A decade ago, Pastor Angie Murenga had risen up the corporate ladder to the post of National Sales and Marketing manager of a renowned brand of coffee, when she received a totally different calling. Today, she leads a fulfilled life having found and followed her life’s purpose. She tells ESTHER KIRAGU about the great steps of faith she took into her new calling and her take on marriage and parenting.
When I first met Angie Murenga at her offices along Ngong Road, it felt like I had known her all my life. She is warm, bubbly and fun, too; nothing like the stony-faced men and women of cloth we are accustomed to. I complement her on her personality and she admits that growing up, she was always the life of the party.
The first born of four siblings, Angie grew up in a privileged family in Nairobi’s Kyuna estate. She attended various esteemed schools including Muthaiga Nursery School, Loreto Convent Valley Road, Loreto Convent Msongari and Kianda School. She quips humorously, “Muthaiga School was then such an exclusive white school that my mother had to join a sewing circle just to get me enrolled!”
After completing her high school education, Angie forfeited her A-Levels and chose to go straight into the catering and hospitality industry as a marketer.
“I guess my vibrant personality steered my life into a career in the hospitality industry. I liked working with people and developing their experiences and so I knew marketing would provide me with that kind of an environment,” says Angie who studied at Kenya Polytechnic before moving to Leeds Polytechnic in the UK.
Her 17 years in the hospitality industry includes working both in Kenya and the UK. She got a rich and diverse experience working in varied places including the Norfolk Hotel, Central Catering Kitchen (University of Nairobi), Mount Kenya Safari Club, The Stanley Hotel and the London Metropole Hotel in Central London among others.
So passionate was she in marketing that she graduated top in the Marketing Society of Kenya (MSK) sales and marketing class of 2006. In the course of her career, the entrepreneurship bug bit and Angie opened up a couple of businesses including Angie’s Restaurant at Rahimtulla Towers in Nairobi.
Heeding the call to church ministry
Angie was doing well leading a team and having the time of her life when she got a calling into the Christian ministry.
“For years, I attended the Nairobi Chapel Church that was then located along University way where Mamlaka Hill Chapel currently sits. In 2003, I gave my life to Christ and this led to a process of transformation and deliverance from smoking, drinking, anger and bitterness. But it was when I relocated with Mavuno Church in 2006 and did a study called Mizizi, which seeks to connect believers to their God-given purpose that my life transformed totally,” she says.
Angie felt a persistent calling to go into ministry fulltime but kept shrugging off the idea. However, the call would not go away prompting her to team up with some friends and undergo a 40-day fast as well as read Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life in search of her life’s purpose.
She says in the midst of the fast, her personality changed. “I used to be loud but suddenly I was quiet and calm. Those who knew me thought something was wrong because I didn’t seem my usual self. Looking back I now realise it was the conviction that changed me,” she explains.
She had a hard time convincing her colleagues and boss that she was quitting her job to go into ministry fulltime as they thought she was possibly moving to a competitor company.
“Quitting my job was a big leap of faith. My biggest worry was rent and to my surprise, as soon as I quit my job, I got a call from someone who offered to pay my rent for the year! I knew this could only be God’s doing,” she explains.
Soon after, Angie enrolled into the Mavuno Church internship programme where she discovered among many other things her purpose. She then attended the Kingdom Academy for two years, which led to the refinement of her calling – to reach out to marketplace professionals and entrepreneurs and coach, guide and equip them in discovery, understanding and fulfillment of their purpose.
She does this through a 12-week programme dubbed the Purpose and Leadership Forum (PLF), which first run in 2008. Angie has authored The Purpose and Leadership Training Manual, a tool used to equip leaders in the PLF classes, which she offers thrice a year – January, April and September.
Registration for the next season, which starts in September 2016, is ongoing via her website www.KingdomBusinessSolutions.org. In between the seasons, she also runs a variety of events.</p >
Several marketplace leaders across the globe and in various forums have gone though the training. Currently, the forum is also offered in Tanzania and Switzerland and plans are underway to revise the current manual as well as translate it into French and Swahili in a bid to expand internationally to other parts of Africa and Europe.
Her message to marketplace professionals and entrepreneurs is: “You’re in a greater position to influence change in various sectors of the society as you have a privilege that majority of Kenyans and Africans don’t.”
Angie also does one-on-one and group mentorship on all matters related to life including career, family and marriage, among others, and gives talks on invitation.
On the family front…
Angie was married for six-and-a-half years before her marriage fell apart. Despite her marriage having failed, she believes and advocates for marriage.
“I have learnt from the mistakes I made in my marriage. Now I am aware that marriage has seasons and if I had stuck through that season, it would have passed. Consequently, I now believe unless there is violence and one’s life is in danger, marriage shouldn’t end. However, it is important to get into the marriage with the right foundation and attitude,” she says exuding lots of wisdom.
All the same, she is a proud mother to 21-year-old Althea Wamiru, a recent communications graduate of Leeds University. Plans are underway for Althea to enroll for her Masters degree. The two enjoy a very close-knit relationship.
“We are very open with one another. Mum is my mentor and she shares with me both her successes and mistakes so that I can learn from her and do better,” says Althea.
Based on her experience, Angie believes that parents should be friends with their children and be real with them so as to coach and mentor them well instead of delegating that responsibility to other people such as teachers and house helps.
However, she emphasises the need for balance between friendship and parenting to one’s children. In this age and time when jobs are quite demanding, Angie’s advice to parents is to be intentional about creating time to spend with their children.As we end this interview, Angie reiterates that a life without purpose is not worth living.
“When you neither follow your calling nor maximise your potential, you will always feel that you are missing out on something. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck in life, find your purpose and live it. You will be amazed at what a great life you will live,” she concludes.
Published in August 2016