It’s one of my favorite passages in Acts. Paul and Barnabas return from their first missionary journey and report back to the church in Antioch that, “they had completed the work God gave them to do.” When does that ever happen? Our religious culture doesn’t think in terms of tasks that can be done and completed, but of creating ministry infrastructures that seek to perpetuate themselves beyond the original task. I remember the elation and sense of achievement I had as a young boy riding my father’s tractor into the barn with the last load of raisins from that year’s harvest. Finally, the crop was in; we are done!
This morning, I had that same feeling reading this long email from Michael and Thomas who have been at the forefront of this project and the conduit for over two million dollars that has flowed through Lifestream in the last thirteen years. So much has been done, so many lives saved, four tribes transformed, so many orphaned children finding their way to self-reliance as adults. And all the while, the gospel was seeding its way into the hearts of people in Kenya who had no idea Jesus existed.
Specifically, the project in Pokot was to rescue 120,000 people whose nomadic lives were being ravaged by a prolonged drought that destroyed their cattle-driven economy and by rampant disease when they settled into villages. At the outset, it was just to relieve their suffering, then it became about development to secure them a better future. Here is their report as we’re finishing up the process of establishing viable villages with water, food, medicine, education, and business opportunities:
North Pokot Community Transformation Journey
Receive wonderful greetings in Jesus name. On behalf of the Kenyan families, we would like to take this opportunity to thank God for how far and how wide He has brought us in our relationship. It was a divine connection and through this relationship and trust it has borne the fruit of touching the lives of people. Mother Teresa said that what we are doing by touching the lives of people is like a drop of water in the ocean but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” God sent her to the poor slums of Calcutta and she poured out her life to them with the gift of love. She touched widows , orphans, single mothers and needy families, through that love and through them she touched the world.
We may not be perfect in our daily lives, but God can be shown in our weakness to make us strong. Apostle Paul, had a thorn in his flesh and many times he asked God to remove the thorn. But the Lord told him, “my grace is sufficient to your weakness.” The grace of God helps us in our weakness.
We learned through Authentic Relationships to live in the cycle where relationships grow. Pages 81-85 about lightening the load for others, especially became part and parcel of this message. What we have learned through Lifestream materials, has helped us to change the way of living in African culture and to live in the father’s affections.
We thank God for the team who has stood a long side you in all of that moment , stretching the hand of love ,through our Kenyan families in all circumstance, whether is in ongoing needs or sudden emergencies, they have never ceased to help. We know that we are not the only ones with the need and that even in USA, you have homeless people who deserve the strong hand of help and care. And yet, you have stood with us shoulder to shoulder and hand to hand. We don’t have anything which we can pay you back, just our prayers as a sacrifice sufficient to gift.
It has been a big trust not only to us but also to God that you would send such huge support to pass through our hands to others in need. This gift was like the time Paul collected an offering from the churches to send it to Jerusalem for those in need. We have been faithful for everything given and have never touched it for ourselves or turned the support away from what it was intended. We thank God for giving us that concern of handling his resources in the right way.
In the five years we worked in the Northern parts, God proved faithful. Many times, he protected us from tragedy. I can remember the worst one. We had to carry 50 volunteers in the truck to construct the school in Kasoyan/Chemnyon and we were following them back with the Land Cruiser you bought a long time ago. As we reached the cliff of the mountain the truck lost the brakes and started running fast. If it had not been for the grace of God, all families would have been lost. Even the driver could not explain what was happened when the truck was stopped by a stone turned upside down. All people came safe.
Another tragedy God protected us from was when the truck broke down in the middle of the road. We couldn’t go forward or backward and our remained off of the road for three days without eating. Some of our volunteers were stung by scorpions, even reaching a point of death, but the Lord rescued them. Once, Thomas was hijacked and everything he had was stolen. You intervened and paid back all he had lost. Sometimes, people could see us and try to investigate our to see if we live like rich people, but they found out we eat green vegetables and live like them. Now, they see us as simple people who don’t have anything—because we know whom we serve.
We send our gratitude to the all the families of the world who stretched their hands towards these Kenyan families. As we end up our five years contract, we regret strongly because the coronavirus has prevented your trip in July. We were ready to receive you and take you to see all the projects from Kitale, Bungoma and North Pokot. Some of those in the USA may wonder how you could send so much money to people far away and trust us to handle it with honesty. Even the people here they ask the same question. This is not possible for man to believe but with God, all things are possible.
I didn’t search for or was guided to Lifestream for material things. I had a passion to lead more than 3 million people under the umbrella of IGEM (International Gospel Equipping Ministry). Among them were bishops, pastors and ministry leaders. Although I was leading this ministry, I felt guilty in my heart and wanted to find the truth. I was praying to God to connect me with the right gospel and the person who could help us understand his ways. After that, I found Lifestream materials and they quenched my thirst over and over. I started circulating the materials to different groups and requested brother Wayne to send me more teaching and he send to me four books He Loves Me, Naked Church, Authentic Relationships, and So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore. These books transformed my life and I started living differently as well as training small groups. After that, I started travelling East Africa. Like the Samaritan woman, I told everyone that I have found a prophet who has told me the story of my life.
