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Stepping Over Fear (My Mizizi Experience)

As we get into week 6 of season 3 2013 (how fast time flies) allow us to share with you Vincent’s story (Vincent was in season 2 2013):

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#TeamSparks At The Retreat 

I heard about Mizizi from my friends who had gone through the class. I also came across it online. In 2010, one of my friends who had took the class encouraged me to join but I was not convinced of the good that will come out of it. I am an introvert and mostly prefer conversing with others on a one-to-one basis rather than sharing my story or anything else for that matter in front of a large group. By large I mean 4 or more people. To me this is a crowd. It is this dislike/not wanting to be part of a group that in the past kept me from joining small groups in church.

At the beginning of this year, one of the goals I was praying for was to make new friends. And then came Mizizi. I first read about Mizizi Season 2 registration from a tweet sent by @mavunochurchorg. I would love to say that I signed up immediately but this was not the case. I bookmarked the link planning to refer to it later.

On the days that followed, I kept thinking about it but part of me was afraid. Not afraid of people per se, but scared of the unknown. I had never been in such a setting as the Mizizi classes. Deep within me I knew God was telling me to step out of the boat. Throughout that week I stumbled on articles/blogs about stepping over fear. [I now know God was directing me to the right decision]. I finally got the courage to fill the online form. During the orientation we got to learn more about the classes and heard testimonies from past Mizizites.

I left the orientation having not fully decided whether to attend the classes or not. It could have been easy to bail out since I hadn’t yet paid. I am glad I didn’t bail out. The first class was all about introductions and getting to know each other and the basics of Mizizi. During the weeks that followed I was amazed at how easy and comfortable I was when it came to sharing my life with complete strangers. I also learnt to listen to others as they shared their stories.

Even though I had been saved for a while, there were things that had faded in my Christian walk such as reading the bible and prayer and through Mizizi I got a refresher course on the importance of such practises. We had so much fun together. I can’t count the times when we were told that we were making noise for others. In fact, the class next to us had to shift to a further corner.  

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One highlight of the Mizizi experience was the Half-Day of Prayer. We were to pray for 2 hours something that I had never done. I didn’t know what I would pray about for those hours. We were given prayer guides to assist us in the prayers. There were three categories of prayers that we were to make. First, we were to worship God and just have fellowship with him. The second was praying for others and our nation while the third was praying for ourselves.

I expected time to drag on but surprisingly it went pretty fast. Moreover, I found myself spending more time worshiping and adoring God and praying for others that when it came time to pray for myself I only spent 10 minutes. Other members of our class also had the same experience. This has changed the way I approach prayer.

All in all, I am glad that like Simon Peter, I stepped out of the boat and conquered my fear. Mizizi opened doors for me to grow in other areas that I had fear. I went to my home church and signed up for the small groups and I am enjoying the fellowship with others. Before Mizizi, I was always looking for excuses whenever I was asked to pray in front of people. Now, I am happy to pray whenever and wherever. Oh, I also made quite a number of friends.

If you have hesitated to join Mizizi because of fear, I encourage you to not let fear stop you from experiencing the good things that God has in store for you. Step over fear.

Vincent #TeamSparks

Marge On Her AfterShock

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Marge (3rd from left) hanging out with the AfterShock mizizi group

You need to understand that I am a girlie girl. Girls do things in packs. How I signed up for Mizizi on my own is a mystery I need to unravel. First day I decided to do Mizizi, I was looking for another way to justify not walking with Christ. I wanted it to fail. Blame church on my wrong choices in life. Therefore I told myself I would go “try” it out. If I do not get what I am looking for I will bail so fast no one would notice I was there. I even told the @MiziziAfrica admin that. Therefore I signed up. Received the text, for the launch and I was like, will I go? I don’t think so. The funny thing is, that Tuesday, for the first time ever, I was sent to belle vue for a meeting. So I was at Bellevue at 5 pm. First time ever in belle vue at 5 pm on a working day! The meeting was cancelled. So I was at belle vue, at 5 pm, no meeting, launch about to happen and no excuse not to attend. So I attended. And liked it (especially the snacks :)

Then the class started; I had that form 1 feeling on the first day. New uniform, new note book, new teachers, a shy timid wave to the class. I remember looking around and thinking, I will not be sticking around for chit chat, will only talk of my ‘clean’ messes. Our class that day was on introduction. So everyone, in their prim and proper way said their names, birthdays, the facilitator even sneaked in a game, as if it was not awkward enough! Class ended. And I liked it.

