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Sponsor Updates from the Homes

JULY 2022

GIRLS' LAUNCH HOUSE

High school is a time of significant growth and development, often entering as a gangly youth uncertain what the next four years have in store, to exiting as a more self-assured young adult with specific goals toward the pursuit of an independent future. To help provide the best environment to facilitate this pivotal transformation, Boys’ and Girls’ Launch Houses have been gradually built at each Children’s Home, a dedicated dormitory space for the teens to stay while at home on breaks from boarding school.   



Coming home from school and being able to stay at a Launch House is sort of like a rite of passage for these high schoolers. It symbolizes a major step toward maturity and independence. It is a place that is free of distraction—a quiet place to relax, unwind, and study as they prepare for their return to boarding school. It is a space that enables mentoring and relationship building that empowers their journey toward independence. And now, after much anticipation, the final Launch House construction has been completed for the girls at Ilula Children’s Home!

The Girls’ Launch House opened this summer, giving 5 of our Ilula high school girls the opportunity to stay there during a recent break in school. As the girls arrived, they were greeted by a warm welcome from their house parents and siblings before excitedly rushing to see their new living space! Long days of studying, classes, assignments, and homework had been replaced with laughter, fun times, and family. Empowering Lives also has a mentor dedicated to advising and building relationships with these teenagers, Zipporah Kiprotich. There is even a room inside the launch house where she can stay, making it easy for her to interact with the youth! Because of this, the girls will be able to return to school refreshed and ready to resume the rigors of high school at the conclusion of their short break. 



When asked about their experience in the Launch House, the girls had these comments to share:

“When I came back home my parents welcomed me and I was overjoyed since I was entering our new lounge house. All the preparations were made and soon I was enjoying the warmth of our lounge house. Our mentor mum has been helpful to us since we always have a talk and morning & evening devotion every day.” - Purity Jepchirchir (IL-119)

“When I came back home from school, I was welcomed with lots of love and happiness. All my brothers and sisters were eagerly waiting for me. We were ushered into a new room that we had been waiting for a long time and finally were the first people to be in. I felt so good, and I thank all the organizers who made us be in our room.” - Sharon Jepkemboi (IL-105)

“I came back home for half term happy and jovial to share my experience. We were ushered into the lounge house warmly by our new Mum Zipporah. It was such a wonderful moment and I felt like a queen. It was good to live with older girls in high school and learn more responsibilities of a girl.” - Leah Naeku (IL-115)

“When I come back home my parents welcomed me very much, I was very happy when they told us that we were going to enter our new lounge house, where we had longed for a long time. I shade tears of joy when we entered inside. It’s a very beautiful, nice house, we take bath in warm water. Our new mum welcomed us because she was the one to take care of us. I am so happy that I cannot express myself. I say thank you for your love and support may God continue to bless you.” - Mercy Jerono (IL-118)

As you can tell from the girls’ comments, this Launch House is already fulfilling its intended purpose, providing a special space at home for these young women to be loved and mentored as they grow, develop, and mature on their journey toward independence. This unique inaugural stay was best summed up by the girls’ mentor, Zipporah Kiprotich:

“I give God all the glory for this launch area for the girls, and I believe it will build good relationships between us and between them as they walk together through high school and even college. I can’t wait to see them again when they return home from school!”

Meet one of our amazing children spotlighted this month.

Click the button below to read their incredible story of transformation.

PRAYER REQUESTS:
  • For our high school students to feel well rested, supported, and prepared to finish strong in their school year
  • For God to provide guidance and peace as our house parents and mentors continue to raise World Changers
  • Continued health and safety of each child, parent, mentor, and teacher

JUNE 2022

BRINGING HOPE TO HOSPICE

Our mission is
to provide training and skills to orphans and families so that they will be able to crush poverty, embrace Christ, and share their transformation with others.

Recently, at the ELI Children’s Home located in Kipkaren River, the entire Children's Home participated in a wonderful outreach to a local Hospice (Called “Kimbilio” in Swahili, or “Refuge”). Here, they had wonderful opportunities to share their transformation with others! Located about 2 kilometers from the Kipkaren Children's Home, Kimbilio Hospice is a 26-bed inpatient and outpatient hospice for adults and children with life-threatening illnesses. There was excitement in the air on that Saturday morning as the children put on their “Sunday best” clothes and met at the Children’s Home kitchen for a quick cup of “Uji” (Porridge) before leaving on the journey. The older children paired up with some of their younger siblings while parents took the hands of the smaller children and started walking the one-mile journey on the dirt road to Kimbilio. So much joy, laughter, and a lot of good stories were shared during the walk both to and from!

