In the World

Pouring Out God’s Love in a Broken Place

It always brings a smile to my heart to see people smack-dab in the middle of their calling, especially when it invites them into the most desperate needs of human culture. I love that God calls people to invest in people in places like this when they could be living easier lives back home. And yet, the way they live and love here it is obvious that this is not a painful obedience to do something God demanded of them. Instead they are here with great joy and overwhelming love for the people they get to serve.

One of the things that blesses me about how God works in our lives is that he puts a passion in our hearts for that which he invites us to be a part of. I’ve watched Penny and countless others over the years come here and pour out their lives to help make a difference with people who have so little and to share with them how deeply loved they are by God. Their joy in the task God has given them, overflows in my own delight at the incredible ways in which our Father works.

I told Penny Dugan’s story in He Loves Me, the lady that returned to live with and care for her ex-husband as he was dying with AIDS. It began a worldwide ministry of loving people infected with AIDs. Based in Kansas with a care center and homeless ministry there, the ministry took on this project here to spread more of Father’s love in the world.

In the next couple of weeks they will be taking over 100 kids from the township to a camp they sponsor to share the love of Jesus with them. This ministry operates on a shoestring and is one of two ministries we support through Lifestream to help with their challenges. Many of you know about our outreach in Kenya and we appreciate your help there.  The Ukukhanya Care Center is the other one, and having visited there this morning I’m aware of their great financial need to keep things running here.

If you are looking to make a difference with some of your resources somewhere in the world, would you give them your prayerful consideration?  You can find out more on their website, or you can donate through Lifestream here. As always, every dime goes to the ministry itself. Lifestream take nothing out of it for our own administrative needs.

Here are some pictures from our visit this morning:

Above:  The township of Ntzuma

Residence wing at the Ukukhanya Care Center

Penny (left) and the Hillary (right), director of Ukukhanya Care Center with
two children from Ntzuma who are headed for camp next week.

 

Guess who!

 

 

A New Challenge for our Friends in Kenya

Last year it was too much rain that caused diseases to run rampant, and you helped us buy medicines to keep people alive. This year there is no rain and the people in Pokot are starving.  Here is our report from Michael:

Dear brother Wayne,

Greetings in the most powerful name of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. I am sorry for what is taking place here countrywide. The drought has affected people and their animals almost everywhere. We thank you for the monthly support, but the need is greater than we can bear.

This week we managed to receive the donation of clothes with the contribution of 20 bags more, but the situation here is becoming extremely worse and we came with over 20 volunteers to serve the villagers who are suffering with hunger.

So we have discussed with our coaches to ask you if we may have one emergency for this year 2017. We have distributed for over than 300 families and other more families are here who have walked over 30km from the different villages, and they are now camped here in our school. According to our estimate we need the emergency of 150 bags of maize for Ksh 480,000 and 50 bags of beans for Ksh 300,000 and Ksh 20, 000 for fuel, all total is Ksh 800,000, which is $8000.00 US.

Because of this situation that it is here we decided to distribute the food in the night.  I Michael and the team w are still camping here but Thomas has travel today to Kitale to share with churches and he will write to you. If you can pray and see in this emergency issue it will help us to serve the remaining families, it has been difficult for us to go and leave people camped here, so we cooked here for them every day.

Cooking for the people in Pokot

So I am coming to the readers of this sight once again. I am always amazed at the response that we get from those of you who have partnered with us in this corner of the world. If you don’t know our ongoing story here, you can check out this blog from last year.  If you have it on your heart to help these Kenyan people suffering under such a huge strain, you can direct it through Lifestream as contributions are tax-deductible in the US.  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.

If you would like to be part of this to support these brothers and sisters and see the gospel grow in this part of Africa, 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 in advance for your gifts and prayers.

“You Have No Idea!”

It’s now been three weeks and a day since I had my surgery. Someone asked how I felt this morning and I told them today when I woke up I already feel like you’ve been run over by three busses. But that’s better than the seven busses last week, or the twelve the week before that.