Through all of this, I never asked for any financial help, just to understand more about God. But, one day in 2007, Wayne asked about the situation in Kenya regarding post-election violence. I shared with him the terrible situation here in Kitale, Mount Elgon and many other places. He started sending $100, $200, $500, and so on, to help with the needs and through that relationship we invited him to come and share this truth to the church leaders. Eventually he came to Kitale with his friend, Kent Burgess, and our relationship started to grow.
We traveled many places—Eldoret, Butere, Mount Elgon, Bungoma and lastly we visited my family home where there was no electricity. Our life and connection was about seeking first the kingdom of God and all things would be added. Our relationship with the Lifestream family is now over thirteen years, and we can acknowledge what the Lord has done. It has amazing—starting with the Living Loved Christ Hope Centre and continuing to the gas station, grain enterprise, truck transportation, land cruiser for the mission, Forkland School and bottled water enterprise, and the North Pokot project. All of this has been done in these thirteen years. Many orphaned children have been raised and educated in this Centre. Some are still completing college and university and some have grown up and are working and now self-reliant.
As we wind up the five years in North Pokot, we can stand and say in the words of Psalm 124:1, “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side… the flood would have swallowed us.” We met with our coaches yesterday and it was good. We had a wonderful time of prayer and thanksgiving for what the Lord has done. We also prayed for Lifestream for more grace and abundancy. We thought of 2 Corinthians 9-8, how God “is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” They also spoke against the coronavirus in the US and Europe.
The coaches met with different departments to see the achievements we’ve made and the challenges ahead, which you can see below. But the message the people of Pokot wanted to pass on to you, especially from the old people who were converted to Christianity through this project wanted you to hear this in their own language is that if you could be there personally, they would give you the Pokot seat and the tail. What that means, is that you are not American, but are now part of the Pokot families. The seat means that you have led them to God’s throne. They believe the elder is chosen by God and he is the one who gives the authority, blessings, love and kindness to human beings. The tails means they honor your God who led Lifestream to pray and support them to get water and food. Now they can settle permanently and no longer be nomadic. Also the coaches have sent to your entire team their appreciation measures to prevent the coronavirus from spreading among them.
The Five-Year Project in Pokot:
In two months the four villages will graduate. We thank you and the team for the help of our training in Isiolo. We also thank our trainer Brother Wubshet and his team for the good training and the knowledge we got from them. Through your prayers and support, we have achieved the following in these four villages:
- Health: We have taught villages on the importance of hygiene where they have latrines, utensil rags, and dust pit, cleaning bushes around the houses and to prevent mosquitoes from hatching-hence reducing the spread of Malaria. Really this is amazing and a great transformation that this communities have experienced since the foundation of the world. Also, the hospital has played a big role in saving the lives of people who would die because of diseases and having to go long distances looking for medication.
- Food security:We thank you brother Wayne and your team for helping with food emergency as well as monthly support for the breastfeeding mom and the old aged, we also thank you for the irrigation projects since now the community are able to produce their own food and feed their families. The land has been increased and we shall increase it in the month of June and July as we wind up the program. The committees can oversee the plantation as well as harvest including the distribution of food equally. The irrigation project is very fruitful since now the communities can produce a variety of crops. God has answered their prayers, they always dance and praising God for the provision of food through irrigation project.
- Education:Education has become the important organ this process of transformation. We have trained them in farming, hygiene, business for self-sustainability, and the importance of taking their children to school.
- Water:All four villages have water and fixed irrigation project, we thank you and your team for the great sacrificial to see that the communities get water and food from the irrigation project, the water is clean and suitable for human being as well as the animals, it has change the way of life for the people of North pokot- from nomadic way of life to permanent residence, hence being able to carry out development. The water is abundant, and the committee’s work is to make sure that the water serves all the people. They are able to maintain and protect it even without us and the coaches. This is so encouraging
- Wellness/business finance:Many families have benefited from the soft business loans, and they are now able to feed their families, paying for medication and school fees for their children. We thank you for your financial support and we also thank our coaches and the committees for working closely with the community to make sure that the development is taking place. They will no longer need to depend on donations.
The Challenges That Remain
Each of the four villages you have helped have neighboring villages with great need. Disease is often rampant for lack of hygiene, and they have very little food. You know, the Pokot people believe that they cannot eat while their neighbor is watching them, so sometimes they are forced to share when they already do not have enough for themselves. Some come 10 to 20 kilometers to get water, which they give freely Thankfully our coaches and committees have been able to work with the neighboring villages to help them advocate for the government. Most have a school and hospital now, but they still to learn better hygiene.
I’m sure we’re not completely done; there will no doubt be more opportunities down the road. I am most grateful that we were able to help them solve their own problems without creating dependency on a supply line from us. They can now follow Jesus into their uncertain future and look to him for help.
“Thank you, Jesus, for all you did during this season. Continue to show yourself strong on behalf of the people of Pokot and our friends in Kitale and Bungoma. Continue to reveal yourself as their strength, their healing, and their provider. Let them taste an increasingly rich relationship with you and your Father so that they might know his love, care and wisdom in whatever comes their way. We bless them in your name and know that you will be merciful with them.”