Category: Community Investment

A Community that Spans an Ocean

January 27, 2017 by Sarah Ponce

Meet the Women of Change.

Women of Change is network of women who are committed to supporting the movement of change happening among brewers in East Africa. Val Roark is the coordinator of Women of Change, and she shares with us today about the importance of community on both sides of the ocean.

How do you feel community is important to Women of Change?
Community is important because it gives us emotional support and accountability. If you want to really champion a cause and champion what God is doing in other places, having someone with you who is excited alongside you is so encouraging.

How do you feel community is important to the brewers?
The groups there meet sometimes weekly, sometimes once a month. They do merry-go-round or table banking together so they’re not only supporting each other socially, spiritually and emotionally, but also supporting each other financially to some degree. Because they come from a village together and are trained at ELI, they go back home with that support system. And that support is paramount to their success; I saw it for myself over and over again.

Do you feel the Women of Change community in the US is connected to the communities of former brewers in Kenya?
That is what I want to see happen. We can embrace the change they are making and recognize and look at ourselves and think how does that impact me personally. What does God want to change in my life?
Also they (the brewers) are realizing we are all in God’s world and His kingdom, and they have these friends who are sisters of change who are far away but care about them. For the women in Africa to feel this connection is huge. I saw on their faces what it meant to them, even just to think we are praying for them. And then for them to say we’ll pray for you…when I see the faith they have, I want people like that praying for me!

Interested in getting involved with Women of Change? Contact Val at womenofchange@empoweringlives.org about joining a chapter or starting your own chapter in your area.

 

Interview with Val Roark by Sarah Ponce
Communications Manager
Empowering Lives International

Witnessing Empowerment in Action

October 29, 2016 by LoriEaton

This summer, your support helped more than 100 women make commitments to Christ and to turn their lives away from illicit brewing!

Ephesians 4:28 (NIV)

Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.”

I sat quietly in the back as the County Police Commissioner addressed the 16 women graduating from ELI training, who had been illegally brewing chang’aa (translation: ‘kill me quick’). They were the first trainees from Baringo County, where the top three reported crimes are rape, defilement, and assault—all related to the brewing, selling, and drinking of homebrewed liquor. He appealed to the women to think of their mother’s love and to think of the future they are giving to their children. Paying school fees with money from selling liquor comes at too high a price if children sleep clothed and ready to run should the police come in the night.

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Training after training, I saw women making commitments to stop brewing and to trust God as they endeavored to make an honest living. What courageous faith for those living on the margins! I also heard testimonies from women who graduated from training a few years before, and they shared of improved relationships with their families, of strengthened faith, of restored dignity… and of course, of their new successful economic ventures!

Poverty is not just economic, but a physical, emotional, social, and spiritual burden. The ELI trainings allow families to be increasingly economically sustainable through the skills learned. Unsaddling their families from liquor brings increased physical and emotional health, and former graduates tell us how children are now in school and family communication improves. Socially and spiritually, graduates find encouragement and accountability with each other. As their lives are transformed, so are their communities as neighbors are also inspired to turn towards Christ.

At the end of the summer, leaders from a dozen past graduating groups gathered to be re-equipped to bring tools back to their communities. Empowerment is the incredible process of enabling communities to thrive. Thank you for being a stakeholder in this process and thank you for your faithfulness in supporting these women in Kenya!

Noreen Lue– Intern, Ilula Training Center

 

 

 

A Man and His Fish

September 29, 2016 by Angela Vincent

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You’ve heard the story of the man and the fish: you can either give him food or teach him how to catch it. One is a temporary fix. The other has long-lasting effects. A short walk from one of our Children’s Homes we have a farm. On this 20-acre piece of land, we have a three-acre banana plantation, a five-acre timber forest, six acres of grazing for cattle and sheep, an acre of fishponds, and another five acres of food production. From this farm, not only will we be able to source food to the Children’s Home, but we will also generate profits to help locally sustain the ministry efforts.

