Mama Rasoa I Chitayi: Biography

Mama Mwanzilishi was born in 1930 at Lirhanda village (Kakamega County) and was given the names Rasoa Igonyi. Her parents were the Late Litunda Siema and the Late Mama Magdalene Jiteresi. She hailed from the Abaruli clan of the Isukha sub-community of Western Kenya. 

Having been born in a Christian family, Mama Mwanzilishi was privileged to join the East African yearly meeting of Friends (Quakers Church) at Lirhanda where a firm Christian foundation was laid in her life right from her youth. 

Mama Mwanzilishi was enrolled at Lirhanda Primary and Intermediate schools in the late 30s and early 40s in class one and she left the school having successfully completed her primary school education. 

Mama Mwanzilishi then, having obtained formal education and being a devoted church follower of the Friends Quaker Church; two values that were not easy to achieve then, made her stand out amongst her peers. A young army officer then by the name Elisha Ingosi Chitayi engaged her and the two were later solemnized in marriage in a very colourful wedding in 1947. They immediately relocated to Nairobi where her husband was working. They lived a peaceful and admirable life. 

Mama Mwanzilishi first came to Mariakani in 1958 , a tiresome journey by train from Kakamega through Nairobi to visit her husband Missionary Elisha Ingosi Chitayi who had just received salvation (at one of Evangelist T. L Osborn's crusade in Mombasa) and landed a new job at Mariakani Milk Scheme days after retiring from the army. She came with four (4) of their children: Mama Sidi (Jones Muchiti), Mama Ruth (Joyce Shitemi), Habel Shikote and the late Julia. The late Henry Khayadi was left in school in Kakamega.  Mama Mwanzilishi stayed in Mariakani for almost 3 months. The harsh weather (mosquitos, heat and salty water) became a big problem to her and she desired to go back to Kakamega, a decision that Missionary Elisha did not concur with. Mama Mwanzilishi took the four (4) children, the late Julia being the youngest then and decided to relocate back to Kakamega. Even as she was travelling back home, her husband, Missionary Elisha escorted her and in the process reminded her that if it was God's wish that they stay together and jointly server the LORD at Mariakani, God would fulfil it at the right time. 

The journey back home was safe. Days later, Mama Mwanzilishi was taken ill with high fever. This is when the voice of the Lord spoke to her, persuading her to travel back to Mariakani and join Missionary Elisha in serving the LORD. She obeyed the voice of the LORD, returned back to Mariakani and a House Hold Ministry was born. 

Mama Mwanzilishi and Missionary Elisha began testifying to the people the Good News of Jesus Christ. Being young converts, they were discipled by pastors of PEFA Elim Church in Mombasa which was headed by Reverend Siclar then. One of the two senior teaching pastors who used to be sent to assist them was Dr. Apostle Joe Kayo. 

Missionary Elisha first planted a church at Mwareni Primary School but the school's head teacher then could not withstand the opposition leveled against the new faith professed by them. They were sent away. The church was moved to Mkwajuni where Missionary Elisha and Mama Mwanzilishi testified to many under a tree. The opposition didn't stop either, they were sent away. The church moved to an Indian Factory premises (currently where Mariakani CC Primary School is) but trouble never stopped and again they were sent away. Missionary Elisha, with the influence he had at his place of work, got permission to use a workshop at Mariakani Milk Scheme for Sunday services only. Here they stayed for some time.  A place was sited in Mwache (Mwashanga) 13kms away from Mariakani, spacious enough for a larger gathering. It is here that many crusades were held. Mama Mwanzilishi would stay for 10 days at the crusade with her children without a change of clothing. God saw this spirit of unity between Mama Mwanzilishi and Missionary Elisha and made a way for them to be given a swampy plot to reclaim and build a church. This is where the Ministry's headquarters are located to date. 

When she first arrived at Mwareni, Mama Mwanzilishi got a warm welcome from Mama Rachel Kadem. Other first church members include the late Mama Esther Kabibi, Mama Grace Mbula, Kasabu, Safari Kenga and Sarah Kadzo. 

Pastors that came to join Mama Mwanzilishi and Missionary Elisha include Peter Mwangoma, the late Morris Kiteto and Thomas Safari. Morris Mwadime later joined in and assisted Missionary Elisha to spread the gospel in Taita. 

