The last few weeks have been crazy and I’ve not had much time to update this page. And it looks like that might continue for awhile. I’m just back from nearly two weeks in New York, and after a day at home, a quick trip to Orange County, CA to share about He Loves Me with high school students who study the book throughout their junior year. What a great, and I’ll admit, challenging time! This week I’ve been asked back to tape my third episode of A Christian and a Muslim Walk Into a Studio with my friends Bob and Emad in Bakersfield.
Then, next week an old and dear friend comes to town to get my help on his Civil War era novel about two kids coming of age, that has fascinated me for the past three years. (I can’t wait until you can read it!) And if you would like to meet Bob and Ellen Stamps, we’re having an open get-together at our home in Thousand Oaks, CA on Saturday May 26. Write me for details if you have an interest in joining us. Then, I’m off to Virginia and Raleigh, NC in early June. After that I’m looking at trips to Maine, and perhaps western Canada.
Yes, I know it all looks out of control, but this seems to be where grace has led me. Unfortunately it doesn’t leave a lot of time for writing. But that’s OK. I’m enjoying the conversations I’m in every day and the life I see growing in others. When I see God write his unfolding story in a life, that is far more fun than doing my own. I love writing, but I love how he writes most of all.
The purpose of this blog, however, is to update you on our work in North Pokot. It still amazes me every time I tell the tale, and people seem to ask me about it almost everywhere I go. Who would have thought that God would ask us to help 120,000 tribal people in North Pokot build a sustainable economy when their nomadic way of life was destroyed by a five-year drought when no one else would? Who knew that we had so many people so willing to give freely to help them discover a new way of living? There are no other NGOs (non-government charities) in the area and very little government help, though that is growing. Who would have thought that my audience from my writing and podcasting could have such a profound impact on a small corner of the world. I am overwhelmingly grateful for all those who have helped.
We are now in the beginning of our third year of a five-year (Lord willing) process to help these tribes deal with their most basic needs: water, food, education, wellness, and micro-finance. Our coaches have helped the people of Pokot to seek alternatives for their own needs and then combine 50% of their sweat equity with resource from us. The hope is that at the end of this process they will have enough sustainable resource to take care of their own needs. We are making tremendous progress and have just now committed to our fourth and final agricultural project. Now each of the four tribes will be able to use water from the wells we drilled not only for themselves and their livestock, but also to grow their own vegetables. The other three projects are producing amazing crops to feed the people. (See picture above.)
The fourth is in Kalmeri village. When they heard the others were growing their own food, they wanted to as well. A rumor had come to them that if they acquired solar panels from the county government, Lifestream would build a farm for them, too. That’s not really how it works, but they went en masse to the county government to request solar panels for their village. After some deliberations the county gave them the solar array they needed. We had hoped to space these projects out over the course of a year, but we have almost been doing one per month at a cost of $34,000 each in addition to the regular money we send each month to help these tribes make their transition.
This is even more amazing when you realize that not too many years ago these tribes were at war with each other over land and cattle, each trying to scratch out their own existence. They often fought and stole each other’s cattle. The reports we get back now are just amazing, of building a new life, cooperating with each other, and finding the light of the Gospel to guide them. How awesome is that?
And to watch these children in the farm makes it all worthwhile.
If there ever was a time you wanted to genuinely help poor people, without anyone else siphoning off money for administrative fees or other benefits, this is it. All contributions are tax-deductible in the US. And as always, every dollar you send goes to the need in Kenya. We do not (nor do they) take out any administrative or money transfer fees. Please see our Sharing With the World page at Lifestream. You can either donate with a credit card there, or you can mail a check to Lifestream Ministries • 1560 Newbury Rd Ste 1 • Newbury Park, CA 91320. Or if you prefer, we can take your donation over the phone at (805) 498-7774.
Thank you again on behalf of the people of Pokot for your gifts and prayers on their behalf.