It was all systems go for Joyce Waithera, a banker and her fiancé Paul Waithaka, a teacher.
The couple were set to tie the knot on Saturday November 2, at Mizpah House of Prayer Church in Maili Saba, Bahati.
Thereafter, they would dance to mugiithi and eat pilau with family and friends at their wedding reception at Kenya Industrial Training Institute (KITI) outside Nakuru town.
Paul met Joyce at a prayer meeting, they fell in love and the rest, as they say, is history. Paul hails from Molo and has been a translator at Mizpah House of Prayer Church for eight years.
Joyce on the other hand fellowships at Revival Sanctuary Church in Kawangware, Nairobi, but occasionally visits Mizpah House of Prayer Church for prayers and fasting.
But the lovebirds’ planned walk down the aisle was cut short by an unexpected news, causing bringing their Sh600, 000 wedding ceremony to an abrupt end.
According to a close family member, the couple had not submitted medical reports as required by Apostle Jesse Karanja, the presiding pastor of Mizpah House of Prayer Church.
“The couple were putting the final touches to their wedding plans the whole of Friday, and were late for a clinic appointment at a facility which closed by 8pm. They had to postpone the appointment to the following morning on Saturday – their wedding day – before the church service,” said a source close to the couple.
“They were unable to have the medical tests at the same time, and ended up going for the tests separately at a clinic along Mburu Gichua Road in Nakuru town.
The Nairobian has established that Joyce was held up at a Nairobi salon, while Paul and his groomsmen were waiting for their suits.
“The results were given to a member of the clergy who handed them to the presiding pastor.
“One of the medical reports revealed information that was unknown to the other partner, even as their marriage plans were in top gear…on the D-Day. Apostle Karanja then decided that the couple should seek a second opinion at another clinic along Kenyatta Avenue,” said the source.
The apostle assigned two pastors and the best couple to accompany Joyce and Paul to the clinic, insisting they should have the tests at the same time and together as a couple, not separately as they had previously done.
“The new results not only contradicted the first test results of one of the partners, but revealed something unexpected,” the source said. This threw the couple, family and clergy into total confusion.
“The partners looked at each other in shock. However, the contradiction made them suspect that someone was determined to stop their wedding,” revealed the source.
The couple were driven back to church at around 4pm and joined Apostle Karanja in a closed-door meeting with their parents, clergy and best couple.
At around 5pm, the congregation gathered at the church and accused the preacher of sabotaging the wedding. Police came in to restore order, rounding up guests who were later released without charges.
“At 6pm, Apostle Karanja cancelled the wedding over conflicting medical reports. He did not want to be held accountable and blamed by the couple later on. He said he was also concerned about the couple’s welfare,” the source revealed to The Nairobian.
After this declaration, the couple drove away in separate vehicles and residents of KITI were called in to feast on the food which had been shipped from Nairobi.
Joyce’s family led by her father Henry Kamau expressed disappointment at the turn of events.
“It is their life and they have the final say. They wanted to get married, but the preacher refused to preside over the ceremony. He has been a stumbling block since the couple started planning the wedding. He has caused us humiliation and loss of almost Sh1 million,” Kamau said.
Speaking to this reporter on phone, Paul’s father said that the two families are in consultation to ensure that the suspicions are addressed.
“It is true that the medical results were the reason the wedding was cancelled. We have scheduled a meeting to discuss the next course of action. I’m thinking of getting a third opinion because medical results can’t change in a matter of hours. I personally do not trust the two medical reports,” he said.
God will fight this battle for me
When The Nairobian contacted Joyce, who according to her brother was trying to come to terms with the situation at the coast with a relative, she expressed disappointed.
She dismissed claims that she was planning to take legal action against the church.
“I don’t want to speak much on the issue, but I have no intention of suing anyone. I have moved on and God will fight the battle for me,” said Joyce.
Joyce who said he was over 700 kilometres away from Nakuru with his childhood friend, clarified that she was not holding any grudges and has nothing against the preacher.
“I’m approaching the matter with caution so that I don’t hurt anyone. I’m trying to gather myself back and will give you a statement on what happened shortly,” she promised.
I will not please people and anger God
When contacted over this matter, Apostle Karanja of Mizpah House of Prayer said the couple had not met certain standards set by the church.
“Our church has a set of standards which must be adhered to in any ordination. The standards are not subject to discussion. You have to follow them to the letter,” said Apostle Karanja.
He added that, “They didn’t fall in sin but fell short of some principles. As the preacher, I am answerable to God for the unions I create and won’t allow anyone to sidestep the standards.”
He added that he was lenient enough to extend the deadline for the couple to the night before the wedding.
“I had told them to ensure everything was in order but they didn’t meet the deadline. I extended the same to Friday night but they also failed. I wouldn’t officiate a marriage to please people and leave God unhappy,” he told The Nairobian.
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