Mama Esther

Each of God’s children has a special story of how we came to know the Lord and the mark we make on history. Sometimes our mark may seem ever so faint while we are living, and might not stand out among the billions of people walking the earth today. However, God sees us a bit differently than the world does.

We received this testimony that came in with a memorial gift towards our missionary work. The gift was in honor of a poor old Kenyan lady named Mama Esther, who lived a life that went unnoticed by almost everyone outside of her humble little community. But God noticed her, and now her testimony will be an encouragement to thousands of believers around the world.

Here is her story.

Mama Esther is my husband’s mother. She was born in 1924 at Kaimosi Village in the western part of Kenya. Her parents were Christian teachers, missionary preachers, and evangelists who moved between Kenya and Tanzania, preaching the Gospel. They knew how to read and write, but Esther was their first child and could not read, write, or count, despite their efforts to teach her.

She memorized and recited many Bible verses and sang many Christian songs in her language: Kimaragoli. She prayed long prayers between 3AM and 6AM, and had a gift of speaking in tongues. I will quote what she told me about her parents, "When Baba and Mama saw that I could not read or write, they gave me a digging hoe. They taught me to dig and grow food for a living." Mama Esther stopped digging and chopping firewood with an axe at age 93 when she started ailing. She still moved around the homestead and told her grandchildren to cultivate when she couldn't.

Mama Esther was blessed with four children who all grew to be adults. She taught them to dig, sing, pray, and recite Bible verses. She took them to school. She instructed them to tell the truth at all costs. She taught them to respect everybody, young or old, to never fight, and to help others. She encouraged them to share what they had, despite being poor and needy. She herself lived a life of giving, and sharing anything and everything.

One example was when I built her a bigger sheet-metal roof house. One time I came home and found the house was gone, because she had called people to tear it down and build three tiny houses from it, so that they each had a roof. She planted and harvested a lot of food, but within two months of harvest, she had nothing because she had shared everything. People took advantage of her every year, but she never seemed to notice or change.

Mama Esther helped me raise a 24-hour-old baby (Naomi) when the wife to my brother died after giving birth. When she learned that the mother was dead and my mom was long gone, she stepped in and nurtured this tiny being, who is now a grown-up girl. I was a teacher and a mother of three children, and Bro. Tom (my husband) was in the US. This is the only year she didn't do what she enjoyed doing (digging), but moved in to live with me in a small village and babysit Naomi while I was in school. She was a mother and not a mother-in-law to me.

The last and most important thing I want to you to know about Mama Esther is about her salvation. She opposed the Message of the hour when my husband introduced it in the home and started baptizing people in the village, including her own church members in which she had a leadership position. She fought and prayed hard to bring down the Message of Bro. Branham, to no avail. She told everybody that she heard a voice that had told her to be baptized under the Flag (The Salvation Army Church), and unless she hears the same voice, she would never change or believe in anything else. This was her stand for 10 years.

But on the 1st Jan. 1985, at our house, when she had visited us over holidays, as we watched the new year set in at midnight, she went into her long prayer mode and speaking in tongues. At 1AM, she had a breakthrough. She announced that the "Voice" had commanded her to, "Go into the water now, and get baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ."

My husband tried to convince her to wait till daylight, because it was too dangerous to walk out at night in the city, but she became so restless and we couldn't calm her down. At 5AM my husband left to get the nearest believer, who lived 20 miles away in a village. At 7AM my husband immersed his mother in a river full of very cold water and baptized her in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and she was filled with the Holy Ghost then and there. For 24 hours the Spirit of God hovered around in the house and could be felt by everyone that came in.

Mama Esther's Christian life was a mystery. As I said before, she did not read or write, and she didn't understand English either. After her baptism, she liked listening to the tapes of Bro. Branham in English, without translation.

When my husband left for the US in 1987 and I was left with her, she always requested me to play for her the Message in the evening. One time I asked Mama Esther whether she understood what the prophet was preaching. She told me she understood everything, because it was the "Voice of God." I asked her how she knew that it was the Voice of God, and she said, "I know because it is the same Voice that commanded me to go into the water and get baptized while I was at your house."

Since then Mama Esther has sat with a lowered head while listening to the Message of the prophet Brother Branham, and nobody questioned her understanding because, "It is the same Voice that commanded me to be baptized in water."

Everybody is going to miss Mama Esther at the church, because she always arrived first and sat on her mat through the service without saying a single word. Most songs were sung in English or Swahili, which she did not speak, but she never missed a single service. She sang, recited Bible verses, and prayed in her house.

She was a special person, and she raised a special person: my brother and husband Tom Wamalwa. He is struggling after a stroke, but would have liked to have gone to Kenya to lower his mother down into the belly of the earth, as he lowered her into the water to get Eternal Life.

May God bless you.

Sister Catherine Wamalwa