So, yes I am getting better, but even in the best scenarios this is a long climb out of a deep hole. I had no idea how much it takes for the body to heal the trauma caused by cutting my chest and my heart open. I am embracing the rest but wishing I had the energy to at least do some writing that I’m excited about. I just don’t have the stamina or focus for that yet. But I am getting better each day and it is a delight to notice something new every day that lets me know my heart is healing, my body is stronger and my mind is sharper. I’m grateful for that.

Take last night, for instance. My specialized heart surgery recovery team came by yesterday after school. You can see most of them pictured above, though it doesn’t include Sara or Julie. It’s always a joy to see them and nothing helps my heart more than spending time with them. Their dad was out of town so we took them to dinner afterward at one of their (and my!) favorite restaurants, Bandit’s in Thousand Oaks. As we were ordering I noticed a young couple sitting at a table behind Sara making goo-goo eyes at each other and doting over a one-year old sitting in a high chair at the end of the table. It was so sweet and I was touched by the love of that young family.

I pointed them out to Sara and suggested we pick up their check as a way to bless them. She agreed. It’s something we do now and then ever since I was involved in a fight for the check at an ice cream place in Framingham, MA twenty-five years ago. When our hosts pulled rank demanding to pay it, we decided to pay the check of a young couple on the other side of the restaurant as an act of surrender. The whole situation turned out to be hysterical and gracious all at the same time and we’ve laughed about for decades. So occasionally Sara and I do it for people God seems to put on our hearts, though it’s probably been a few years since we’d last done it.

But last night was different. I didn’t really feel like God nudged us to, I just wanted to as a way to celebrate their love for each other. So I told the waitress to bring me their check when they were done and I would pay it. She asked if I wanted to keep it anonymous, which we usually do, but this time I felt like saying that she didn’t have to. If they asked it was OK to tell them.

When they finished they got up to leave and walked by our table without even a glance. Surely they didn’t know. They must have gone to seek out the waitress however, because two minutes later that young mother walked up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder. I looked up startled and immediately she broke into tears. I stood up introduced myself and she hugged me whispering in my ear, “You have no idea! You have no idea!” She was right. I didn’t and it felt a bit awkward holding this young mother I didn’t in the middle of the restaurant

When she collected herself she pulled back and asked me why. I told her I was so taken by how they were treating each other and we just wanted to bless them. “That little boy was in a hospital Sunday night with a 105 degree fever and we almost lost him.” She broke down crying again. Now I was tearing up. “You have no idea what this means to us, that someone knows.” I love that!

I told her I’d been in the hospital three weeks before with open-heart surgery and we laughed. I introduced her to Sara and Julie and off she went. I have no idea who she is, no name or number, but it was so cool watching Jesus love her through a very small act. Sara and I left the restaurant with our hearts soaring. How fun was it to be part of something like that and watch someone be loved by God without us having to tag it with our own graffiti? It was awesome. And Julie said her kids talked about it all the way home wanting to know why we did what we did and why that woman was crying and hugging grandpa!

And I recognized that I was outside my recovery enough to once again notice a bigger hand around me touching others. I love that. I don’t know anything more fun than finding a spontaneous way to love someone around me, even a stranger. I’m still so incredibly grateful for last night and so blessed that God let us be part of that couple’s story, if only for a night.

It’s Where Love Took Us

“You have changed the lives of people who could not be able to feel or experience such great love… ”  You can read more in the letter below, but first let me set the stage.

If you keep up with this blog, you know that we accidentally stumbled into a huge need in Africa. And I mean stumbled. We didn’t begin as a missions organization and don’t consider ourselves one now even though 66% of our expenses this year have gone to Kenya because of an amazing series of events.  If you want the backstory on our work in this part of Kenya, you can read this blog that gives a short view of God’s work in linking us up with their need, and people in the U.S. who are ready to us help meet it. It’s an amazing story of God putting pieces together while we simply responded to what God had in front of us. Not only did we get linked to some believers around Kitale who suffered tremendously in the tribal violence post-election violence of 2008, but through them to an even more impoverished group of 120,000 in Pokot whose nomadic economy had shut down two years ago due to a prolonged drought. They were dying of malnutrition and disease and there was no government presence or NGOs in that region to help them. Truly they were a forgotten people.

