Category: Kenya

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.

Abundance and Joy

August 18, 2016 by Angela Vincent

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Through your continued support of ELI, former brewers and their families are living sustainable lives that honor God!  It is my joy to share with you some up-close-and-personal evidence of the physical, social and spiritual supports that convey sustainability that I experienced on my recent trip to Kenya.
 

– Joy radiates from each woman singing or sharing a testimony at a “Women of Change Kenya” event, entirely organized and led by a leadership team of former brewers from across Marakwet County. My heart is still singing “Congoi!”, which means “Thank you!” in Kalejin.

– The former brewers in Chepkorio, trained nearly three years ago, glow as they talk of their Monday meetings, led by two former brewers now in Bible School. They study the Bible, pray, organize their milk distribution co-op and assist group members needing help. Another group in the Metkei region enthusiastically invites me to a similar meeting their group holds twice a month.

– The husband of a former brewer notes what is different in their home since his wife was trained almost three years ago at the Ukweli Training Center. “We have unity. We plan together for the week or the month. Our children know we are together so they are more obedient.” His wife, upon hearing his words, breaks into a big smile and says, “I have joy in my heart!”

– Grace, in Iten, joyfully cuts bags full of Black Night Shade (a very nutritious vegetable) for each woman in her group because she has an abundant crop.

– Esther, after almost 3 years since training still says, “There’s no turning back! I’m on the path!” Her friend, Rose, proudly says, “We are chasing away poverty!”

– Sally smiles and sits up taller as she talks about her children, especially the two who have finished a university program. Trained almost 13 years ago in an early version of our current ELI training, Sally cares for her family (including her almost 100 year old grandmother), tends to her garden and chickens, and maintains her job. Though she carries much responsibility she says, “I could not return to brewing because I belong to God!”

Thank you for sustaining this life-changing program. This month, more than 100 brewers will be trained and equipped and will soon have stories like these women above!

*Photo of Gladys and Shekila from the Chepkorio area
Val Roark
Women of Change Coordinator 
Empowering Lives International

Humble Beginnings and an Everlasting Hope

August 4, 2016 by Angela Vincent

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I’d like for you to meet Nixon Kiprotich. Nixon is a father at the Ilula Children’s Home in Kenya, where I interned for three weeks this past summer—helping the kids with their daily chores and homework, leading devotions, and lots of playing. Not only did I learn about how the Children’s Home functions, but I was able to build lifelong relationships. And Nixon was one of those.

One morning over chai, he shared with me his humble upbringing and how it has brought him to where he is today.

Nixon was born and raised in the village of Turuturu, in the Kerio Valley. His parents, Joseph and Mary, never worked or went to school growing up. Their family grew maize (corn) and other vegetables for food. Nixon was the eldest of ten siblings, and later eighteen, after his father remarried. Growing up, his family had a strong faith and were actively involved in the church.

Nixon went to school for the very first time when he was eight years old. At times, he would stay home to help his family, but eventually he and his siblings attended school so they could receive one meal a day and some milk. Nixon and his siblings each had one outfit and never owned a pair of shoes until they went to high school.

During high school, Nixon was shaped into a strong and independent man, understanding the importance of hard work and a strong faith in God. After high school, Nixon went to work for a Christian radio and TV station to help support his family. This is where he met his beautiful wife Zipporah. Twenty years later, Nixon made the decision to go back to college to be an example for his children. He is now studying Child Development and Social Work and one day dreams of being called “Dr. Nixon”. In 2007, Nixon and Zipporah became parents at the Ilula Children’s Home.

Even amongst great adversity and poverty, Nixon never lost hope. Nixon and Zipporah continue to emphasize to their children that God has amazing plans for them and they are alive for a purpose. It is from Nixon’s past that he has an even greater hope for these children. “I thank God for ELI because now I can help all the children because of the past I had”.

You might not know Nixon personally like I do. But you are a part of his story too. Your support and partnership help provide him and all of the children at the Homes with the hope to push through adversity, give God their pasts, and even more, their futures. Thank you for providing hope to hundreds of children!

