I am always having to explain how I ended up in the construction industry, as a construction worker and it is never an easy answer. Military friends, pilot friends, family, I could also say, it is not a straightforward answer. It is not easy because even for followers of this blog, it started off with some military vibes, then it added to it aviation, suddenly we all out here preaching everywhere, and then now we have construction-worker in the resume. The Lord directed my paths here.
The saints have been trending in the recent past because of the term “Manze ni God!” (It’s God) in response to achievements and such things. Non-believers are quick to dismiss this term because they insist that there must have been things done in the background that give the results they see and referring to Lord as the one who did it or orchestrated, it is a way of evading the process. Not really. The Lord does speak to his people. He hasn’t stopped directing them. That is what makes these stories weird. Sometimes the background stories are too long and complicated. Sometimes unbelievable, so we spare audiences the trouble. But aren’t miracles signs and wonders supposed to be hard-to-believe stuff?
The month was March 2019. This was our third month in our marriage with Phyll. Life was good. Like we were living large. At this time, Phyll did not have a job. Her contract ended in December in her previous firm and so she was staying at home around this time. Sending CVs researching for businesses to start. But nothing was coming. Two weeks into the month of March, on a very innocent weekend my contract was terminated. Allow me to stretch our minds at this point so that we can all read from the same script should there be a part two. I choose to use termination of contract to represent the following: I was laid off, I was told not to report to work, I was told to rest, and I was told to think if I want to continue being part of the squad, among another favorable list of references. If you guys still think WhatsApp is not a formal means of communication, it sure is. Yes, it happened over WhatsApp on a Saturday evening. Take a record of this story because it will feature in another version of a related story.
Here, we are now, on a Monday morning. I remember that Sunday we had a very powerful conclusion to a weekend crusade at Kasarani that had been organized by my church Faith Harvest International Church Roysambu. Remember how I had been told the previous evening to think if I want to be part of the team? The Lord assisted me on this issue with his ever-powerful ever sure word. The word came through the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus told Martha that “One thing is necessary…” Being at the feet of Jesus. This was a two-in-one response that represented 90% of my ministry life and spiritual purpose and 10% of my career at the time. This message and Word are what confirmed my transition to the needy season.
“Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.””Luke 10:39-42 NLT
The HCSB puts it in a better way. This is the word I moved on with into the next season. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. This confirmed that what I was doing in Ministry, where I was, and how I was doing it was contrary to God’s perfect will for my life. That is how for once in one and a half years, I slept through 5am, 6am, 7am, and 8am, woke up, took some nice breakfast with Phyll, and decided to watch Netflix as we contemplated on the next course of action – as a jobless man.
Of course, I would start sending CVs, calling up networks, uncles, aunties et al. Of course, reported to my immediate authorities that I am out of work. Read, Parents on both sides. CVs were sent and sent, and I changed details, in one I customized it for electrical jobs, on another, I removed my aviation qualification, lest someone think a student pilot would be a bother to the organization like my old army friends. In another I removed everything as I targeted driving jobs, another was purely security. I kid you not, a Mang’u High School graduate, with a Business Management diploma, ex-Air Force, an electrical tradesman from the Military with some mechanical eng skills with a few flying hours in his log book could not even get a driving job in the country anywhere. Anywhere!!!
In a weird twist, I got private military contractor offers across the border. You know Sudan, Somalia, and the like. Some nice rosy jobs. Couldn’t reach my previous salary but they sounded good. This was around May, or June there. I couldn’t just take them up in my first year of marriage as in… Even money would not put us asunder. I chose to be together with Phyll than be across the border shooting terrorists and bad guys. So I chose to wait. Behind the scenes. That very first month the job went, we gave notice to the caretaker of the apartment we were living in and downgraded to a smaller house. This was painful but it had to be done. We watched as our savings shrunk and shrunk.
