The ACK Diocese of Mt Kenya South held a retirement service for 65 year old Paula Nyaikuru Karanja whose term as the Mothers’ Union Coordinator came to an end on 5th March 2016. Paula, as she is popularly known, was an exemplary leader whose guiding principle has been; “at whatever you do, work at it as though working for the Lord.” (her relationship with CMS)
Married to Professor Paul Karanja 43 years ago, this wonderful Christian couple has been blessed with 3 children all who are grown up and with their own families now. The ACK Mt Kenya South Diocese Bishop, Timothy Ranji, shared from Matthew 5:13-16 during the sermon session delivered at this function. He reiterated that: “Believers are the salt and light of the world.”
Paula and Paul Karanja were praised for living as the salt and light of the world in line with the Word of God and the rest of the congregants were encouraged to follow in their life’s example. "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavour, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men,” continued Bishop Ranji.
“The bible expressly states that believers are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. How about many of the women today follow in the path of Paula Karanja?” the bishop went on to state. He testified of Paula as having been an open-hearted leader who spoke the truth at all times and thus became a deliverer to the people of God. As the Bible says, “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. “
“She was a keen listener, kind, generous, wise, and friendly and a true servant of Jesus our Lord. She was a mediator between the week and strong as well as those who are warring. She was indeed a gift to the Church of God and more so the Diocese of Mt Kenya South,” said the Bishop. The Bishop challenged the women to follow in Paula’s example and “not to quench the spirit of God" in 1st Thessalonians 5:19. The members of the Mothers’ Union continue to hold prayers, talents week, music festival seminars, helping the poor and less fortune in the society investing in entrepreneurial premises Paula was also central to the initiation of the exchange visits between the Anglican dioceses in Kenya and other countries.
The mission work and testimony of Paula:
“You can hide the seed but not the fruit.”
Paula was first appointed as the Coordinator of the Mothers’ Union 12 years ago and she has served diligently leaving behind the fruit that will definitely last. As a woman, Paul was inspired by the precept that we should not look at the container but look at the content. The content; meaning character and the value system of the leader is what counts. Not the title, gender, status, position or even physique.
For any organization to grow, it depends on the leadership and Paula was lauded by speaker upon speaker for being a great leader over the years who has steered the Mothers’ Union in Mt Kenya South towards excellence.
“She was a good leader who knew how to delegate. For any success in carrying duties in a large organization, one has to delegate and do a thorough work of follow up,” said the Mothers’ Union Patron, Frashiah Thogori Ranji.
“She was also a devoted leader when it comes to consultation. She valued others opinions and this informed her final consultative decisions that have over the years made the Mothers’ Union to soar higher,” added Rachel Kaheti Kariuki, yet another MU official who worked with Paula over the years.
“To crown it all, Paula was very particular with time. A strict stickler with time helped instil discipline amongst women who joined the Mothers’ Union,” said Naomi Nungari, the MU Assistant Coordinator.
Among others who graced this occasion to give their testimony of Paula Karanja’s years of service in growing the Mothers’ Union in Mt Kenya South include: Mother’s Union President Rehemah, Susan Kathii from Embu Diocese, Mother’s Union coordinators from the dioceses of Kitale, Nairobi, Thika and the larger Mt Kenya.
The chair ladies of the Anglican Church of Kenya’s Mothers’ Unions from across the region were also present.
Paula coordinated the Mothers’ Union in the 12 archdeaconries under Mt Kenya South Diocese. To date, the Mothers’ Union has over 12,000 members and boasts of having initiated a microfinance bank that serves women in Kiambu.
It is this successes that inspired CMS-Africa to arrange a cross-cultural visit between the Mothers’ Union from Rwanda-Byumba diocese to visit Mt Kenya South for learning and experience sharing in 2013. Paula Karanja was central to this CMS-Africa’s cross-cultural missions which have helped enhance relations and networking amongst dioceses with the East African region.
By John Ndeta