Recently I had the privilege of meeting Anne Wairimu Kiarie when she came to England. She is a member of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa and lives on the outskirts of Nairobi. She speaks of her experience of being a single Christian.
“Jesus is company for me. I’m not lonely,” said Anne. “God is my provider.
“I come from Nairobi, Kenya. When I was four years old my parents separated and my mother spent two years in hospital. I had to stay with friends and relatives. I did not grow up as a Christian.
“I have a son (I educated him myself) and I lived with my son’s father for four years. He used to spend money on drink and, in the end, I left him.
“I used to cry alone and I asked God to show me the way. I felt Him telling me to go the House of the Lord. When I went to the local church, I found some young women praising God. ‘Why didn’t I come here before?’ I asked myself. I gave my life to God at this time. The year was 2006.
“When I joined the church, I used to listen to the single ladies. They were looking for husbands. “Don’t’ spend your energies looking for them!” I said. “I began encouraging them, ‘Have God as your focus! God is the answer.’
“I am a single woman myself but not by choice. However, I’m not intending to get married unless God speaks. If He speaks … that’s different …
“As a single woman, I find God is my provider. I have no husband to provide for me! If you have no job in my country, you sleep without food – it’s not like the UK where you get benefits! I needed a job and God provided work for me. I have a contract now with ‘Kenya Power’.
“In Africa, being single is hard; your parents push you to marry, partly because they want grandchildren. You can even be cursed if you don’t comply.
“My ministry is to single ladies and I want to bring single and widowed ladies to Jesus. In the field (I’m a surveyor) I make friends and talk to them about Jesus. I know many single ladies who are alcoholics (alcohol is very cheap in Kenya). I talk to them and give them food and money. One of them has found faith in Jesus now. If you don’t give them food, they are hungry and how will they listen to you?
“We also give our time and money to the poor and orphans – there are many in Kenya as their parents have died of AIDS.
“In your church here in the UK I’ve seen sisterhood and brotherhood; you love one another and it doesn’t matter that you’re not blood brothers and sisters. I want this more and more in my church in Kenya. I’m really working at it. My friends know when I am down; they are closer than natural family – especially the single ladies.
“In 2012 I stayed at Abiding Rock (a Christian community in Northampton, UK). They loved and cared for one another; when I went back to Kenya I talked to my friends – ‘why can’t we do it here?’ I cried when I left Abiding Rock because the love was so strong. One of my ambitions is to have real Christian community out here. I tell myself, ‘where there is a will, there is a way; Jesus is the way. He is the provider!’”