Families are valuable. Poverty should not rip them apart. You can help vulnerable children stay with their moms by connecting with COMMON BECOMES HOLY. Together let's express God's love to those victimized so they may be "taken away from common usage, designed for higher purposes, complete"- HOLY.
They've pastored a church in Kisumu for 6 years and had never been to Joyland.
"We know God wants us to go visit the children. Will you take us?"
George and Mary ask one Sunday evening when we saw them at the market.
"Sure! We'd be happy to!" was our reply.
The church that hosted our DIG training
(you can read about the widowed moms
stories on tiltingbalance.blogspot.com.)
and where Lisa's been teaching on missions wanted to become
They wanted to help those who feel helpless.
They wanted to serve the poor.
They wanted to share their blessings.
We were sooooo excited to introduce this pastoral couple to our friends at Joyland.
Below are photos of our time together...
Taleah, Tavin, and our neighbor Sally introduce Mama Mary to the children who are more then curious to
meet new people.
Pastor George gets right to work helping Mark blow up balloons for object lessons on Jesus filling them with His Spirit and shaping them into His design.
Mama Mary leads the children in praise and worship.
The kids nibble on their treats and hold their balloons while sharing testimonies of God's goodness.
The smiles below tell the rest of the story...
Lisa's good friend Denis refused to look at the camera, although he's the one who requested the photo be taken of them together. Silly boy!
Pastor George and Mary plan to bring a team from their church once a month to minister at Joyland. They also volunteered to purchase new drinking cups for the children since there are not enough for all of them.
Beatrice smiles warmly. She pours milky chai
from a green thermos into clear glass mugs and serves crispy-fresh mandazi. She looks around her food kiosk with
satisfaction. Her customers
appear happy. This is a new life for
Beatrice, one she’s been praying about for a long time...
was born the last child to a second wife in a polygamous family and not educated beyond the sixth level. She was treated as a servant in the family
compound. Like many Kenyan girls, she
married young so her father could claim the dowry. She bore two children –
a boy and a girl. Then her husband became very sick and died. Fear surrounded the man's death, and
Beatrice was no longer welcomed in her husband’s homestead.
Without resources Beatrice journeyed to her
rural home and made the difficult decision to leave her children there as she
begged some shillings to travel to Kisumu to find work. While
in the bustling town, Beatrice tried selling small vegetables along the road, no one would buy; no one showed her pity; no one even seemed to even see her. She felt
her life had been cursed.
With nothing left, Beatrice waited at a church.
The pastors found her very thin and sick. After much prayer she regained her strength and started to follow Jesus. When we met Beatrice she worked as house-help, earning the equivalent of 50
cents a day. She knew God had more for her, more for her children, more for
their future. She began praying for new
Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning from 9:00 till noon, for 9 weeks, Beatrice
attended the DIG training. She learned who Christ is in her and who she is in
Him. She learned about the freedom of
forgiveness and how God longed to share the beautiful woman He created her to
be. She worked hard developing a plan
with a budget. She received wise counsel
committed to accountability.
Beatrice applies her lessons well. She
rises early to walk to the market and gather supplies for the day. She makes her fire and cooks good food for
weary workers in her community. She shares her story of redemption along side
soft chapati and beans boiled with sweet onions. Ultimately, Beatrice found
more than a ministry/business. She found
new life in Christ.
Please pray for Beatrice. She’s saving money to secure a home so she can bring her children to live with her.
Thanks for sharing our journey with these young widowed moms. With their permission we've given you a glimpse of the heartache they endured and the miracles of grace God created. These stories are the fruit of much labor, prayer, support and encouragement. It's not easy, but then, we've never known God to do something because it's easy. God moves because He loves. He loves even when it's hard. Thank you for helping us show the Lord's love to these women.
Next post we'll share about Benta, a young pregnant mom that didn't want to birth her child into poverty, but mercy prevailed... Thank you for your prayers for Mildred and her son. Franklin is recovering yet still needs dialysis. She's trusting Jesus that soon you'll be reading her story.
When has a blessing become something we receive that's beyond our basic daily needs? Many who are reading this don't experience homelessness, hunger or lack of clothing. In fact, most educate their children with abundant resources. A majority own vehicles, appliances, and indulge in hobbies and entertainment without pinching budgets much. But what if...
What if you were not born in a family of means, in a country of influence? What if you lived in a country besieged by corruption, disease and neglect of human rights? What if your family didn't value you because of your gender? Imagine for a moment that you are Anne...
Being part of a large family, Anne grew up in an area overwhelmed by poverty, lack of education being the biggest obstacle to opportunity. With so little land to farm and so many needing to eat, Anne saw her life ending in an abyss of hopelessness. She wanted more but didn't know how to move out of the vicious cycle of eating the proverbial seed met for planting. She chose a path many young and ambitious Kenyan girls fall prey to - marrying a man who was already married because he promised to send her to school. As a second wife, Anne's position in the community quickly slipped deeper into the dark abyss. Her dreams of school were thwarted as second wife duties overwhelmed her - finding water, finding firewood, finding food, but never being able to find enough of anything. Anne survived slightly above a slave status. She gave birth to two children; then her husband died. After his burial, the first wife's family chased Anne and her children away from the compound. She was denied any inheritance.
Desperation drove Anne to the city where she struggled to provide for her small son and infant daughter. She arrived at a church that welcomed her, introduced her to Jesus, but could do little to help her life become sustainable. This was about the same time God let us bring the Discipleship Income-Generating training to Kenya. The pastors introduced us to Anne and a friendship began. Her desire to learn, grow, and become all God intended mixed beautifully with the DIG program. Instead of eating the seed, Anne was given the opportunity to receive the education necessary to plant the seed, nurture it and watch it grow into a blessing.
Today Anne manages a maize business. Her basic needs are met and for her that's a blessing. She cherishes the blessing of feeding her children everyday. She delights in helping feed three orphans whose mother deserted them. She offers her community a staple grain at a fair price to make the traditional ungali. Anne shares her story with her neighbors and customers - God provides. She's been blessed to be a blessing.
As the New Year begins, know that you've been blessed to be a blessing. The promise Genesis 12:3 passes onto us by faith. If you live in freedom, use that freedom to help others secure theirs. If your home is large, welcome those who are lonely. If your closets and cupboards overflow, look for ways to share. Do these things with the expectation that whomever you bless will continue to pass it on. It's because of those who experienced generous giving that Anne can now live generously for others. Who knows what kindness can lead to God's greatest gift of salvation? Blessings indeed!
Please continue to pray for the widowed moms as they walk out the spiritual lessons in practical ways.
We appreciate your encouragement, prayers and support.