Jayme Chesler
Summer Intern, Ilula Children’s Home
Empowering Lives International

Equipping Lives in Kenya AND in the U.S.

July 22, 2016 by LoriEaton

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As you know, one thing we aim to do is equip the people of Kenya, young and old, with the knowledge and skills they need to change the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families. We see this happening daily in each of our programs through our Children’s Homes or our Training Centers. The change we see is what motivates us to keep moving forward each day.

But did you also know another huge motivation for us is when we see lives in the U.S. equipped and changed for God’s glory? We love to involve our families, friends, neighbors and churches to invest their gifts, talents and time in the work God is doing in Kenya.  As soon as someone says, “Yes” to the call, we work to equip them with the knowledge they need in order to serve in Kenya through a variety of resources and training. In my role as Short-Term Ministry Coordinator, I have the privilege of seeing this happen on a regular basis and I never tire of seeing lives changed—here at home and in Kenya—through this process.

This year alone, we will have over 60 people go to Kenya and God is using them in a variety of ways: from running a youth camp, making home visits to former brewers and offering encouragement, taking photographs and capturing stories, putting decorative touches in our dormitory, and so much more.  Each of these people have been called in a special way to serve God. When they willingly step out of their comfort zone to learn about what God is doing in the world, they come back with a new perspective on life and share this with those around them—a life equipped to make a difference.

Here is a glimpse at some of the lives that have been equipped and changed:

A team from Cornerstone Community Church in Wildomar meeting together and preparing for their trip to Kenya.  They are in Kenya as this is being published!

A team from Cornerstone Community Church in Wildomar meeting together and preparing for their trip to Kenya. They are in Kenya as this is being published!

Jayme is a student at APU who first went with a team in 2015. She spent this past year interning in our office in Upland and then went back to Kenya as an intern in May of 2016.

Jayme is a student at APU who first went with a team in 2015. She spent this past year interning in our office in Upland and then went back to Kenya as an intern in May of 2016.

Even the lives of our families are changed!  This is my dad Bill and my son Noah in Kenya last year.

Even the lives of our families are changed! This is my dad Bill and my son Noah in Kenya last year.

Will you be one of these lives? How are you answering God’s call? 

For more information about going to Kenya, you may visit our website or email lorieaton@empoweringlives.org.
Lori Eaton
Short-Term Ministry Coordinator

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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Miracles in Kenya

April 6, 2016 by Diana Coombs

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It was around this time last year that we sent Jacob, Calvince and Peter to India for a bone marrow transplant. It is with such joyful hearts that we can report to you that Jacob is back in school and doing well! He has regained strength and his smile is as radiant as ever!

Though a man of few words, his smile and strength expresses his gratefulness for the ways he saw you come together to see his healing.

Jacob is not the only child in our Children’s Homes who has received medical attention with the help of donations from friends like you. Recently, Kevin, one of the boys who was welcomed into the Kipkaren Children’s Home in 2014, received surgery to correct his left leg and foot. His left leg was bowed and his foot turned upwards, making it difficult to walk. This February 2016, donations allowed him to receive surgery. He is currently healing and can’t wait to run and play soccer with his friends.

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Special gifts have made it possible for us to address the extra medical needs of our orphaned children. And we are seeing God heal them!

We still have other children in need of special medical attention and ongoing medical needs. For example:

David, 10 years old, needs surgery to correct his knees as they face inwards, making it difficult to walk.

Enock, 10 years old, has one leg that protrudes outwards, making one leg shorter than the other and very difficult to walk.

If you would like to donate a one-time or monthly gift towards special medical needs of our kids:

  • CLICK HERE to be directed to our online giving page
  • Under “Gift Information” choose “Orphans and Vulnerable Children”
  • From the drop down, select “Help vulnerable children”
  • In the “Comments” section, type in “Child Healthcare”

Thank you!

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

Equipping our Children

February 18, 2016 by Diana Coombs

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“Train. Launch. Mentor. Grow.” We want this for our kids! Thanks to you, this is the kind of opportunity Empowering Lives International is able to offer the orphans in our Children’s Homes.

