My journey and the Launch HouseJanuary 26, 2011 by Intern
Over a year ago, I began the search for my summer plans. Discouraged by the continual doors being shut on different mission trips I had been pursuing, I began to ask the Lord what He was doing. I felt like my prayers were going unanswered. One night, in the midst of my frustration, my roommate began to tell me about an organization called Empowering Lives International. In his enthusiasm, he shared with me how lives were being changed in Kenya and how his life had changed as a result of visiting there. It was then the Lord began to softly whisper, “I promised that I would never leave you and I heard your prayer. Here you go!”
I began to prepare for my internship with excitement and anticipation. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but during my first weeks in Kenya, God captured my heart and gave me the opportunity to witness suffering and joy in a whole new way. I was placed with the Chepsat family, immensely connecting with my two host parents, Jonah and Mary (known as Baba and Mama Brian), and finding myself the big brother to the 24 adopted children in the family. I cannot express the love God gave me for those kids and for the community around me. The focus on relationships by drinking chai and talking for hours was something I looked forward to every day.
Halfway through my time in Kenya, I had a life-changing moment that is hard for me to even articulate. I can remember that night vividly because the air was so crisp and the sky was so clear and the billions of stars were shining so bright. Some of the boys in my house and I sat outside just looking at the stars and sharing stories. One of the boys took me aside and began to share with me his life story. His parents had died in an automobile accident when he was only five. Soon after, he moved in with his aunt, who physically abused him and sold alcohol and drugs in order to put food on the table. When the Ilula Children’s Home opened its doors, he was accepted into a family. Tears rolled down his face as he described in joy that he now has a school to attend, food to eat, parents who love him and a place to call home.
I couldn’t help breaking down in tears in front of this young boy, so thankful for the children’s home and the impact it is making in these kids’ lives. I heard God speak, “Everyone who hears these words needs to put them to practice. They are like a wise man who builds his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had the foundation on the rock.” Seeing the firm foundation God provided through the children’s home, I wanted more children to experience this great love. I felt God stirring something in my heart, and that’s what ignited a project that would bring future kids off the street and into a new home.
You see, I had learned that in order to take in new children at the home, there needed to be a building for the high school students to come home to when they were on holiday – a launch house, as they called it. As soon as I heard of the need, I knew I had to help – for if the Children’s Home had already been used by the Lord to change 100 kids’ lives, how many more could God touch through this special staff?
I felt God calling me then and there to help fund the project. I shared my desire with Laban, the Ilula Children’s Home director, and soon things began to happen. We knew this house would serve high school boys who would return home during the holidays from boarding school. Not only would this launch house help with bringing in more kids off the streets and into the children’s home, but it would give a place for the older boys to call their own.
We began preparing logistics, getting estimates from a local contractor who quoted the home to cost around $20,000 USD. While it was a huge sum of money, I remembered that I served a HUGE God and continued ahead in trust that God would provide. I contacted my two churches through Skype and asked for prayer and contributions. I also asked my family for their financial help and even considered taking out a loan to help pay the cost.
In less than a month, I was completely overwhelmed by God’s provision. My churches had been flooded with financial and prayer support. Through the generosity of my churches, family and friends, the money to build the launch house was in, and I was ecstatic. We began construction of the home a few weeks before I departed Kenya, and my American family was actually able to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony. What a day! The launch house, only 100 feet away from the family huts, will serve the high school boys as a sanctuary as they come home from boarding school on holidays.
One of the greatest joys of 2010 was getting to travel back to my Kenyan home in Ilula for Christmas. Worshipping on Christmas with my family and seeing how God had made manifest the desires of my heart is more than I could have dreamed or imagined. I look forward to going back soon and seeing the launch house in full gear! Praise God for His provision, for when His people pray, He moves!
As Tyler mentioned, our hope and vision at ELI is to be able to nurture and care for more orphans in the surrounding communities in Kenya. However, we cannot open our children’s home until we are able to successfully build “launch houses” for both our young men and women in high school. As our boys’ launch house is almost finished, we invite you to share in the special vision for our girls launch house. If you would like to give towards the girls’ launch house in Ilula, please visit our website at www.empoweringlives.org/giving. Please choose “ELI General Ministry” as the fund, and in the comment section make sure to write “Girls’ Launch House”. Thank you so much for helping us continue to empower lives in the community!
Categories: Vulnerable Children