For Florence Juma, Christian service has been a journey…
Florence Juma joined full time Christian ministry in 1979 and proceeded to a local theological school for pastoral training. She graduated with a diploma in Bible and Theology in 1983 and later a B.A (Bible and Theology) in 1986. Since graduating from the theological school, Florence has served in various capacities as associate pastor, children’s church pastor, youth ministries facilitator, women’s ministries coordinator and Bible college teacher. She served as the Administrative Officer of the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology in Nairobi between 1990 and 1995, while enrolled in the same school as a part-time student for the Master of Divinity degree.
“The quest for post graduate education took me to Potchefstroom, South Africa and then to Ontario in Canada where I have had the honour of applying my skills and qualifications in the service of others both within and beyond the walls of the church.” Says this author of three inspirational books and one children’s title.
“I was inspired to write the first book [Away From Home] in 2006 while living in Canada, yet, expecting to go back home [to native Kenya] anytime. With the wedding of our eldest daughter, the birth of our first grandson and engagement of our second daughter, I started to question my perspective of where I considered to be our home. Was home in Kenya with our parents and siblings or was it going to be in Canada with our children?”
It was from reflecting on this question, and the desire to see the history of their journey recorded for the benefit of her young adult children, Florence began to document details up to that point in her life. But more than a family memoir, Away From Home allowed readers a unique glimpse into the cultural and personal challenges of immigrants sojourning to, and living in, North America. And for Florence, this book remains a written testimony of God’s faithfulness in every context. Writing the book also served as a therapeutic way for her to step outside of often lonely and intimidating circumstances and reclaim her place as a minister in a new environment.
While in the past, her reader audience may have been restricted to her family and her community, Florence views her current writing career as a “Ministry without Borders,” able to impact and inspire many lives as she shares the journey of her own life. With Away From Home enjoying accolades and good reviews (see Reviews), a series of manuscripts for children’s books ready for publishing, and two other manuscripts in the works, Florence Juma is looking forward to sharing the testimony of God’s faithfulness and providence in her own life with more and more readers.
With a background in both formal and informal education, and a call to Christian service from the age of seventeen, Florence has never lost the inquisitive and reflective heart that was cultivated as a child growing up in Kenya – a childlike heart that has informed and inspired the writing of her current series of children’s books Tales from my Father. The series is a collection of fiction and non-fiction African oral fables of the early 20th century gathered among the great lake region communities in Western Kenya. The series seeks to depict village life in a traditional African society with the purpose of informing, educating and entertaining the emerging generation of immigrant children from the continent of Africa and their host communities. The first book in the series – Zebra Please – is an attempt to respond to the identity crisis within the next generation of the African immigrant community.
In Nehemiah 9, Nehemiah, Ezra, and the Levites open the Book of the Law to reflect on what God had done for Israel. In the same way, it is Florence’s passion and goal to preserve and retell the story of God’s faithfulness in her own life, and the rich heritage of her native culture, for today’s generation and for generations to come.