Graduated boys

Just last week, a third group of our kids graduated from a Business for Life course. Business for Life is a month-long business course started by ELI missionary and BFL Project Director Wendy Twycross with the motto: “Train. Launch. Mentor. Grow.” She and her team are passionate about empowering people with tools to become self-sustainable. In doing so, they restore dignity and help break the cycle of poverty.

We are so proud of our kids’ hard work this past month!

When each student arrived, they began with 500 Kenyan shillings (about $5) to start their businesses. They researched the needs around them and analyzed how they could meet those needs with the resources available to them.

Some children made food such as samosas (fried pastry with a savory filling) and sold it in the community. They could earn up to 1,500 shillings by the end of the coursea 200 percent profit! They were shocked at how they turned something little into something much bigger.

Making Samosas

Students making samosas.

These are our children, and we want to see them flourish.

What is unique about ELI’s Children’s Homes is that we adopt orphans into families. Just like any good parent, we want each of our children to thrive and succeed into adulthood.

As our first group of children graduated from high school in 2013, we prepared for their next steps outside of the Children’s Home. We always ask the question, “How can we best equip our children?”

Now, all of our high school graduates are sponsored to attend Business for Life. They learn business principles in light of the Kingdom of God and then put the theories into practice. Each student comes up with and implements a business venture for their community.

With the proper tools, motivation and hard work, we see how equipping our children with business skills helps them now and into their futures. They not only learn how to start a business, but they also learn how to manage money and develop healthy relationships with others.

Through your donations, you make this possible. You equip our children with skills that will help them become more responsible, creative and self-sustainable. Thank you!
Empowering Lives Together,

Diana Coombs
Vulnerable Children Program Manager
Empowering Lives International

“Peace in my Mind and in my Heart”

January 14, 2016 by Tori Greaves

Text and photos by Wilson Chumo, ELI Kenya staff

This is the story of Elkanah, a recovering alcoholic who lives in Kimogoch village. He came to our facility in Kipkaren, Kenya for rehabilitation in the year 2013. He started drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes when he was still in primary school. This is because drinking was so common, and everyone could drink or smoke in that area.

Elkanah is the last-born brother of Ruth, the successful recovering alcoholic among others. When Ruth recovered, Elkanah saw how his sister’s life was changed, and he decided to stop drinking alcohol and said, “I must also go for rehabilitation.”

After the death of his parents, and because he was already an addict, he started selling his piece of land little by little only for drinking. Elkanah got married, and he kept on drinking. His wife passed through many challenges, and she would go back to her parents because life was becoming so hard.

After rehabilitation, Elkanah’s life changed. He stopped selling his land and began working hard to earn a living. He is not doing any business, but he is only going to labor. Because he is now sober, he managed to save the little amount that he was getting, which he used to plant his maize instead of buying alcohol.

DSC00886ELKANAH SMILING BESIDE HIS LAND OF MAIZE

This is Elkanah standing in his maize farm. He looks healthy and clean: “This is because there is enough food for the family.”

DSC00888ELKANAH AND HIS WIFE

Alongside standing before their house are Elkanah and his wife. She said, “I am now having peace in my mind and in my heart. I nowadays sleep like a small baby, unlike the other days that my husband was beating me and chasing me outside during the night, and I could stay in the cold overnight. I praise God for the transformation he has done in the life of my husband and that now I and my husband, together with our children are staying in peace.”

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These are Elkanah’s three children: two girls and one boy. The children are looking very happy, healthy and clean. This also shows that there is peace in the family and the father is now responsible and caring.

Elkanah has finished baptism class, and he is now waiting for the second group to finish so that they will be baptized together as a group.

The community is very happy for the transformation of Elkanah’s life, and they said they still need more alcoholics to be reached because a lot of alcohol is still being brewed in the area, and young men and women are alcoholics.

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Above is Elkanah’s cow. He said he bought the cow immediately when he arrived from rehab. “I did not know that one day I will own a cow,” he said. His wife also said, “We nowadays have milk in our home that we can sell in the morning and our children can drink in the evening.” They thank God for the great things He has done for us within this short period.