Once reaching the Hospice, the little ones were led to a small playground where they enjoyed a morning of fun and play. The older children were divided up into several different “ministry groups.” With the parents leading, each group began to walk through the facility and meet with the residents and staff. Words of encouragement, scripture, and prayer were shared from all of their hearts. After a good amount of time ministering to the residents, the children, parents, and staff gathered in the Kimbilio chapel for a time of worship, which was led by the children from the home. This included prayer, worship, and a message from scripture! This special chapel service brought tremendous encouragement to the hearts of the Kimbilio staff, who give love and care tirelessly to the residents. 

Saturday is also Chapati making day!!! Once everyone returned from this special outing, several tables were brought outside and before you knew it - dough was being made by all of the mamas and a group of girls who make these special Kenyan “tortillas” called “Chapati” for everyone to enjoy during dinner.

After dinner, the children gathered for a time of worship and reflecting on the day. Many of the children shared their thoughts about their visit to Kimbilio and the reward they felt as they were able to help someone else in need. One of the parents wrapped up the day by sharing with the children the Bible story and a message about the good Samaritan. What a blessing it was to see these children come together and bring HOPE to others!

Meet one of our amazing children spotlighted this month.

Click the button below to read their incredible story of transformation.

PRAYER REQUESTS
  • Continued strength and wisdom for the Kimbilio Hospice staff
  • Healing for each adult and child in the hospice facility
  • That the children at Kipkaren will continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus wherever they go

MAY 2022

AT A CROSSROADS

High school graduation: a time full of excitement, opportunity, and BIG decisions! After years of hard work, some of our very own children at ELI have reached this milestone. They have officially entered a momentous season of advancement–each of them beginning their individual journeys to college and adulthood.


To celebrate their outstanding achievements and support them as they make these big decisions, ELI held a special event for the graduates: Career Choosing Day! It served as a time for each student to meet with a guidance counselor in order to make a plan for this next chapter in their lives. The counselor, who has been advising these students since the beginning of high school, took the time to evaluate their test scores (from the Kenyan high school exit exam), personal interests, and God-given gifts of each student, enabling them to make the best school and career choice. 

Once our graduates chose their school, whether college, university, or vocational, they began the application process. This can be an intimidating task . . . but they don’t do it alone! With guidance from God, encouragement from family, and support from our ELI youth pastors, we have faith our students completed their applications with confidence! 


As the children wait for their acceptance responses from schools, they will be spending time with their guardians at home. Please join us in praying for this to be a quality time of peace, comfort, and enjoyment for our graduates and their families!

Meet one of our amazing children spotlighted this month.

Click the button below to read their incredible story of transformation.

PRAYER REQUESTS
  • For each student to trust in God’s amazing plan for their future.
  • Any nerves, anxiety, or stress to be replaced with peace, joy, and excitement.
  • For God to provide ELI administrators, pastors, and counselors with clarity in how to best support our high school graduates.
  • A time of building strong family bonds while the children are at home with their guardians.

APRIL 2022

MAKING DREAMS COME TRUE

From the very first day they arrive at our Children’s Homes, our kids are encouraged and inspired to dream big, work toward their goals, and realize their full potential–something they wouldn’t have had the chance to do before finding their ELI family. The hardships these children must overcome in order to make those dreams a reality are anything but easy, but it is what makes every victory and every achievement so special! Recently, the ELI family at the Children’s Homes celebrated those dreams becoming reality in the lives of some of our college students with a Commissioning Ceremony! 




One of the proudest days in the lives of the parents and the children at our homes is when they are able to
have a special commissioning ceremony for college graduates, celebrating their accomplishments and providing them with a stipend to help them get started in life as an independent adult. Each child is able to excitedly share with their family their plans for this next stage in life, plans that would have seemed impossible to even dream about years ago as an orphan. This month, the Children’s Homes were able to celebrate and commission 12 children!



Here is a snapshot from that day:
 

Kevin Matasio, from our Ilula Children's Home, was one of those celebrated. He shared he is practicing his dream profession of Music and Video Production after graduating from college with a certificate in that field. Using a camera provided by ELI for his college course requirements, Kevin has become a paid videographer for special functions and has set up a studio in his home where he records music videos to put on YouTube. Kevin’s musical talent was displayed at the ceremony when he expertly led everyone in attendance in a time of joyous praise and worship singing! 

Kevin’s also shared how his plans continue to expand as he puts his Business for Life practices to use through building and developing rental houses on his grandmother’s land, which means he will eventually become a landlord! He almost couldn’t believe it himself as he was sharing about it! This will enable Kevin to generate even more God honoring income and provide for people in his community, embracing life as a World Changer. 

Kevin shared his heart-felt thanks for the opportunities he has been provided:  


These words flowed from Kevin and all the commissioned children as they celebrated their dreams coming true for a hope-filled future! 

Meet one of our amazing children spotlighted this month.

Click the button below to read their incredible story of transformation.