So we helped them with food, medical, and water for six months, then a year ago began a five-year strategy designed to help these villagers take ownership of their own future and work together to employ their creativity and local available resources to address for water, food, health, education, and income generation. We are one year into a million dollar process to help those villages build an economy that is sustainable and easily shared with others nearby.  We just received a glowing report from the folks at Global Hope Network who have a project nearby and have been incredibly helpful in training the Kenyans we know to implement this strategy in Pokot. We have four full-time trainers from those villages who are in turn coaching the villagers.  Everything we do involves 50% sweat equity on their part to 50% resources from us.

Admittedly it has been scary to send so much money overseas and trust that it is being used for the purposes for which it has been given. We don’t have a presence there to administrate the fund but are working with local Kenyans. Fortunately God has given us enough personal relationship there to take the risk, but it is an outstanding joy to get outside verification that the project is in great shape and on target to complete in five years.  My heart has overflowed with gratefulness this past weekend looking over all God has done her and the gentle way he invited us into this huge need simply by the power of love. We fell in love with some people, who fell in love with some other people, and sharing their need touched many of you to help us provide the donations necessary for this process.  Within three days of us sensing God wanted us to target one million dollars to help them, one group in Texas called to say They’d contribute half of that.

Here are some excerpts from the recent reports and you can we will also post photos below:

“Your men seem to be starting to grasp and teach the fundamental ideas that it’s about how much the village can do, not how much the donors can do.  They saw the start of several good low-cost efforts by the village to transform their condition.”

The communities are being taught about health care, e.g causes of Malaria and prevention measures, Typhoid and Marasmus, Kwashiokor, cholera , Tracoma and others . in summary almost all Diseases are caused by dirty environment and poor hygiene, in this lesson he put more emphasizes on constructing toilet, pits and utensil rags, washing hands before eating and on side of malaria, he said that the villagers/community need to be taught the need for clearing bushes and drive the stagnant water to prevent the mosquito from laying eggs / larva. He added that pregnant women and children should sleep in treated mosquito nets, it’s the work of the committee to have one voice and go to the health office and ask for the nets.  They did. They also got solar power added to there school room from the government,, so they are learning to make their needs known and draw from other resources.

The also visit the toilet constructions. They said the toilets are good and will help prevent and reduce the cause of cholera, worms, tapeworms, ring worms and typhoid and other disease.  Our coaching team are teaching and training the community on health issues and are doing a good job.

Their current need now is to build a small irrigation system so the well can water the crops they are starting to grow for their own food.

The team from Global Hope went to the villages ands saw the work and they were very happy and joyful as our teachers.  They were happy to see toilets, utensil rag and other things, which are good for the health of the community, they encouraged us to keep it up and comment that we are doing well. They saw that we are in a pretty good process to complete this project in five years.

We also learned many things which we help the community to be self-sustaining.  Through coaching and educating the community on health and business as well as development,they will be transformed to a better future, hence fighting poverty among the community.  We also learn that when the community come together to identify their Health and spiritual needs and then organize to meet there needs.   Apart from that we learn that the community to develop and the need to be solved we must see and find the available materials and facilities –to make it not expensive. We also learn different types of sickness and how we can prevent, since most of the sickness from the community come as a result of poor hygiene. So the community to prevent it , they must wash hands before eating , drinking clean water and they must be clean, in addition to that we learn that some of the sickness is a result of poor feeding and diet , they said that especially the breastfeeding mom and the children they must at least  eat  three food group, eg a) Body building food ( b) Energy giving food (c) protective food , this food group is challenge to other families , but during the training session as they ask question we find that it is not difficult since most of the nutrition are available in the community but  it is just understanding.

