Dr Ben Juma and his friend Pastor Jackson Kioko were passionate about sharing the gospel with their community. And back in May 2012 they were planning a meeting in the Jomvu area of Mombasa to do just that. However, when some local people heard about their plans, they became very angry; they falsely accused Ben and Jackson of theft, killed them, and even more shockingly, set their bodies on fire.
Left behind were Jackson’s widow Damaris, and Ben’s widow Gladys. Ben also left behind four children: Golda Bagaja, James Juma, Evans Khasolo and Agneta Apondi.
Open Doors has been able to walk with these families in their grief, providing practical and spiritual support. Below, Gladys talks about her loss, as well as the healing and hope she has experienced.
“An incident like this has a big impact on anyone. On my life it was huge. Losing someone you love is painful. I still ask God questions. I can’t even explain the pain. The loneliness is there daily. Only God knows.
“Thinking of the effect it has had on the children just makes me cry always. We talk about the wisdom he used to give the kids. They often say, ‘Dad used to say…’ or ‘If Dad was here…’ and then I realise they miss him too. Not having him around to discuss important issues like school fees and other needs is just…I don’t have words to explain how hard it is.”
“On the night it happened, I was lost in pain, but I had to let go right away by forgiving the attackers. I prayed so hard for that, and every time I got the strength to forgive.
“Our prayer as a family for two months was for God to help us to forgive, and we asked God to make those who [killed Ben] give their lives to Him. We kept on pleading to God for their lives and I want to believe that each one who did it will get saved.”
“At some point when I was stuck financially and needed help with the children’s education, Open Doors helped me get the children back to school.
“For me the prayers had a huge impact. It exposed to me the real love of God, and to date I still cherish that. It also made the children feel that they were not alone in this and that God still cares. It has strengthened me in my faith so much. It’s only the prayers of the saints that keep one afloat.
“At times praying becomes very hard… but you find yourself moving on one day at a time. I have no doubt it’s the prayers of petition and intercession offered by brothers and sisters all over that enables one to move on. I can attest to that. And that’s why I say a prayer every month for those families that took a part of their time to present us to God during the time we lost Ben. I couldn’t have dealt with it alone. No, I would have gotten lost in mourning.”
“Easter is when Jesus gave his life and shed His precious blood that I may be redeemed, that I may get eternal life. I will just go to church, be with other believers and come back home.
“It will also happen be Golda’s 21st birthday so we shall just thank God for her life.
“We will also be praying for more and more people to be touched by the Easter message and give their lives to Christ. And we will pray that the killings of pastors and other believers will stop and that it will be safe again in this area, and we will be able to travel without fear.”
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.