PRAYER REQUESTS

  • A sense of excitement and motivation for these students as they follow their dreams and pursue their passions
  • God's favor, guidance, and protection over the students, their families, and their futures

MARCH 2022

GUARDIANS' DAY

Two years. 24 months. 730 days. After such a long separation due to pandemic restrictions, the countdown was finally over, and the long-awaited Guardians’ Day event was finally here! Contagious joy, teary eyes, and full hearts were abundant as the time came for the children and their guardians to be reunited.

Over the longer breaks throughout the school year, the children are able to reconnect with their guardians and return to their home communities. When the day comes for the guardians to pick up the children from the Children’s Homes, the Homes host a special event to celebrate, called Guardians’ Day. It’s a joyous time full of encouragement, prayer, thanksgiving, and fellowship. 

During our most recent Guardians’ Day at the end of March, the children were able to share testimonies about all God has done in their lives over the last two years. The guardians were so happy to see the children and grateful to God for keeping them safe and healthy! Our ELI staff also spent time encouraging the guardians to nurture and protect the children, to look for ways to help them feel at home with their family members, and to introduce them to their home churches. The children will be in the care of their guardians for three weeks, making up for lost time after being apart for so long!

In preparation for this special event, the kids at our Kipkaren Children’s Home had a health check-up, performed by the Hope Matters Hospital team. The doctors observed their overall development, checking their height, weight, and blood pressure, as well as conducting vision and dental exams. They also made sure that each child was getting the proper nutrition, sleep, and exercise needed to thrive. The children did so well throughout their check-ups and had such a fun day with the hospital staff, who showed great care for each child. After this, they were ready and raring to go for Guardians Day!

At our Ilula Children’s Home, the children prepared for the event by introducing a special planting program called Panda Miti, which means to plant trees in Swahili. Before leaving the Children’s Home to travel back to their home communities, each child was given three Cypress trees. They will plant these trees at their guardian’s homes and take care of them over time. Each visit will be an opportunity for the children and their guardians to work together, care for the trees, and continually watch them grow! When the trees mature, the children will be able to log the trees for timber for personal use or to sell.

Please join us in praying for this to be a time of connection and comfort for both the children and their guardians, and that they will remain safe during travels. The parents at the Children’s Homes will miss them, and they can’t wait to hear all about their visits when they return!

Meet one of our amazing children spotlighted this month.

Click the button below to read their incredible story of transformation.

PRAYER REQUESTS

  • Safety and protection as the children travel and are away from the Children’s Homes
  • A time of reconnection and deepening relationship between the children and their guardians The children to feel at home with all of their extended family members
  • Deepening connection for the children to their home community

FEBRUARY 2022

Children's Home Baptisms

Smiles abounded as Heaven and everyone at the Ilula Children’s Home recently celebrated nine of their 7th grade students making the decision to get baptized! The children had the opportunity to attend Christian Education classes at their school. Over a period of two months, these children spent intentional time with Pastor Jonah Chepsat, learning about God’s love for them, what it means to live a faithful Christian life, and how to effectively spread the gospel – all leading to this life-changing decision.

The children were able to experience the true joy of dedicating their lives to God and living a life with eternal hope! Their overjoyed House Parents will continue to walk alongside them, encouraging and guiding them in their faith journey, helping them to discern and embrace the abundant life God has for them. To God be the glory!

Meet one of our amazing children spotlighted this month.

Click the button below to read their incredible story of transformation.

Prayer Requests

  • For pastors, parents, and teachers to continue to seek God for wisdom and direction as they disciple the children in their faith.
  • Continued desire among the children to grow in their love of and devotion to Jesus.
  • The confidence to embrace opportunities to share their faith with others.

JANUARY 2022

Cultural Day Festival

A special sense of anticipation filled the air as ELI’s primary age children walked to school earlier this month. Excited chatter and eager steps combined in expectation of what this school day would bring: the first ever Cultural Day Festival!



The Cultural Day Festival was the culmination of a new curriculum introduced to Kenyan primary schools to showcase different cultures from varied tribal communities in Kenya. The purpose of the festival was to bring to life what the children had been learning from their teachers in the classroom. Teachers, along with some of the parents, had been planning this event for weeks.



This inaugural festival would include the different foods, music, and dance from four different Kenyan tribal cultures: the Kalenjin, Masaai, Luo, and Luhyas. As the children feasted on the various delicacies from the different tribes, such as millet porridge and vegetables (Kalenjin), fresh milk and meat (Masaai), fish and stewed lentils (Luo), and chicken with yams (Luhyas), melodies of traditional music played by the student band floated through the air. One of the day’s highlights was being able to learn traditional dances from each culture, the children enjoying the rhythmic movement and symbolic value of each dance. The festival was a great success, providing the opportunity for all the children to embrace the rich and varied cultures of Kenya in a joyous collaborative celebration! It will be a day the children will always remember.


 

Meet one of our amazing children spotlighted this month.

Click the button below to read their incredible story of transformation.

