Category: Vulnerable Children

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.
IL 61
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

SOP Email Signature

Wish to respond by giving? Click here.

Fire in DR Congo

May 12, 2016 by Diana Coombs

SOP Email Banner - The Poor

SOP Poor Flames 5-9-2016

The fire raged, a huge orange flame lighting up the sky. By the time it was contained, it had consumed 40 homes. For a slum in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), it was a miracle there were no casualties.

The Keredi slum is located in a valley between two hillsides, and the poorest live at the bottom. All of our students at the ELI Christian Academy live here. Homes are packed tightly together, made mostly of wood, mud, and tin roofs. They are propped on stilts for when the rains flood the floor of the slum. When it is rainy season, the ground becomes a trap of sticky mud, very difficult to walk in, especially when all you own is a pair of flip flops or nothing at all. Sewage winds between the homes, and makeshift bridges made from planks of wood allow you to cross over. Trash litters the ground. Life is harsh and every morning means you survived one more day.

We received an email from our ELI DRC Director confirming news of the fire. Four of our students had lost their homes. The origin of the fire is still unknown and the government is doing nothing to investigate or assist the families affected. We thank God that no one was physically hurt and only material items were damaged. But for families who barely survive on $1 a day, this was devastating.

SOP Poor Burnt Homes 5-9-2016

Understanding the great need, our staff in DRC, teachers, and students collected as much as they were able ($64) to purchase clothes, books, shoes, cups, plates, pots and pans to give to the four families in our school who lost their homes. Groups visited the families and prayed with them, offering comfort in the midst of great loss.

When tragedy hits the poor, the ramifications are severe. There are no insurance policies to fall back on. The dollar you earn a day cannot replace the home you built or repurchase clothes and supplies that burned. You rely on your community to help out.

And we are their community.

This is an opportunity for you, me and the ELI School to shine the light of Christ to the thousands in the Keredi slum. We are setting a goal to raise $20,000 by the end of May to help the families of our students who lost their homes and to provide for children coming to our school. The ELI school offers quality education and food for over 650 children in the Keredi slum – 650 children equipped to conquer the cycle of poverty and share the hope of Christ to their community.

Join us as together, as we are empowering lives!

donate today button

 

 

Diana Coombs

Vulnerable Children Program Manager

Empowering Lives International

Miracles in Kenya

April 6, 2016 by Diana Coombs

Jacob 9-22-2015 (web)

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.

KK-107 Kevin Collage 1 (600px)

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!

Photo Essay: Apollo’s First Day

March 4, 2016 by Tori Greaves

Photos by Sarah Ponce

The first day of school can be full of uncertainty, excitement and anticipation. Apollo, from the Ilula Children’s Home, wears all of these emotions on his face as he stands in the parking lot of his new high school. His belongings sit on the ground around his feet: two thick blankets in plastic grocery bags, a green trunk, a bright pink lidded bin, a foam mattress.

Arms tightly crossed across his chest, he laughs self-consciously when asked to pose for a photo. He casts a quick glance over toward the classrooms—presumably to see if anyone is watching—and obliges.

Nickson, an Ilula Children’s Home parent, emerges from the front office. It’s time to get registered as a Form 1 (high school freshman). The two pick up Apollo’s things and head over to an empty classroom to get underway.

Apollo 01 - Registration
Apollo (far left) is accompanied by Nickson (middle), who helps him go through the Form 1 registration and check-in process. This includes paying fees, obtaining a student number, making sure all supplies are in order and reviewing and signing forms.

Apollo 02 - Chalkboard
A large message is left on the chalkboard in the registration room. Tumewaongoja sana roughly translates to “We have very much waited for you.”

Apollo 03 - Books
New students need to come prepared with all of the required school supplies, such as reams of paper, notebooks, a calculator, pens and textbooks.

Apollo 04 - BelongingsStudents must also come with their own personal supplies: a mattress, a trunk with locks, blankets, shower slippers, a bowl, a spoon, a mug, a flashlight, shoe polish with brush, laundry detergent and a number of toiletries (shown below).

Apollo 05 - Lay Flat

Apollo 06 - Intake Room
Nickson and Apollo review a document of the school’s rules and policies as a school employee screen prints Apollo’s student number onto his uniform.

Apollo 07 - Uniform
Every article of clothing—shirts, tie, socks, blazer, trousers, pajamas, gym shorts and even underwear—as well as bed sheets and towels must be printed with one’s student number.

