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Melissa Uplinger’s Intern Reflections

February 10, 2014 by LoriEaton

Melissa Uplinger Picture

Melissa Uplinger served as an intern for 2 months in Kipkaren, Kenya, participating in medical missions.

I arrived in Kenya after spending a month in Tanzania and I was homesick, lonely and looking for someone to pity me. I was asking God what he was thinking when he told me I was supposed to quit my well-paying job, leave my friends and family, and go to Africa for 3 months. Then I smartened up and opened my Bible. What I found was Philippians 4:4-7. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)  (more…)

Introducing Chaya

February 4, 2014 by Micah Albert

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Let me introduce you to chaya, it is an amazing plant that is helping eradicate malnutrition around the world — specifically in East Africa, as ELI propagates and distributes this important leaf-bearing bush. It is effective because it is resistant to drought, disease and pests. Chaya is appropriate because it is so easy to plant, does not need high quality soil, grows into a bush that never needs to be planted again, and grows new stems throughout the year that can be broken off and planted to easily expand the crop. It is powerful because it has a higher nutritional value than spinach, and the taste and cooking method is similar to the familiar kale and spinach plants East Africans already use and enjoy. This vegetable is another powerful way to help empower lives!

New Year, New School, New Adventures

January 30, 2014 by dianahom
Form 1 Girls

Packed and looking “smart” in their uniforms, our girls are ready to make the drive to their new Secondary School, Liberty Girls, in Eldoret.

 

Our first group of Form 1 (9th grade) girls have officially left for school. By, “left for school”, I mean, packed their suitcases, a new mattress and all their necessities to head off to boarding school. They will return back home during their school holiday breaks in April, August and December. This is customary in Kenya where children entering into high school attend boarding school. Please keep these precious girls in your prayers as they study, grow, develop and shine the light of Jesus.

 

Christmas in Kipkaren

January 16, 2014 by dianahom

By Colleen Costigan, Professional Volunteer, Kipkaren, Kenya

I know Christmas was three weeks ago, but take a moment to think about what it looked like for you.  Did you have a Christmas tree?  A house full of decorations?  Presents galore?  Maybe even some snow?

Can you envision what Christmas is like in Kenya?  I couldn’t.  Until this year when I was fortunate enough be a part of the Empowering Lives’ celebration in Kipkaren, Kenya.  There was no tree.  Few decorations.  Zero presents.  And it was hotter than ever.  But it was a day rich with culture, fellowship, and fun.

The day started at 3 a.m. with the mamas and girls from the Kipkaren Children’s Home cooking chapatti (an authentic African favorite similar to a tortilla).  When you are cooking for four hundred plus people an early start is a must!

Making Chapti

Making Chapti

Who were the four hundred plus people?  (more…)

Today is the Last Day

December 31, 2013 by Don Rogers

year end 2013 5

 

Gladys life will never be the same.  Because of the training she received at the ELI center in Kenya she found a new life in Christ and skills that will help her for the rest of her life!  She is now attending church and sharing her new skills with her children and neighbors.  As she said to us recently “I do not want to be blessed alone.  I have knowledge now that I want to pass on so that others can also receive this hope and change.”

As we come to the close of this year there are many lives hanging in the balance between despair and hope. Your year end gift today will help make all the difference for a person like Gladys – in fact – we have over 400 people who have seen the impact of our training and are hoping for a chance to come.  Your gift today will help change the course of their future.  It is a privilege to know that together we are…
Empowering lives,

Don Rogers
Founder / Director

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PS:  Every gift today is so important and will be matched by another generous donor! Help us reach our goal of $20,000.

 

Women brewers accept Christ

Esther – One woman’s story among empowered lives

December 10, 2013 by dianahom

By DiAnne Drachand (ELI Ambassador)

From left to right: Mary, Penina, DiAnne and Esther

From left to right: Mary, Penina, DiAnne and Esther

In our busy holiday activities, I thought you might just want to take a moment to look closely into the lives of some women I met in Kenya. Empowering Lives International is doing an amazing job of transforming lives. Here is a peek into a world we can only imagine. Join me while I give thanks for those who are doing the work on the front lines.

Upon our arrival in Ilula, Kenya we were greeted by the sight of about 90 women – some young with babies on their backs, some old with wrinkled faces, many with colorful bandannas on their heads. They filed into the training room amid the sound of scraping plastic chairs over the mud-spotted floors due to days of rain. I slipped into the back of the room as their attention was drawn back to the animated teacher of the day. I did not understand the language, but I could tell these women (and three men) were giving him rapt attention. Their futures depended on what was to happen over the next few days.  (more…)

Thank you, Kiprops!