Finding Life

January 6, 2016 by Tori Greaves

Text and photos by Samuel Teimuge, ELI Kenya Director

The homecoming of reformed brewers to their home in Kaptarakwa, Kenya was fantastic. We did not expect to meet such a large crowd. The reformed brewers have already formed three groups of 15 each. The umbrella name is Kaptarakwa About Turn Group, with a woman named Jane as their leader. They have three leaders: Everlyn, Lucy and Christina. The three leaders spoke powerfully and with full confidence of who they are after training.

Everlyn

Everlyn said, “We found life.” She quoted Amy Rogers who told them, “Let your minds rest.” This was quoted by all of the leaders, and they said that they truly rested.

Everlyn left brewing completely and confessed that she has killed many through her illicit brews. She said the group took an oath to never brew again and that they are now Christians. They have crossed to Canaan. She said that they are being threatened and told to brew; yet they will never go back. Her group plans to pursue agroforestry, dairy farming and horticulture.

Lucy

Lucy said, “When we started our journey to Ilula, we were told that we had been arrested. But Jesus arrested us in Ilula.” She said that Jesus is her personal savior and that light and darkness don’t meet. Her former fellow brewers no longer greet her, but her graduating class greets her with joy. Her group wants to pursue tree tomatoes, kitchen gardening, tea seedlings and greenhouses for horticulture.

Christina

Christina said she has started raising chickens. Her group planned to raise sheep, make bread and manage poultry.

The brewing pots are all gone. The leaders also said that they are now the local chief’s “soldiers”. One of the former brewers encouraged the group to always run to Jesus because He is not poor.

The group said that they are now preaching the word of God, and they don’t want to keep quiet lest they will be condemned. They also vowed before the Deputy Governor of Elgeyo-Marakwet County that they would never return to brewing again.

In closing prayer, one of the reformed brewers named Jennifer prayed, “Let this change remain until the coming of Jesus Christ.”

Meet Pauline

November 30, 2015 by Tori Greaves

Pauline
Text and photo by Samuel Teimuge, ELI Kenya Director

I met Pauline on the street in Iten, Kenya, and she greeted me with a smile. I asked her who she was, and she said,” I am a reformed brewer from Iten.”

Then I asked, “What happened?” Then she told me of how she got delivered and now she is living a wonderful life.

Pauline used to brew 60 liters (almost 16 gallons) of changaa (locally brewed alcohol) per week. She has seven children, and she is a widow.

Her children were very happy to see her totally reformed.

The following year, since she had reconciled with her children, they talked and the children teamed up with her to rent land to farm wheat and maize. She had planted finger millet, and so she sold and used the money to plant maize and wheat. They have now done this three times.

The children organized a thanksgiving service for Pauline because she has reformed. They bought her house items and a pick-up vehicle so that she can do her maize business of buying and taking to sell in Eldoret, Kenya.

Pauline goes to a church in Iten. She is the chairperson of a group of other reformed brewers called Chebaibai (which means “smiling” or “always happy” in the language of the local tribe, Kalenjin). She planted 300 passion fruit seedlings, and she now sells 20 kilograms (about 44 pounds) per week.

She cannot hide her joy and she is so thankful for what ELI has done for her.

Completion of National Exams

November 19, 2015 by Tori Greaves

Candidates after the last paper.
Photo courtesy of the Kipkaren Children’s Home

Thank you for praying for our children as they took their national exams: the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam for Grade 8 students and the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exam for Grade 12 students. Results are expected in February 2016.

Here is a message from the Kipkaren Children’s Home:

We are very much thankful to the Lord for His faithfulness that 14 children completed their primary national examination. We much appreciate the sponsors for their great support and everyone who participated in any way to make this day a success. God bless you all in abundance.

 

Stanley: From Grass to Grace

November 12, 2015 by Tori Greaves

Text and photos by Dan Masengeli, ELI Kenya staff

Stanley office

Stanley Baroret, a graduate of ELI’s Sustainable Agriculture and Community Development Program (SACDP) of 2012 to 2013, has passed through a lot of trials and tribulations of life, but God—who is the author and finisher of our faith—has remained faithful.