Apollo 08 - Signing Form
After a careful reading, Nickson and Apollo sign the document on the school’s rules and policies, acknowledging their understanding of the contents.

A faculty member arrives with more papers. It’s an intake survey. She and Apollo work through the questions one by one: what he wants to be when he grows up (a banker), what church he’d like to attend, what clubs he’d like to participate in and so on.

Apollo 09 - With Brian
Brian, a Form 2 (high school sophomore) from the Ilula Children’s Home, stops by the registration room to greet Apollo. The two boys chat and share some laughs as Apollo puts on his dress shirt, which now bears his student number in bright yellow paint. Nickson sees that he is fumbling with his tie and walks over to assist.

The man screen printing numbers onto Apollo’s clothes and linens asks for his shoes and dress socks for labeling. Nickson grabs Apollo’s shower slippers for him to wear and notices that the boy’s trousers are a bit too large. Apollo has not packed a belt. Without hesitation, Nickson removes his own belt and gives it to him.

Apollo 10 - School
Outside of the registration room, older students chat and get some fresh air in between classes.

Apollo 11 - Form Ones
A fresh batch of Form 1 boys await their instructor.

Apollo 12 - With Nixon
With registration completed and the comfort of knowing Brian is around, Apollo relaxes. “Brian is here. He can take care of him,” Nickson says. He play boxes with the two boys, landing soft punches on their arms. He gives them hugs and firm handshakes as they exchange byes. Brian returns to class, and Apollo goes to join his own class as an official Form 1.

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.

 

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.

Ishara’s Journey

October 22, 2015 by Tori Greaves

Christbridge 01
ELI International Director Don Rogers presents Ishara’s Journey at Christbridge Academy on October 14, 2015.

Text and photos by Tori Greaves, ELI U.S.

Ishara lives with her brothers and sister in a rural village in the Congo. After their mother passed away due to the violence of raiding militias, Ishara became the main decision-maker of the family. Will she sell everything to take her siblings to the city? Perhaps there, she will find some support. Or will she try to farm their land on her own? What challenges will she face on the road ahead?

Now, imagine you are Ishara. What decisions will you make?

Ishara’s Journey is a choose-your-own-adventure story that reflects the real lives and decisions of children who have come to Empowering Lives’ school in the slums of Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo. In schools, classrooms and church programs, we present Ishara’s Journey so that children in the U.S. can learn what it is like for kids living in countries that suffer from poverty and violence. It is a significant way to engage the younger generation in the lives of others, as well as to invite them to be part of God’s transforming work in East Africa.

Christbridge 02Christbridge Academy’s guiding verse for the year.

One school, Christbridge Academy in Azusa, California, has partnered with Empowering Lives for over nine years now. Students, teachers and administrators at Christbridge Academy seek to reflect God through spirit, knowledge and service. For the past several years, Christbridge students have created their own projects to raise awareness and funds for the ministry of Empowering Lives. Their hard work empowers their community and our ministry to continue participating in God’s incredible work. Thank you for welcoming us, Christbridge, and for your courage to lead although you are young!

Through partnership with Christbridge Academy and others, we are privileged to offer a safe place and opportunity for Congolese children on a very difficult journey. Making the decision to enroll in our school in Bukavu may be the one easy decision that Ishara has to make, but it is a decision that will equip and support her through the rest of her life.


If your school or classroom would like to partner with Empowering Lives, let us know at info@empoweringlives.org. We would love to present or equip you with Ishara’s Journey and other resources to help your students learn and grow in service and generosity. Your kids can make a difference in the lives of children in DR Congo!

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.

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.

Visitor Reflections: Shayla Tonge

September 2, 2015 by LoriEaton

Tonge kids with youth-Blog size

The days were dwindling. I couldn’t accept that in my heart, I couldn’t allow myself to even think about leaving this haven. I thought back to our very first day when all the faces were unfamiliar, but I remember the moment with clarity as we stood before an assembly of 70 kids and staff, when Laban said with confidence, “Welcome home.” And truly, that is what it has become.

