May 22, 2024

Meet Oloo Laurine: A passionate reader seeking knowledge

We’re delighted to introduce you to an individual whose world revolves around the pages of books. Oloo Laurine is a dedicated and enthusiastic reader who is currently engaged as an apprentice with I-Serve Africa (a Kenyan organisation that promotes faithful Bible teaching and servant leadership). Her commitment to reading goes beyond leisure – it’s a voyage of discovery, a path to enlightenment, and a means to explore the depths of various subjects. As we delve into Laurine’s insights about her reading journey, favorite genres, impactful books, get ready to be inspired by a fervent reader who believes that books are not just words on paper, but gateways to endless possibilities.

Origins of the Reading Passion:

Can you take us back to the beginning? When did your love for reading first ignite, and what are some of your earliest memories of being captivated by a book?

I don’t remember the exact age I started reading but I was in lower primary school. I loved reading “Shujaaz” (a comic published in Kenya about an anonymous pirate radio DJ who engages different media to share good ideas that young people are using to improve their lives), because I enjoyed the jokes. But one time I read one that was quite “dirty” and I quit reading the comic. Not long after, I developed interests in newspapers although they weren’t as fun as “Shujaaz” and had stuff that was too hard for my little brain to understand. One day I found one with a pullout called “Twinkle Stars” that had children’s stories and that was the beginning of many years of reading. My dad later bought me two story books as a gift after he read my composition and thought it was so good. One book was tited “Wanted” and the other ” The Orange Thieves” which I read in less than 72 hours. I couldn’t find more books to read because my parents weren’t in a position to buy them but I kept saying, “One day I will be rich enough to buy my own books.” I borrowed story books from friends in school, the school library and read almost all stories found in the English text books. I loved imagining and picturing each character in real life.

In high school, we had a CU patron who loved to read and I borrowed books from him. That is how my reading grew overtime and I began exploring many genres.

Favorite Literary Genres:

What genres resonate with you the most, and why do they hold a special place in your heart?

I started with fictional novels but realized those stories were not real and weren’t adding much knowledge to me. I am a lover of knowledge. So I started looking for books that would help me know more about life, but especially more about spirituality. I ended up with an unquenchable love for theological books. When I got born again, I had several questions about things that were not clear. Several scriptures were not making sense. I needed to understand what I am believing and why. I was quite shy and couldn’t ask questions so I decided to look for answers on my own in books. That’s how I ended up loving theological books. Two in particular are my most treasured: “What is the gospel?” By Gilbert Greg and “Transforming Power of the Gospel” by Jerry Bridges. These books contributed immensely to my understanding of salvation — what we are being saved from, why it is important and what that means.

Could you recommend a book from your favorite genre that you believe has the power to change perspectives or lives?

This is a tricky one. I have several favorite reads. But my most recent favorite is “God’s Design for the Church ” by Conrad Mbewe. He is African and you can resonate easily with all the illustrations he gives of African churches. It is the one book on Church that I really loved.

Literary Exploration:

As an avid reader, you’ve likely encountered a multitude of authors and styles. Are there any literary discoveries that caught you by surprise, leading you to explore new horizons?

Reading Fanny Crosby’s biography led me to wanting to read more biographies — stories of real people who lived real lives and had real challenges. I have also gained interest in knowing stories behind different hymns. (Fanny is an American mission worker, poet, lyricist, and composer who swrote more than 8,000 hymns and gospel songs, including “To God be the Glory” “Draw me Nearer” and “A Wonderful Savior is Jesus my King”).

Impactful Reads:

Could you share a book that profoundly influenced your thinking or provided a fresh outlook on life?

“The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim and Kate Keller

How did this particular book shape your perspective or inspire personal growth?

Society had painted a marred picture of marriage to me when I was growing up and I hated the idea of marriage and thought marriages don’t work. But at the same time, I saw some marriages thrive and I kept wondering how this was possible. I wanted to know the secret to happy, godly marriages. The book “The Meaning of Marriage ” is one I will read and reread in the future. Tim clearly explains what marriage is and what it is not and its challenges. What makes this book unique is his practicality and openness to even talk about his own life with Kathy and their highs and lows. There’s a constant reminder to the readers that marriage has its challenges because we are getting married to fellow sinners and that means we need to extend grace and unconditional love and remember that it is a gift from God to glorify him. There is also a chapter on singlehood, which I greatly appreciated.