Growing up with hardships

Life started to take a hard path 20 years ago when his father took in Stanley’s mother as a second wife, who gave birth to five other siblings of Stanley. The father deserted the young family and even sold the land where they were living without their knowledge. They only came to know they were squatters when the new owner came to evict them. His mother decided to seek justice from the local chief. Thank God he managed to stop the transfer of land, cancel the transaction and order a division of land between the two families.

Peacefully, they settled on their own family land, but another challenge came knocking on their doorstep: lack of income. Life became hard because of lack of meals, education and proper housing that led the young family to work in a stone quarry to earn money for the education of their elder sister, in whom they placed all their hope. God answered their prayers when she finished Form Four (Grade 12) and got employed as an untrained teacher at a nearby primary school. There was some reprieve in that the wages earned enabled the family to afford three meals a day. After two years of working, God blessed their sister with a husband who offered to pay for her college fees at a teacher training college. This came as a blessing, but a problem was lack of income again. Stanley’s elder brother and Stanley (who was eight years old at the time) decided to look for a job at a nearby farm to herd cows while his mother decided to brew alcohol.

Pursuing education—and a better life

With the little income he earned, Stanley went through primary education and then joined high school, where his attendance was on and off. In Form Two (Grade 10), he completed one term, and in Form Three (Grade 11), he completed one term. In Form Four, he did a full term of hide and seek, especially when he was being sent home for lack of school fees.

The turning point began when he met a former SACDP student named Sosten Kimeli, who told him about the Training Center in Kipkaren, Kenya. That was the period when he was also scouting for a college to join. One of his uncles informed him that his grandfather had left a cow for him as a present, and it sold. He used the funds from the sale to pay fees at the Training Center.

Stanley children

Empowered to empower others

In 2013, because of his passion for God’s work, Stanley was selected to be church clerk and secretary as well as sales and marketing director of his home church. Glory be to God for what He has done for his family, too, because their father is back home, and all of them have gone back to church again.

God lifts His faithful children from grass to grace. In November 2014, Stanley was employed as an assistant administrator and parent at World Hope Children’s Home in Lemoru, Kenya. The current position has enabled him to minster to children, form a prayer band to pray for others in the community and lead staff devotions. It has also allowed him to support two of his sisters’ school fees, one in Form Two and another who has joined college. In addition, he is contributing 10 percent of his salary to pay for different motivational speakers, who he invites to encourage the children to grow spiritually and morally.

Stanley is grateful that the Lord God Almighty has enabled him to reach this far, and he is longing to do more to help those who are oppressed and don’t know Christ Jesus to come to the Kingdom.

Give the Gift of Christmas

November 9, 2015 by Tori Greaves

ELI CHRISTMAS for FB

This year, our children from the Kipkaren and Ilula Children’s Homes will have a joint Christmas and New Year’s celebration. You can help make this celebration possible as all the children will gather for a time of rejoicing in Jesus’ birth and welcoming in the New Year in Kipkaren.

$40 will provide one child with the following:
• A new outfit
• Food for the day
• Transportation for the day

If you would like to contribute and help give the gift of Christmas, click here.

Join Us in Prayer: Kenya National Exams

October 9, 2015 by Tori Greaves

Oct '15 Sponsor Update

This month, high school seniors across Kenya will be taking the written portion of their national comprehensive exams for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) on October 12 through the end of the month. Practical exams for the KCSE began on September 28 for subjects such as foreign language and music.

Additionally, eighth grade students will be taking their exams for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) on November 10 to 13.

Students work hard and study long hours in order to test well and be accepted into quality schools. Please join us in prayer for our eighth grade students and high school seniors at the Ilula and Kipkaren Children’s Homes during this important time.

Thank you for your faithfulness in supporting the ministry of Empowering Lives!


To learn more about Empowering Lives International’s ministry to orphans and vulnerable children and how you can be a part of it, click here.

Video Recap: 2015 APU Team

October 5, 2015 by LoriEaton

The following video was created by Azusa Pacific University student Rachel Mallasch (rmallasch13@apu.edu). She, with two other APU students, came and served alongside Empowering Lives International in Ilula and Kipkaren, Kenya at the beginning of the summer.

