Julia Nyaga describes her first impressions of Amani Kenya as, “an oasis with caffeine and pretty purses,” but now she can also testify to the deeper realities that make Amani a true oasis for many women, a place of peace and plenty found in God. Julia has been the Ministry Coordinator at the center for 2 ½ years, a role in which she guides much of the spiritual and community building aspects of life at Amani.
“Throughout these various activities,” she says, “my hope and prayer is that we will all (starting with myself) ‘see Him more clearly, love Him more dearly, and follow Him more nearly’ – as the old prayer so beautifully implores.”
In the following interview, she shares more insights into ministry at Amani.
Why is the worship of God so important at Amani?
In Acts 17, the Apostle Paul is describing God to a group of people who don’t know Him. In verse 28 he says that ‘in Him we live and move and have our being”. In other words, we’re only walking around breathing because of Him – our great Creator! We were made to worship Him; not just with our songs, but with every aspect of our lives.
How does this fit into the overall philosophy of Amani?
In Isaiah 9, there’s a prophecy about Jesus’ coming that speaks of Him as the Prince Of Peace. When we worship Him – sing and declare truths about Him, put Him in His rightful place in our lives – we are transformed, and end up looking more like Him; people full of peace who spread that peace ‘that passes all understanding’ throughout our homes and communities. This is one of our foundational desires at Amani.
Ministry at Amani happens first thing everyday with morning prayer. How would you describe that time?
A few, quiet moments of corporately placing the day ahead in the Lord’s mighty hands . . . God is the beginning. We want to reflect that in the way in which we begin our work day; by acknowledging that we need Him, and inviting Him to guide us in the hours ahead.
It’s also a time to either ‘bear one another’s burdens’ or ‘rejoice with those who rejoice’ as various needs, challenges, victories, and thanksgivings are shared and then lifted to God.
Another time of worship at Amani is daily devotions. You or one of the other women lead everyone through a theme each month, reading Scripture and having discussion.
Devotions take place every day, between 1:00 and 1:30. [Recently, studying the book of Habakuk] one of the women said, “This month has been like eating real meat. We’re not just drinking milk anymore – we’re getting into deeper things!”
How does worship, through music, reading Scripture, and prayer, impact the Amani women individually?
In every way possible! If there is true interaction with the Lord during worship, we cannot remain the same. Our intentions, our relationships, our work, our marriages, our conversations, our friendships, our desires – will all be different. Better. More the way he wants them to be. A practical example of this might be when one of the women who usually has a bit of a sharp tongue begins to soften her speech when her stitching is corrected.
So, those moments where we get to come before Him corporately, put everything else aside and remind ourselves of how perfect, powerful, beautiful, good, holy and loving He is – those are precious and sacred moments. Moments that open our eyes and hearts to more of Him. Moments that align our thoughts and actions to His perfect will, both at Amani and beyond.
God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’
If you are interested in supporting the ministry programs at Amani, you can donate to the Amani+ Fund here.