Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Promise I made to Simeo Melkio Ondeto of Legion Maria

My Conversation with Baba Simeo Melkio Messias

On 8th September 1991 at around 12 noon, Simeo Melkio Ondeto, the Lord of Legion Maria was speaking to our congregation through the Holy Spirit. As I was not in the church because I had gone out to play with fellow children, I was called to hear the message the Lord had for me.  Our conversation went like this:

Simeo Melkio: Tobias, why do you go out playing football on Sunday?
Tobias: (silent, no answer).
Simeo Melkio: Did you know my altar was in a great mess?
Tobias: I am sorry I didn’t check it this morning before leaving for the playground.
Simeo Melkio: From today, you must never go out to play on Sunday morning. Every Sunday, make sure to arrive in church before 8 a.m. Once you arrive, clean the church and change the flowers on my altar. Assist with preparations for the mass and help the priests and teachers of the church in their work. Do you understand?
Tobias: Yes Lord.
Simeo Melkio: I see you came here without a robe? Tell your parents that I have ordered them to buy you a white robe as soon as possible. Tell them I do not want to see you again in church in those clothes.
Tobias: I will do so Lord.
Simeo Melkio: I want young children born in Legion Maria to learn the faith. You are the future of this faith. If you do not learn this faith, it shall not be passed to the next generation. You know, when the generation of your parents die and go, it is you and your generation that will carry the faith forward. That is all I wanted to tell you.
Tobias: Thank you Lord.
Haunted by the Conversation
About 2 hours after this conversation with Simeo, news broke out that Simeo was dead. I could not believe it. I had just spoken to him and I was not ready to believe he had passed on. Therefore, I joined the group of Legion Maria faithful who were waiting for the news to be confirmed. We waited at our home compound in silence for some hours as the news was being confirmed through a telephone call to the diocese. And by around 4:30 pm, we had confirmed the truth.
At the confirmation of this news, the conversation with the Lord started haunting me. I asked myself so many questions about it over and over again? Why did he choose to call me of all the small boys in our home, let alone our parish? Why did he outline those responsibilities just before I learned of his death? I asked myself so many questions. But as it was time to go out to the burial at Got Calvary, I could not sit down with a priest or an older adherent to help cool down my worries.

The Work Begins

Days after the burial of Simeo Melkio and the drama that followed, the faithful of our parish settled down. They had now learned to cope with the mockery and outright insults that followed the death of their God. Well, I have to say it was not easy to be a member of Legion Maria those days. People waited for our processions along the roadside just to mock us and tell us that our Lord had died. Some courageous ones even pulled the Rosaries violently from our necks. For children, we had to get used to being reminded by fellow children that our God had died.

To help us children cope with the challenge of the time, our priest developed a Sunday school program for kids. The program included training on catechism, prayers and answers to common questions on Legion Maria. We would arrive for the program as from 7 a.m. on Sundays and would be in there until around 8:30 am when adult members of the church would arrive for prayers. Then we would be freed to go back home to refresh a bit before coming back for Mass.

During the training, I quickly built a good rapport with our teacher and he would sit down with me after Sunday church services to answer my questions. He would also bring me the tapes of Reverent Romanus Odongo and Sister Hellena and I could listen to them worship Simeo Melkio. I really loved those tapes and would sit for many hours over the weekend just listening to them. In fact, by early 1992, I had mastered the words Odongo and Hellena used for Simeo Melkio and even copied their styles so much so I could mimic the way they worshipped when I was alone.

Because of my mastery of catechism, I was soon appointed a peer catechist at our parish. Peer catechists are young catechists who have mastered the teachings so well that they can teach their fellows. I served as a peer catechist for around 3 years then I was promoted to a chapel catechist, helping both adults and children in our chapel to learn catechism, prayers and other teachings. In short, I became a teacher of the faith.

Saved and Christian Union Leader

When I joined high school, I had a big challenge for my faith. Our school was sponsored by the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church and every often, their preachers would come to the school to conduct services. We had to attend the services. There was no Legion Maria church close to our school and the church was being mocked regularly by the visiting preachers that it was really difficult to declare in public that you belonged to the faith. Even I could not do so publicly as a form one, a mono!

In form two, I joined the ecumenical students’ organization, the Christian Union. There was also the alternative of the Young Catholic Students (YCS), but they did not conduct their services in the school and the students used to go to the church for Mass, several kilometers away from the school. So I decided to join the group of Christians that worshipped in the school compound and attended Sunday services in school. In the organization, I was persuaded by the pastors that frequented our services to declare that I was born again, so I did exactly that and accepted Jesus as my personal savior. For me, accepting Jesus as my personal savior had nothing to do with rejecting Simeo Ondeto. I believed they were one and the same person and by taking the step to declare by rebirth, I believed I was moving a step further in my relationship with the Lord.

Soon, I became a pillar of the organization, a preacher, a praise and worship team member, a bible teacher and leader. In 2003, I was elected the secretary general of the Christian union and became a critical cog in the operations of the group. In fact, I got the opportunity to interact with great pastors, preachers from Kenyan universities, born-again Christians from different churches and people of different denominations. I attended gospel challenges in many schools and also hosted weekend gospel challenges in our school.