December 2, 2013 by dianahom

By, Amy Rogers

Kiprop Family 2012 (web)

Empowering Lives International we have had the blessing and privilege of serving with Michelle Kiprop for the last eight years in ministry.  We are grateful for the many ways that God has used Michelle to bring hope and healing to so many in Kenya.  In October, Michelle, along with her husband William and son Ryan launched a new ministry called Hope Matters.  Michelle will continue to fulfill her calling and passion to bring comprehensive healthcare to needy communities throughout Kenya. We are grateful to the Kiprop family and all that they have contributed to the ministry of Empowering Lives over the last eight years. We pray God’s abundant blessing on their family and new ministry. We look forward to all that God will do through the work and ministry of Hope Matters in the years to come.

10,000 Steps… Honoring a Life While Changing Lives

November 27, 2013 by LoriEaton

Debbi 10,00 steps

 

Meet Debbi Hawney.  Debbi is an ELI alumna, having traveled to Kenya in both 2010 and 2012 as well as a great champion of the ministry.  Debbi’s love for God and her desire to see people worldwide come to know Him and be empowered is inspiring.  As she has faithfully followed God, through both the good times and the difficult, He has used her to impact many lives for His kingdom. (more…)

Educate a Community: God our Rescuer

November 14, 2013 by dianahom
Riziki and Chantal stand in front of their home

Riziki and Chantal stand in front of their home

She answered our questions with no hint of emotion. It was almost as if she was numb to the pain and poverty that is the reality of her life, so, I was surprised when her answers were filled with hope.

“Do you sometimes feel God’s Love?”

“Yes.”

“How do you feel God’s love?”

“He takes care of me and rescues me from my problems.”

Chantal has hope even though her circumstances speak otherwise.

She rents a six foot by six foot wooden shack in the middle of a slum in Bukavu, D.R. Congo. (more…)

Donate Blood, Save Lives & Send Children to School

November 12, 2013 by dianahom

Blood for missions

On Sunday, November 17, North Hills Community Church is hosting a blood drive through Blood for Missions. This blood drive will benefit ELI’s ministries because for every pint donated, $20 will be given to sponsor a child for 2 months in ELI’s South Sudan School! For more details, visit northhills.us or call 909-945-5440.

 

Date: Sunday, November 17
Time: show up anytime between 10 am – 2 pm 
Place: 10601 Church St., Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

*To donate, you must be 17 years old (16 if a parent is present), healthy, have no tattoos in the past year or have traveled to any malaria-risk areas in the past year.

Meet Sandra Cherop Were

November 7, 2013 by dianahom

By Colleen Costigan, Professional Volunteer

Hard-working
Welcoming
Loving
Leader

Meet Sandra Cherop

Sandra and I bonded right away when I was in Kenya for one month last year. Why? I carried her on my back from the medical clinic to the Children’s Home. She was so ill with malaria she couldn’t make the two-kilometer walk.

From that point on, we were good friends. And I think we would both agree that saying goodbye last year was difficult.

Sandra and Colleen

(more…)

Educate a Community: South Sudan History

October 17, 2013 by dianahom

Plane

We drove out to an open field to see a war plane. I honestly didn’t know why we were doing that or what to expect. The car was parked on the dirt road and all of us climbed out. I followed our Sudanese friends through the dry field and started to recognize remnants of a plane in the distance. The colors it was painted camouflaged itself in the tall dry grass. When we got to the plane, we all began to examine it, climb on it and talk about it.

How did it get here? (more…)

Meet Mercy Chelimo

October 10, 2013 by dianahom

By, Colleen Costigan, Professional Volunteer

Merciful
Compassionate
Attentive
Sincere

Meet Mercy Chelimo

KK-065 Mercy Chelimo 1 (web)

I think God must have divinely inspired her mother and father when they selected a name for their daughter. I can’t think of a more fitting name. Mercy’s eyes exude just that, a spirit of mercy and compassion. And if you make eye contact with her or tell her a joke or do something to get her to smile, you will see her face light up the entire room. Chelimo is her Kalenjin tribal name which means “born when taking the cows from being fed”. (more…)

Educate a Community: History of D.R. Congo

October 3, 2013 by dianahom

I learned this saying in history classes throughout my school days as a child and into college: “Those who don’t learn the past are doomed to repeat it.” There are some great events and people in the past we learn about and want to repeat or emulate, but, there are also events and people we learn of that we don’t want to be influenced by. It wasn’t until I stood on the very soil where millions of people were killed that the wise saying I learned sank in.

My colleagues and I had a layover in Kigali, Rwanda, on our way to Bukavu, D.R. Congo, to visit ELI’s school. Micah and I decided to take the short drive to the Kigali Genocide Memorial. To be honest, I didn’t know much about what had happened in Rwanda and why so many people were massacred in 1994. As I stood looking at the mass graves below, I couldn’t believe that it all happened when I was 11 years old! Genocide happens in my lifetime? I was shocked! I thought that was something of the past like when I learned about the Holocaust in world history classes. Even that seemed far removed even though it happened during the time period when my grandparents were born.