Not a single day passed when I did not encounter a moment where I felt truly full. That is the only word I can use to describe the emotion that flooded my heart when I spent time with these kids. Full of joy, compassion, adoration, gratitude and love. These kids have invited me into their lives with a wholeheartedness that astounds me. I will always cherish the moments I spent in the late afternoons on a concrete step with a little exuberant boy occupying my lap, four sweet girls braiding my “exciting” blonde hair and seven other kids climbing in the tree high above me while joyfully calling out my name. Or the times that we spent each evening, prompted by the 6 p.m. bell, praising God and reciting His word together, our voices rising in unity to the one true King. Or walking the youth down the red dirt path to “preps” (their study time) at school each evening, joking and giggling together, arm in arm. These simple moments of daily life are forever impressed on my heart.

I’m so grateful for the lifelong relationships formed but also for the encouragement of witnessing the beauty of what the ministry of ELI does. I have seen the poverty of this nation. I have seen barefoot children with protruding bellies peer longingly through the chain link school yard fence. I have seen makeshift one-room mud huts. I have seen eight-year-olds driving the family’s herd of cows, not being able to attend school. I have heard the stories of those my age who have lost parents in tragic ways or who feel abandoned but yet shrug and say, “That’s just the way life is.”

It is undeniable that the kids served by Empowering Lives have seen tragedy. They have, and it breaks my heart. But I am overjoyed by the utter hope they have because of this ministry. Each of these kids now has stability in their lives like they never had before. They now not only get their earthly needs met such as three meals a day, clean water, shelter and an education, but their spiritual needs are also being met. They are growing up in a home under two loving house parents who are instilling in them the Word of God. There is nothing more beautiful than rejoicing joyfully in a room full of these kids, knowing that if they weren’t here at this very moment, they would likely be very far from God. But instead I look into the faces of the young leaders leading worship with confidence and care, and my heart rejoices as the youngest of them, the three- and four-year-olds, dance and clap energetically for the Lord.

This is what redemption looks like. This is what love is. There is not a single fraction of doubt in my mind that God is holding each of these kids in the palm of His hand. I know that He has great big plans for each of them, and I am so excited to see them grow into the sons and daughters of Christ that they are.

Tonge Family Bye Bye-Blog size

Shayla in school-blog size

Shayla, who is 15, traveled to Kenya with her parents, Barry and Christy, and her 12-year-old brother, Trevor, earlier in 2015.

Jacob Returns Home

August 7, 2015 by Tori Greaves

JACOB - Gate

The white van drove slowly down the rocky dirt road leading to the Kipkaren Children’s Home. Kids in matching orange t-shirts were gathered, brimming with excitement.

“It’s Ilula!”

While it is always a joy to have visitors from the Ilula site, the crowd was anxiously waiting for the other white van — the one carrying Jacob and his house father, Peter Matekwa, after their lengthy absence.

Last week, Jacob and Peter returned home to Kenya from India and were warmly welcomed with songs, dancing, testimonies and a feast. They were surrounded by ELI Kenya staff, kids from the Children’s Home, members of the community, some of Jacob’s classmates and even few of his teachers. It was a colorful celebration and emotional reunion as the crowd of almost 200 gave thanks to God for Jacob’s health.

In early 2012, Jacob started to develop severe anemia and was admitted to a local hospital in Eldoret. Peter still remembers taking Jacob to the hospital for a check-up and going out to lunch afterward when Jacob’s nose started to bleed uncontrollably. He had to be readmitted. Then began a string of hospital visits, tests and blood transfusions that continued for the next few years.

Jacob was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a condition in which the bone marrow does not make enough new blood cells. Continuing with blood transfusions was not a permanent option and put him at risk of bleeding and infection. His chances at long-term survival without a bone marrow transplant were not good.

JACOB - Hall

Through a joint effort between Empowering Lives International and Living Room International, it was determined that Jacob needed to go to India for a bone marrow transplant. Yet, they still needed to find a donor. Jacob’s siblings were contacted, and his older brother, Calvince, was a match. After not seeing his younger brother for several years and being a 100 percent match, Calvince is considered to be the first miracle God worked in this journey.

Fundraising efforts in the U.S. and Kenya were launched in February to raise the $55,000 needed for the trip and medical treatment. In March, a large fundraiser was held in Kipkaren. It was a day that showed the community coming together and uniting around Jacob, Peter and his wife, Zipporrah. The goal of raising $10,000 through the event was surpassed.

A&K Global Health, an international patient advocacy and medical travel company, coordinated and navigated through the logistics of getting the two brothers and Peter to and from India for the procedure. The trio left Kipkaren on April 11. Calvince remained in India for about a month, while Peter and Jacob came home on July 31.

