A Story of Faith and Going to Jail

Onyechi and Deysi Oguagha are some of our favorite people.  They have a special place in our hearts.  They were the only other married couple on the Nairobi church planting and they were married just a few months before Tom and I.  Since they knew they were going to Nairobi after their honeymoon, most of their wedding gifts were in the form of cash, which was really helpful for getting started in Kenya.  Deysi also brought towels and linens with her.  One of the things I love most about Deysi is her simple, practical faith.  She reasons through most situations without a lot of emotion and I have often found her perspective and attitude very helpful. 

Their flight was delayed coming into Nairobi and they didn't land until midnight.  Another member of the mission team, Bob Stea, was also on the flight with them. Tired as they were from the journey, the Oguagha's were still very excited about arriving.  Even though it was so late, the men at customs decided they wanted to go through all of Onyechi and Deysi's luggage. They also asked them many questions about their plans for being in Kenya. When Deysi was telling me about their arrival on the phone yesterday, I was quite humbled by her faithful response since I had walked into that situation with some fear. (I had thought we had to have just the right answers or they would put us back on a plane.) When asked why they were in Nairobi, the Oguagha's simply said they were there to start a church.  How long would they stay?  They didn't know.  Where would they stay?  At first in a hotel and then they didn't know.  Who would they stay with?  Some friends were outside waiting for them.  After going through their luggage, the custom's officer simply stamped their passports and waived them on.

"We had faith.  God was with us.  We didn't know what we were doing or where we would live, but God worked all the details out," Deysi told me.

God also made sure that various team members met and became friends with just "the right people," as Deysi put it.  For example, Onyechi and Deysi had met and befriended the Nigerian Ambassador in Kenya upon their arrival.  A short while later that friendship helped Onyechi get out of a challenging situation.

Early one morning, he was awakened by a loud noise outside their apartment.  Going outside to see what was happening, he was surprised to see a line of tanks rumbling past.  Intrigued by such an unusual site, Onyechi did what most tourists in a new country would think of doing.  He ran inside, got his camera and took a photo.  Well...that was a bit of a mistake.  One of the soldiers saw him, came over and started questioning him.  Although Onyechi tried to explain it was an innocent mistake, they arrested him and took him off somewhere. 

Deysi's response to seeing her husband taken away has always reminded me of Jesus sleeping on a boat in the middle of a storm, or of Paul singing and praying in jail.  She reasoned that since it was so early, no one would be able to help right then.  So she prayed and went back to bed for awhile.  Then she got up, and remembering their friend the ambassador, she placed a phone call and asked for his help. The ambassador was able to clear up the misunderstanding and Onyechi was released, unharmed, shortly after that.

The lives of Onyechi and Deysi have always been an inspiration to Tom and I.  We were both on our "honeymoon" when we moved to Nairobi.  Both of us got pregnant around the same time with both of Tom and my kids (then they went on to have a third).  Living in a foreign country brought us close together.  We helped each other in our marriages.  We encouraged each other with our kids.  We celebrated and worked together.  The last thing Deysi said to me yesterday was this...

"Our hearts are knit together forever!  Isn't that great?!"

Yes, that's really great!   

Lori ZieglerComment