The first training has really help us to distribute the funds effectively compared to the previous time when we had not have the knowledge of holding the community, since the previous time we were using a lot of funds but now we are doing 50% by 50% which is not expensive as before –we thank God for using you to connect us with GHNI (Brother Wubshet and Habiba) this two people has become a great blessing to our community here.

And after all of this I received a letter of thanks for the work God has done here.  I know it is aimed at me, but it is really intended for all of you who have prayed for these Kenyans, holding them in your heart as well as those who have given money to help us meet this need:

Dear Wayne,

Greetings in the most powerful name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thank you very much for your great sacrifice that we may able to learn more and acquire more skills and experience. We marvel at how God used Lifestream as a mustard seed to us here and it has become a great blessing to thousand of our brothers and sisters through touching life and imparting the life of Christ as we start with Living Loved Children Care Centre. Many lives has been changed forever and some are now working helping there relatives, this is so great to us. Some of the student who have joined university and collages are seeing there dream are coming true through this compassion ministry. Wayne you may not know since you are far away but the prayers you receive from every individual here it has become the smoke of cloud before the throne of the Almighty daily.

You have changed the lives of people who could not be able to feel or experience such great love, many religion are here but what we have learned through you and Global Hope is really amazing. It has come as a surprise, the growth of this work beyond our imagination.  Even we didn’t expect that you would extend care for years. We thought that may be it will end up in one year. But since the needs are great you didn’t want to leave them on the way but to extend the support so that they may be able to stand for themselves. Actually the extension of five year for these four villages will leave this village with self-sustainable and transformation to many people forever.

They have experienced what mankind has never thought about them since they were from the bushes.  Remember since we started working in this village they have never quit or migrated like they have before.  They have settled getting and accessing there resources nearby.  When you go to the village now the old people and the brestfeeding mom has get good health and the death rate has decreased and the outbreak of diseases has also reduced even more. On the training side it has really helped us and we have now the new experience now how to use simple and available materials for development  Through our coaching and the committee and community has the vision and know that they are the owners of the project, so they can support and protect it.

It is now so easily than the way we started doing for the first time. Because they were looking to us as the people who bring the solution to the community. But now they see that the solution is through God and themselves.  This is so great. So we appreciate the people from Global Hope who have helped us with this experience and skills. We had with very wonderful time with Global hope coach.  This time they have added the material that they feel that it will help us in future to train and add more skills and knowledge to extend more training to the committee and the community. We thank you also for helping us to buy new tires and service the vehicle and also for paying our expenses during training and expenses for the Global Hope instructors.

Yours,

Brother Michael Wafula

This has all been such an incredible experience, and we have done very little here except to love the people God put in front of us and it took us to places we would never have considered. As we began to help where we could, others piled on to add to that help and what a story this has be come. Yes, there have been times of frustration–feeling overwhelmed and completely out of our element, but God kept opening doors just when we needed them. I’m dumbfounded every time I think about what a small connection point has accomplished in the world and how readers of this website and listeners to our podcast at The God Journey, jumped in with such joy. Whenever I think of all this my heart is overwhelmed with awe at the great work and planning of our God to take some people in the West and connect them with a growing need in Africa that we were not even aware of. He knit the pieces together and it has become an amazing story of the way God can work.  All we need to do is follow him as best we know how.

The need continues here and if you have some extra funds that can help them you can direct it through Lifestream as contributions are tax-deductible in the US.  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.  If you would like to be part of this to support these brothers and sisters and see the gospel grow in this part of Africa, 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.

Photos:
childrenatwell
Children gathering at the well for water.
wubshetnteam
Wubshet (top row middle) from Global Hope with our coaches enjoying
the progress and helping them with new ideas.
utinselstand
“Utensil rag” to keep dishes clean and prevent the spread of disease.
training
More training for our coaches so they can help the people of Pokot.

