August 19, 2010 – Renowned US gospel artist Israel Houghton was in Kenya this past weekend with a message for the youth, “you can change Kenya”.
His performance was pegged on The Power of One, his latest album, which he has been touring.
In a highly charged concert that occasionally broke for Israel to explain his message and testify about his life, the singer wooed the audience with his husky voice and amazing guitar skills.
Youth thronged the event in the hundreds nearly filling up the massive Nairobi Baptist Church building on Ngong Road.
The Purpose Voices choir from the Purpose Centre church were the curtain raisers, followed by Neema, who did an amazing rendition of the national anthem.
After a couple of hits she was followed on stage by Jemimah Thiong’o, and then Kanjii Mbugua who belted out one of his recent releases, “Dream Again”.
Ron Luce, of the Teen Mania fame, was also in the house, encouraging young Kenyan Christians to be serious in their faith and by so doing change the world.
But no one was prepared for the energy that Israel brought on stage, nor his sober message.
Israel comes from a ‘culturally diverse’ background and was conceived when his mother was just 17.
“One time, when my mother was walking in the streets, a woman ran across to the road to speak with her… I think I am alive today because of her.”
The woman told Israel’s mother that Jesus loves her and will take care of her – words she no doubt needed to hear because of pressure to abort her child.
Israel strongly believes that to make a change in the world around you, you don’t need to cross continents, but just the road or the room.
His was a message of hope, belief and change.