A pastor’s passing, leads to reflection
One of the renowned American faith healer and Pentecostal evangelist Kathryn Johanna Kuhlman (May 9, 1907 - February 20, 1976) said “we need to replace fear with faith. Whenever there is a manifestation, the natural reaction is fear.”
Human beings have constantly expressed the fear of death and dying. In fact when it comes to dying as a slow process, to some extent not even faith saves the human face.
This fear was recently seen on the faces of thousands of mourners who gathered to mourn the tragic death of Pastor Jeanne Kanyange.
The maverick Bishop Rwandamura surprised mourners when he said that they are going to die.
“I know I will die and even you, whether you want it or not, one day you are going to die, just like Pastor Jeanne Kanyange.”
Most mourners looked in disbelieve as they saw the body of their beloved (pastor) lie in front of them in a white coffin. Most of them could be heard from the back ground complaining about life and the phenomenon of death and dying.
“Imagine this woman, who had reached the climax of uprightness, she is dead. Who are we to keep hopeful?” one lady said.
Just like Kathryn Kuhlman, Kanyange’s death raised many questions in whoever knew her and her miracle services.
In July 1975 Kathryn Kuhlman’s doctor diagnosed her with a minor heart flare-up and she had a relapse in November while in Los Angeles.
As a result, she had open heart surgery from which she died in February 1976.
Like Kanyange who has been honoured by launching a foundation in her memory, Kathryn Kuhlman had a plaque in her honour located in the main city park in Concordia, Missouri, USA.
Her only daughter, Yvonne Rwigema, revealed that she had one time asked the pastor whether her faith couldn’t stop her health from deteriorating.
“I regret only one thing, having threatened my mother to turn to Catholic if she never recovered,” Rwigema sadly said.
Jeanne Kanyange left so many people wondering whether life has any meaning mainly because she had made people who lived in a state of hopelessness, to gain hope.
“Look, this is the Pastor who had helped sex workers drop their trade, helped long time drunkards, helped vulnerable women earn a living and so much more.
She was a hero in the former infamous Migina area in Remera. Her death might be the end of their faith,” said James Karikunzira, a city dweller.
The worst fear however that manifested in all the mourners was the process of dying.
Most of the people preferred sudden death to a slow process. They never wanted to face the reality that no one decides on how he or she will die.
Death and dying are both a result of fate, and for that matter no one prepares it.
But still some of them were fired up and picked courage to have positive and developmental impact in their communities.
Kanyange changed lives of many people by the help of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. She would prayer for more than 24 hours.
Broken families reunited, the sick healed and those ruined in poor history of poverty changed their lives.
She was honoured by an American theologian Professor Bob Pyne from Dallas Theological Seminary who presented his doctorate to her in recognition of the work of preaching to impaired communities.
Tirelessly she preached the gospel in Migina. She preached in bars, against drugs and crimes, to those involved in commercial sex, to those belittling others and creating a community rife with trouble and heartache.
Kanyange was unassuming, incredibly compassionate church planter. Like Jesus Christ, you would find her most times hanging out in bars and in the company of prostitutes telling them the good news.
Kanyange begun her own ministry Mission Restore International which started Prayer Palace Church, 2004 in Migina which was a morally dead place that was full of criminals.
She began her education in Kamwezi primary school, in Uganda and ended up in Nairobi where she graduated in computer programming.
She later worked with East African Post Office before she left her well paying job to be a full time minister preaching the word of God.
She will surely be missed but everyone hopes she is now where she wanted those she preached to, to be one day. Kanyange Rest in Peace.