While in India, Peter remained vigilant in staying on top of caring for Calvince and Jacob, especially with Jacob’s weakened immune system. Peter said that he kept busy each day as he prepared proper meals, made sure everything was clean, saw that Jacob took his medications on time and took him to exercise at the guesthouse’s gym as he grew stronger in recovery. Peter also had to keep a close eye on Jacob after the surgery to look out for anything unusual that needed medical attention. It was a lot of work day in and day out, but Peter kept the faith.

“To me, I feel praise to God,” Peter said. “If God had given me this mission to do, to accomplish, then I am happy, because what God had proposed to me to do, I have done it. That is my joy.”

JACOB - Mic

At the welcome celebration, it was clear that God worked a number of miracles as the group reflected on all of the details that needed to be taken care of: organizing logistics across continents, picking the right hospital, raising all of the funds, finding a complete donor match, checking on Calvince’s health to make sure he was eligible to donate his marrow. Miracle after miracle.

Jacob is now a much healthier boy, gaining more strength with each passing day. He said that he does feel the difference between last year and today.

“I feel more courageous because of the health I’ve been given,” Jacob said. “I feel good, and I want to thank God for all the organizations that have helped, like Living Room, Empowering Lives, all the churches, schools and all the well-wishers. I want to thank God because of them. Let God bless all of them and their families and everything they do.”


To see more photos of Jacob and Peter’s welcome celebration, click here.

You can still partner with us in giving a gift of love for Jacob to help cover emergency costs during his stay in India as well as ongoing care (proper nutrition, labs, transport to and from the hospital, medications) while back in Kenya. For more information on how to give, click here.

Caring for the Fatherless

June 24, 2015 by Tori Greaves

DSC_3076

Hello,

My name is Ezekiel Moiben, and I am a house father at Empowering Lives International’s Kipkaren Children’s Home. I am married to Noelah, and we are raising 29 boys and girls together.

In Kenya, most people work as laborers and earn less than a dollar in a day. That creates a high level of poverty, which makes it hard for most families to raise up kids who were made orphans by HIV and AIDS. A common cause of deaths in Kenya include cancer, among others.

ELI has been of great help to more than 250 boys and girls in their Children’s Home, providing both spiritual and physical needs like medical care, education, food, shelter and clothing. Guiding and counseling is part of the emotional support ELI is doing for the orphans through its staff and professional counselors.

This empowerment is aimed at transforming these kids to be agents of change in their families, so that they can preach the Gospel and, at the same time, educate their siblings after acquiring jobs with the education and empowerment they got through ELI.

Poverty has been at the high levels in Kenya, especially to the orphans whose parents died from diseases. These kids had no hope when they first arrived at the home. A good number of them were malnourished, sickly and didn’t know about the love of God. As I write this letter, all of our kids can testify that Jesus is their savior. Physically, they are strong boys and girls, and they are very appreciative of what ELI has done and is continuing to do in their lives.

One of the boys in my family, Boniface Kibungei, was so sick-looking and malnourished when he first arrived. Currently, he is a great athlete in the region, representing his school and entire community whenever there is competition in the region. We thank God every time we see him as a strong boy after the ELI empowerment bears fruits of this kind.

I must say that it has been of great blessing serving God through ELI as a house parent, seeing these young kids being transformed and being empowered. They can serve God without fear or hindrance. It has given me an opportunity to serve God more and helped me grow in spirit seeing God lifting these kids from nothing to somewhere.

Lastly, friends, let us join hands in serving God in His amazing task of caring for orphans, as we see that this is God’s heart.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27 (NIV)


It is estimated that there are between 1 to 2 million orphaned children in Kenya. You can partner with Empowering Lives to care for vulnerable children and help to provide physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs. To learn more about becoming an ELI child sponsor, click here.

Onward and Upward

March 31, 2015 by Tori Greaves

CH celebration

The results for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams—which are taken at the end of secondary (high) school and determine eligibility for various higher education institutions—were recently released. Many of our Children’s Home graduates received high marks, and for that, we are thankful. Now, these graduates will wait to see what programs they will be accepted into at different colleges, universities and other schools.

Here’s what three of our graduates from the Ilula Children’s Home had to say after finding out their results.


