Stealing my father’s books to read changed my journey
My name is Barnie Achoki, I was a good student of English though I took sciences at my A Levels. I developed a desire to write in primary school from my elder brother who during school holidays he would write short stories in his exercise book and draw pictures that fascinated me. I joined the ‘light of life Library’ in South C where I used to borrow Hardy Boys to read. Later I graduated to stealing my Dad’s James Hardly Chase books to read. That’s how I developed the reading culture that I’ve maintained to date.
For writing, I loved writing compositions in secondary school. I lost touch with writing when I took sciences in A Level but was to reconnect with it later in India where I went for my University Education. When I got born-again there, I started journaling my devotions which I would then share with my colleagues during devotions and later on turned them into my sermon notes that I preached in our Students Fellowship.
Becoming a professional writer
This became my habit until a few years into my pastoral ministry, I started writing weekly encouragements to all my small group Leaders. They were encouraged and would always ask me whenever I missed writing. One of my small group Leaders later became an Editorial Manager of a new daily publication in the City. I asked him if he could publish some of the articles that I had been writing and he agreed to that sometime back in 2009 thus began my weekly column with the People Daily.
At first, it was only one column where I could write on current issues, politics, relationship matters, etc. I later focused only on relational matters and in the year 2012, they asked my wife Grace and I if we could answer relationship matters in that newspaper. For the first three years, I did it pro-bono before they started paying me for doing what I enjoyed doing. I now have a weekly column named Two-in-One and the column with my wife where we answer questions on matters of relationships.
A challenge that changed my destiny
In 2019, Grace and I popped in at CLC Kenya to see Muthoni Mercy, whom we knew because of our children doing the same program. We were together with author Abiah Mckenah in the US for a Student’s Conversation, and that’s how we got to become close with Muthoni. During that visit, Muthoni challenged us to write a book after showing us what other African Authors were doing through CLC Kenya publishers. She made what had hitherto looked like a huge mountain look like something doable. My wife had been encouraging me to publish a book for many years. She had even suggested that we get someone who could put together in an orderly fashion all the many relationship and marriage questions we had answered throughout all those years. I was finally cornered by these two women, Grace and Muthoni. I had no excuse. So with the help of CLC Kenya, we broke it down into sizeable and manageable pieces financially, and within that year our book “Marriage, Thistles and Flowers” was published. We thank God for CLC and all our well wishers who saw us through this project.
I’m now very encouraged and am in the process of coming up with three workbooks;
a) SoMa 1, is a pre-marital guide for those courting couples. Thus again is drawn from our experience preparing couples for marriage in the last 15 years.
b) SoMa 2, is on Navigating Conflict, geared towards coaching young couples to navigate through the conflict/drama stage in their marriage. It can be used for those married even longer but find themselves stuck due to unresolved conflict.
c) SoMa 3, is a marriage Coaching for those who have been married for a long and have a healthy marriage but want to work on specific areas of their marriages.
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