 

 

 

ELI “Kept Me Moving”

September 28, 2015 by Tori Greaves

IMG_1651
Photo by Ezra Kosgei, ELI Kenya

Here is an update from Joyce, one of the first of our children to graduate high school. She is currently attending nursing school. We are proud of her hard work and wanted to share her words with you. She was featured in the Winter 2014 issue of Cultivate.

I am really grateful for joining college first of all, this nursing school of which I really dreamed for after my high school life. I started my nursing career last year and now am in my second year, still doing great. It is the best and one of the teaching career in life. First, you must be patient, hardworking and willing to make it.

We take our lessons per block so in the first block, we hear about the human anatomy, physiology, medical surgical, pharmacology, fundamentals in nursing, first aid and accident and emergency care.

I love everything about nursing: the learning and the practical part. In practicals, we learn of dressing wounds, care of critical patients, cleaning of patients and making them comfortable. We rotate in the clinical wards, medical wards, pediatrics wards and health and reproductive wards. I like the pediatric ward, because children are so gentle to handle. The most challenging thing is we have started our night shifts. Sometimes you find yourself sleeping on the bench, but we are coping up.

For now, I am trying to be perfect with the practical skills, and on my day off, I watch movies, play basketball games and go out for picnics with friends at the caves and waterfalls, watching the beautiful creation adventure that is.

I am looking forward to finishing my college school and start working while reading and helping people just like I have been helped. I would also like to start a dispensary around my village to help the sick and also work outside of Kenya.

ELI is one of the best organizations I have seen so far. When we left, they brought other little brothers and sisters. This is so amazing at least they have a future just like me. It’s ELI that has kept me moving through support of our sponsors, friends and prayers. I am also grateful for the gift of good health God has given.

Continue praying for us as we also pray. Thank you all, and I love you.

Depth to Breadth: Learning and Lifting Others Up

September 18, 2015 by Tori Greaves

SACDP Raphael

Photo and text by Dan Masengeli, ELI Kenya

Raphael Ovesi is a former student of Empowering Lives’ Sustainable Agriculture and Community Development Program (SACDP) from 2011 to 2012. He comes from a family of eight siblings, plus his father and mother. He came to know the Kipkaren River Training and Development Center through his sister Lilian, also a former SACDP student of class 2010 to 2011, who spoke to him about how someone is empowered socially, religiously and economically if he joins the institution.

In 2011, he joined the institution as one of the students. From the beginning, he displayed the qualities of working hard both in class and in the field. Against this backdrop of empowerment and success at the institution, it was amazing to discover how he used to raise fees to fund his education to ease the burden from his parents, who were educating his younger siblings. Raphael decided to help shoulder the burden of school fees by doing manual jobs like weeding people’s farms; harvesting and shelling maize; and feeding people’s livestock during school holidays. Despite the challenge of fees, he managed to graduate from SACDP in 2012.

He continued to believe in God, whom he came to know here at the Training Center, and was blessed with a job at Nebert Ventures in Kipkaren as a farm manager. Upon visiting him on the farm, I discovered that he was in charge of crop and vegetable production and marketing. With the gifting of being a good mobilizer and a skilled farmer, he has managed to attract customers from the surrounding local community, schools and nearby market. On average, he supplies a total of 200 kilograms of vegetables a week with 10 different customers visiting the farm every day, each making an order of between 50 to 100 Kenyan shillings (approximately 48 to 95 cents). This translates into enormous economic transformation for both the company and himself. This economic transformation is seen through him where he is supporting his young brother by paying fees for Kisii University in Eldoret, where his young brother is pursuing a degree in education.

Also from the little savings from his monthly salary of 8,000 Kenyan shillings ($76.11), he has managed to start a mini bakery to make mandazi (doughnuts) with the knowledge acquired from the center taught by the late Theresa Ngetich Bett. The business is at infant stage but doing well in the nearby Kipkaren market. He has employed three youths to assist with the production process, and he believes one day, he is going to have a full time bakery as well as be able to go back to school to further his education.

Raphael said, “God had a purpose of placing me in the hands of training center, which transformed my life and made me believe in myself.”