PRAYER REQUESTS

  • A sense of excitement for the children as they learn and embrace the new curriculum
  • Unity and an ecumenical spirit among the various tribes represented at the Children's Homes
  • Health and joyful wonder to continue their studies

NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2021

 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel, which means God with us.”
- Matthew 18:23

Just over 2,000 years ago, Emmanuel, Christ Jesus, changed the world. In that moment when God became flesh, humanity watched prophecies unfold as hope was born. The Savior of the world had come!

God with us. Giving us strength in place of weakness, courage in place of fear, and vibrant life in place of weary existence.

As the children and house parents at our Children’s Homes prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the gift of God with us, they would like to include each of you in their celebration! While they won’t be able to gather together with you in person, they have prepared special video celebrations to share with you. Just as families around the world gather together at Christmastime to celebrate God’s love for them and their love for one another, the children and parents wish to “gather together” with you, their US family, in the same way.

Enjoy these family celebration videos! As you watch these reflections capturing the moments and memories of God providing the children with strength, courage, and abundance to face whatever came their way, know your prayers, care, and encouragement were part of God’s provision.

 
Welcome to our celebration! We are so glad you’re here!

PRAYER REQUESTS

  • God’s favor on all of ELI's children and every interaction with people from their villages as they spend time with extended family and guardians for Christmas
  • Full joy, connection, rest, and love of family and the ELI community while they celebrate Christmas and New Year’s in a more compact timeframe than they are used to
  • Wisdom and determination for an intense academic school year that is trying to make up for lost time due to the COVID-19 school shutdowns

OCTOBER 2021

Divine Design

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

As we all know, no two children are alike! God has designed each and every one with their own individual personalities and set of talents, skills, abilities, and needs. Some are shy, some athletic, some have a natural bent for learning and books, while others love to work with their hands. We see these distinctions in our own families and those of our friends. But now imagine raising and caring for multiple children of various ages who have experienced personal tragedy at a young age. This is God’s call on the lives of our House Parents at our Children's Homes. They are stepping in the gap to love, encourage, guide, and direct our children through building trustworthy, transformative relationships. They have faithfully accomplished this mission for 17 years. Yet God is now providing an opportunity to deepen and expand our House Parents’ impact through the development of an intentional and dynamic strategy called the Personalized Growth Plan.

This approach focuses on equipping House Parents to excel in the holistic development of the physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and spiritual health of each child entrusted to their care. The purpose of the Growth Plan is to discern each child’s individual design and enable parents to recognize and prioritize which areas of each child’s life to lean into and address in the near-term and which to build toward in the future. This strategy is guided by a Growth and Empowerment Cycle involving child Assessment, Restoration, Investment, Mentorship, and gaining Independence, called ARIMI for short:



One of the first steps in implementing this strategy recently occurred at the Children’s Homes. House Parents were trained in the foundational component of the Personalized Growth Plan: How to Observe and Assess the children in their family in each area of holistic development.

The training included understanding the assessment’s purpose, preparing for observations by seeking God in prayer, introducing the holistic developmental areas for reflection, examining questions to consider during the assessment, instructing how to document their observations, and utilizing the information to guide and inform each child’s next steps of their growth plan.


We are already seeing how the Personalized Growth Plan is promoting greater intimacy between children and their house parents, a deepening understanding of God-given individual design, and the equipping of parents and children with the knowledge, skills, and resources for greater healing and personal development, transforming their lives with hope and providing them a brighter future!

Meet one of our amazing children spotlighted this month.
Click the button below to read their incredible story of transformation.

PRAYER REQUESTS

  • Wisdom and discernment for the House Parents as they learn to observe and assess their children’s individual personalities, God-given traits, and experiences
  • Healing, wholeness, growth, and empowerment for the children as they begin to walk in God’s plans and purposes for their lives
  • Strong relationships and open communication between House Parents and their children

SEPTEMBER 2021

Navigating New Normals!

I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves at one time or another wishing for smooth sailing as we navigate the ever-changing seas of pandemic protocols. It’s understandable! Yet there are opportunities afloat in turbulent seas, and our children and house parents have been discovering those as the children have settled into school. Currently, all the children are back in school and have been enjoying their new grades, new schools (for some), and new fast-paced learning to make up for lost time from the Covid19 school closures. As the kids adjust to this new approach, we thought it would be nice to hear about their discoveries in the children’s own words:

It is so encouraging to hear that these children are not only thriving in their studies and enjoying being back in school, but they are worshipping God, strengthening their relationship with Him, praying with friends, and encouraging others to grow in their faith too!

There have been adjustments and discoveries in life at the Children’s Homes as well. Here are some updates from the house parents that describe how things have been going from their point of view:

The sentiments and outlooks expressed in these quotes exemplify an African proverb: “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” Rather than striving for smooth sailing, the parents and children have embraced the challenges and necessary adjustments brought about by the rough seas of an unexpected pandemic as opportunities for personal growth and development. They are living testimonies of Genesis 50:20, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.”

