The Safari (March 2017)
Dear Praying Friends,
“Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls; Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation”. Hab 3:17-18
Thank you very much for your prayers and support in the past year. The Lord has continued to do great things at this end. The vineyard of the Lord continues to flourish as you have faithfully continued to water it. “ He who waters, will in turn be watered”. The task will be difficult without your prayers and support. On behalf of our staff, and all the children and their families we take this opportunity to say thank you!
Kenya has made great headway in developing its infrastructure in the last ten years. The road network in the counties has continued to ease congestion in major towns. Many of the shacks in Kibera are now connected with electricity. The demand for housing has ushered in a construction boom. Slum upgrading continues to make painful but slow progress. More people now work in the city but reside in the country. We pray that we will continue to enjoy peace and stability even as we draw closer to the elections. Pray for our Elections coming up in August.
Amidst these great achievements, we are faced with a big calamity and dark moments as a nation, which include deaths in the recent past few months due to tribal conflicts as pastoralists fight over water and pasture. The numbers of internally displaced people continue to rise. Corruption and tribal conflicts continue to be our biggest challenge as a nation. Pray that the gospel will push back these forces of evil. Our doctors have just resumed work after a 100 day strike. Simple medical conditions and childhood diseases still go untreated as poverty bites even deeper. Times are difficult for slum dwellers and many working poor. The spell of drought and famine that continues to ravage this country in the last two years has been the worst experienced in the last thirty years. Daily bread is now beyond the reach for many as food prices sky rocket, doubling in one year. Two harvest seasons have failed. If the rains come in April, the earliest harvest will be in August. Kale and cabbage, staples for the urban poor, are now almost at the same price as a kilo of meat! Shelter, food and earning a livelihood is now even harder as bribes have to be given to secure jobs and services. A pastor friend in Marsabit, in the northern part of Kenya, states that they experience drought every four years, but this is the worst. Usually the last animal left standing is a camel, but this time around, camels are also succumbing to the biting conditions. People who led decent lives through small scale farming have been reduced to beggars. The shilling continues to be battered by world currencies and it is at an all- time low. We are a nation with many jobless families, sleeping without food and little hope of a better tomorrow. Many men have taken to drinking moonshine to escape the realities affecting them and their families. The illicit brewing joints have been forced to look for ways to make their drink more potent; in the process the drink is adulterated thus becoming more lethal claiming lives of family heads. Idle young men sit by the roadside waiting for the cover of darkness to engage in crime. Many times they are executed in cold blood and their families forced to pay for the bullets that took their lives. Others are left with twisted limbs and disfigured bodies for the rest of their lives. Our goal for 2017 is to reach out to these young men with the gospel. We visit their dens, most of them are maimed due to gun shots and mob justice. One has a deep cup right on top of his head. Another has 2 bullets still lodged in his knee and walking on crutches which is very difficult, given all the jumping over the ditches one has to do in a slum. They come for prayer everyTuesday and we visit them three times a week to share the gospel. They are highly feared by the community members.
The slums are a growing mission field. Hundreds flock into them to begin life anew. For the church, it is a great opportunity to reach out to the hurting and restore hope and dignity. The Kibera Reformed Presbyterian church has continued to spread the gospel in word and deed in the power of the Holy Spirit. Fifteen years have passed since we began. God has been faithful. We have seen great things happen such as God reversing the death sentence for our AIDS members through free ARVs; parents are living longer to take care of their children. We do not have as many orphans as we used to have. It is a miracle to see parents celebrating their children’s birthday. Seventy percent of the babies who benefited from our baby formula ten years ago, as a way to prevent HIV transmission of mother- to -child infection, are HIV free and in fifth grade. Most of our families are headed by women. The burden to put food on the table and to educate children rests heavily on their shoulders. The church helps through the school lunch feeding program and sponsorship but when famine has been declared a national disaster, the need to reach out to those falling through the cracks is critical. We need to fill the kitchen barn with cereals for the most vulnerable. The majority of these are malnourished children and the sick. Pray that our pantry will be filled with food for the hungry families. Experience has also taught us that boys get into a lot of trouble when there is little food at home as they have to fend for themselves and their siblings to add on to what their parents eke out. Most of these parents are on moonshine, prostitution or high on marijuana. This means, we need to add an extra potato to their soup.
For the last six years we have grown our own corn and mill it right at the property, thanks to the gritz mill donated to us sometime back. We have also been growing quite a variety of vegetables in our two green houses and on the parcel of land through drip irrigation. The vegetables and flour are taken to Kibera on a weekly basis and when we have a surplus, it is distributed to needy families. God has answered our prayer wonderfully this year. We are in process of purchasing a tractor for ploughing. This will increase the amount of land under cultivation which in turn will increase our food stock. Our goal is to become self- sustaining in the area of feeding the children. The drought has taken us a few steps back but we hope to be on our feet again once the rains start. Having a tractor is a huge help as it will double our harvest almost immediately.
Our boys and girls at the shelter are now young women and young men. Eleven of them are in high school. In April, we will add three more girls. The Mamlaka school in Kibera will be getting a much needed modern face lift. We have a beautiful church building, and administration block. We are grateful for the generosity of God’s people.
There has been an outcry from mothers to do something about the boy child. After the December camp, we had to return two boys home who need rescuing. Our hearts are still out there with them. We are looking towards having a shelter for the boys going. We need to rescue a whole group that is being initiated into crime.
Please pray that the rains will begin and that as we begin this other aspect of ministry, God will be glorified.
Pray that we will stay encourage and focused.
Please pray with us as we continue to serve our Lord and Master in spreading the kingdom in this part of the world.
The new van, replacing the faithful blue one that many may remember from their trip(s).