EXCLUSIVE: The most hurtful remark a pastor ever told me: Citizen TV news anchor Mike Njenga

MIKE NJENGA [PHOTO/COURTESY]

Citizen Television news anchor Mike Njenga has revealed that a pastor once looked down upon him when he was unemployed; and even made a remark that ostensibly mocked his then-financial situation. A hurtful remark he has not forgotten to date.

Speaking exclusively to eDaily Mike Njenga said he was too broke to afford presentable shoes, and on this particular Sunday, he went to church donning open shoes which were in poor condition and the pastor did not like them.

Mike Njenga was just from finishing his secondary education, and even worked for a while – but money still proved a chase for mirage.

“Some years back, I was working for a certain church. I used to do sound for that particular church; and sometimes would sleep at City Hall on days we held conferences there. I was extremely broke. One Sunday, I went and borrowed open shoes from my cousin. I did not even have money to buy shoe polish. So, I used a sponge soaked in water to wipe dust from the shoes,” Mike Njenga began his narration.

“When we got to church, he called his ministers to a meeting, including myself. He gave us a tongue-lashing, saying we did not dress the part. I remember him saying: ‘Some of you are coming to my pulpit wearing open shoes as if you are at the beach.’

“I can tell you…Maze hakuna mwanamme ashawahi nigonga emotions kama huyo (There’s no man who has ever hurt my emotions like that pastor). I was not wearing the open shoes because I loved to – but because I did not have money to buy presentable shoes. I had even borrowed money to go to the church and do sound. That pastor really hit me hard, na hapo ndiyo nilianza kuachana na church (and it is at that point that I drifted from the church). That pastor really, really… I cried!

“I just went somewhere and cried, and cried. I told God: ‘You know I don’t have money. I did not wear the shoes because I wanted to disrespect you, it is because I don’t have.’ That was the time I saw miracles with my eyes for the first time. A woman I had never seen before approached me and said: ‘I have been looking for you all over. Michael, there is something I have for you’.

“She gave me KSh50, 000 in an envelope and said: ‘God instructed me to give you this money’. I went to a then-popular shoe shop along Moi Avenue in Nairobi and bought three pairs of shoes, pairs of socks and embarked on a journey to make my life better.

“The pastor’s mean remarks did not stop me from working hard to be who I am today. Right now if you come to my house, I have so many pairs of shoes – some I have not even worn for a year. I developed craze for shoes from that day.

“The pastor’s remarks took me to the lowest of the low. However, his statement did not stop me from becoming who I am today. It does not matter that point where you were at. What matters is how you take it, and where you want to go. Look at the story of Job in the Bible. He lost nearly everything but God still stood by him,” said Mike Njenga.

Several years later, Mike Njenga and his then-pastor met. And now, the ‘man of clothe’ wants to associate with him.

“I met the pastor who’d made the mean remarks toward me years later. Now that I have money to eat in good hotels like him, now that I made a name for myself, he wants to be associated with me. He dodged recounting what he said to me years back. He did not apologise.

“But I don’t judge people because everyone has a personal relationship with God. When you are in your closet, your car, your bedroom, when you are walking, when you are in your toilet, you have a personal relationship with God. Why should I judge whereas I don’t know the relationship between you and God?”

Mike Njenga, a second born in a family of four siblings, says he owes his mother (a single parent) the success that he enjoys today.

“My mother means everything; she means the world to me. I am a product of a very strong woman. She went through hell and high waters for us to go to school,” he says.

Mike Njenga hosts Business Centre on Citizen TV every Wednesday at 9pm.

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