Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Heartbreak for pastor as bride goes missing

Mugambi and his fiancée Jackline Cholo. They dated for more than three years. [PHOTO: JENIFFER WACHIE/STANDARD] Jackline Mbala Cholo missing: Pastor Justine Phares Mugambi of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church Africa sat at a corner in his Githurai house, staring blankly at the ceiling.

Yesterday was to be a big day in his life. For the last five months, he had been preparing for a wedding ceremony which was never to be.

A week before the wedding date, his fiancée Jackline Mbala Cholo, also a pastor, requested to visit her parents at the Coast. She was to return in two days but never showed up to date.

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Having dated for three and half years, Mugambi, 39, who hails from Meru County, was confident all would be well despite the fact that Jackline’s parents had opposed their wedding plans on grounds he comes from a different tribe.

Mugambi continued with wedding preparations. He made sure the wedding attire for the marching team and his parents were ready a week before the big day.

A white suit and and a white shirt with a navy blue collar were well ironed and hanged on his walls to await their memorable day. The tall and slender man of God had also chosen white shoes to go with the suit. He also bought white and navy blue ribbons to decorate the church.

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On a small brief case in a corner of his sitting room was a pair of black suit and two African dresses for his father, mother and step mother.

In a grey envelope on the table were the marriage certificate they would sign. Every thing was set. He was only waiting for the bride to return so that they could relocate to Embu International Pentecostal Holiness Church Africa where the wedding was to take place. Bishop Ayub Mureithi was to officiate at the wedding.

Mugambi was to transfer and serve at the Kiambu International Pentecostal Holiness Church after the wedding. He had also planned to have their honeymoon in either Naivasha or Meru.

“We had three committees for the wedding. One committee was in my rural home in Chuka, another in the Embu church and one in Githurai, where my fiancée lived. All the contributions were in and we had purchased everything for the wedding,” Mugambi said.

On Sunday last week, Mugambi and his fiancée kept communicating through text message and phone calls. She even assured him all was well and that she would return within the week.

Jackline Mbala Cholo missing

“The last message she wrote shocked me but I was still optimistic. She told me she was in Machakos on her way home and added she had agreed to marry me but was not sure if that would be possible anymore. I was heartbroken. I deleted the message immediately,” Mugambi told The Standard on Sunday when we visited him in his single room in Githurai where he moved temporarily to coordinate the wedding preparations.

His fellow pastors visited him to encourage and pray with him. Pastor Irene Kaboi of Goshen Children’s Home and Pastor David Kariuki of Redeemed Gospel Church, Ruiru, who were members of the wedding committee encouraged him to leave everything to God.

Jackline is yet to return and Mugambi has been at pains to explain to his family and friends what may have led to the collapse of his wedding.

“I know him personally. He is a strong man of God. We walked with him throughout when they began their wedding plans and we visited his in-laws home during the dowry negotiations though the parents of his fiancée were against it. We agreed to proceed with the wedding plans because marriage is between two people and they both loved each other,” said Pastor Kariuki.

Kariuki said in-laws should not interfere with marriages.

Mugambi said they had spent more than Sh200,000 on preparations.

Friends and relatives who did not believe their ears made several calls to inquire about the wedding on Saturday morning.

“I only switch on my phone when I want to make call because people calls me to find out what happened,” he said. The emotionally drained pastor opted to give out the five sets of his wedding cakes. He said he would take one to his church in Embu where the wedding was to take place, another to his rural church, one to his parents. He would have one for himself.

He said he tried to get in touch with his in-laws but he was told his fiancée was not available. Our efforts to call the bride’s family were futile as their phone were switched off.

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