First week of studying the book-Let’s just say there was nothing prim and proper in those lessons. Truths that I ignore just unfolded day after day. I kept waiting for the day I will lose the psyche to read through but it never came. I became more curious. The illustrations, oh my goodness Pastor Muriithi should just release a thriller. I have never felt the Word on text come so alive. By week three, I was missing My Mizizi group on Monday (PS: Class is on Sunday). A whole 6 days to go and I am missing the class; Eagerly waiting for Sunday to discuss how the reading applied to me and to my daily experiences. The exciting feeling of running to church in the morning so as to be there by 9 am (and avoid the bring-a-snack punishment); the rush to just hear what everyone’s perception of the lessons that week and the dynamic confessions and testimonies. I am telling you, there is nothing like this. I do not think there is anything anyone would have told me previously about Mizizi that would have blown me away like the actual experience. I liked it.

The topics in the book go to the most uncomfortable parts of my heart. Ranging from, accepting I have sinned, repentance, living free from guilt because I am a Christian and not in a religion. Getting a new understanding of compassion, evangelism and the impact of small groups. Questions raised during class help tackle even the most embarrassing struggle anyone in the group might have. There is even a topic that tackles various categories of struggles one might have! Real struggles! Mizizi has even gone ahead and changed how I receive the sermon in church. Being eager to learn and add something to my life. How I do my job. How I pray. Guarding my mind everyday to do what God expects of me.

Mizizi is so personal. No one can tell you what to expect. God will use the season to work on you. Same message, different impact. God has used this life lesson to deal with those things I hide even from Him.

My Highlight for the season: half day of prayer and fasting!!! I was convinced I would not last 30 minutes. To my surprise when we got to the prayer time and my team decided to position themselves near each other against the wall. Well, let us just say midday reached too soon. This particular day taught me to be selfless in prayer. 2 hrs 45 minutes praying for other people, then realised it was 15 minutes to time and I had not prayed for myself and I liked it! On a lighter note, I have never seen a bunch of people so grouchy and hungry after a fast. I think my ‘AfterShock’ group was just exaggerating. We later went to bond at arboretum and we had so much fun.

I feel a new sense of renewal in my Christian faith. Mizizi has restored my hope and focus on Jesus as the centre. I had lost faith completely on the gospel and lost sight of what salvation was. Mizizi has shown me how to actually please God without self inflicted laws. Mizizi has given me a new family of Faith (the AfterShock). It is difficult, if not impossible to walk this journey alone. Mizizi has given me non judgemental group of people I can tell, guys, I want a margarita and they would know what and how to say it to make sure I end up at home taking very clear water (this happened btw). As I write this, we are fasting today and planning to meet after work in town to break the fast. I simply cannot wait!

The best thing I would tell anyone, just do it. Go for it. Let God make it your own experience.

This is my Mizizi and I liked it.

Mizizi Musings (Part 1)

As we get into week 4 of the current mizizi season at mavuno central, one of our mizizites Solomon Macharia shares his thoughts:

ImageSolomon at the orientation

I didn’t know what I would find. I didn’t know if it would be worthwhile. I didn’t anticipate the outcome but I just took the plunge and joined the class. I came to find a family (not a wife but if yes why not?), friends, reconnect with God, and mostly a life group but what can I say; it’s been one crazy journey so far. Its only week 2 and the reception has been AWESOME. I thought I had issues to deal with about God but I’m just discovering that these were just issues I have to deal with myself together with my new family about God. (I’m personifying huh. Okay back to the real deal)

MIZIZI; What can I say? Let me digress. There is a statement that I heard and told sometime back that “Your heart/life is like a reservoir and every time you withdraw from it, it diminishes thus needs to be refilled frequently”. That’s how our Christian lives need to be treated like but we’ve substituted it with ACTIVITIES i.e. work, shopping, chasing money, sleep (victim) et al. All these involve TIME and ENERGY the same as Christian Living. At times all we need is a review (a slap behind our heads) to get back to our Eureka moment with God; connection. Have I had that moment? YES and it’s a good feeling to fill my reservoir and be reconnected.