Every Wednesday's teaching service was followed by a pastors' meeting/seminar that was conducted in Mama Mwanzlishi's house whose living room would subsequently be converted into a sleeping area for the pastors. Mama Mwanzilishi diligently prepared meals for them and other church members without complaints. Occasionally Missionary Elisha and her children would assist her whenever she was overwhelmed. This continued for a long period of time until at a time when brethren volunteered to take over that duty from her as the congregation grew larger. Amongst the volunteers is the current Director of the Ministry, the Servant of God Rev.  Emmanuel Kea. Her passion to host many visitors saw the Ministry grow across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Her generosity and hospitality were a divine gift from the start “TO BARE THE COST OF EVANGELISM”. Food harvested from her farms in Mariakani, Mwanguda, Chuini and Kitale went a long way to cater for the multitudes during crusades and the needy. This is a Legacy worth emulating. 

Mama Mwanzilishi, as her title suggests was truly a Mother, not only to her own children but also to those she did not biologically begat. Some of those she personally nurtured include, Coleman Chengo, the late Reverend  Joseph G. Katana, the late Reverend  Musa Idd, Lawrence Nyamawi, the late Pastor Daniel Mwembe, the late Pastor Shadrack Hare, Pastor Margaret Dama Joel, Duncan Dzombo, Margaret Umazi and Esther Nadzua just to mention but a few. 

Esau, Nashon, Bilha, Sarah, Narn, Wema and Micaiah can testify better for it is Mama Mwanzilishi that they looked up to as a pillar of guardianship since the demise of both their parents in mid-1994 until she departed in March, 2016. 

Initially Mama Mwanzilishi was known to her church members as Mama Mkubwa. This was in recognition of the many admirable services and spiritual guidance they benefited from her. Missionary Elisha thought it wise to choose a much more befitting title in recognition to her contribution in nurturing and strengthening the Ministry. It is then that Title of Honor “Mama Mwanzilishi” was bestowed to her by Missionary Elisha. Additionally, she was elevated to take a position at the pulpit from where she would attend all church services, this was so until the time of her death. 

In 1993 when Missionary Elisha Ingosi Chitayi went to be with the Lord Jesus, Mama Mwanzilishi took over the mantle of leadership of this Ministry spearheading miracles and gospel revival regionally and world over. Under her stewardship, the church witnessed growth and development under three(3) Directors (the Late Reverend  Joseph G. Katana (aka Mjumbe wa Bwana), the Late Reverend  Musa Iddi Kanzovu (aka Mchungaji)) and the current Director Reverend Emmanuel Kea. 

Mama Mwanzilishi presided over many milestone church functions as the Founder of this Ministry; including (the official opening of the main church sanctuary at the ministry’s Headquarters (aka Safina), the official opening of the 5 storey Mwanzilishi House, 55 years anniversary celebrations and the opening of the Founder Mother's Office).

Mama Mwanzilishi discharged her duties diligently just as God directed/commanded her. Once in a while she fought common fevers, as a human being, which is natural. The week that preceded March 8th 2016, Mama Mwanzilishi suffered a mild fever attack that subsided gradually to the week heralding Easter. Those who came for the Crusade on 22nd and 23rd had a chance to share a word with her and at no given time did she ever admit that she was unwell. Later on she lost appetite and generally felt weak. On Saturday 26th March 2016 at 9pm she shared songs and prayer with her grandchildren not knowing that it was their last moment with their grandma, Mama Mwanzilishi.  At 10pm, the same night Mama Mwanzilishi passed on peacefully in her house with all her surviving children and a few other relatives besides her bed. 

She rested at a full age of 86 years, having fought a good fight all the years. She kept the Faith for over 57 years and finished the race with a rich legacy of: 

·         6 children – that were alive (with their families) at the time of her death.

·         43 grandchildren

·         55 great grandchildren

·         A Strong, Vibrant and Spirit lead Ministry of Miracles and gospel Revival

·         413 Strong churches in East Africa

·         A 500 member strong team of Voluntary Pastors headed by Reverend Emmanuel Kea Mzungu serving as the Ministry’s Director then.

·         Various landmark development projects in the sectors of education and agriculture among others.


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