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Sponsor Updates from the Homes

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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