Meet one of our amazing children spotlighted this month.
Click the button below to read their incredible story of transformation.

PRAYER REQUESTS

  • The health of all students and parents through the rest of the school year
  • Determination and perseverance as the children and parents continue in the fast-paced learning environment required this school year
  • The students to continue standing strong in their faith and seeking God in everything they do

AUGUST 2021

Back To School!

Freshly sharpened pencils with full erasers on the end, brand new pens filled to the brim with ink, pristine composition books waiting to be filled, crisp uniforms carefully assembled, class schedules deliberately scrutinized, and back packs at the ready all herald the beginning of a new school year! These signs and more were on display at the Children’s Homes this month as everyone eagerly prepared for this major event in the lives of our children.

For the children in Primary School (Grades K-8), house parents make sure school uniforms are checked and fitted for the new school year so everyone will be “looking smart” on their first day back to class! The parents also diligently gather new school supplies, such as pens, pencils, and composition books, for each of their children in anticipation of school beginning.


With our high school kids attending boarding school, house parents take on a whole other level of responsibility! In addition to checking on uniforms and gathering general school supplies, parents meticulously oversee the admissions process to the boarding school, making sure all requirements are met. Even more importantly, they help prepare the children’s hearts and minds with encouragement and God’s love and wisdom for the opportunities and challenges living at boarding school brings.


As the children reach college age, house parents remain supportive though their role is less active. They come along side and encourage their children in the admissions or registration process and with finding student housing, either on campus or near their school, while the Children’s Homes youth pastors and counselors take a more active role because of their greater ability to travel and visit the various colleges. Parents continue to maintain connection and motivate their children through individual conversations, while everyone prays for steadfast faith, Godly wisdom, and mature self-control.



As you can tell, the beginning of a new school year is a busy time at the Children’s Homes, filled with anticipation and the hopes and dreams only a new school year can bring. Yet in the midst of all the activity, God is celebrated for all the good things He is doing in the lives of the children and their families!

Enjoy hearing more details from Zipporah, one of the Kipkaren Children's Home House Parents.
 
Meet one of our amazing children spotlighted this month.
Click the button below to read their incredible story of transformation.

Prayer Requests

  • A year of academic growth and a deepening love of learning
  • Making wise choices while away at boarding school or college: positive friendships, church connection and involvement
  • Travel safety: Dangerous roads/traffic

JULY 2021

Don & Amy Visit!

Incredible anticipation. Laughter and songs filling the air. Exuberant dancing. After more than a year, the drought of visitors to the Children’s Homes ended and these joyous signs of welcoming celebration arose when Don and Amy Rogers (ELI's founders) were able to visit the homes this July! Hearts rejoiced and spirits were lifted as long-separated loved ones were able to be with each other in person again! After reading Don’s description of this precious time together, be sure to check out their arrival video below.

“Being here at the ELI Children’s Homes has been an overwhelming blessing to both Amy and me. We’ve been able to connect with all of the parents and leaders in both Ilula and Kipkaren and our hearts are full–seeing the dedication that each of the ELI staff have shown over these years and especially this past year during the Pandemic. They have all navigated every challenge with grace and strength in ways that challenge our faith and make us so proud to know them and even to call them friends. The children are so resilient and the passion that you feel when they worship penetrates your soul and brings tears to your eyes.

We had the great privilege to share devotion time with the children. The fellowship was incredible and filled with songs and special dances that the children enjoyed sharing and the testimonies from some parents were truly moving. At one point our mouths fell open watching the children recite memory verse after verse with passion and perfection. Amazing!

In the midst of many challenges, the ELI Children’s Home families have not only survived but have thrived and grown in love with Jesus and each other in ways that shine like stars on a dark night. One of the staff reminded me of the old African proverb: ‘If you want to go fast–go alone. If you want to go far–go together with others.’ This is a ministry family that is going the distance together for the glory of God, filled with prayers and passion to see each and every one of these children have the best future possible.”

Watch the Arrival Celebrations!

Meet one of our amazing children spotlighted this month.
Click the button below to read their incredible story of transformation.

Prayer Requests

  • Children and Children’s Homes staff will be encouraged by Don and Amy’s visit.
  • Relationships will be renewed and strengthened as Don and Amy spend time connecting with those at the homes.
  • The Children’s Homes families will continue to deepen their bonds with each other and with Jesus.

JUNE 2021

Career Choosing Day!

Both of the Children’s Homes had their Career Choosing Day for their high school graduates this month! This is a very important time for each graduate to meet with a high school guidance counselor to select which post-secondary educational path they will pursue. The guidance counselor, who has been counseling the children throughout their high school experience, will review their scores from the Kenyan national high school exam and compare those with the course and point requirements at colleges, universities, and vocational schools. This comparison, combined with a child’s personal skills and interests, will enable the children to make the best school and career choice. 




