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Things You Did Not Know About Early Christianity In Ngao

After the first wave of baptism of Pokomos which happened in 1894, there was a second baptism which occurred in 1896 and among who were baptized included:

  • Chrisstian Dua
  • Filipo Kagala
  • Natanael Didila
  • Mungatana Ndumari
  • Gwiyo
  • Jilo Kutii

This was a major milestone and a platform to expand the gospel to the interior of Pokomo lands.

In 1898, the Neukirchen mission were given 30 acres of land by the government for a lease of 99 years. With this huge chunk of land at there disposal, the Neukirchen started building their house for residence. By 1899 they moved from the river bank residence to Milimani in Ngao.

The missionaries continued spreading their gospel and in the period of 1904-1906, the famous Ngao Methodist church was constructed.

In 1914 during the first World War, all Germans missionaries were captured and transported to India. The Neukirchen missionaries left the Pokomo land without notice. As a result, the Neukirchen churches were left unattended. The locals had to take over and run the churches. They included;

  • Simon Ubo (Ngao)
  • Reuben Dala
  • Benjamin Dhumari (Mwanadhamba)
  • Mishael Bahari (Garsen)
  • Emmanuel Joseph (Kulesa)
  • Abae Galana (Wenje)

They continued managing the churches until 1926, when the Neukirchen missionaries returned. Among the missionaries included, August Kraft, Mr and Mrs Karl Baker, Henrinch May among others.

During the period of 1926 to 1939, a lot had happened including the building of Ngao and Hola hospitals, more conversions which extended to Giriama, teachers were sent to Jeanes School in Kabete to expand their knowledge among others.

When the World War 2 started, all the strategies the missionaries had in planned, including building a secondary school was stopped. All missionaries left the land except Mr and Mrs Wilhelm May who later were captured in Wenje as war slaves.

During the war period, churches and schools were managed by locals. There was hope that one day the Neukerchen missions would once more return.

Later the Christians then joined Church Mission Society (CMS). This made Rev. Leonard Beacher and Elizabeth Beacher come to preach gospel and songs in 1941.

In 1942, the Methodists complained to the government that them and Neukirchen were spreading gospel in the region so they requested to be given the role left by Neukirchen to spread the gospel.

This made the period of 1943-1944 see people flocking to Methodist Missionary Society (MMS) to seek knowledge. Among members who benefited from this included; Asser Sylvano, Yona Nkanu, Timona Marko, Yohana Stefano, Jato Amos, Lisania Onesmus, Bampae Samaitwa, Yuda, Daniel Filipo, and Jackson Galana.

In 1945 there was a conference and all churches met at Ngao. The main agenda was to decide which mission was to govern the Pokomo churches. After a long discussion, churches in Ngatana, Kulesa, Marembo and all churches in upper regions chose to follow the Methodists while the Buus, Kalindi and people from Lamu chose to stay with Neukirchen.

The final decision was decided that the missionaries were free to visit all churches in all regions if they wish to.

In 1947, a conference held in London decided that the Neukirchen will never be allowed back in Pokomo and all churches will be under the Methodist church.

When news reached Ngao, they were furious. In 1948, Rev. George Martlew of Methodist wanted to visit the church in Ngao but was chased away by Rev. Simeon Ubo. His defence was that the Methodist refused the Neukirchen to visit Pokomo land, so they also will not allow them to come to Ngao unless it was a matter concerning education.

The incidence had repercussion as the reverent was also the manager of Methodist Mission Society (MMS). The following happened;

  • All Buu schools were closed
  • All donations from the government stopped
  • All teachers were suspended from duty

The teachers did not give up and they continued with their work under Young Buu Association (YBA). Students did their exams and performed well. At the same time there was a complaint lodged to the government about the issue. It did not take time as the schools were later opened, donations from government resumed and teachers were recalled back to duty.

In 1950, a meeting was held at Ngao chaired by Lamu DC with all MMS and all churches in the land. They all agreed that; Methodist to work in all churches and all church leaders to work with Methodist.

During the period of 1950-1966, the churches under Neukirchen Mission (NM) wanted at least the NM to visit them with no luck. They even went ahead and started ‘Tana Independence Church’ which was not successful.

In 1967 the churches under NM finally decided to join African Inland Mission(AIM) so that Neukirchen can get a chance to visit them through AIM.

In 1970, Lisania M. Buya as an Assistant Education Officer was in England for education. He was invited by Rev. Fritz Gissel in Neukirchen, German and the reverant complained about not been given chance to visit Tanariver as AIM is not giving them permission.

When he returned to England, he met a committee of Africa Inland Mission (AIM) Home Office in London and complained about the following;

  • How Christians reached Tanariver through Neukirchen Mission
  • Why Kenya is independent but still the key to Christianity is still in London
  • Political rivalry between MMS (England) and NM (Germany)

Mr Buya threatened the Home Office that he was the weakest and lowest ranked person among the Pokomos. So, if the message reaches the Pokomos that they had stopped the NM because of political issues then any decision that the Pokomo would take England will be responsible for everything.

Later that year, to their surprise, the Neukirchen Mission were in Tanarive for the first time since the end of the second World War.