Mary Kajula was born to missionary parents on June 26, 1949. Although born in Malawi, Mary is Tanzanian. Because her father was a mission school inspector, the family moved to Suji, Tanzania, where Mary attended the Suji Mission School and later attended the Bugema Secondary School in Uganda. She studied education at the Teachers College in Morogoro, a government school located in the central part of Tanzania.
For the past 30 years, Mary has taught in Tanzanian government elementary schools and now serves as the director of the Women’s Ministries, Children, and Family Life Departments at the Tanzanian Union office. Her husband, Pastor Joshua K. Kajula, is the president of the Tanzania Union. The office is located in Arusha, a city of northern Tanzania surrounded by some of Africa’s most famous landscapes and national parks.
Mary met her future husband while attending the Suji Mission School. Both Mary and Joshua enjoyed sports, but in different ways. “He enjoyed watching, and I enjoyed playing netball and football,” said Mary. “So from there we became friends, and the friendship led us to marriage.”
The couple married at the Heri Adventist Mission in 1969, and the family grew to include three beautiful daughters Glory, now 38 and married; Enid, now 35 and married; and Suzy, now 28 and single.
Mary enjoys visiting with women in their homes and praying with them. She is also happy to do what she can to help the women with problems that they face.
In addition to ministering to other pastors’ wives, Mary also reaches out to help those who do not yet know about Jesus. Remembering one man in particular who was helped with basic necessities and was so grateful that he nearly fainted, Mary advises, “As pastors’ wives, our focus should be first on giving people food, clothes, or even some money, and then we tell them about Jesus.”
Like most pastors’ wives, Mary has had times of discouragement. She remembers when “my husband was a leader where the people were always complaining and calling my husband names. I got tired of hearing this, so as my husband went out for his usual visitations, I sat at home on a couch, waiting for him so I could tell him to quit the job. But then a visitor knocked at the door. He said very few words and left.
Afterward I found myself quite calm. I learned that it was an angel who visited me to strengthen me, so that I might also strengthen my husband. Since that day I have become so strong, and it has really helped my pastor husband a lot. We work very cooperatively with people now more than ever.”
Mary has also learned that it’s good to be prepared for anything—such as being asked to preach with very little notice.
“I asked the Lord to give me words to say, which He did, but I also learned a lesson,” she recalls. “The lesson is that church members expect much from pastors’ wives, and we should be well prepared for God’s work all the time, so that when we are asked to present or do something, we will be ready.”
Mary and Joshua will celebrate 40 years of marriage this year, and they are still in love. “I love my husband because he understands me,” Mary says. “He is always there when I need him, he cares for our children, and most of all, he loves God’s work.”
And as much as she loves her family, Mary loves the Lord even more. “I love my Jesus more than I can write on this piece of paper,” she wrote to Shepherdess International. “He has been very close to me, as though I am the only human living. I’ve seen His great hand so many times. Without Him, there’s no life for me—in my life, my problems, my husband, my children, or His work. He guides me. He is a true friend to me.”