Once a school has been chosen, the ELI youth pastors will assist the graduates in the application process for the various schools. After the application is submitted online, there is a waiting period of two to three months for a response from the school. If they receive a letter of admission, they will begin preparations to attend the school. If they are declined, then the students must apply to another school. 

This is an important and exciting time for the graduates. We are so proud of each and every one of them as they enter this transformative chapter in life and trust God for their future!

Jeremiah 29:11 " 'For I Know The Plans I Have For You' Declares the Lord, 'Plans to Prosper You and Not to Harm You, Plans to Give You Hope and a Future.' "

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for God to guide and direct each one in this process.
  • Pray for the graduates to have patience and stay positive and hopeful as they wait for responses from their schools.
  • Pray for each student as they attend their different colleges and universities, that they stay focused on God and stay on the right path that leads towards Him.

MAY 2021

Business For Life

May brought another exciting event for our ELI 2021 high school graduates: attending the Business for Life training at the Children’s Homes! This impactful training equips our children to begin their own business by providing foundational business knowledge combined with practical hands-on application.

The course utilizes a one page strategic management tool to define and communicate a business idea or concept quickly and easily, working through the fundamental elements of a business or product. These elements include raising capital, business accounting, developing good communication skills, understanding your customer base, and honoring God in business decisions.


The next part of the training involved field work where the children visited the business centers in their community to research how local business owners conduct their business. From their findings, they learned there were three main types of business opportunities: service, trade, and manufacturing.

After several days of gaining knowledge, it was time for each student to apply the business training toward developing and implementing a business plan of their own. The plans included beginning with providing a service business, such as washing cars or tending crops, then taking the wages earned to boost their capital for a trading business, for example, buying vegetables from local farmers to repackage and sell at the community market.





The training culminated in a graduation ceremony on May 14. During the ceremony, the students made presentations about their business concepts to the gathered parents and visitors, highlighting the plan, strategies, and profits of their businesses. The students’ accomplishments were celebrated by all in attendance, knowing these entrepreneurial skills will benefit the students for the rest of their lives! At the end of the ceremony, students were awarded certificates for successfully completing the course.



Mercy, one of the students who took part in the training, had this to share:
"Thank you ELI for giving me opportunity to study Business for Life! You have impacted me with life skill knowledge that will enable me to start my salon. With the talent I have in plaiting hair and the business knowledge acquired, I will make great steps in starting my business. God bless you in life."

Prayer Requests

  • Business for Life students to continue the methods and practices they learned.
  • Further development of their entrepreneurial skills.
  • Confidence and determination to honor God in their businesses.

APRIL 2021

Hope and Healing

“We give thanks to the Lord for the great things he has done in our lives, he has kept us clear-minded, protected us from dangers seen and unseen. This month has been a blessing to us, and we are praying and looking forward to so much more.” – Ezekiel, Kipkaren Children’s Home Manager

Ezekiel’s quote brings to mind Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Through God’s grace and trust in the Lord, the children at ELI’s Children’s Homes have been experiencing the healing hope that can only come from God.
Vacation Bible School: Confident Hope

The Children’s Homes were able to conduct the first VBS at the homes in over a year! This momentous occasion began with the House Parents enthusiastically preparing to put into practice all they had learned during Sunday School Teacher Training with Edna, ELI’s Children’s Ministry Coordinator. As they prepared, the children were filled with great excitement and eager anticipation for this long awaited event.

VBS did not disappoint! Through impactful Bible stories, fun crafts, lively worship songs, and getting to enjoy each other’s company, the children grew in their love for God and each other, filled with confident hope in God’s faithfulness. The outcome was amazing! But best of all, many children made the decision to get baptized.

Baptism

After VBS was over, 42 of the teens from the Children’s Homes decided to give their lives to Jesus, and they were baptized in the river with their siblings and families present. What a joyous occasion! We can just imagine Jesus smiling from ear to ear seeing this amazing public display of commitment to Him!

Transformative Counseling: Inner Healing

It is so important that our children receive counseling to help them heal from the invisible effects of having once been an orphan living in extreme poverty: the emotional, social, and spiritual poverty that comes with being orphaned and extremely poor. Thankfully, ELI Children’s Home Counseling Program is doing just that!  Our team of skilled counselors is working to crush the devastating effects of poverty in our children’s lives and provide them with hope and a future. Here is a quick overview of what happened with the Counseling Program this month.

Many of our children were able to have one-on-one counseling sessions facilitated by the team’s professional counselors. They were counseled on how to cope with the pandemic, emotional difficulties, anxiety, grief, low self-esteem, interpersonal problems, and provided tools for healing that enable them to embrace a happier and healthier life.