Therefore, MIZIZI (for me) is about a personal transformation of the mind and soul against the views of the world and have an informed view of yourself with God and be deeply rooted in your faith. That’s my definition of Mizizi and I can say it’s beginning to transform itself through the group. The bond already created transcends beyond years of experiences, tears and pain, happiness to a collective sense of achievement and togetherness that all is well no matter the situation. The aura is different from the first time we met and the discussions are getting deeper each week revealing the collage of knowledge that abounds. I can’t say that God is revealing Himself to us (because He already is revealed) but we are getting naked before His eyes and coming just the way we are to be protected under His wings.

Time, Money and Energy is being invested and the openness will finally open doors for God’s manifestation upon our lives. As the Musketeers slogan goes, so does ours, “All for one and one for all”.

Season 2 2013 is here ….

Last week we had the Mizizi Orientation for season 2 at Mavuno Central and this week we had week 1 of the experience. Valerie Mwango one of our leaders at Nairobi Baptist church, shared the following about the first class:

Mizizi can be an initial nerve wrecking experience especially for first timers. How do we know? Day one, class is normally as stiff as a board. People do not know what to expect; people don’t know each other, so everyone comes on board with fences and brick walls.

It does pose a challenge to the facilitators because you can easily find that you are talking to yourself.

14th May 2013, Mizizi season 1, Nairobi Baptist – It was amazing to see close to 42 people in attendance, a prayer answered, after only ten people had confirmed two days before.

At the beginning of the class, it was cold as usual, so to break the ice, the facilitator made all of us hug each other as a form of greeting, for she loves to hug. This actually did help. More smiles and relaxed faces was what we got. Introductions were done; as usual the ladies were more than the gents. A fact that is of concern. Just to point out, men are the pillars of society. If they are not being empowered just as much as women are, especially in the spiritual arena, our society is doomed.  I encourage more men to suppress their egos just for 10weeks and sign up for mizizi.

We then went on to discuss our understanding of mizizi, and for the facilitator and understudies, our experiences with Mizizi. The reasons for doing mizizi, varied from searching for God and understanding Him better, completion of the course due to previously dropping out, pushed by friends to join, and just wanting to see what this ‘Mizizi’ is all about. For instance, one of the Mizzizites shared that they saw their best friend’s life change completely, after doing mizizi and that their life has never been the same again, to the point of changing their friendship dynamic (the mizzizites finds himself alone, since his friend quit the lifestyle they used to share). This is what inspired them to join mizizi, since he is seeking that similar life change.

We asked the mizzizites to share their status with God in one word, i.e. connected, connecting, I don’t know, or whatever word best described their status. Most of them were either connecting or not sure. Others felt lost, and searching. This poses a good problem to the mizizi team, since there is a lot of room for God to move and work in these people’s lives. That is our prayer.

As for expectations of the same, generally there was none. Everyone was and is eager to see what they can get out of this experience. Some wanted to have proof that Jesus does exist, since they only pray to God who seems to be the one answering their prayers. It was fascinating and very encouraging to hear and see the group open up and share on day one (contrary to the norm). One thing that can be pointed out is that, the facilitators were the ones who set the tempo for the group. With them sharing their own Mizizi experience truthfully, the mizzizites one by one began to open up and share why they were there, and what they hoped to get at the end of the 10weeks. Some even told us some experiences that they’ve been through.

Facilitators then conveyed their expectations in terms of what it would cost (time, money, relational energy; one added freedom) and what would be required of the mizzizites, by going through the 10week schedule in detail. Dates were set for the hang outs, which is important for bonding to occur between members. One of the Mizzizites even offered to have the hang out ‘after party’ at his place to celebrate his birthday with him.