Calamity in Kenya

If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

The lack of rain that caused such devastation in the land of Pokot, where we have tried to help over the past couple of years, has now reversed itself and this spring excessive rains have brought a new crisis to these beleaguered people.  We have four coaches in the region helping the people take responsibility to better their own lives and with each project they want to do we match 50% sweat equity on their part, with 50% resources from ours. This is a desperate part of Kenya with no government presence or other NGOs to help with this crises. I am constantly amazed that every one else in the world seems to ignore their plight. We have with God’s help provided what little we can to help turn the tide on their conditions. We’ve been blessed by the many people with third-world development experience who have come alongside to assist us and the thousands of dollars of contribution who touched these people deeply.

All was going well until this new calamity arrived brought on by the flooding.  I got this letter the other day from the brothers in Kenya who we work through to help bring new life into Pokot.

Dear brother Wayne, receive more greeting from the coaching team in North Pokot, they appreciate also for there monthly support.  They are doing excellent work. In East Africa , there is a lot of rain even the North pokot has been affected much for the first time with heavy rain. This has contributed more the calamity of many diseases like typhoid, malarial and common cold, so the coaches and the committee has appeal an emergency camp medication for more than ten villages, which are more affected. So brother wayne we have talked with the coaches to pray so that we send this urgent need for medical camping.

So if you can help them with the drugs and help additional of nurses , IGEM volunteers about 14 are ready to go assist for medical camping of two weeks in those ten village. We could not wait to put this in the budget on 22nd but it is urgent need. Many house in kenya are been swept the flood especially in western and Kitale region.

We have called the doctor and have estimated that we need to purchase drugs , fuel transportation, accommodation for doctors and nurses (tents, Blanket and mattress and food).  This is urgent need for now, we need to go there soon as God’s provides.

In the last week we have added an additional $11,000 to meet this need, in addition to the regular support we are sending to help the villages.  Volunteer doctors and nurses from Kitale are in that region now, staying in tents and sleeping little more than three hours a night because the need is so great. They are also trying to get the government to provide mosquito nets to help with the spread of disease.

Here is their report from the first few days on the field:

Our doctor’s and nurse were so busy treating the sick in North Pokot, there are huge number of people suffering with Malaria, typhoid, leumonia, chronic malaria, there is no hospital within this place and from here to reach our hospital is appromately 50KM , which is very far and when outbreak come there is no other way of saving life. The places are in the bush. The community committee which we selected last year assisted by our coaches has paved the way in order to reach there with the vehicle and beyond other interior villages, our volunteers need to walk carrying the supplies.  Right now we are with ten villages which are more affected and the mobile camping need to take place for six months time to curb down the diseases, then from there we will see what God has done. But our volunteers since all of them cannot stay for all of that period, but they have agreed to work in periods to relief others. The challenges we need also to cook for those who are total sick , so that the drugs can work well, so pray with us for the food while we are in the mission field because it force our volunteers to give the food which are supposed to be used by them.

And some pictures:

b516
Bringing the sick to get help
btriage
Triage
bhelp
A lot of interest around that table.

If you want the backstory on our work in this part of Kenya, you can read this blog that gives a short view of God’s work in linking us up with their need, and people there who are ready to help meet it. If you have extra to pass along for the people of West Pokot you can direct it through Lifestream as contributions are tax-deductible in the US.  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.  If you would like to be part of this to support these brothers and sisters and see the gospel grow in this part of Africa, 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.

Your Help Is Hurting! (Kenya Update)

“Your Help is Hurting!”

Powerful word from one of the most positive videos I’ve ever watched about helping people trapped in poverty.  It’s not our charity they need, but an invitation into the marketplace and the tools to leverage their own creativity and industry that will provide for themselves. This video is only 7:32 minutes long, but it could change your entire view about helping impoverished people around the world.