The farm itself is already acting an agri-business model for the region. Farmers visit to learn what we are doing and how we have both designed and strategized the farm. The local community itself is greatly benefiting from our efforts as villagers are observing and slowly implementing our techniques and approaches to diversified production and income schedules. The 14 full time workers are not only learning new skills and gaining valuable experience, but our weekly Bible studies and discipleship meetings are equipping them with the living Gospel that will impact and bless their families.

The story of two of these workers is particularly encouraging. Before joining us, they spent their days looking for local and unskilled labor, earning just enough to get drunk off cheap malt liquor every evening. They were a frustration to their families and a black eye to the community. We invited them to work at the farm as casual day laborers knowing they would work hard to make their earnings.

In the beginning, they continued to drink. As much as we did not like it, it never affected their job performance. But after three to four months of working every day, listening to the weekly Bible studies and participating in discipleship meetings, their parents visited the farm. They asked our manager, Isaac, what we were doing to their boys. They described the transformation they have seen—instead of drinking and creating problems, the boys wake up early, go to work, return home in the evenings, take showers, eat dinner, and go to bed. They are too tired for anything else, even drinking. In fact, each week they leave money on the table to assist with school fees for their younger siblings.

These young men are becoming upstanding family and community members. And just like the man with the fish, we have equipped these young men with knowledge, skills, and a deeper application of the Word of God, creating long lasting effects.

It’s through your support and partnership that communities and homes are experiencing these transformations. Thank you for working alongside us as we seek to empower lives!

Jim Caya
Director of International Implementation 
Empowering Lives International

Experiencing Community

September 15, 2016 by LoriEaton

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We have the privilege of partnering with many wonderful people and churches here in the US.  Cornerstone Community Church has become part of our ELI community through their support and service.  Read some of their story as you consider your own role within our community.

This past July, we sent a team of five to visit Empowering Lives International, our global partner in Kenya.  We loved learning from, encouraging, and enjoying deep fellowship with the ELI community.

One of the days we traveled into the “high country” to join Dennis, the Ilula Training Center Manager, in a follow up meeting with seventeen ladies who had recently attended training in May. It was truly a highlight of the trip for us. The high country was as picturesque as the Alpine foothills. The rural remote villages were scattered with sheep and cattle grazing among the maize and tea crops. The village chief and some of his supporting staff welcomed us as we visited several homes of the former brewers. We were welcomed with glowing smiles and traditional chanting and dancing as we received warm but formal embraces.  They were chanting “embrace and love.”

I was impressed at just how quickly many of these women have made positive changes in their lives, and how proud they were to share their stories. One woman explained, that prior to the training she was so focused on brewing that she didn’t bother to bathe her children. But now they are well cared for and her home has expanded with the profits earned from her chips and food catering business. Another woman was proud of the increase and diversification of her small crops. Another, her “kukus” (chickens). But the common theme among them all was a beaming smile and a proud look in their eyes that said, “I am somebody. I have dignity. I am special. Look what I am doing with what I have learned.”

Nowhere have I seen the love of Christian community or the warmth of hospitality better demonstrated than by Kenyan believers. They beam the love of Christ, and reflect that warmth and humility to those around them. ELI has been such a tremendous blessing to partner with, and we enjoy being a part of God’s Kingdom-building in ways that uphold the dignity of the poor while teaching the love of Christ.

What a blessing it is to be a part of this global community who are truly empowering lives!

Andy Weigel
Global Missions Leader, Cornerstone Community Church

Do you want to partner with ELI by going on a trip to Kenya and experiencing firsthand the amazing work that is being done?  If so, click here for more information.

Building Houses and Homes

May 26, 2016 by Tori Greaves

IL 62The rain mixed with hail, which made the night miserable and cold. The old woman had little strength, yet she managed to push her bed across the room to where some of the thatched grass still remained above on her deteriorating mud hut.

I arrived to the old woman’s home late the next day and greeted her with a smile. Her cold reception surprised me. She was the grandmother of Margaret, one of the girls at the ELI Children’s Home. We had come to visit, share chai (Kenyan tea), and pray before we returned home.

