My name is Mary Wambui Mbuthia, also known as Myra to my friends. I was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya in East Africa. I lived and worked in Kenya until I moved to Ireland in October of 2005.
My journey as a Christian began when I was born. I was born to Christian parents who themselves became Christians at a young age. My parents brought us up in a loving Christian home, going to church (The Presbyterian Church of East Africa – PCEA) every Sunday without fail. There was absolutely no excuse for missing church. I was baptised as a baby in our then local PCEA church.
At the age of seven, my parents sent me to a boarding primary School. It was a Catholic school run by nuns. Every week on a weekday, a group of us, non-Catholic pupils met together for fellowship. This group consisted majorly of those of us who were either Presbyterians or Anglicans, I guess because we had some things in common for example the hymns we sang in church etc.
It was during one of these fellowships that I gave my life to Christ. I was still very young at that point and to be honest, didn’t quite understand what getting saved really meant. I was of the assumption that salvation was only for the grown-ups and the elderly. I have to admit, though, that my ‘getting saved’ was more out of a need to fit in rather than a conviction. I tried my hardest, though, to emulate the older girls in the fellowship. It was more to impress them I suppose. When I went home for the holidays, I told my parents that I had given my life to Christ and I was now saved. My parents were overjoyed to hear my good news and they told everyone in church.
As time went by, however, and I grew older, I started feeling like I was under too much pressure to live out the perfect Christian life. I longed for the freedom to do some of the things other kids my age were doing. I felt like I was being judged and mocked over every little mistake I did and as a result I became disillusioned, and even though I went to church religiously, it was more out of a habit rather than my faith in Christ.
Then, I was a teenager and at thirteen I joined a secondary boarding school for girls. It was there that I kinda just picked up from where I had put a pause on my Christian journey. I joined the Christian Union and even though I was an active member, I struggled with a desire for approval from my non-Christian friends who to me seemed to have a lot more fun than I was. In my third year, I was elected to become the school prefect in charge of entertainment. This responsibility involved among other things, organising school discos on Saturdays and on special occasions when we had students visiting from other schools. This didn’t sit well with the other members of the Christian Union especially when it came to organising discos. I felt judged as a result and so stopped going to C.U meetings altogether.
During the school holidays, though, I would go to church as usual and was very active in our church youth group meetings and activities. I guess I was floating on other people’s convictions, happily living in a Christian environment without being a true Christian.
After completing my secondary school education, I moved to a different town for work. I lived with two other roommates of a similar age. It was here that I finally found the freedom I had craved for years - Freedom to run wild and engage in worldly pleasures like other girls my age – away from my parents and church. I stopped going to church. I was 20 when I fell pregnant with my eldest child. I had to give up my job to raise my child. As a result, I lost my chance of a college education. It was during the four years that I stayed at home raising my child that I realised that the freedom I had yearned for, for years, hadn’t quite filled the void in my heart and it didn’t do me any favours. Like in the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32, I too made the decision to return home to the ever present love of Christ. I rededicated my life to Christ and learned to depend entirely on God’s grace rather than on my own understanding. I started going to church again and it dawned on me that despite building a great wall between me and the Lord, His love for me had not changed despite all the shameful things I had done. Having said that, I am not saying that choosing to walk with Christ has been an easy life – far from it! I am still human and I still mess up, but having a personal relationship with Christ Jesus has made a tremendous difference in my life. I can say, along with the apostle Paul that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.” Ephesians 2:8-10 declares that salvation is a gift of God, not something earned and it is received only by faith which is to simply trust in and completely rely on the death, burial and resurrection of Christ as payment for my sin. I have a great sense of relief in knowing that I am forgiven and that God is on my side and wants what is best for me.
I moved to Ireland in October of 2005. For about five years, I struggled to find a church to go to where I felt the presence of The Lord. Having a Presbyterian background, I longed to find a Presbyterian church, but in Co. Mayo where I lived at the time, Presbyterian churches are very few and far between. It was in 2011, while living in Santry, that I went online to try and find a Presbyterian church that I could go to here in North Co. Dublin. It was there that I was directed to Donabate Presbyterian Church which was only a few months old at that point. In The Summer of 2011, my sister, Salome and I together with our children started coming to DPC and we felt and continue to feel very much welcome and at home here. In April of 2013, we became full church members of Donabate Presbyterian church.