Evangelism was an interesting discussion. The schedule makes time for this particular activity and we asked the mizzizites to give their opinions and concerns of the same. The biggest concern was how can one evangelize if they are nowhere close to God, let alone being saved? This sent a cold breeze in the room and ‘you-must-be-foolishly-crazy-out-of-your-mind’ stares. There was also a concern raised that people might not respond, considering how Christianity is nowadays commercialized. But we encouraged them, and mentioned it isn’t that difficult. It was explained that all they had to do was tell someone that ‘Jesus Loves You’, and that they were only to convey the message, but it wasn’t their job to do the convincing or convicting. That is God’s job. I’m sure with some more encouraging and prodding in the coming weeks they will show up for evangelism. The tentative venue for the same is Uhuru Park.

Social justice received a more positive response. Despite the fact that the term ‘prison’ sends chills down someone’s spine and after the facilitator explained the churches passion for prison ministry, a louder hurray was received compared to that of evangelism. There was also a suggestion to have sessions in the short term prisons. The logic behind it was, ministering to these people who are leaving the cell’s a day after or the coming week will prompt the convicts to deeply think about their lives and cause a change once they are out, and possibly even look for Mavuno to further hear the word.

Towards the end of the session, team work and closeness was already being seen since the mizzizites assisted each other to pay their deposits through m-pesa. The class registered a total of 15members.

We believe the next 10weeks will not only be an indelible experience for the mizizites but for the Mizizi leadership team as well. And may the LORD GOD almighty be glorified.

Nsubuga’s Mizizi Story

My name is Johnnie Nsubuga and I go to Mavuno Kampala.

After about 4 years of no church except for Weddings and Funerals, I discovered Mavuno Kampala through two lady friends. My first day in church, I was so early I found the worship team still making final checks on the machines. First forward to the service and it was awesome. During service, Pastor Njoro announces a discipleship course that the church was conducting and I decided to enroll.

My first day at Mizizi, I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I had attended cell-group meetings with people from other churches in Kampala but I didn’t know what to expect here; At Mizizi, I met a bunch of very cool people. They embraced me the way I was. At one of the classes on ”Who God is”, I was very honest and told the group I only heard the high school religious education version of who God was.

During Miziz class, the long disconnected chord with God was restored. I got to know who God is once again. I learnt how to pray, fast and read my Bible. My Mizizi class had the kindest people you’ve ever seen. They were willing to listen to my very ignorant answers and instead of laughing, they encouraged me on. I really enjoyed my Mizizi class. The bonding, the learning and the fun time together. I am not so keen on reading hard copy literature, but every time I got my Mizizi book I just couldn’t put it down.

I did Mizizi season 9 and I went back as an understudy for Mizizi 12 but unfortunately I dropped out at about week 7. Right now I am an understudy/facilitator for the ongoing season 12 and it’s just too awesome. Every time I do Mizizi, it’s a whole different experience, I keep learning new things and I have a lot of fun. Mizizi has also helped me improve on my public speaking. Before I was so reserved especially with people I didn’t know but today, I am a better, bolder and a more confident speaker.

Thank you Mavuno church for this awesome experience.

In conclusion, I can say that Mizizi is one of the best life experiences I have had and recommend it for everyone seeking to learn and renew their relationship with God.

Freedom Behind Bars – Mizizi in Prisons

Where the journey began

Freedom Behind Bars (FBB) is a frontline initiative of Mavuno Church initiated in the year 2011 when its founder member, Frank Mutua had his brother incarcerated in Kiambu Prison with the offence of being drunk and disorderly.

Frank Mutua was deeply moved seeing his brother in torn prison attire and it dawned on him that all the inmates notwithstanding their transgressions or lack thereof, are our fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, relatives and friends. He desired to have these ‘brothers and sisters’ go through Mizizi – to find the transformation he had found in his journey with Mizizi.

He engaged the Kiambu Prison officials who were excited at the opportunity to have Mizizi run in the prisons. The prison officials had interacted with Mavuno Church before as part of Spread the Love and were excited to work with Mavuno again.

In May of 2011, the first Mizizi class was launched at Lang’ata Women’s Prison and Nairobi Remand Prison. A total of ninety (90) prisoners signed up for this launch.  At the end of the season, over thirty (30) Mizizi inmates were born again and/or rededicated their lives.