Mass graves located at the Rwandan Genocide Memorial

Mass graves located at the Rwandan Genocide Memorial

What caused this modern day genocide and why was it hitting me so hard? (more…)

Meet Stellah Jepchirchir

October 2, 2013 by dianahom

By Colleen Costigan, Professional Volunteer

Faithful.
Eager.
Determined.
Thoughtful.

Meet Stellah Jepchirchir.

KK-059 Stellah Jepchirchir (1) web

Stellah’s mom died when she was seven months old in a motor accident.

Her father’s identity is unknown so her Aunt Margaret took over her care. Stellah knew her Aunt Margaret as mom.

When Stellah was six, she was told to pack a bag for boarding school, which is very common in Kenya. She was excited for the opportunity to go to school! Stellah didn’t realize she was going to a Children’s Home until she saw all the kids welcome her at the gate. (more…)

Inevitable Transformation

September 26, 2013 by dianahom

By Colleen Costigan, Professional Volunteer

Children's Home Welcome

Multiple times over the last year people have asked me what I did last summer in Kenya and then of course what I will be doing in the year ahead.  I usually explain that part of my job will be spending time with the orphans at the Children’s Home in Kipkaren – helping them with English, with homework, and just spending one on one time getting to know them.

I say “I’ll be living with 100 orphans” like its no big deal, as though the word orphan has become a part of my every day vocabulary.

When I catch myself saying orphan so nonchalantly, I’m often shaken back into reality when I see the reaction of those I tell.

You mean they are all orphans?

Yes.

You mean both of their parents are dead?

Yes.

You mean they were left abandoned and unattended and didn’t have anyone to take care of them?

Yes.

 

I see the look on your face, as you try to process what that means. (more…)

Educate a Community: South Sudan Location

September 19, 2013 by dianahom

South Sudan Map 3 Kolmarek (web)

Our team of 8 boarded onto the small plane and took up every seat available to fly into South Sudan. We packed lightly as the plane could only hold a limited amount of weight. As the plane sped down the runway, I had no idea what was ahead of us. I was warned that it would be hot, but, I didn’t realize there would be no reprieve from the hot sun. As we flew over the land, I saw that it was flat, dry and held very few trees and plants. As the time went by and the more I looked out the window, I realized we were far from any comforts of modern civilization and in the middle of “nowhere”. (more…)

Educate a Community: Strategically in a Slum

September 5, 2013 by dianahom

 

Map of DRC Bukavu

Bukavu is a city in the Southern Kivu province in D.R. Congo (DRC). It shares a border with Rwanda and has been plagued by war for many years; a war caused by various groups trying to gain power, territory and protect its own interests. To this day there is still instability within the country and tensions run high. Within Bukavu, there are several zones; one of those zones is Keredi, and that is where ELI’s school is located. (more…)

Back To School

August 30, 2013 by dianahom

back_to_school_2013

We are looking for more sponsors to support the children in our schools in Africa. We are about half-way there to fully sponsor the children. As families across the nation and world start shopping to go back to school, please remember the children in our schools who are also going back to school.

$30 will pay for 3 children in a slum in DR Congo or village in South Sudan to attend ELI’s schools for one month.

Educating children will educate the community. These children take what they have learned back home and teach their families. Receiving an education also increases their future earning potential by 10-20% thus helping their future and their future family. Worldwide it is proven that education helps break the cycle of poverty within generations as children learn about hygiene and how to better take care of themselves, girls learn about motherhood and other life skills are learned.

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The Tallest Flag

August 28, 2013 by Micah Albert

Tallest Flag

 

The sound of the plane was deafening and terrifyingly familiar. Though they never knew for sure where it came from or where it was going next, one thing was certain: when the Antanov airplane from Northern Sudan flies overhead, it could be the last sound you ever hear. People were about to die.

For 23 years, the people of South Sudan lived an anxious existence. Years of concern for your own survival and that of your family’s survival developed more ulcers than farms. There is no time or place to cultivate the land when a war is at your door. Life became a nomadic existence where you prayed to see the next day and where you were fortunate if you had a big enough hole in the ground to hide in.

Fighting continues along some of the North and South borders, but the civil war that raged for decades has come to an end. July 9, 2011 brought hundreds of thousands to the newly constructed “Freedom Square” in the temporary capital city of Juba, South Sudan. Front and center in the square is a massive array of flags from around the world. In the middle, however, there was a new pole that rose higher than the rest. It would become the tallest flag, the flag of the new South Sudan. When the flag went up, people fell down. Ambulances were at the waiting as many people, so overwhelmed by the reality of independence and what the potential of freedom could mean, had their knees buckle, fainting from the combination of heat, anticipation, memories of the past, hopes for the future and just sheer joy.

(more…)

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