“People are not the problem; they are the solution.” What a refreshing perspective, and you’ll find on this video a different way of looking at need in the developing world and whether we are actually helping people win their own solutions, or helping with their need only to make us feel better about ourselves. If we understood the power of this message we would be wiser about the money we spend to help.

Many “missions” organizations manipulate our guilt to fund the very kind of projects that perpetuate their poverty rather than provide solutions. Others use people’s desire for cross-cultural experiences to waste exorbitant amounts of money to transport and feed westerners overseas while they do projects, that the people could be empowered to do themselves.  I hope you watch this video and realize that handouts only create dependency, where helping people with tools to apply their own skills and create a market for their own goods will have far greater benefit.

I’ve not seen a video that expresses better my heart in trying to help the people were engaged with in Kenya. We haven’t wanted to just send aid money, but more importantly to help create the kind of development that will allow them to develop the skills and opportunities for their own provision. Often I’ve had groups ask if I needed volunteers to go help build some project because they had a group of people wanting a Kenyan experience. I’ve held off groups like that because the people would rather build these things themselves. They need the work and are content to do it. What they cannot afford are the materials.  By the time people spend the money to transport 20 people to Kenya and provide for them for two weeks, we could fund multiple projects and let the people there have the skills and satisfaction of meeting their own need.

We’ve been involved in Kenya since 2008, first with a group of good friends near Kitale helping build an orphanage and provide for other medical and educational needs.  We also built a petrol station that not only employs locals but more importantly funds the orphanage.  In 2014 they came across 120,000 people north of them in Pokot, who had been devastated by a drought and whose needs were greater than their own.  They wanted to help so we provided an initial $60,000 so they could bring in water, food, and medical care.  We have drilled six wells to get them water and for the past 18 months we have switched to funding development instead of relief. We are now using a 50/50 development model where they provide 50% sweat equity on a given project and we provide 50% of the resources they need for whatever it takes to care for their needs and cultivate a self-sustaining economy. We are looking to put a million dollars there over the next five years to help them jumpstart an economy that will be self-sustaining beyond that. We’ve already received more than half of that and are now eight months into that process.

We are funding four coaches working in that area to help the people create this self-sustaining economy and find simple, readily available solutions to their needs. We also helped fund a grain enterprise with an advance of $14,000. The grain they buy during harvest, bag, and then re-sell later in the year brings in over $80,000 to fund education for our friends near Kitale as well as for the Pokot children.  They keep back enough from the sale to buy grain again the following year. So our original $14,000 investment in these people has already provided more than $160,000 to help with these projects and it will continue year after year.

If you want the backstory on our work in this part of Kenya, you can read this blog that gives a short view of God’s work in linking us up with their need, and people there who are ready to help meet it. If you have extra to pass along for the people of West Pokot you can direct it through Lifestream as contributions are tax-deductible in the US.  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.  If you would like to be part of this to support these brothers and sisters and see the gospel grow in this part of Africa, 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.

Kenya Update: Helping Others Help Themselves

Vibrancy and hope are once again springing up in the people of Pokot. These tribal people of the northwest region of Kenya saw their economy collapse in a four-year drought that killed all their cattle. Sick, starving, and hopeless, a team from Kitale came to help alleviate their suffering and are now working to help the people themselves build an economy as well as take care of their health, food, and education needs. It is an uphill battle. In addition to drilling six wells in this region to give them water, we are also seeking to help them build a new economic base.

One of those strategies includes offering micro loans to help people open income-generating and food-providing enterprises that can generate a profit. With that profit the loan will be paid off so it can be loaned to the next villager to help him or her start a business as well. Over the last couple of months we have begun that process by helping 54 people do exactly that. These include food preparation, a hotel, sewing, honey production, barber shop, and second-hand clothing.  Thanks to so many of you who have helped us bless these people with your gifts.  Here are some of the new business people at work:

 

If you want the backstory on our work in this part of Kenya, you can read this blog that gives a short view of God’s work in linking us up with their need, and people there who are ready to help meet it.