One rickety chair stood inside the woman’s hut. The other ELI staff and I sat down on makeshift stools of firewood. There was no chai.

We talked for a few minutes and walked around. I saw the hole in her roof and the muddy floor where the rain had fallen throughout the night. We prayed together, and as we prepared to leave, our Children’s Home Director requested that we give an impromptu gift to help her.  You see, while she was waiting for us all day, she did not leave the home as usual to find work for her day’s food.

For this old woman, life was barely livable. Frailty, lack of resources, and deteriorating conditions mired her in poverty.

But our staff soon returned. With just a few people, we repaired her roof, and we brought a dairy cow that could sustain her – made possible by the generosity of friends like you! She now has daily nutrition and income from the milk. These days, when Margaret comes to visit, her grandmother can receive her with joy and not as a burden.
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ELI has the privilege of providing sustainability that extends from children like Margaret in our Children’s Homes out into the wider community. Because of you, Margaret’s grandmother now has a cow and restored dignity. Because of you, we can give Margaret a house that is safe, warm, and dry; a quality education; and a home filled with spiritual mentors and loving siblings and parents.

This is sustainability. A full life. A home.

By Don Rogers
Founder and International Director
Empowering Lives International

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Wish to respond by giving? Click here.

Out of Ashes

April 14, 2016 by Tori Greaves

Mary Metkei BrewerThank you for spreading the hope of God’s community! You are building community, both locally and globally.

Mary grew up in a family of brewers. Everyone she knew brewed alcohol illegally. She married an alcoholic who came from a chaotic family. It was not long until he abandoned Mary and the children.

Without any other example to follow, Mary began brewing and drinking alcohol. Soon, she was drowning in the dangers, violence, and poverty of her career. She felt rejected and alone.

When Mary came to the ELI Ukweli Training Center in 2013, her life changed. She described feeling so much peace as she entered the grounds and began to learn to cook, farm, and start a business. With the knowledge and skills she learned, Mary farmed and saved up to buy a house – the first home for her family.

But when Mary’s husband returned, he hated all that she had built. He burned the house down.

This time, Mary was not alone. The friends she had formed in her community and through the brewers’ training at ELI rallied together to help rebuild her home.

Life is still not easy for Mary, but she can feed her kids well and send them to school. Most importantly, she belongs to a loving, God-seeking community, which supports her and reminds her that she is never alone.

Metkei Community Singing
This beautiful outpouring of community occurs as God moves through and empowers people. We see the same dedication and love now pouring out by groups of women in the USA. Many have volunteered to join together to become 100 Women of Change. As they meet, they support one another and give to impact communities of brewers in East Africa. Their stories and Mary’s remind us that as one community, we join together to make a great impact on this world. To God be the glory!

By Tori Greaves
Development Manager
Empowering Lives International

Wish to respond by giving? Click here.

Honoring God in Kapsoo

March 31, 2016 by LoriEaton

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Because of your prayers and support, we at Empowering Lives witness communities as they experience complete transformation and learn to seek and honor God.

In January, 2015,  I sat with Pastor Boaz from the community of Kapsoo as he shared his struggles with me.  His church only had 17 regular attendees. His community had an 85% alcoholism rate, and the people were entrenched in tribal sacrifices and other harmful ways. Poverty was rampant, and there was little joy. However, Pastor Boaz had hope because knew that God was faithful. He was very thankful for the partnership with ELI which shares his passion for community development that honors God.

Over the course of a year, alongside Pastor Boaz, ELI staff attended community meetings and visited people in their homes. They developed a demonstration farm, and teams from the US encouraged and preached the gospel to both children and adults. Women alcohol brewers attended a week-long training to gain alternative ideas for business. Gradually, people began to see a way out of their poverty and hopelessness.

Then, just last week, I had the privilege of sitting with Pastor Boaz again. He shared his testimony of the past year.  He now has over 100 people attending church on a regular basis.  The number of women brewing alcohol has decreased.  Men are beginning to spend more time farming their land and earning money for their families instead of spending the day drinking alcohol.  The tribal sacrifices have ceased and have been replaced with prayers to God.

