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FPFK Church bids farewell to Bishop Nyagenke, aka “Human Being”, who refused to retire at 70 but chose to serve God till his eyes could not see anymore

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According to the FPFK Church Constitution, a pastor is supposed to serve God and retire from pastoral ministry when he or she attains the age of 70 years.

However, to Bishop Francis Nyagenke Ondieki or “Human Being, Son of Man, John the Baptist and the General “as he was nicknamed, he wanted to hear none of this.

In one of the past Constitution review meetings, he caused laughter and raising of eyebrows  at the same time among delegates, when he stood up and said that on his part, he will not retire at 70 years but serve God until his eyes could not see anymore.

This memorable remark will always remain in the hearts of many FPFK Church members, who heard it at the meeting and from those who were in the meeting.

And during his burial ceremony, which happened on Thursday March 28, 2024 at his Sakwa Village in Nyamira Region, Nyamira County, his refusal to retire at 70 years was a common feature when he was eulogised.

National Board members from left Rev. Adam Turere(Treasurer) and Alice Omondi, Anne Njuguna and Christine(Members) Auma during the burial

The burial was attended by FPFK National Board’s Presiding Bishop Joseph Munialo, General Secretary Bishop John Kitur, Treasurer Rev. Adam Turere, Board Members Alice Omondi, Anne Njuguna, Christine Auma and Kisumu Region Bishop Clement Oguta, local regions Bishops and Head Office staff.

“He was one of the pioneers of FPFK in Kisii . He was once the Chairman of FPFK taking over after the late Bishop Gabriel Ouma, who was involved in accident and his treatment took long time. He was committed to the work of God in the entire Kisii Region,” said Bishop Munialo.

“I remember in 2011 when I was serving my second term as a General Secretary, we organized for his retirement after he clocked 70 years and accompanied with several gifts. He came to Nairobi and took his package  and went home only to go back to the pulpit after  seven days  to serve God,  arguing he is still strong and his sight was still functioning after reading the bible well using spectacles ,”  said Bishop Kitur amid laughter from mourners.

Presiding Bishop Joseph Munialo together with Kisumu Region Bishop Clement Oguta praying for the family of the late Bishop Nyagenke on Thursday last week during his burial

Mourners eulogised Bishop Nyagenke, who died at the age of 83 and left behind a wife Mama Martha Nyaboke and 10 children as a strict, God-fearing man of God who was very passionate in serving God who did a lot for FPFK.

“Bishop Nyagenke is one of the pioneer pastors in the Gusii Region. He started the ministry in the late sixties with other pastors. His humility inspired many to join the FPFK ministry. He was the first Bishop in Gusii Region, who steered the work until the one region, which was headed by him, expanded to now four regions,” said Bishop Kitur.

He added: “He worked together with other senior leaders like Onduso, Mamboleo Nyakundi, Nyambane and Bagaka among others who worked as a team to grow the ministry in Gusii.”

Pastor Joseph Sagwe from FPFK Nyamira Town described him as “such jovial and sometimes very strict if he realised somebody is trying to overlook him, but all in all, he was such a leader who cools down and apologises whenever he has gone out of the line.”

Pastor Sagwe added that he contributed much for the churches of Kisii to grow and the pastors too and was also such a humorous person.

“I remember one time at a past Annual General Meeting (AGM), his phone rang so loud even after we had been asked by our leaders to operate them (phones) in a silent mode. He triggered laughter from hundreds of participants who pretended to be serious but they all ended up laughing uncontrollably, even the leader who was leading the meeting, ended up laughing loudest,” he said.

In his Ministry, he touched many lives of those who were close or interacted with him including that of Pastor George Nyachiro, who is FPFK Children/Teens National Ministry Leader.

“I knew Bishop Nyagenke when he would frequently visit my rural home church of FPFK Nyamuetureko, when I was around 11 years old,” said Nyachiro.

“Since I was a church boy, I remember one time I cleaned shoes of some of the Pastors who spent a night in our church and he was one of them. As a way of thanking me, he said, “this will be done to you too son”,” he added.

He says he also came to realize that he was the one who baptized him when he was around 12 years old and in a different occasion, he baptized his wife when she was a girl before they knew each other.

George Nyachiro with the late Bishop Francis Nyagenke in a past event before his death.

He recalls last year June 18, 2023 when Pastor James Mwanzia of FPFK Kabiria Church in Nairobi had invited a guest speaker from Lusaka, Zambia to preach during International Fathers’ Day celebrations. 

In the middle of the sermon, the preacher said he had a special revelation that there is a man somewhere who has certain keys he wants to hand over to a person in the congregation.

The preacher asked Pastor Mwanzia to read a name he wrote on a paper, which sounded “Nyagege”.

“At first, I didn’t bother because neither I nor Pastor Mwanzia expected the preacher to know Bishop Nyagenke since he had come from a distant country. My wife, who happened to be in the congregation, looked at me and said the name sounds familiar,” said Nyachiro.

To his surprise, the preacher asked him to stand and he said: “I saw this man handing these keys to you and you have to go for his blessings.”

Though in shock, he didn’t take it seriously, same as Pastor Mwanzia did.

However, some members approached him and urged him to go and visit him now that the man is known to me.

Nyachiro didn’t push it to happen since  he is not the kind of a person who longs for leadership positions.

“My fear was based on this statement since I didn’t know how he would react to my visit because he stood firm with his words till his demise,” he said.

In the church, he didn’t expect anyone in the congregation to know Bishop Nyagenke except one of our Pastors called Joseph Kamau, who had worked with him in the same organisation.

But on that fateful Sunday, a lady from Nyagenke’s place who attended our church for the first time called Pastor Mwanzia at around 11:00 pm and confirmed that the person that was mentioned in the preaching is known to her.

She said she called home and inquired about Nyagenke and was told he had been sick and just discharged from hospital.

According to Pastor Mwanzia, he didn’t know the lady nor Nyachiro did.

Pastor Mwanzia also took some time to think about it before some members approached him and told him to encourage Nyachiro to visit Bishop Nyagenke.

Finally, they decided to support him to go with permission from Pastor Mwanzia. On June 23, 2023 was the day they went to visit him.

These were his words immediately when he saw Nyachiro: “I saw you coming in spirit. I can rest now that I confirm my work of over 60 years serving God was not in vain.”

“To clear my earlier fear, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that he was not handing over a leadership position but passing on a servanthood mantle to me,” said Nyachiro.

Then together with Bishop Nyagenke’s wife and area Bishop Charles Mochumari, they prayed for God’s blessings upon Nyachiro’s family and ministry.

“He encouraged me to serve God faithfully. He also prayed to everyone who accompanied me to witness this occasion including my wife Gladys Bochaberi, Pastor James Mwanzia, Pastor Joseph Kamau and one other member,” he said.

Bishop Nyagenke went to Thessalia Mission Bible   for six months then started preaching in 1969 at Kioge then to Kenyerere and then to Mochenwa, where he was ordained as a pastor in 1971 according to the eulogy.

 He passed away on March 18 after suffering from pressure and mild stroke at Litein hospital.


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