Those of us involved with Project 24 are, and anyone who has visited Kenya and the ELCK must be impressed with the Deaconess’. They are the embodiment of the churches life of mercy and care for others. I was priveleged to be able to present many of them with a certificate as they completed an AIDS training curricula and were preparing to go back to their areas and care for AIDS victims in their parishes. Any one impressed with deaconess’ had to be impressed with Mary Okeyo. Mary was a tireless worker for the Gospel. Presidents Fondow and Baneck went on home visits with Mary and were so impressed that they want some of our young people to have the opportunity to work with and learn from these remarkable women ( see the August21, 2011 blog).
Mary passed away on Friday and those who knew her have lost a friend and the ELCK has lost a dedicated and remarkable worker.
Mary Akoth Okeyo was born on 27th October 1970. The father is the late Peterlis Ojowi who died Auguts 1995 and her mother is Pheobe Ojowi. Mary was born in Kamgan Village in Nyakach District. She attended Nyabondo Primary School, then proceeded to Naki Secondary school.
Mary attended her deaconess training at Ogango Deaconess training College in 1994 to 1996.
Mary joined the work with Diakonia Compassionate Ministry (DCM) in 2004 and was very instrumental in helping the families that were displaced with floods focusing mainly on the orphans, widows and the elderly. She led the formation of East Kano Joint Christian Disaster Response Group. Mary was a living example for bring Christ mercy to her communities. She one of the most experienced and hard working deaconess in serving the orphans and the needy in ELCK.
Mary was married on Dec 26, 1988 to Mr Evans Okeyo and they are blessed with four children: Jessica 20, Luke 17, Geoffrey 12, and Shadrack 10.
Rev. David Chuchu writes, “We were attending a conflict transformation workshop organized by ELCK in Nairobi. As I was taking my breakfast, a lady from Nairobi (Jane) who was Mary’s roommate told me that Mary is not feeling well in her room. I immediately called her and she told me that “Pastor come, I am not feeling well.” I quickly went to her room with pastor Jospeh Osumba and we tried to help her walk out of his bed and she was too week. We had her sleep in her mattress and used that to carry her out of the room to the car. Rev John Halakhe drove the car as fast as he could. We rushed to the hospital and on the way she told us “let me sleep well, I am dying” We reached hospital and as the doctors were attending her, she screamed a loud and said, I am dying. I called Bishop Obare to come and he immediately he came. I walked him to the room where Mary was being attended. The Bishop said, Let us pray. He prayed and as he finished Mary breathed her last as we watched. The Lord called her home. It was very traumatized to see one of the hardest deaconesses I work with die in our hands. I am still with her in Nairobi as autopsy is being done at Chiromo Funeral Home. I will share with you later the cost of her death after the postmortem is done. Mary’s body will be here in Nairobi, as we work on logistics on how to transport the body back to Kisumu possibly early next week and then oragnize the funeral. I have called her husband and he is on the way coming to Nairobi today. “
This is Mary and I believe the other deaconess’ name is Unita. If not I hope she will forgive me. Mary is taking charge as she ususally did and pointing the way as always. We will ahve more on Mary and all of these remarkable women in future blogs.