Counselors were also able to conduct dynamic interactive workshops on peer pressure, self-esteem, and Jesus-centered identity, providing foundational concepts and understanding for abundant living. They were taught how to protect themselves from peer pressure, how to say no to bad behaviors, how to choose friends wisely, and most importantly, how to influence others in a positive way and keep God first in all they do every day. They were reminded that God himself leads and protects them through the Holy Spirit.

This counseling program is helping ELI’s children in ways that we can’t even put into words. We are seeing transformation before our eyes. The children are so thankful! They feel loved, heard, important, protected, and most of all, hopeful.

Pray for:

  • The 42 teens who gave their lives to Jesus and were baptized as they continue to learn more about Jesus and seek Him in everything they do!
  • Counselors to seek God’s wisdom and guidance as they counsel the children.
  • House Parents to feel encouraged by God as they continue to nurture and care for the children in their family and serve all the children at the Children’s Homes.

MARCH 2021

The Power of Purposeful Prayer

We’ve all been there: Preparing for that major exam impacting our scholastic futures or the potentially career changing job interview. As we think about it, our hearts beat a little faster, our minds race, and perhaps our palms even sweat a little! Our 8th and 12th Grade children are experiencing some of those same sensations as they prepare for national exams in accordance with Kenya’s national educational system. These important exams will determine the next stage of their educational path and college and career options. As we all know, this can bring stress and worry. BUT ELI house parents know how to counteract stress and worry—with PRAYER! Together, schools and parents organized prayer days for the children heading into final exams.

On March 6th, ELI students in grade 8 attended an encouraging day of prayer at Brook of Faith Academy. Parents, guardians, and pastors encouraged the students throughout the day. Rev. Rotich, the guest speaker, had this to say:  "The best gift that you can give your child is education. God has given all humanity time in equality but how you invest your time will determine the success, even with the coming exam." Afterward, parents, guardians, and staff enjoyed an amazing time of fellowship in which they encouraged and prayed for students preparing for exams.

On March 7th, the ELI Children’s Home family attended a prayer day for their 12th Grade high school students preparing for national exams. Speakers encouraged students to persevere. One speaker proclaimed, “One of the most important keys to success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you don’t feel like doing it.” Good advice for our students as they face these crucial exams. Parents spent the rest of the day interacting with their children, motivating and encouraging them to overcome fears, to develop confidence, and most importantly, to put God first!

At the prayer event, Purity Chepketer, from Kipkaren Children’s Home, shared this: “I’m very thankful for how far God has really brought me through this journey of schooling. I also want to show appreciation and thanks to all my sponsors for the love, care, and support that enabled me to reach this day. Please remember me in your prayers during the entire examination time.”

Amazing! ELI Students will head into exams prepared with motivation, encouragement to work hard, and LOTS of prayer, knowing they are supported and loved, all the while filled with gratitude for sponsors and thankful amazement in the goodness of God!

March Birthday Celebration

Every month at the Children’s Homes, birthdays are celebrated! On the day of the celebration, any child having a birthday during that particular month gets to enjoy some yummy birthday cake while they are joyously celebrated by their ELI family for the gift of their unique life, along with receiving prayers and well wishes for the coming year. Here are a few photos from the March birthday celebration:

Prayer Requests

  • Peace, confidence, and perseverance for 8th and 12th grade children as they continue to prepare for national exams, and throughout the examination period.
  • Assurance in the hearts of our children that God is leading and directing them toward the hope-filled future he has in store for them.
  • Spiritual development, understanding, and enthusiasm for parents as they get back into regular rhythms.

FEBRUARY 2021

Philippians 4:19  “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

When you hear the words pandemic and lockdown, most likely your first thoughts center around extreme challenge, discouragement, isolation, and heartbreak, not fulfillmentriches, and glory. Yet, in our Children’s Homes, as life gradually returns to normal, God is revealing the amazing impact that took place with our children and their house parents during lockdown. 


One of the most significant impacts is beautifully described by Dennis Kipchirchir, one of the high school students from Kipkaren Children’s Home:  

"God has been a friend. Through this pandemic, we were safe, cared for, and had our older siblings teaching and tutoring us all of these months that we were home. We have been learning the Word of God along with our academic subjects. Now that I am back in school, I can see such a difference because I don't feel behind. Many of my peers from other communities did not have that support and were having to work a job. Some started drinking. These students now are struggling and really are having a difficult time and are almost giving up and wanting to return back home and not go to school. I am so grateful for all that ELI has done to help us succeed during this time."

These incredible words relate the shared experience of our children. Because of the God infused love and care the children received while at home during quarantine, they are thriving. They are trusting in the Lord with thankful hearts and becoming influential World Changers in their schools.

But this impact is not one-sided, either. God has been at work in the lives of the parents as well, fulfilling needs beyond what was expected or imagined:

"We can see that during this past year that we have been in quarantine on the compound and all of the children have been home from school . . . God has a purpose! He has given us an opportunity to really know our children and for our children to really know us . . . COMPASSION HAS GROWN!"

