family all over these years. They inspire me to do what I do with BEYOND I DO. Looking at them, I now know for sure that God can turn any situation around for his own glory. I'm pretty sure that marriage is for keeps and it doesn't matter what one or both of you have done, when God steps in, everything changes. he takes charge and brings in alignment.
Forgiveness was an important key in this whole process and maybe you need to pick that phone and call your spouse and tell her/him that you have forgiven them. God did it for them and he wants to do it for you..TODAY!
If you are going through any challenge, there is help for you and God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that you could ever ask or imagine.
The family follows my online ministry and when I started this blog, Venice called me and asked me to share their story because it will definitely encourage someone.
As I wind up these series. The entire family has been reading and following all your comments, responses and reactions. You can speak to each one of them here in the comments section.
Oh...do you remember Max...? go back to part one, he got born again and he is also has a melodramatic story, when he is ready to share we will have another series like this one.