While waiting, we were not entirely idle. We were tired of Netflix within the first month. We had binge-watched Grey’s Anatomy and Person of Interest to completion. We volunteered in church and offices. We would go to our brother’s office and help out as we sent cvs. The office helped us get out of that environment that was seemingly getting confining. We would come to send cvs, edit others print others and then get back home. The occupation was looking for jobs.
Around this time, July 2019 thereabouts, The Aga Khan University Hospital was renovating its HDU ward. My brother was working on this project and he took me to site several times. I loved how he introduced me. He said “This is Chris my colleague and we work with him, you will be seeing him around more often. When I’m not here, he will be here…” I am now thinking about it and it’s hitting me how blind I might have been that this is where the Lord wanted me to be but I was not getting it. Time continued moving. We still hadn’t got jobs. Even Phyll hadn’t gotten a job. But we diligently came to the office. And we also attended all church services and activities and extras within the course of the week. Around August of 2019 there, while in the office with my brother, he asked me to accompany him to one of the sites he was working on at the time. The Villa under construction at the time was at Kiamumbi off Kamiti Road. We went to the site and I watched as he inspected the construction work ongoing. So much mastery. This looked nice. At this point, I had not even thought of construction as a career. But a thought crossed my mind like hmmm.
I would need to do something because things don’t look good. We are still praying for God to open a door. We are still trusting in him. Still preaching, still appearing in someone’s office like we were employed there. I need to mention that I tried volunteering with the Red Cross again like I had done in the 2017 season but the Lord had shut that door. But I did get to attend a search and rescue refresher training in May of 2019. Then I got back to job searching. Trust me that even didn’t shake any HRs’ curiosity to call me for an interview. Eventually, I settled on just being an errand guy within the construction industry. But this wouldn’t be lasting for long.
One fine Friday afternoon, my brother had a meeting in the office and it was payday for the Kiamumbi site. He requested me to go and pay the contractors on site. I gladly did. Of course, I was doubting myself the entire way with the cash I was sitting on. But I got to the site and paid the team and then I got back to the office right in time for closing time. I was given a thousand shillings for my trouble and we rejoiced in the Lord for that with Phyll. A few weeks after while on another drive, he gave me one very encouraging talk about starting off somewhere. He told me that His company could not afford to pay me, a conversation he told me he had had with his dad – my father-in-law. He could not afford to pay me, but he could teach me what he does and then I could make whatever I could out of it and grow from there. I said I was willing. I did not have a choice at the time, but I was desperately waiting to hear the voice of the Lord over that matter.
By this time I had even considered starting a security firm. (I shake my head in disbelief). The Bishop could always encourage us and tell us “Do whatever your hand could find, just don’t be lazy, you never know where the Lord will meet you with the hard work. Only laziness is unacceptable” and crime of course. But that, I couldn’t do. Slowly I started getting inducted into the flooring trade, I got to sit as an unqualified laborer – (mtu wa mkono), under the skilled installers and fundis at the time. I was the broom guy, the errand person, the porter. I watched these installers with years under their belt do their thing. I need to mention that. Most of everyone thought I would be going to the site as a supervisor – as I had been introduced all along, but I enjoyed doing the work more. I had brought this aura of an office guy. Which I admit I had. Little did I know school had started afresh and the Lord had turned over a new season. Starting off was pretty easy, I converted all my security cargo/ tactical pants into construction cargo pants. My desert brown military boots became my first safety boots on site, one of my tracksuit jackets became my top and the dusty life began. These flooring jobs kept coming, I tagged along every site meeting and learned a lot from them. Next thing I know, it’s 2023 and the construction industry is sorting the bills and allowing me to be present for my family and the gospel. I fully understand why mainstream employment would be a challenge for the assignment the Lord had for us. While I was still doing this waiting for the Lord to give a clear direction on where he meant me to be, the clarity came towards the end of 2022. Tens of projects later and this is where the Lord wants me this season without a doubt.