It was April 2003 when I met Anthony on my first trip to Kenya. He was 18 years old and had recently moved to the Mully Children’s Family (MCF) home in Ndalani to attend school. That trip to Kenya changed my life forever, and it is also when I knew that I was being called into full time ministry IN AFRICA.
A couple of years later we started the Heart for Africa ministry, and a couple of years after that we bought the 2,500-acre piece of African bush in Eswatini, that we now call “Project Canaan”. Anthony was one of five MCF beneficiaries who was invited down from Kenya to start the project. The work was all manual back then and all very heavy lifting, but Anthony and his best buddy, Denis, worked tirelessly to clear the land, pick rocks from the field, plant the first maize, pray for rain, and then harvest the first crop. Without their hard work and tenacity in the early years, Project Canaan would not look like it does today.
After our family moved to Eswatini Anthony approached us and shared two life dreams that were in his heart. His first desire was to marry the love of his life, Celestine Mutinda, who was also a student at MCF, but his second desire had to come first. Anthony wanted to become a Registered nurse so that he could help suffering people, but also be able to provide for Celestine. He had his eye on this beautiful, strong and determined young woman for many years as he watched her from afar and took note of her focus on succeeding in life. We fully supported his plans, and cheered him on through the highs and lows of the next five years.
While Anthony was in University in Eswatini, Celestine was at school in Nairobi, getting her Bachelor Degree in Education, then she was teaching high school in Nairobi. In 2017 Anthony was ready to bring Celestine to Eswatini so that they could finally spend time together, and really get to know each other. Celestine first volunteered in the greenhouse and learned about our Aquaponics projects. Later she was hired as a teacher at the Project Canaan Academy and is loved by her students and fellow staff.
As the young couple’s friendship grew, and their relationship developed, conversations between families started to happen and plans for their union were initiated. Then Covid-19 hit the world. Suddenly all travel plans abruptly stopped and all wedding plans were crushed. Something had to be done. While Covid-19 restrictions would not allow them to travel back to Kenya for a “proper family wedding”, they decided to have a different kind of “family wedding” here on Project Canaan, and their new plans moved in to action.
The wedding party was chosen, complete with the cutest flower girls, junior bridesmaids and groomsmen in the country (yes I am biased). Dresses, and shoes were sought out around the country, dance and wedding rehearsals began. Yesterday the girls all had their fingernails polished, cakes were decorated, dresses prepared and last night the rehearsal party took place at the lodge. The groomsmen slept at The Lodge and the Bridesmaids slept at the Moringa Guest house. The excitement around Project Canaan is palpable as we prepare to see this young couple join together in marriage today.
Today at 9:30AM EST, our big family, with a few VIP guests, will participate in the wedding nuptials of Anthony Mutua Musyoka and Celestine Minoo Mutinda. The Best man is lifelong friend, Denis, Denis’ wife, Annah (also from MCF), and both of Denis’ daughters are also in the wedding party! It is the fulfillment of Anthony’s dreams, and the very first wedding at the Imphilo (which means “Life”) Amphitheatre on Project Canaan. While Covid-19 restricts us from hosting a celebratory meal with outside guests, we will have our own celebration with the children and staff at our dining hall called The Oasis. It will be the perfect end to a perfect day.
We WILL NOT let this global pandemic steal our joy, and we hope you are not allowing it to steal yours either.
You are welcome to join the wedding live by going to the Heart for Africa Facebook page, and watching the live feed starting at 9:30 AM EST. The wedding march will take up the first 30 minutes of the occasion, and will just be too much fun with many of our children participating. There will be performances in siSwati, Kamba (native language to Anthony and Celestine) and short speeches by only a few people. Please join us if you can, but more importantly, please join us in praying for this young couple who have chosen to spend their lives serving “the least of these” as missionaries in a foreign land.
Live from Eswatini …"Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:9