When Sharon Mkagwa was invited by a friend to JCC Thika for singer Timothy Kitui’s live performance, she was elated as the singer was one of her favourite artistes. She tagged her sister Emma along. After the service, the person who had invited Sharon insisted that she meet his friend who turned out to be Anthony Keya, whom she later discovered was Timothy’s brother.

“I had not gone there to mingle but I obliged out of courtesy. I did not expect anything more out of that conversation,” says 27-year-old Sharon.

On his part, Antony had noticed the two ladies during the introduction session. “My first thought was that they were ‘slay queens’ so I had sort of written them off in my mind,” explains Anthony of their meeting in February 2018.

Despite Anthony’s initial notion, speaking to Sharon that day left a mark. A short while later, they reconnected in a WhatsApp group and around May, they started talking consistently.

“Soon after we started talking, I noticed he had some personal issues and my first thought was to let things die off. He did not have a job and he had some emotional baggage which I felt were too much,” Sharon explains.

However, after some consideration and a heartfelt conversation with her closest friend, she decided to let things flow.

“I figured that if it were any other friend, I would not abandon them because of such issues. I would support and encourage them, which is what I did,” she adds. As their conversations ensued, a romance kindled between them.

For Anthony, 35, there was no question about his inclination towards Sharon. She was caring, God-fearing and had no problem with him being a minister in church, which was the picture he had of his ideal wife.

“She understood from the get-go my financial situation and not once did she complain. She actually paid for our first date and threw me a birthday party, which no one had ever done before,” recalls Anthony.

For Sharon, it was his honesty that won her over. “He is an open book – honest and genuine, which I really value. He did not fake his lifestyle to impress me. I wanted a relationship that was based on trust and honesty. For instance, he knew from the beginning about my daughter,” she shares.

The game changer came towards the end of June that year. “I was still a bit unsure of how our relationship would turn out so I asked God for a sign. On this particular day, I had walked to church since I didn’t have fare and when I got to church, I found that she had sent me some money. We’d not spoken that day so there was no way she could have known. It was just her caring nature,” shares Anthony.

On speaking to their pastor, Rev. Kelvin, about her, he was not met with any objections. That was the impetus he needed to set things in motion. By early September, the two had done introductions to each other’s family as they planned for the wedding and fortunately, Anthony had secured a job.

The proposal came on September 9, 2018; a day before her birthday. Under the guise of throwing her a surprise birthday party, Anthony caught Sharon unawares when he got on one knee and popped the question.

As with most couples, the wedding planning did not go down smoothly. “We had differences on things to do with décor, the budget and even the gown. We had to compromise for things to work. To make things worse, I got sick three days to the wedding. Thankfully, by D-day, I was feeling much better,” shares Sharon.

Despite the hitches, the couple tied the knot on April 13, 2019. They are now five months into marriage and they are happy that things turned out the way they did.