Wow! Compassion has grown. In the midst of quarantine, God fulfilled his purpose of deepening love and understanding between parents and their children. It’s no wonder parents’ hearts are filled with praise!

These are inspiring words from our friends in Africa, words that speak of fulfillmentriches, and glory.  We know that it has been a hard year for many people, but we can't ever forget that we serve a BIG God who can do BIG things. 

Prayer Requests

  • Relationships between the House Parents and children would continue to grow and deepen.
  • ELI Children would continue to thrive and be encouraging influences on their schoolmates.
  • Students would finish programs and degrees put on hold because of COVID.
  • The 4th, 8th, and 12th graders are experiencing high levels of stress as they are preparing for the national exams that will be conducted over the next 4 weeks. Please pray for peace to reign in their hearts and minds as they are taking their exams.

JANUARY 2021

January 18, 2021

Ilula & Kipkaren Children's Home Staff Reunion

After 10 long months of being locked down in response to COVID19, Kenya is finally opening up! Schools are back in session and life is slowly starting to get back to normal at the Children’s Homes. The parents and staff from both the Ilula and Kipkaren Children’s Homes got together for a much needed reunion. They had a joy-filled day of celebration and fellowship. They enjoyed worship and dancing, prayer, encouraging messages, and lots of good food! It was such a restorative break for the incredibly hard-working parents and staff members: a time to rest, reflect, and praise God for his faithfulness during the pandemic. They spent time encouraging each other, lifting each other up, sharing reflections from the previous year, and praying for the upcoming year. It was wonderful to see the smiles on their faces as they were able to reunite and have hearts uplifted through renewed relationship and relaxing fun!

January 18 2021 Collage
Over the next 6 weeks each set of parents will be given a two-week break to go back "home" to their rural villages to see their own families for the first time since February of 2020! It is hard to comprehend the sacrifices that these godly men and women made in order to keep the children in the homes safe and still learning during the lockdown. We are so glad they get to celebrate and rest as we begin this new year!

Watch a quick video of the celebration!

Prayer Requests
  • Safe travels for each set of house parents as they journey back to their home villages to spend time with family.
  • The health and safety of all of the children, staff, and parents in the homes now that the lockdown is over and the children are back in school.
  • Children's adjustment to school routine and socially distanced learning environments.
  • Continued prayer for high school seniors who returned to school in October to prepare for the National Exit Exam (similar to SAT), which will take place in April.
  • College students to be able to resume their coursework as soon as possible and not be discouraged by delayed progress.

DECEMBER 2020

Normally, December is a time of celebration, rest, and reunion. In a normal year, all the children would be able to spend 3 weeks "back home" in the rural villages. It would be a rich and blessed time with their aunts, uncles, grandparents, other siblings, cousins, and home community.

However, as they say in Kenya, "2020 sio kama kawaida," which translates to "2020 is not normal."
CHRISTMAS
This year all the children will be at the Children's Homes. Each home will celebrate their own Christmas. They are looking forward to the special day of games, worship, and food! That being said, it will be a slightly sadder Christmas because the two homes will not be able to come together as one large ELI family like they have done EVERY SINGLE YEAR since the homes opened. For the first time in ministry history, all the children and families will not break bread as one. Yet, in spite of the disappointment, the children have kept Christmas alive in their hearts, as these videos portray!

What Christmas Means

Joy to the World

HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS
All 12th graders returned to their boarding schools in October. They have been there (safe and under school imposed quarantines) in hopes that they could hit the books hard and catch up on as many lessons as possible from when all schools closed in March. Normally, they would have taken their Exit Exams in November. The national government believe that with the hard work of the teachers and students, they will be able to sit for their exams in April and still enroll in colleges, universities, and technical/trade schools in Sept. 2021 as usual.

Around Dec 19th, all your amazing seniors should arrive safely back to the Kipkaren and Ilula Homes, able to enjoy a festive Christmas with their families. 


BACK TO SCHOOL IN JANUARY
Under the current Government's and Ministry of Education's calendar and guidelines, all schools (elementary, high school, and post-high school institutions) will open in-full on January 4th to start their academic year. It will be a "reset" for all grades except the high school seniors who will take their exams in April. Technically, there will be two senior classes in 2021 (the 2020 graduates, who will graduate in April, and the 2021 graduates, who will finish in December as usual).

Prayer Requests

  • A spirit of Joy for Christmas
  • A safe return of the high school seniors
  • That COVID will continue to be "far away" from the Homes. Pray against a post-holiday wave/spike in cases
  • Restoration in the hearts, minds, and souls of the children and parents as they spend December away from their loved ones in the villages (even the parents cannot visit their families outside of the Homes due to the COVID quarantine).
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