Pastor Boaz said, “The people in this community were once harsh towards God and towards me.  But thanks to the support of ELI and the prayers of many, the people are no longer harsh and lives are being changed.”Pastor Boaz with church member

Thank you for being an important part of our ministry as we equip people to live lives that honor God.  Your support and prayers are what make it possible for communities like Kapsoo to have hope and experience God’s life-changing power.

By Lori Eaton

Bringing Change to the Kerio Valley

June 13, 2015 by Tori Greaves

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Last week, Empowering Lives International participated in an agricultural fair in the Kerio Valley, Kenya. The event featured both nonprofit and government organizations—such as USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture—who have invested in the communities in the valley. Approximately 300 to 400 people (including students, community-based groups and farmer-based organizations) attended the event, which featured trainings, demonstrations, speakers and booths.

The event covered topics ranging from food security, environmental awareness and income generation—all of which are especially relevant for the Kerio Valley, where residents struggle with fruit crop loss, soil erosion, alcoholism and illicit brewing for income. It also served to encourage people to be lifelong learners and to implement best practices at their own farms.

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ELI staff were on hand to share the vision of Empowering Lives and about current projects and ministries such as vetiver propagation, ELITE grain storage bags, life skills training and rehabilitation of alcoholics and brewers. One reformed alcoholic who went through ELI’s Kenya Anti-Alcohol program several years ago, Samuel, was also in attendance and shared his testimony of recovery.

Attendees were encouraged to see what efforts were being taken to offer help and transformation to the Kerio Valley. Empowering Lives has been highly active in this region of Kenya, facilitating the first steps for many people toward a life of self-sustainability and dignity through our outreaches and trainings.

Along the way, partnerships have been forged with other organizations and with the Kenyan government. A number of these connections have been made through ELI’s income generating activities with the sales and distribution of ELITE bags.

The bags garnered excitement for being a chemical-free solution to long-term grain storage. Many bags were sold at the event, while people also expressed intent to purchase later this year during harvest time and asked where they could purchase them locally. With a demo bag of clean maize from October 2014, attendees were able to see the value of storing their grains in ELITE bags—not only for healthier food for their own families, but also for saving to sell later at higher prices to earn more income.

The event provided a prime opportunity to create awareness about the ELITE bags, the uses for vetiver (soil erosion prevention, grass thatching, essential oils and feed for animals) and to communicate the work of ELI. We are excited to see what doors will open for our ministry in the Kerio Valley in the future.

The Impact of Clean Water

May 18, 2015 by Tori Greaves

By Boaz Masanja, Project Manager and Yakobo Sembo, ELI Tanzania Director

Mwasamba B

The need for water in Mwasamba B increased when the area was seriously hit by drought. Animals were getting thinner, and plants would wilt. People would go without washing due to water scarcity, and they suffered terribly from lack of proper hygiene in many homes around the area. In some places, there were incidences of scabies because of the lack of washing water, and people would get lice due to dirtiness of not washing clothes.

Drastic measures were needed to overcome the degree of drought in the area by trying to get help from any corner.

The community of Mwasamba B

Initially, the community was excited and had high expectations of getting water at deep depth. They expected that when we hit water, it would come out in large quantity and shoot high out of the hole. When this did not happen, we saw the response and attitude of the community coming down. Even when we found good signs of water at 80 feet, the community wanted us to drill deeper. These kind of queries made us to be humble in replying and to ask them to be tolerant until the last process was over to obtain water.

The community invested a lot in this project and deserve much credit for the completion of the borehole. They contributed 2,900,000 TSH (about $1,455) and manpower such as bringing stones, sand, aggregates, molam (hard-packed clay), water and labor to build the base for the hand pump. The great need of water at Mwasamba B made the entire community to make a lot of sacrifices. A single person could volunteer to sell some chickens, goats, sheep and cows to ensure that one is getting what the community had agreed to contribute so as to make water available in that particular community.

Bridge

Meeting challenges

While on the way to the drill site, we got stuck several times on the way. The first time we got stuck was on a bridge, where part of the bridge was washed away by the heavy rain. Also, other roads were not easily passable to a similar extent.

