Evangelist Isaac Kariuki Profile
Born out of the desire to serve the Kenyan community abroad, Isaac Kariuki began Diasporamessenger, a website that allows Kenyans abroad and locally to access all kinds of information such as where a loved one is to where you can find chapatti if you are in the United States.The website is trully a resource center for Kenyans in Diaspora
Isaac and his wife Agnes migrated to the United States in 1997. Isaac served as the chairman of KCFA(Kenya Christian fellowship in America,) Washington DC chapter between (1999-2005). In2004, Isaac suffered a fatal accident. He fell twenty feet from a tree and landed on concrete. His hip bone went through the pelvis, fracturing it all round. His hand was also completely mangled.
The doctors concluded that he would never walk or use his hand again. God healed him completely and he walks without even a limp and his hand is completely normal. For Isaac, Diasporamessenger is a way of giving thanks to God for saving his life and giving him a second chance.
“After my accident, I was immobilized and could do anything for myself. I had to depend on people for whatever I needed. After I got healed, I could not go back to my normal life. I felt God had given me a new lease in my life. God extended my life, and when your life is extended, you don’t live life as normal. I knew I had to do something. The website was born out of a burning desire to serve the Diaspora, as a way to appreciate what God has done for me,” says Isaac.
Some of the main pages on the Diasporamessenger are the Notice Board, Breaking News page, and the church page. The Notice Board is the most widely used service where people post notices, announcements and any happenings in their locality.
“There are many Kenyans abroad who want to interact, but they didn’t have a forum. Kenyans abroad also need information on what is going on in Kenya . For example, information on investing. Those in Kenya sometimes may lose contact with their friends and relatives. Diasporamessenger helps you track down your relatives and friends,” he says.
Diasporamessenger also offers services to prospective students.
“Students who want to study in the United States can also contact us. We usually advice them on several universities and their requirements. For example, we know colleges that have Kenyan professors, and so we are able to direct students to them,” Isaac says.
Diasporamessenger also aims to mobilize the community to help one another whenever a need arises.
“Whenever we see a need, we include that on our mailing list and people get involved. For example, when a Kenyan dies in the United States , the cost of transporting the body to Kenya is a minimum of $12,000. We have to raise an awareness in order to raise these funds. It is actually like a harambee,” he says.
Recently, Isaac was in Kenya visiting friends and family after twelve years. During his visit, he also aimed to establish more connections for people who live here in Kenya and would want to migrate to the United States one day.
“Many people for example after winning a green card simply sell all their things and move to the United States . But on arrival, they find out that they don’t like it or don’t fit in the society. Such people can end up depressed because they already sold everything they had in Kenya, and if they returned, they come back to nothing. That is why we advice that before you move, contact us so that we can advice you. We usually advice such people to come tour the land then decide if you want to settle. Don’t just sell your things and move,” he says.
Most people consider moving to the United States a very glamorous thing, but Isaac wants to correct this notion.
“We have had many incidents of Kenyans suffering abroad without anyone to share their problems with, even those who have family. And that is why on our website we also have the help line where Kenyans can talk to someone. It can be very lonely there. We have had cases of Kenyans being found dead in their apartments. I believe some of the deaths are stress related ,” Isaac says.
Isaac exhorts people to live a life of thanksgiving.
“When you can wake up and kick you blanket and get out of bed, appreciate God for it. Serving the diaspora is my way of giving back,” he says.
Isaac can be reached at [email protected]