We celebrate God’s hand on FBB

FBB has now been in existence for about one and a half years. In this short span of time, FBB has grown threefold to now having Mizizi being conducted in the following prisons:-

  • Nairobi West Prison
  • Kamiti Medium Prison
  • Kamiti Maximum Prison
  • Lang’ata Women Prison
  • Industrial Areal Remand Prison
  • Kiambu Prison
  • Shimo La Tewa Prison (Mombasa)

The prisons’ authorities have adopted Mizizi as part of their rehabilitation programs. In the near future, we expect to run the Mizizi classes in all the other prisons in the Nairobi region.

By God’s grace this Mizizi class has now co-opted all the chaplains of the Nairobi prisons. They have recently completed a Mizizi course specific to the chaplains and they will now be taking a leading role in facilitating Mizizi in these prisons.

Last year, FBB planned the Mavuno Spread the Love which involved organizing the families of the prisoners as well as Mavunites visiting the prisons and having a fun day – it was the most awesome thing we have done in a while. We even got to interact with the Youth being rehabilitated in Kamiti.

We continue to have several intiatives running in the prisons – the most recent being an initiative to stock up the libraries with good books, that can build the prisoners. The stories, what we see in the prisons, we are astounded at what God is doing!

Who would have thought all this was possible in such a short period. We give God all the glory!

Has it been easy?

Has it been fulfilling? A resounding yes. But has it also been easy; no.

We have faced challenges least of which is not that we do not have enough facilitators, funds for buying Mizizi books and other projects. However, in all, there’s a way God provides that reminds us we are sorted!

If you want more details on how to plug in, visit our blog  http://freedombehindbarsmavunochurch.wordpress.com/  or our facebook page: freedom behind bars…

written by Esther Mwaniki

MIZIZI STORIES

It’s been a while since we updated this blog and as Mizizi season 1 2013 comes to a close at Mavuno Central, we have decided to let the graduating mizizites tell their ‘mizizi’ stories. We also have a story from Mavuno Kampala and freedom behind bars which takes mizizi to different prisons in Nairobi, Kenya ……. 

Nelly Njogu’s Story:

I was seeking for a sane place to be. Life seemed harder and tougher and I knew Christ is the solution. Was in a hurting relationship because my boyfriend kept telling me how I have issues. I knew it had to end but I didn’t know how I would survive the heartbreak. I really needed God.

My job seemed to be becoming a curse more than a blessing. The pay barely enough to pay all my bills and I needed somewhere to tell God all this. Praying on my desk everyday didn’t seem enough.

I enrolled with the last 500 bob I had; bought the manual and hoped God would provide the rest and He did. I found refuge in Mizizi; a place where you sit and suddenly start believing that it will be well!  Being a Sanguine, I have a lot of ‘fake’ friends. I needed to be with people I can be real with. I love my group members! They are my real friends.

I had just started living with my small bro and I had fears that only God understood. Our weekly studies got me thinking right and God ministered to me during my readings. My fears left like my ex boyfriend… lol! My bro and I are the best housemates in this country na bado! My faith in God has increased and I know I am a better me.

Mizizi was the best thing that happened to me. I am blessed without a doubt.

God bless Pastor Muriithi and Mavuno. Catch you later :)

 

Victoria Njeri’s Story;

By the time I came to Mavuno, I didn’t know about mizizi. But every time before Pastor M began to preach the sermon of the day, he used to introduce mizizi as something which will assist someone to recognize his/her God’s purpose. And it caught my attention. Because of my music career I decided to do mizizi and maybe it will help me to serve my God according to His will. So I signed up.

Mizizi was a great experience. Like when we were sharing our struggles, there was realness and openness in our group. I noticed people are thirsty for God and being closer to Him, despite not knowing where to go or who to talk to. So on evangelism day I was more than ready to go and preach the gospel which I did. Also by sharing Holy Communion, I did it with a deeper meaning compared with when I was a catholic.

I can’t forget to say mizizi was a lot of fun bonding together and “Maggie” making everybody go gagaga. And to top it up I have learned from you guys and I have made new friends. 