We sometimes were obliged to postpone some of our activities at the site as we couldn’t go ahead with the job while it was raining. Even at the closure of our job, we encountered getting stuck with our vehicle such that the community had to volunteer to assist pulling our vehicle to get out of the mud. The process took us almost two or more hours. We thank God that none of us got injured and our team member Mr. Andrew Belko had been driving in a difficult situation. This was an ongoing activity for the five days until the well was complete.

The team work spirit encouraged everyone to work tirelessly, cooperatively and collectively. As well, the humbleness of the entire team was the choice to combat and address all challenges we encountered throughout the period of drilling a borehole at Mwasamba B.

M B well

Clean water

The borehole having clean water to the community means saving lives, and therefore without clean and safe water, the entire community is in trouble. Much of them can’t afford to boil water as they are unable to house resources for buying firewood or kerosene.

In the beginning, the community had a terrible kind of living as water could be fetched from only one borehole drilled a long time agothe one and only borehole for more than 2,500 people. The substitute for this borehole is to wait for those who would go about eight kilometers away to Lake Victoria and bring water in jerrycans of 20 liters sold at 400-500 TSH ($0.20-0.25) each, and yet still it is not clean water. Also, it is only few who can afford to buy water from those selling water. And these water business people fetch water using animal carts, so the hygiene of water is doubtful.

We got informed by one of the village leaders that one would go for queuing overnight at the oldest borehole, and he would hardly get 20 liters only simply because there was rationing. Other people would get nothing apart from queuing overnight. In comparison, after the new borehole, people would get more time for work, and people would get more resources as they will not be buying water anymore.

In some places where families are big, the burden went to an extent of forbidding students from going to school because the family would remain without water. Students will now be going to school more often. This means availability of water in Mwasamba B would bring changes socially, economically and even culturally as people were often upset on the water problem. Addressing the challenge is a positive approach towards community development.

The process of making sure the water is safe is guaranteed by the government water department by examining quality water control in the laboratory. We brought a water sample, and they are in the process of testing the water from Mwasamba B. However, the government water engineer said there’s a 95 percent chance the water is safe for consumption after seeing the sample and to tell the community to start using the water for drinking.

It is not easy to tell how often people get sick, but for sure, people get sick due to dirty consumption of water in the area. It is a distance to reach the clinic about five to 10 kilometers away. One may reach the clinic and find no medication or drugs there.

Yakobo and Boaz

Bringing the Gospel

For sure, this project has promoted the community on a spiritual level, as it is not easy to preach the Gospel to a thirsty person. But it is somehow possible to a community person to listen to you knowing exactly you played a role to get them access to clean water at their respective residence. This is even a testimony that when able to meet their physical need, you can satisfy them spiritually. Your preaching will bring hope; likewise, you addressed the water problem. The same faith they gained from the water will convince them to believe you spiritually with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

 

To read about the previous borehole drilling project in Tanzania, click here.

“We will not be defeated”

February 9, 2015 by Tori Greaves

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From ELI staff Andrew Belko:

Mwabasabi village is one of the 26 villages in Busega district of the Simiyu region in Tanzania. The village is about 10 kilometers (about six miles) south of Lake Victoria. It covers an area of 20 square kilometers (about 12.4 square miles), and according to a 2012 census, the village has a total population of about 2,626 people.

There are two primary schools in the village, which are both government schools. There is no health center in the village. A mother of five shared, “We always pray to God we do not get sick. When you get sick, we have to go to Nyashimo hospital,” which is about 21 kilometers from the village. Clean drinking water is a huge step forward in preventing those sicknesses.

Only around 12 percent of the population is served with clean and safe water. The village had only one hand dug well that would go dry half the year. John Ng’indi, the Village Executive Official, said, “Our children now are not going to school because of water. Diarrhea and skin infections now (are) common in this village because of water.”