“Hi!! I hope you are doing well just as I am. The national exams were officially released recently, and for sure, God did great. It had been a long journey of four years going through ups and downs in high school, but at last, we sat for the national exams. For a while, it was a relief after (the) hard struggle of learning. Days went by, and soon it was nearing the date set for the release of the results. Fear and thoughts of doubt encompassed me, knowing that many people were expecting good performance from me. I prayed that my hard work may be rewarded. I was so happy when I got the results and of all people and beings, I thanked God. So far life in the village is good and soon I will be studying computer. Thank you so much for your support and prayers.”
– Victor

“I really want to thank God for the favor He granted me. Concerning my results of the national exams, I enrolled for the year 2014. I got an A of 83 points, and I was so impressed and happy. I now will be able to pursue a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at the university level. My results I attribute to teachers, parents, friends and classmates. I would not make it alone without them. They encouraged me (and) gave me the motivation to move on, and that is why here I am today. Also, the sponsors from Empowering Lives International made this possible regarding that my welfare was catered for, this ranging from fees to personal necessities.
– Beatrice

“I thank God for (how) far He has brought (me). It has taken his hand and his unfailing love for me. The grade I got I thank him (for), because actually whatever he has started he will carry to end. I never expected to score that, but all in all, God is great and wonderful. (I) am happy. At least I have a bright future. That day was my happiest day since cause it was just the prayers God was answering. (I) am still thinking and praying hard (that) I get a course related to the passion I have. I have a dream of pursuing either Radiography or Physiotherapy. Thank you so much, ELI, for all the support and everything you have done. May God bless you and continue being with you and expand everything you are doing.
– Mercy


Thank you for being a part of the lives of these children through your partnership with Empowering Lives International. You help make this possible!

Meet Alex

March 4, 2015 by Tori Greaves

ea4387d9-6c0a-4e74-a515-23d7cc9989d1

Alex is a leader who believes in helping others. He says that it’s his main objective in life—to help others in the way that he has been helped.

He first came to the Ilula Children’s Home in 2004. Now, more than 10 years later, Alex is in Form 4 (Grade 12) and has grown into a mature young man. In 2013, he was named “All Round Student” at his school, recognizing his involvement and achievements in sports and academics. Last year, he was number 5 out of 161 students in his class for academic ranking and had also served as Games (Sports) Captain previously.

Prior to coming to the Children’s Home, Alex and his three siblings were living with his widowed grandmother. He, his two sisters and brother lost their mother to heart disease shortly after the youngest sibling was born. Before their mother died, she struggled to make ends meet by illicitly brewing alcohol to provide for the family. Alex never knew his father and recalls moving around a lot, with his mother ill much of the time. Still, as a child, he kept the faith that someday, things would get better.

Today, Alex is an accomplished student in his last year of secondary (high) school. While he enjoys studying math and science, he is still unsure what he would like to pursue as a career. Whatever it is, he wants to be able to return to his home community and give back.

Perhaps one of the most valuable things Alex has learned over the years has been leadership skills and how to use those skills to lift up those around him. He desires for others to realize their own potential and what they have to contribute. He says that he wants others to appreciate who they are and do good. To him, this would be a way of showing gratitude to God.

“You can lead without a title,” Alex said. “Do your best in what you know is true and what you know it right.”


Thank you for your faithful support of children like Alex through your partnership with Empowering Lives International! There are still more opportunities to come alongside our Children’s Home ministries. Click here to learn more about our current sponsorship needs.

Prayer for the 8th Grade Students

October 27, 2014 by Diana Coombs

Prayer Day

Starting next Monday, 8th grade students across Kenya will be taking an important four-day exam that will determine what high school they will be accepted into. Testing begins on Monday, November 3 and ends on Thursday, November 6. Students study long hours in order to score high grades and be accepted into good high schools. Our sponsored children would appreciate prayers as they prepare for the exams and as they take them next week.

Please partner with our Kenyan friends TONIGHT as they gather to pray for the 8th grade students.

Want to join ELI’s prayer team? CLICK HERE to sign up!

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

(more…)

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! 

(more…)

New Year, New School, New Adventures

January 30, 2014 by Diana Coombs
Form 1 Girls

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

 

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

 

Christmas in Kipkaren

January 16, 2014 by Diana Coombs

By Colleen Costigan, Professional Volunteer, Kipkaren, Kenya

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

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

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

Making Chapti

Making Chapti

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

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…)