About: SarahOConnor

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Honoring God through Change 4 Life

September 1, 2016 by Sarah O'Connor

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VBS Change 4 Life

As we wrap up the summer, I want to leave you with an awesome highlight. Children around the country were able to make an impact through our Change 4 Life project through their VBS programs. Through Change 4 Life, thousands of children around the U.S. honored God through their giving, by collecting change to help provide school supplies for our kids in the D.R. Congo. Churches collected anywhere between $200-$2000 dollars!

One Children’s Ministry Director shared, “Each night they were challenged to bring home a plastic container to fill with spare change. We showed the video about ‘Change 4 Life’ and it inspired the kids to help others needing an education and supplies.” The children really connected with the idea that their money was going to go across the world to help another child in need. By the end of the week, the children collectively brought in 333 pounds of spare change, more than $1500!

What a joy to see and hear about children who are positively impacting lives and honoring God, as well as the impact it made on their own lives. Together, these children became change agents from right here in the U.S.

We are so very grateful for all who participated in ELI’s Change 4 Life project!

If you are interested in partnering with ELI for your VBS program, please send us an email or call the office!

Elizabeth Serrano 
Development Coordinator Intern
Empowering Lives International

Honoring God through service

June 9, 2016 by Sarah O'Connor

Honoring God through service

Empowering Lives International is powered by people like you, who give continually of their money, their prayers, and their time.

From East Africa to the U.S., we, the ELI community, all seek to honor God. Shayla is no exception. When she was just 15, she and her family traveled nearly 10,000 miles to our Children’s Home in Ilula, Kenya. She played with, served, and fell in love with the orphans that call Ilula home. Shayla befriended one little boy in particular, named Joseph. Shayla explains in her blog that she uses her babysitting money to help pay for Joseph’s basic needs and education; ensuring that the cycle of poverty stops with him… Honoring God through the most unlikely of friendships.

An excerpt from her blog “He’s Stolen My Heart”

Our departure crept in like thick, dark ink, tainting our final moments. Only hours before our family said our goodbyes, I sat in the cool dewy morning air holding a cup of hot chai tea, Joseph sitting beside me, his legs swinging absentmindedly. As I sat there, I basked in his sweet presence and gulped in the sight of his turned up nose, animated hands, and rambunctious spirit, not wanting our time to end. When the van pulled up–the moment I had long dreaded–Joseph and I walked out to meet it, holding hands for the last time. The kids whom I’d come to adore, engulfed me in a sorrowful embrace, lips trembling…

A month later, my mom and I sat at the kitchen table talking about our loved ones back in Kenya. “Shay, I’ve gotta tell you something I think you’re gonna be really excited about,” my mom said, biting her lip to hide a grin. She grabbed her laptop and slid into the chair next to me. On the screen was a photo of Joseph, with the words “needs sponsor”.

New hope lifted a burden I didn’t realize I was carrying…

Shayla and Joseph at Ilula Children’s Home – 2015

To read the rest of Shayla’s Story visit her blog at: http://shaylajoy.com/title/

We are so blessed by people like Shayla, and like you, who care deeply about the lives of children and families in East Africa. Thank you for joining with us as we seek to honor God.

Empowering lives together,

Sarah O’Connor
Child Sponsorship
Empowering Lives International

Wish to respond by giving? Click here.

A Light to the Poor

March 3, 2016 by Sarah O'Connor

Do you know that you bring light into the darkest places?

The Democratic Republic of Congo has been called a place of great darkness. Poverty is rampant, and recent wars ravaged its people, body and spirit.

Mugisho Basomire and his family lost their father in 1996 when war broke out. Shortly after his father’s passing, his mother became blind due to advanced cataracts. Mugisho’s four younger siblings looked to him to provide food and basic needs. The pastors in the local area saw that this family desperately needed help, but they did not know what to do. The pastors then reached out to Empowering Lives International, and God intervened.

Mugisho 1
Mugisho in his ELI Academy uniform, 2010

ELI assisted Mugisho’s family by providing education and food every day for three of the fove children through the ELI Academy in the Keredi slum of Bukavu, DR Congo.

Since then, Mugisho has graduated from high school and now works for a security agency to help provide for his family. Because of you, the Basomire family has been transformed.

Mugisho 2

Mugisho can now provide tuition fees for his younger siblings. He was able to move his family into a better home, for which he pays rent every month. He even paid for corrective eye surgery for his mother, and she regained her vision!

We witness stories like Mugisho’s daily. Because you invest in the ministry of ELI, you provide care and education for children who would otherwise have none. Education means hope and self-sustainability for the poor.

The locals of the Keredi slum named the ELI Academy “the jewel that has dropped from heaven” because of the hope it provides for the people who call the slum their home. It brings sight to the blind and light to the darkest places.


With joy,

Sarah O’Connor
Child Sponsorships/Office Assistant
Empowering Lives International