March 17, 2014 by LoriEaton
My internship with Empowering Lives International impacted me in more ways than I ever thought imaginable. One thing that God really showed me was the magnitude of His perfect love. Before I left for Kenya I thought that I had been through enough trials to last me a lifetime. Time and time again God never left my side through it all. But when I arrived in Kenya, I was so incredibly shy, nervous, and way out of my comfort zone. As I sat with my Mama and Gogo, cutting vegetables on my first day in the village, I was pondering what had influenced me to jump on a plane by myself and spend three months in a foreign country where I knew not a single soul? Little did I know, God had so much to teach me in those two months. (more…)
March 5, 2014 by LoriEaton
Elizabeth Robison’s Greeting in Kenya
Rain, Seeds, and Obedience – Elizabeth Robison Reflections on Six Months as a Professional Volunteer in Kipkaren, Kenya
On April 6, 2013 I rode for the first time down muddy red dirt roads surrounded by freshly tilled soil, and was warmly welcomed into the Kipkaren Community. I had been looking forward to this day for so long… I had raised support, shared the vision, and opened up my heart. I was incredibly blessed to be sent out by family, friends, and church body, and launched into the mission field in Kenya. I came with my heart open and my hands ready to work. I was ready to get my hands dirty… I was ready to SERVE.
I am a nurse practitioner. I love this role because it allows me to enter into another person’s story, and walk with them through periods of difficulty. It allows me to use my hands to help. It gives opportunity for me to open my heart and care. When God opened the door for me to go to Kenya with ELI following my nurse practitioner training, I was ecstatic. It was easy to anticipate how all of my skills and training in the medical field would be useful in a place where access to healthcare was limited. I would be going where I was wanted and welcomed, but more importantly I would be going where I was needed. (more…)
February 24, 2014 by LoriEaton
Tori and Beatrice
Tori Greaves served as a a children’s home intern in Ilula for two months in 2013
When I first came to Africa five months ago with a study abroad program in Tanzania, I had my life all planned out. Well, not entirely, but I knew exactly what the next two years would hold. I would come back to America, find a paid internship for the summer, and jump back into school with new ideas and experiences that would help me then to figure out the rest of my future. But before I knew it, Africa began to surround me and to seep inside of me. Living in a place where people can hardly plan for tomorrow, let alone the next month or year, is a reminder that it is God who really does, or should control your life and future. It is then that I began to pray some dangerous prayers.
“God, I want you to lead me. Teach me to follow, to surrender.” I still remember sitting out by the river near our campus offering up that prayer. I also remember the curious, but tentative email I sent out to Amy Rogers just to see if maybe, possibly (but probably not) God wanted me to stick around in Africa. Two weeks before I was supposed to board my plane flight to America, His answer was a clear and terrifying, “Yes!” (more…)
February 12, 2014 by LoriEaton
The people in the photo are Shadrack, Rebekah, Susan, Colleen, Ednah,
Collins and Stanley (child in front)
Connecting the Dots – by Cathy Lessig
For a few years Empowering Lives International has considered the village of Turbo an ‘outreach village’. This means the ministry has been taking slow but deliberate steps to reach out in hopes of bringing the light of Christ to those experiencing spiritual, physical or economic oppression. As our ministry team has spent more time in Turbo we’ve learned more and more about the power of networking. Standing alongside people living in poverty raises multiple, complex issues and it has become clear that one person, or one group can’t begin to minister to all of them.
Health care concerns, high rates of alcohol brewing, addiction and drunkenness, children out of school, lack of employment….hopelessness. (more…)
February 10, 2014 by LoriEaton
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! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) (more…)
February 4, 2014 by Micah Albert
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!
January 30, 2014 by dianahom
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.
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!
Who were the four hundred plus people? (more…)
December 31, 2013 by Don Rogers
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…
Founder / Director
PS: Every gift today is so important and will be matched by another generous donor! Help us reach our goal of $20,000.
December 10, 2013 by dianahom
By DiAnne Drachand (ELI Ambassador)
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…)
December 2, 2013 by dianahom
By, Amy Rogers
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.
November 27, 2013 by LoriEaton
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…)
November 14, 2013 by dianahom
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?”
“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…)
November 12, 2013 by dianahom
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.
November 7, 2013 by dianahom
By Colleen Costigan, Professional Volunteer
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.
October 17, 2013 by dianahom
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…)
October 10, 2013 by dianahom
By, Colleen Costigan, Professional Volunteer
Meet Mercy Chelimo
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…)
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
- What caused this modern day genocide and why was it hitting me so hard? (more…)
October 2, 2013 by dianahom
By Colleen Costigan, Professional Volunteer
Meet Stellah Jepchirchir.
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…)
September 26, 2013 by dianahom
By Colleen Costigan, Professional Volunteer
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?
You mean both of their parents are dead?
You mean they were left abandoned and unattended and didn’t have anyone to take care of them?
I see the look on your face, as you try to process what that means. (more…)