This is a sad time at the Bethel Children's Centre. Cecil, a 16 year old boy who has been battling cancer for over a year, just passed away. Please pray for his brother, Kelvin, the other children at the Centre , and Andrew and Agnes Mukumbu during this very difficult time.
A Joyous Day
Today, at God's Family Church in Ruiru, Kenya, there was a wonderful celebration. One of Bethel Children's Centre's own, Charity, graduated from college with a Bachelor's of Science degree in soil engineering. We are so very proud of her. I have also included a photo of Charity that we took from our second trip to Kenya in December 2021.
One of the boys at Bethel Children's Centre named Cecil has recently been diagnosed with cancer of the bone marrow. He will start chemotherapy on Monday. Phase one of his treatment will be 24 rounds. He will be doing four days at a time, with a three day break in between treatments. Fortunately, Bethel has health insurance that will cover the majority of the cost of this first round, except for approximately $500 USD. We will keep everyone posted of his progress and any future need for funds for his treatment. For now, please pray for Cecil that the Lord will strengthen him during this difficult time.
Joy and Sorrow
Agnes Mukumbu's father, John Thiru, passed away this week. Please pray for Agnes and her family during this time of mourning. However, this is also a time for joy in the midst of the sorrow of loss, as Mr. Thiru gave his life to Christ last November at the age of 72 years old and is now with the Lord!
An Eventful Year
2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, and that has certainly been true at the Bethel Children's Centre in Kenya. The schools were closed for a good portion of 2020 and that has been hard on the children. Some of the schools started back in this fall, and the remaining ones will reopen in January. We cannot understate the challenges that are to come in the near future with this reopening. Kenya has been hit hard by COVID-19, and several of Andrew's friends have died, including one man who has done all of the wiring for the Centre since it opened more than a decade ago. Because so many kids lost a year of school, we expect to have a record number of kids in high school in 2021, which will be quite expensive. But, in the midst of these challenges, there is news to rejoice over as well. Nobody at Bethel Children's Centre has gotten the virus. In addition, while Agnes' father was hospitalized in November for kidney failure, but has been discharged now. More importantly, his soul has been redeemed, as he accepted Christ as his savior at the age of 72!
In other news, the address of Huruma has changed to 188 Front Street, Suite 116-27, Franklin, TN 37064. We were hoping to take a trip to Kenya in 2020, but COVID-19 has put those plans on hold. Hopefully, the Lord will make a way soon!
We are always grateful for your support which will be needed more than ever this year. May the Lord bless you and give you peace.
Small Acts of Kindness
I was flipping the channels the other night and paused on The Hobbit, one of my favorite movies (The book is better, of course). I came across this quote from J.R.R. Tolkien that made it into the movie: “I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay, small acts of kindness and love.” It is so true. The quote made me think of two events, one recounted in Scripture, and one modern example. In the 12th Chapter of Mark, Jesus was watching people put money in the offering box at a synagogue and saw many rich people putting in large sums and also saw a poor widow who put in two small copper coins. Jesus was moved by this act of kindness and said: "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” Mark 12: 43-44. The second example comes from the Bethel Children's Centre in Kenya. When children at Bethel learned of a "poor" orphanage several hours away, they gathered their own clothes (most of which has been donated to the Centre by local churches in Kenya), and gave that to the children at this other orphanage. The story still moves me today, but one thing struck me last night. Someone likely donated the clothes to the Bethel kids, making possible the further gift of kindness of the Bethel children to this other orphanage. We don't know the effect a kind word, a simple gift or a small act of kindness can have. Therefore, "let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works." Hebrews 10:24.
They Bought the Farm!
You may recall four years ago, Huruma assisted the Bethel Children's Centre to purchase land, so they could grow food to support the children at the orphanage. The land is located in a terrific location, right beside a small river. Because Kenya is close to the equator, they are able to grow food throughout the year. Four years later, the land is producing all kinds of food, including maize (similar to corn), cabbage, tomatoes, and papaya. We are very thankful this investment has really paid off and has become such a tremendous blessing! The children love going to the farm to help take care of the crops. Below are some recent photos of the farm as well as a photo of the children preparing the maize, so it can be cooked.
Give a Gift to Yourself
A few years ago, the concept of Giving Tuesday was developed and promoted by a few charitable organizations as a response to encourage giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There are surely many needs in this fallen world, and I have no criticism of charitable and philanthropic organizations that have promoted Giving Tuesday as a means for people to give back to important charitable causes. But, this holiday season, we'd like to ask you to think about the concept of giving yourself a gift. Bear with me a moment while I explain.
If I can be totally transparent, I am uncomfortable about writing blogs about giving or asking people for money, even for a charitable cause. But, this is not about me and my pride; it is about the mission of Christ and what God is doing at the Bethel Children's Centre in Kenya. And, yes, the children who are served by that ministry there have substantial needs. But, the truth of the matter is that God can accomplish all His holy work without any of our help. So, why does he tell us to love our neighbor, and to do good for widows and orphans? Yes, the widows and orphans need help, but so much more than that, WE need help.