I thank God for giving me this opportunity. 

More stories coming up …… 

WHO’S THE MAN?

Give me a man of God- one man,

Whose faith is master of his mind,

And I will right all the wrongs

And bless the name of all mankind.

Give me a man of God- one man,

Who’s tongue is touched with heaven’s fire,

And I will flame the darkest hearts,

With high resolve and clean desire.

Give me a man-one man,

One mighty prophet of the Lord,

And I will give you peace on earth,

Bought with a prayer and not a sword.

Give me a man- one man,

True to the vision that he sees,

And I will build your broken shrines,

And bring the nations to their knees.

George Liddell

Are you the man?

MIZIZI – Plugging into your God-purpose

Mizizi is a swahili word for “roots”.

Mizizi is a ten weeks experience, tailor made to facilitate your connection with God, your purpose and with lifelong friends. As you know, the taller and stronger the tree, the deeper its roots have to be. The same is true about life. If we want to be the kind of people who will fearlessly influence the society and have a long term impact, then we need to know God and grow deeper in our relationship with Him.

Mizizi creates the environment that allows people to know and experience God’s power to transform. As we go through the ten weeks we begin to discover the purpose that we were created for. We start to see that there is a bigger picture to our lives than the small worldly accomplishments of money, materialism and achieving our selfish dreams. Mizizi facilitates the discovery journey to your purpose.

“If you want to go fast, walk alone, If you want to go far, walk with others.” Statistics show that life thrives in a small group. For us to be great we need to surround ourselves with like minded people who are going in the same direction we do. You will  go through Mizizi in a small group for the ten weeks and you are assured of bonding and creating lifelong friends who will support you, stand with you and see you to your greatness.

Mizizi is not about information, it is about transformation. Anyone can go through Mizizi, the believers, non believers, the old and the young. Read the comments of the post ” What was your Mizizi experience” and you will get a sneak peek of Mizizi. If you read the other posts you will get more info.

To sign up for Mizizi Season 2, kindly click here and fill in all your details.

The Launch will be on the 11th of May 2010 at The Mavuno Dome.

King Solomon’s Gift

Picture this: deep in the night, a voice calls out to you. The speaker identifies Himself as the Lord God. The purpose of His visit? To ask you a simple question:”What do you want? Whatever it is, name it and you’ve got it!”  What would you say?

This actually happened to a guy named Solomon. This is how the story goes:

2 Chronicles Chapter 1

1 Solomon son of David established himself firmly over his kingdom, for the LORD his God was with him and made him exceedingly great.

2 Then Solomon spoke to all Israel—to the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, to the judges and to all the leaders in Israel, the heads of families- 3 and Solomon and the whole assembly went to the high place at Gibeon, for God’s Tent of Meeting was there, which Moses the LORD’s servant had made in the desert. 4 Now David had brought up the ark of God from Kiriath Jearim to the place he had prepared for it, because he had pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem. 5 But the bronze altar that Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made was in Gibeon in front of the tabernacle of the LORD; so Solomon and the assembly inquired of him there. 6 Solomon went up to the bronze altar before the LORD in the Tent of Meeting and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.

7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Imagine that! 1000 burnt offerings. If you read this chapter from the beginning, you notice the Lord asking Solomon to make that sacrifice, right? Wrong. At no point is there a record of the Lord instructing
Solomon to make such an enormous offering.
So here’s a guy, recently crowned king and what is his first executive action? Come on folks, lets offer 1000 burnt offerings to the Lord.The guys probably said to him- you mean a hundred to which he replied-… well you get the drift…

How long does it take, to offer 1000 burnt offerings? I mean, for all the technology we have, Kenya Meat Commission kills (or is it harvests?) 1000 animals a day! Whose animals were they to begin with? how many men did it take to get it done? I mean, I think about it and it really strikes me the magnitude of sacrifice that Solomon offered unto the Lord!

No wonder there is no record of the same offer being made by God to anybody else- ask for anything and I will give you. At least none that I have found. No instructions and no precedent and this guy offers God a
sacrifice that He couldn’t ignore. Wow!

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