Reading Rituals:

Many readers have unique habits or rituals associated with their reading time. What are some of yours?

The first one is buying many books and then reading the new ones as the old ones wait. I always want that next book which isn’t on my bookshelf, which makes me wonder whether if this is lack of discipline or just me being a book lover.

Secondly is, I always have a book, bookmark and pencil in my bag. I am always looking for the slightest opportunity to read. Many people find that odd but it’s the most comfortable thing. I don’t mind waiting for hours so long as I have a book with me.

Do you have a favorite reading spot or time of day?

I prefer reading in the morning but I’ m not limited. I will read any other time as long as it’s convenient and it is not taking time for a different activity. Where I live currently it is very cold so I prefer reading in bed.

Book Recommendations:

Our readers are always eager to expand their literary repertoire. Could you suggest a few must-read books that have left a lasting impact on you?

  • Transforming Power of the Gospel by Jerry Bridges
  • What is the Gos.pel? by Gilbert Greg
  • Prosperity? Seeking the True Gospel by Michael Mwaura
  • The Hole in our Holiness by Kevin Deyoung

These are a must-read for all Christians. Each author has a unique style of writing but they all communicate the gospel so clearly.

Balancing Life and Reading:

In a busy world, finding time for reading can be a challenge. How do you manage to balance your reading passion with other aspects of your life?

I have a planner. I plan my activities daily and one of the things I do everyday is reading my Bible and a chapter or two of a book, depending on the length and content of the book. Sometimes I read late at night when I am unable to sleep. I try to limit the time I spend on screen at night so I take a book to keep me busy till I am ready to sleep.

Over the years, I have come to appreciate the gift of singlehood. I don’t have many engagements, which gives me lots of time at my disposal, most of which I spend reading a book or an article online.

Book-Related Goals:

Are there any literary goals you’re currently pursuing? Whether it’s a specific reading challenge or a desire to explore a certain theme, we’d love to hear about it.

To read at least one book if not two monthly. I am currently exploring and reading biographies of missionaries and people who have been in Christian ministry and it is beautiful to know what the Lord has done through his people.

Book Community and Sharing:

Engaging with fellow readers can enhance the reading experience. Do you actively participate in book clubs or online reading communities? How do these interactions enrich your reading journey?

I am not very good at reading in groups but this year, I have been apart of a book reading club called “hEr, ShE…” (I don’t know why we called it that). We are four ladies seeking to read Christian books that can help us grow in our godliness as young ladies. At first I thought it wouldn’t work because the few I tried to join didn’t last a month but this has been consistent. We meet online every Tuesday evening to review a chapter and discuss the areas we resonate with, our struggles and then spend time praying for one another. We are currently reading, “Calm my Anxious Heart” by Lindah Dillow and it has been worthwhile. I look forward to Tuesday evenings because we have the best discussions.

Parting Words:

As a devoted reader, what advice or encouragement would you offer to those who are looking to cultivate a deeper love for reading or embark on their own literary adventures?

Without discipline there is little you can do. In a busy world, it’s easy to say we do not have time to read. It takes a lot of intentionality and consistency to read and complete a book. Create time to read a page or two of a book. Whether you are an evening or a morning person, set at least 20 minutes daily to read. Find a genre you enjoy reading and read it. The only way to cultivate a discipline of reading is by reading. Be intentional about what you are reading. Find a particular topic that interests you. Read a variety of books to grow your knowledge. Sooner or later, you will realize that you have not only finished a book but you have learnt a lot more than you knew before.

Read as many books as you can but live in the Bible

Charles Spurgeon

Lastly, my favorite quote on books is by Charles Spurgeon, “Read as many books as you can but live in the Bible”. Human authors are prone to errors; that is why you will criticize a book or feel it isn’t well written. But the Bible is God’s word. It is inerrant and infallible. It is authoritative and sufficient for you. Just like your body needs food to be healthy, your soul needs to be nourished too. Read God’s word and seek to live its truths daily.

Interview by Kelvin Mulwa
klvnmulwa@gmail.com

Kelvin Mulwa

Kelvin Mulwa is an ICT professional, Bible student and teacher of the Word who is passionate about leadership training for young people.

View all posts by Kelvin Mulwa →

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