If you have extra to pass along for the people of West Pokot you can direct it through Lifestream as contributions are tax-deductible in the US.  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.  If you would like to be part of this to support these brothers and sisters and see the gospel grow in this part of Africa, 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.

Kenya Update: New Wells and Food for Widows

It has been awhile since I’ve updated people on Kenya. While I don’t talk about it much, I have spent about a quarter of my time this year just working out what we can do in Pokot and what God wants us to do. I don’t want readers of the blog to feel badgered by their need, but it is something I have lived with every day this year. I don’t feel like I have a lot of wisdom here, and Lifestream certainly is not a missions organization, even though 85% of our budget last year went into Kenya. This is a labor of love, because God related us to some people in Kenya who stumbled upon some other people in greater need than they were and had hearts to love and care for them. We are just following the nudges God gives us and the wisdom he has provided through more experienced people to help the brothers and sisters in West Pokot, one of three impoverished counties in the north of Kenya and a prime target for terrorist groups fomenting unrest in the region. By God’s grace we’ve been able to help one of these counties whose nomadic economy melted down in a prolonged drought. We have brought food, water, medicine, education and the Gospel into this region through our friends from further south in Kenya who are sacrificing their own needs to help with those who have even less. (If you want to read the whole story, click here.)

In the last month we have drilled two new wells, bringing water as close as we can to each of the villages. We are not planning on drilling any more. But we have helped to train a team of four coaches who can help the villages work for their own solutions to these ongoing needs by using readily-available, local, low-tech resources to address the most significant need in their village. The hope is that in five years they can address those needs themselves by utilizing 50% of their won sweat equity and 50% outside resource. We’ve committed one million dollars to this effort over the next 7 years, when our involvement in Kenya will end.  So every thing we do has to be with an eye to sustainability after that time. We have already been given a gift of $500,000 toward this goal and are confident Father will provide the remaining through people who want to share with these people.  We are using that money to increase their health, education, and micro-financed loans to create enterprises that will generate jobs and resource for these communities.  

So we have drilled three new wells, have trained coaches and are providing for them while they work with the villages, and also provide food directly to widows and breast-feeding moms who have no resource at this point.  In the pictures below you can see some of this taking place.  This is a recent report from the front lines:  

We arrived well in Kitale and everything in the ground is well, starting from water, businesses, dispensary and the school. The villagers are happy to be involved in their development through the committees and our coaching team who were so committed to see that the lives of our Brothers and sisters are transformed from one form to another.

The villagers and the committees are happy to start the business, as well as getting water in the nearby place. On loans we have covered around 18 people who are now doing business of different type, that is one group and eight people. Regarding the food donation we purchase it and take it to the food committees to give it to the old aged and breastfeeding mom, everyone were having a smile to receive food, it is our prayers that by helping them with soft loans the issues of food donation will be reducing gradually with time till we will just remain with very week old aged people. So we shall make sure every months we do it, so that we can complete every at least to start something for the living.

The poor are being served, the widows and nursing moms can eat, and water is flowing in the region. I am grateful for all of these things, and that what is going on physically is also reflected in what is going on spiritually. Into these parched souls the gospel of grace is also nourishing their hearts. They have responded with open hearts to the gospel as it is being demonstrated and proclaimed among them. The bulk of this work has been done by the brothers and sisters I met in Kenya a few years ago. While this entire process has exhausted me at times, in others it causes my heart to explode with gratefulness to God that he positioned us to help people in great need. 

Obviously there are continuing needs here. If your heart is moved to help us, 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 • 1560-1 Newbury Rd #313 • Newbury Park, CA 91320. Or if you prefer, we can take your donation over the phone at (805) 498-7774.

 

A new well for people who have beenwalking 26 km one way to get water

 

Rigging up the delivery system for the new water

 

The children rejoice when the well struck water

 

Food is being distributed to the elderly and nursing moms who have no resource