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She was a 35-year-old mother of five who was rapidly becoming desperate. A decade ago, with limited options and her hope quickly waning, Celestine Mutai did what so many others in Kenya have done: she began illegally brewing alcohol in an attempt to generate income and keep her family alive. Her home was soon crowded with customers buying and drinking her dangerous brew. Celestine became stuck in the cycle of brewing from morning to night, and her children often missed meals because she no longer had time to care for them. Between the rough crowd of customers and the police who were trying to crack down on brewers, her home became an unsafe place for her and her children. At times, Celestine would even run away because sleeping in her own home was too dangerous. Jump to video of Celestine 

Then, she began to hear about other brewers who had attended a life-changing training at the Empowering Lives International Training Center in Ilula. At this prospect Celestine felt incredible relief; perhaps there was hope for a better life. She attended the Women of Change training in November 2013 and quickly learned many new and exciting skills that she knew would help her family. But her greatest memory is a story Pastor Jonah shared about a man who had a cat that died. The man kept a piece of the dead cat and would spend time thinking about it and looking at it! Pastor Jonah encouraged the women that once their old life of brewing was done, they should not hold on to a piece of it or go back and look at it like the foolish man with his cat. They should completely bury the past. Celestine purposed in her heart to bury her past life as a brewer and never go back.

She returned home from training with a plan to start with what she had. Celestine planted one section of her property with potatoes because she had learned how to cook chips (French fries) during her Women of Change training and wanted to use her new skill. Also, the business management training she had received helped her understand that the lack of other chip shops in the area would mean a higher demand. Celestine opened her chip shop called “Cele Chips” and found immediate success as the enticing smell of her chips drew in customers daily.

Today, Celestine can afford an excellent education for her children, and her kids feel proud of their mother’s choices instead of fearful. When asked about her transformation, she proudly said, “Because Jesus cleaned everything, my challenges are minimal compared to when I was brewing! There is hope in Jesus, and brewing is NOT an option for livelihood. There are many ways to raise money and care for your family. I felt there were no options, and I want others to know there are options and they can get knowledge.” 

Celestine’s confidence has grown dramatically as she has gained understanding of how much God loves her. She said that her deepest desire is to be a woman who knows God more and more.

As we think of Celestine and the other Women of Change, our hearts are challenged and flooded with hope: hope for a positive future for these once outcast women, hope for their families, hope for Kenya, and hope for people everywhere who are seeking God’s best for their lives.

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