The Duo from Luo
Fr. Emmanuel Nuh Mbeh mhm

The Duo from Luo

A poetic tribute by Emmanuel N. Mbeh mhm


(Tribute to the First African Mill Hill Missionaries, Frs James Juma and Ephraim Odhiambo mhm)

Down the memory lane, a curse or a blessing?

It’s nineteen ninety six! It’s August the first or August the sixth!

It’s Mill Hill Missionaries in Africa recruiting like never before!

The risk has taken place – the barriers have been broken;

Formation had begun – they came to be sent!

Twenty years down the line – look to the past with Gratitude!

Twenty years down memory lane – look back in India, Cameroon, Kenya, South Africa, UK!

What do you make of the duo from Luo land – a curse or a blessing?

Be quick to say the famous who am I to judge!

Down the memory lane – a curse or a blessing?

Those He called He sanctified – those He sanctified He justified:

The duo from Luo – those he justified he glorified;

Down the memory lane – a curse or a blessing?

Our trailblazers in every sense of the word –

Pioneer African MHMs – courageous, painstaking, excited, stubborn, crushed?

Afflicted in every way but not constrained; perplexed but not driven to despair,

Persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed…? Who am I to judge?

Down the memory lane – a curse or a blessing – right or wrong?

The duo from Luo – imperfect but called – called and sent.

Who did you go out to the desert to see – for what motives is the Gospel preached?

Down the memory lane – a curse or a blessing?

James Juma mhm

The duo from Luo – imperfect but called – called and sent:

Ask in India, in Cameroon, in Kenya, in South Africa, Scotland and England – why were you sent?

By their fruits you will know them – nothing hidden under the sun!

Let’s say what we have seen – let’s affirm and let’s be biasly proud –

Let’s hail them for once, nay, one more time:

Let’s praise the mustard seeds and trees in and out of season;

Let’s bring to light the positive and leave alone the negative and the dirty linen as usual.

J.J. l’homme courageux! L’homme fort! L’homme de différence!

E.O. motho wa batho! Ntat’a bana! Chomi ya bohle! Ra mekete!

J.J. you stand for and by the weak and disadvantaged – you fight for the poor!

E.O. you unite, you spend for and with the poor – you charm and calm!

J.J. you counselled, supported, socialized and challenged me at my weakest – you listened – you empathized!

E.O always generous to me beyond telling – so hospitable, compassionate, altruistic!

Ephraim Odhiambo mhm

J.J. so fearless with a large heart at once sweet and bitter!

E.O. all things to all people – at once talented and cheeky!

The duo from Luo – imperfect but called – called, chosen, sanctified, justified, sent, glorified!

Down the memory lane – a curse or a blessing?

May Mercy and the very Lord of Mercies embrace you as ever – be blessed, you trailblazers.

May you follow your Lord and master – see my servants shall prosper!

For by their sweats and sufferings my servants shall justify many!

Hold onto the flag of reconciliation and resilience;

Hold onto the discipline of discipleship – of martyrdom and service.

May you forever be counted among the Anawim Yahweh –

Among the poor, the rich, the good, the bad and the ugly – may you stay forever young!

Emmanuel N Mbeh, 2016

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