This is Joseph and Joseph. Joseph (the one with the cap) just graduated from Moffett Bible College. The other Joseph is studying microfinance at Kenyatta University. There is actually another Joseph who is still in high school and is a close friend of these two. (Pictured underneath with me). Each of them are among the finest young men I could ever hope to meet. They are all wonderful leaders in their own way. Joseph (the Moffett graduate) preaches and leads worship. The other Joseph (holding the Moffett Joseph) is thoughtful, introspective and inquisitive. And, the third Joseph (shown with me below), is also a leader, plays the piano and drums and is a laughing, sensitive young man who seems to be always singing. These three are a shining example of how God is moving in a mighty way at the Bethel Children's Centre.
We just received an email update from Andrew Mukumbu with great news on several subjects from the Bethel Children's Centre that brightened my day, and so I just had to share: "The week has been good so far, though very busy. All the kids have reported to school, and we have about 4 more children who have joined the centre. We praise God that we can be able to serve them. It's just a blessing.
The construction is on course and maybe by next week we will start the roofing work. I am sending some photos on that, plus some of the farming project and the feeding of the kids from the farm produce."
All of this is such a blessing, and we hope to have more news soon!
We are pleased to report, because of the generosity of our supporters, construction has begun for a second level of one of the buildings at the Bethel Children's Centre. To recap, Kenya has had significant flooding in the last months. Leaks have appeared in many of the roofs of the buildings and have needed to be repaired. In addition, the orphanage is currently at capacity so no space is available for house parents to live at the Centre. We are so encouraged by your generosity, and that Huruma has been able to fund the first stage of construction for a second level of one of the buildings. We are very excited about this development, and we are so very thankful for your support. Without a doubt, there is more work to be done, but this is a very good start, and for that, we are truly blessed. Stay tuned for more exciting news!
I like order in my life. It's what helps me in my job. But, sometimes, a little disruption can be a good thing. Many times, I look at photos, like this one from a previous trip to Kenya, and they make me smile. But, sometimes, like tonight, a photo like this makes me a little sad. I love these children and miss them so very much. It's very hard to be half a world away from them. For His reason, God has ordained me to be here, and for them to be on the other side of the planet. Five years ago, I would not have imagined that my heart would be captured by these children. But, here I am. A heart brimming with joy sometimes, but sometimes torn in two. And I wouldn't trade it for anything. Have you ever wondered if you can make a difference in this world? You can. And, it's easy... or it's very, very hard. Join us. You can make a financial contribution, which would be used, gratefully, for the benefit of these children. But, if you want to experience a wonderful disruption, come with us. We have not settled on exact dates for 2016, but dates in April or August are likely, because that's when our friends are on school break. The place we stay is secure and comfortable. The experience is indescribable. If you have an interest in going, let us know, and stay tuned for more...
Meet the two newest members of the family at the Bethel Children's Centre, Abigail (2 years old) and Grace (7 years old). Andrew and Agnes have never taken in a child as young as Abigail, and this will be a real challenge, so your prayers would be greatly appreciated.
That's the question that came into my mind tonight while reflecting on the past few days in Kenya. I never thought four years ago that my heart would be stolen by these children and these loving servants here who look after them, love them and teach them. Who am I to be given the gift to see and feel this kind of love in a place where I never expected to be? There's a line in the song "Who Am I?" by Casting Crowns that says:
"Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart."
Every time I come here, I'm amazed at how my hard, frozen, wandering heart can be melted yet again. I've done nothing to deserve this gift. Who am I indeed.
The children ate a traditional Christmas meal of nnyama choma, which is roasted goat, and chapati, which is a type of flatbread that is cooked in a pan. They were also able to have soft drinks, which is a rare treat.
It has been a great year at Bethel. The children are happy and are growing up strong and faithful. At Huruma, we are blessed to be a part of this ministry, and are grateful for your prayers and support this year. We are looking forward to what God has planned for 2015. We have been missing our friends and the children very much, and we are hoping to go back in the latter part of April 2015. So, set your calendars and stay tuned!
It's Christmas in Kenya! One of the favorite things the children at the Bethel Children's Centre like to do is go swimming at the Bible Translation and Literacy Centre in Ruiru. Unlike here, the weather is very nice in Ruiru in December (the temperature is usually in the low 80's).
