Kenyans Raise over 6,200 for Man with Cancer
The praise and worship team at the PCEA Ushindi Church in Lowell, Ma, lead in prayer before a mini fundraising for Stephen Gathi , A Kenyan man who has been diagnozed with a termial cancer.Gathi has since left for Kenya to be with his family.
By Harrison Maina
LOWELL, Mass-MAY 22-Dozens of Kenyans in New England area stepped in last weekend to raise about $6,200 for Stephen Gathi, a fellow Kenyan, who is battling late-stage metastatic gastric cancer.
Gathi, 54, popularly known as Wasarah, to his friends and relatives, is terminally ill and his doctor at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, Mass., where he recently underwent an extensive eight-hour surgery, has given him only three months to live.
Gathi has been separated from his wife and children for more than eight years, and his final wish was to fly to Kenya to spend the rest of his life with his family.
Friends and well-wishers touched by his plight convened at The Kenyan Community Presbyterian Church (Ushindi) or PCEA, at 450 Chelmsford St., Lowell, Mass., on Sunday to help him realize his wish.
Gathii, who arrived in Kenya on Tuesday, used the money to pay for his airfare and other expenses.
Members of PCEA donated about $4,000 during the fundraiser although Gathi was not a member of their church. Kenyans also raised another $1,200 the previous weekend during an Easter celebration at the Saint Stephen's Church , making the total contributions to $6,200. A handful of non PCEA members also attended the event.
The PCEA members have a reputation of reaching out to Kenyans in New England area. They donated about $19,000 a few weeks ago for another nonmember, Prisca Akinyi, who died suddenly in Lowell in March.
Gathi’s son, Nelson, who lives in Seattle, Wa., also attended the fundraiser.
Rev. Mumbui Karimi of PCEA encouraged members to give generously to help their brother.
Rev. Dr. Karimi Mumbui, Pastor of PCEA Ushindi Church who encouraged members to help out Stephen Gathi with funds for airfare and other expenses. H.Maina/Ajabu file
“Even if Stephen never attended our church, give whatever God helps you to give for the sake of a fellow Kenyan,” he said. Gathi got no help from Jesus is the Answer Church in Lowell, Mass., which he attended for several years.
Bishop Joshua Wambua of Rapture Harvest Mission said Gathi’s experience should serve as a warning to other Kenyans, who attend churches elsewhere, but don’t bother to integrate in the larger Kenyan community.
He reminded such Kenyans that a time will come when they will need help from the community, but nobody will come to their aid.
“It is okay to attend church elsewhere, but be active in the Kenyan community,” Bishop Wambua said. “We don’t’ want people to belong to us when they get into problems, we need then when they are okay as well.”
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