My Faith in Simeo Gets Tested

As I worked as a Christian Union leader, various brethren in Christ started questioning my adherence to Legion Maria faith. How can you be a Christian and be a Legion Maria member? Don’t you know Legion Maria is a cult? Don’t you know that Simeo Ondeto is a man from Kano who just cheated gullible people with his miracles? Loads and loads of verses were opened frequently to persuade me to give up my faith in Legion Maria. During the holidays, I would be requested to attend Christian crusades to avoid being yoked together with followers of Simeo Ondeto.

I have to say 2003 was a very difficult year for me in my faith. At times, what I was taught by the Christians conflicted with the practices of Legion Maria so much that I thought it was right to abandon the faith of my dad. In fact, I rarely attended Legion Maria services in 2003 and 2004. Those were my lowest years in knowing Simeo. I was slowly drifting away from him. Sometimes, I doubted him. I felt what I was being told had a lot of truth. I also thought there were bigger opportunities for me in the Christian ministry than in Legion Maria. As a Christian preacher, I had gained ground and known pastors. I could be given the chance to preach the word of God in crusades. I also had opportunities for scholarship with one of the Pentecostal Churches and I could have easily studied theology. Besides, Legion Maria just appeared odd and uncouth for a young man looking for opportunities to progress in the faith and in life.

Second Conversation with Simeo Ondeto

But in 2005, a prophet visited our home and I had another conversation with Simeo Melkio that changed my perspective for good. Speaking through a prophet called Samson on the floor of my mother’s house; these are some of the things Simeo told me.

Simeo Melkio: Tobias, what does a son do when he feels he has become a fully grown-up man?
Tobias: He takes up a wife and builds his home away from his father, starting up his own family.
Simeo Melkio: All right! You have given a mature answer. Now, I ask you another question. Have you ever been told the person who gave you the name Tobias?
Tobias: No. I just know I was baptized and given this name.
Simeo Melkio: Okay! (Turning to my mother who was kneeling some two meters from where I was) Mary, have you told Tobias who gave him his name?
Mary: No, my Lord.
Simeo Melkio: Ooooh, then tell him now briefly.
Mary: Before he was born, you spoke through the Holy Spirit and said he would be named Tobias. He was still in the womb.
Simeo Melkio: All right! Tobias, God does not lie and his promises are always true. His promises may take longer to be realized but they will come to pass at the ordained time. Now, do you know why I named you Tobias even before you were born?
Tobias: No.
Simeo Melkio: Hahahaha! You can’t know and you won’t know unless it is revealed to you. But I want to tell you today, all the work you have been doing as a Christian minister, as a preacher was my entire plan. You were in the training ground preparing for the work ahead. At this time you will not know the work that is ahead, but in time I will reveal to you what you shall accomplish for me.
Tobias:  Lord, may your wish be done.
Simeo Melkio: It shall be. But for now, I want you to go before the cross and my prophet shall pray for you to be filled with my spirit of truth. Thereafter, you shall know what I have planned for you.
Tobias: Thank you Lord.
Prayer before the Cross
When I went before the cross, Simeo Melkio sent St. Joseph the Glorified to speak to me. It was a long conversation. St. Joseph took me through my life, my studies and my role as child of Simeo. He answered many of the questions that I had about the faith. He taught me about the Gospel of Glory for which Simeo Melkio was sent to accomplish as the second Christ. At the end of the conversation, St. Joseph the Glorified told me that I was required to fast for 3 days and thereafter to request our priest to perform for me 4 types of Holy Masses: Exorcism (Red), St. Mary’s (Blue), St. Abraham’s (Yellow) and All Saints Mass.
At the end of it all, St. Joseph spoke to me saying:
“You shall be filled with Abrahamic spirit and you shall proclaim the gospel of Simeo, defending this faith wherever you go.”

My Last Christian Union Crusade
It was in 2005 when I attended my last Christian Union crusade at Mbita. That was a repentance crusade led by Prophet Owuor, then a young and charismatic preacher. It was in that crusade that I finally realized I did not belong there; I belonged somewhere else. In the crusade, pastor Owuor of the Repentance Ministry spoke animatedly about other denominations and how sinful people were in those denominations. But more unpleasantly, he mocked and ridiculed the followers of Simeo Ondeto, using the words devil worshippers, the lost, the blind, the gullible etc several times to describe them.

 In the process, I realized how distinct we Legion Maria members were from what Owuor proclaimed. I realized how Christians liked scoffing at and insulting Simeo Ondeto at any opportunity. A fire burned inside me. Something arose in my heart. A voice called me. Someone was telling me it is time to stand up for Simeo. So as I listened to Owuor’s message, I started feeling like someone needed to respond. Simeo had been insulted long enough and it was time someone stood up to his insulters.  In fact, I couldn’t wait for the convention to end. I walked out and on that day, I chose to heed the call to defend Simeo, to become his apologist.

Work in Progress

It is in the same year that I started researching my faith. I organized visits to different places and to meet different leaders of our religious organization for interviews. I wanted all the information I could get. I collected papers of Simeo’s teachings, the tapes I could get, wrote down interviews with different witnesses of the gospel of Simeo, kept loads of notes of the faith and started writing short pamphlets on our faith. I also learned to preach Simeo in public and to defend him.

I am Simeo’s ambassador. I am his apologist. I am his servant.
This is the promise I made to Simeo Melkio Ondeto.
May he also call many of you to be his apologists and servants?