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Mwabasabi was selected to receive a borehole based on their need for clean water and their ability to contribute funding. ELI worked with the community’s water committee to select the best location for the borehole. The location is accessible to many in the community, including a primary school with about 600 students that’s located less than two kilometers away.

Throughout the drilling project, the team encountered several difficulties. The first hole was drilled to 45 feet before reaching impenetrable rock formations. The hole was dry. A second hole was drilled about 200 feet away to a similar depth of 43 feet before reaching hard rock again. Fortunately, we struck an aquifer this time and received plenty of water. Unfortunately, a pipe snapped while drilling the final few feet, leaving 15 feet of drill pipe and a drill bit stranded in the hole. Numerous attempts to recover the lost equipment were unsuccessful.

Finally, a third hole was drilled a few feet away to 45 feet with no problems. A sturdy Afridev hand-pump capable of five gallons per minute was installed. Even after pumping for hours on end, the water kept coming. The water was clean and potable.

What impressed the ELI staff most was the community’s constant participation and optimism. Even after two unsuccessful holes and nearly two weeks of work, the community kept bringing everything needed to continue, whether it was water, sand, gravel, food, etc. Men, women and children would carry hundreds of gallons of water needed each day to drill. The project was nicknamed Hatushindwi, which translates to “We will not be defeated.” They truly valued the importance of this clean water and took real ownership of it.

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Photo of the Day

January 14, 2015 by Angela Vincent

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A warm welcome at our school in the Keredi slum in Bukavu, DRC. (photo: Micah Albert)

Introducing the ELITE Bag Video

September 29, 2014 by Tori Greaves

ELITE video

Empowering Lives recently created a video on how to use our ELITE grain storage bags, which are specifically designed to protect maize and other grains without the use of chemicals. It’s a unique solution to the problem of weevils and post-harvest loss.

Over the past few weeks, the video has been shown in a number of villages to groups of anywhere between 50 to 200 farmers each. These gatherings, called Mobile Training Units (MTUs), are put on by an organization called TechnoServe, which has partnered with ELI in order to show the video and promote ELITE bags. This is the first time MTUs have been used, and ELI has been invited to be a part of it.

Our video will be shown to several thousands of people by the end of this year. We are excited that ELITE bags will be introduced to so many farmers and communities in need of better, more effective ways of protecting their harvests and thus being able to provide food and income for their families. Please pray with us that the video and the bags would have a far-reaching impact across East Africa.

To view the ELITE bag video (in Kiswahili only), click here.

Alcohol and Orphans

May 1, 2014 by Diana Coombs

Why are there so many orphans in Africa?

That is a very good question and one that has many factors to explain why there are so many orphans. I’m not going to dive into all the details, but, I do want to draw the correlation between how empowering former alcohol brewers and rehabilitating alcoholics is helping stop children from being orphaned.

More and more grandparents and relatives are left with the responsibility of caring for their family member’s children. Parents die of sickness and disease and some abandon their children, never to be seen again. It is these orphaned children that ELI welcomes into our Children’s Homes. We recently welcomed in 13 new young girls and boys who have been orphaned. Three of the children in particular have been impacted by the evils of alcohol abuse.

New Children Running

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Blessing Arrives at KK Children’s Home

April 29, 2014 by admin

A crowd gathered at the Kipkaren Children’s Home gate very early this morning. There was a buzz of anticipation and excitement in the air. Were wageni arriving? It certainly looked like it… all was in readiness to receive visitors. Greeting readiness

We heard the purr of a vehicle engine in the distance. It turned down the road leading to the children’s home. And then we saw the surprise. The vehicle was for us! Painted on the front of the vehicle were the words “Empowering Lives International”. Today’s blessing was a NEW VEHICLE FOR THE CHILDREN’S HOME! 

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Networking in Turbo

February 12, 2014 by LoriEaton
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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…)

Introducing Chaya

February 4, 2014 by Angela Vincent

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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!

Esther – One woman’s story among empowered lives

December 10, 2013 by Diana Coombs

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 Diana Coombs

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.

Educate a Community: God our Rescuer

November 14, 2013 by Diana Coombs
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 Diana Coombs

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.