- He insists that women have more money and other blessings, including healing and victory over their challenges, because they are more inclined to believe his prophetic messages.
- As the congregation streams out at the end of the service, the bottles of “holy water” and “sanctified handkerchiefs” have sold out.
- The rush of congregants to the front when he asks people without jobs to come forward is both touching and puzzling.
Pastor “Prophet Dr” Victor Kanyari of the Sh310 “Plant a Seed” scandal has bounced back after an investigative story in 2014 exposed the deception behind the miracles in his Salvation Healing Ministry.
Before that, he had gained notoriety as the preacher who asked for a Sh310 offering, taken from the biblical verse in Malachi 3:10, which exhorts believers to give to the Lord.
After the scandal, he quietly reinvented himself with a programme on Radio Jambo, going by the name Bishop Samwel Maina.
He still asked listeners to give a “seed offering” for powerful intercessory prayers, but had reduced the amount to Sh250.
After a local newspaper exposed him, he went off-air. He now has a television station, Maajabu TV, which broadcasts sermons from his ministry, now based in Njiru, Nairobi.
Tucked between incomplete houses on a former expansive quarry, the blue-roofed building is still new, and undergoing finishing touches.
A small but vibrant congregation of 100 people or so is in church on the Sunday we went there.
But the church also holds prayer services on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and miracle services on Fridays.
All visitors are welcome and led to a tent set aside for them, where they are interviewed and their phone numbers and occupations recorded in a visitors’ book.
Pastor Kanyari’s silver-grey Range Rover is parked in the compound, and hawk-eyed ushers use walkie-talkies to coordinate security and other activities.
A casual glance at the car reveals paintwork at least three places just below the door handles.
But appearances can be quite deceptive. On May 16, 2019, he shared a photo on Instagram of what seemed like a party for his followers at a newly-built house.
The church has three services, from 7am to 11 am, each lasting about an hour. The main service begins at 1 1am and runs until 2.30 pm.
And only members of his worship team are allowed to record the services.
Before he enters, the prayer and song sessions are overseen by a woman preacher known only as Pastor Baby, an energetic singer and dancer with a powerful voice.
She tells the congregation to trust in the word of the “prophet”, and that he can heal the sick and pray for the jobless to get jobs.
Referring to his lifestyle, she tells the congregation to see for themselves just how blessed he is.
“I hope you all know how blessed the prophet is … He is, indeed, a blessed man of God, and he can pray for you to also receive blessings,” she says.
The session is also graced by 12 dancers from the praise and worship team, who sing a few songs, among them one praising Pastor Kanyari as the father of the faithful. It ends with an offering.
As soon as he steps into the pulpit, marked by shiny aluminium poles, he starts preaching about the importance of giving to the Lord, based on Malachi 3:10.
“Without faith, one cannot please God. You cannot be blessed if you do not follow the Lord. That is what defines faith,” he says.
He then regales the worshippers with a tale of a miraculous encounter at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on a trip to China.
He says a woman he prayed for to get a job actually got one at the airport and not only helped him when he had trouble with his travel documents, but also gave him Sh30,000 in appreciation.
“It is good to always bless others as you never know when the blessings will return to you, even though some of you here never return after your prayers are answered,” he says, to thunderous cheers.