In reflecting on giving, one thing that is roundly recognized is how giving actually does us good. Here are a few quotations in which this truth has been acknowledged:
"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." —Ralph Waldo Emerson
"The best recreation is to do good." —William Penn
"If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else." —Booker T. Washington
"As the purse is emptied the heart is filled " —Victor Hugo.
Proverbs 11:25 says: "Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” Proverbs 11:25. In talking about this verse, Charles Spurgeon said: "We are here taught the great lesson, that to get, we must give; that to accumulate, we must scatter; that to make ourselves happy, we must make others happy; and that in order to become spiritually vigorous, we must seek the spiritual good of others. In watering others, we are ourselves watered. . . . We do not know what tender sympathies we possess until we try to dry the widow's tears, and soothe the orphan's grief." So, this year, I'd ask you to celebrate this holiday season by giving a gift to yourself. You may be surprised how the Giver can and does do amazing things with the least and most humble of gifts and what it would be like to experience the joy of being a part of that. Think about the boy who gave his lunch to Jesus, and saw how Jesus took that modest gift and fed thousands of people. How many times throughout his life do you think that boy looked back on that day with a smile on his face?
Through God's work at Bethel, lives have been changed. Children who have experienced the worst kinds of hardship have found hope. And, not only that, we have seen older children taking a hand in mentoring and training younger children and are making an impact in their schools. Before our very eyes, we are seeing five loaves and two fish be multiplied. The truth of the matter is this: God, the creator of the universe, doesn't NEED our humble gifts. He can do anything. So, why does he choose to go through the trouble of doing His work through the pitiful gifts of fallen humans? I think He does it for OUR joy. So, we'd like to ask you to give yourself the gift of joy, and we'd humbly ask you to consider coming along beside us.
As always, we do our best to be good stewards of the gifts with which we are entrusted. With Huruma, we have no paid employees. We have no office. When we go on a mission trip, we and the other team members contribute our own travel costs. So, 100% of every gift you give goes directly to support the mission of ministering to impoverished children in Kenya.
We'd also encourage you to go and see what the Lord is doing at the Bethel Children's Centre. We are prayerfully considering a trip in 2019. Stay tuned!
Reflections Upon a Challenging Year
The Christmas Holidays are a popular time to reflect upon the past year. This year has been a challenging and rewarding year for the Bethel Children's Centre in Ruiru, Kenya. Among the challenges were:
We at Huruma ask you to prayerfully consider making a gift to Huruma this year. When you give to Huruma, you can be assured that 100% of your gift will go directly to support needy children in Bethel Children's Centre care in Kenya. By giving, you can experience the joy of knowing that your gift has made an impact in the lives of these children. But, more importantly, your gift is an investment in the future and can help transform the community. The children at the Bethel Children's Centre have had their lives changed because of the generosity of others who provide love and care for their needs. But, even more exciting is the fact that these children in turn are growing up into thoughtful and inspired leaders in their community.
We thank you for your consideration and covet your prayers as we seek God's wisdom on how we can best serve Him in the coming year.
A Call for Help, Prayer and Hope
The drought in Eastern Africa has caused a historic humanitarian crisis. Normally, there are two primary "rainy" seasons in Kenya: one during the months of October through December and another larger one in April and May. Earlier this year, we wrote about the terrible effects the drought has had on Kenya, leaving 2.6 million people in danger of hunger. The hope was that drought would be helped by the April and May rainy season, but the rain received was 75 percent below average. The cumulative effects of this continued drought has been scarcity of food and soaring food prices. The Bethel Children's Centre has taken in nine additional children this year due to the crisis, four of whom lost their parents as a result of hunger and five of whom came from a "poor" orphanage in another part of the country. Taking on these additional children has created some new challenges. One such challenge is space. Most of the new children were very young, too young to attend classes at Bethel's school, so Bethel began pre-school classes for these children, but both the school and the orphanage are at (or above) maximum capacity. With Huruma's assistance, Bethel has now built a structure which will serve as a school building for these pre-school kids. The other major challenge is resources. Not only does it cost more to take care of these additional children, but the continued soaring food prices has caused more and more of Bethel's budget to be used for food than was anticipated for this year.
So, we'd like to ask you for several things. First, we ask for your prayers. Prayers that God will bring rain, and prayers for provision for the people of Eastern Africa. Second, Huruma humbly asks for your help. When you give to Huruma, you can be assured that 100% of your gift will go directly to support needy children in Bethel Children's Centre care in Kenya. The challenge is great, but our God is greater.
The Jericho Road
This is the blog of Huruma International Ministries. Huruma seeks to fulfill our calling to "go and do likewise" as instructed by Jesus in the parable of the Good Samaritan. The lesson of the Good Samaritan is not about achieving spiritual success through our own efforts. No, what we learn is that we are to give mercy, because we have been given mercy. We are all poor and needy. We are all travelers on the Jericho Road