One of the biggest single events in the 20-year history of ELI has taken place on August 22nd!
It has been our dream to bring together ALL of the Reformed Brewers at ONE TIME to ONE LOCATION for a time of celebration.
WHAT A SUCCESS! Thank you for your prayers and for helping make this possible!
Important Update on August 22, 2018 Event at Iten, Kenya
A MOVEMENT IN MOTION
The CELEBRATION started around 11 am on August 22nd, 2018 and there were about 2,000 people who attended. Among those present were over 1,000 reformed brewers of “Changaa” the illegal alcohol, over 20 Empowering Lives staff, and many Government officials, village chiefs, and the general population – all attending this event that is the first of it’s kind over to take place in the history of ELI and even within the country of Kenya. When people saw the many buses arriving and the hundreds of women coming out who have all changed from brewing – many people were wondering, ‘How is this possible? How could such change happen like this?”
Here is an update from our staff in Kenya!!!
The program got underway around 10:30am and Samuel Teimuge (Co-founder of ELI / Lead Trainer for Women of Change Program) was M.C. for more than half of the time. Things moved very smoothly throughout the entire event!
Several major Television Channels and newspapers attended and much of the event was broadcast across the nation!!! Hundreds of thousands of Kenyans were able to hear of the impact and testimonies!
Seven of the Women of Change leaders sang two wonderful songs about the transformation in their lives and then each gave very powerful testimonies. This impacted everyone listening. Each of the women shared how God has raised them up from a place of darkness and they also quoted Habbakuk 2:15.
Eunice Ndiwa from West Pokot moved the crowd of people to tears when she shared her testimony. She said that her husband abandoned her with 9 children and she was having rough time educating them by making and selling the illegal alcohol called “Changaa” (“Kill me quick”) but as a result of the ELI training she received, she quit that business and started having faith in God. The Governor of Uasin Gishu Mr. Mandago was moved and straight away agreed to pay the school fees for one of her children. Eunice said that it is not common for Pokot women to ever share anything publicly – especially about such a dark and troubling past but that being a part of the ELI training and attending this Celebration are the highlights of her life.
Gladys Jerono – one of the Children from the ELI Children’s Home (Orphanage) impacted everyone – some wiping tears as she shared with such passion that her Dad was killed by alcohol and her Mom died because of hopelessness. That her Dad contracted HIV/AIDS when he was alcoholic moving around and then infected her mother. She challenged people to recognize how alcoholism is one of the problems that kill people or makes people move into activities that eventually leads to their death. That this program and training is targeting the source of many problems – not just treating a disease on the surface. She commented in her testimony that as ELI continues in this way, that the number of orphans will be reducing. People were very challenged and encouraged by these amazing children from the ELI homes. We know that their sponsors would be so very proud of them as well. Both children thanked God for ELI who brought them into a family. “We are no longer fatherless! We have parents and as we are shining now you can see what the Lord has done for us.”
Then – another ELI child, Vitaline, also moved the crowd – especially when she challenged those people brewing alcohol and said, “ You are the ones who sold alcohol to my Dad and that is why he died. But I am so glad for this celebration to see women changing. Now there can be fewer orphans!” She also added that as a child and before her parents died she was sometimes given alcohol product waste from brewing to eat with her food (Ugali – the main staple food) instead of vegetables or milk. She told the women that she is happy now that they are transformed. Governor Mandago was also moved and impressed by Vitaline (who is studying to be a teacher) and offered to help her gain employment when she graduates from College.
ELI COO John Busienei (“Bush”) talked about the different ministries that ELI does in Kenya besides the Reforming of Brewers (Children’s Homes with 275 children – Village Agriculture Training reaching throughout Kenya and 7 surrounding countries – and other programs). He also gave thanks to and appreciated the County Government for becoming good partners with ELI to see people’s lives transform.
The Governor Tolgos of Elgeiyo Marakwet County said, “ I’m glad to be able to open doors and I fully support all work that enables this kind of environment where Women of Change can successfully start-up businesses and discover a complete change in life.” He also encouraged other government leaders to join hands with ELI and to follow the process ELI uses which is NOT coercing women to come and change but all should create an environment where people WANT to change. He also encouraged ELI to increase the training capacity (beds and other facilities) so that we can accommodate more people.
Governor Mandago of Uasin Gishu County said that from now on we should follow the example of ELI which focuses on empowerment, rather than giving handouts. He also emphasized that where there is alcohol, there is poverty. He asked the NACADA Regional Director who is based in Eldoret why she has not told him about ELI and yet Tolgos from Elgeyo Marakwet has moved so very far in a good partnership with ELI. He asked ELI Pastor Stone, “How do you do this work so effectively?” Stone told him that it is God.
The CEO of NACADA (The branch of the government that deals with all alcohol-related issues) said, “For decades we have been using force in dealing with the illegal brewers, but we are learning from what ELI is doing and we can see that this is the right way.”
ELI Board Chairman – Robert Chelagat gave a good talk which included background information about ELI.
Ruth (Who was once a notorious brewer but is now a Village Elder) gave her testimony which was very powerful. She and other women shared with great joy and encouraged others by saying how God has been their provider. Ruth told the people, “At one time I was a very notorious brewer that no one would dare approach but today… I am notorious for Christ!” Many people shouted with laughter and joy at her comment and enthusiasm. For sure many knew her before and testified of a miracle of transformation.
The keynote speaker was Pastor Stephen (“Stone”) who as many know, came out of a terrible life and addiction and is now serving with ELI as a Recovery Counselor and evangelist. He preached a very powerful sermon – sharing about the Samaritan woman and also his testimony. He made an altar call and the majority of the crowd stood up to receive and give prayers of surrendering to God! God really moved in a special way!
ELI Kenya leadership gave important observations that:
The mobilization of bringing over 1,000 women from various parts of the country was done very well. ELI staff (Dennis K. and Nixon K.) coordinated the hiring and payment of all of the buses without any error or confusion.
The Women of Change ministry is now a movement and growing fast. It will need more laborers and a growing prayer team to strengthen the work.
That 99% of the women who were invited came!
That there is great and growing desire of the Governors to have ELI work in their Counties.
Many men who have seen the impact among the women are now asking ELI to initiate a program that will help them to become Men of Change! This is especially true in the large village of Cherengany.
All of the ELI family is so very grateful for every person and church that is standing with Empowering Lives and this important ministry that is changing the course of life for so many. Please remember the thousands of children of the women and men who now have different and better lives. Let us continue together to see these chains of generational poverty broken and the love of God raised up to higher levels until all can see this new joy, path, and life that is available to all people in the Nation and this world.
Thank you again for your prayers and support.
Respectfully submitted by ELI Kenya leadership – August 25th, 2018