In our Western world, we often use the word "need" interchangeably with the word "want." At the Bethel Children's Centre, when they say they have a "need," it is indeed a "need." There are a couple of needs at the Centre right now. One is for bedding. The picture you see to the left is of one of the beds at the Centre, taken by a friend who went to Kenya several weeks ago. The high school kids are at boarding school during most of the year, but now are out of school and staying at the Centre. When the high school kids come “home” on school break they need a place to sleep. So, as it is, when the high school kids come home now, they will sleep two to three kids in a single bed! They need additional bedding for ten kids right now, and the cost is about $65 per bed, or a total of $650. In addition, the children at the Centre have participated in a Bible camp in the community every year. The camp is held in association with local churches, and involves community evangelism and outreach. Last year, several students from the Centre helped lead the camp. The cost per child for this neighborhood ministry is not significant, but when the number of children who need support is several dozen, the total comes to $575, which is definitely significant! There are two aspects of this particular "need." There is the cost for the Bethel children to participate in this ministry, but more importantly, there is the need of people in Ruiru to be reached for the Gospel. If you would like to participate in meeting these needs, please visit our "Donate" page, or you can contact us directly.
It's been four weeks today since we returned from our Vision Trip to Kenya. We spent a great week with the kids at the Bethel Children's Centre. My companion on this trip, Pete, was overwhelmed at the faith of the workers at the Centre as well as the faith of the kids. And, even though I've witnessed it before, so was I. My original goal for this trip was to try to come up with a plan to take the prototype of Bethel and "franchise" it to other areas in Kenya. The problem is that it is very difficult to find people who are willing to lay down their lives and raise five dozen children like Andrew, Agnes and Lillian are doing. I didn't find the answer I was looking for. But God, ever faithful, provided an answer. In Matthew 13:31-32, Jesus said: “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” Well, if you want mustard plants, you need mustard seeds. And mustard seeds come from mustard plants. So if you get more mustard plants, you'll have more mustard seeds... I have seen faith in God growing like a mustard plant in the lives of the children at the Bethel Children's Centre. I have met Hiram, a high school boy, who leads a Bible study at his high school, which has now expanded to dozens of other high schools in Kenya. I have met Caroline, a natural leader who has a heart for "the least of these." She wants to be a lawyer to defend the rights of people in Kenya whose land and possessions have been illegally (and immorally) taken from them. I have met Emmah, an eighth-grade girl who has a heart for children; well, let's just say she has the biggest, most love-filled heart I have seen. She wants to be a doctor so she can help sick kids. Here, in this little community, outside the notice of the world, amazing things are happening. Mustard plants are growing. And, they are planting other seeds. Make no mistake. These children are going to change the world. They are going to have an impact no matter what we do because their God is big. Their God is Ever Faithful. And they know they can do all things through Him. But God, in His loving graciousness, has opened the door and invited us to be a part of His plan! He has invited us to tend His garden, to sow some mustard seeds.
God is allowing us to help provide tools for these kids, because the lack of education and training in Kenya will hinder a child's future, just like it can in the US.
High school is not free in Kenya. Most high schools are boarding schools, and the cost is prohibitive, especially for an orphan with no financial resources. But, the American dollar goes a long way in Kenya. The cost of sending a child to high school is surprisingly low. On average, it costs about $1,000 US dollars to cover tuition, books, room and board for a child to go to high school, or less than $3 a day.
For the cost of a magazine or a latte, we can truly make a difference in the world - one child at a time. We can see mustard seeds sprout and grow in the desert. Because of this Great God and His plan, we will see these children grow and take up the cause of Christ. Maybe they will be the ones to care for other orphaned children in Kenya. Very soon Huruma will be inviting you to join with us in the adventure of educating these kids. Trust me. You are going to want to get in on the ground floor of this trip. The elevator is only going one way. You won't want to miss it!
"A picture is not always worth a thousand words. You can take a picture of Mount Rushmore from the right perspective and have a pretty good idea of what it's really like. But you can take as many pictures as you want of what is happening here and never truly understand the reality of this place without experiencing it for yourself. Just had a thought - it's like reading about God but you can't truly know Him until you experience Him which I am definitely doing this week - taste and see that the Lord is good."
By Pete Houk, on his first mission trip to Kenya with Huruma.
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